Witch Manifesto by Milla Prince, via The Cauldron

Photo by Demetria Provatas

As a part of our Witches I Love Series, please read this Manifesto from Milla Prince via The Cauldron, a zine written and compiled by Milla and Demetria Provatas, two badass Witches who hail from a small island in the Salish Sea.

Gather Around, Witches

If you love what you read, click over here and purchase your own zine, which you will surely want to keep on your shelf for life. It features poems, writings, art, interviews, recipes and DIY’s to uplift and empower for these times we live in. If there are no more copies of this first issue, please subscribe and/or follow both Milla and Demetria on IG for pre-sale of the second issue.

Check out Milla’s blog and shop here, and Demetria’s here. Thank you to these women who share their hearts with us.

xoxo

Witches I Love: Sophia Rose

Friends, thank you for gathering here to read this post from my dear friend Sophia Rose.

These past few weeks have really got me thinking about this Witch series and what it means for me, and why it feels so important to share the words and thoughts of this community on the topic of Witches. 

There is something about the history and weight of the word WITCH, and it’s context in our culture, that implies a woman of great power. To be a Witch, we know inside that we have powers that transcend the shallow perception of POWER that is valued in our mainstream culture. To be a Witch, we claim these powers and we make the conscious choice to wield them.

Still with me? I’m really doing my best to grasp a concept that feels quite ungraspable, and perhaps that is the secret behind this power. It is a Beautiful mystery.

Recently, more and more, the word Witch keeps leading me back to the word Woman. Not because I think that all women are witches or want to claim the title of Witch, but because there is something universal about the dynamic and ungraspable strength of women, and the capability of females to heal, create and weave new realities. These are the pillars of Women and Witches.

Strength to be who we are.

Capability to take on anything.

Creativity to create everything from LIFE to ART to COMMUNITY to NEW REALITIES………

Healing the self, healing the family, healing the collective.

Weaving the fibers that patch the holes and bring strength to the places where the fabric of life has worn thin. Reintegrating the world back to balance.

Living in each of our DNA is the fear of being burned for wielding our powers. Quite literally for many of us, this fear is a deep seed which was planted at some point in our ancestral history. Though this series, Witches I Love, we are collectively summoning the strength to rise above these deep fears and own our power.

Today, these powers are needed in a big way. We, as women, are being called on to lead. This series is a safe place to germinate our deep seeds of fear with the safety and support of each other so that they may grow into the flowers of unflappable strength and grace….. and belief in ourselves to be the change and lead the way. 

When we combine our heads, hands and hearts together we move mountains.

Today, we talk with Sophia Rose. 

I have so many feelings and words that I could share about this woman. When I think about her, I feel it deeply in my heart. I imagine her, sitting on rose petals, inside my actual heart. Instead of love lettering her right here and now, I will just share a quick memory, and then she will speak. 

Photo Jess Kollar / the Heartbeat Retreat

15 women sit around a fire, late one night on a small island in the Salish Sea. We have just begun the journey of getting to know one another, each of us slowly sharing our voices at our own pace. Some share songs with confidence, loud and clear and unabashed. Some sit back to listen. Some women have drums. The female children take an opportunity to share songs in the safety of this circle. We witness them for the first time, finding their voices.

I sit with my song stuck in my throat. It was a song that I have held dearly in my heart since I was 5, and my radical Kindergarten teacher shared it with me. It is a song that has always felt like my secret weapon, my elixir, and my affirmation. I have shared the words to it, written from my fingertips on a keyboard and flung it into the abyss of the interwebs. But I have never spoken it’s truth with my own voice to anyone but my own children. I do not yet have the strength to share it.

Photo Jess Kollar/ the Heartbeat Retreat

And then, from beside me came a voice that sounded as if it was coming from a child, a woman, a grandmother, someone beyond the grave….all at once. A song that sung the story of what has been stuck in my throat all these years. A song that opened our eyes and opened the gates of something new. The fire roared. The air thinned. The stars sparkled in the children’s eyes. We listened and we knew. 

I will never forget this, and I will always feel deep gratitude for this moment that brought me a step closer to the song of my own heart. There is nothing more powerful than women empowering other women. And it can happen in so many ways. Thank you Sophia Rose for sharing with us today and always.

Please click over and play this song as you read on.


Witches I Love: Interview with Sophia Rose

// Throughout this interview I often use the word “she” to refer to Witches, but it feels important to acknowledge that each and every Witch has their own unique expression of gender, sexuality, as well as varying chosen pronouns. However you choose to identify, it is my hope and intention for you to feel seen as you read the words that follow and feel included and welcomed within the conversation taking place.

The photos in this series were taken by Jonah Welch in Lone Grove, TX on January 1. 2017​

 What does the term Witch mean to you?  

A Witch is someone who understands power and has cultivated the humility to weild that power wisely and for the greater good.  A Witch remembers the subtle ancient language that the whole world is always speaking but that most humans have forgotten.  A Witch cultivates and tends to a reciprocal relationship with the Land and Spirits where she lives. A Witch trusts her intuition about all else, yet remains curious, knowing that there is always more to know.

How would one know that one was a witch? 🙂

Like all things in life, I believe we must be self-defining.  Just as it is the domain of each person to define  their gender, their sexuality, their politics, so too is it with magic.  Some may also choose not to self identify in any of the ways I mentioned, prefering instead to honor their lived experience without labeling it.  I think that’s great too, and perhaps more honest.  But there is a power in naming yourself, in claiming what and who you are.

It is a cumbersome word at first, this Witch.  But when you begin to embrace your true nature, the essence of who you have always been, you begin to grow into yourself in new ways and to feel more at home in the world.  The meaning of words is always changing.  Language is living and it is shaped  by our use of it.  The word Witch does not necessarily have to be refer to any one static thing.  You don’t have to be a Woman to be a Witch.  You don’t have to memorize Spells or purchase esoteric ingredients at Santeria shops.  You can do those things, and many more — but they are not what will define you.  The strongest Magic is often also the most simple.  But it takes many years, or even lifetimes to reach this simplicity.  Sincerity, humility, and deep listening are at the core of my Magic and characterize the practices of other witches I admire as well.  The form and outward expression that that Magic takes is of far less importance than the Intention and the Spirit which animate it from worlds that cannot be seen, but only felt.


Talk about intention and manifestation.  How do they work together? Can you recall the first time you experienced their power in action?

Intention is similar to Prayer, but more focused on action in the world of the living.  Intention is paramount in healing.  When I work with people in my practice as an Herbalist, helping them to clarify their Sacred Intention for our work together is the most important first step and the North Star to which we return again and again.   If you are uncertain of what it is you desire, then that thing is far less likely to occur in your waking life.  Most of us don’t really know we want though, at least in any kind of specific way — and that is where Prayer comes in.  Prayer guides us toward Intention.  Prayer means many things to many people.  It can simply mean getting still and quiet.  It can mean asking for Guidance from the Trees and the Rivers, or from your Higher Self, or from the Creator.  I pray all the time, but most of all when I feel lost and unsure and I need to be guided back to my Will, and to the place within myself from which my Intentions arise with crystalline clarity.  When I was in my early twenties, I started a journal of sorts, called Book Of Visions, To Call Into Being.  In it I wrote, often in great details, what it was I wanted to see unfold in my life.  Some of the things came true, others did not.  I am grateful for both.  Those Visions which did not come to pass, in hindsight, would not likely have brought me much real and lasting fulfillment, ultimately.  And those which did, I am enjoying the fruits and lessons of still.  There is a wisdom greater than yours or mine which decides our Fate.  We can merely steer the ship, not change the winds which guide its sail.

Right now, I really want to make my first vision board.  For many years I have judged them as being cheesy and overly-simplistic, dismissing them as something that privileged white women in college dorm rooms made in hopes of landing their dream job or perfecting their Spring Break beach vacation.  But I’m embarrassed to reveal that I once judged so harshly — for, as both my teacher, Sean Donahue, and his teacher, Karina Blackheart so wisely state “Witches work with all things.”  And I am coming to judge less and less, thank goodness.  For no matter what one is working to manifest, or what form their Magic takes for conjuring it, on a personal level we are mostly all striving for the same basic things in the end — Love, Community, Family, Home, Health.  

Update // vision board complete and on fleek


How do you think that a collection of witches is magnified in power to an individual witch?

We are like bees in a hive.  Each essential to its functioning and interdependent with one another for our continued survival.  Witches are like crystal points, all shattered from the same original cluster and scattered across the Earth in a constellation of glimmering wisdom.  We touch in with one another here and there, and often find ourselves possessed of the same ideas, the muse having come to visit each of us with a similar tale to tell.  We are just people who remember to remember, who know how to listen, and who make space to speak what is true.  We often work in solitude, but remain connected through the mycelial web which weaves us together, mushrooms fruiting in unique shapes and colors and sizes throughout the forest, all springing from the same ancient and subterranean source.

Where would you direct a woman who is interested in exploring her inner witch for the first time? (books? Plants? etc)

Dont’ be afraid of messing up.  Or saying the wrong thing.  Just listen to the magic that is your own, then do that.  If you feel called to sing to the waters of the Ocean, that is your magic.  Heal the Ocean with your prayers.  If it is stones which speak to you most clearly, ask them how you can serve them best.  Above all else, listen to the guidance that comes from the Natural World, from whatever allies you walk with — plant, animal, mineral or ancestral.  Answers for what your own magic looks like, will almost never come from watching another perform theirs.

Do what feels right.  There are magical teachers, and they important.  I have always just listened and followed the path that was spoken to me by Spirit. I think the best place to start is just by honoring yourself and listening to your own intuition.  The path will reveal itself little by little.  Do not rush.  Flower Essence of Impatiens is a good ally.

I also encourage you to make Relationship with the wild places where you live.  These places can teach you much about Magic, about yourself, and about, how to walk in a good way as a Human.


How do the facets of our souls (shadow side, sun-lit side, good, evil) effect the process of owning our power?

This is such an important question.  In a time where many people see “sending love and light” as a totally valid response to the problems of the world, just owning your shadow and showing up with something that is not pseudo-spiritual fluff is fucking revolutionary.  Because if we, as individuals, continue to live our lives under the false pretense, that we can simply “send love and light” to people who are dying and being oppressed as the result of very real systems of oppression, then we are in fact complicit with the violence that is being perpetuated through our silence.  And I believe that this begins with witnessing and sitting in our own darkness, our own fear, our own shame.  I’ve got it.  I’ve got a lot of it.  I have not spoken much about my early life [publicly, that is] but one day hope to come to a place of resolution and understanding that will allow me to contextualize what I’ve experienced and be able to share it in a way that is healing not only for me, but for folks who have gone through similar things and must carry on as though everything is just fucking peachy (read anyone who has experienced severe trauma and must continue to live under systems of capitalism and patriarchy).  I also believe that it is because of the difficulties that I faced early on in my life that I have grown into the woman that I am today.  Everyone says that right?  Well it’s because it’s true.  When we can sift through and sit with the shadow material in our personal lives, we are able to claim and express our brilliance and creativity and power in equal measure.


Why do you think it is so hard for some of us to own our power, speak to the woman who knows she has it but is afraid to use it.

I really admire my friend Hannah Freeman, who has always said, with no bravado whatsoever, that she enjoys being uncomfortable, because of the opportunity that it presents to learn and grow.  I am not so brave as she, most of the time.  I really got a kick out of this meme I read on the internet recently — “You have no idea, how far out of my comfort zone my entire life is.”  And I think that’s a good thing.  I am someone, who if I succumbed to my introverted urges, would probably almost never leave my house, and yet there is a wiser and wider part of me which led me to drive around the country in a freakin’ huge deisel truck all by my self for half of the last year.  Our fear will always be there, and we can’t let it get in the way of the life we are each here to live.


Tell us a little bit about your personal witch journey.

My journey is intimately interwoven with my Medicine Path as an herbalist.  I tell the early part of this tale here and relay more recent developments here.  But of course, I am living it still.  The work of a witch is in waking every day, and both finding and making meaning in the World in which she walks.


What is our role now, as witches of this world, and waht is a potent way that you would like us to be using our collective powers to heal?

1.  Every magical act is also a political action.  Right now, we must use all the tools at our disposal, including our voices (both online and in person) to fight hate, to fight racism, fascism, classism, mysogyny, homophobia, and so forth.  I believe that the Internet is Big Magic.  Use the Internet skillfully.  Use your phone as a magical tool.  Respect them both.  Understand their power and use them for good.  Organize your community and educate yourself.  Remember that knowledge is power.

2.  Many of our Magics are private and quiet and internal and unseen.  These are no less potent or important than the visible ways in which we wield our power in the outer world.  If anything, they are made more precious by virtue of their remaining personal.  Do kind things for other people, all the time, and don’t bother much about whether or not they notice from where the kindness came.  Create small rituals of daily self care that are for you and no one else.  This is foundational.  One of the greatest perils of magical work is the very real consequence of exhaustion.  This is something I have struggled with and tend to espouse ad infitum.  Self care is a radical act within a system that does not value the health of the individuals that make up that system.

3.  Nice is a four letter word.  I do my best to stay away from nice people.  Nice people are often being dishonest, not only with you but with themselves.  To be nice, you must compromise yourself and your own needs and boundaries.  To be nice, you must put yourself last.  To be nice, you must not let the world know, what it is you truly think, feel, or want.  Stop being nice, please.  Just stop.  For you see, niceness comes at an extremely high price, in the form of repressed emotions, internalized violence, and feelings of powerlessness which lead, ultimately to resentment toward others and sometimes even illness expressed in the body.

Kindness, in contrast, is honest; it is wildly brave and compassionate — but not always pleasant, and certainly not always nice, in the moment. Kindness is fierce and impersonal at times. It has taken me my entire life, thus far, to settle into this knowing, and to say with conviction that I am not a nice person, but that I am kind, through and through.  And I struggle with it still, often feeling misunderstood by the wider culture in which I am expected to play a certain role, in which I am expected to be unquestioningly nice. Recently a very good friend of mine, and a fellow witch, wrote this wonderful piece about the difference between being a nice girl and being a strong woman.  Everything in my body responded with a loud and clear yes as I read Asia’s words. And I imagine that yours will too. So please, stop being so damned nice and begin to explore what it looks like to be truly kind.  Oh, and while you’re at it, stop apologizing.

4.  Do what works. Working together, doesn’t always look like working together. For better or worse, I have never been much of a joiner.  This really rubs a lot of folks the wrong way.  When I receive invitations to collaborate or participate in a project, unless I sense a very clear and unmistakable YES, I know my energy is better focused elsewhere [see, point three]. When I feel genuinely moved to support someone or something — I will do so fiercely, naturally, and with my whole heart — and still, that does not always look like direct involvement in the outer world.   As my totally luscious friend Vanessa so eloquently states — “My work is not to please you, it is to give birth to Something.”  Sometimes that work is done in solitude and sometimes it is done in partnership, in collaboration, in a group, or as a community.  Always, it is done in cooperation and in respect.  Your work looks how it looks.  Do that. I promise your allies will find you.

5.   And finally, remember that this is not a competition.  Whether or not we are directly working together, it is vital to acknowledge that the success of each individual and is integral to the success of the wider community and cause of which we are all a part (read: smashing the patriarchy, honoring ancestral wisdom, creating safe spaces, and communing with Nature).  As a primarily femme and female-identified demographic, we been socialized to compete with one another and we have to actively work against that impulse in ourselves, remaining honest, humble, and curious when it arises. It is so crucial that we compassionately deconstruct this internalized social programming and recognize that the work that we each do individually is a uniquely meaningful and irreplacable contribution to the more beautiful world we are all working so hard to midwife into being. Because we got this, but we need all hands on deck to do the sacred work that we are being called to at this time. This includes you, your mother, your daughter, your sister, and all the bad bitches, wise witches, and fierce femmes in your life.

P.S. Happy Birthday dear Sophia Rose.

And thank you to Jonah Welch for the photos.

Thank you all for being here. xo

Witches I Love: Words with Siddal Farmer

Welcome back for our next edition of Season of the Witch, from our Witches I Love series featuring witchy women with unseen powers and beautiful insight on owning their inner Witch.

I am producing this series with the intention to be witness to a conversation that I feel is really important, in this time when owning our own powers and using them for good is of utmost and dire potency.

These women are ordinary, extraordinary humans just like each of you who are read this today.

 


Meet Siddal. She is a woman, a mother, a partner, a ceramic artist, a hairstylist and a Witch (to name just a few of the many things that she is.)

We met when we worked together as hairstylists. We bonded over motherhood and cooking and our partnerships and our families and all those little things that are shared in the back room of a feminist hair salon.

Siddal and I started sitting together monthly in a full moon circle with a small group of women last year, a tradition which started when the Summer turned to Fall but faded away with the Holidays. We are still working on getting the group together again. It will happen, and in the meantime, I observe the full and new moons with a new sense of purpose and intention. The circle remains unbroken.

What Siddal brought to the group was a deep knowledge and reverence for the Craft itself. Siddal comes from a traditional and disciplined practice of Wicca, which she has studied for years both independently and within the structure of a coven. She weaves this earth-based spirituality and tool-kit for divination very beautifully into her daily life…….Naturally, as a woman who has really inspired my path, I asked her if she would take part in this interview series.

Today, we thank Siddal for sharing her experience, and we hope that her words enrich your life and further empower your journey, whatever the path may be.

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What does the term Witch mean to you?

I came across the acronym W.I.T.C.H many years ago…Women In Total Control of Herself. Sums it up pretty well! A witch knows herself and strives to harnesses her power in all ways. Her shadow side and her sun lit side. She loves, protects and works in harmony with the Earth. She respects the balance of nature and acknowledges, embraces, and celebrates the cycles of the Earth and Nature. She celebrates the Goddess within herself and others. She is someone who doesn’t let stuff just happen to her. She is not passive and allows that the universe gives her lessons but doesn’t just sit back and waits…she takes action.

 

How does one know that one was a Witch?

For me it was something always under the surface, a sound, a mummer …when I finally recognized that part of myself it was like a chord was struck. I felt in harmony with the Earth and Elements….a coming home. I think it is different for everyone. Don’t be afraid to be quiet and listen to those inner voices. They are so wise!

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Intention and manifestation

Thought and action. But learning how they influence each other and how to focus is key. Your intention needs to be so clear and focused to manifest. For me prayer, spellwork, intention and manifestation are all one. Spellwork has been helpful because having concrete items or props (stones, herbs, food, candles) to focus my intentions helps me to stay clear and grounded. Also helps to keep that focus present so your higher consciousness can do its work. I’ve had many experiences with spells coming to fruition in amazing ways….. my husband was called forth from a spell in high school! I wrote my intentions for my perfect partner, with a long list of wants and needs…. we started dating the next year. I told him about the spell, he was skeptical! But we have been together for 18 years now. Even during our difficulties I remind myself that there is something to learn. I manifested this relationship and I asked for someone who would challenge me! Caveat- This was not a love spell. It was not directed at a particular person…I do not believe it is ok to mess with some ones free will. My coven once did work for a friend who asked for help. She was pregnant and was torn about what to do about it.… not an ideal situation for her. We focused our intentions on helping her with decisions, keeping her safe and the best outcome for all involved. She ended up miscarrying a few weeks later. Although a very difficult thing for her she did believe it was the best thing at that time. We did more work afterwards on healing, understanding, and forgiveness.

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How do you think a coven is magnified in power to an individual Witch?

Greater numbers = greater power. Laws of attraction…like attracts like. When I practice solitary I feel empowered but when I was in a coven or practicing with others I can really feel the magnitude of our collective power. It’s a physical thing, the power. A buzzing, thrumming, intensity. It’s magnificent! If all of the women in the world could focus their power together we would be unstoppable!

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Where would you direct a women who is interested in exploring her inner Witch?

I started with books, Im a voracious reader and really feel connected to books. Starhawks Spiral Dance was one of the first books I read that wasn’t mythology or fable. It made so much sense to me. Things started clicking after that. Really any of her books are wonderful. And if you are a fan of fiction her novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing is so powerful!! Other authors I’ve enjoyed –Scott Cunningham, Merlin Stone- When God was a Women, The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler….

But also learn to sit with yourself. Meditate under the Full and New Moon. Start paying attention to nature and the cycles of the Earth. Find the quiet in your life and honor it.

 

img_6643How do facets of our souls effect the process of owning our power?

I think some women shy away from owning their power because of a fear of the shadow side….but you can’t have light without dark. Balance is so important and needs to be considered with every intention. Delve into your shadow side, without knowing it you cannot be balanced.

 

Why do you think it is so hard for some of us to own our own power?

Partly the way most women are raised in our society…I’d like to think it is changing…but the fear that so many of us have and experience creates a block to access our power. Strong women are not looked kindly upon. You are a bitch if you speak up, a whore if you show any comfort in your own sexuality….

If we can learn to deal with our own fear then we can come in to our power.

Start small, work on yourself. Then you can start to make changes in the bigger world.

 

7u6a7125My personal Witch journey

I was always drawn to myths and legends, stories of Gods and Goddesses. I read two books in elementary school that really influenced me- the Egypt Game and Juniper. In the Egypt Game the act of creating altars and asking the Gods and Goddesses for wisdom and guidance spoke to me. It felt more real and connected than the Christianity I was raised in….and Juniper was all about a women in pre-Christian Europe. A witch who worked with herbs and was a healer. I think those two books helped set me on my path. I read a ton of mythology from all different cultures. In middle school and high school I started reading about other religions and found Pagan chat rooms on Prodigy (early internet chat). Others I spoke with started turning me on to Starhawk and other authors and I dedicated myself to the Goddess in high school. I was very private about this…not ready to share with others. My folks were pretty nervous but my mother tried to understand and read some books as well. She still doesn’t understand….she was raised Catholic and that resonates strongly with her. In college I was invited to be in an Alexandrian Coven. My High Priestess helped me work on much of my fear and helped me learn to focus my power. But I eventually felt that Alexandrian Wicca was too structured for me and left. I started a more eclectic coven with friends and that felt more in tune with what I was striving for. When I finished college and moved across the country I started practicing solitary again. Now I have been working on putting together a women’s group that can meet regularly. Hard thing to do! Making the regular time to meet can be difficult for everyone with families and life. But  I believe it is so important, especially now, for women to join together and share and focus their power and energies. Our world need us!

 

Witches I Love, with Courtney Luck

A year or so ago, Courtney Luck contributed a beautiful story about her Hair Journey through Grief to HTHG and inspired me to dig even deeper into hair and it’s importance in our lives. Through working with her on the story, I came to see her as a very thoughtful and insightful woman who knows first hand about walking through shadows in search of the light, and creating her life as she wants it to be.

12484692_10208305876710476_2427153618640741253_oShe is a healer and manifester. Courtney embodies the Witch. Today, I offer her deep gratitude for her contribution to Witches I Love, Interviews with Modern Witches.


What does the term Witch mean to you?
To me, I associate the term “Witch” with a woman who is intuitive, passionate, and deeply connected to her senses.  One who is in alignment with herself, her surroundings, and to nature.

How would one know that one was a witch? 🙂
I honestly believe that every woman has an inner Witch that can be cultivated.  Historically, as women, we have always been the care givers, the healers, the ones with a connection to our natural environment; attuned with the cycles of seasons, the cycles of the moon, aware of which plants can heal, which can hurt, which can nourish our bodies…  Because of this long lineage of woman before us, it is in our DNA.  As modern women, we may have lost connection to this innate wisdom and so, because it is still there, we can coax it out with practice.  So, yes, any woman can be a Witch if she so chooses.

11696339_10153535905798081_88105524347954432_oStanding in alignment with the full moon, July 2015″ Photo by Alison Beman

Talk about intention and manifestation…..How do they work together, Can you recall the first time you experienced their power in action?
I am a healer so my response is in healers terms.  Intention and Manifestation are like Yin and Yang.  Yin equaling stillness and Yang equaling activation.  Intention is Yin.  It is the thought or belief that we have within us.  The thought or belief we may have over and over again.  There is no action to intention.  We believe it and it lives within us.  In Chinese medicine, utmost Yin (stillness) always gives way to Yang (action).  Manifestation is action!  We hold our intentions with patience and trust.  Manifestation is our intention made into reality. (By the Divine, by the Universe, by our Higher Self- whatever name you want to give to this force)  One cannot exist without the other.  Intentions and Manifestations will always work together.  And as our intentions are made manifest, one by one the cycle will repeat.  We manifest what we desire, and we move onto the next intention.  A perfect circle.

At my holistic med school, one of the first things we ever heard was this: “Intention is everything”.  Every time I sit with a patient, I have an intention for them, an intention for my treatment, an intention even for the placement of the needles.  The first time I experienced the power of intention was in my treatment room.  Depending on the state of my patient, I may or may not share my intention with them.  What amazes me is when I choose not to share my intention.  On their next visit, everything that I had intended with the treatment has been made manifest.  It is so incredibly profound to witness.  And for those patients which I choose to share my intention, when they return, they report the intention has emerged and then some!  They have taken my intention, made it their own, and how it manifests for them exceeds my wildest dreams.

I have also experienced my own cycle of intentions and manifestations.  Every New Moon I create a list of intentions.  I write about what I want to invite into my life and then I write a corresponding list of what those intentions could look like when they are manifested.  On one of my most recent lists, for example, I wrote that I intended to grow my practice and that would manifest as starting 5 new patients that month.  Within two weeks I had 6 new patients booked and within the month, I had begun working with them all.  Because intentions and manifestations are so deeply linked (think Yin and Yang), I love working with them in this way.  I believe it is not enough to simply have the intention.  You must give that stillness of intention a vehicle of action to make it manifest.

How do you think that a collection of witches is magnified in power to an individual witch? 

13516307_10208707100728244_5430519299109825581_nSummer Solstice Full Moon Drumming, June 2015  Photo by Irene Glasse

I believe that all women need the support of other women.  Witches are deeply intuitive, loving, and supportive.  I am a part of a Goddess tribe and also have been adopted by a tribe of Witches.  In these tribes, there are healers, shamaness’, herbalists, conjurers and all sorts of other beautiful titles that light us on fire.  We walk the Labyrinth every full moon.  We walk in silence, brushing hands and offering smiles or giggles as we pass each other.  We drum.  We have teaching meetings, each time a new topic by a new facilitator.  I have many rituals that I perform alone.  Many different practices I cultivate.  And then, when I gather with those powerful, passionate, wild-women I cry.  I cry because I am so grateful to have their influence and more so to be welcomed into the Sisterhood.  I am so grateful to learn, to be in a community where we share knowledge with one another for the good of all.  We lend support, laughter, and lessons.  All women need this.  We need to know that we are valued, appreciated, and that we are powerful beyond measure.  Before a life changing experience 6 years ago, I didn’t have many close women friends.  I felt like I related to my male friends better than to women.  I learned young that there can be competition between women- for that hot guy in gym class, for class president, for that part in the play…  It took the experience of watching my husband die 6 years ago to learn how powerful I am.  And that it is my life’s mission to remind all women how powerful they are.  I believe that witches are the first ever feminists, bringing back to light the matriarchal Goddess powers that never should have been cast aside.  When women gather, mountains move.

Where would you direct a woman who is interested in exploring her inner witch for the first time? (books? Plants? etc.)screenshot_2016-10-20-21-31-14-1
Foraging to make smudge bundles, photo by me

I think that the quickest way to get in touch with ones inner Witch is to get your hands dirty.  Go out into nature!  Touch everything as if you didn’t know what it was.  Smell everything.  Taste everything (I’ve eaten dirt, licked leaves and stones…)  Listen to the sounds around you.  Use your eyes to learn how nature moves and thrives.  We are nature.  When I feel lost, I look at what is happening outside.  The trees don’t fight against the wind, they bow to it yet it does not break them.  Water flows in and around all things.  The leaves do not fight against the seasons, they let go when it is time to let go.  As we awaken nature within us, we become more intuitive, more trusting of our gut instincts; this is our inner Witch awakening.  She tells us that we already know what to do.  All of the answers are inside us.  This makes us magical.

How do the facets of our souls (shadow side, sun-lit side, good, evil) effect the process of owning our power?
I’m back to Yin and Yang again.  The symbol of Yin and Yang shows that small bits of each exist in the other.  The white with the small spot of black, the black with the small spot of white.  We need to see both our shadow sides and our sun-lit sides in order to live completely and wholly.  For me, it was losing my husband that plunged me deep into my shadow self.  All of my insecurities emerged.  Fearful, terrified, utterly lost without him.  My entire identity and future felt like it died with him.  And I allowed myself to remain there, in my shadow side.  And praise to Goddess that I did!  Because when you are in the darkness long enough, you will inevitably see a spot of light.  Facing my shadow-self, my fears, my inner critic, I was able to learn so much about who I am.  The more I learned about myself, the more peace I made with my shadows.  The light grew and grew.  And now I am deeply content with the woman that I am.  I will never stop learning and growing.  I am grateful to the darkness, because without it I would not be able to appreciate the light that I live in now.  It is because of those shadows that I have power.  It takes great courage to face our fears, our imperfections, our doubts.  By acknowledging that our shadows exist, we come closer and closer to integrating them with the light and becoming whole again.  And when we are whole, we are unstoppable.

Why do you think it is so hard for some of us to own our power, speak to the woman who knows she has it but is afraid to use it.10996468_10205357434188674_7003727452808010231_n
Gathering for Henna Instruction, photo by Irene Glasse

The feminist in me is screaming.  So I will speak from my own personal experience (which I know will resonate with most women in this day and age).  When I was very little, I felt like a super-hero.  I felt like I could do anything.  I was the best, most wonderful little person.  Yet, as I grew up, I felt less and less so.  I was taught by society to smile at everyone, to be agreeable, to be quiet, to stay out of the way, to do whatever was necessary to reduce conflict.  I was taught that Prince Charming was going to come and save me.  That true loves kiss conquered all.  Even into adulthood, if I were complimented, I would brush it off or even give reasons why that compliment was unfounded.  If I were praised, I’d give praise right back to lessen the attention on myself.  My mentor, Bob Duggan, taught us that if we were acknowledged to take a deep breath and then ask them to repeat it- to ensure we actually took in that acknowledgement.  I feel it is difficult for some of us to own our power because of what we have been taught in this society.  And the remedy for this “shrinking violet” all comes back to nature.  A rose cannot choose not to bloom for fear of making the other flowers jealous of its fragrance and beauty.  The rose blooms because that’s what roses do.  We are roses- dears.  Roses, Dandelions, Chrysanthemums… whatever flower you want to be.  Dimming your light to spare another is unnecessary.  There is no competition.  We are each unique in all the world!  Everyone on this earth needs you to shine your you-ness.  I know this is easier said than done.  It takes practice.  Daily, even each minute there is a practice of remembering that we are special.  My mentor also told us “Give your gifts away!  You can’t take them with you anyway”.   Your power is a gift.  Own it, acknowledge it, and then teach others to own their power by being a living example.  The “gift” you are giving away is not your power, the “gift” is showing others how to be powerful.  It is our duty, as women, to empower other women.  

“We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terribly loyalty” -GK Chesterton  .

Tell us a little bit about your personal witch journey. 

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Meditation room alter, photo by me

I will say that I’m so happy to be a Witch and to be owning the title.  My very first favorite movie as a little girl was Teen Witch (top that!)  I wanted to be a witch so badly!  I’d write spells and talk to the wind, light candles and murmur into the flames.  My Mother taught me how to smudge with sage and to use a pendulum to help me make decisions (my Mama is a total plant witch- she can bring anything back to life)  I’m thrilled to see many women embracing the term as empowering, because that is exactly what it is.  My witch journey began as a sassy and always-the-center-of-attention little girl and then re-emerged 6 years ago after my husband left this plane.  This part of me was clearly there all along, and it took a great shift in consciousness to remember it.  I know now that this is my authentic self, this witch that I have embraced.  She is the healer in me, the chantress, the tarot reading, sage burning, intention making, manifesting badass babe; this is me.


Courtney Luck is an acupuncturist, reiki healer, writer, artisan, cat mom and doting auntie…  A lover of live music, meditation, shamanism, dancing, singing, and playing in nature.  Courtney is the owner of Soul Garden Acupuncture and lives in historic downtown Frederick, MD.  For more information visit: www.soulgardenacupuncture.com
(Business Website)
http://gowiththemotion.blogspot.com
(Personal Blog)

Charge What You Are Worth: Interview with Stylist and Healer Stefani Padilla

Hello! Welcome back to our second interview for our Charge What You Are Worth Series.

I decided to produce this series because this has been a big theme in my life in the last year, and I have noticed it to be a very common theme for women who are carving out their own career path.

I wanted to Interview Stefani Padilla, because she sort of inspired this conversation for me by very matter-of-factly telling me, in our first ever conversation, that I needed to raise my rates. No big deal. Just do everyone a favor and raise them.

Stefani has a very straightforward way of getting to the point and cutting through the BS. This is a quality that I admire so very wholeheartedly in her. I decided very early on that I can trust her, and I should listen to her. She is doing the work, and she knows it well.

So, I took her advice, thankfully.

That being said, I asked her if she would share words on the subject and she obliged.

So read on, and imagine that you are with her and she is telling you as straight and authentic as can be, that you should know your worth.


 

Knowing your Worth with Hair Healer Stefani Padilla

(All photos in this post were taken by Kacie Tomita for La Tierra Sagrada Hair)

img_5573What would you tell a friend who is clearly doing good work and undercharging herself?
Know your worth!

What advice would you give to this friend to take action? 

I believe, as humans, we get stuck when we allow our fears to limit us. It’s important to dissect the fears, and identify where they are coming from. I always look at fear as “False Evidence Appearing Real” and most times all it takes to move beyond my own self-limiting beliefs is seeing them, becoming aware its all my own and then remembering that we are fearless, limitless, expanding creatures by nature.. It’s really up to us when we want to move beyond the fear that is holding us back.

img_5574What happens when we begin to charge what we are worth? Why is this in everyone’s best interest?

You step into your power, and draw boundaries-people like boundaries. Also, once you start charging more, it gives you and energetic boost, so you physically, mentally and energetically have more to give. In the end, the more energy you have, the more you pull in- so it can actually be a massive boost to building your business as well!

How does fear play into undercharging ?

Fear is what holds us back from connecting to our worth. It is an internal battle with out own self worth. We feel it is scary to charge more, because of what people might say or judge.. We fear we will lose clients and inevitably lose money. There’s so much emphasis on loss and not enough on what we’re actually gaining… Fear is an illusion- always remember you can move past it at any given moment.. and the sooner you do, the sooner you can be living the life you have AWALYS been worthy of!

img_5567What would be a good mantra for charging what one is worth?

I AM WORTH IT!
One practice I’ve done is repeating this mantra 11 times a day for 11 days straight- it not only creates a shift in our “story” but can be a mega boost to our worthiness!
Always remember, YOU are valuable- no one on Earth, not even a robot, can imitate you. Your clients know that they cannot obtain YOUR services from anywhere else. Your clients love you and will pay more to continue to see you and receive your energy.

img_5570Talk a little bit about forgetting about the physicality of money exchange and looking at it as energy exchange and how this helps the process of raising rates and valuing our own work more?

Most people are afraid to “talk money” If we shifted our perspective and looked at it as it truly is- which is merely an exchange of energy it wouldn’t be such a loaded topic.

Whatever trade we have acquired, somewhere down the line required schooling or training, in which you paid for to learn. The years of expertise and wisdom you’ve gained wasn’t for free, so why give it away?? It’s important to have our connection to money be clean and clear..This includes taking a powerful stand for the full value and worth of yourself and your services.

Hope this helps, please do share!

xo, HTHG and Stefani Padilla

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