A-dress me, Witches

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

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

All that being said… it began with a dress.

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

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

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

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

Selkie

“I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

I have learnt

From my mistakes,

It took a life time or two,

I swam to shore,

Gave it my all,

The reason being you.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

I was burnt

My actions blurred

Naked and alone

I gave up to much

Against the rocks

My nimble body thrown.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

The tears I wept

The blood I spilt

My essence rough and dry

I longed for love,

And scaled the depths

Reaching for the sky.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

Now I steal away

In the dead of night

My skin clasped, oh so tight,

I leap the cliff

Into my waves, knowing,

I will be alright.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.”

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

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

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

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

Travel well through the Otherworlds, Starlets

Joey Morris

Walking with the Morrigan in Twilight Groves

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I have awoken to the cawing of Crows again, against the barely lit white-washed walls that slump inward unto themselves.
The world shudders with an ice in its heart, and the crows are all stirred up, for the spiritual ecosystem is charged as a broken system lets out its death throes.
Archaic old dictators vie for control, but it slips under their fingernails as the ashes kiss the wind, and I hear Her, ushering in change, tempestuous and unyielding, stalking the grounds like a phantom seeking blood.
Every mirror reflects these cracks, the old and wearied that clings and breaks, the brittle notion of conformity.
The Dark Goddess rises.
The Morrigan rises from deep in the Earth, splitting it twain with a revelation of quaking, emerging beautiful and terrible, her blade slipping from its sheath to deliver the final blow.
I see Her, glorious, those dark raven eyes peering into the bones of my soul, knowing who I am, who I have been, and who I am becoming.
I follow the long shadow of her cape that scatters ink soot feathers across the dirt-trod path, weaving in and out of the liminal spaces between trees and Earth.
Shifting, ever shifting, I follow the path of my Goddess, my Mother, She who saved my life and gave it back to me, over and over.
The Morrigan who has split me in twain and sewn me up, over, and over again, who knows my breaking, my bleeding.
But above all my rising.
My consciousness flits in and out with every breath, visible in the cold that pierces my skin, as we journey ever on.
The chorus of the Corvids peaks, a chatter that drowns out all others, as we reach the threshold once more.

The Morrigan in sacred places.
In time worn groves long forgotten, set to the torch or knife by man, a forest now only of ghosts and memory. Their ancient wisdom held in this place, a testament to when the world was wilder, before this vicious cycle had taken full root and plagued the Earth.

She sits, perched in the centre against a stump covered in moss, and the light bends around Her, defusing through the thick branches that gnarl around one another in greeting.
The very trees speak; a rustle of leaves, a groaning of bark. What secrets they held and hold still, here in the most sacred of places.
Long talons tap against Her blade, screeching in the most uncomfortable of ways, beckoning approach or else retreat.
Knowing this dance, how could I ever call myself Hers if I fled? Never once have I ran from Her, nor denied Her.
I have screamed in rage, in pain, in desperation as Her lessons have broken my spine and stretched my ragged breath thin – but I have never deserted.
Which is why I am here.
Again.
It is time for the last breath of this cycle, a rebirthing, a cleansing from the stagnancy of the outdated, and so, surrounded by feathers and roots, I walk forth, to the waiting eyes of The Morrigan.

Would the talons rake my skin again, I wondered, how deeply would the lesson splinter?
“The world is changing,” She croaks, in that voice outside of time, it mists in and outside of my head, “There is death all around, and the drums are howling, men will try to devastate this Earth once more.”

I cannot deny it has been in my waking thoughts, wondering about the shape of things to come. Knowing that we have all been staring out into the unknown abyss for some time, scuttling for safety like rats on a sinking ship. Chaos has been reigning, and it is not done yet.
The Morrigan simply shifts Her shape within the red mist, collecting the broken, ciphering souls to the Otherworld and on.
Holding the memories within Her, always. Honouring the Dead.

Her hand is on my head, and She weaves Her fingers across my body, forming a sort of armour, all gold and shifting, parts blacker than volcanic soil, glinting with a temporal shift. “There is much to come. Much to do. Much to defend,” She croaks, and I wonder at that.

As the world falls apart and reknits itself, as ever it has done, I wonder about the guiding hand of The Morrigan, and She smiles in that way I know, all red lipped and fanged, where Her Will is undeniable.
None can withstand it. She will come in ferocious as a tide of change, and all will be scattered to the wind.

When it is not safe, who will love me still?” She asks.
My heart aches at that, a single tear falls, for I will.
And to that I shall always hold – and She knows.

In the deepest recesses of those eyes that shimmer with deathlessness, She Knows.

Fashion woman posing near the sea. Dark Queen.

There are so many arguments swirling around as to who deserves to discuss the Morrigan, so many would-be dictators that attack as soon as they feel power slipping from their grasp.
Mirroring the world at large by seeking to dominate, and crush others under their heel, in the name of a Goddess who was never about cruelty.
Only the Christianizing hand sought to paint her thus.
For Morrigan is ancient, primal, powerful – the ever-shifting shape of Sovereignty and Evolution.
You cannot control change, for it seeps in at the corners when you’re dreaming and before you know it takes root in the ground.
The Crow wings bring gusts together and the old system falls, the new Sovereign is crowned, and only the Land remembers.
Humans forget quickly, and with purpose, but the Spiritual Ecosystem holds every truth that ever was, reflecting the course of human memory.
A thousand people believing that they were the one to whom power belonged, and the shadows grew under each of their eyes as they poisoned themselves inside out.
You cannot hold onto power, for that is merely borrowed, and the day comes when it will be returned.
All things fall.
Power instead lies in the resolute conquering only of oneself, to embody the Sacred grove within your soul, and know that to all things there is a cycle. We are nature reflected unto itself, and that makes the disconnect from it all the more painful.
The need to control the narrative is born from a complete lack of understanding that we are all the narrative, memory, and the stories we weave, are all sacred in the Spirit realm.
The Morrigan holds them in her throat, and utters forth prophecy and regales battle worn spirits with tales remembered.
She is in the Land, and the Sea, and the Sky. She walks between all the realms of existence, and ushers in change at every meeting.

You can no more control Her than the shifting wind, or the depths of the Ocean.
It is folly to try.

Move well through the Otherworlds, Starlets
Joey Morris

WITCH OF THE WEEK: Joey Morris

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Today’s pick for Witch of the Week is a friend and colleague. She is Owner and Creatrix of Starry Eyed Supplies, as well as a fellow writer for The House of Twigs alongside myself, as well as Carolyn Elliotts’s WITCH.

Joey Morris is a UK based Celtic Witch, Creatrix, Spiritual Youtuber and blogger, daughter of The Morrigan. She works very closely with tree magick and spends much of her time communing and foraging within the spiritual ecosystem.

This connection allows her to practice voice witchery and conduit for the Otherworld.

She has just recently self-published her first book, Songs of Shades-Channeling the Dark Goddess.

“Wild. Ancient. Carefree. Who were we as witches before we learnt what the world told us to be?”
Joey Morris

As Joey says, “To become a tempered blade of The Morrigan, one must be baptized in blood and fire. These struggles within my lifetime have led me to become a voice for the voiceless, to reach out to the broken, and to poke the shadows in others so that they might begin to heal.”

“Such a path is dangerous. But so are we. This is the birth of a wild witch who sees with their ‘Other eyes’ and treads the path of edges, sharp and unusual, but filled with adventure, magick of the liminal and the in-between spaces.”
Joey Morris

She continues, “Within the spiritual landscape my soul mission is to deepen the understanding of our interconnectedness by both honoring the sacred and exploring the masks of the self through channeling relationships to the Divine through written work, poetry, videos, products and services.”

For exclusive content, check out her Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/starryeyedlillady

Business Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/StarryEyedSupplies

While I had a moment of her time, I wanted to ask Joey some questions so we can all get to know her better.

Q. You have this amazingly rare ability to transform your past, pain, trauma and insecurities into beautiful prose and poetry that inspires others. It isn’t easy to sit in the dark and dissect yourself, and why you are the way you are. I think I see it so clearly in you because it’s how I create, too. What’s some advice you could give to people struggling with those aspects of themselves? Struggling to face those aspects? Something maybe you wished you had known beforehand?

A. I honestly think the first step is forgiveness of self. The world, and we, ourselves, often blame ourselves for our experiences, and as such we are ashamed of them. The world encourages this dialogue as well, with victim-blaming and shaming being all too prevalent in our world. The first step in alchemizing difficulty for myself was the rejection of these so-called values; we instead start a path of reclaiming ourselves; firstly as the survivor, and we can take pride in the accomplishment of surviving our hardships, our pain. We can rally others in this warrior stance by beating our chests and letting our war cries sound forth; they did not beat us. We are still here. We remain.

“This is only the first step though, as we cannot define ourselves as survivors forever, eventually we must become more than that; more ourselves, celebrating ourselves for the rich, authentic and unique little weirdos that we are.

“As for wishing I knew something beforehand, I am not sure I would wish to. The journey is just that; a collection of experiences that shape us as we grow. Foreknowledge wouldn’t be beneficial in that process to me.”

Q. You have strong ties to the Celtic Pantheon and even stronger connections to the Morrigan Herself. She, like other Dark Goddesses, seems to be “popular” during these times of turmoil, change and uncertainty. What is it about the Morrigan and other Goddesses like Her do you think is resonating with people the most? What is it about Her that resonates with you the most, if not too personal to ask?

A. “For myself, the Morrigan was always there, and was the Mother archetype that I wished I had growing up. Some people hiss at calling the Morrigan a ‘mother’ because of outmoded stereotypes of what a mother should be. But for me she was unyielding, resilient, inspiring… I never felt that She did not care, but She was certainly not nurturing in the conventional sense. Instead She saw the raw truth of people, spoke to that in them, rallied them from despondency or apathy.

“I am not certain if Dark Goddesses are more popular than they have ever been or simply more visible. There has certainly been a growing dialogue publicly about the Morrigan and other Dark Goddesses, for better or worse. When I started discussing the Goddess on Morrigan it was -to my knowledge – myself and Laura Daligan who spoke on these experiences, and that has grown tenfold since.

“Before recently I wondered if it was that times were worse now than they had been; history has had some much more violent moments on grander scales than even we have currently, but sadly it feels as though we are now heading into a recycling of some of the worst parts of that history with current politics.

“Although whether these Goddesses are more prominent because we feel war is coming and so we turn to them, or they came forth as these energies arose and we notice them more, is anyone’s guess. I would suggest both are likely.”

Q. And, finally, easy question with a not so easy answer: what’s one piece of Witchy advice you would give to someone just starting out that you wish you had been told?

“Not everyone will like you, or have your best interests at heart, so go into this path with hope and enthusiasm but your eyes open too. Be yourself.”

Joey’s ability to turn pain into lessons, and bring her demons to light is a gift many people don’t have; her ability to turn Ancient knowledge and apply it to our modern day is just as rare.

It’s for these reasons, and so many more that she has been chosen as The Nephilim Rising’s Witch of the Week.

Congratulations, Joey.