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.

 

 

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.

PAY ATTENTION, WITCH: 3 Pitfalls of Witchcraft

Water 2

“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.”

Freedom 2

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.

LESSONS FROM THE STARS: A Survival Guide to Eclipse Season

Queen 3

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“Astrology is assured of recognition from psychology, without further restrictions, because astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity.”

C.G. Jung

I don’t know about any of you, but for myself this Eclipse season has been BRUTAL.

If I am being completely honest, Cancer season was particularly rocky this year, too.

So, it’s been a solid 2 months of just balls to the wall MADNESS.

I for one am over it.

The Universe, however, has other plans.

We are at the mercy of the cosmos right now.

And, don’t hit me with “We create our own reality” because I follow that Philosophy, but currently there is no creating my reality; it’s being written before my eyes as the planets and stars seemingly collide.

Let’s not forget that Saturn, Pluto, Neptune, Mars and Mercury are ALL Retrograde.

Only adding more chaos to our inner and outer world’s.

Saturn: Defining your boundaries and work ethic

Pluto: Spending time with your darkness

Neptune: Waking up and facing reality

Mars: Learning how to fight for your desires

Mercury: Communication breakdown, anger and anxiety

Plus, we’re in the middle of Leo Season, and the Lion’s Gate officially opens today.

The final (partial) Solar Eclipse during a Super New Moon in the sign of Leo coming up on the 11th is going to ease things a bit, but if the card I pulled this morning regarding the Eclipse is an indicator of things to come, we are in for a harsh awakening:

The Tower.

Baron

For many people the Tower is one of the most feared cards in Tarot, and in some cases that fear is warranted.

Who likes change?

Not me.

I hate quick, forced, harsh change; all change is hard, but I am talking about the kind where it’s just a shock to the system, you have no fucking clue it’s coming until it’s already happened.

This can be good or bad, as with all things, but the Tower *always* represents change, breaking of old patterns, and sudden realization, among other things.

Read more about the Tower, here.

So, are you freaking out yet?

Don’t fret.

Here are some tips on how I survive crazy cosmic events like what we’ve been experiencing.

Survival

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STAY GROUNDED: This is important always, but during Eclipse season when change is dancing all around us, it’s paramount to be grounded and present. It’s easy to let our minds drift off and become distracted but we must stay grounded in our current reality because we are still in rough waters with fire energy closing in around us. To read more about my tips for grounding, click here.

PROTECT THYSELF: Protecting ourselves is an essential self-care practice, especially for Witches. I don’t know about you, but for myself, fucked up people have been seeking me out, and clinging to me like the psychic vampires they are. Then, there are other people who are so blind with jealousy and ego that they make their attempts to attack blatantly obvious. It’s a Spiritual war out here. We must take appropriate measures; draw boundaries, cut out toxic people and situations from our lives, no matter how bad it hurts. Take Spiritual baths or showers at least once a week, but as often as you can is fine. Cleanse your phone, and most used items (purse, jacket, bag, shoes, jewelry, etc) with sage, palo santo or other consecration herb of choice. Make sure to re-ward yourself and your home, too. These Retrogrades are bringing out the worst in some people and they seek out our light to distinguish it; don’t let them. To read more about my protection tips, click here.

STAY HYDRATED: During this massive heatwave it’s super important to stay hydrated, during cosmic events it’s even more important. Water is a carrier; it holds vibrations. Plus, it’s essential for our bodies to function properly; it helps our organs function, rids the body of toxins, and keeps our skin looking young, and glowing (among a million other benefits). Carrying water with you and speaking a short incantation (even silently) before taking a sip can help calm you, it can cleanse your energy field of negative energy; think of it like an internal Spiritual bath. Add crystals (usually quartz crystals are safest) and fruits, or herbs to give yourself added Magick on the go.

LISTEN TO MUSIC: I am a lover of music, always have been. Do you know what loves music more than I do? OUR CHAKRAS. Music is a form of sound therapy, especially if we have an emotional connection to the songs we are listening to. The music does not have to be Spiritual in nature, it can be whatever gets you feeling good, whatever gets you moving. Music by itself will help clear and re-balance our Chakras, but when we add movement, we re-connect to ourselves, and etheric body.

EAT FEEL GOOD FOOD: What we put into our bodies to fuel us is super important, especially as Magickal practitioners. During Eclipse season you want to eat a lot of fruits, veggies, and high vibe, colorful foods; make sure to add spices and herbs where you can, and always look for ways to cut out foods containing excessive amounts of sugar. Nurture your body with foods that make YOU feel your best, and work at your best level. This is not a time to be hitting up the McD’s drive-thru; comfort your body with nutrients as you would comfort your Soul with meditation.

GET OUT IN NATURE: This is easier said than done right now, particularly because the heat index is crazy across more than half of the country. Even if you just go sit out in your garden for a few minutes in the early morning, and evening when the heat isn’t quite as intense. Or, go for a walk to the park, take a walk around your neighborhood/apartment complex. Find a way in your urban jungle. Then, find a spot where you can take your shoes off and get on the grass; this is two-fold, it grounds you and re-connects you to Mother. Nature is the best Spiritual cleanser in existence.

I know that nothing mentioned here is particularly special but, they are important reminders during a time when our minds seem to be scattered in a million pieces.

The lessons we are being forced to endure, and the changes we are being forced to accept are opening doors to huge opportunities, and new beginnings.

Embrace what’s to come.

Remember, destruction is a form of creation.

We got this.

You got this.

You are not alone.

WILD WOMAN WAR CRIES: Howl for Humanity

Ivy

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“Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estés

For the past decade, peaking in the last 3-4 years, there has been an uprising of the Wild Woman Archetype; people are waking up to their true nature and they are honoring that place within themselves by letting their wild run free.

What is it about this Wild Woman that gives us all the permission to be ourselves?

What is it about her that resonates with so many people, across so many cultures?

Why are we hearing her calls now?

Her howls echo and dance through the night like a serpent coiling its body through the Earth’s crevices.

The Wild Woman lives within us all, not just those of us who are or identify as Women; the Wild Woman is the voice deep inside of us that refuses to be silenced, or tamed.

She is the rumbling thunder in our chest, the fire burning in our Soul; she is the voice of reason and intuition, our connection to Mother.

Wild Woman, howl for me so that I may follow your voice back home.

If the past couple years have not proved to you that we are in midst of chaos, and mass change then you are not paying close enough attention.

Recent years have kicked our ass, and taken names.

I applaud the Universe for its ruthless approach; Kali would stand in glory at the destruction that’s leading to rebirth and change.

Years like these are catalysts for change within ourselves and the collective.

If you have not witnessed this change, if you have not felt this change within you then you should move out of the way because a wave of angry, awakened people is coming and we are going to be the ones kicking ass and taking names.

Illusions are being destroyed, divisive lies are becoming evident, false narratives are being blasted with truth and those of us aware enough to feel this shift are craving a simpler way of life; a re-wilding of sorts.

 

Earthing

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We are craving the dirt in our hands and Earth beneath our bare feet; we are craving the oceans, lakes and streams washing over our bodies—cleansing, purifying, baptizing us.

We crave to live like the Wild Woman; to heal our bodies and listen to the wisdom in our blood.

We crave to stand unapologetically in our power against a system that wishes to erase and belittle us.

We crave freedom.

We crave redemption.

We crave justice.

I first heard the Wild Woman’s call when a book was suggested and that book forever changed my life; Women Who Run with Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés became a bible for me.

The text was like a holy scripture of fire and I was in desperate need; that fire was the spark that ignited my flame.

Reading page after page became cathartic; it was like a voice from beyond reminding me who I am, and what I am capable of.

Our society is structured in a way that it oppresses certain groups of people, and if you happen to be in one of those marginalized groups, you forget who you are; they make sure you do.

It reminds me of how circus animals, or other show animals are broken so they “obey their master”. But, if you look closely even in the most desperate of cases and saddest of eyes, you can still see the wild glowing inside.

Wolf 3

That’s exactly how we are, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

The re-wilding has hit so many people that it is now effecting the collective and there is no way to stop it.

If I had to compare what I am seeing and feeling spiritually to something scientific, I would say this is like herd immunity: “general immunity to a pathogen in a population based on the acquired immunity to it by a high proportion of members over time.”

Except the pathogen we are becoming immune to is bullshit.

We will not be tamed, lied to, categorized, divided or beaten in to submission.

After such a long stretch in the darkness with seemingly no hope in sight for humanity, it is amazing to see the waves of enlightenment and illumination taking over.

We hit rock bottom and now Wild Woman is going to bring us home; back to a place we are meant to be, a place where we can run wild and free.

No master, no slave.

Wild Woman, howl for me.

LESSONS IN MAGICK: People Don’t Owe You Sh*t

Sh 2

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“Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.”

Criss Jami

We live in a “give me” society, so is it shouldn’t be surprising that this mentality has seeped over into the Magickal community.

Yet, here I am shocked and dismayed at what I have been witnessing lately.

Don’t get me wrong, freeloaders are not new to the Craft, but it does seem like their numbers have increased.

Add in the fact that a lot of newbies don’t want to put in the work; they want the title of Witch, they want the (often stereotypical) aesthetic of a Witch, but they don’t understand the verb Witchcraft (thanks Nikki for putting that so eloquently).

It’s true.

Witchcraft IS a practice.

Sure, it looks different for everyone, but this path requires work.

Your path requires you to put in the work.

You can read, and read and read, collecting all the information you can find (ie. Armchair Occultist);

You can ride on the coattails of someone else, and their experiences;

You can bounce from practitioner to practitioner presenting them with some sob story and asking them to do your bidding for you;

But, eventually, the Laws of Magick will force your hand, and you either shit or get off the pot.

You either put into practice the art of Magick, or you back the fuck away slowly and don’t try to make Sacred traditions trendy ever again.

I am obviously wound up writing this post and it’s because I am seeing a lot of entitlement lately.

On top of that, I have been witnessing paranoid people claiming every unpleasant event in life is Magickally related. I have also seen people asking for energy/thoughts/good vibes/assistance on a regular basis.

I want to address these topics.

Throughout my writing career I have expressed my opinions on these subjects individually, but there is a need for this to be said in one place.

This is one of my pieces where it could be received in a few ways, and I am sure I will ruffle some feathers; I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t.

Remember, if anything I say offends you, ask yourself, “Why am I offended?”

Your feelings have everything to do with you, and nothing to do with me.

I am but a reflection.

Hand

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First thing first, Witchcraft is a lifestyle.

For some people it’s a look, too, but at the core it’s a practice that we live, and breathe.

Philosophy varies from person to person, our Craft will as well, but the one thing that Witches have in common across the board is that they put in work to create the outcomes they want.

We play with the web of Wyrd.

We manipulate energy and bend it to our Will.

We are powerful, formidable creatures.

Knowing how much power we wield, it drives me nuts to see Witches who refuse to put in work. Not only do they refuse to put in work (for whatever reason) when work is required, they run to another Witch, and expect them to do their bidding.

We now are dealing with entitled, lazy Witches.

I absolutely love to help others, and I love to share my knowledge, but I will not, in fact, I refuse to do anyone else’s work for them.

I will help when needed, I will offer tricks and tips, but your path is yours to walk and the work is yours to do.

Stop looking for handouts.

Nobody owes you anything; not the world, not your job, not your fellow Witches.

Stop expecting Magickal work to be free.

You pay for services on your car, your home, your body, but when it comes to services for your Soul, you turn your nose up at it.

Or, you try and pull the “well, Witches of old never charged.”

We are not Witches of old, we are Modern Mystics and we have bills to pay.

Stop expecting results with no effort; that’s like expecting a reaction (outcome) with no action (intention).

You’re smarter than that.

Stop expecting Magick itself to be free.

Nothing is free.

Stop playing the victim.

You are only a victim if that’s how you write your narrative.

Own your shit. Face your shit. Transmute your shit. Level up.

It’s what the rest of us are doing.

You can’t take and take and take from people with zero regard for their well-being, and their own struggles.

We all have our battles to fight.

Don’t get so high on your horse that you believe yours are more important.

Ripple 2

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Secondly, life sucks. I am a professional pessimist, but even if I wasn’t, life would still suck. This is a fact that we must accept.

There are countless variables in play all around us at any given moment, to think we can or do have control over it all is insane.

Sometimes shit happens.

There is no profound lesson.

There is no Magickal attack.

There is no villain.

There is no “Karma”.

Life sucks.

Life is also crazy beautiful and amazing and should be enjoyed but if you think that every bump you hit in life is somehow Magickally related, you are going to be a paranoid, frantic, no energy having wreck.

Everything we do is Magick, but not everything done to us is.

So, take a deep breath, go with the flow.

Accept what is, don’t dwell on what isn’t.

Believe in yourself.

And, trust the process.

Rootsimage source

Third, I have been noticing people in groups I am, even people on my friend list who are constantly asking for energy of some sort. Whether it is good vibes, Magickal assistance, thoughts or whatever, their life is always in turmoil and they always need help.

I have an unpopular opinion that every single one of us is an energy Vampyr in one way or another, and if you look closely at the people around you, you will see what I mean.

I mean, *everything* is an energy exchange.

Like I mentioned above, I have no problem helping someone out—if I have seen they have put the work in.

I prefer people who need my help to approach me with nothing but brutal honesty, and transparency.

However, if it becomes a trend, or a common occurrence, it raises concern.

Why do you constantly need help and/or energy?

Why is your life constantly in turmoil?

Getting energy is as easy as walking outside and standing in the sun. I mean, it isn’t considered the Pranic center in Ayurverdic tradition for no reason; it’s a battery.

Use it.

We all need help occasionally and I am not knocking that AT ALL, but it shouldn’t be a regular thing. I shouldn’t be signing onto fb and seeing the same 10 people asking for energy because of *insert overly dramatic huge life event*.

Meanwhile, myself and everyone else I know have their own shit going on.

We are all trying to navigate the waters of life, and more times than not I am drowning right alongside some of the people I help.

So, I help where I can and feel the need to, I draw boundaries when it seems suspicious.

I separate genuine from the fake.

The people who have given up completely, or the ones who feel too entitled to get their hands dirty are the ones I can’t and don’t assist.

Refusing to get your hands dirty is worse than giving up because it means you won’t even try.

I am the first to admit that my life is chaotic, and messy, but so are the lives of everyone I know. For this reason I try to show compassion and empathy at all times.

We all have overflowing plates;

Life is about learning to balance it all.

RECLAIMING MY POWER: My Battle With Mental Illness

Mental

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

It’s no secret that the more personal I am on my blog the greater my personal gain is.

It’s almost like the deeper the wound and redder the blood the more the Gods take note and I start to reap the benefits of intense Shadow Work.

I don’t believe that the Gods are rewarding me, per se, but I do believe there is a correlation between facing oneself, speaking one’s truth and gaining freedom.

Real freedom.

The kind that can only be won by going to war with yourself.

You will know it when you experience it.

And the Universe will bow at your glory.

As much as I love writing, and love what I do, it’s hard work. It’s hard to sit down and face myself, face my thoughts, and my reflection.

It’s even more complicated when there are two sides to my being, and a constant battle raging internally.

You see, I have mental illness.

And it’s my belief that this is more a gift than curse.

I do not run from my madness anymore, and the reason for that is my practice and Shamanism (no, I am not on the Shaman path).

It was only through losing my mind that I gained any type of real perspective on life, the world or myself.

I ran into article after article, and book after book about the Shamanistic view of mental illness; the words that I read gave me power.

More than that, they granted me permission to take my power back.

I always knew I was different, such a cliché overused sentence but it really can’t be described any other way.

Although, I was able to lead a normal life until I was 25; I worked a normal job, at times I worked two jobs, and had a very active social life.

Then it all came to a screeching halt.

I have always been able to see beyond the veil and Spirits; my sight has always been available to me. I was a practicing Witch for many years, but I did not blossom until I died.

And that’s exactly what happened, I died.

Death

The old me did, anyway.

The whole mental breakdown itself happened pretty quickly and it caught not only me but my family by surprise. My Mom was the main witness to my “switch being turned on”. She said my aura changed, and I began to “vibrate” with a “dark matter”. She has even noted that my eyes, and facial features changed.

This switch of mine is usually hit because of emotional stresses, but it can be caused by low blood sugar (hangry!), anger which is more like rage, and because my fight or flight was tripped. If I am threatened that button is absolutely going to be hit.

I have come to call it my trauma trigger.

My trauma trigger is survival mode, it’s how I have survived for so long after all the abuse and pain I have experienced.

It reminds me of this quote by Ebonee Davis:

Ebonee

My mental illnesses showed up after I started to experience Chronic Pain, went through my hysterectomy and had a back injury.

Also, at the time I had recently gotten out of a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.

My life was a series of cataclysmic collisions of epic proportions.

In hindsight it seems that I experienced a soul wound because a piece of me left when I “woke up” to my true nature: chaos.

I compare myself and my world to Chaos because that’s what it is, that’s what I am;  yeah it sounds poetic but that’s really coincidence.

My mind is chaotic, my personality and my soul are too.

I am slightly neurotic, a perfectionist and obsessive about some things.

If my Cancer sun and Capricorn rising tell you anything it is that I am a contradiction, and there are literally two sides to me; I fight myself every second, of every day.

I admitted myself into a private mental health institute in 2010 and I wouldn’t change that experience, but I can tell you that I will never be locked up again.

After my little stay, I ended up being on 11 medication the ones I can remember are: Lithium, Adderrall, Risperidal, Klonopin, Minipress, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify and Gabapentin; I can’t remember the other 2. I only remember the number being 11 because when I started to “come back to self” I noticed that 11 was a prominent awakening number, and it was the Universe’s way of telling me to snap out of the sleep society put me in.

The signs are all around us, we must know where to look.

Those medications 8 years ago are why my thyroid has shut down and I have autoimmune issues now; the stress that the medications, along with my underlying health issues caused was too much for my body.

I have heavy amounts of a specific antibody in my blood now which causes a slew of health issues (Hashimoto’s).

I also have antibodies for what is known as “drug induced Lupus”. My Rheumotologist told me that I am not currently on any medication that would cause this, and he believes it is permanent damage from before.

Why am I telling this boring fucking story?

Because I am bringing my biggest demon to light and calling it out.

I am naming it and claiming it.

Once I do this, there is nothing that anyone can use against me.

And, I want people to know they aren’t alone battling their mental illness.

I want to remove stigmas.

I want people to know:

Mental illness doesn’t make you less than.

Mental illness doesn’t make you unworthy.

Mental illness doesn’t make you unlovable.

Mental illness does not define you.

Glass

My official diagnoses are BPD 2 (Bipolar Disorder 2), PTSD, ADHD, OCD, and Anxiety (Agoraphobia, General Anxiety and Social Anxiety).

I have done every type of therapy imaginable, and still to this day must manage myself with routine, coping skills, and mindfulness practices. My Spirituality has helped me tremendously as well.

Doctor’s didn’t help me, they drugged me and those poisons put in my body have damaged it permanently. I have been medication free, other than herbal supplements, for 5 years now.

Just because I do not (cannot) take medication does not mean I am anti-medication for everyone. I believe that modern medicine has its place, and I believe fully in the power of the right combination of medicine; it just wasn’t how my story was meant to be written.

When dealing with your health always listen to your body, always listen to your gut.

And, make sure you have an Advocate who can speak LOUDLY if necessary for you when/if Doctor’s and the system try to intimidate you.

Throughout the whole breakdown/awakening my life was in an uproar and I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt WORSE as time went by; then I started to become aware of the (serious) medication side effects.

The constant brain fog, sleep disturbances, weight gain, mood imbalances, etc. were unbearable.

I went through the worst withdrawal’s getting off those medications, and a majority were done at home. I did however seek out professional help for the benzo withdrawals because those are dangerous to come off alone.

My decision to detox at home was absolutely not a safe thing to do and I don’t recommend it, but the medical world had let me down, and I was not going to turn to them. I did my research, and then shut myself in my room and battled through; I had family around just in case.

And, again, I don’t recommend anyone going off their meds (it’s usually a sign of a manic episode to want to discontinue meds, but that was not the case for myself).

I let my Psychiatrist know what I was doing, after the fact, or well, during the act, but at that point there was not much he could do. I was never considered a threat to myself, or others, therefore I could not be forced to do anything. I was of sound mind and body.

My Doctor was the best, too.  He gave me a lot of my power back because it was through him that I found my way to discovering how mental illness is viewed in the Spiritual world.

If he had not pointed me in this direction I would be dead, and there is no doubt in my mind about that.

I didn’t write about this sooner because it’s a hard topic to talk about but also because I thought people would think less of me; that my word and wisdom would no longer be taken seriously (if it even is now) and all the negativity attached to mental illness would at once become attached to me, and that was a weight I could not bear.

So, I ran from it, but now I own it.

My mental illness does not define me; my power resides in my madness.

There is a fine line between sane and insane when it comes to this path, and I like to play jump rope with that line.

Two things I learned most from being mentally ill:

1. Change your perspective, change your life.

2. Crazy is relative.

Here is one of my favorite mental health articles:

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/08/shaman-sees-mental-hospital.html

WITCH, PLEASE: The Art of Not Giving a Magickal F*ck

Eyes

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“When we dislike someone, or feel threatened by someone, the natural tendency is to focus on something we dislike about the person, something that irritates us. Unfortunately, when we do this–instead of seeing the deeper beauty of the person and giving them energy–we take energy away and actually do them harm. All they know is that they suddenly feel less beautiful and less confident, and it is because we sapped their energy.”

James Redfield

For the last few years Shadow Work seems to be my entire existence; whether it is battling through my Shadow, the collective Shadow or helping to guide others through their’s, Shadow has been ever present all around me.

I am so aware of Shadow Work that it became a Course for The House of Twigs: School of Ritual.

A lot of people seem to think that because there is a beginning to our Shadow journey that there, too, must be an end.

But, is there?

In my opinion, no.

Just like I believe our Kundalini awakening to be a life-long event, after the Serpent’s initial rising, I believe Shadow Work is also life-long.

Once you have seen, tasted and existed within the depth of Shadow, there is no going back to the shallows of mundane life.

There is no more smiling through fake bullshit to avoid conflict or confrontation; there is no more biting your tongue to make someone else comfortable; there is no more apologizing for taking up space in this world; there is no more playing small in any regard.

Shadow Work demands us to step into ourselves and our power because the most important keys to collect on our journey dwell in abysmal places.

There is no more pretending because our Shadow simply does not allow us to do so.

There is no room for lies, masks or inauthenticity, only truth.

Shadow Work is about the understanding and acceptance of ourselves and our feelings, thoughts, emotions, actions and desires.

The key to this gritty work is honoring the less positive aspects of ourselves and our nature and learning to reconcile them.

panther

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I am going to digress for one moment because there IS a point I want to make with this piece, but you need a bit of backstory.

I have written about Witch Wars, and how ridiculous I find them to be; often they are meritless, ego driven temper tantrums with Magick involved, and they can be disastrous for both target and Magickian.

The target could potentially be faced with a Magickal attack; the Magickian will have to deal with the excessive use of energy, and if casted with too much uncontrolled emotion, they will have to deal with what I call “Magickal kickback”.

It isn’t karma or some three-fold law, it’s the idea that if our intentions are not clear, our mind not focused, and our aim not precise, the energy created could bite us in the ass.

I can’t believe I am about to use a gun analogy, but it’s effective for painting the picture.

A gun is a weapon, it can be used for protection and defense, but at the end of the day, it’s main purpose is to maim and/or kill; in many ways this is how baneful Magick should be viewed and respected (think of it as a last resort, not a first option).

Some of the higher-powered guns on the market have serious kickback (recoil) and can even blow your shoulder out of socket if not held properly.

So, yeah, you could still hit your target and harm them, but you also harmed yourself.

Get it?

I have seen the degree and frequency of Witch Wars lessen in recent months, but what has taken its place is almost as bad.

There seems to be a lot of petty gossip, evil eyes and hate being thrown around.

And, it’s all meritless; just like Witch Wars.

When we don’t like someone, why do we have to dramatize it?

Why do we have to become the victim in our own narrative to justify not liking someone?

When I don’t vibe with, or like someone, I am honest with them and myself about it.

I have had it backfire in my face a few times because people really can’t handle not being liked; it’s as if they would prefer the drama and gossip just so they can have something to hold onto.

“Well *this* is why they don’t like me. That bitch.”

Otherwise, they just can’t accept it.

I have had people try to ruin my career because I was open and honest about not vibing with them; I clearly explained my feelings, wished them well, and they still wanted to bring me down.

Talk about petty.

There are tons of things in life I don’t like, and no one ever asks for in-depth, psychological reasons as to why.

There are certain foods, clothes, textures, seasons, animals, crystals, herbs, you name it; there is literally SO MUCH that I don’t like, and it’s accepted without question.

When it comes to people though, we can’t just say, “Oh, yeah, I know them, we aren’t friends; just didn’t get along but I wish them well!”

It simply isn’t accepted.

People start digging, fishing, stirring and conjuring to the point where sometimes we take on this created drama as our reality.

What sense does any of this make?

Key

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And, this is one of the keys to not only Shadow Work but to Magick:

It’s okay to choose yourself over others.

Read that again: own it, accept it, live it.

Then understand this:

It’s okay to admit you don’t like someone.

It’s okay to not quite know why, either; always go with your intuition– your first instinctual thought.

I’ve become friends with some of the people I didn’t initially like; I’ve talked about my theory of this many times in the past. As a defensive reaction, I don’t usually like authentically strong Witches upon first meeting.

On the flip side,  I’ve seen my intuition nail the character of a person to a T and without exaggeration, it saved me.

Everything is energy, and Witches are some of the most energetically complex creatures created; to expect that we will always get along, and like one another is naivety at its finest.

To protect yourself, your space, and your Magick, you must be choosey with who you allow to get close and see your inner workings of Self.

Accepting that it’s okay to not like someone because their energy rubs you wrong is the epitome of Self Preservation.

Talking shit and projecting your insecurities because you don’t like someone, or they don’t like you, is the epitome of childish.

There’s enough space for us all to exist.

I generally am polite when confronted by people asking why I don’t like them, why we became distant, or why I won’t accept their friend request; I try to always be consciously aware of the words I use with others because, in truth, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

So, I lessen the blow with positive affirmations, and then lay it on them that our energy just doesn’t compliment each other’s.

But, the clear and simple answer is:

Because I don’t have to.

I don’t have to be friends with everyone.

I don’t have to like you just because you like me, or because we have mutual friends, or interests in common.

I don’t have to like everyone, and neither do you; it’s unrealistic to think otherwise.

We are responsible for the protection of our energy.

We are also responsible for the words we speak and actions we carry out.

Ask yourself,

Are you proud of your words and actions?

Are they warranted?

As Witches we are even more responsible for our words and actions than the average person because we carry Magick.

We ARE Magick.

And Magick can both heal and harm.

Choose wisely.

(Thumbnail Image: Marius Sperlich)