13 February 2022

Anniversaries, Surviving and Saints

Good Morning Witches! 

It is the eve of my anniversary with my old guy. It was many years ago, a lifetime now that he walked into my life. A great big ball of angry, betrayed and slightly broken from the chunks life and relationships had taken out of him, and I was in truly no better shape. We spent time together, mainly out of necessity at first, I worked there, it was his local....it blossomed into a friendship and late into the nights that I stood behind that bar we chatted about everything we had lived and all we still wanted from life....it grew quietly at first, I don't think either of us really noticed. One day it just roared, it was Valentine's day and when he asked the same question he had asked me before  "are you ready?" I still chuckle now at the look on his face when I said yes, lol. 

No rose colored glasses here, it took work, tears, smiles, heartbreak and mountains of love but we healed ourselves and each other. 

Maybe it's the scales in me but I remember the past when I celebrate the present. This lifetime is built on the rubble of the first, I am a survivor of domestic violence. For those that have, or are living it, know;

It won't be easy

They are lying to you

I understand 

I am here

Use your voice or keyboard, reach out for help safely, any way you can 

You CAN do this 

You can and will survive and thrive

You will find your way

For me, we aren't going out, just a quiet dinner with the kids then at midnight, I am preparing witch's bottles. These are special ones in honor of St. Rita, the patron Saint of those in difficult, abusive relationships and marriages. I have been collecting the ingredients for a lifetime or two. 

Yes, don't get your pants in a bunch, I am a pagan witch working with a Saint, it happens more than you think. The freedom of being a witch means, I have the freedom to choose how. 

Blessings Witches, sending crooked smiles and buckets of love. 


20 March 2021

As the Wheel Turns Magic Grows

As the wheel turns once again, as this new day dawns it will be Spring, a time I look forward to every year....the Sun starts to warm up, and even on the last day of winter (yesterday) I put my first load of clothes out on the line....of course my black and white cosmic star dresses were out there, blowing in the warm wind while the snow lay melting on the grass below them. It was such a wonderful moment putting on a clean dress that smelled of the outdoors.....it was symbolic to me to wash away the dust of the Winter, and start Spring in the freshest of nightdresses. 

My mind is racing these days, not thinking but planning....oh so many dreams, now with the shop going I am constantly thinking of ways to bring everything a witch needs into it while still working within my limits, thankfully being a Libra I am good at the scales but the balancing act of possibilities and realities is quite the feat, makes me look like I am doing a cha-cha with two uneven broken heels, with some weaving and bobbing for good measure. No one ever said this was going to be easy, but definitely it will be worth it.....all this struggle, it will be worth it.....all this clawing up that steep hill will work.....I only have so much time.....ok, breathe and carry on....believe in my own magic.

There are moment in our lives that we know are crossroads, moments where what we do we know will reverberate through our whole entire lives not that every moment doesn't do that to a certain extent, but crossroads are different, they are massive moments that most times come disguised in the smallest packages....for me it was the offer of a job, one that she could not afford to pay me for....it was just a space in a tiny little room at the back of her store, and if I had a reading I paid her 1/4 of my fee for the space.....it was a leaping point, just like the Fool in the Tarot I was ready to take that leap, and I did....that was 30 years ago now.....long before you could find a tarot reader everywhere....we were few and far between in those days....and there I was jumping right in....I believed in magic then, but then I thought it was something that was separate from me, an energy I had to honour or serve, the concept that it lived within me was something so foreign for me...but this is what happens when you have the life I did....magic saved my life, being me, openly, unashamedly me saved my life and my soul.....and now here I find myself again, putting myself out there, facing the haters, the naysayers and the downright vile comments at times, and messages....but still I do it....if flatlining didn't stop me, then some internet trolls won't either, they are simply tiresome at times....but I have a dream, a plan and magic....so I rise. 

Anointing oils are coming to the shop, handmade incense sticks....books! oh so many books! tarot decks! and a whole line of candles.....magical tools for magical witches.....my dream, make sure that every witch finds their magic, and transforms their life by believing in that magic and knowing that it lives in them! It is them.

And the wheel has turned.....do you feel the magic? I hope you do, I hope you let it rise and fill your veins, rise up and let it flow through your life.....magic never disappoints...it is a part of you.

Back to tarot decks, dreams and plans....

May this Spring wash away all that no longer serves, while ushering in new fresh beginnings filled with joy, peace, healing and abundance for us all.



20 February 2021

New Beginnings, Mercury Rx and Never giving up

 My candle is slowly flickering, dying and the smell of wax fills the air here, a smell every witch knows, the petition is done, the flame is oscillating between a large,bright beacon and the little itty bitty, is it lit stage. I sit and gaze at the flame, it fights for one more moment of glory, fighting for life, for air.

The glow is warm, softening the edges of a life that has had many hard knocks.....age creeps up.....the eyes, although still intense, have a knowing glint that is hard to ignore....they have seen some crazy shit.....but now the lines, they are getting deeper around them, the track of the tears is now clearly marked by the Gods, in the age spots in the shape of a tear on my face.....there is no turning back the years, but really I wouldn't want to......I hear often that I am so strong....I don't really know if that is true, if it is being strong, or really just obstinate....refusal to give up runs in my blood, but that isn't strength for me...that is responsibility and love....I do what I do, I work the way I do and I never give up, because of love.

This has been a strange week for me, starting with our 25th anniversary, sadly my health didn't co-operate, the realities of disability make conventional celebrating impossible at times....so there was tea, our bed and snuggles....this retrograde has been difficult, stressful and even at times terrifying as our little shop went online....I know right? What was I thinking going live as Mercury was going retrograde.....well, if this was the first incarnation of my standalone site then yep, I would have rocks in my head....but nope this has to be the 6th or 7th incarnation of Witch's Chamber, this time it works! It was a heartbreaking process for me in the past, even going so far once of paying someone - with money I so couldn't spare- only to have them ignore it until it had been 3 months and I ended the agony....now two years later here we are....there were many tears, anxiety bouts that were crippling at times, and a whole lot of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul to get it all to where it is today with stock, getting over the hurdle of admitting to myself that no I just cannot craft enough to support us, that was hard....but I didn't quit, I shook myself off, stood up and kept going and thankfully the gentleman I worked with was calm, understanding....and for once I used my voice calmly to admit that I could do no more at times, I needed time to let my brain catch up, for my own mental health....another thing this Mercury retrograde has given me, the truth of my mental health with its limitations without guilt or shame....now finally, it's done! The direction I took was no easy choice, there was much soul searching and honesty necessary, with myself....but I am happy with it.

The crackle of the flame is like a jolt, shaking out the cobwebs my libra brain likes to get caught in....someone told me as a child, you know those backdoor places....where the "curandera" lives....my dad took me....I never forget, she told me there was a bright light around me and that I just needed to keep going forward....it would be hard, but I was made strong.....at the time, I was happy about this...I was a child, now I know why my dad cried on the way home.

The flame has lost its battle, the altar is dark....for the moment....just like that altar it may dim for a moment, but there is always a spark to light a new candle...a new dream....hope

Blessings all


14 September 2020

As My Wheel Turns

 As I lay here tonight there's no sleep to be had no matter what I do it just won't come. This year has been so difficult for so many of us but yet we all carry on, but really what else are we supposed to do? Giving up is something I've never done, no matter how hard it is, my feet just keep moving forward on the road below me, even though I can't see it....my heart knows it's there.....with each step it materializes underneath me....or so I hope.

I imagine life back when I was a child, I never really thought it would be this way....but which of us really imagined life in a realistic way as a teenager? When young you think there is so much time to grow, learn and experience life....as each year passes you think there is an abundance of time to catch up to your dreams.....the years though, they fly by and before you realize a half century has passed....the kids have grown, some still love you and others, well, you are everything they love to hate....a sometimes unavoidable consequence of having children with people who end up being abusive and hateful themselves.....if only there were do-overs for the choices of our youth....of course that is not possible.

I find myself here as my 52nd birthday approaches...it's been an interesting life so far...there has been joy, happiness and much heartache.... A life filled with abuse, domestic violence, and things that can never be forgotten. So many years you would think that it would be easy to forget, but it isn't. In reality every moment of our Lives shapes every coming moment of our Lives... So while we may not carry the anger, the regret or the pain any longer, we will forever carry the experience.....in every cell of our being, the memory resides and when you're really lucky-insert sarcasm- the wonderful PTSD will remind you, over and over again.

Of course this is not to say that I have not had a good life, I have...I've had so much joy, I've had so much love. After my first incarnation in marriage, I swore I'd never do it again. I was convinced that there was no way that I was going to live under the thumb of any other man. What had started with so much love had ended so brutally that I was nowhere near thinking that there was ever going to be a way to find happiness with another man, hell with anybody man, woman didn't matter I was just done. Now as I lay next to my old guy I realize that if there was one thing I could change, it would be to go back to when I was 15 and to walk away from the first one. I would have waited to meet him, but but no matter how much I wish it's not a possibility...even after almost 24 yrs, I want more time, endless time with him...if I could turn back the clock, and relive the life that I wish I had done with him, I would...Oh how the choices would have been different..... It's funny I always think that I've let go of all of this, then this time of year comes...it starts to get cold, the leaves start to change...The familiar chill comes in the air and I know that it's not going to be long and my wheel of the year will turn... Maybe it's just the getting older, maybe it's the hindsight, I may never really know what it is but this time of year brings about the melancholy... 

The feeling that there's there has to be more than this, there has to be more than the struggle...the struggle to be heard, to be seen, to be acknowledged...somehow when you're young you just think this shit will be all worked out by the time you're old.....then you get older and realize that age has nothing to do with having all your shit together... But maybe it's never really about having your shit together and it's more just about walking on, not giving up...Maybe it's just about trying to do better today than you did yesterday...

52, wow, there are more years behind me than there are ahead of me now...there are still so many things I don't know, and no matter how I try to convince myself there will be always things that I regret... But there are some things that I do know...I fought hard to break free...I scraped and clawed my way to me, and I like me...my babies, the best parts of my life, amazing humans that I love to the end of the galaxy and beyond, just for them it was all worth it....and call me stupid but I still believe that one day I won't struggle anymore...I will find the peace I so truly desire, birthing my art, crafting magic and making love to each day....then I realize I already have this now....just need to remember to tune out the noise.....haters gonna hate, no matter what I do, I will just need to remember to turn up the music more.

These are the musings that keep me up tonite, September, the turning of my wheel.....

25 March 2020

Hunker down and Breathe

To say that life has changed for us would be an understatement....and to say that us is just my family would be another massive understatement! Life has changed for pretty much every single one of us on the planet right now....and if it hasn't, then WTF is wrong with you? 2020 came in like a diseased lion and we are all feeling it.

Some of us like me are on self isolation, others on forced quarantine and many others sadly have left us and fallen to this current virus that is sweeping the world...this is scary shit, this is one of those moments we have heard about in history class, you know where we heard about all those people dying....thousands and thousands of people....this is that time for us......for those that don't believe this is actually happening, please do tell me how do you explain the virtual death toll tickers? please don't! each morning I wake up and look at that ticker and send a prayer for all the souls that have left us.....these are sad times....

I wish I knew what to say to make this better, but I don't think there is a way to do that right now...all there is the truth that this moment will change lives. Anyone that thinks that things will look the same when this is over is deluding themselves....no matter what things will be different...there cannot be so much death around the world and it not affect you even in the furthest corner of the world, it will affect you.....breathe, take that in.....and then get ready to get on with it....if you are like me you can't stop there, you can't just sit and think of this over and over, it will eat you alive....so like I said take it in....accept that this is happening around you and you cannot change a thing.....breathe......realize that it is happening to every single person you know too....every single person around you....every single person that you don't know too....in that hugeness and immense reality is the grain of peace that I found for my myself...everyone is coming from the same place right now, feeling the same things, same fears, same realities, same challenges.....we are truly in this together.

We are watching governments working together, albeit somewhat begrudgingly but they are doing it....aid packages are coming....even though many wonder - me included - if they will come in time to help or not...it gets dicey when you live as a low income family with chronic illness...asthmatics, compromised immune systems, brain tumour, diabetes and heart disease and the aged....ding ding ding all in this house.....so many of you out there with us in this boat right now. Breathe, keep going and find something to keep your mind occupied...learn a new skill, take a class online....remember to breathe.....reach out to others....there are so many wonderful offerings on Facebook and other social media platforms for things like virtual meditation, paint parties, coffee with friends and so much more that are all free...use them, join them, make connections with people...Udemy has classes and like them, there are other platforms that do the same....personally I am thinking of how to start a live video to interact with all of you....what shall I discuss? what would you like me to tackle? let me know, it might help it happen faster!

I know I haven't really given you anything to help here, no big words of spiritual advice, more of a practical approach and probably not one you haven't heard anywhere else, countless times....all I am doing is showing you I am there with you, working through my own mental health, lack and isolation....this shit is hard, I know....I feel you, I understand and I am here with you....feeling all the same things and these are the methods I am using to quell the fears that keep cropping up as each due date creeps up....you are not alone....breathe.....nothing you do right now is going to change the course of the next couple of months, other than staying put, practice physical distancing.....enjoy the time with your family.....and when the worry about how to keep food on the table creeps in....stop, breathe....start again.....you will make it through.

Hunker down

Meditate - if you can

Light your candles - if you do

Reach out when you need to

Be patient with people....we are all in the same boat

Remember to Breathe

Sending love, blessings and crooked smiles

03 March 2020

As Spring approaches

As spring comes near the Sun starts warming up everything around us, the days grow longer as I look out my window and smile...things are good, I mean they are crazy in so many ways but they are good too, you know? My  life has never been easy not since the first damn breath when it was almost my last.....but yet here I am 51, still going, still fighting, still surviving and most importantly still thriving.

I do not wake up each day expecting roses and sunshine, no far from it....I wake up every day groggy and shaky, that is just the nature of the beast we call chronic illness, mornings are not so good....it takes time for me to build up that cortisol, but once its going I am grooving! There is always much to do around here, its a full day every day! That for the last almost year have overwhelmed me until I felt like I could do it no more....fast forward to today and here I am sitting munching on some stinky cheese and flax seed biscuits, sipping my tea and writing while appreciating my life, the good, the bad and the ugly...no my problems did not magically disappear, no void opened in the atmosphere and sucked all the oppressors in....nope didn't happen that way....what did happen was a new protocol.

Yes I know I have tried many others, some have worked well enough to keep me here, but I needed more, a more balanced and thorough approach. Luckily for me an amazing herbalist came into my life, by chance or by magic, it happened. A caring, kind, beautiful and very knowledgeable herbalist just happened to land in my life....just when I needed her most. The backslide into full on relapse for me started sometime in the summer....I spent most of it ill, barely being able to make it to weekly markets with just a few events thrown in, not enough to make a difference but enough to make me slide deeper into that agony I know so well....my writing stopped, my wire wrapping suffered and finally I found myself at the beginning of this year in a deep depression after the assault....I was lost in some space that was endless and deep let me tell you! even though I could see logically there were plenty of reasons to feel this way....I mean come on?!? look at it all clearly, my illness, my CPTSD, the flood, the assault.....add to that all the stuff going on with my family of course I was down deep in those dumps, as more just was dumped on me daily.....it was a never ending cycle that I found myself in.....I was functioning but not thriving, just barely surviving inside while I depleted everything giving to everyone else....it had to stop before I was lost for good.

Enter Correne from Spiraea Herbal Clinic + Apothecary , and yes she has a Facebook page, it is available here....follow her! trust me! she gives lots of info and teaches so much through her blog and page! it is worth it to anyone that wants to learn about the language of plants, she is fluent! Although through the months I have developed a personal relationship with her, seeing her in her herbalist capacity well, this was a totally different thing. I arranged to have a consultation with her, and when I went to it I wasn't totally sure what to expect since for me it was really the first time I have gone to a herbalist that actually made the tincture themselves....normally and in my experience with the Naturopaths it was something that they prescribed to me, but did not make themselves. This was different, but different is a welcome thing for me. As I sat there and opened up, of course I cried but yet I felt completely heard, about every aspect of my health, it all contributes to the whole. She spent at least and hour and a half going through every part of my day, what and how my body acts and reacts...how I felt inside, how I see things and how I would like to be, what I see for myself in my healing plan....I felt heard y'all! Can you believe it?

Now here I sit a week later, a whole week, shockingly it seems like it was a month ago for the amount of progress I feel....I have a different overall feeling, I mean the oppressors are all still there, the negative people have not disappeared, they are all still there with their downtrodden attitudes....that is not going to change any time soon but I have changed.....I did not notice at first how well this was working but here, today, I just stood my ground before writing this and left a discussion with my own heart intact and did not allow the ugliness of another to penetrate. I had already sat down to write and had thought that was now not going to happen, but nope, here I am clicking on these keys! I love to write and have felt so stifled not to lay down words and suddenly it feels like they are flowing again....my feeling of being overwhelmed, struggling under the strain seems to have left me. This is a wonderful thing!

Now I am not stupid and have been down the road of feeling better before, I know its not a one tincture kinda thing, its a lifelong commitment to fighting this chronic disease day after day, but it sure feels a helluva lot better to feel supported and listened to as I fight it, not to mention that the physical symptoms of it seem to be getting hit back too! I slept last night and for the first time in a long time, I did not wake up tired even though it was so late when I went to sleep and this I credit to her spring collection, the IĆ°unna Collection and my tinctures in combination broke through it all, so many changes in my outlook and my heart....then we have my WIRE!!! I crafted new pieces with my wire, all new, a beautiful Amethyst floating heart pendant....I feet like my wire and I have finally made up! Yes my hand still hurts from the assault, well one finger, but its an important one when wrapping! but yet I did it and these are the things that make me happy. Every damn day....never giving up, back to thriving.

Feeling centered and filled with sunshine, even though the problems are still there, even though I still have to figure out how to keep going in practical terms there is a lightness and hope that was lost under that big cloud that was hanging over me.

I am ready for the next phase of this healing! so lets bring it on!

Blessings of the coming spring to you!

03 October 2019

Descent, Shame and letting go

In the last few months as my birthday approached as I have in other years I felt a strong need to reflect on all that I have lived and experienced....as usual it led to deeper realizations, as I know that each trip around the Sun brings new truths from old hurts and wounds I was expecting this...what I wasn't expecting was for it to reach into my heart and make me feel it all again!

Maybe its the writing; I told myself as I continued to work on book 2, maybe its the reliving of every moment of blood on my lips....or the countless containers of concealer that I used to keep on my dresser that are no longer there, now replaced with Yemaya's altar.....maybe its the bruises that never healed...the ones seared on my heart. Whatever it was this birthday, was a hard one....I had expected last year to be this but it wasn't, it should have been being that it was my 50th, but instead this one dropped me to the floor.....part of me wants to write this uplifting part right here, that says I found my perspective and rose above it all, but truth is I didn't....rather I found that while there is no anger anymore, while there is no regret left....there is a sadness that so many years were wasted in pursuit of a life that was never meant to be mine and all that remains of it is shame.....because that is what girl's like me get as their take away prize from abusive marriages...shame and blame.

I was the girl that got married at barely 17, no I wasn't pregnant...I was searching for love, for autonomy...for freedom from the oppressive reality of living within an immigrant family in the 70's in downtown Toronto....I went from under the thumb of my parents to under the thumb of a husband that while I loved him, knew nothing about how to love me back without anger, abuse and possession. I was a child playing adult games, there was no way I was going to make it through that unscathed. I was already bringing my own scars to this dance....baring them to what I thought was a man that would stand by me till the end of our lives....pretty naive of me, and doomed to failure....I was wrong then, and for years after that day I continued to be wrong, to give up on me, to care more about the superficial parts of life....my hair, my clothes, my nails....I shake my head now and wonder who that girl was....how were my priorities so different than today?

It is as if I have lived two lives all this time....two distinct incantations....each with its own merits and disappointments......I look back and I don't even recognize that girl....even though I still live with many of her original aggressors and issues, who I was is not who I am now.....whether that makes much of a difference or not to so many that still live within those boundaries set long ago, the truth is the truth.....we either grow and move forward or we stay stagnant.....for me it is obvious what I chose; it brought all the opposition for me, and the ugliness I have fought back from; while archaic in a cultural sense to most, it has been a very real presence in my life......victim blaming is a real thing! Just smile and everyone will love you, just hide the bruise and everyone will love you.....just pretend it didn't happen....he is sorry so you should forgive him.....it is your duty to stay married to him.....fuck that noise.....yep fuck that.

My name is Tess, I am 51. I am a domestic assault and sexual assault survivor. I have issues with CPTSD, Lyme Disease and a whole host of other things that fall under that heading. I still am shamed almost on a daily basis and victim blamed, even though it gets me down at times I keep going. You can too. It won't be easy...people will disappoint you, it is the nature of the beast...some days it will feel like trudging through quicksand wearing fireman's boots that are ten sizes too big....I won't lie to you and tell you that its all roses and unicorns, it is not....there are years of healing ahead of you, you will feel alone at times...you will feel lonely, which is totally different than feeling alone....and yes you will feel like giving up...don't.....Don't....DON'T!

Stop living for the big things and start to take pleasure in the little ones....the moments of the Sun rising and seeing the dew glistening on the grass....the butterfly that flits through your life and the quiet and realizing you don't have to look behind you anymore and wonder what is next. Like me there are so many more survivors out there, there is not one part of me that feels that experiencing this life makes me somehow more deserving of good things, I just believe that we all deserve good things.....I have a dream of a day where I don't need to worry anymore, that I can finally breathe and see that all our needs; physical,emotional and financial are all taken care of, that I managed to support my family in spite of my emotional and physical disabilities. Someday it will come, I am sure of it.

Every year as Descent approaches with the darker half of the year, I plan what I will take with me down into Cerridwen's Cauldron...this year it is the shame; for marrying him....for making the wrong choices....for not leaving sooner....for not being the mother that I should have been....for not loving myself enough to know I deserved better.....the sadness of feeling that I wasted so many years of my life hoping against hope that tomorrow would be different....knowing full well that the only way it would be different is if I CHANGED it...not him....Me....the past dies a little more each day as I reclaim another part of me that has been in hiding.....25 years later and I still work through it, so be gentle with yourself, it takes the time it takes....remember the way through is not straight but actually a spiral and we keep going back to the center as we experience things through different eyes each time.....like me on my 51st birthday, facing my oppressors and seeing it from the inside all over again....it happens.....now into the cauldron I go...shed the skins I no longer need....and come out a stronger version of me.

May peace, stability, love and abundance find us all.