Something a bit different this week: Black Orchid Alchemy

I’ll be back next week with the Justice card but today I wanted to talk about something I’ve developed that also uses Tarot Therapy to help with mental health issues, especially Depression.

But first, a brief backstory. I was around 9 years old when I first experienced Depression. Of course, back then, we didn’t know children could have Depression so my Doctor decided that the stomach pain I was experiencing was psychosomatic.

Now we know that psychosomatic stomach pain in children is a symptom of clinical Depression. I’d also experienced sexual abuse by then, and the loss of a parent when I was 6 years old. Plus, the Depression gene was present in my family. All 3 of these are indicators that childhood Depression can develop.

Yup. I’m a textbook case. Boring really.

I grew up being told I was too emotional, that I had no sense of humor and that I “had to do everything the hard way.” 

But, the Depression didn’t really hit me hard until my early 20’s when I sobered up for a while and realized that things were really not right.

Long story short, I’m now 52 years old, at the time of writing, I have a BA in Psychology and I’ve worked in mental health, alcohol and other addiction services for over 25 years.

And I’ve spent every one of those days living with the demon Depression.

But, it wasn’t until my early to mid 40’s that I began to make a real change. That was when I shifted from coping and living with Depression to thriving with Depression and living a fulfilled life.

Like many life-changing experiences, it started with a major drama. I won’t go into details here but I reached a point when I had to face something that was absolutely devastating for me. 

And through that, I had to make a conscious decision about whether or not I was going to give in to my Depression or create a meaningful life in spite of it.

Obviously I chose the latter. And I continue to choose it. And yes, it really does need to be an active decision.

I began with writing. I knew I had to get rid of the massive emotions I was experiencing  before they turned inward and ate me up. There was a lot of misery in me, and anger, and I knew that shit didn’t mix well with mental illness such as Depression.

So, I started writing. I wasn’t ready to write specifically about my situation yet, so I wrote a novel. A vampire novel. About childless women. Within a chapter or two, I had rediscovered my love for writing.

Writing was something I’d forgotten about since the demon grabbed hold of me. I was still well known for having a thing for writing lists, but that was about it. I’d forgotten the sheer joy of telling a story.

I had a reason for getting out of bed in the morning.

Something I was passionate about, a place I could share all the things that Depression and the rest of my life had taught me. Something that could maybe help other people as well. 

Sidenote: As of now, (another long story short) I’m writing my novel again from scratch. It’s the same novel but a better read now that I’ve had some experience. Anyhoo, if you’re keen to follow the progress, I’m releasing it as I write it, so one or two pages every week and you can follow along with it here.

Anyhoo, from that experience, of going from complete and utter despair to thriving and purposeful, came the first seeds of Black Orchid Alchemy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cured. Not by a long shot. I still experience shit days, I still take my antidepressants, and I am still militant about sticking to my self-care. But nowadays, I’m living WELL with my Depression rather than waiting for it to disappear. Like the miraculous “recovery” my medical team kept talking about.

I know my Depression isn’t going away, but now I also know that I’m the fucking boss of it! It’s not the boss of me. Not anymore.


Black Orchid Alchemy is the membership I created that contains information, tips and tutorials on all the elements that helped me get to now, the point where I see my Depression as a gift.

Tarot therapy, shadow work, dream work, essential oils, crystals, meditation and so much more are contained within the membership site. We also do live zoom calls, every week, I email journal prompts to each member every morning (7 days a week) and we have a chat forum so that we can share ideas and ask questions.

You can use the site simply as an information library: I add to it every week. Or you can go one step further and create your own novel. Or a piece of art, a garden, a sculpture, a meal, an outfit, whatever you want really. I call this “Creating a Creature of Fucking Beauty.” (CFB)

A CFB is anything that you create that uses your Depression as a muse. It’s the thing that excites you, your passion, your reason for getting out of bed and in many cases, your reason for staying alive.

I can’t tell you what your CFB is, but I can help you to find it. That’s one of the other reasons for Black Orchid Alchemy’s existence. 

And look, I didn’t believe it was possible either.

I didn’t believe I could ever have a happy life AND have Depression. But I did. I do. And so can you.

My 3rd and perhaps most important reason for creating Black Orchid Alchemy is my mission to reduce the global suicide rate to zero.

I’m offended by our suicide rate.  Globally and in my country, NZ, it’s far too high. And by that I mean, even 1 suicide is too many. It’s unnecessary. It doesn’t need to happen.

I believe that we can stop people wanting to die by celebrating our differences. By embracing those things that are unique about us, which are usually the things that other people judge us for. 

I believe that we can stop suicide by creating humans that live in a society where expressing their own feelings is normal, even celebrated, rather than forcing people to hide what’s really going on for them.

I believe that we can stop suicide, we can eliminate the need for it, by educating others on how to feel better about themselves while educating the (getting smaller) group of people who have never experienced Depression about what it’s really like. Not just sadness but all the other symptoms and consequences as well. 

I believe with all my being that this is possible. 

Black Orchid Alchemy is looking for members. We have two tiers and two financial options available. You can check it out here.

And please, if you know anyone who might benefit from Black Orchid Alchemy and what we do in there, share this post and/or the link.

Black Orchid Alchemy Logo
Fiona Tate, AKA the Depression Muse, is a Lilithian Witch, Writer, and Mental Health Mentor. She’s on a mission to reduce the global suicide rate to zero through her Mental Health Membership Site: Black Orchid Alchemy. Follow this link to receive a free copy of her book Depression Sucks. You can also sign up to receive new installments of her online vampire novel: The Childless Mother.

LESSONS IN MAGICK: How Do I Do Shadow Work?

A lot of people talk about doing Shadow Work but they don’t explain how to do that. I’ve been doing Shadow Work since I was a teen, never realizing that’s what I was doing. I simply wanted to deconstruct things that I saw in myself that I knew weren’t healthy for me overall. Some I held onto longer than others as a crutch to protect myself until I was in a good place. Some I simply chose to never let go for whatever reason.

If you’re struggling with how to do Shadow Work, here are some prompts to start delving into yourself. Be 100% honest with yourself. It’s ok, no one will see this but you. But it’s important to really call yourself out on things. It’s the only way to get to where and who you want to be.

This is something I’m doing in order to be mentally and emotionally stronger to continue my path in La Regla de Ocha or as it’s commonly known, Santeria / Lukumi / IFA. I don’t want any internal things holding me back from where I will eventually be. External influence is one thing, internal influence is one you can work on intensely.

So here are the prompts. I wish you luck and healthy behaviors. Don’t be afraid of what you find within yourself. This is how to crack yourself open and remove that which doesn’t serve you well.

Shadow Work Prompts

* What are your triggers and what caused them?
* Is there anyone you hold a grudge against? If so, what is holding you back from letting go and moving on?
* Do you feel misunderstood? If yes, what misconceptions do people have of you?
* What do you dislike about yourself most?
* What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done and why did you do it?
* Are you happy with where you are in your life? Is there anything that you can do to improve it?
* Was your childhood negative or positive? Outline the most prominent memories that you have of your younger years.
* What is your relationship like with your family? Has your connection strengthened since you were a child or has it gotten worse?
* What are your parent’s best and worst personality traits? Do you see any of them within yourself?
* Who are you closest to in your life and do they positively reflect who you are? Are you holding on to people that don’t deserve your time and affections? Are you honestly happy in your relationships?
* Are you comfortable in your skin? If there is something that you would like to change about yourself, what is it and why?
* Do you lie to yourself to avoid addressing your fears?
* What characteristics and traits do you dislike in others?
* When are you hardest on yourself and why?
* What emotions do you tend to avoid?
* Do you enforce boundaries with others or are you the type to let people cross lines?
* How did you deal with trauma in the past and what do you do to combat it in the present?
* Are you 100% yourself around others? Do you put on a persona or mask to blend into the crowd? Do you know who you are?
* Do you forgive yourself when you have done something wrong? When you make mistakes can you move on from them or do they continue to hurt you?
* What are your toxic traits?
* Are you happy to be alone in your own company? Do you use other people to fill a void?
* Do you respond well to constructive criticism? Are you over-sensitive to any form of feedback?
* Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable in your romantic relationships? Do you put up walls around yourself and your partner or are you completely open?
* Do you accept yourself as you are?
* What is your deepest, darkest fear?
* Is there anyone in your life that you are competitive with? If yes, what caused this rivalry?
* Do you feel as though people respect you?
* What is your biggest regret and why?
* Do you have any unhealthy attachments or habits? What are you doing to curb them and why have you continued to entertain them?
* Do you practice self-care? Is there more that you could be doing for your wellbeing?


30 Shadow Work Prompts