“Make Earth Human Again” is just one of Erin Aquarian’s many credos. As Portland’s full-time witch, she aims to heal the community and the world at large in ways not often associated with activism. Using tarot, a variety of mystic exercises, and good old intuition, Aquarian makes her living providing accessible, healing spiritual guidance to anyone feeling lost or defeated by our chaotic universe.
After discovering the healing power of tarot 10 years ago, Aquarian initially sought out mystic guidance in matters of her own career path, relationships, and self-fulfillment. But it wasn’t long before others were drawn to her energy, insight, and empathy. And when it comes to taking on life’s most cosmic questions, Aquarian looks the part, with an occult style that includes thick eyeliner, brazen jewelry, and a phantasmagoria of cryptic tattoos.
Despite her training in life coaching, energy work, and witchcraft, Erin claims that her most valuable experience stems from years of interpreting the tarot for herself and others. “I think of [my labor] ultimately as healing service work,” she says. “And to me that means existing in this reality of capitalism and rapid cost-of-living increases while guiding others in unlearning concepts in more radical ways than the whitewashed self-help and new age philosophies we tend to see.”
Given the state of politics, and a collective trend away from what Aquarian identifies as “patriarchal conditioning” toward something more mystical in nature, services like the ones she offers seem particularly timely. There’s further evidence of this in the booming crystal market, a growing fascination with the Zodiac, and the fact that witches—once considered archaic, or even farcical—are now having a cultural moment as docents of resistance. Aquarian attributes this to what she calls a “massive expansion of consciousness” between specific liberation movements—Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo—and the connective powers of technology and social media. “We are experiencing this unprecedented awakening because we have access to each other,” she says.
Using these same technologies, she intends to facilitate a DIY culture around tarot while expanding its capacity to heal on a global level. She recently launched Tarot TV on her YouTube channel, aptly subtitled “Programming for a new paradigm,” which features tutorials, astrological asides, and fervent diatribes against the patriarchy. Her objective is not to judge or criticize, but to teach and hold space for those seeking out a new modality of healing. Empowerment is at the core of Erin’s wizardry.
With services ranging from intuitive sessions to group readings to sacred ceremony, Erin Aquarian’s work runs the gamut of what modern witches do. Her appeal, however, has less to do with expertise than a certain magnetic quality she possesses—a compassionate energy that balances cosmic intrigue with a dry and witty sense of humor. She’s the kind of witch you’d call on a bad day, or to go for a mani-pedi. She’s the kind of witch you’d bring to a party.
Magic is a word we often associate with other worlds and absurd realities. Yet the occult has taken many forms throughout the course of human history, often providing metaphysical guidance to the oppressed or victimized. And while it’s easy to be skeptical about the place of magic amidst today’s global chaos, there’s also no denying that the ways we discuss trauma and subsequent healing are shifting. Remaining cautiously optimistic, Erin Aquarian is a beacon of light in a black leather jacket. “Humans really are inherently loving of one another,” she asserts. Turns out? If you’re a witch, that’s a good place to start.