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I've admired watercolor artwork for as long as I've known what to call it. 

It has such an ethereal quality when used loosely.

It's almost romantic, in a way.

Every year I tell myself it's going to be the year I learn how to use watercolor to bring my own dreams to life.

And then life gets in the way and I don't.

But recently, after a little meltdown at the end of summer, I said, "to hell with this!" and just made time happen.

It's an act of self care I tell ya.

I've managed 8 - 10 practice sessions now, I think.

At first, I followed tutorials on YouTube, specifically from Nianiania.

I never stop following tutorials really. They are a great way to get your creative juices stirring when you hit a block.

But after a few of her fantastic tutorials, I decided to try some things of my own, and the thing I liked best was my mushroom skull (above)

I was looking for inspiration and found this really cool skull home decor (?) and I thought the concept would be great for a watercolor painting.


And that is how I found the motivation to step out of the tutorials and do my own thing.

I've worked on a few more things that didn't turn out but I learned something new with every failure, and though I was not happy with the results, the practice still helped me build muscle memory and from that - better brush control.

I learned to step away when I became frustrated. To go do something else for a little while, when that inner critic - the "Nega Nanny" as I call her, started pestering me about how I am not good enough and never will be. 

I sat down a few days ago to do my own version of Nianiania's recent abstract mushroom tutorial.

I actually did pretty good until I started working on the background and picked all the wrong colors.

It was a tired person's mistake, because if I know anything, it's colors.

But the mistake frustrated me, so I closed up shop for the evening.

Then today, after catching a willowing video in my YouTube recommendations, I went back (mentally) to ye' old days of Lifebook 2013? I think. I ended up signing up for Life Book twice. 2012 or 2013, then I skipped a year.

Unfortunately, I didn't touch a single lesson the second-go-round, but I did quite a few from the first and it was from that era in my art adventures that I was inspired to create an art journal page.

"Worthy as I am"


I was so happy with the end result, I cut it down to fit in this fabulous frame I found thrift shopping a few years ago but could never find just the right artwork for.

Tamara Laporte teaches art in a very self-care, art therapy sort of way. I have no idea if she is certified for any of this, but I was going through a lot when I found her Life Book back in the early 2010s and it was exactly what I needed at that time.

So, certified or not, her internet presence was a boon to my existence.

Strangely enough, I am in a similar space right now.

After having weight loss surgery almost 4 years ago, I've had regain. 

50ish lbs of regain.

I've re-gained half of what I lost after the surgery.

Perhaps it's partly due to the emotional stress I've been under. 

The first year or so after the surgery, I had so much unfamiliar energy, I could not sit still and I let my little hobby business basically dissolve into nothing.

After a couple years now of trying to build it back up, the momentum is gone.

So, having potentially failed at weight loss surgery, and having let my little business turn to dust, I have been feeling the lowest I have felt in a very long time.

I have been down and out. Flat on my ass.

TKOed. 

But not quite.

Fortunately, I am no quitter. 

I am an ALMOST quitter. 

But I seldom stay down for long.

As far as the regain, I'm considering making a whole post about that, but to keep it short, I've gone back to the basics with a "pouch reset". 

I won't go into my thoughts about "pouch resets" on this post, but I think it has helped me get back on track and I'm modestly hopeful that I will get the regain off. 

And as you may already know, I closed and re-opened my Etsy shop

Did I tell you that Etsy literally takes 1/3 of every individual digi sale I make? 

Were it not a source of passive income (after I create and upload the images) it would be a complete loss. And if I don't sell at least 10 of each image I upload, it is still a loss. 

Which is why I like Patreon. The fees are not as awful, but unfortunately, a lot of people are scared off by subscriptions. 

Which I get because it drives me crazy that literally everything is a subscription now. 

So, although it looks very dismal right now, I am still pressing forward with trying to rebuild the hobby business and getting my head together so I can get my weight (and health) back on track.

But even if I am not capable of earning with my art ever again, and even if I never lose another lb - or even if I gain another 50 lbs!!! - I still have value. I am still worthy of love and happiness and my place in this world.

And I needed that reminder very much today.

So I've framed my purple eyed girl to hang here in the office/studio/dining room (lol) as a reminder. 

I am not a lesser person if I am not capable of earning a proper living.

I am not a lesser person if I am overweight.

I am worthy as I am, right now, in this moment and in every moment.

And in case you need a reminder -

You are worthy too

Playing in Watercolors: Worthy As I Am

Saturday, November 20, 2021


I've admired watercolor artwork for as long as I've known what to call it. 

It has such an ethereal quality when used loosely.

It's almost romantic, in a way.

Every year I tell myself it's going to be the year I learn how to use watercolor to bring my own dreams to life.

And then life gets in the way and I don't.

But recently, after a little meltdown at the end of summer, I said, "to hell with this!" and just made time happen.

It's an act of self care I tell ya.

I've managed 8 - 10 practice sessions now, I think.

At first, I followed tutorials on YouTube, specifically from Nianiania.

I never stop following tutorials really. They are a great way to get your creative juices stirring when you hit a block.

But after a few of her fantastic tutorials, I decided to try some things of my own, and the thing I liked best was my mushroom skull (above)

I was looking for inspiration and found this really cool skull home decor (?) and I thought the concept would be great for a watercolor painting.


And that is how I found the motivation to step out of the tutorials and do my own thing.

I've worked on a few more things that didn't turn out but I learned something new with every failure, and though I was not happy with the results, the practice still helped me build muscle memory and from that - better brush control.

I learned to step away when I became frustrated. To go do something else for a little while, when that inner critic - the "Nega Nanny" as I call her, started pestering me about how I am not good enough and never will be. 

I sat down a few days ago to do my own version of Nianiania's recent abstract mushroom tutorial.

I actually did pretty good until I started working on the background and picked all the wrong colors.

It was a tired person's mistake, because if I know anything, it's colors.

But the mistake frustrated me, so I closed up shop for the evening.

Then today, after catching a willowing video in my YouTube recommendations, I went back (mentally) to ye' old days of Lifebook 2013? I think. I ended up signing up for Life Book twice. 2012 or 2013, then I skipped a year.

Unfortunately, I didn't touch a single lesson the second-go-round, but I did quite a few from the first and it was from that era in my art adventures that I was inspired to create an art journal page.

"Worthy as I am"


I was so happy with the end result, I cut it down to fit in this fabulous frame I found thrift shopping a few years ago but could never find just the right artwork for.

Tamara Laporte teaches art in a very self-care, art therapy sort of way. I have no idea if she is certified for any of this, but I was going through a lot when I found her Life Book back in the early 2010s and it was exactly what I needed at that time.

So, certified or not, her internet presence was a boon to my existence.

Strangely enough, I am in a similar space right now.

After having weight loss surgery almost 4 years ago, I've had regain. 

50ish lbs of regain.

I've re-gained half of what I lost after the surgery.

Perhaps it's partly due to the emotional stress I've been under. 

The first year or so after the surgery, I had so much unfamiliar energy, I could not sit still and I let my little hobby business basically dissolve into nothing.

After a couple years now of trying to build it back up, the momentum is gone.

So, having potentially failed at weight loss surgery, and having let my little business turn to dust, I have been feeling the lowest I have felt in a very long time.

I have been down and out. Flat on my ass.

TKOed. 

But not quite.

Fortunately, I am no quitter. 

I am an ALMOST quitter. 

But I seldom stay down for long.

As far as the regain, I'm considering making a whole post about that, but to keep it short, I've gone back to the basics with a "pouch reset". 

I won't go into my thoughts about "pouch resets" on this post, but I think it has helped me get back on track and I'm modestly hopeful that I will get the regain off. 

And as you may already know, I closed and re-opened my Etsy shop

Did I tell you that Etsy literally takes 1/3 of every individual digi sale I make? 

Were it not a source of passive income (after I create and upload the images) it would be a complete loss. And if I don't sell at least 10 of each image I upload, it is still a loss. 

Which is why I like Patreon. The fees are not as awful, but unfortunately, a lot of people are scared off by subscriptions. 

Which I get because it drives me crazy that literally everything is a subscription now. 

So, although it looks very dismal right now, I am still pressing forward with trying to rebuild the hobby business and getting my head together so I can get my weight (and health) back on track.

But even if I am not capable of earning with my art ever again, and even if I never lose another lb - or even if I gain another 50 lbs!!! - I still have value. I am still worthy of love and happiness and my place in this world.

And I needed that reminder very much today.

So I've framed my purple eyed girl to hang here in the office/studio/dining room (lol) as a reminder. 

I am not a lesser person if I am not capable of earning a proper living.

I am not a lesser person if I am overweight.

I am worthy as I am, right now, in this moment and in every moment.

And in case you need a reminder -

You are worthy too

 


My husband has been asking me to make art of him for a while now. 

He wants himself as a knight with a big sword or something along those lines.

And maybe, one day, I'll do that for him.

But mostly I'll draw him the way I see him.

Just like I did my last husband =)

And so I did this piece of him and his mean, mean Jenday conure, Max.

This bird hates me. It's the first pet I've ever had that has disliked me, and even worse - he bites me!

But my husband loves him. So I just stay out of the area when Max is getting his flying time in. 

My husband is excited to see it colored, so I guess that it's not a knight, is okay after all =)

The Husband and the Bastard Bird

Monday, November 1, 2021

 


My husband has been asking me to make art of him for a while now. 

He wants himself as a knight with a big sword or something along those lines.

And maybe, one day, I'll do that for him.

But mostly I'll draw him the way I see him.

Just like I did my last husband =)

And so I did this piece of him and his mean, mean Jenday conure, Max.

This bird hates me. It's the first pet I've ever had that has disliked me, and even worse - he bites me!

But my husband loves him. So I just stay out of the area when Max is getting his flying time in. 

My husband is excited to see it colored, so I guess that it's not a knight, is okay after all =)

 

During my break from digis, I thought of all the non-commercial projects I wanted to work on. I want to turn my favorite celebrities into the Holy Mother, I want to create some critters from my imagination (along the line of Chris Ryniak except my own and in my style), and I wanted to start creating self-portraits - to come to terms with my body dysmorphia and to experience myself from the outside looking in. My biggest inspiration for that last project is Frida Kahlo. Not only her art but also her words and the way she lived her life.

She is most famous for her self-portraits. Through these paintings she explored her feelings towards herself, her place in the world and her tumultuous relationship with fellow painter Diego Rivera. He was the great love of her life, but also a source of tremendous pain for her.


Like Frida, I’ve been the mother-wife. I’ve given too much of myself. And I’ve been overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy.
 


I don't know if I'll ever try to actually make a self-portrait in her style, but she inspires me to at least make self-portraits in my style, whatever that may be.



I encourage everyone to make self-portraits. It's fun and comforting, in a way, to take a look at yourself through the lens of the outter, and the filter of your imagination. 



Self-portraits, inspired by Frida Kahlo

Monday, October 18, 2021

 

During my break from digis, I thought of all the non-commercial projects I wanted to work on. I want to turn my favorite celebrities into the Holy Mother, I want to create some critters from my imagination (along the line of Chris Ryniak except my own and in my style), and I wanted to start creating self-portraits - to come to terms with my body dysmorphia and to experience myself from the outside looking in. My biggest inspiration for that last project is Frida Kahlo. Not only her art but also her words and the way she lived her life.

She is most famous for her self-portraits. Through these paintings she explored her feelings towards herself, her place in the world and her tumultuous relationship with fellow painter Diego Rivera. He was the great love of her life, but also a source of tremendous pain for her.


Like Frida, I’ve been the mother-wife. I’ve given too much of myself. And I’ve been overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy.
 


I don't know if I'll ever try to actually make a self-portrait in her style, but she inspires me to at least make self-portraits in my style, whatever that may be.



I encourage everyone to make self-portraits. It's fun and comforting, in a way, to take a look at yourself through the lens of the outter, and the filter of your imagination. 



 


After some chat with several friends who were sad to see me closing up all my shops and Patreon, I decided to re-open the Etsy shop.

I am working 60 hour weeks in a factory with no end in sight, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to update it, ever . It is a big adjustment to go from working from home to working outside of the home and to this extent. 

But if you are missing something, it's all back up and everything is marked down. 💗

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWhimsicalArtWitch



Photo by Ekrulila

The Whimsical Art Witch Etsy Shop Reopened

Thursday, September 30, 2021

 


After some chat with several friends who were sad to see me closing up all my shops and Patreon, I decided to re-open the Etsy shop.

I am working 60 hour weeks in a factory with no end in sight, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to update it, ever . It is a big adjustment to go from working from home to working outside of the home and to this extent. 

But if you are missing something, it's all back up and everything is marked down. 💗

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWhimsicalArtWitch



Photo by Ekrulila



Homemade teas are something of a staple in witchcraft. 

Especially so for the hearth or kitchen witch.

The act of brewing tea can be used to cast a spell while the tea itself is something of a "magical potion", it can cure ailments and boost health and longevity.

One of my personal favorites, and something I consume regularly, I like to call Immortal Tea.

It's a simple blend of hibiscus leaves and dried elderberries.

Hibiscus and elderberries are both rich in antioxidants. 

Antioxidants help cleanse our body of excess free radicals and in the western world, free radicals are in abundance from air pollution, and industrialization. 

While we need a healthy balance of antioxidants and free radicals, too many free radicals lead to health issues such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. 

Hibiscus has been shown to help lower high blood pressure and high blood fat. 

It was even shown to reduce obesity in animals when give in larger, concentrated doses. 

This doesn't necessarily translate into shedding weight for humans, but it might mean a little metabolism boost, and for someone with PCOS, like myself, that's always welcome.

Elderberry has been used as a medicine since medicine was invented. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, called the elder tree his "medicine chest".

Elderberry has been used as a treatment for many health problems: constipation, joint and muscle paint, respiratory issues, headaches, fever, kidney problems, stress, but most importantly it is believed to help with inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's and asthma.

When you put these two superfoods together, you get a powerful 'potion' that boosts the immune system, fights off free radicals and inflammation and thus contributes to longevity.

Which is why I call it, Immortal Tea ;)

It also tastes really nice by itself or with a little bit of sweetener of your choosing.

How to Make Your Own

You'll need some dried Hibiscus leaves and some dried Elderberries. I get all of my herbs here:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/SchmerbalsHerbals

I am not affiliated with this shop in any way. I'm just letting you know where I get them. (They've always been reliable for me so I do recommend them if you're in the States.)

Making the tea, in case you're new to this.

I make mine by the cup because I'm the only person in my house that drinks tea. 

So I fill my little infuser half with hibiscus and half with elderberries. 

I like a half and half ratio. 

You will adjust as you try it out to see what flavor you like best. The berry is a little earthier and the hibiscus a little more tart.

Now the thing with herbal tea is you have to let it steep a little longer than black tea to get all the medicinal benefits and flavor.

For this tea you'll want to let it steep 5 - 7 minutes depending on how much flavor you like. 

I'm good at 5 minutes but I don't smoke or anything so my palate is pretty sensitive.

This tea isn't bad all by itself. It's definitely consumable, but if you want to spruce it up a little, you can add a sweetener of your preference. 


Sources: 

Link, Rachael. “8 Benefits of Hibiscus Tea.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Nov. 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/hibiscus-tea-benefits

“What You Need to Know about Drinking Elderberry Tea.” Open Door Tea CT, 6 Mar. 2020, opendoortea.com/blogs/tea-knowledge/what-you-need-to-know-about-drinking-elderberry-tea.

Pathak, Neha. “Elderberry: Health Benefits, Risks, Uses, Effectiveness.” WebMD, WebMD, 21 Sept. 2020, https://www.webmd.com/diet/elderberry-health-benefits#1.

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/tea-with-hibiscus-leaves-6507025/

Hibiscus & Elderberry - Immortal Tea

Monday, September 27, 2021



Homemade teas are something of a staple in witchcraft. 

Especially so for the hearth or kitchen witch.

The act of brewing tea can be used to cast a spell while the tea itself is something of a "magical potion", it can cure ailments and boost health and longevity.

One of my personal favorites, and something I consume regularly, I like to call Immortal Tea.

It's a simple blend of hibiscus leaves and dried elderberries.

Hibiscus and elderberries are both rich in antioxidants. 

Antioxidants help cleanse our body of excess free radicals and in the western world, free radicals are in abundance from air pollution, and industrialization. 

While we need a healthy balance of antioxidants and free radicals, too many free radicals lead to health issues such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. 

Hibiscus has been shown to help lower high blood pressure and high blood fat. 

It was even shown to reduce obesity in animals when give in larger, concentrated doses. 

This doesn't necessarily translate into shedding weight for humans, but it might mean a little metabolism boost, and for someone with PCOS, like myself, that's always welcome.

Elderberry has been used as a medicine since medicine was invented. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, called the elder tree his "medicine chest".

Elderberry has been used as a treatment for many health problems: constipation, joint and muscle paint, respiratory issues, headaches, fever, kidney problems, stress, but most importantly it is believed to help with inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's and asthma.

When you put these two superfoods together, you get a powerful 'potion' that boosts the immune system, fights off free radicals and inflammation and thus contributes to longevity.

Which is why I call it, Immortal Tea ;)

It also tastes really nice by itself or with a little bit of sweetener of your choosing.

How to Make Your Own

You'll need some dried Hibiscus leaves and some dried Elderberries. I get all of my herbs here:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/SchmerbalsHerbals

I am not affiliated with this shop in any way. I'm just letting you know where I get them. (They've always been reliable for me so I do recommend them if you're in the States.)

Making the tea, in case you're new to this.

I make mine by the cup because I'm the only person in my house that drinks tea. 

So I fill my little infuser half with hibiscus and half with elderberries. 

I like a half and half ratio. 

You will adjust as you try it out to see what flavor you like best. The berry is a little earthier and the hibiscus a little more tart.

Now the thing with herbal tea is you have to let it steep a little longer than black tea to get all the medicinal benefits and flavor.

For this tea you'll want to let it steep 5 - 7 minutes depending on how much flavor you like. 

I'm good at 5 minutes but I don't smoke or anything so my palate is pretty sensitive.

This tea isn't bad all by itself. It's definitely consumable, but if you want to spruce it up a little, you can add a sweetener of your preference. 


Sources: 

Link, Rachael. “8 Benefits of Hibiscus Tea.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Nov. 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/hibiscus-tea-benefits

“What You Need to Know about Drinking Elderberry Tea.” Open Door Tea CT, 6 Mar. 2020, opendoortea.com/blogs/tea-knowledge/what-you-need-to-know-about-drinking-elderberry-tea.

Pathak, Neha. “Elderberry: Health Benefits, Risks, Uses, Effectiveness.” WebMD, WebMD, 21 Sept. 2020, https://www.webmd.com/diet/elderberry-health-benefits#1.

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/tea-with-hibiscus-leaves-6507025/



1. Being a witch is, at its simplest, being a human with the veil lifted from your face.

You understand that everything is connected. Maybe you see this logically, maybe you always just "knew" or "felt" it. You see the patterns of nature reflected in our human lives, the cycle of the seasons, the polarity of night and day, reaping and sowing. But you also recognize the gray area in-between. The murk, where things are not so easily seen or defined. You know that "supernatural" isn't super at all, just a natural phenomenon that has yet to be explained by science. You don't need everything to be explained. You know that we don't know all there is to know and that's okay. 



2. Being a witch does not require accessories, tools, spellbooks or any other paraphernalia.

The core of spellwork is really just focusing on your intent and sending it out into the universe. You can do this without tools or accessories.

Your first spell - a song. Your first tool - your voice. Chanting, prayers, and visualization are all forms of spellwork that require no tools. Tools in witchcraft serve two purposes primarily. First they are a tangible item to focus your intent on. When you're using a wand, you're looking at the wand and sending all the energy of your intent into that wand. When you're writing a spell you're looking at the words and sending all of the energy of your intent through your arm, into your hand and onto the paper. When you're making magical art, same thing. Tools make focusing easier for some. 

Secondly, certain tools help you get into a heightened state which makes accessing that in-between area, a little easier. Using tools to create, whether through writing spells or crafting witch jars or poppets, quiets the left, analytical side of the brain giving the right, creative side of your brain, dominance. It is in the right side of the brain that we gain access to the universe. Tools make quieting the analytical brain easier, but we can also do this through mantra, meditation, visualization, singing or prayer.

When you start gathering tools, keep it simple to start. A pen you really like, a journal or spiral notebook you think is gorgeous. Practice creating sigils in it. Be present in the moment, focus on your intent, send it out into the universe and see what happens. Don't let yourself become a collector instead of a practitioner. Too much stuff becomes overwhelming. It drains your energy, and instead of helping your craft it kills it. Keep it simple. Try new things but get rid of what doesn't click. Don't hang on to things that don't absolutely energize you.

You will watch YouTube videos and see your witchy idols doing haul after haul after haul video. Ask yourself when these folks have time to actually DO the CRAFT when they are always buying stuff or filming what they bought? And then see how many of them are SELLING craft merchandise or hawking for their friends that do. Some of these folks are just shopping addicts, some of these folks are trying to make money. But if any of them tell you that you HAVE to have this or that - they're lying to you.

Look for Witchy vloggers that are about creativity and, not so much about the hauls. A couple of my favorites: Molly Roberts and Kelly-Ann Maddox




3. Being a witch is not one-size-fits-all.

People wear the Witch label for different reasons. For me, as a woman, it is empowering. The Witch is a feminist archetype. The Witch is something patriarchy has feared and destroyed over and over again and yet she persists, rising again and again from the (sometimes literal) ashes. But men are witches too, and men and women (and everything between) all have their own reasons for being witches and choosing to don this label.

Witchcraft is not a religion and it is not Wicca. Witches don't have to believe in deities, or call on corners, or do any kind of elaborate rituals. Witchery is a nature craft. It's witchCRAFT. Witches are crafters who work with nature and energy the way knitters work with yarn and thread. 

Some witches combine their craft with religion. This is why you have Wiccan witches and yes, even Christian witches. Witchcraft and religion are two separate subjects that are often and easily combined (similarly to religion and politics) though they do not necessarily need to be. A lot of stuff we do as part of craftwork is considered 'spiritual' because there is no other category to place it in besides perhaps occult. Religion and spirituality are not one in the same. One can be spiritual and not religious.



4. Being a witch means learning about racism.

cul·tur·al ap·pro·pri·a·tion
noun
  1. the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.
    "his dreadlocks were widely criticized as another example of cultural appropriation"

Remember those tools I talked about earlier? Well some of them are pretty problematic if you aren't Native American. Profiting from the spiritual practices of marginalized groups is the height of cultural appropriation. Think dreamcatchers, smudge sticks, etc... It's infuriating on so many levels when it's done by big companies. But you will also find a ton of small shops on Etsy where, most likely, the shop owner just doesn't understand that what they are doing is hurting people. 

The mass consumption of white sage through smudging kits is making it difficult for Native Americans to access white sage for their long-held spiritual practice. It's beyond time for non-Natives to look to other herbs and or methods to cleanse. The more energy we put into our practice, the more powerful it becomes. Growing your own herbs for a smoke cleanse would certainly be more effective than getting a smudge kit shipped across the country from Amazon. But even going to your local grower to purchase a few herbs you are particularly fond of to dry out and burn would be a nice middle ground. (Burning incense is also a viable alternative in my opinion.)

Spiritual practices are not inherently powerful. The power of any practice comes from the people performing it and much of that energy is drawn from the world around them. The herbs used, the animals worshipped, they come from the culture's local environment. These are herbs the people gathered, animals that crossed their path. Unless you grew up in that culture, these things cannot hold the same significance or energy for you.

I lived in a holler in the Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina in my late teens and early 20s. I woke up many mornings to the smell of honeysuckle at my bedroom window. I loved that smell. It usually accompanied beautiful weather so I associate it with nice days and happy feelings even 20 years later. It would make sense for me to add honeysuckle to my practice since it has significance to me and my life. 

Is this making sense to you? Can you see where the line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation is crossed?



5. Being a witch is being political

It just kinda is. You can stay in the broom closet and try to avoid it. I did for many years. But once you decide to wear the label you're aligning yourself with a group of people who have been hated by "common, decent" folk throughout history. 

Being a witch can get you ostracized in some parts of America (and possibly other western nations). Fundamentalists of most modern religions will want nothing to do with you and in some parts of the world the state will kill you for wearing this label. Being a witch means taking on the responsibility of being politically conscious and accounted for.   

You will meet people who call themselves witch but stand for things you don't want to be associated with. There are white supremacist witches. There are anti-Christian witches. There are witches who hate men. There are witches who are absolutely out of their mind, truly mentally disturbed. There are witches who claim powers they know they don't have and make promises they know they can't keep in order to con people out of their money. There are people who claim this label because they know it's controversial and they enjoy the negative attention.   

Please do your best to wear this label well.

Being a witch is not an aesthetic. 

Though the witchy aesthetic is fabulous...


5 Things You Need to Know About Being a Witch

Thursday, July 9, 2020



1. Being a witch is, at its simplest, being a human with the veil lifted from your face.

You understand that everything is connected. Maybe you see this logically, maybe you always just "knew" or "felt" it. You see the patterns of nature reflected in our human lives, the cycle of the seasons, the polarity of night and day, reaping and sowing. But you also recognize the gray area in-between. The murk, where things are not so easily seen or defined. You know that "supernatural" isn't super at all, just a natural phenomenon that has yet to be explained by science. You don't need everything to be explained. You know that we don't know all there is to know and that's okay. 



2. Being a witch does not require accessories, tools, spellbooks or any other paraphernalia.

The core of spellwork is really just focusing on your intent and sending it out into the universe. You can do this without tools or accessories.

Your first spell - a song. Your first tool - your voice. Chanting, prayers, and visualization are all forms of spellwork that require no tools. Tools in witchcraft serve two purposes primarily. First they are a tangible item to focus your intent on. When you're using a wand, you're looking at the wand and sending all the energy of your intent into that wand. When you're writing a spell you're looking at the words and sending all of the energy of your intent through your arm, into your hand and onto the paper. When you're making magical art, same thing. Tools make focusing easier for some. 

Secondly, certain tools help you get into a heightened state which makes accessing that in-between area, a little easier. Using tools to create, whether through writing spells or crafting witch jars or poppets, quiets the left, analytical side of the brain giving the right, creative side of your brain, dominance. It is in the right side of the brain that we gain access to the universe. Tools make quieting the analytical brain easier, but we can also do this through mantra, meditation, visualization, singing or prayer.

When you start gathering tools, keep it simple to start. A pen you really like, a journal or spiral notebook you think is gorgeous. Practice creating sigils in it. Be present in the moment, focus on your intent, send it out into the universe and see what happens. Don't let yourself become a collector instead of a practitioner. Too much stuff becomes overwhelming. It drains your energy, and instead of helping your craft it kills it. Keep it simple. Try new things but get rid of what doesn't click. Don't hang on to things that don't absolutely energize you.

You will watch YouTube videos and see your witchy idols doing haul after haul after haul video. Ask yourself when these folks have time to actually DO the CRAFT when they are always buying stuff or filming what they bought? And then see how many of them are SELLING craft merchandise or hawking for their friends that do. Some of these folks are just shopping addicts, some of these folks are trying to make money. But if any of them tell you that you HAVE to have this or that - they're lying to you.

Look for Witchy vloggers that are about creativity and, not so much about the hauls. A couple of my favorites: Molly Roberts and Kelly-Ann Maddox




3. Being a witch is not one-size-fits-all.

People wear the Witch label for different reasons. For me, as a woman, it is empowering. The Witch is a feminist archetype. The Witch is something patriarchy has feared and destroyed over and over again and yet she persists, rising again and again from the (sometimes literal) ashes. But men are witches too, and men and women (and everything between) all have their own reasons for being witches and choosing to don this label.

Witchcraft is not a religion and it is not Wicca. Witches don't have to believe in deities, or call on corners, or do any kind of elaborate rituals. Witchery is a nature craft. It's witchCRAFT. Witches are crafters who work with nature and energy the way knitters work with yarn and thread. 

Some witches combine their craft with religion. This is why you have Wiccan witches and yes, even Christian witches. Witchcraft and religion are two separate subjects that are often and easily combined (similarly to religion and politics) though they do not necessarily need to be. A lot of stuff we do as part of craftwork is considered 'spiritual' because there is no other category to place it in besides perhaps occult. Religion and spirituality are not one in the same. One can be spiritual and not religious.



4. Being a witch means learning about racism.

cul·tur·al ap·pro·pri·a·tion
noun
  1. the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.
    "his dreadlocks were widely criticized as another example of cultural appropriation"

Remember those tools I talked about earlier? Well some of them are pretty problematic if you aren't Native American. Profiting from the spiritual practices of marginalized groups is the height of cultural appropriation. Think dreamcatchers, smudge sticks, etc... It's infuriating on so many levels when it's done by big companies. But you will also find a ton of small shops on Etsy where, most likely, the shop owner just doesn't understand that what they are doing is hurting people. 

The mass consumption of white sage through smudging kits is making it difficult for Native Americans to access white sage for their long-held spiritual practice. It's beyond time for non-Natives to look to other herbs and or methods to cleanse. The more energy we put into our practice, the more powerful it becomes. Growing your own herbs for a smoke cleanse would certainly be more effective than getting a smudge kit shipped across the country from Amazon. But even going to your local grower to purchase a few herbs you are particularly fond of to dry out and burn would be a nice middle ground. (Burning incense is also a viable alternative in my opinion.)

Spiritual practices are not inherently powerful. The power of any practice comes from the people performing it and much of that energy is drawn from the world around them. The herbs used, the animals worshipped, they come from the culture's local environment. These are herbs the people gathered, animals that crossed their path. Unless you grew up in that culture, these things cannot hold the same significance or energy for you.

I lived in a holler in the Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina in my late teens and early 20s. I woke up many mornings to the smell of honeysuckle at my bedroom window. I loved that smell. It usually accompanied beautiful weather so I associate it with nice days and happy feelings even 20 years later. It would make sense for me to add honeysuckle to my practice since it has significance to me and my life. 

Is this making sense to you? Can you see where the line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation is crossed?



5. Being a witch is being political

It just kinda is. You can stay in the broom closet and try to avoid it. I did for many years. But once you decide to wear the label you're aligning yourself with a group of people who have been hated by "common, decent" folk throughout history. 

Being a witch can get you ostracized in some parts of America (and possibly other western nations). Fundamentalists of most modern religions will want nothing to do with you and in some parts of the world the state will kill you for wearing this label. Being a witch means taking on the responsibility of being politically conscious and accounted for.   

You will meet people who call themselves witch but stand for things you don't want to be associated with. There are white supremacist witches. There are anti-Christian witches. There are witches who hate men. There are witches who are absolutely out of their mind, truly mentally disturbed. There are witches who claim powers they know they don't have and make promises they know they can't keep in order to con people out of their money. There are people who claim this label because they know it's controversial and they enjoy the negative attention.   

Please do your best to wear this label well.

Being a witch is not an aesthetic. 

Though the witchy aesthetic is fabulous...


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