Editors Note: High Times is thrilled to present our newest bi-weekly column The High Priestess. Written by author and practitioner of magick, Gabriela Herstik, this column will explore the relationship and intersections of cannabis, witchcraft, sex, wellness, and everything in between. At High Times, we strive to keep our minds and our hearts open while centering and uplifting those whose views and practices have traditionally been denied a platform and excluded from the discussion. After all, what is the cannabis space if not inclusive?
Time flies when Mercury is Retrograde and you’re having fun! Who can believe it’s already April? We’re officially in Spring and it’s Aries season, the fiery season of the ram that represents the divine spark of creation. This is a time when our energy and fullest power is returning to us after the darker seasons of Fall and winter. We get a chance to step back into our brightest expression of self, bask in the sun as we enjoy our cannabis, and hopefully move through this season with a sense of grounding.
This month’s column is inspired by my own practice with meditation and mindfulness, and my exploration of how cannabis fits into this mix! I’ve been incorporating smoking different strains into my own meditation and breathwork practice, and have been inspired by the energies of earthy ganja and the flame that lets us smoke up—the fire of Aries. Aries season is the first of the 12 zodiac signs, and it is through Aries that we get to see fire in its purest state; directed, transformative, alchemizing. This is the season of planting seeds, of new beginnings, of setting intentions and investing in ourselves to make them happen.
On the morning of Friday April 5th, we’re also greeted with a New Moon in Aries. The New Moon is an energetic clean slate, when we can focus on our goals for the month ahead. It can also be a beautiful time to cleanse and clear ourselves of what we no longer need; the meditation, breathwork and ritual of this column can be adapted to work with what resonates with you! Aries is a time of inspired action, so let this be an opportunity for you to get clear about your desires if that feels right. Allow the cannabis and meditation to lead you deeper into what you need. Even if you eat your cannabis, or work with CBD and not THC, you can still connect with cannabis in a meaningful way. These practices can be done sober, stoned, buzzed or whatever, and each has its own perks. So choose your poison and get to it!
Here are a few of my favorite ways to connect to the green goddess, Mary Jane, this Aries season.
Set an Intention- For the Day, the Smoke Sesh, the Moon, the Season
Setting an intention is exactly what it sounds like, and thankfully, there’s not really a wrong way to do it. You can set an intention when you meditate in the morning, taking time to think of what you desire for the day ahead. You can also set an intention for a period of time, like Aries season! This is especially helpful if you have longer term goals you want to commit to seeing through over the phase of a month. You can also set an intention at events like the Aries New Moon, or for a shorter amount of time like a smoke session.
An intention doesn’t have to be anything involved or intense. It can be something simple like “my intention is to be present today.” Or “my intention is to live from a place of compassion.” It can be about the day you have ahead of you, a goal, or something you want to align yourself with. I love setting an intention before I smoke to connect with all the messages the universe has for me with ease. My suggestion with any form of magick is to play around, take notes and decide what works best for you. See what intentions feel right and then go from there.
Meditate with the Herb
I’ve been loving how it feels taking an intentional hit (or two, or three) before I meditate. I close my eyes, get centered in my body by seeing how I’m feeling and connecting to the world below me and set the intention to connect with any messages or medicine the herb has for me. Then I take my hit (or hits), close my eyes and start my meditation practice. I definitely suggest trying meditation stoned! You can take an edible, use a tincture, take a hit of something; it doesn’t matter. And if you’re new to meditating, try working with the breaths below.
You can also try taking ten deep breaths and then visualizing a white light from the heavens above you moving to the crown of your head, down your spine and out of the ground at the base of your spine. Breathe into this white light and feel it cleansing you of any worries, negative energies, old patterns, or impurities. Feel it surround you and cocoon you in its healing light. When you’re ready to finish the meditation, simply visualize the light moving back into the universe and open your eyes.
You can also try different types of meditation, using guided meditation (I love the app Insight Timer) or even on Spotify or Youtube. Again, personal experimentation is key! Meditation is many things, and it can be creating art, writing a poem, talking a walk, or writing a song. Find what keeps your mind in the present, and think about how you can use cannabis to deepen this experience and heighten your senses and awareness.
Sativa or Indica?
The age-old question, sativa or indica…really does it matter when it comes to meditating with your higher self? This will vary for person to person, but I’ll share what works for me. I usually smoke sativa-heavy hybrids during the day and an indica or indica hybrid at night. I noticed that when I meditated on indicas, I would have really great insight or if I was still sleepy (I meditate in the mornings) it would nearly knock me out. However, smoking sativas can make it difficult for my brain to slow down. A hybrid, or something more on the indica side tends to work the best for me when I’m meditating; it helps me tap into my intuition and psychic senses with more ease while not getting my thoughts going any faster.
Try out what works for you, and take a second to think of the meditation you’re going to be doing or intention you’re going to be setting. Do you need your mind to slow down? Or do you want to channel that creative energy into making something? Let your own personal relationship with individual strains determine what you choose, and remember you can always pick a hybrid to begin.
Connecting to the Breath
Aries is a fire season (each of the zodiac signs are ruled by one of the four elements) and it is not without air that fire can grow. An easy way for us to harness this fierce energy is by working with the element of air that’s always present within our own lives; the breath. And if you’re a stoner who loves to take hits of anything, well this can also have a healing and therapeutic effect on your lungs as well.
Breath to Tap into Aries Fire- Triangle Breath
This breath is energizing and invigorating and is a good choice to help tap into the vibrance and fire of Aries season, especially since this breath is associated with the element of fire. Aries season is the time when we are working towards our goals, getting organized, spring cleaning, taking care of ourselves; it’s the energy of the new! If you have an intention you want to direct energy to, or if you want to fire up your creative juices, try practicing the triangle breath. Set the vibe as you do this; burn some warm, vibrant incense like jasmine, honeysuckle, sandalwood, or cinnamon. Dim the lights, set the space and then find a comfortable seat and close your eyes.
It’s simple: you inhale, hold, and exhale. Then you start again. Try inhaling for a count of four, holding for a count of four and exhaling for a count of four. Then you can try doing each part of the breath for longer. You can also smoke and then practice this breath- but be careful you may get stoned as hell. This breath is usually done through the nose, but you may practice inhaling and exhaling through the nose and mouth in different combinations.
Breath to Tap into Grounding – Fourfold Breath
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed at all the psychic simulation and intensity that the spring and summer months bring, then you can work with the fourfold breath to help find a sense of peace and grounding. This breath is associated with the element of earth, and can be used as a way to connect deeper with cannabis as well. Work with it when you smoke, in the morning when you meditate, or when you need a little pick me up when you’re stuck in traffic on the way to work. Like above, set the scene. Dim the lights, burn some copal or cedar incense, put on something cozy, sit in a comfortable position and start working with this breath.
You inhale, hold, exhale, and hold. Then you start again. Try inhaling for a count of four, holding for a count of four and exhaling for a count of four and then holding for a count of four. Then you can try doing each part of the breath for longer. You can also smoke and then practice this breath. This breath is typically done through the nose, but you can try inhaling and exhaling through the mouth and nose in different combinations.
A Simple Ritual for Tapping into the Message of Aries Season
This is a simple ritual you can perform this Aries season, or really whenever you need to ground and tap into your inner strength and vision! Before you begin, set up your space. Dim the lights, put on some ambient music, and set your phone on silent. First, set an intention, taking a second to think of what you’re looking to connect to. After the intention is set, you’ll smoke or consume your cannabis. Then pick a breath to work with for 5 to 10 breaths at least, and then meditate on your intention. And finally, when you’re done you’ll write down any insight you have. Thank the universe and cannabis for this experience and then drink water, take some breaths and enjoy the connection this ritual fostered!
I hope you are all enjoying the vibrance of spring, and I hope this breathwork and ritual helps you deepen your own connection to cannabis. So it is!
PS- This month’s non-profit that I’m choosing to highlight is the David Lynch Foundation and their work bringing Transcendental Meditation to prisons. This form of meditation helps inmates relieve symptoms of trauma through mindfulness and relaxation, specifically through Transcendental Meditation. This program has shown more than a 30% reduction in recidivism rates, and a decrease in depression, anxiety, and anger. This form of meditation has been used in some of the toughest prisons in the US like San Quentin and Folsom with inspiring results. You can donate to support this work here.