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Meet Shana Leilani of Intuitive Shana/Belle, Book & Candle in Silver Lake and North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shana Leilani.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Shana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Witchcraft is something that beckoned me forward at a young age. Starting with learning tarot cards, I ventured on to spell books as a preteen and as I entered my twenties, I began formally studying many different traditions and practices of magic. In the following years, I began to practice witchcraft and divination professionally; reading tarot, crafting spell candles, teaching a variety of classes on magic and hosting rituals at the Green Man Store in North Hollywood. It became very clear to me that my life would and always will be fully submerged in the occult.

It was no surprise to me when magic slithered into my hobbies as well. I began playing with the idea of burlesque as a creative outlet and was truly surprised when I became completely enamored with it and found it to be incredibly empowering. I learned that rhinestones, fringer and feathers hold a magic all their own. I began taking classes and seeking information and teachers. One fateful day I took a private class with Pleasant Gehman (Princess Farhana,) a legendary belly dancer and fellow burlesque performer and witch. The more we talked to more we saw how much we have in common. These commonalities included a vision of a burlesque show that tied dark art, sensuality and mysticism together. And so from an oddball friendship and a whole lot of magic, Belle, Book & Candle was born.

As Pleasant and I set out to bring Belle, Book & Candle to life, we began to see things fall into place with sometimes mind-blowing synchronicity. We had our vision and knew that we had to honor our path as witches and make sure that the show was more than just a gimmick. We insisted that our crew and dancers all be spiritualist or practicing witches. Surely and swiftly we found our venue, DJ and a marvelous line up of dancers. Two and a half years later, the show is still going string with a residency at El Cid on the third Wednesday of each month. Going beyond having only burlesque, Belle, Book & Candle showcases belly dance, contortion, sideshow acts, an authentic onstage ritual presented by a variety prominent witches such as Griffin Ced and Marcella Kroll and an outdoor pop-up market featuring hand made art and witchy wares from local vendors.

Has it been a smooth road?
Presenting myself to the world as a witch and reader requires a certain amount of self-mastery and accountability that can be challenging at times. Magic is personal, unique and intense, each client that I sit down with gets not just my magic but a piece of who I am as well. Life happens and things can feel tiring or lackluster but this isn’t one of those jobs where you can show up and just go through the motions of the day. In order to be successful and true to what I do, I have worked through my issues in a timely manner and learn the lessons that I learn along the way wholeheartedly.

I was so surprised to see how smoothly Belle, Book & Candle came into being. My co-producer and myself always say that it really had nothing to do with us. It was all pure magic! The show may have come into existence easily but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t faced my own set of challenges as a performer. Dance is an art, and like magic, it’s personal. Taking your art (and your bare body), a dance that you have crafted from your mind and heart start to finish and present it on a stage to a room full of strangers can be a little nerve-wracking. I know that there will always be people that don’t understand or view my acts the same way I do. I’ve learned that burlesque will challenge your view of beauty and your own body. It will force you to become comfortable in your own skin.

I remember one of my first burlesque teachers telling me that my concepts were too dark and obscure (because they were all centered around mythology and the occult.) She advised that I try and do lighter or more traditional things because there won’t be many shows that I could get my performances in otherwise. She wasn’t exactly wrong! While I have found shows other than my own that I perform in throughout the year, I must say that it hasn’t been easy. Creating Belle, Book & Candle gave me a place to showcase my acts regularly as well as make a space for like-minded people and witches to come together to enjoy a night of bewitching burlesque and psychics.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Intuitive Shana/Belle, Book & Candle story. Tell us more about the business.
Belle, Book & Candle is a witchy and occult-themed burlesque show that takes place in the third Wednesday of each month at El Cid in Silver Lake. We host a rotating cast of dancers and performers who are identify as witches or spiritualists. Each show features an authentic on stage ritual centered by prominent witches and practitioners in the pagan community. The rituals conjure up all things from love, friendship and money to addressing current issues such as animal welfare and women’s rights.

Belle, Book & Candle has become a place where goths, pagans and other LA misfits gather to not just watch but participate in dark art and the occult subculture. We strive to always bring new things to the burlesque and mystical table making sure that everyone from our dancers to our audience feels celebrated and included.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Over the last few years, I have seen both burlesque and witchcraft really capture (or should I say re-capture) the public’s eye. Both have a certain element of free flowing creativity and empowerment for each individual. As a whole, I feel that we have all become more aware of ourselves and are looking for ways to become stronger and happier people. Spirituality and dance can lend helping hands in so many different ways to those who seek empowerment and bold creative outlets. Because of this, I think that over the next few years we will continue to see a rise in these fields and even as that climb begins to taper off we will find that both industries have created a stable platform to thrive on in the coming years.

Pricing:

  • Readings and spellcrat services start at $35 and can be booked through The Green Man Store
  • Belle, Book & Candle General admission tickets are $20 and VIP $35 and can be purchased at elcidsunset.com

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Dniel Sliwa, Levan TK

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