A-dress me, Witches

Freepik

As some of you may or may not know, my favourite gothic dress recently disappeared from the shared accommodation in which I live.
And many of you might be asking, why should we care about that?
Well, spiritual seekers, let me spin you a tale of Witchcraft and empowerment, the infusion of heart and soul into fabric, and the absolute violation when something is just… gone.

Before we begin, let us acknowledge that the world of fast fashion is a blight on our world.
In a world which excuses the horrendous actions of companies because they get cheap bargains, we, as those who understand the impact of energetic vibration (and hopefully care about other people in the world), must open our awareness to the suffering selfishness can create. We can shop smarter, locally, from small independent sellers with higher ethical standards.

All that being said… it began with a dress.

A long black gothic maxi dress with white occult symbols all over it, slit up one side, with a caduceus painted up the front.
The caduceus was very special to me – I was born under the month, day, and hour of Mercury, so my attachment to that symbol as a part of my identity was profound – it became one of my Priestess dresses that symbolized healing and divine messages. I wore it to several important events in my priestess training at Glastonbury, and in Goddess circles. I, like one of the snakes on the chest, became intertwined with it, for as with many magical items – the specialness to their owner creates a magical imprint, and that belonging weaves magic into the fabric.

Growing up I had never rebelled, because it was not safe to do so. I grew up in an environment of abuse, and though I adored the gothic styles, I never quite dared to step outside of the box of safety I had created.
Inviting my mother’s attention for any reason was a bad plan.
So later in life, I experimented with the more gothic styles available – anything that I felt celebrated my Witchy self. It was part of the process of undoing the conditioning that had destroyed me with fear as a young woman. I stepped into my power – mine.
Constantly copied by my youngest sister (the golden child to the narcissist,) anything that used to be mine was taken. Given away or stolen. My boundaries were constantly violated.

Moreover, my Priestess dress became a kind of armour.
Later I had gotten myself into a toxic relationship where my looks and weight were under constant attack. The male in question tried to tell me that ‘bad things happened’ whenever I wore my dress.
He knew it was my favourite, and he knew I looked (and felt) good in that fabric – its unusual cut flattering my natural hourglass figure, and he sought to ruin that for me.
But it didn’t work.
My dress helped me rally that ember of resistance, that steely grit that I had forgotten how to access, and inwardly begin to whisper, ‘fuck off.’
My dress was no longer just a part of my spiritual expression, it had become armour.
The occult symbols were no longer just marks on fabric; they were alive, thrumming with purpose and magick – when I wore it, I was protected. I was totally and completely myself like a second skin.

This brings to mind the stories of Selkie Women and something I wrote about them for one of my Songs of Shades books:

Selkie

“I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

I have learnt

From my mistakes,

It took a life time or two,

I swam to shore,

Gave it my all,

The reason being you.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

I was burnt

My actions blurred

Naked and alone

I gave up to much

Against the rocks

My nimble body thrown.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

The tears I wept

The blood I spilt

My essence rough and dry

I longed for love,

And scaled the depths

Reaching for the sky.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

Now I steal away

In the dead of night

My skin clasped, oh so tight,

I leap the cliff

Into my waves, knowing,

I will be alright.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.”

Much like the tales of the Selkie women, my second skin was suddenly gone. Missing. I knew it had not left the house by my hand, and I rummaged through my wardrobe, under the bed, anywhere and everywhere for days and days on end.
It was nowhere. It was just… gone.

Freepik

The emotions that I cycled through because of this (and continue to do so) are very real. That dress was a part of me. My life. I had earnt the money to buy it, I had worked magic in it. I had honoured the Goddesses of my spiral walking in it. I had stood discussing sisterhood and what it meant. It was a part of my magical self. Infused down to the stitch. The violation in it being simply gone (without rhyme or reason,) was a cold stab in the heart.
At the time I had also thought it irreplaceable because this dress was a few years old and no longer sold – but the universe sent me a beautiful soul who found a second hand one online, and I cried as I purchased it.
Many other beautiful shining examples of sisterhood rallied around me and told me that they understood why I felt such pain.
This touched my heart, and opened up further understanding.

Throughout history, the creation of clothes has, historically, fallen to the women. Our ancestors weaved and dyed and created magic into their clothing, sewing protective symbols and chanting songs into their stitches. The skill and the witchcraft there was profound – and that memory still reverberates within us through the spiritual ecosystem.
We are connected to that practice. It is a part of sisterhood throughout history, and so when something we value so deeply is gone, it betrays what sisterhood stands for in our hearts, or our connection to the matriarchal spirits who watch over us.
Something precious that mattered to us is simply absent – and the heartbreak that follows is very real.
When people copy or steal from us, they are infringing on our personal sovereignty, our essence, our expression of self.
This is not the same by the way as taking elements of inspiration and weaving it into our stories – for that is a thread, not a garment.
Weaving together is respectful, the energy has a reverence instead of blatant disregard and self-centred violation.

And so we weave a spell, Starlets.
We remind that which was our second skin of our love for it, and how it belongs to us, a beautiful rose with which we adorned our body, and how too it may have thorns should such a violation of its purpose have taken place.

Travel well through the Otherworlds, Starlets

Joey Morris

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