“You can think of intuition as your GPS to the material world,” write House of Intuition founders Alex Naranjo and Marlene Vargas in Your Intuition Led You Here. This sleek black book boasts dynamic graphics of tarot cards and beckoning hands wreathed in mist, and it promises to teach you to develop your intuition and start utilizing it to create your own spells.
I tend to pass over traditional spellbooks, even ones that are up-to-date for the modern witch, because of how impossible the spells often feel for me. Between the lists of ingredients you’re expected to gather (or already have?) and the many steps in the casting, even spells that claim to be simple can be out of reach for me. For instance, a single step might be “combine moon water, lavender oil, and honey.” Okay, already this means I need to get out a bowl and a spoon, and they’ll need to be washed at the end of the spell, and oh wait do those need to be ritual items because if so I need to make sure to set them someplace where the moonlight can hit them the night before and I don’t really have a clear windowsill so I’ll need to spend a few minutes making space on a windowsill…etc, etc, etc. And that’s just for one step!
Instead, I gravitate towards titles like this one–titles that offer a more simplified and intuition-led approach to spellcraft. I’ll admit, too, that I have a particular fondness for titles with “you/your” in them. Maybe because they automatically feel like books that will center me and my unique practice, and will feature less bloviating about the author’s New and Exciting discoveries. (That’s what my dad would call “I had an epiphany!” books.) On top of that appeal, I was already familiar with the authors’ brand. Though I’m not in the right part of the country to visit one of the physical storefronts, House of Intuition also has an online store that I’ve ordered candles from in the past. So with all those factors combined, picking up their book was a no-brainer for me.
Now that I’ve read it, though, what’s the verdict: is this book spoonie-witch friendly? Are there useful insights or methods for those of us who need to modify spells for our physical and mental needs? Let’s discuss.
One of my favorite things about Your Intuition Led You Here is the fact that its authors are both queer women. (Worth noting that while Alex Naranjo mentions that she identifies as trans and masculine-leaning, she uses she/her pronouns in the book, so that’s what I’m going with here.) They write about their relationship with tenderness and frankness, and it makes me wildly happy to see these badass business-owners and authors being open about this aspect of their identities.
I also loved the “anatomy of a ritual” section. This gives you the basic containers that make up a typical ritual, such as creating sacred space and giving offerings, but what you fill those containers with is left entirely up to you. My version of creating sacred space might look like playing a special playlist and speaking some quick opening words, while yours might be walking the perimeter of your circle with a singing bowl. This is the kind of do-it-yourself witchcraft I’m drawn most to, or at least the kind of guide I appreciate the most. Starting with a totally blank page is tough, so I love when books give you a skeleton to begin with–a dress form of sorts that you can style however you choose.
More than anything else, I appreciate that this book gives you a permission slip to let your intuition lead your witchcraft. So many books I’ve encountered seem to peddle a cookie-cutter type of spell or ritual, and when I don’t have the energy or time to carry out all the instructions, I’m left feeling like an inadequate witch. It’s profoundly refreshing to find a book that says, “No, you have all the magic you need within yourself, and your approach is just as valid as mine.”
On the other hand, once you get to the section of the book with suggested rituals and spells, I was right back to that “my magic isn’t enough” feeling. For all their talk about intuition as primary, their rituals still felt structured to a degree that wouldn’t allow for enough modification or improvisation for a disabled witch. While they call several of these rituals “intuition-led” and tout them as choose-your-own-adventure spellcraft, the extra customization options basically boil down to a few suggested oils, herbs, and/or crystals that you can use in concert or respectively, depending on your preference. It’s a fine idea, but it ultimately didn’t feel like a huge departure from traditional ritual/spell books. It just felt like a typical ritual with a few extra correspondences thrown in to taste.
And related to that…I’m not sure the book completely knows what it wants to be. The first third or so of Your Intuition Led You Here reads like a memoir, with each of the authors describing their spiritual backgrounds, the life crises that led them to magic (and to each other), and the ups and downs of getting House of Intuition off the ground. They’re engaging writers, don’t get me wrong, so it’s an interesting read. But when I pick up a book like this I expect perhaps 10 pages or less of author introduction before diving into the magic guidebook. I don’t expect these introductions to take up a third of the book. And after that section, there’s a sizeable section that feels like it comes from the pages of a book for absolute beginner witches. Again, I have no problems with this in theory, but in practice it’s not why I picked up this particular book. The reason I picked up the book (rituals intended for customization and modification) doesn’t kick in until 2/3rds of the way in. And that’s a bit frustrating.
For me, one thing that helps is to frame my magic in the same way as a good friendship. My friends understand that I have disabilities. If we make plans and I need to cancel at the last minute because of a flareup, they understand. They’ll help me find an adjusted way of connecting, like via Zoom or discord, so we can enjoy each other’s company without me burning through spoons too much. Or we’ll simply raincheck for a different day when my body is being more cooperative. At the same time, I am respectful of their time and communicate clearly when I’m unwell, so I’m still dependable even when I need to rearrange plans.
I try to approach my witchcraft in the same way. Sometimes I’ll need modifications, sometimes I’ll need to cancel altogether, but I do so with a commitment to find other ways or other times to practice. It’s a give and take, just like a good friendship. (This same approach also applies for any work you do with deities, ancestors, spirits, etc!)
It also helps to manage your expectations from the get-go. Naranjo and Vargas even write that “expectations can be the death of intuition.” We know that we are disabled and neurodivergent witches. It makes much more sense for us to set small, achievable expectations for ourselves than it does to plan huge, elaborate rituals and then be disappointed when we aren’t able follow through. As much as I love the idea of an hours-long ritual, I know the odds are low that I’ll be up for such a long ritual. So I try to make small plans instead, like lighting a candle and spending five minutes sitting outside in contemplation.
Finally, recently I’ve been experimenting with making a temporary offering if I need to postpone a spell or ritual. I’ll leave a piece of jewelry or a crystal on my altar almost as an IOU, a way of making my promise to finish the work tangible. Then, whenever I’m able to come back and follow through, I remove the offering and thank my deities or ancestors for their patience and understanding. If nothing else, it helps me feel more like the ritual is simply postponed rather than canceled.
So can I recommend Your Intuition Led You Here for spoonie witches? I’d say yes, but with some major caveats attached. It’s definitely more geared toward witches who are just starting out, so if you’re several years into your practice I’m not sure there will be much new material for you. And I’d suggest viewing the book as a source of potential inspiration, not as a set of ironclad blueprints. There may be some of the rituals that would work well for you, and that’s great! But if you find yourself discouraged by the usual lists of ingredients and instructions, take a step back and remember the authors’ core thesis above all: your intuition is ultimately all you need to make magic.
What do you find challenging about your spellcraft? And how do you follow through on your magic while still honoring your body and mind’s unique needs? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!