QUESTIONS FROM THE CAULDRON: I F*cking Hate My Roommate

Serenity 1

 

Q: “I’m looking for advice to be able to deal with living with someone I do not like. He hasn’t done anything to me, but since I first met him my gut has been saying, “no, nope, get him the fuck away from me.” Unfortunately, it is not my choice who rents the other room in the basement. Is there a way that I can ground myself so I stop feeling tensed up and angry every time I see him?”

A: I have to say out of all the questions I received for this new column, this one hit my heart the hardest.

As someone who works from home, has agoraphobia and is a Cancer Sun I am a homebody to the fucking core; my home is my safe zone.

Witches, Empaths and Mystics *need* a Sacred space where they can seek solace.

This Sacred space should be our homes (even if it’s just a small corner Altar, or whatever ‘Sacred’ looks like to you and your Practice).

It’s extremely violating when our homes no longer offer us comfort.

We are left feeling vulnerable, open to attack, unsafe, un-grounded, chaotic, and cornered; each of these can be dangerous on their own, combined? They’re a recipe for disaster.

In Psychology our home is said to represent our psyche, so not only are you feeling an assault on your body (your gut/intuition are screaming “run, run, run”) but you’re facing an assault on your mind.

I think this situation, and any situation that looks similar (ie. Living with someone you dislike and being unable to move because…life) should be handled in steps…

In layers.

I am going to give a few options, you may choose to do all of them, or you may choose whichever one(s) resonate with your being.

First thing’s first, PROTECT AND CLEANSE THAT HOUSE!

This can be done in totally inconspicuous ways, that your (presuming) mundane roommates will not pick up on.

I love Sigil Magick and tend to do it two ways: I either make my own or use ones that are directly associated with the Spirits I work with regularly.

I don’t think that imploring Spirits we do not regularly work with for protection Magick is as effective; unless we have called upon specific land Spirit’s and/or Fae, but even then, I think sticking with what/who we know is best for this. The choice is yours though.

You can draw Sigils on walls using Florida Water, or certain Essential Oils (high alcohol content dries fastest, usually leaves no residue, and will not stain walls, but spot test first).

Do this in common areas where you and he share the space or put Sigils in his pathway. I would suggest symbols that promote calm energy while also representing power and domination are best.

Laura Tempest Zakroff has great material on creating our own Sigils, check it out here.

This isn’t just about grounding your energy, this is about re-claiming your space.

You can anoint a pillar candle, or a tealight and have it lit in a common area of the home; set it with intentions for your safety, for him to move (if that’s what you want) or just for peace in the home.

Serenity 2

Plants are an excellent way to promote peaceful vibes and bring the Earth element inside; helping to filter and ground the energy. Aloe Vera, Snake Plants, Pothos or Ivy are great options to add ambiance, and nature in our homes.

Prisms, or Witch Balls are also good to have around because they absorb negative energy (yours or his).

The next thing you want to do is protect YOUR energy.

Do not engage with him, if you can help it. When you do have to engage, keep it short, and be firm with your words (no matter the topic of discussion) but don’t let your anger takeover.

Shield yourself by using the command ‘Redimio’ (Ree-DIME-ee-O) which means “encircle me” and technique below–

Take a few deep breaths, focus on your Solar Plexus Chakra (bellybutton area) and imagine it opening and fire coming out, the fire goes down your body, beneath your feet, then comes back up over your head to meet at the navel area; once connected project the fire outward so you are encircled. This allows any negative intentions, evil eyes and just bad energy to burn and/or transmute before it hits your Aura.

Putting a bowl of salt under your bed will help ground your energy and cleanse your Aura while you sleep; change it every 3-4 days, add filtered or distilled water to amplify effect. If you have pets, you may use Tupperware with a lid (only use it for this purpose)—it isn’t as potent but will work.

Serenity 3

 

Wear or sleep with crystals that promote grounding/protection: Black Tourmaline (Transmutes negativity), Jet (Returns to sender), Smoky Quartz (Protects), Black Kyanite (High Vibrations to help rise above), Fire Agate (Fiery, shields you from enemies, and is grounding to the Earth), Clear Quartz (Endless Uses) and Labradorite (One of the most protective minerals in the kingdom).

Crystals that are good to help you not feel angry would be: Rainbow Moonstone (Yin Energy), Rose Quartz (Love), Lepidolite (Calming), Amethyst (Peaceful) and Fluorite (Clarity). Having Selenite around couldn’t hurt, either.

Iron and/or Pewter are great grounding materials if you are not into crystals.

Create a candle that represents yourself, I would suggest black, and every time you light it set the intention that your energy is grounded and rooted in your body, and the Earth; that you are present, you are powerful, you are strong, and you will not submit. You could also do a white candle to purify, or cleanse yourself and a red candle for vitality, and Pranic strength (life-force energy).

Remember, we can be both docile and defiant at the same time.  

You can carve the candle, dress it with herbs, or keep it simple and use intention only; this doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect (neither exist in Witchcraft).

Cleansing your space and your body with Herbal Smoke Baths on a regular basis will help tremendously, as will Spiritual Showers/Baths.

A good and easy Spiritual Bath could be Epsom Salts, Coarse Sea Salt, Basil, Lemon (don’t use if you just shaved though), a few drops of Florida Water, Lavender and Calendula flowers. This is not a bath for hygiene, this is a bath where you soak and then get out—don’t rinse. You want the ingredients to do their work; when you do take a shower the following day (or whenever you feel necessary) I would suggest using African Black Soap; great for your skin and even better for Spiritual Protection/Grounding/Cleansing.

Good Herbs for Smoke Baths: Cedar, Mugwort, White Sage and Palo Santo.

You could also use resins such as Dragon’s Blood, Frankincense or Amber.

Meditation is something that I firmly believe helps, but I also think it’s a piece of advice that is given so often that people just scoff and roll their eyes. I mean, who the fuck wants to meditate in a toxic environment? But, if you can find the time, and peace, meditate.

Continue to listen to your body, and your intuition and reclaim your power; that alone will ground you and make you an unmovable force.

Blessings.

MUSINGS OF A MODERN MYSTIC: Generational Trauma and the Outcast

Water 5

“After all, when a stone is dropped into a pond, the water continues quivering even after the stone has sunk to the bottom.”

Arthur Golden

I saw a meme recently that hit the deepest recesses of my being, and I have searched high and low and cannot seem to find it again; I know I didn’t dream it, either. I searched on FB, IG, Pinterest and Google, so if anyone knows what I am talking about, PLEASE, share it!

The meme said (loosely quoting, there was a great caption, too): “In order to heal generational trauma, you must begin by understanding the black sheep of the family; they are wounds embodied.” Note: Black sheep is one of those terms that has tones of subtle racism, and so I am choosing to use the word outcast instead.

It stopped me in my tracks.

I dropped my phone.

I sobbed.

I sobbed until no noise came out of my mouth.

I sobbed until my tears ran dry.

I sobbed until my Soul was tired.

I have always been the outcast; my family seems to believe that because they love me, that means they accept me, or that they understand me.

They hardly know me, so how can those other things be true?

I have no ill will towards my family, I love them, but I am the product of what happens when parents’ divorce and one of three children is moved away from *everyone*.

Separation happens.

I have written about my Father Wound before so many of you know what happened there, and how that affected me (how his absence and abandonment molded me, and my views of Men)—I plan to share an epiphany I had on the subject later in this blog.

Much of my family didn’t try to have a relationship with me, a child, and they blamed me, a child.

I type this and worry one may see and get offended.

But I don’t care.

Keep reading.

Trauma

I was 12 at the time, and quickly learned that my new home environment was abusive, and I remained there for 10 years; that is where a lot of my CPTSD comes from.

Having a connection with my family wasn’t at the forefront of my mind: surviving was.

Truths need to be brought to light, and hard truths even more so.

This is about more than the divorce, what happened after, and the dynamic of relationships within my family; this is about what it means to be the outcast.

I scoff, roll my eyes, and bite my tongue every time I see someone claim to be an outcast (really black sheep, but again, a tad racist) like it’s a badge of honor; same as people who claim to be “weirdos”.

This shit isn’t a trend.

Being an outcast is isolating, painful, lonely, and traumatic as fuck. As a child you wonder, why am I not good enough, what did I do wrong, why can’t I be normal? Am I not worthy of love?

And, as an adult not much changes, except maybe having the strength to draw hard lines in the sand, or the compassion to forgive and move forward; other times it’s cutting them off completely.

Being a weirdo usually means we’re bullied in our younger years (which may even transfer to adult life, too). It means not being accepted, being ostracized and ridiculed.

I had no choice in being weird, or an outcast—both are very much who I am, but they were not easy roles to play, or paths to walk; they still aren’t.

I am proud to be both but I won’t sit here and make either look pretty.

As far as my family goes, on one hand I want to be understood and accepted, on the other hand I know they won’t “get it” so why even bother?

I am loud, opinionated, wise, in tune, defiant (also respectful when I need to be).

I take up space, my presence is undeniably powerful (Jupiter on my Ascendant can be thanked for that, among other things).

I say what I mean and mean what I say; I don’t let racism, sexism, classism, or any “ism” happen in my presence, and that has made for some very interesting family gatherings.

Last Easter (a Holiday I don’t celebrate, but it coincides with my Grandfather’s birthday) I cleared the table when I said that my brother’s fiancé was wrong for wanting to get “a Native card” so that her daughter could get a discount on college tuition.

That’s the whitest, most privileged shit I ever heard.

Eye roll

I had to call that out.

How can I sit here and tell all of you to burn in your truth if I won’t burn in mine?

I also called us (white people) colonizers, because we are; regardless if we (my family) have Native blood in us (we do) or not.

We are white passing; we have never been oppressed because of our Indigenous heritage, we don’t know what it’s like to live on a Rez in 2019 and not have running water, and electricity. We don’t face the addiction rates (a direct result of, you guessed it, Generational Trauma and colonization) that Indigenous people do, nor do we have to worry about our girls in the way Indigenous people do ; their girls and Women go missing and/or are killed in staggering numbers.

Don’t get me started on the sexual assault statistics. It’s mind-blowing.

For reference and education, click here.

So, no, you don’t get a “Native card” for higher education.

I was not about sit there in silence……in compliance, while some privileged shit went unchecked.

I checked it.

LOUDLY.

For clarification, I do have supportive, progressive and amazing family members whom I love more than anything in this world; they are my anchor to my humanity.

This leads me to the Mother Wound and Generational Trauma.

Generational Trauma is the idea that trauma is passed on through not only DNA but as a psychic imprint.

You can read more about it, here.

I faced my Father Wound with rage the likes of which can’t aptly be described.

I held onto so much fucking hate, and utter disdain for my sperm donor that I removed the concept of having a Father altogether.

I handled my Mother Wound with complete understanding, and compassion; anger at times, too, when she would project her pain onto me, but it didn’t linger because I took her pain on as my own, and together we sifted through it.

Unity

As we began to heal our traumas and our bond, we noticed the Women in my family waking up, and they started to ride the frequency of their intuition; my one Aunt even has begun to build her first Altar.

She also buys all my books and supports me like no other. My cousins are into spirituality, Feminism, crystals, etc. and a few are even anti-religion like me (which makes me so proud!)

My Mom is an outcast, too so teaming up, and attacking our pain (most of which was experienced together and is why our bond is so strong) has allowed the Generational Wounds to show themselves and be healed.

We called on the Ancestors for help, as well, and filled any missing pieces by asking the elders.

My (step) Sister has recently come out as a Witch.

One of my Brother’s has completely opened himself up to the otherworld (he doesn’t quite know it yet, though) and he and his wife even birthed into creation a beautiful baby Witch who is now 4.

These awakenings brought me back to my Father Wound after I heard a story about what happened to him when he was a child. Apparently, he was caught playing with his Sister’s dolls and the punishment was severe.

Hell, my brothers played with my dolls with me, just like I played with their G.I Joe, matchbox cars and Wrestling figures.

Punished for playing with dolls?

But, back in the early 60’s it was unacceptable in his home (still is in some homes today) and he was forced to wear one of his sister’s dresses and stand out on the front lawn from morning until evening “to teach him a lesson”.

And, this is only one example of the expectations put on him as a child to be hyper-masculine, that he has carried all through his life.

The patriarchy hurts us all, and this is a prime example—toxic masculinity at its most vile.

Water 4

Last time I saw my Father, he was so….old and fragile.

I could see life had taken its toll on him, I could see the pain in his eyes—the pain he tries to cover so hard. I could sense the unhappiness that he hides with new shiny toys and home renovations. And, suddenly I didn’t feel hate anymore, I felt pity at first, then I felt nothing but compassion and empathy for him. I wanted to take him in my arms and swallow him up with Divine Mother energy.

After that encounter I sat down and readdressed the Father Wound; I know he will never be what I need or want him to be, he will never love me the way he should, the way I need, or want, but I understand him on a deeper level now, and for some reason that makes things, not okay, but easier for me to swallow.

The same goes for the rest of my family.

I am not excusing actions, but I am refusing to allow them to continue.

It ends with me.

There is something profound seeing the work you have done individually, then teamed up with your Crone Mother manifest into real healing for the ones you love most.

Trauma is complex, love is complex, family is complex.

Generational Trauma takes years to fully comprehend, but it can be understood, and to some degree overcome; healing can happen on some level, and cycles can be broken.

CYCLES CAN BE BROKEN.

CYCLES WILL BE BROKEN.

I had to stop running, face the truth, no matter how hard or ugly it was; then I Alchemized that shit and watched how things shifted.

A Holiday Shopping Guide for the Modern Mystic and Witch, Part Two (2018)

Last year I decided to write a blog spotlighting some Witch friendly, Witch owned businesses for all your Holiday, and year-round needs; it was hugely popular getting over 1k+ shares within the first couple days.

I have decided not only to update that previous blog (ie. updated sites, new products, etc.)—I also decided to write a NEW blog spotlighting even MORE Shops!

So, now you folx have *18 Shops* to choose from that can meet all your Witchy needs!

I have made sure these Shops are friendly on the wallet—I live paycheck to paycheck most months, too.

Personally, giving Witchy gifts is one of my favorite things to do; giving gifts in general is something I enjoy. Hello, Cancerian nurturing nature.

A lot of people think capitalism sucks, and to some degree it does; I know some people who think shopping, or exchanging gifts is equivalent with being a mindless consumer—I don’t see it that way.

I see it as I am not only putting a smile on a loved one’s face, but I am also supporting a small Witch owned business; two birds, one stone.

Supporting small businesses is literally supporting someone’s dream; every time you make a purchase you are saying “fuck you” to every naysayer, and doubter that Shop owner has had to deal with; as a small business owner myself, I can tell you there are naysayers galore.

Whether you are shopping for the Holidays, or you would just like a cool reference guide to some awesome Spiritualist Shops, this is the blog series for you!

Here we go.

Hood

To Purchase Raw Rose Quartz Shown Here

The first Shop on my list is The Hoodwitch run by Bri Luna, a Bruja in the spotlight and doing big things for our community. If you follow the Nephilim Rising fb page then you see me share articles from the Hoodwitch blog all the time, but what many of you may not know is that she has quite an amazing metaphysical Shop online! There are items for all tastes and price ranges (usually supporting fellow POC) which is a total win! For the bibliophile in your life (or yourself, I mean…) check out her Bruja Bookshop full of total drool worthy books.

Dead

To Purchase Turtle Bone and Purple Labradorite Pendant Shown Here

The second Shop on my list is Darling Dead AdornmentOne day last year, or even two years ago now, I was scrolling through IG and saw the most amazing rattlesnake fangs preserved in a wax sealed vial; I was not only in love, I was sold, and had to check out this Artist’s other creations. As I scrolled through the images I was blown away at Jacqueline’s dedication to the dead creatures she works with (all ethically/naturally sourced). She honors them forever with her creations. I now own 3 pieces; I should say I own 1 piece and my Spirit’s own 2. #witchlife

Persephone

To Purchse Temple of Goddess Persephone Aura Spray Shown Here

Joey Morris is the Owner of Starry Eyed Supplies, and is the third Shop on my list. Full disclosure: she is a friend and colleague of mine–we write together on The House of Twigs. Regardless of my connection to her, I fully endorse (and use) her products! I am continuously blown away by her ability to make such high quality, potent Witchy goods at amazingly affordable prices. She is based in the UK, and like many of my readers I am based in the U.S–the shipping is super quick, at around 5-7 business days. I obviously support my fellow Authors, so I bought her book, Songs of Shades as well as some realm journeying candles and some spell votive candles. The spell votives are complete spells in a candle! You will find a huge selection of goods for all your Solstice, and gift giving needs.

Snake eye

To Purchase the Moonlit Shadow Self Pin Shown Here

The fourth Shop on my list is another one I found while scrolling IG late at night. I absolutely love pins, and have them on both my jacket and purse (or book bag, depending on what I am using at the time). I actually purchased the pin pictured, and it’s so beautiful! I bought some of their stickers, as well. I have a “Magick Mirror” full of, you guessed it, Magickal Art, sigils, glyphs, etc. These stickers were a perfect addition. This is a great up and coming Shop, and Artist. Support them.

Poison

To Purchase The Hedgewitch Herbal Grimoire Shown Here 

This is actually a two for one. So, the above featured Herbal Grimoire is like at the top of all my “next purchase” lists. It is illustrated by Adrienne Rozzi of Poison Apple PrintshopAnd, it is written by Alison Garber of Native Apothecary I love the goods offered by Poison Apple Printshop because they appeal to the Witchy Artist, and macabre interior designer in all of us. The Wild Goods Native Apothecary offers are the best of what Nature has to offer! They are both amazing Shops, and the above Grimoire is truly a work of Art, and knowledge. Any Witch is lucky to own it.

Bella

To Purchase Belladonna Spirit Amulet Shown Here

The (technically) seventh Shop on my list is Posioner’s Apothecary  Owned by Coby Michael Ward  who is a writer over at Patheos Pagan, as well as a fellow writer on The House of Twigs. I love the Spirit of baneful plants, particularly nightshade. I respect Coby and his knowledge and reverence for the plants and Spirits he works with; I also really appreciate that everything is super affordable with deep meaning.

Witch

To Pre-order The Witches Talisman Shown Here

The eighth Shop on my list is Spiritus Arcanum  owned by Matthew Venus. I love this Shop because of it’s old world authentic vibe; you can feel the Magick just by looking at the pictures. Following Matthew on IG has given his clients a glimpse into the process of creating the Witchy goods that he does, and it’s lovely to watch him birth them into being. Spiritus Arcanum is potent with powerful Magick, AND affordable; this is proof that paying a ton does not give you more bang for your buck. This Shop offers a selection of goods perfect for any Witch in your life that loves the Arcane; he also offers services which is also a great gift because it doesn’t get anymore personal than a reading. Yeah, a massage is cool and all, but what about gifting a Bone Reading? Or, is it just me?

Nightshade

To Purchase Hecate Essential Oil Perfume Shown Here  

The ninth, and final, Shop on my list is Nightshade Botanicals owned by the otherworldly Creatrix Ginger Rivera. Check out her Instagram for updates, and amazing imagery. I have several oils from Ginger, and they are simply Divine, and as soon as they touch your skin you can feel their Magick going to work. Her Hecate oil smells like Hecate; her Belladonna oil smells like a steamy summer night in the underworld; her Black Moon oil smells sultry and like seduction embodied; her Neroli oil is an indescribably Magickal experience; her Protection oil WORKS like a charm; her Jasmine oil gets me stopped every time I wear it. I am extremely sensitive, and my skin doesn’t tolerate much, but I have absolutely no issues with any of Ginger’s oils, and at this point, I own just about every single one (as you can tell from my mini reviews above). If you are lucky enough to live near Ginger, and catch her at one of the Markets she sells her goods at, she makes the best wands with horns and gemstones that you ever did see!

These Shops are in NO PARTICULAR ORDER and they are all equally amazing and deserving of your patronage.

Please make sure to check out the first annual guide as well! There are so many more good Shops for you to check out.

As I said last year, it doesn’t matter what you call this Holiday Season, or if you celebrate at all; let this guide be a reference for your Shopping needs all year round, if nothing else.

Blessed Are The Witches.

 

 

LESSONS IN MAGICK: The Plutonian Healer

Pluto

 

“Each of us has his own way of emerging from the underworld, mine is by writing. That’s why the only way I can keep going, if at all, is by writing, not through rest and sleep. I am far more likely to achieve peace of mind through writing than the capacity to write through peace.”

Franz Kafka

Spirituality is a commodity sought high and low by people of all socioeconomic statuses, gender and sexual identities, race and so on.

And, it has been this way since the beginning of time.

Many people still cling to monotheistic religions, billions in fact, but there has been a wave, an uprising of non-traditional (they were once traditional) philosophies and practices being adopted by people all over the world.

Just like people feel let down by their Government and desire to break the two-party pretend democracy we have been living in, hence the rise in Socialists, Communists and Anarchists; people feel let down by their religions of youth and/or culture, so they are turning to Witchcraft, Nihilism, Atheism, Paganism, Wicca, ATR (African Traditional Religions) and every other path that is not the “big three”.

The psychological breakdown is that people want to be shatter the status quo in the most extreme ways possible. Which is, sadly, why there has also been an uprising of hate groups, and far right extremists pushing nationalism.

When people break free, or as I say, wake up, they are often wounded by their past and carry deep trauma from having to suppress certain aspects of themselves to fit into the box society, and in this context, religion put them in.

A Spiritual Awakening is a process of dying and coming back to life over and over again, it’s grueling work and not for the faint of heart.

As with all other areas of Spirituality, there are those who wish to romanticize the process, make it all love and light, unicorns and butterflies, and I can’t speak for all 7+ billion people on this planet, but I know I speak for a good chunk when I say, for many of us, it’s everything BUT love and light.

There are gurus galore who want to take you on a retreat to Bali, Costa Rica, Joshua Tree or India for an extraordinary amount of money, and through Tantric, Shamanic journeys, or whatever, they connect with the Source of love, Divine light and *poof* you are healed.

You will feel lighter.

Your trauma will melt away.

Your vision will become clearer.

You will become Spiritually Enlightened and Awakened.

While I am sure these retreats and this process may help some people, and/or perhaps may even be part of the overall journey, there are a great many folx who don’t need love and light, they need darkness.

They need the comfort and discomfort of the Womb.

They need a journey to the Underworld.

They must dive into their psyche and collective conscious (and unconscious); dangerous places for someone in recovery from religion and indoctrination.

Enter the Plutonian Healer.

Skull

Pluto is the God of the Underworld in Roman mythology.

In Astrology Pluto is death and rebirth (renewal), it’s the journey of going beneath the surface—it’s transformation, change, and the key to our inner most secrets; some secrets that we may have locked away from ourselves without even knowing.

Pluto, like Saturn, is a brutal but necessary teacher.

And, often it’s an energy that many people cannot, or don’t want to tackle alone and that’s valid.

It’s okay to need or want help.

It doesn’t lessen your personal power—you’re still doing the work, you still must face those Shadows and Demons, and traumas, no matter if someone walks with you, they can’t do the deep Plutonian work for you.

“You can lead a horse to water but can’t make them drink” comes to mind.

We can show you the way, but we can’t do the work for you.

The choice is always, always yours.

The power is always yours.

I have a love/hate relationship with the word “healer”.

What does it even mean?

Does it mean this person is superior?

*ego talking here*

“No one rules over me! Ahhh!”

*raises fists*

But, seriously, sarcasm aside, what does it mean to be a healer?

For me, as I have grown on my path, grown as a person, as a practitioner and shed my skin only to truly enter my skin, I have realized I am a healer, and superior to no one.

My experiences allow me to be a buffer for people to bounce ideas off; they can look to me, and others like myself, and say, “they made it through the darkness, they immerse themselves in Shadow Work, and I can, too.”

Maybe someone needs me to hold their hand while we navigate the dark together, maybe they need my torch to help them find their way, or maybe they need me to help them ignite their own torch by reminding them of their inherent personal power.

Pluto 2

The Plutonian Healer is the dark mirror embodied: we reflect deep abysmal truths.

Just like some healers (and people) find comfort in the blissful energy of light and love, I find comfort in the depths of darkness, mysteries and shadows.

I don’t “heal” in any kind of traditional manner.

I take people on a journey to the Underworld.

I exist in the shadows, inside liminal spaces so that I may understand them better and pass the lessons along. Again, not doing the work for anyone, but being a guide, a map, a path, a light in the dark.

A torchbearer.

And in these times of unrest, unknowns and uncertainties, it’s more important than ever for people to understand not only their own darkness, but the darkness of the collective.

With so many focusing on love and light, things have become unbalanced and it’s time to reign the darkness back in by understanding it better; thus, mastering it.

And, the only way to understand it is to journey through it.

Remember, you are the light, it is the darkness that you seek.

Lux in Tenebris

RANTINGS OF A MAD WITCH: The Great Divide

Leaves 2

 

“The human body resonates at the same frequency as Mother Earth. So instead of only focusing on trying to save the earth, which operates in congruence to our vibrations, I think it is more important to be one with each other. If you really want to remedy the earth, we have to mend mankind. And to unite mankind, we heal the Earth. That is the only way. Mother Earth will exist with or without us. Yet if she is sick, it is because mankind is sick and separated. And if our vibrations are bad, she reacts to it, as do all living creatures.”

Suzy Kassem

I don’t identify as Pagan so writing a post that has been inspired by Pagan community issues is ironic, and that point is not missed by me.

As the world spirals out of control due to Government policies not in alignment with or appropriate for modern, progressive times, among other things, our system becomes further and further unbalanced with an “us vs. them” dichotomy.

This divisive narrative has bled into all areas of life.

And, yes, that includes Magick.

I always looked to the Witch community for inspiration.

For hope.

I sought out my Brothers and Sisters in Magick when the world got me down; it was my escape.

And, as socially and politically aware as I am, perhaps that escape became blinders.

Note: For clarification, I use the term Witch broadly in the context of this piece, and in general; I don’t use the term Pagan broadly (even though many people do) and I’m aware that by definition my practices are Pagan. We will unpack that mess another day. I also know that some Practitioners of African Diasporic Traditions, for example, do not identify as Witches, or practice Witchcraft. They are still and always included.

Carrying on…

Over the last several months I have noticed how deeply divided we are within the Witch community, and I must admit, it was surprising to me.

I know that many of my readers will say they are not shocked at my epiphany as they have experienced division, elitism and, often, racism first hand, but I thought we were better than this.

It’s important to point out that I stick to myself in pretty much every way possible; I have never been part of a Coven, or organization. I am not initiated into anything, and don’t believe someone must be in order to be taken seriously. On a mundane level, I’m a loner with a tight inner circle and extremely close familial connections.

I am a seeker and follower of the Old Ways, my path is my own and my research is endless, vast and deep.

Leaves1

I consider myself to be super introverted, and us introverts know the one thing we do better than hiding is observing.

I notice everything, so how the divide in the Witch community was missed by me is something I must reflect on myself; no outside opinions necessary, or welcome.

It all started slowly, too–the realization, I mean.

First it was certain groups using Norse symbolism and Asatru teachings taken out of context to promote (white) nationalism, and racism.

Then it was white Witches excluding WOC (Witches of Color) from Witch spaces, or worse, talking for them instead of allowing them to speak for themselves.

Then it was white washing deities and/or using them out of context (ie. etymology of words/names and traditional lore must be considered); a blonde Kali threw me over the edge.

I have watched Witches’ pounce one another for “pulling the race card” simply because they wanted to have a conversation, an honest and open dialogue about what it means to live with brown skin in this world, in these times AND be a practicing Witch (again, all inclusive term).

Intersectionality is important—it’s the keystone of progress.

I have watched as Witches called out sexual abuse in the Pagan community only to be attacked in every way possible for daring to have a voice.

I have watched Witches improperly lash out because they are too scared to face their own traumas; Shadow Work is essential no matter what path you walk.

I have watched people use mental illness as an insult, or suggestion that someone’s behavior is because they are mentally unfit; this is dangerous for so many reasons.

I have watched people gather like a group of ‘Mean Girls’ and judge the witchiness of another to somehow validate or invalidate their practices and experiences.

I have watched Indigenous traditions stolen and exploited over and over and over again.

It goes far beyond the use (and misuse) of Sage, too.

I have watched as people were told they couldn’t practice a tradition because they are not the proper ethnicity.

And, trust me, I speak up, I speak up all the fucking time and I am shut down or attacked as people project onto me.

I have witnessed white folx being told they can’t practice Hoodoo, Haitian Vodou, New Orleans Voodoo or any African Diasporic Tradition in general because they don’t have African Ancestry.

The folx (gatekeepers) telling them this are the same folx who say that all people come from Africa (which they do).

Here’s a link for your reading pleasure, and my sanity.

You can’t have it both ways though.

We are either an inclusive community or we are not.

YES, black Witches, and black people in general, deserve to have spaces for themselves where they are represented authentically and unapologetically, by themselves.

And, YES, there are many traditions that ARE NOT up for the taking by outsiders because they are rooted in culture as well as practice and tradition (ie. being immersed in it day to day with your physical presence and time).

I DO NOT believe that as a white person everything is available/accessible to me, but when it comes to Spirituality, Spiritual practices and what resonates with the Soul, the lines get blurred really fucking quick, and it’s important for ALL parties involved to acknowledge this.

Respect for the path we walk, and education for the tradition we follow is key, in my opinion.

Leaves 3

I have watched white Witches tell black Witches they cannot venerate Norse or Celtic deities, or any Anglo-saxon group because they themselves are not white; that they will not be accepted because they are black.

I have only met a handful of Spirits who gave any flying fucks about race; generally, they just like to be honored, and most Practitioners, regardless of tradition, will agree with me on this.

It boils down to respect and education, as aforementioned, but also intent.

Another point, colonialism and how it continues to affect this country, and the world is a tricky, tricky subject and one of great complexity.

This of course affects our community.

Racism, sexism and sexual abuse in the Witch community are topics that must be addressed, and folx it’s going to suck for all parties involved.

White privilege is real. White supremacy is real. The patriarchy is real. Racism is real. Sexual abuse disguised as enlightenment or ritual is real.

We as a community cannot expect change on a grand, global scale, like so many of us truly want, if we are unable to see the issues among ourselves.

We cannot resist the system that wants to obliterate our existence if we aren’t even strong enough or brave enough to have the difficult conversations.

Yes, some white feelings are going to get hurt in the process, but imagine the generational trauma that POC must work through?

And, no folx this is NOT SAYING that white people don’t have generational trauma themselves.

Comparing the two is a false equivalency (another reason Intersectionality is paramount).

Our community is better than the actions of a few and I know that, but what I brought up here has moved far beyond just a few people.

How can Witches be a force of resistance, a force in the resistance if we can’t unify on the most basic shit?

How?

RANTINGS OF A MAD WITCH: I Will Not Submit, I Will RESIST

Chains

“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Dylan Thomas


**TRIGGER WARNING**

I do not speak for all Women, but for myself and those closest to me, the last 10 days have been profoundly painful; I did not realize how triggered my own trauma would be.

I watched in awe as Dr. Christine Baisley Ford testified and told her story of survival.

I watched in shock as Brett Kavanaugh testified by throwing temper tantrums, losing his composure, putting on the fake tears, justifying his predatory behavior (“boys will be boys”) and trying to be a victim.

I watched in horror as Congress voted 11-10 to confirm him through the first process of nomination.

I watched as our Government told myself, the females in my family, the Women, girls and Femmes around the world, that we do not matter.

Our voices do not matter.

Our stories do not matter.

Our pain does not matter.

But, I am here to say that

I do matter.

Our stories matter.

Our pain matters.

We matter.

The Divine Feminine is more than waking up, She is here and She is GROWLING WITH RAGE.

Lioness

Humans have raped and pillaged this planet, its animal inhabitants, and people through genocides, crusades, white supremacy and all-out war for eons.

Men have raped and pillaged Women since the beginning of time to place their superiority over us; to place their superiority over all things.

Side note: I do not hate Men. I know that not all Men are predators. I know that there are good Men out there. We are not here to discuss them, though, we are here to call out the predators and discuss how we got to this place as a country, and world. If your initial response to this blog is “not all Men!” then you have missed the point entirely.

I have not met a Woman, in my life, who has not been sexually assaulted.

Read that line again.

And, again.

For the Men who follow my page/blog: your Sister, your Mother, your Grandmothers, your Aunts, your Female/Femme Cousins, your Nieces, your Daughters have or will be sexually assaulted to some degree in their lifetime.

This is not to say that Men do not experience sexual assault, too—they do.

But not in the way Women do, and to compare the two is a false equivalency that helps nothing.

Let’s look at statistics:

  • One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives
  • In the U.S., one in three women and one in six men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime
  • 51.1% of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance
  • 52.4% of male victims report being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger
  • Almost half (49.5%) of multiracial women and over 45% of American Indian/Alaska Native women were subjected to some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime
  • 91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and nine percent are male
  • In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator
  • Eight percent of rapes occur while the victim is at work.

Source

How can you look at the next generation and not feel despair in your heart for what they will experience? How can you look at them and not want to change their fate?

I can’t do nothing. I can’t remain silent. I can’t accept this.

I won’t.

The world will hear me roar because:

I have experienced (multiple) sexual trauma in the form of rape and molestation. I have experienced sexual (and physical) trauma in abusive relationships. I have experienced sexual harassment in every workplace. I have had men pleasure themselves in front of me on public transportation. I have been stalked (and fought off an attempted kidnapping, twice). I have been verbally threatened and physically abused on more than one occasion when saying no to a man’s advances. I have been spat on (by strangers) for speaking my mind. I have been sexually assaulted by partners for saying no to sex; relationship rape is real.

And that’s the abbreviated list.

Nude

The unrest so many of us are feeling lately is not just the cosmic fuckery going on, it’s the collective.

It’s our trauma coming to the surface.

It’s our Sisters’ trauma coming to the surface.

It’s every single word we have swallowed when biting our tongue’s coming to the surface.

It’s every Woman/Femme to have ever existed finding her/their voice.

And, it’s magnificent to watch.

A few days ago, a prominent Herbalist and Witch posted a blog about sexual abuse in the Pagan community; it was illuminating and heartbreaking. I support you, Sarah.

On Social Media I saw Women, and Men, showing solidarity with Dr. Ford by using #WhyIDidntReportIt and telling their stories.

More recently there was the “blackout” to represent how Women do not matter; a cool concept, but poorly executed. (The idea was/is to change your profile picture to all black.)

I will not give the Patriarchy what it wants; I will not give them my silence.

I will not give them the satisfaction of thinking for one split second that they have won.

I will not shrink myself.

I will not make myself invisible; the world tries to do that already.

I am here to make noise.

I am here to make people uncomfortable.

I am here to rebel.

I am here to RESIST.

Hex the Patriarchy.

Fuck the Patriarchy.

Don’t give up, keep roaring.

WITCH OF THE WEEK: Bill Duvendack

Photo Five, Bill

Bill Duvendack is an astrologer, internationally known psychic, presenter, teacher, and author. He has presented in many venues, ranging from colleges and high schools to national and international conferences.

He is the author of the published books “Vocal Magick,” “The Metaphysics of Magick,” “In the Shadow of the Watchtower, Enochian Grimoire Volume 1,” “Spirit Relations,” “Awakening Lucifer,” “Sat En Anpu” a book on Anubis, and “Astrology in Theory and Practice,” with several other essays released recently.

He has had over a dozen essays published in various anthologies, and his magical writings have been translated into 6 languages. He regularly teaches classes on magick, astrology, and modern spirituality, nationally and via webinars.

He has been interviewed by the NY Times, RTE 1, and has made many TV and radio appearances.

For more information about him, please consult his website: www.418ascendant.com

His upcoming projects include:

Second Enochian Grimoire is coming out this month, called “Dark Fruit.” It’s part two to “In the Shadow of the Watchtower.”

Unlimited hardback version of “Sat En Anpu” is coming out this month as well, available through my website for a signed copy.

Lucifer-Amaymon just got released with Become a Living God.

Lots of events coming up in September and October, mostly local to the Midwest.

Website is going through a major overhaul that includes having more of my classes available through there.

Video class series on Draconian Egypt is available through Become a Living God, and another video series is being discussed with them.

Slated for next year with them is also a book on Qliphothic Astrology, as well as a tarot deck with Asenath Mason.

I’ll also be writing a piece for the third book in their nine book grimoire series, coming out around the end of the year on Azazel.

Next year I’ll be releasing a book with Immanion Press on Psychic Protection.

Photo Two, Bill

Q. You are truly one of the best Astrologers I’ve come across, when did the stars first call to you? What is your favorite aspect of Astrology? What is it about Astrology, in your opinion that draws people in? Conversely, what steers them away? I’m very new to Astrology, and for me it’s been a powerful learning experience, but a lot of people scoff at the idea; some dismiss it entirely. What do you say to the naysayers?

A: “First of all, thank you for the compliment! When I was around seven I wanted to be an astronomer, but when I learned it required a lot of math and you don’t really get to go out and look at the night sky I looked into astrology. However, every time I read a horoscope it was constantly wrong, so I abandoned that. Approximately 20 years later a dear friend suggested I come back to it, so I did, and the rest is history. So a lot of my early exposure to astrology was in seeing it NOT work, which is why I can relate to skeptics! Let’s face it, the sky is the second half of what we perceive, and this has been true for thousands of years, so it’s natural to look for meaning in it. People generally get turned off of astrology because it is not common knowledge that it is a soft science, like all of the other –ologies out there, which is why I dedicate a lot of space to explaining that in my book “Astrology in Theory & Practice.” To deny astrology is to deny all soft sciences because it works on the same principles they do.”

Photo Three, Bill

Q. I am friends with you on your personal page so I may get to see a side that you don’t show professionally, but I notice that you intentionally word things a certain way because you want people to think, or you want to ruffle feathers. Although that isn’t my approach (come to think of it, in some ways it is) it’s a really effective method at mirroring people’s bullshit back onto them. It seems you just want people to internally reflect, but more importantly you want them to take personal responsibility. Is this correct? If so, where does that mischief, for lack of a better word, come from? It has an almost trickster vibe to it, but in a loving way that only a Teacher can have. I for one have learned a lot from you.

A: “Yes, you are correct in your observation. I do that to encourage people to think, but also to take accountability for their own lives. Trickster? Yes. It reminds me of something I learned many years ago when I was first becoming a teacher. The difference between a teacher and a good teacher is that a good teacher will tell you where to look, but not necessarily what you will find when you look there. What you find is all on you. Another piece of the puzzle is that I promote change. It is the only constant, after all. I love being the instigator in a lot of ways, and astrologically it is my Sagittarius side coming through.”

Photo Four, Bill

Q. Given the social and political upheaval here in the states, and worldwide, really, there seems to be a huge drop in folks flocking to religion and more coming to Earth based and Pagan beliefs. Over the last few years I’ve called it “the great re-wilding”–a way to return to our roots, collectively. Do you think people are sick if the fear and hypocrisy religion delivers? Or is it something else entirely?

A: “Again I agree with your perception, but would also like to add that a lot of people are looking for a connection with simplicity and the natural world.”

Photo One, Bill

A Collection of Bill’s Published works, including Anthologies

Q. What is one piece of Magickal advice that you were given that you will never forget?

A: “Funny enough, my friend Donald Michael Kraig quoting Dr Timothy Leary: “Think for yourself, question authority.”

Q. What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new Astrologer? And, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to a new Magick and/or Occult Practitioner?

A: “A new astrologer? Learn the Western Tradition of Occultism, because it and astrology are intertwined for the last few thousand years. Funny enough, the converse is also true for a new magical practitioner. Traditionally speaking, before one could become a magician they had to become a competent astrologer first, so learn astrology and become good at it. Secondly, remember context and keep everything in it. We are all stars, after all.”

Bill is as down to Earth as they come; a unique soul who manages to keep his eyes turned to the Stars.

He is knowledgeable and shares that knowledge with the world.

Full of wisdom, humor and otherworldly insight it’s easy to see why I decided to spotlight him.

For these reasons and so many more Bill Duvendack has been chosen as The Nephilim Rising’s Witch of the Week.

Congratulations, Bill.

PAY ATTENTION, WITCH: 3 Pitfalls of Witchcraft

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“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
Mary Oliver

There is so much that I love about the Witch community, but there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved, too. In an ideal world I would like to see more unity, and less divisiveness but that doesn’t look like it will resolve itself anytime soon; mostly because that’s a human issue, not solely a Witch issue.

I am not naïve enough to believe we will attain some kumbaya status, but there, at the very least, should be respect for other’s traditions, experiences, and practices.

I have been guilty in the past of making fun of Wiccans, for example, mostly in a light-hearted way because I was being attacked from every direction by superiority police whom happened to be Wiccan.

I’m not saying all Wiccans are like this, but all the people who felt the need to judge my way of life and practice have been Wiccan.

It was hard at first to make the distinction, so I lumped them all together; in a very similar fashion they seemed to lump me in with the LHP, Luciferian and Occult communities.

I try to take a more diplomatic stance on “the shit I talk” because everyone is entitled to *their* experience; if they decide to become self-righteous, then I will handle it how I see fit.

Otherwise, live and let live.

Rolling your eyes when necessary helps, too.

I also try hard to educate when and where I can, it’s imperative as a public figure to not feed the fire *all the time*.

Sometimes, we must learn to neutralize the fire and save our energy for bigger fights.

This blog is one way I hope to combat some of the main issues plaguing our community.

Do I believe I am the solution? Not at all.

Do I believe this blog will suddenly solve the problems in our community? Nope.

I do believe this will start an important conversation, debate and reflection.

Which is a win I will take.

I have compiled a very abbreviated list of the main issues I have observed playing out within our community, and in many cases, the Spiritual community at large.

Blind

Spiritual Bypassing: This is the idea that you use Spiritual ideas to avoid handling/healing/confronting emotional wounds, trauma and conflict. A clear example of this is the love and light only crew; this is a group of people who completely deny the existence and necessity of the darkness, or Shadows.

Conversely, there is a large group of people that are darkness only, and they completely avoid the higher vibrations of love and light.

Yes, there are many people who are so accustomed to their pain that they fear being happy; they don’t know who they are without their trauma.

Ebonee 2

image source

I know this to be true because I used to be one of those people; you don’t get to know the dark as intimately as I do without having immersed your mind, body and soul in it while dismissing all aspects of light/perceived light.

Spiritual bypassing also takes the form of denying ego—something we all have, and an aspect of ourselves that should be fed, not starved; a starved animal is dangerous.

Anyone who teaches their way as being the only way to attain (insert Spiritual promise here) is lying to you.

There are a million different roads that all lead to the destination of Spiritual Enlightenment and the reason so many roads exist is because we must pave our own way, using those who came before us as guidance.

This isn’t a contest, this isn’t a race; this is a winding journey that will take you to highs and lows you never imagined possible, and a reward you never knew existed.

Remember, the essence of the Spiritual journey comes from within, not without; while people and our outer world are great teachers, they are not and should not be our compass.

Our intuition is our compass, use it freely.

Angela

You need a Coven: This is probably one of the most annoying pitfalls within the community, and it trips a lot of people up. The idea that one needs a Coven to be taken seriously is not new, and if you choose to get into a debate with someone over it, I bet it will turn heated rather quickly.

Not only does this effect the Witch community, but it effects the Occultist community, too.

I have met people who introduce themselves by their name, and then the list of secret societies/organizations they are part of or worked with and by the time they are done listing their pretentious titles I have lost interest because honestly, who the fuck cares?

I mean, of course I care but not when I meet you.

You should be proud of your accomplishments and accolades, but to lead with that?

To have that be your introduction?

It’s arrogant as fuck.

You know that saying that wealth is quiet? And, how I have said in the past that truth is quiet because it’s truth and there is no need to boast?

Power is quiet, too.

Real power, real Magick is quiet because it knows the strength it wields, it respects itself enough to know the damage it can do.

We should be like that.

We should respect ourselves, our Power and our Magick enough to shut up occasionally and let them do the talking for us without using any words.

Covens can be an amazing tool, and asset but in my experience, they are often lead by power hungry individuals who do not see their fellow members as equals but almost like slaves.

I have seen disastrous Witch Wars come from Coven fallouts, and most of the time all because they denied their ego. The irony? Their ego is what killed them.

And, yes, there are people out there who genuinely get something from being in a Coven, and yes there are even a few Covens in existence not plagued by ego, power struggle and hierarchies, but they are few and far between, and they do not define you.

THEY DO NOT DEFINE YOU.

You define you; the company you keep can be an indicator but not a definition.

COVENS DO NOT HOLD ALL THE POWER.

You hold the power.

You decide how to use it.

Make sure to use it wisely, or it will use you.

Stormy

Your expertise is based on the number of followers you have: This is real ya’ll.

THIS IS REAL!

This obviously pertains more so to those like me, who are in the public eye, but it’s important to address all the same.

It’s probably one of the biggest issues in our community right now.

In the age of Social Media, and Instagram Witches we are being judged by the number of followers we have; we are not taken seriously unless, across all platforms we have a huge following.

I have been all but snubbed in the Instagram arena because the following I have on Fb doesn’t translate over; mostly because I wasn’t and still am not super active on Instagram.

The heavy hitters on that platform won’t support baby pages like mine, and honestly?

It makes me fucking laugh.

Their worth is put into numbers and an algorithm.

What happens if IG were to disappear tomorrow? Or Fb for that matter?

What would they do then?

I have a Shop, Courses, Published Books and a blog where my heart and Soul live outside my body.

What do they have when it’s all gone? When the filters fade? When the pretty pictures are no longer considered pretty?

I have missed opportunities with Magazines because of this; only for them to see my Fb and blog and suddenly they come back with, “Oh, sorry, we didn’t know your reach as an influencer. We would love to have you!”

That’s an actual quote.

And, this happened not once, but TWICE.

I have been dismissed by some people in the community, only to be given a stamp of approval later because someone, considered more prominent, gave me a shout out.

What a herd mentality.

The numbers on Social Media are essentially arbitrary; meaning, you can’t do anything with them.

You can’t live off them, you can’t cash them in at a bank, you can’t put them on a resume.

They have meaning in the sense that (in my case) 45 thousand people have resonated with my work, and what I share, and they have chosen to include me on their journey; to use me as inspiration and motivation to keep going.

They have chosen to learn from me and my experiences, and that’s a great honor.

I will carry that with me forever.

At the end of the day, I do this because it’s needed; because the Soul cry deep within tells me that people need to hear my voice.

So, in that regard the numbers have meaning on so many emotional levels, but not in the real world.

Even still, we are judged because of them.

Another way we are judged is who we are friends with.

It’s like, in a professional sense, if you are not friends with other high caliber public figures, then you aren’t taken seriously.

For this reason alone, it makes me want to keep to myself even more than I already do.

Don’t judge me based on who I am friends with. Don’t judge me based on numbers on a screen.

Don’t judge me based on anything other than the words I write, and who I am as a person.

I do not seek approval. I do not beg to be seen. I do not need to be loud.

I am who I am, and you either take it or leave it.

Numbers don’t define me, or my power because truth is quiet, and I am truth.

THE POWER OF PERSEVERANCE: The Story of PTSD and Me

Depression

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”

Laurell K. Hamilton

I have written a lot of extremely personal blogs, but this one might take the cake.

This blog has been dancing in my head for a few weeks now, but I couldn’t find the perfect time to sit down and write it. Seeing how I just had surgery yesterday and am on bed rest, I figured now is as good a time as any to tell this story.

I have been very open with my chronic health and mental health issues; I wrote a piece on this very topic back in May, it was my way of reclaiming my power.

I have even had a hugely successful blog published on WITCH regarding my battle with chronic health issues and how it directly relates to and affects my Magick.

I wrote about Trauma the Teacher on The House of Twigs.

This is a follow-up of sorts.

A redefining moment in my life that I want to share with all of you.

If you have read my past blogs about my health you know that I have struggled for essentially my entire life, but more so recently; mostly regarding degenerative disc disease, a torn disc between L5 and S1, degeneration of my Sacroiliac Joint, Arthritis, Hashimotos, fribromyalgia, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Not to mention cervical and skin cancer in my past, along with 7 abdominal surgeries for a variety of feminine health problems which resulted in a full hysterectomy.

Besides these physical ailments, I have been facing head on both my anxiety and C-PTSD.

Let’s rewind for a minute.

Back in 2010 when I was just coming out of an abusive relationship I kind of lost my shit; I don’t know how else to describe it. I didn’t suffer a psychotic break, I did not have delusions, I can only describe it as “losing my mind”.

Now, to be clear, my entire life has been one giant reel of traumatic events, there is not a singular moment that caused my pain; 2010 was just the tipping point.

Out of fear of what was happening, because I didn’t know what was going on, I checked myself into a private mental health institute where I was medicated with poisons and diagnosed: Bipolar 2, ADHD, OCD, Anxiety (GAD, Social Anxiety), Agoraphobia and PTSD.

For 3 years I went to therapy session after therapy session and pumped my body full of toxins; I was even forced to go to substance abuse programs because I was open about smoking cannabis.

They labeled me as “self-medicating”.

For the past 14 years cannabis has been my medicine of choice, and of course some of my closed-minded family members and Doctors alike thought I was (and am) nothing more than a pothead.

A druggie.

In 2013 I stopped all medications besides Estrogen, Synthroid, vitamins, a muscle relaxer for my back and allergy meds; I have not been medicated for my mental health. Though about 2 months ago I was given a low dose of Klonopin to help take the edge off because my anxiety can be debilitating some days. I have continued my use of cannabis, which as you may know is illegal in NYS; I have always been open and honest with my providers about my use.

Recently having found a great PCP and a Pain Management Doctor I was given the gift of hope.

A cruel gift sometimes, but I embraced it for once.

When my PCP prescribed me the Klonopin, he suggested I try to find a mental health professional for medication management; I understood his point completely and a few weeks ago I went to the appt.

I walked out before even seeing a Doctor.

I was filling out paperwork and the very last sheet was a checklist that you had to initial (30 something “agreements”) and it read like a court ordered type document.

It basically said I would be subject to random drug tests, and *forced* to go to talk therapy because I have an anxiety disorder(s).

WHAT?

I specifically asked about therapy beforehand because it’s not my thing, and they said they force no one.

When I asked the nurse about the checklist she said that if I test positive for any trace amounts *at all* of cannabis that I would be weaned off my medication and put into a substance abuse program.

Now, I know that checklist and that office saves people’s lives, but that was not a place that jived with the kind of treatment and healing I need.

I left that appointment so, so discouraged.

It was like my dreams just blew away in the wind.

Dreams

I went to my PCP the following Monday (the appt was on a Thursday), told him all about it and even he was shocked, but then he said, “well, just so you know in the next few months St. Peter’s (the hospital in which his practice is associated with) is sending out contracts for all users of controlled substances” (which Klonopin is).

He continued to say that he has no clue what will be on the contract, but it might have something in there about cannabis; reminding me it’s a Catholic establishment (he is an excellent Doctor, I don’t care about religion).

He told me he would continue to prescribe the low dose for me, and we will “Cross the contract bridge when it comes”.

I went home and immediately started researching Medical Marijuana and how I apply, how much it will cost and what the qualifying conditions are.

You see, it’s not easy to get approved…like not at all.

And, it’s costly. Very, very costly.

I had to weigh my options; do I give up the Klonopin? Do I give up the cannabis? Or, do I try and legitimize my use?

I decided I was going to try to get certified for Medical Marijuana.

I found a brilliant Psychiatrist, said some prayers to my Gods, and started walking this new path.

My appointment was August 15th, and not only did she tell me that I was, indeed, misdiagnosed and that *I AM NOT BIPOLAR* but she said I have one of the more severe cases of PTSD and C-PTSD she has seen. The PTSD is a direct result of sexual trauma; the C-PTSD is from long term abuse as a child, and abuse as a teen and young adult at the hands of my Father, Step-Father (not the Step-Father in my life now) and romantic partners.

For the last 8 years I have worn a scarlet letter of sorts as far as the medical world is concerned.

They would look at my chart, and for the last 5 of those 8 years all they saw was “unmedicated bipolar” and treated me as if I was going to kill myself or someone else.

She granted me FREEDOM and POWER by telling me, “Jaclyn you are not at all Bipolar, you do not suffer from any personality disorders; you suffer from severe trauma, and your body remembers.”

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I will not go into all the ways in which PTSD paralyzes me, and all that it entails to carry this diagnosis.

I will say:

It’s why I can’t leave my house for days on end.

It’s why I haven’t been intimate with anyone in 5 years.

It’s why I can’t be touched.

It’s why I don’t like loud noises.

It’s why my nightmares torment me.

In one swoop, with a few words she ripped that scarlet letter off of me and the weight that lifted with it was tangible.

We sat and talked for almost 2 hours, and she told me how intelligent and insightful I was; how impressed she was with what I know about trauma, more specifically my trauma and my reactions to it.

Then, she said, “Jaclyn, remember this day. Remember this day because you are certified. Congratulations.”

To tell you that I started sobbing would be an understatement; I am telling you I was full on ugly crying in her office.

This has quite literally changed my life.

She gave me my certification form, told me the next steps and I went right home, printed out my temporary card and walked into the dispensary for the first time that afternoon.

As of right now I am on pills and vape pens; I might try oralmucosal (tincture) but because I have been smoking for so long my receptors are dense, and I need high THC content for it to be medicinal in my body.

I can now travel (within the state) with my medication.

I can now be drug tested and it won’t be considered illicit because it’s my medicine.

I can now show my family and Doctor’s that I am not some druggie, but a person who genuinely needs this plant ally as MEDICINE.

I have written over 1,000 words telling this story and still they are not enough to describe the feeling I have, the freedom I have been given, and the emotions that are still overwhelming me.

We must be our loudest advocate for our own health and well-being, and if you ever needed inspiration to be that, use me.

I did it, so can you.

Always listen to your gut, and always follow what your body is telling you.

Don’t give up, Warrior.

Keep fighting.

WITCH OF THE WEEK: Womb Tree Alchemy

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Logo by Witchcraft Branding

This week’s Witch of the Week is a brand that has become a movement and a Woman on a mission.

Lauren Roberts is a student of Lunar Alchemy, a crystal witch, and a warrior for empowerment of the Divine Feminine in her many forms.

Born under the New Moon, with the Sun in Aquarius, Lauren is dedicated to bringing change to a world that is READY for a new paradigm. She works with women to help them align with the Cycles of the Moon and the power within their natural feminine rhythm.

Recently her work has shifted to focus primarily on dealing with the Witch Wound, and she has begun to focus her energy on helping women heal from lifetimes of systematic oppression, persecution and torture.

Today Lauren is working with women, both 1:1 and in groups, from all over the world. Through her soul-aligned business, Womb Tree Alchemy, she offers individual and group coaching sessions and courses to empower women to reclaim their truth, show up authentically, and make BIG MAGIC in the world.

You can connect with her Facebook Group here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/wombtreealchemysisterhood/

Lauren is currently available for 1:1 coaching and will be opening registration for the 3rd round of the Moon Cycle Mastery Course in late August. If you are looking to dive deep with the phases of the Moon and the Feminine Archetypes reach out to Lauren and to be notified when registration for the MCMC is open.

Her Site: https://www.wombtreealchemy.com/

You can also find her writing (alongside myself) over at The House of Twigs.

Lauren’s Course ‘Waking the Feminine with Cyclic Alchemy’ will be launching on The House of Twigs: School of Ritual soon, so be sure to keep an eye out!

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Photography by Ashley Morris

Q. You are an advocate for Sisterhood, Womb and Moon Magick. What called you to this path? Has the issues Women face always been a passion of yours, or was there a specific moment where you said, “this is what I need to do”? Why do you think Womb and Moon Magick are important areas for Witches to focus on? 

A. “A deep connection to my feminine lineage and powerful Sisterhood of women is what lead me to my craft. I didn’t know I was a witch, until I was dancing with Sisters in a circle, celebrating the magic of our blood and the sanctity of our Sisterhood. In that circle, we called for rain to quell the fires burning in the next Valley over. We called in the energy of the New Moon, we summoned the goddess, and just like that, the skies opened the rain began to fall.

“And suddenly I remembered lifetimes of making magic.

“Magic lives within our blood and bones. When we gather in Sisterhood and activate through the connection between our Wombs, the Magic is undeniable.”

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Photography by Ashley Morris

Q. As a fellow Feminist, and a Woman who works closely with other Women, what are some tips that you would give to gain access to our Womb Wisdom? For those of us, like myself who had a hysterectomy, or our Transgender Sisters who biologically don’t have a Womb, what are your tips to connect with that space? How do we gain wisdom and power from our pussy when *so many* spiritual teachers only teach about the power of blood, in-tact Women, and/or disregard Trans Women as Women? Where do the rest of us fall in?

A. “I am so grateful that you asked this question. Our Womb’s are energetic portals, and a connection to the Feminine gives you access to this space. Even my cis male fiancé can tap into the energetics of the Womb if he is willing to do the work.

“I don’t believe that being born with a uterus, or possessing one, is a prerequisite for having a potent connection to the magic energy and creative force that is the Womb. Although the physical organ can make it easier to anchor into that energy, it’s not required.

“My biggest piece of advice for ANYONE looking to connect with the cyclic power and nature of the Womb, is to tap into the Moon and her powerful rhythm, she will guide you home to your own unique cycles.”

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Photography by Ashley Morris

Q. You have recently started a journey with Cacao, what it is about this amazing Earth medicine drew you to its Magick? What are the benefits, both health and spiritual of Cacao, and Cacao ceremonies?

A. “I have been working with Cacao off and on for about 4 years now, but in the last 12 months I have taken my relationship with this sacred plant ally to a new level of dedication. On the surface it felt like I was drawn to this medicine because of my love for chocolate, but now I see that I was drawn to chocolate because of my LOVE for this Medicine.

“Plants have long been friends of mine, and Cacao’s subtle psychedelic effects open me up in ways that other plants have not been able to.

“Physically, Cacao is a vasodilator, it increases blood flow in the entire body, and it is PACKED with micronutrients and antioxidants. Ceremonial Grade Cacao is prepared with very specific intention, and I believe that it is important to source your Cacao from places that are considering the lands and the people who produce this crop, that’s all a part of the magic that come with her.

“Spiritually, Cacao is a Heart Opener. And for Witches, and other people who have experienced deep oppression, Cacao can soften and open the heart to allow the individual’s Soul Purpose to come through. I’ve seen it happen with so many people.

“Purpose becomes primary. I have watched Cacao empower an individual to leave their soul-sucking day job for a life that serves them after ONE CEREMONY.”

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Photography by Ashley Morris

Q. Living in these uncertain, toxic, overtly Patriarchal times there has been a rise of Earth based and Pagan belief systems; there has also been a re-wilding of sorts that has swept across our community. Do you think in a sense Witches and Women are being called to arms because the Divine Feminine has been silenced for so long?

A. “YES! Witches from across time are gathering here in this moment on earth, act as midwives as the Feminine wakes Up. Collectively, we are moving out of the Dark Moon phase of the Feminine, and the CALL to show up comes from the part within each of us that is waking up with her.”

Q. What is one piece of Magickal advice you were given that you will never forget?”

A. “Wise woman, Author, and Inspiring Witch Danielle Dulsky said to me at a workshop here in Eugene that “the most potent and powerful rituals will be written in my own hand.” And that was the medicine that my Witches Soul had been yearning for. It gave me permission to be my own version of my Witchy self.”

Q. What is one piece of advice that you wish you knew when you started that you would like to pass on to other Witches (no matter their skill level)?

A. “My bit of advice is that the antidote to the Witch Wound (the fear of showing up in our fullness and the fear of speaking our truth) is a CLEAR awareness of our Soul’s Purpose. If we can see with CLARITY what we are on this earth to do, if we are connected to the very mission that our Soul incarnated to complete, then fear becomes just an emotion, not a roadblock. Show up Magical! That’s why you are here!”

Social Media Links:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wombtree.alchemy/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wombtreealchemy/

Lauren is a fierce Advocate for her work, and healing the collective and individual Witch Wound. She is an embodiment of the Goddess, and represents and includes all aspects of the Divine Feminine in her teachings.

For these reasons and so many more, Wombtree Alchemy has been selected as this week’s Witch of the Week.

Congratulations, Lauren.