We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah McNeilly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I was coming from a place of rebuilding my life. One of my close friends/older-sisterfigure/mentors (Carol) suggested I get certified to teach yoga. At this point I’m not in-love with yoga, but i figure I am quite athletic & taking the yoga certification class would instruct me on the proper basics and provide me an opportunity to promote health & wellness, something I could very well get behind as a new career . I had never found love with yoga, because the majority of the women/men i had met who were ‘yogis’ were pretty ego driven, it was too slow for my anxiety ridden mind, and it was very hard for me- downward dog was extremely painful for my wrists & i felt like a fool expressing this to any instructor as they already made me feel inadequate. As I take the course & learn the proper technique. i began to figure out how to make it my own. I had been practicing chaos magick for a few years now. That was an intimate, romantic flow of energy for me. Going deeper into my yoga practice I began to sew a seam between the two. I had always loved practicing candle magick/sigil magick with my roommate Brittany. I found that when we were together manifesting our individual desires, using our cultivated energy, the moons power & the candles we were charging (we didn’t have much money, a good ol’ candle from the dollar store, once cleansed, would suffice- also when we charged our candles/sigils we would do so by concentrating on them with great intensity, i know there are other more private ways to do so, this is not that) we were met with incredible results! (let me pause right here and say magick = energy work , magician = energy worker. its as simple as that. this misconstrued idea that magick has anything to do with evil has got to go. yes you can have evil people who practice energy work, you can also be a Jesus loving christian & you are welcome to come manifest with me! We are not praying to anyone, its quite the same as making a wish before you blow out a candle on a birthday cake, now where was i!)
I thought why not bring these two practices together! I also wanted to incorporate my relationship with music into this fabric I was weaving. I had recently stumbled upon an album from the BabyGrandmothers. A true album from a band (not controlled by corporate) is a magical journey all on its own. I thought the flow of the yoga should float over the album, like a leaf going downstream. (the yoga routine can be put to any music ps) I spent many nights in Paris, France creating what is now Candle Magick Yoga. Because of this journey i am now fully in-love with yoga. I have finally found the connection between body & breath through my continued study in energy work. I hope to bring it to others in the most gentle, non cookie cutter, rock’n roll way, that takes a hold of your goddess energy& gives you some extra tools to help manifest your dreams & desires. I also wanted to create hand poured personalized manifestation/spell candles at an affordable cost. You are welcome to combine the two, or not! This practice is not a concrete one size fits all, it is a road map of sorts that has worked for me, but please feel free to take some detours, pause at landmarks, do some research &make it your own.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I want to say that I’m a magick practitioner first & yoga teacher second! The CMY manifestation class I teach is foremost about what is driving you deep down, what you want to be activating in your current life, whats itching to be manifested into this reality. My friend Louise taught me how to make a sigil years ago and that was the spark that ignited my fire to learn about magick/energy work. Learning about that helped me actually understand the breathwork some yoga teachers mention to you in class, but do not explain. The breathwork and light work rituals that have been an immense help to helping heal my ego/traumas/anxieties. My my art is to inspire each person taking the class to dive deeper into the .spiritual/ healing world& have f*cking fun doing it! (not your typical yoga class& i tend to swear often;)
It was not easy . When all that you know crumbles around you. When your far from home and chewed up and spit out by life. Trying to find yourself . I modeled before this , when that ended, it was a hard pill to swallow , it was all i knew. its one of the few industries that the more years you work has no merit on if you continue to work, or are valued for it, i stopped modeling for a while due to severe depression & when i pulled myself out of it (the depression), the modeling industry was like – where were you the past few years? what have you done recently ? how old are you? thats nice, theres the door. From a different perspective i am grateful. It pushed me to create this, something of my own, something i am extremely proud of.
I never had time to try something else while i was modeling, i would take a class & miss 90% of them because i couldnt pass up an opportunity or that money job was my rent (murphys law is that jobs would only fall upon days you were busy). Post depression &once i had gotten over myself, i attempted to get a “normal job”. I was met with discouragement. Because i had modeled for 20 years i didnt have a resume, no jobs would hire me if i was being truthful.. A very insane thing to have to face later in life. Once i finally began to figure myself out, (who i was apart from my past career) join the working world again, stomping my ego down to a more manageable size & and it was then I decided to pursue what i was passionate about, I also had to overcome the immense fear that an abusive ex would notice me trying to shine & make some fun&games out of trolling me to no end with destruction in mind. Step by step I was able to share my art with others. Its still an ongoing pursuit, presenting myself to the world. You must find some bravery to be an artist, I had to realize Ive overcome scarier situations & to Just fucking do it. This life is too short!
A more physical form of my art are the candles i make. I make 7 day votives. They are manifestation candles that when you order one, i do a whole ritual around it pertaining to what or who you tell me its for 🙂 (only positive requests will be accepted!) Pulling down light from source and into the wax, whispering positive affirmations & phrases coming from a place of love, whispering them as i pour the wax into the glass. I then burn the sigil you have chosen pertaining to your manifestation into the cork. (Love, Creativity, Protection, Abundance, & The Goddess/god candle) Each stroke with the burner met with purpose, until i feel it is complete. I type instructions out with my Brother Electric, choose a stone & wrap it in cloth cut from my alter. My fiancé (Devin) adorns the shipping boxes with painted flowers specific to the client & i send it on its way <3 I have begun to create scented candles & travel candles as well! They are a bit more costly due to the vintage/antique tins i pour them into, more of a one of a kind art piece than your basic run of the mill smelly candle. That is about it! One of the phrases I try to live by is “know better, do better” Im learning and growing everyday. Thank you for listening to what feels like my long winded explanation of myself& my work !
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If we are talking about LA , we would head to the dispensary and go for a hike! Franklin Canyon or Fryman Canyon. Then we would go grab some food- Gracias Madre, Alfred coffee, Jaydes Market, or somewhere with some vegan options, & depending on what we have time for. Most likely we would then go crash at home , bingeing on a few choice shows, ordering take out. Shopping or massages saved for day 3 . If there is a good show intown, we will for sure try and get tickets, other than that you had better be one to take care of yourself at times if you are with me for a week, because 3ish days is about all youve got from me & touring a city.;)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My group of incredible women who have helped me navigate this plane of existence all the while creating there own mark on this world. — Youve already met the most incredible Brittany Leigh! You need to meet Sydney Inez, a brillant artist that feels through color , Laura Benack , outsanding musician 1/2 of the band Bass Race, Heather McNeilly – fellow energy worker, sister, reiki practioner who helps me with my retreats & some classes if youre lucky!!. Leigh Yeager — she has her own practice , shes heals through massage, Michelle Buswell photographer , she is an amazing fashion photographer & is one of the most incredible candid private party photographers you will ever meet. Danna Lee , your goto for cannabis <3, Zita Vass ,business woman/model/actress , Louise Porter musician/writer/composer, Kristin Flammio musician & lead singer of The Pretty Bitchin’ , Samantha Rapp – brilliant fashion/beauty photographer , Cara Cooley dance fitness instructor”movement is medicine” , Esme Bianco actress/musician/poet , Nadja Peulen wicked amazing bass player, Christina Dienst fashion designer <3,
my goodness!!! This was the hardest part of the interview, keeping this down to a handful of powerful, wonderful women in my life. its taken many years- & many trials & errors to find the friends that want to lift you up, but as i round out my 30’s I think I’ve landed some incredible ladies in my life. (There are a few more that are not listed!! I love and cherish you all)
Sarah in hat with apple – photo credit – DMC creative