Every blood moon, when Mercury is in retrograde and my chakras are aligned, I read about objects and practices that, while seemingly harmless, are actually a direct link to the Prince of Darkness (I'd prefer a link to Prince the performer, may he rest in peace).

I usually skip these well-intentioned listicles, but my medium and spiritual guru insisted February is my month to read drivel.

So I dived into an A-Z account of things the author claimed could leave me open to demonic possession.

Read more: Dawn Picken: A Letter to my Valentine
Dawn Picken: Stop fleecing parents - make all kids wear same uniform
Dawn Picken: Advising an Old Soul about Being 15


I wouldn't know an angel card from my elbow, and crystals sound like dust collectors. But I admit to dabbling in the "demon list".

It's just an excerpt, but see if you or your loved ones have tangled with:

-Feng Shui
-Harry Potter
-Peace signs
-Vision Boards

I'm feeling toasty already.

As comprehensive as the inventory is, it omits things dear to us in the Bay and beyond. I propose adding to the docket of potential demonic traps, including activities and items with cult-like followings among locals:

Avocado on toast - You spent $20 for a $2 avocado on two slices of 20c bread? Clearly, someone else controls your mind. It was "smashed"? Oh, okay.

Boot Camp - Devotees are gritting it out on beaches, in public reserves, in garages ... If someone throws a tyre around your neck and orders you to summit the Mount, use your aspirational muscles to pitch the rubber and run like hell.

Craft Beer Brew, Good George, Mount Brewing Co, Rocky Knob ... the field of full-bodied brews grows as fast as a hop vine.

Detoxing - We spew this word like last night's sav blanc as we detox from alcohol, chocolate, carbohydrates, fats, avocado on toast, a former significant other ... Detoxing needs its own theme song and postcode.

Eco-anything - Attach "eco" to your product and charge 30 per cent more. Did I mention this column is eco-friendly?

Fortnite - Maybe you're not possessed by the latest, highly addictive video game where you can spend hundreds of dollars on clothing and weapons that don't exist, but I bet you know a child who is. Maybe your child. Disconnect your Wi-Fi.

Hashtagging - For the uninitiated, the # indicates a keyword to help someone else's search. The more hashtags on your social media posts, the bigger the cry for help. #bayofplenty #blessed #lookatme #buymyproduct #noreallylookatme #doesthisselfiemakemelookfat

Kombucha - This slightly sweet tea with a bit of fizz has earned its own shrines, er, displays, in supermarkets. If you're crafty and frugal, you can save $3-$4 per bottle, buy a mother mushroom and make your own probiotic blend using vinegar. Yum.

Lululemon - You, my friends, in the pleated skorts and fit-just-right tights. Any brand that has fans queuing on the footpath of Maunganui Rd for a pop-up sale featuring $50 shirts and $100 tights is clearly a cult. Thankfully, Lulu opened her own (non pop-up) boutique in the Mount.

Netflix's Tidying Up- My daughter and I have fallen for tiny Marie Kondo and her KonMarie method of tidying. It involves piling all clothing into a mountain on your bed and deciding which items "spark joy". Once you've slashed your clothing pile, move on to other possessions like books. Kondo recommends keeping no more than 30 books in your collection. The horror.

Pilates - I have never ridden a Reformer, but I hear he's waiting for me. Pilates will supposedly make me stronger, more flexible and more attractive to the opposite sex. Or my own sex. Or maybe my dog.

Real Estate - Nuff said.

Retirement Villages - Mature folk by the thousands flock to the Bay for more villages than they can shake a walking stick at. Forget about losing 30 per cent of your investment when you move or reach the Great Beyond - your children don't deserve the money, anyways.

Running (or rugby, netball, golf...your sport of choice) - This becomes a cult when your idea of fun is getting together with mates to sweat and give each other smelly, post-workout hugs. You then decamp for coffee (or Tank - see entry below). Because team transpiration is never enough, you also dissect training plans, nutrition programmes, bowel and bladder habits and what to wear (see Lululemon above).

Surfing - Surfies are at it before first light, after the sun sets, at summer's peak and - egads, in winter. There's something in the water.

Tank - The smoothie company has our hearts in a blender. Seven dollars fifty buys 475 millilitres (a half Tank) of strawberries, mango juice, pineapple, banana and yoghurt. I'm going to pretend I never read the nutrition information online stating each of your slurpable tropical smoothies has nearly 68 grams of sugar. May I suggest an insulin chaser?

Remember, dabbling with demons can be dangerous, sweat-inducing and addictive. Maybe it's detox time. Kombucha time. Rocky Knob time.

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