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Piercing the Veil – The New Moon in Virgo is coming to Exorcise Us in the “The Old Ways”

Friday, September 8, 2023 | Piercing the Veil


“My name is Cristina Lopez. I came to this place to die.”

We fear what we don’t understand. We can even fear the power within ourselves. We can turn away from that power, revile it, because we’ve been told it’s too much. Too intense. Too dark, even. That internal spring can then turn toxic, rotting us from the inside out. We can run from it or worse, attempt to drown it out. But we never really can, can we? No, and in the process, we lose ourselves. Lose our way. Forget our power and instead succumb to the sludge that is always waiting to devour us whole and perpetuate the sickness inside of us – the sickness of disconnection. The plague that is infecting our world.

In Christopher Alender’s 2020 folk horror, THE OLD WAYS, Mexican-American journalist Cristina Lopez (Brigitte Kali Canales) returns to her homeland of Veracruz, Mexico, to investigate an area called La Boca in search of evidence of witchcraft in the area. In an instant, she is startled, kidnapped, and awakes with a burlap bag over her head in a primitive cinder block, dirt floor room. Goat milk is poured down her throat. Markings drawn in white chalk on the walls surround her. The ritual – the exorcism – has begun.

It is said that people don’t come back from La Boca. That demons reside there. A painted Nahua bruja, Luz (Julia Vera); her son, Javi (Sal Lopez): and even Cristina’s cousin, Miranda (Andrea Cortes) – they say that’s where Cristina became possessed by the demon that now resides behind her eyes.

“This isn’t you. It’s what’s inside you. It fears that you will let it go.”

This elder woman, this bruja, stares with one seeing eye and one blind eye. But we all know which eye sees more. It is with this eye that she stares into Cristina and sees what years of battling the forces of La Baco has revealed to her.

“She practices the old ways.”

“How did she know that there was something inside me? What did she see?”

“Well, sometimes, when she looks, something else looks back.”

Research wasn’t the only reason Cristina returned to Veracruz. As a child, Cristina witnessed something no child should ever have to witness – a violent exorcism performed on her mother – teeth gnashing, body convulsing, guttural howls. Cristina was ushered away to America into foster care. There, she became immersed in the scourge of the outside world. Of drugs. Of technology. Of distraction. She forgot her origins. Her language. Her lineage.

“My name is Cristina Lopez. I came to this place to die.”

She says she came to explore the caves of La Boca, but why? Because she knew. She knew the stories, the rumors. She knew people didn’t return from this place. She knew she was traveling to the ends of the rational world – a world that held nothing for her because she had lost her connection to what gives life substance. She had lost connection to the land that her family continued to walk, to cultivate, and to venerate.

Veneration. Ancestral. Spiritual. Ceremonial.

“What happens when your mother’s gone? Someone needs to fight these demons or spirits or whatever.”

“No. The old ways die with her.”

Life has a funny way of leading us back to the beginning, back to the places we’ve tried our hardest to avoid. Demons of grief. Of the deepest sorrows that never heal. Of prisons, we feel we can’t escape. It’s like they always say – the only way out is through. It’s brutal, it’s bloody and if we’re lucky enough to make it out alive, we bear the scars of the battlefields of our pasts. If we’re luckier, we become something more. We level up, and we do that by remembering beyond the pain, beyond our physical memories to those that are alive and pulsating through our blood – through our bloodline. We don the ceremonial markings, the war paint. We gain a second sight. We remember the words spoken over the corpses of those slain in the name of land, in the name of preservation, in the name of possession. We become one with the old stories – the old ways – and bring that power and healing and fire and brimstone forth. Because we need balance, we need ceremony and community and ritual and release and battle and defeat and victory. We need the myths, the culture, the forgotten prophecies, the disembodied ghosts. We need it all.

Sometimes, a part of us needs to die to be reborn. Sometimes, an excavation so deep, so desperate, so dangerous needs to be performed in order for the demons that we’ve accumulated along the way, be they self-inflicted or forced upon us, to be thrown on the funeral pyres and incinerated to ash once and for all.

“You will see.”

This coming New Moon in Virgo on September 14 is asking us to remember the raging fires, the unified oaths, the ancestors petitioned and the spirits summoned. This lunation is asking us to dig into the dank soil of the places within us that have been screaming for excavation. We’ve done so much heavy lifting and even heavier releasing this year, We’ve cleared the fields. We’ve set the controlled fires that are necessary for new growth, and whether we realize it or not, we’ve got a whole new harvest to show for it. Now, as we turn the final corner of 2023, we get to decide what comes with us as we ready ourselves for the coming year – the year of the eighth card in the major arcana of the tarot – Strength. Will we finally step into our forgotten gifts, our latent talents? Will we embody the power of our ancestors, the ones who had to hide – those who had no choice? Whatever that looks like for each and every one of us, whether in public or in private (and as safely as we can for wherever we are in the world), can reclaim even a sliver of that legacy and allow it to empower us? To empower our communities? To begin to mend and heal the egregious horrors and monstrosities of this world? 

Instead of a suggested tarot pull this week, I want to offer some cards to ground into during the next two weeks until the Full Moon in Aries on September 29.

  • The High Priestess (II). The gateway of intuition, mystery and magick. She guides us further into the depths of ourselves, holding our hands and supporting our backs as we dig through the debris of lies and false narratives that have been shoveled over the real story of who we are. She is a guiding light. She is a grounded, yet fierce force. 
  • Death (XIII). As we travel through the once collapsed caves and caverns of our internal worlds, Death comes ripping, stampeding through the rubble and vibrating with such force that the entire failed structure clears, black soot and cracked bones and rotting framework explode into the ether, revealing the gleaming, glistening obsidian foundation that has been perfectly preserved beneath, awaiting our homecoming.
  • Queen of Wands. This Queen is the witch of the deck. She, like the Queen of Swords, speaks to sovereignty and truth. She speaks of reclaiming and owning our magick. Our fire. She rules with an electric warmth, passion, and vivaciousness that can only be embodied after we’ve faced death itself and emerged, not unscathed, but more whole than we’ve ever known. She stands triumphantly on the crushed bones of our past, smiling, with the strongest, most ancient embrace awaiting us. Her arms are home. Her heart beat is ours.
  • King of Swords. He is the truth. He is the megaphone. He is the leader and the clarity and the confidence to carry our purpose and message out into the world for the greater good of himself, his people, his family, his land – of all. He helps us stand, unwavering in our truth, even if we’re tired. More than anything, if we’re tired and need a strong shoulder to lean on. And he’ll help usher us into the power of this upcoming full moon.

    Check in with me on Instagram @root_down for some more tarot-supportive guidance over the next two few weeks.


Jillian Kristina
Jillian Kristina blends her love of horror and magic to facilitate healing from the real horrors in the world. Stephen King's movies and books raised her; magic and the occult molded and healed her. Find her on Instagram @root_down, on Twitter @RootDownTarot, and through her website