RANTINGS OF A MAD WITCH: Gatekeepers Be Gone!

GK1I urge anyone reading this to read the piece in its entirety before commenting or passing judgment.

I write this knowing full well the backlash that I will face, but at this point it’s go hard or go home, and what I am about to say is going to be hard for many to swallow.

The inspiration for this blog is this delightful gatekeeping bullshit meme that has been making the rounds:

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I want to make a few points and cause a few waves.

I am the first person to admit that humor is a key to life, and the Craft.

We must be able to laugh at ourselves, otherwise, the world will laugh at our expense.

Does that make sense?

The more you learn to have a thick skin and laugh at your own mistakes and the fuckery of life, the more you will be able to handle the world’s criticism.

And, trust me, the world always something to say.

Especially when it comes to someone else’s opinion or way of life.

Ah, the fucking irony.

I don’t think the above meme is funny though, I think it only further divides us and makes our community look completely uninviting.

It was for me—uninviting, I mean.

The community DID NOT accept me, and I was forced to create my own space.

Covens can be intimidating to Witches that are inherently Solitary; not everyone wants to be part of a Coven, or group.

So, the division this meme creates is issue number one.

Again, I am in favor of making fun of ourselves but this is gatekeeping.

You can have that.

GK3

The second thing is that this meme doesn’t consider accessibility.

This issue came up when the whole Sephora Witch Kit shit show went down, and people were up in arms.

Not everyone has access to buying things on the internet.

Maybe they don’t have a bank account yet, or they live with parents/family and can’t have packages sent to their house because their mail is opened (illegal or not, shit happens).

Then there are the people who are hearing the collective call to wake up, but they don’t quite know what that means yet, what it looks like, or how it will manifest.

A Sage bundle at Whole Foods, a crystal at TJ MAXX, or a tapestry at Pier 1 might help them on their journey—might trigger something in their memory.

The Witch IS the tool, I know that, many of you know that, but that knowing comes with time and practice.

Heck, even after all my years of practice, I still like using tools; ambiance, and focus and all.

Overharvesting of herbs, and ethical sourcing of minerals is a concern, and a valid one; not only the effects it has on Earth, but HOW the crystals are mined.

You would be surprised to hear that many of the big chain stores do ethically source their products; other’s do not.

You must research anything you buy, that’s your responsibility as a consumer regardless if we are talking Witch tools, or food you feed your family.

Obviously, in an ideal world we would be able to trust all sellers, but that simply isn’t the case.

Do your research.

GK2

The next point is something that so many Magickians are missing.

The use of herbs/botanicals, gemstones, Sacred Geometry and the like are all forms of Low Magick—not everyone aspires to be a High Magickian, not everyone is about ceremonial Magick; some are about dirt and bone, blood and earth.

Some are all of these and more.

Magick, and the Craft—how we experience them and how we practice is so vast, so unique that it almost cannot be quantified or individualized.

We all have our own experiences, our own reality and we all found our way to this path some way, somehow.

I think the further we go into the Abyss, and the longer we walk our path, we forget how we started.

We forget where we started and how we stumbled.

I was raised with my Mother teaching me the Old Ways to wash out the Catholicism my Father was attempting to teach me.

But it wasn’t until I was 12 and watched The Craft that I willingly approached my Mom with real interest, and at that point was gifted my first Tarot Deck, and my whole world changed.

As they say, the rest is history.

Not everyone has supportive parents, and with the boom Witchcraft is experiencing in Hollywood, you can expect a lot of young Witches to start waking up.

Also, the collective is breeding rebels.

That’s another post entirely though.

These baby Witches could benefit from having tools accessible in big chain stores.

GK4

Another point, someone commented on this meme saying that “having the girls who bullied, tormented and threatened to burn them alive in high school now call themselves Witches is a slap in the face”.

That is a valid point, and a valid wound.

High School fucking sucks.

It has sucked for everyone since the beginning of time.

And, yes, it is super irritating to see the people who taunted you for being authentic back then, claim to be a Witch now.

I get it.

Maybe we should approach with a bit of compassion though, instead of pain.

Maybe they grew as a person and they really are a Witch.

Maybe they are using the aesthetic as if it’s a trend.

That’s not for you to judge nor is it your weight to carry and it’s only a slap in the face if you give that hand power.

Witchcraft, and Spirituality in general have become trends, they are commodities for sale; they have been for decades now.

Read it again, and let it fucking burn because it DOES BURN.

It fucking sucks to see our Craft become watered down and commercialized to make it more palatable for the masses.

But, on the flip side, it’s empowering to see it become mainstream and hopefully, slowly, breakthrough the lies and stigmas told about us.

I see a new wave of Witches waking up, and I embrace them with open arms.

We all must start somewhere, and who cares where that starting point is?

When did we become so rigid about who we allow in our ranks?

Last time I checked Witchcraft is a personal practice.

And, an individual’s personal practice is not open to public interpretation, or prosecution.

Live and let live.

And for those who want to proclaim that their path is Sacred, so is mine.

I have put blood, sweat and tears into my Craft and it’s my lifeline; I don’t think it is something that is free for the taking, and that’s the beauty of the Craft.

Yes, people may find it buying Sage at Whole Foods, but the Craft itself, the Magick and egregore that Witchcraft carries, will weed out the real over the fake, you needn’t worry.

There will always be parts of the Craft that will remain hidden, and known only to those who truly walk the path of the Old Ways.

We cannot bring down this patriarchal system, these misogynistic religions unless we are unified, and we cannot be unified if we are distracted gossiping and judging each other and where we buy our tools.

We’re better than this.

Blessed Are the Witches.

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

Serenity 1

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In layers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serenity 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serenity 3

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here we go.

Hood

To Purchase Raw Rose Quartz Shown Here

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

Dead

To Purchase Turtle Bone and Purple Labradorite Pendant Shown Here

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

Persephone

To Purchse Temple of Goddess Persephone Aura Spray Shown Here

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

Snake eye

To Purchase the Moonlit Shadow Self Pin Shown Here

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

Poison

To Purchase The Hedgewitch Herbal Grimoire Shown Here 

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

Bella

To Purchase Belladonna Spirit Amulet Shown Here

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

Witch

To Pre-order The Witches Talisman Shown Here

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

Nightshade

To Purchase Hecate Essential Oil Perfume Shown Here  

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

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

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

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

Blessed Are The Witches.

 

 

LESSONS IN MAGICK: The Plutonian Healer

Pluto

 

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

Franz Kafka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will feel lighter.

Your trauma will melt away.

Your vision will become clearer.

You will become Spiritually Enlightened and Awakened.

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

They need the comfort and discomfort of the Womb.

They need a journey to the Underworld.

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

Enter the Plutonian Healer.

Skull

Pluto is the God of the Underworld in Roman mythology.

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

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

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

It’s okay to need or want help.

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

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

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

The choice is always, always yours.

The power is always yours.

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

What does it even mean?

Does it mean this person is superior?

*ego talking here*

“No one rules over me! Ahhh!”

*raises fists*

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

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

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

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

Pluto 2

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

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

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

I take people on a journey to the Underworld.

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

A torchbearer.

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

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

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

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

Lux in Tenebris

RANTINGS OF A MAD WITCH: The Great Divide

Leaves 2

 

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

Suzy Kassem

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

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

This divisive narrative has bled into all areas of life.

And, yes, that includes Magick.

I always looked to the Witch community for inspiration.

For hope.

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

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

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

Carrying on…

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

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

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

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

Leaves1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can’t have it both ways though.

We are either an inclusive community or we are not.

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

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

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

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

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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

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“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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Otherwise, live and let live.

Rolling your eyes when necessary helps, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which is a win I will take.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our intuition is our compass, use it freely.

Angela

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

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

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

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

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

To have that be your introduction?

It’s arrogant as fuck.

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

Power is quiet, too.

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

We should be like that.

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

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

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

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

THEY DO NOT DEFINE YOU.

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

COVENS DO NOT HOLD ALL THE POWER.

You hold the power.

You decide how to use it.

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

Stormy

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

THIS IS REAL!

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

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

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

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

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

It makes me fucking laugh.

Their worth is put into numbers and an algorithm.

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

What would they do then?

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

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

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

That’s an actual quote.

And, this happened not once, but TWICE.

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

What a herd mentality.

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

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

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

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

I will carry that with me forever.

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

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

Even still, we are judged because of them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE POWER OF PERSEVERANCE: The Story of PTSD and Me

Depression

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

Laurell K. Hamilton

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

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

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

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

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

This is a follow-up of sorts.

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

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

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

Let’s rewind for a minute.

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

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

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

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

They labeled me as “self-medicating”.

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

A druggie.

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

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

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

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

I walked out before even seeing a Doctor.

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

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

WHAT?

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

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

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

I left that appointment so, so discouraged.

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

Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

And, it’s costly. Very, very costly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will say:

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

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

It’s why I can’t be touched.

It’s why I don’t like loud noises.

It’s why my nightmares torment me.

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

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

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

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

This has quite literally changed my life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I did it, so can you.

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

Don’t give up, Warrior.

Keep fighting.

WITCH OF THE WEEK: The House of Twigs

 

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This week’s Witch of the Week is a friend, Sister Witch, personal inspiration, and my Boss over at THoT.

Erika Fortner, founder and Head Mistress of The House of Twigs, has been a Tarot reader, Witch, medium and Psychic for 23+ years. She is also the Head Mistress and Curator of THoT: The School of Ritual.

She is an Artist with a BFA from Pratt Institute and has an extensive fine Art background in NYC with one of the top Artists in the world working with museums such as the MOMA and Guggenheim as well as living in Berlin, Germany and Venice, Italy.

She is the owner and main Creator of Keven Craft Rituals lifestyle products including the only maker of their handmade skincare products, organic goods, metaphysical, and home & hearth items.

She is an eclectic energy worker (Reiki master as well as other healing modalities) Shamanic/folklore Witch; specializing in her own style of in-depth Tarot reading, crystal work, and channeling.

She favors the Morrighan, Isis, Hecate, Freya, and Cernnunos. Erika’s inspiration of ritual comes from many areas, including her family lineage which connects to the first Kings of Ireland, Queen Maeb, the King of the Picts, as well as connections with the Welsh Lewellyn family, the Scottish McLaughlins, De Forsythe and McCloud clans.

She has worked for the Psychic Friends network while in Brooklyn before deciding the ethos of the company didn’t align with her practice.

She now has her roots planted in Oregon with her partner and daughter.

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Q. You have created a Sacred space known as The House of Twigs; a family of Witches that I am honored and blessed to be a part of. Where did the idea for the brand come from? What made you want to create a space where Witches of all different paths could voice their opinions and experiences? And, where did the name come from? I, of course, love the play on words with the slang word Thot and how you took the power back; was that intentional?

A. “To be honest, I have been a member of Witchvox since 1995 when I started my path. I was pretty computer savvy and found an online community very quickly. It looks almost exactly the same as it did then! It has a ton of information on there, but it is still almost impossible for my brain to navigate. My life and business partner Tad grew up in the mid-west and had very little exposure on where to find information. It led him to attempt working with some pretty advanced and non-recommended books of spells and concepts. Since we both come from a visual background, it made sense to create something visually appealing and content curated; the visual aspect was based on our original idea from a few years before. We did not have the time or the funds to get it off the ground. We wanted to create something that looked more like Vogue for the witchy community, but with more real content; something that had great imagery and great content that was both inspiring and relative to its readers.

“The name was a collaboration between Tad and I. He has been working with the Film and TV world as well as branding since before I met him. He wanted to create something timeless, that expressed the collection of a community but under a “house”, sort of like the Harry Potter world we all love but know isn’t the way this witch world works.

“As for the acronym, THoT, it was something that we saw was a possible issue, but not  deterrent. I have always been someone who challenges the mainstream and simultaneously doesn’t follow pop-culture so when I saw the connection with the slang word Thot, I laughed. I laughed hysterically. How ‘simpatico’ as they say.

“A shunned community of predominately women who are both desired and marginalized. Why not take the word back we thought? The word will die-out but this community would not. Occasionally I get messaged about the connection acting like I must not know what it means. But yes, I get it and I don’t care.

“The logo was also inspired and designed by Tad Ericson. It contains a pentacle that forms a house but also contains hidden sigils that make sense for this type of community. He did a great job making a timeless logo and brand of the company and what it represented. It is a collection of individuals that make up a greater community. We have recently made this something that could be monetized through the school but the main concept was never about money as much as it was providing a single place to find people and information. From there each individual has a link to their site so if you resonate with one writer, you know exactly where to find them and get more info.

“The school aspect of the community in the early stages was a concept we didn’t know how to do. We wanted to create a space where people already had this amazing content and we could help connect those people with that content. With the addition of the school we have taken on the tech and financial burden of hosting a complex online school integration where some of the best teachers and writers could share their content.

“This allows the piece for each contributor to be much more accommodating because the structure and e-commerce on every site would be very expensive and spread out onto many sites. It is a much more in-depth process to become an instructor and means a ton more work (as you know with your newest Luciferian Course that is soon to launch).

“What it does is allow us to have an eclectic selection of witchy courses and content that can be accessed no matter what timezone or location you are in. You can take 5 courses on 5 different subjects and allow yourself the ability to learn from all paths and all types of teachers.”

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Q. You are a bad ass Tarot reader and teacher, how long have you worked with the cards? What is it about Tarot that you like the most? What do you dislike the most? Since you know the cards so well, what is one misconception that you wish you could erase? What is your favorite card of the deck? What is your least favorite? And, finally, what is your view on reversed cards? I have one deck where I include reversed cards (that deck is associated with a particular Spirit) but my other decks I operate without reversed cards.

A.”I have been a tarot reader since I started in 1995 which is crazy because that seems like a lifetime. I have only in the last few years decided to start teaching tarot. Part of this was because of the unique reading style I have developed but also the fear and “wives tales” associated with tarot. I believe it really does a disservice to both the reader and the person being read.

“I’m an artist at heart with my Venus in Pisces. I love history and mythology and it is what really drew me into the beginnings of the pagan world. I see them as allegorical representations which are similar to mythological stories. They give us the lesson and the underlying archetype of a person or experience. I dislike the entire fear and control over tarot.

“As a teacher, it is insane the amount of rules and expectations people come in with about tarot: ”Your deck has to be given to you. They have to be wrapped in silk, or placed face down so they don’t absorb negative energy. That have to be cleansed with oils…or moonlight…or smudge. Don’t let other people touch your cards.”

“If I could erase one misconception is would be that the Rider-Waite is the only deck to learn from, or somehow the best style of deck (NOPE, its old white dude energy and there are a ton of other cards with deeper meanings that will suit you better!).

“In fact, some of my favorite decks are based on the Rider-Waite, but they never use their original interpretations or direct symbology.

“There is also tons of information out there on this style of deck which is why I am skeptical as to why most instructors require this as the deck to learn from. Many books are written on the subject as well as used in the learning of tarot, so much of this information feels re-hashed and “low-level” if you know what I mean.

“My favorite card of the deck is the Moon. It is the perfect example of why I dislike the original Rider-Waite interpretations. They define it as female hysteria with an unbalanced, pendulum swing of emotions. It is the shadow but perhaps linked with the subconscious. Instead, I find it to be a card for the Witch; The feelers; The knowers. It represents the magical world of energy we can connect with but can also consume us if we don’t search for our balance.

“My least favorite card is the Emperor in reverse. It represents all things that are toxic masculinity. As an Aries/Pisces cusp I resonate with intense energy and fire. In fact, the Emperor card aligns directly with Aries which is perhaps why I have an adverse reaction/feeling to the reverse of it so much. Maybe it’s because when I see it in readings it is often paired with abusive, or manipulative relationships where the other partner is in a toxic situation. This male/female energy is not about gender, but masculine and feminine energy… so yes it is possible for a female identified individual to get the Emperor in reverse to represent them. I don’t like it very much in the upright version either. I mean, I guess he is okay; I just prefer all of the other cards. Usually people hate things like the Tower, or Death. These are painful but transformative cards so I just can’t hate on them.

“I love reversals! I could teach a whole course on reversals. Imagine you have 72 cards in the deck. Adding reversals gives you 144 options of the cards. You can get one card in reverse that means the same as a card upright, but there is a ton more information there. If it is in a suit, it can tell you on what plane this lies in. (Ex. with the Swords suit it would represent an internal battle of the mind.) I have a few decks I don’t read reversals with including my Lenormand, and a few oracle decks. However, I read with 6 or more decks at once, making the decks I use have a very specific purpose and why I choose to use them. Each one has a voice. I like to think of them like our friends who give us advice. Some of them help us to remember to take care of ourselves, some are more pragmatic, and some are more sweet and sensitive even when delivering difficult information. I know all of my decks very well so I look for these nuances in the personalities of the cards and the stories that help shape the details in the readings.

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Shop

Q. You own a brick and mortar and online Shop called Keven Craft Rituals, have you noticed running a Witchy business is a little more challenging than the average business? Not that running a business at all is easy, but do you think as a Woman (even with your partner) and Witch that you hit more obstacles? What have been some of the obstacles you have faced, and how did you overcome them?

A. “Running a business is challenging. Running a Witchy business, I would consider to be unique and complex but not necessarily more challenging than any other business… Just different. The challenges are less in the 3-D world of what is trending or having to make packaging decisions.

“We still have that happening, but instead it is mixed with a very diverse community of belief systems, and many unbalanced people looking for balance. We also get to hang out with and meet some amazing people. The types of questions people have when they come in you can imagine…

“Usually it starts off with “This might sound crazy but ___ is happening to me”.

“My response is usually “Nope, I have heard crazier.”

“Having a business in Eugene was interesting as well because it has a 20 year Witch war history, an open-minded, but in reality a closed-minded community, as well as 8 secret societies (not which all seem to agree with each other). We have just recently closed our location in Eugene and are currently transitioning to Portland to open our new brick and mortar. This has been really challenging.

“As a normal business we qualify for all of the financials and show a huge growth in the industry with 21+ wholesalers across the US that carry our own brand of skincare and metaphysical goods. However, when we show potential lease locations our website and they seem to find out what type of company we are; the conversation goes silent. We have missed a few amazing locations as if the challenge itself is selling the concept of this business to people in the general population. I guess that does make it more challenging.

“As a woman owned business with my own super pace and intensity, yes, I feel like that is intimidating to many out there. People are always looking for Mr. Fortner, or trying to man-splain things to me. There is also this “mean girls club” thing that happens in the small world of witchy stores and makers. I overcome this the same way I do everything: analyze the shit out of it, and charge full-steam ahead, doing it better and with better ethics than some.

“As a metaphysical business it really matters where you source your items and how energetically you treat and sell those goods. I really avoid imports as building your company on the back of people who are not making a descent wage comes at an energetic cost. I choose quality over quantity and I allow myself to keep that vision.”

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Q. As the world is spinning more and more out of control (whether that is the reality or not, it seems that it’s shoved in our faces at all times) we are seeing people turning away from religion and running towards Earth based, and Pagan beliefs; why do you think that is? What do you think it is about Magick, and the Craft that draws people in? What drew you in, initially?

A. “We have all heard of the call of the Goddess, or the age of Aquarius? I see this being as both an energetic and social shift in the balance of energies. The masculine has been weighted to one side for so long I think we are seeing people whom are unsatisfied and looking for more.

“Paganism has always been accepting of the minority and marginalized (or at least it is supposed to) and it is a place that accepts both the strange and the “straight-laced”.

“People are not satisfied with the mainstream religion they grew up with and are searching for answers. They want to know why they feel and perhaps see or even hear something on the back of their mind. Why they are pulled in one direction when there is no explanation for it?

“Living in fear can be exhausting and one of the issues with mainstream religion is the control and dumbing down of the masses. Magick and the Occult are alluring because we have a romanticism about the idea. It allows us to have fantasy and a beauty in our belief system whilst also being a functional practice. Magick is really all about the energy that is put in by the individual so there is no one to blame and you must do your own work to get there.

“I’m not quite sold on the insta-priestess movement that is happening but we all have to start somewhere, right?. We all must walk through the fire and face our own shadow.

“I got into this path because I grew up in a very haunted house in an Evangelical family. I was a very sensitive and a psychic kid. The things I was seeing and feeling were from such a different vibe from what I was surrounded with. Some of the nastiest people I have met were from these Evangelical churches and they were the same people telling me my gifts were evil because they could not explain them.

“As a creative, and especially an Aries, I was meant to create my own path. As a Pisces I need something inspiring and positive to follow; something that is painful from the depth of myself and the karmatic process of moving through it. I needed a place to learn about my own energy and paganism was a start of that exploration. I started with what I was fascinated and drawn to. I followed Isis from the start. I resonated with her and then began exploring Celtic witchcraft. I realized quickly that anything Wiccan or too ridged wasn’t my style. I dislike following rules and rituals based on someone else’s ideas. If I feel no connection with it then it is a meaningless act for me.

“I also needed something that explained my pain and sadness; I’m not saying my life was the worst, but I have trauma and I needed a place I could use that to transform that pain.

“Magick was all of that.

“It was taking something like abuse and not allowing it to be what defines me because I changed it into something else. I used it to empower myself and transform myself into something energetically different. I guess that is the same concept of what The House of Twigs is to me. It is a place for people to empower themselves and level-up, so to speak.”

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Q. As a Witchy Mom, do you incorporate your Craft into Motherhood? Do you plan on raising your little one as a Witchling, or do you just go with the flow? Does she show interest? If so, how do you handle that?

A. “Anyone who knows my daughter can immediately see and feel that she is special. She is an 11 in numerology, and resonates at such a different frequency than most children. I try and allow her to choose her toys, not pushing her gender on her. She can play with most of the tarot cards and crystals (minus the super expensive ones) and is very good at reading people with them. She will pass out cards to people or find special little stones in the store that speak to people. She has no judgments and so it is very natural, like a game to her.

“It’s funny to see how people respond and just allow her to do things, hopefully without destroying the store in the process. Many times people would come in and she had dumped out all of my cards onto the floor. All 20+ decks.

“Freya just turned two in July and is a Cancer/Leo cusp. She has attended red tent events, our broom rituals we host, many of the classes I teach or visiting lectures from people that come and teach or speak at our store. Her favorite person is by far our young, Witchy, Trans friend whom has been helping to lead our Queer Craft Circle.

“She intuitively uses a stick as a wand and we talk with her about all the interesting books on the shelves, she gets to meet all the interesting people that come-in and participates as much as she can without distracting others.”

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

A. “I was at a lower point in my life and was seeing a Shaman/Therapist. She was really adverse to me calling myself a Witch and did not understand really what that entailed.

“She was mostly “love and light” but had studied with some really interesting people and her sessions were very much on point with pushing old energies out.

“She had said to me “The real sin is fear, shame, and guilt. It removes your power and it is how you control someone not empower them”.

“This is my go-to motto for all of the little Witchlings I meet. It gives permission to not be controlled by the past, your own feelings, and allows you to take responsibility for the energy and feelings you decide to hold.

“As a Witch, this is one of the greatest things you can do. It susses out the negative things that can get in the way of your path. It can build your confidence which is essential to really practice the Craft.

“I prefer to be a confident Witch over being a superstitious one, any day.”

Q. What is one piece of advice you wish you were given before you started your path that you would give to someone else (no matter the skill level)?

A. “I would have liked to been told that it’s okay to make mistakes and not like something you do. You can pick and choose what you like and not what you are told to like.

“Just because you read it in a book doesn’t mean it resonates with you.

“Maybe you need to dabble in something that teaches you that you want nothing to do with it. I mean, don’t we do this in life anyways? We learn what we want and definitely what we don’t want.

“I wish I would have been told that this process IS the path. We spend so much time trying to get to where we want to be not realizing we are already there.

“Part of the process is realizing this so we can move forward in the right way. It can be painful and messy but it can also be magical and beautiful. Some of this is perspective and your choice on how to proceed. Magick is what you decide to make it to be.”

Erika is a fierce advocate for the Witch community, and ALL marginalized people; she is a warrior Soul fulfilling her life mission one twig at a time. She pushes me to be better, to do better, and there’s nothing more special than that.

For these reasons and so many more she is The Nephilim Rising’s Witch of the Week.

Congratulations, Erika.

LESSONS IN MAGICK: How We Block, Curse, and Jinx Ourselves

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“If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are a one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.”

Victoria Moran

This blog is long overdue, and I have talked about the topic a few times here and there throughout the years, but I have never sat down to write a piece solely on what it means to block ourselves.

We can also curse and jinx ourselves.

“No, we can’t. That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!”

I hear you saying it right now.

Hello, denial.

As you can imagine I get an array of messages and engage with all kinds of comments; I see a lot.

What I see the most of, especially lately, is people saying they hear nothing from the other side; they are saddened that their Spirits are silent, or that they disappear when needed most.

So, clearly this is a complex issue (ie. Our Spirits being silent) and too many variables come into play to write here in the blog.

AND

Our Spirits (Ancestors and deities alike) DO TEST US and yes, the lessons often are hard.

*HARD*

I have personally had certain Spirits go quiet, or step back to teach me something.

BUT

If *ALL* my Spirits went silent, if I could suddenly no longer even feel the other side, my Witchy senses would tell me something else is going on; something more than a lesson.

People will point fingers everywhere, everywhere and not for a second stop to think, “Did I cause this?”

Previously, I have talked about needing to Feed Our Spirits but this, this is something else entirely.

We are powerful beings; Witches are benders of reality.

Why do so many fellow Witches and Magickal folk think they can’t bend their own reality?

I mean, they believe in manifestation, right?

Bringing in the positive shit, right?

*looks at the good vibes only crew*

So, then why do they deny being able to bring in the negative shit?

Like attracts like.

We attract what and who we are and, what and who is needed in that moment.

Think about it.

You can curse someone else, you can curse yourself.

You can heal someone else, you can heal yourself.

You know that saying, “Your vibe attracts your tribe”?

Well, your vibe also attracts your life.

Here are some common ways we block ourselves and don’t even know it.

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NEGATIVE SELF TALK: This is something that every single person struggles with, and anyone who says they don’t are lying to you.

Negative Self-talk can be simple, like when you make a mistake and immediately say, “Oh, I should have caught that. How stupid of me.” Or, “I am so stupid for missing that. Sorry.”

This immediately becomes our reality.

We become victims.

We become prey.

We define ourselves as stupid, so “stupid” things will continue to happen.

How we talk to ourselves, and about ourselves are some of the most important words we speak.

We must be aware of what we are speaking into existence, and when we catch ourselves talking negatively ABOUT ourselves, we must ask, “Where is this coming from? What is the root?”

And, rip that shit out.

The world is quick to cast people out who show strength and are different.

Witches, Mystics, misfits in general exude strength by daring to be different; even if being different isn’t by choice.

Love your weirdness because the world will not.

Remember, negative Self-talk is casting spells on ourselves.

Be mindful of the words you speak.

Areas affected: Throat, Heart, Crown and Solar Plexus Chakras. These blockages can cause problems communicating, loving, connecting and doing (actions). Crystals to help: Lapis Lazuli (any blue stone), Rose Quartz, Unakite Jasper, Prehnite, Emerald, Herkimer Diamond, Clear Quartz, Optical Calcite, Citrine, Orange Calcite, and Peach Aventurine.

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FAILING TO FOLLOW THROUGH: This is a lesson when I bring up to other people they are mind blown.

Okay, so, backstory, I can be a bit a people pleaser; I have struggled with it my whole life.

I am either “fuck off, get out of my face, get out of my space” or I am “yes, yes, yes, yes” to please everyone around me, only to leave myself depleted.

As with everything, I am one extreme or the other.

I have learned through experience, when I couldn’t follow through with something my Will, Magickally speaking, seemed to weaken.

If I said I would do something, even the tiniest thing like going to the store, or cleaning my room and Altars and didn’t follow through I noticed a tangible dip in the strength of my Will.

I didn’t understand that I was breaking vows.

When we say we are going to do something we are creating a contract of sorts, a vow.

And, when we don’t follow through with that vow, it ripples back.

This is not some threefold, karmic Law, it’s simple consequence of action.

We must be impeccable with our word (one of The Four Agreements).

And, yes, that means following through when we say we are going to do something.

Areas Affected: Root, Heart, Throat, Third Eye Chakras. This causes problems with feeling grounded/safe/secure, loving, communicating and living our truth, and intuition. Crystals to help: Garnet, Red Calcite, Mahogany Obsidian, Black Tourmaline, Moldavite, Green Aventurine, Angelite, Blue Calcite, Aqua Obsidian, Amethyst, Rainbow Moonstone, and Phantom Quartz.

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COMPARING YOURSELF TO SOMEONE ELSE: I think we are all guilty of this to one degree or another, and often it’s done on a subconscious level.

In Western culture particularly, from childhood we are forced to compare and/or compete with our peers.

In many ways this is healthy because the world is indeed a competitive place, but it can also be negative and have adverse, long lasting affects not known or shown until adulthood.

The majority neglects to see that each one of us are on our own journey, no matter how many similarities we may have with another person, we’re all different.

We’re all creating and forging our own path.

Our experiences, outcomes, journeys, will all be different; our methods, and techniques will be different as well.

This does not mean one is better than the other.

I see a lot of comparing and competing in the Magickal world, and often the comparing turns into an ego driven Witch War.

And, what for?

Because someone has better tools? Because they experienced a Spirit differently? Because their Altar looks better? Because they have a “cooler aesthetic”?

Because they didn’t have the same experience as yourself?

These questions are based on actual conflicts I have seen.

We can do better, we are better.

Stop comparing and competing; we are all subjectively experiencing our own reality, and you should compete with no one except yourself.

Areas Affected: All Chakras. This causes problems is every area of your life. Crystals to help: Jet, Labradorite, Selenite, Pink Tourmaline, Kambaba Jasper, Lepidolite, Herkimer Diamond, Black Moonstone, Garden Quartz, Hematite, Opal, Fire Agate, Blue Apatite, and Pietersite.

In a world of Spiritual gurus, and self-proclaimed teachers, nobody wants to talk about the negative aspects of spirituality and how that negativity affects us as Practitioners, and in our everyday lives.

Everything we do is Magick; it’s so very, very true.

That sentiment must be understood when dealing with ourselves, our needs, our desires, our dreams and our boundaries.

We create our reality.

So, when shit hits the fan, we really have no one to blame but ourselves.