By Dea Fejzullahu
Shana Leilani is a witch, tarot reader, healer, occult teacher, and paranormal investigator based in Los Angeles. Leilani is the co-host of the witchcraft podcast named Wine, Spirits and Witches, and she is also a co-producer in LA's first and longest-running witchcraft burlesque show Belle, Book & Candle.
Shana Leilani explains that she has been connected to witchcraft from an early age.
"I was always that weird little kid interested in magic, ghosts, and things of that nature."
She recalls her uncle giving her a little tarot reading, and at the ripe age of eight decided that she, too, needed to learn the art.
"I was just captivated by what he was doing," she says, explaining how she saved up her money to buy the cards, excited to ask her uncle to teach her. But when she returned to him, he gave her no explanation.
"He told me to teach myself; to look at the colors and drawings and see how they made me feel," she says.
"Tarot is used along with your intuition, as well as spirits that want to communicate. You weave it all together into this beautiful tapestry that becomes a story that you get the honour of telling and communicating."
To Leilani, being a witch is turning the mind and learning to communicate with the spirits of plants and people who have passed away, unlocking a whole new part of your brain.
Spells, rituals, and the connection with gods and deities
Being a witch outside of fiction is quite hard. People have different reactions when discovering her career, somtimes coming across as disrespectful.
"Everyone believes that their belief system is the right one and I'm not here to tell you that yours is wrong or right. The only thing I can say is that my belief system is right for me," she says.
"Magic can lend help to your problems, but it cannot fix them with a snap of your fingers. There is more to it than lighting candles and doing spells. You have to pray and work for the change."
Nature and witchcraft go hand in hand with each other. The four elements (fire, air, earth, and water) assist witches in spells and different rituals, according to Leilani. In addition to the natural elements, witches use object spirits, roses, for love spells.
In addition to nature and elements, witches seek deities and gods for help in their practice. The gods in question vary, depending on the witch - some use Hindu gods, some Egyptian gods, and others Roman gods. They turn to gods for different spells based the god's territory. If a witch is working on a beauty spell, they seek Aphrodite or another beauty-goddess.
"It's about having a relationship with them," she says. "It's about lighting the candle and being still, almost meditating, to feel their presence and what they're communicating."
From Ghosts to Black Magic and Reincarnation
Leilani has always been a big fan of ghosts. Now, as a paranormal investigator, she loves visiting haunted places and experiencing them first-hand to see if they are real or just myths. Her advice when it comes to dealing with ghosts is to always be respectful.
We hear of Black Magic across many cultures and traditions, often as something negative or scary. To Leilani, any magic can be bad when used in a harmful way towards the receiver without their consent. That said, they don't need to be bad. She brings light to voodo dolls, which have gotten a bad reputation over the years.
"Voodoo dolls have been painted in a bad light, but traditionally, they're actually used to heal or provide other good deeds.
The Spooks of Halloween
In a modern day and age, October is a time of pumpkins, dressing up, watching scary movies and going door to door. It has become a highly commercial one, with millions of people all across the world buying sweets, decorations, and costumes - all for one singular day.
Leilaini explains that the origins of the All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween, are slightly different to what we know.
"[October 31st] is when the veil between words is at its thinnest, making it easier for us to connect with our ancestors. It is our day to honor, mourn, and help the spirits cross on."
Celebrating and remembering your ancestors can be done by cooking their favorite meal or doing their favorite activity, and it is a time to say the things we didn't when they were in our realm.
Advice for the new enchanters
For the people who dream of helping others through magic, or the ones who just want to find peace with their surroundings through enchantments, Leilani's advice on this is to do research. Scour the internet, seek bookstores, or even the nearest magic store. Whether you're looking to start your magical adventure or are simply just intrigued, check out Leilani's podcast Wines, Spirits and Witches, which she co-hosts with a high-priestess.
"When you start to learn about witchcraft, you become a student for life - you never stop learning. It's wonderful. "