Ritual Talk: Trista Edwards

trista edwards

In this interview, I chatted with Trista Edwards, who is a splendid writer and creator of my favorite candle and magical goodie shop—Marvel + Moon. She's an associate editor at Luna Luna (lucky us) and has been an incredibly supportive and kind friend. 

She is also the curator and editor of the anthology, Till The Tide: An Anthology of Mermaid Poetry (Sundress Publications, 2015). You can read her poems at 32 Poems, Quail Bell Magazine, Moonchild Magazine, The Adroit Journal, The Boiler, Queen Mob's Tea House, Bad Pony, and more. She creates magickal candles at her company, Marvel + Moon.

What does 'ritual' mean to you, personally?

To me, ritual means commitment. It means ceremony, from minimal to the extravagant. It means transforming the mundane to the magical. It means slowing down and observing the rhythms of your own body and the world around you. It means reflection.

How do you incorporate ritual into your everyday life —especially as it pertains to wellness?

I incorporate ritual into my life in simple, meaningful ways. I have dealt with anxiety and depression since I was a teen. It is difficult for me to maintain a commitment to my own wellness consistently at times, but I do have a few daily rituals that ground me and relax my mind and body in addition to professional mental health care.

I draw a daily tarot card. This provides me with the opportunity to reflect and write first thing in the morning. If I am feeling particularly anxious, sometimes a daily pull can offer a new perspective or suggest an action to take.

In addition to that, I feel most of my daily rituals revolve around scent. In preparing for the day, I apply one of my many perfumes. Scent has a way of transforming and transporting. It wraps me in a sacred calm…even if only temporarily. I feel confident and sensuous. I fill powered by the memory of place—perhaps the place the scent reminds me of, a time, a person. Maybe that’s somebody else, maybe that’s who I was in a different time and place. It’s a warm feeling that settles me.

I have a small candle business that allows me to further incorporate scent ritual into my daily practice. I concoct new fragrances, a mix essential oils for candles and body oils. I follow the rhythms of the moon to consecrate the herbs and stones and crystal I integrate into my candles.

I light a candle every time I sit down to perform housework, cook, write, read, bathe, do seemingly trivial things like watch television with my husband and my dogs. The scent, the burning glow, the crafted aesthetic and ambiance tend to help replace my inner turbulence with notions of a centering hearth.

Although it has been around for quite some time. I think the word “self-care” is thrown around a lot these days. Often as a marketing tool, often to poke fun at Millennial narcissism and self-indulgence. It often feels misunderstood by the mainstream talking heads.

Self-care is a medical concept. It is political. It is taking care of yourself, your body and your mental health. It is exercising healthy habits. I may perform and engage with rituals that may seem derisory or trendy to some—bath bombs, candles, essential oils, tarot—but as somebody who, at times, experiences difficulty in performing simple tasks—brushing my teeth, getting dressed, getting out of bed—due to anxiety and depression, the rituals I perform MEAN something to me and my well-being. These rituals are not the WHOLE of my self-care, but they are part of it and anything that helps replace the darkness that sometimes resides in me is powerful.

How would you describe your inner magic? What inspires it and makes it come to life?

I feel my inner magic can best be described as the never-ending need and desire to perform defamiliarization. As a poet, I am constantly seeking to present language in a new and strange way. As a candle maker, I seek change everyday spaces into altered, magical realms through creating beautiful, transformative objects. With ritual and magic, I seek the same desire to reshape the mundane and see my personal actions/practices or intimate spaces in a new light. This magic helps me gain new perspective, sharpens my ability to experience wonder and awe, reminds me to slow down and observe the enchanted nature of life that I can so easily gloss over. I feel particularly invigorated and inspired through traveling, reading, and experiencing the art of others. I seek out communities—it online, in print, or in person—that share in these same values. I feed off the enthusiasm, creativity, and magic of others.

Do you have a go-to simple ritual when times get rough?

Esther Greenwood lamented in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar: “There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. Whenever I’m sad I’m going to die, or so nervous I can’t sleep, or in love with somebody I won’t be seeing for a week, I slump down so far and then I say: ‘I’ll go take a hot bath.” I do empathize and agree with Esther on her attitudes toward a warm bath. Unarguably a young woman tormented by her own demons, Esther at least took momentary solace in the healing powers of water and a sacred bath.

A ritual bath, for me, is also setting a space—candles, flowers, salts, wine, music, herbs, poetry, oils, lighting. I craft an altar of peace and beauty to submerge myself into. It is healing. It is sometimes allowing myself to sob and release. Sometimes it is creating this space in the middle of the day when my mental beasties are rambling around in my head. It is quieting. It at once restores and enlivens me. It is a space for me to appreciate my body (another challenge for me) and listen to its physical and mental needs. This is a ritual, more than another other, that allows me to connect with myself.

Favorite witchy movie ever?

Sooooo hard to pick just one. I will always feel a nostalgic whimsy for childhood favorites like Hocus Pocus, The Worst Witch, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks; a pull towards The Craft and Practical Magic when reminiscing about my high school and young adult years; a thirst for the feminism of The VVitch and The Love Witch in my current “mature” 30s; but I had to pick a film that I think about the most it would be The Crucible. Although I have a love for the supernatural witchcraft of the other films, The Crucible instills me with real fear and proves the real (and terrifying) power of patriarchal control. It is not a joyful film, but its narrative occupies my headspace quiet often mostly because in many ways it portrays a world that still exists.