Gabriela Herstik, 25, identifies as a solitary eclectic witch, goddess worshiper and Venus devotee. Based in Los Angeles, California, Herstik is an author and columnist whose work explores the intersection of glamour, sexuality, witchcraft and cannabis, with common themes of power, pleasure and purpose reflected in all her offerings. CULTURE interviewed Herstik to gain insight into her work as well as some ways cannabis can be utilized in witchcraft rituals.
Herstik shared a ritual she performs before she smokes, explaining, “I set intentions. I ask my guides, goddesses (whatever I believe in), to help me connect with the spirit of the plant, to help me receive the medicine.”
Her first book, Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft was released last September in the United States (and in the UK one month prior). Inner Witch is the ultimate guide to witchcraft for women craving to discover their best selves and connect to something bigger, utilizing tools of tarot, astrology and crystals. “My goal was, if you weren’t familiar with witchcraft and you didn’t know where to start, you could pick up my book, and you’d be able to create your own magical practice by the time you were done reading it,” she said. Herstik just finished writing and editing her second book, Bewitching the Elements: A Guide to Empowering Yourself Through Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. The book looks at spirituality through the five elements and is set to be released in April 2020.
“Cannabis is a plant that has been used for thousands of years throughout different cultures as a sacred way to connect to something bigger, or to our intuition. I consider [consuming cannabis] a self-care practice. Even without the magic.”
A living embodiment of the power and purpose she represents, Gabriela bestows her witchy wisdom as a freelance writer and columnist for several noteworthy publications. Her column The High Priestess with High Times comes out bimonthly, which explores spirituality and plant medicine with interviews, spells and rituals, as well as including personal insight on her cannabis and spiritual practices. Her passion for fashion and glamour is represented in the photos she styles and models for each new release.
Herstik has a column with Nylon Mag called “Ask A Witch” and also writes a column on working with different goddesses for Chakrubs, a crystal sex toy company. With a background in fashion writing, you can find Herstik’s words on witchcraft, sexuality and fashion all over the web with sites like Allure, Glamour and The Hoodwitch. Additionally, her ever-evolving offerings include tarot readings, online courses and workshops. “It’s been such a privilege to be able to talk openly about these things,” she said. “I recognize there are literally people who are locked up who in jail for years and years, if not the rest of their lives, for this plant that I’m talking about.”
Herstik’s practices in utilizing her social media channels goes far beyond sharing her published works. “It’s a fun and beautiful way to connect with my audience, […] a way for me to offer people magic in a really accessible way,” she explained. Personal boundaries considered, Herstik practices radical vulnerability with her audience, sharing openly where she is on her own journey. “ We’re all connected […] as much as we feel like we’re separated,” Herstick said. “One of the reasons I love cannabis and plant medicine is that it reminds us of our innate connections with one another and our innate connection to the earth; to know that if I’m going through something, there’s someone else going through it. So, I post mantras every Monday and they’re often based on the full moon or new moon, but mostly what I feel like I need in that moment. I feel like that’s something people resonate with because they see that kind of mirror I’m offering them.” Going above and beyond in every capacity, she records a weekly tarot pull for her audience, and writes astrologically-customized ritual guides for all the new moons, the full moons, the Sabbath, the Equinox, the Solstice and many days in between.
Herstik found witchcraft on her own at age 11, explaining, “It gave me a purpose. I felt like I discovered myself at a very young age.” She was raised in the “Bible Belt”; her father is a rabbi and her mother is from a Jewish community in Mexico City, both supportive of dialogue surrounding God, death, and the beyond. Recalling that her first experience with cannabis didn’t occur for the first time until she was 18, she said, “The ‘War on Drugs’ was still kind-of the mindset of the deep south. Marijuana was definitely stigmatized, and the idea of a stoner was looked down upon.”
A few years later, after moving to California where cannabis was more accessible, she began consuming regularly. “For me, it’s a really good way to get back into my body,” she said. “I am super Aquarius, very air sign, and I’m always thinking, so it’s very easy to disconnect with my body. A big part of my practice and relationship with cannabis is to use it as a tool to be more present, and be more connected to whatever I’m going through in the moment—which I feel is very connected to my spiritual practice, because to be in a space to do ritual or do magic you have to be present.”
While Herstik does work with cannabis in ritual she explains that cannabis consumption isn’t necessary for anyone’s practice. “It’s just like anything—it has to really pertain to what works for you,” she said. Herstik says that consuming cannabis opens up her psychic senses and allows her to connect with her heart more. “Cannabis is a plant that has been used for thousands of years throughout different cultures as a sacred way to connect to something bigger, or to our intuition,” she said. “I consider [consuming cannabis] a self-care practice. Even without the magic. The ritual itself of rolling my joint, or packing my bowl, or packing my bong, just working with this plant so intimately. It’s like its own kind of sacred ritual for me. It’s something that helps me remain more present and more conscious of the way I’m moving through the world.”
Kind enough to send us off with another example of her craft, Herstik enjoys using cannabis in ritual baths with THC and CBD and salts paired with herbs and oils. “I’ll set an intention and smoke a little bit in the tub to get more into that intention,” she said. You can boost the experience with a cannabis-infused face mask or other beauty products, if you so desire. “I see it as an offering. If I’m in a ritual setting and I’m working that herb, it’s conscious, and it’s intentional.”