Category Archives: Ritual

Gypsy Holiday Ederlezi and Spring Purity

This is pretty belated, but on May 6th I was lucky to perform at an Ederlezi celebration in Brooklyn. Sometimes the night is so good that you forget to document it until much later. Ederlezi is a spring holiday for Roma in the Balkans, and a variant on St. George’s Day. There’s a lot of singing, dancing, flower-throwing, and feasting of lamb to imbibe its purity and thus be renewed. Much of Romani spirituality centers on spiritual purification, and this holiday is a beautiful testament to this. Each activity cleanses the soul, and whenever possible, the holiday is celebrated by a river to bathe in and throw in flowers for luck.

My Romani family doesn’t actually celebrate the holiday because my ancestors settled in Western Europe, but I love the holiday and like to observe it in my own small way. This year, it was by dancing, singing, & invoking Sara la Kali at X Marks the Loft. So many thanks to JunXion for creating this beautiful event to celebrate the Balkan Romani holiday of spring and renewal. I’m also very grateful to the Bulgarian Voices Trio, who gave such a beautiful performance and then helped me sing “Ederlezi” because I’m not really a singer actually…. Check out their beautiful music.  Joro Boro also provided us great music & energy, and a real love for the holiday and for the Romani people. I was also touched by the way Chef Davo prepared the lamb so mindfully, slaughtering it himself with the respect and solemnity the holiday calls for, and pouring his intention for the holiday into cooking a delicious feast. We talked a little in Romanes, though mine is very broken due to my family losing the language in the war, and I learned that he lived alongside Roma back in Bulgaria and has a great affinity for the culture. The whole night I felt the respect and love of Romani allies who really wanted me there and encouraged me to share part of the Romani community’s culture.

Also, this is my favorite rendition of the song “Ederlezi” by Haimana Gipsy Band, featuring Tatiana Eva Marie 

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Beltane!

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Three of Disks

Today marks the Pagan spring holiday, Beltane, the time when the veil between us and the elemental spirits is thinnest. It’s the perfect time for divination, dreams, wishes, and making out. The holiday celebrates the divine, sexy union between the god and goddess, and the cosmic birth that follows, propelling the wheel of the year forward.

I pulled a tarot card to see what wisdom the spring will impart, and it was the Three of Discs. This card heralds cooperation amongst friends and colleagues to help you manifest your dreams into reality. It’s a good time for business growth and working on projects. Collaboration brings you and your peeps great success.

Here are some fun, simple things to do!

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I made these midnight muffins

  • Make honeyed bread to celebrate the return of the sun, fertility (of all kinds), and sweetness. I used this flourless banana bread muffins recipe from Running with Spoons. 
  • Buy flowers for your home, especially bright happy flowers
  • Make a flower crown and just own it. Check out this post by Arcane Alchemy about its history and how to make one!
  • Pull a tarot or oracle card and ask for a message for the spring. If you’re not sure what it means, you can look up definitions online. It’s also a great time to have your cards read by a friend or professional.
  • Tie ribbons on a tree or bush representing your wishes for the spring and ask the fae or earth elementals to help you manifest them, or make a wishing tree like this one from Mooky Chick.
  • Actually frolic around a Maypole
  • Jump over a small fire or candle for good luck, or a broom stick if you’re not feeling the flames. You can do this with a partner and make it sexy/a show of your dedication to each other.
  • Interpret your dreams
  • Make out with someone you like. It’s a total makeout holiday.

However simple or elaborate your celebration is, give thanks for the new surge of life coming your way, and enjoy the magic.

Featured image of tulips by shickadeaz

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Flowers in Brooklyn

Weird Horoscopes Week of May 1st, 2018

#WeirdHoroscopes Week of May 1st, 2018 by Jezmina Von Thiele

Taurus After the full moon, your dreams will answer your most pressing questions about love, magic, & adequate hydration. Yes, even that dream about harmonizing with an all-spider a capella group. Especially that one. Keep a dream journal bound in fairy spittle.

Gemini The great thing about being dazzling is that everyone is drawn to you, but the terrible thing is also that everyone is drawn to you. It’s the clove cigarette paradox. Consider dabbling in some well-meaning psychic manipulation. Read Circe’s secret diaries

Cancer Whether or not you meant to, at the full moon, you supped on the youth of the world’s children, & you will never age. However, now you have the whims & fancies of an unrestrained child, & you must do your best to indulge the delightful madness that ensues

Leo Forget burning your candle at both ends. You doused the candle pile in gasoline, struck a match, then stalked away in slow motion. Are you busting yourself because of your childhoo–NOPE. Don’t look back there. It’s haunted. Buy a citrine quartz & take a nap

Virgo Listen, Satan has crush on you. You’re that cool. Your phone has been oozing hell-slime off the hook & disembodied emails are scrabbling at your threshold. It’s vampire rules: Just don’t invite him in & continue to slay. But keep the baby bat. Sooo cute!

Libra When was the last time you read through your old grimoires? Pore over the centuries of spells & stream-of-consciousness punning in search of codes from your higher self. Practice deep listening & draw boundaries with a poisoned athame. Your needs come 1st!

Scorpio You are in love with the moon, & she is changeable. She gifted you oceans, but full of sea monsters. You gifted her the starlight you secrete from the special gland all Scorpios have. It’s ok to ask the moon for commitment, balance, & splitsies dinners

Sagittarius You have crushed every bad thing that happened to you through your powerful cocktail of battle strategy & black magic. Now that the past is literally dead to you, light an arrow on fire & shoot it into a forest. The tree it hits will tell your future

Capricorn Hold interviews for your dream coven by inviting your friends into your dreams using tincture of mugwort & blue lotus, & a portkey. Set them psychic tasks & only let in the loves who wow you with kindness & green witchery. You deserve stellar support.

Aquarius When your subconscious fears materialize as, say, spiderbears, hold the offal of your terror-consciousness up to the crystalline light that pours in through your ceiling. It’s there to remind you that you are wonderful & to destroy, say, bloodeagles.

Pisces The full moon calls you to create your own spirituality. You don’t have to start by summoning hot Jesus from the Madonna video but you can! You have already have divine spirits from ethereal realms speaking through you, so preach from here to the YMCA!

Aries You are illuminated from within, literally emanating silvery lunar light from your skin, highlighting all aspects of your life, truth, & the universe. You can’t look away. No one can. It’s part of the curse. Learn from your light as you hover above mortals

Romani Gypsy fortune telling, poetry, and family history interview with Agape Editions

Photo by Viktor Pachas

I had so much fun being interviewed by Eniko Vaghy of Agape Editions for their series Cards on the Table. I discuss the relationship between Romani “Gypsy” fortune telling and persecution, my family’s line of Romani medicine work, eclectic witch magic, writing techniques using tarot, my rituals before reading for clients, and lots more! I loved Eniko’s thoughtful questions, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

Weird Horoscopes: Week of April 16, 2018

Weird Horoscopes by Jezmina Von Thiele! Here are my best cryptic predictions to keep you healthy and whole this week.

#Aries:You’ve been bowing to the powerful specter who lives inside you for too long. No one tells you what to do! Not even your own specter. Now is the time to rise up inside yourself & implement a ruthless revolution. & then treat yo’self to a sheet mask or date night.

#Taurus: You need to build an R&R-burrow to do some feelings, & because you draw comfort from tangible things, demand that the spirits of ether manifest. Let the archangels burn with splendor! Because for you, it isn’t real unless it’s right there blazing in your self-care bunker.

#Gemini: All the shady AF creatures you invited to your glam nocturnal garden parties are kind of douchey, so you’ve whisked yourself away to smokier realms. Stick to high standards for your infamous social calendar from now on. Enchanted fawns and Sumerian serpent priestesses only.

#Cancer: Your ambition to build the best crystal-shell palace is admirable, & your often-unseen blood-thirst for success is Queenly. Make sure your creatures will aid you in your deeds, & support your journey to be better than everyone. The bonding that follows is transcendent.

#Leo: If you’re wondering if everything is a lie & your anxiety is manifesting as hoards of spiders crawling up the walls, you’re right where you’re supposed to be. The new moon is an excellent time to take up hatchet throwing AND and hatchet burying. & maybe buy a funky crystal.

#Virgo: Everyone is really into you telling them what to do. People will probably pay you to do it, so dig deep & sweetly delve into their childhood issues in the boardroom. You’ll have your CEO crying like a baby & handing you that promotion in no time. You’re THAT delightful!

#Libra: If you’ve been disappointed by people recently, they’re stupid. Appeal to the magic boar of the forest to bring your true peeps (alive). Y’all might be scared at first bc the boar is bigger than expected, but open your heart, for he is gentle, & will also bring scones.

#Scorpio: This week is all about rituals. Add a drop of dove’s blood to your bath (or pomegranate for vegans!) invoking the powers of sex and death. Cast spells from your desk with a discreet athame & that candle from Karen. Illustrate your grimoire with the black ichor of ages.

#Sagittarius: Have you been practicing your insect orchestra? The world is taken with your immense creative talent, as well as the thousand glittering eyes of your garage band. It’s time for you to monetize this. Humans & bats alike applaud your hard & unfathomable work.

#Capricorn: It’s like you’re writing your tell-all memoir to let people know what you will absolutely not tolerate, who should have behaved better, & who the real hero/ine is after all. & then a steamy romance novel about a tortured painter/werewolf lover that slowly comes true….

#Aquarius: To-do lists are too subtle for you. Now that you clawed your way out of darkness, you need totemic gauges in the altar you’ve made to your gods of blood, love, & magic. Hunt obscure ingredients at the new moon with the nocturnal gusto of a predator. This is #selfcare

#Pisces: Did you know that witches used “flying ointment,” an orgasmic herbal vaginal salve that made the user transcendent with pleasure? This is#goals for all areas of your life. You are in luxury so intense that it could be a religion. Do it up, merwitch style.

Featured image: Night Blossoms, 2018, Jezmina Von Thiele

On-set: New Beauty Company Photo Shoot

My sassy pup Lily joined me on-set this past weekend for a photoshoot! It’s for a new beauty start-up, which I’m really jazzed to share details about later. My hair was styled in this bangin’ updo by Master Stylist, Slade J. Guillory, who was a dream with the coolest specs I’ve ever seen. If you’re in NYC looking for a regal do, go to Slade for sure. He just turned me on to Davines hair products so I’ll report back on that too. Here are just some fun selfies I took after the shoot. I’m looking forward to sharing the real pics soon! Bonus: I  read cards and palms on-set; I love when I can bring my witchy vibes to work (and my baby monster dog).

What’s in my art model bag?

Featured image by Miguel Ayuso of me modeling at his studio, La Bodega Studios, one of my favorites in Brooklyn

After so many years of modeling, I think I’ve perfected the art model go-bag. Whether your a first-time model looking for tips, a seasoned model comparing favorites, or a person who likes go-bags for speedy and well-stocked escapes, I think you’ll find some lovely gems here.

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First, the bag

I suggest wearing a backpack for the sake of your spine health, and so you can fit all your essentials in. You can use any backpack you have, including your sharpied-up bag from high school. I’ve been using a canvas black and white striped bag for a while that I found at a thrift store, and this Guess Factory Take a Dive Backpack ($49.00 at Guess Factory) is pretty great too.

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Guess Factory

Robe

Maybe this goes without saying, but every art model needs a good robe to wear on breaks. It’s tasteful, professional, and comfy. I find inexpensive, mid-length, cotton robes are the best. You don’t want your elegant, floor-length, velvet dressing gown picking up all the charcoal dust, paint, and goodness knows what else on the studio floor. And too short of a robe won’t do either; you won’t be able to stretch comfortably on breaks, and breaks really are for stretching. Plus, you don’t want to look like 30 Rock’s Devon Banks trying to seduce Kenneth in his hotel room. That’s a very hard-to-pull-off look.

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Slip on shoes

For the same reason that you don’t want to wear a floor length silk robe, maybe you don’t want to wear your very best shoes. They’ll get dusty, painty, inky, etc over time. Since I don’t believe in voluntarily wearing ugly things, I tend to wear slip-on flats that have seen better days but I love them too much to let them go. You could wear sandals, I suppose, but you want to keep your flippers clean, so flats are the way to go. I really love wearing comfy, worn-out moccasins, too. It’s not cultural appropriation to wear moccasins because they’re just shoes– it’s simply cultural exchange. It’s nothing like wearing a headdress, or another sacred article of clothing, or dressing up as Native American for Halloween, which absolutely is cultural appropriation. I recommend supporting a Native American artisan by buying from sources like Beyond Buckskin rather than supporting corporations that rip-off and denigrate Native American designs, like Urban Outfitters.

Lately I’ve been wearing these cuties by T.U.K. from back when ModCloth was adorable (before the Wal*Mart buy-out).

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Muscle rub

My absolute favorite is Tiger Balm Ultra Strength ($5.69 at Target) It’s a tiny tiger miracle– rub a little in to any places that feel sore, stressed, or seized up. It soothes and increases circulation with powerful tingles that feel so damn good (to me, anyway). You can rub some on your neck and temples if you’re getting a headache, too. It is also strongly scented with camphor (the active ingredient), however, so maybe ask the people in the studio if it’s cool with them before applying. Personally I love the scent, but it’s not for everyone.

You can also apply muscle rubs to sore muscles before you leave for your modeling gig (or muscles that you anticipate being sore) so that by the time you get to the job, the smell has dissipated and the tigers are doing their balmy magic.

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“Amur Tiger– Water Walking” by Bernie Catterall

Some alternatives to Tiger Balm that are also good–

The classic, tingly, wintergreen-scented Bengay Ultra Strength ($6.97 at Target)

The natural pain reliever capsaicin stars in scentless Capzasin ($9.99 at Target)

Spring Chicken Muscle Rub ($12. 99 on Amazon), which smells faintly of cloves and works well without the tingling sensation other products have.

A luxe natural option is Young Living Panaway ($47.70 retail from Young Living), which requires a carrier oil. It’s more holistic, and the smell and sensation is also gentler than Tiger Balm

If you’re curious, you can check out this study on natural pain relievers

Pain relievers

3930eb7f58c211e494aee988632a628dThis is totally up to you, but if I’m feeling sore, inflamed, or otherwise in pain, I don’t like to suffer. I don’t recommend taking a pain reliever for every gig or anything like that, but if I have minor aches, I’d rather take something and do a good job than arrive not at my best. I usually have Excedrin Migraine in my bag because I’m prone to migraines, as well as Naproxen for muscle pain. (Never take them at the same time.) I’m not making any recommendations, nor am I qualified to give medical advice, but if there’s a pain reliever you already use, you may want to take it with you in case you need it.

When I have a headache on the job, I like to roll some Aveda Cooling Balancing Concentrate ($22 at Aveda) on my temples and neck for some pleasant-smelling relief, too.

Natural pain relievers

Some people incorporate fish oil, magnesium, and turmeric into their diet/supplement regimen for joint and muscle health. Although studies are inconclusive about the efficacy of magnesium in reducing muscle cramps, I  take a magnesium supplement daily alongside fish oil and turmeric. I think it helps…. But as always, consult a physician before taking any new supplement.

 

Mini massage ball

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MAH BALL

I freaking love this thing. I got it at Flying Tiger for $2, and I roll my foot over it, working out all the crunchy bits and sore spots. My feet are a little finicky after years of dancing, gymnastics, posing, sky-high stilettos… they need extra love. These tiny, spiky massage balls are a great way to do that for cheap. I bring it in my bag so I can use it on breaks. It’s especially great after standing poses.

 

Face powder

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Sometimes you might need a touch up. I don’t have brand loyalty to any particular powder at the moment (ugh, millenials, right?) but I am really enjoying this one from Korea! (I’m obsessed with K-beauty)

Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder ($9.00 on Amazon)

Because it’s translucent, you don’t have to worry about shade-matching. I like it because it’s super light, matte, and quite affordable.

 

Facial mist

It may seem high maintenance, but I recommend a good facial mist especially for your art model bag. Studios are filled with all kinds of dust, chemicals, and whatever else, and I really do feel like my skin dries out while I’m posing, which in turn, makes my prominent Italian/Romani nose shine like a beacon and the rest of my face feel tight, or even itchy. A facial mist creates a protective barrier between your skin and whatever chemicals are in the studio air.

Neogen H2 Dermadeca Spray ($19 on Soko Glam) This is technically a bomb serum, but it works as a slightly heavier, super hydrating facial mist over makeup too for a flawless look.

Goodal Moisture Barrier Rich Mist ($20 on Soko Glam) With milk lipids and mistletoe, this spritz keeps my skin dewy and protected. We’re on the way to honey skin!

Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18/$49 at Sephora) This refreshing, pore-tightening, make-up setting spray is a cult favorite that lightly moisturizes as it tones. I use it to set my makeup in the winter before leaving the house, and then I follow with a heavier facial mist throughout the day as needed. In the summer though, this is generally all I need for a spritz and a pick-me-up.

Blotting Papers

dinoplatzYou can use any blotting papers really, but aren’t these Dinoplatz Dear Brachiasaurus Blotting Papers from TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL ($8 from Sephora) so adorable? I like that they come with a dino-mirror and a little sticky sponge for the papers. They’re great for keeping the shine off my face, which quells my concern that the artists will paint it in.

 

 

Lunchbox with snacks

Keep some fruit or veggies, and maybe some nuts (or another form of protein) handy fora little pick-me-up. Heavy things, like bread, meat, or cheese, tend to bloat and might cause a little stomach upset, so keep it light before you model and while you’re snacking on your breaks. I’ve been really into dried mango, diced red peppers, and a handful of cashews. Bonus if your lunchbox makes you smile.

Speaking of model health, here are my three best tips for not fainting while posing: 1. Breathe and don’t lock your knees, 2. Eat a snack, 3. Stay hydrated.

Water bottle

swellmilkywayOf course you can use any water bottle you want, glass or stainless steel being the best for your health. I really love my Swell bottle. It keeps hot drinks piping hot for 12 hours, and cold drinks nice and icy for 24 hours. Also, it’s made of steel, and I can drop it on the cement studio floors to my heart’s content with no consequences (other than spooking the artists). I also love the color, Milky Way, which reminds me of the holographic 90’s trend of my youth.

Also, on a serious note, a Swell water bottle is heavy enough to use as self-defense if you’re walking home after a job. For more on self-defense, see my note on embassy pens below.

 

Lip balm

Keep your lips supple and happy with a good lip balm. If you’re wearing lipstick, of course bring that too so you can touch-up. But if you’re going for the natural lip, it helps to keep your pout moisturized.

Here are some of my favorite balms and glosses

This Tatcha Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm ($30 at Sephora) is the real deal. My lips never felt softer, and the ACTUAL GOLD FLAKES add a very subtle shimmer.

Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Rose ($24 at Sephora) adds a light pink sheen and silky smooth sun protection

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Plumper XXL Lip Plumping Gloss ($14 at Ulta Beauty) plumps those babies up and comes in pretty neutral colors. I also love the smooth, tingly formula.

Burt’s Bees Coconut and Pear Moisturizing Lip Balm ($3.29 at Ulta) is tried and true, and smells delicious.

Eye drops

If you use eye drops, it’s a good idea to bring them along. Sometimes the fixatives, mediums, paint fumes, and other chemicals in the studio can feel a little much. To keep my peepers happy, I like Rohto Cool . It reduces redness and keeps my eyes feeling fresh.

Hair ties

Sometimes the artists might ask you to do something with your hair. My hair is very long, in step with traditional Romani custom and style, so to make sure artists can draw my back and collar bones, I often wear my hair in two braids (been rockin’ that look since kindergarten). Keep some hair ties, and maybe a comb, in case you need to change your hairdo.

Invisibobble ($7 at Sephora) are great because they don’t leave an imprint on your hair and they rarely tangle.

I also love the Sephora Cellection Quick Fix Hair Ties ($6 at Sephora) because they are very resilient despite my ridiculously big, thick hair, they’re mostly tangle-free, and they’re lovely.

Business cards

Someone in the session might want your business card to hire you for something else or refer you to a friend, and you want to be ready, professional, and memorable. I suggest designing your own business cards and using an image of yourself on the back (preferably a professional shot, not a selfie), so the person with your card remembers who you are. I used www.moo.com to print mine, and I’ve loved the results, and there are a lot of other great sites out there. Take the time to design yours to be clean, easy to read, direct, and reflective of your aesthetic, talents, and skills. Include your name, phone number, email, website, and/or social media page/s. Don’t forget to store them in something protective. I use a vintage silver cigarette case, but you can use any number of things!

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Business cards designed via Moo, featuring photography by Oscar Fuertes

Journal

I’m a not-so-secret writer, and I tend to get my best ideas while I’m modeling because the work allows me to meditate and focus for 20 minutes at a time over 3 hours. On my 5 minutes breaks, I jot down my thoughts and ideas while I stretch. Even if you’re not a writer, chances are when your brain is quiet, you’ll get some great ideas. Writing them down on paper keeps you off your phone, which is full of distractions, so it’s worth taking a journal with you.

Embassy pen

Embassy pens– what can I say! They are great pens, and they double as a weapon. Sometimes my modeling jobs let out late, and I get nervous walking home. The pointed end of the embassy pen breaks glass if your cab ride goes wrong, and if you use it to strike someone’s temple or eye, it can stun and allow you to get away. Or if someone grabs your wrist, striking the thumb can break the attacker’s grip. If you want to carry any kind of weapon, it’s best that you know how to use it. Check out self defense classes near you. In New York, there are a number of free women’s self-defense classes, and you can ask the instructor to teach you how to best use the pen if you want to carry it.

Embassy pen ($9.95 on Amazon)

Book

Keep a good read with you if things are slow on your breaks. You can think about the story or poetry while you’re modeling and do some deep analysis. “20 Gypsy Women You Should Be Reading” in The VIDA Review has some great books by Romani women, and R. O. Kwon of Electric Lit suggests “46 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2018” for your reading pleasure. I also love this list by Lisa Marie Basile, founder of Luna Luna Magazine and fabulous witch, “8 Books Perfect for Summertime Fever Dreaming.” I don’t know about you, but ideally I’d like to be in that state of mind all the time. It’s also a good excuse to check something classy and strange off your reading list, like The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, Madame Blavatsky’s spiritual texts, or The White Goddess by Robert Graves.

 

I hope that this list helps you life models, or those living the model life (whatever that is), build up your arsenal of beauty, comfort, and creativity. If you like, you can follow the art model bag list I created on Pinterest to stay abreast of any new discoveries I make along the way. Happy modeling! (Or modeling your way through normal life!)

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