It was my pleasure to be interviewed by DJ Martin, herself an author and herbal witchy woman. You’ll also find links to her blogs & books at this post ~
RADIO Show! Tonight , July 24th, 8pmCST with host Rev Payshence on Rev Payshence Spiritual Ministry Radio, it’s *Girls Night!*, don’t miss it. http://www.viberadionetwork.org/podcasts.html
If you missed the radio show May 4th, never fear, you’ll find it right here:
This Friday, July 10th, 9pm CST ~ I’ll be a guest on Tina Marie Entertainment
Follow this link for *Live Feed* of the show
Prairie Land Pagan Radio– I’ll be a guest on Sunday, January 4th, at 3pm CST. The link is www.unitedpaganradio.net and people can use the call in number on the site to call in with questions and participate. They can also email directly with questions to post as well.
How did you “discover” Wicca/Witchcraft/Neo-Paganism?
I’m not so sure that I discovered Witchcraft, it’s more like Witchcraft discovered me.
I’m sure most people who’ve known me for any length of time have heard the story of the first spell I cast, as a teen-ager, in the basement of my Grandmother’s house. The fact that, somehow– by instinct or higher power, or both– I managed to get so many of the magickal correspondences right is somewhat of a marvel. Actually, the idea that a teen-ager living in South Dakota in the 70s, who had never been exposed to witchcraft, would even think of such a thing in the first place gives pause for thought.
Do you grow herbs?
Yes– mostly in the garden. I tend to have a very black thumb when it comes to house plants. I’m not sure if their untimely demise is totally dependent on my lack of indoor gardening skills, or my very dark very plant unfriendly house.
Are you “in the broom closet”? If not, share your coming out experience.
I don’t think I’ve ever been in the broom closet. I’m too open an individual, the closet would have been too confining and stuffy for me. The phrase “My Life is an Open Book”– I think it was written for me.
I am what I am. It is what it is.
What tradition do you follow, if any?
I’m eclectic– a mixture of practices.
Actually, over the years, I’ve developed a new religion, a new practice, or spiritual path, if you will. I dubbed it “Gray Magerium”. It’s a combination of Wicca, Green Witchcraft, and Hoodoo. (I feel another book coming on.)
For more information on “Gray Magerium”, follow this link: My Path/About Me
Do you consider yourself a Witch, Wiccan or Pagan (or maybe something else)?
Witch…most definitely. The word is all-encompassing.
I also love the sound of Hag, Crone, Wise-Woman, Priestess, and Conjure Woman.
How much of Witchcraft/Wicca are you able to incorporate into your everyday life?
Witchcraft, and being a witch, are an integral part of my life. It defines how I look at the world, how I relate to the people around me, how I set my moral compass, and the direction my life takes.
But on the other hand– just because my spiritual path is outside of the mainstream, mysterious, ancient, intriguing, interesting, exciting, or any other adjectives you can think of– this does not mean that my every waking moment is riveted on the fact that I’m a witch and practice witchcraft. I’m the mother of a large brood. I have groceries to pickup, laundry to do, toilets to scrub, meals to cook; I have pets to take to the vet, kids to take to the dentist, and a million other everyday ordinary things to do.
My spirituality is a large part of who I am, as I plod through regular life, just like everyone else.
Do you have a familiar? If you do, tell us how you met him/her, and how she/he takes part in your practice (if at all).
Yes, I do…Salem. He’s a beautiful black American Short Hair cat with a small white spot on his chest (called a ‘button’, by the way). He is elusive, prefers to live downstairs (away from the dog and visitors). My husband has lived in this house almost two years and has only seen him once. Various people have been to this house and have never seen him. I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking he is a figment of my imagination. But he is extraordinarily loving, and sweet with me. He looks deeply into my eyes and communicates quite clearly. He is my Sweet Boy.
Does he take part in rituals or spell casting?…only in so far as eating all the catnip that I left out one evening; rolling through the black circle of stones which I had so carefully laid on the floor; tipping over a bottle of open oil; or trying to push his way into my lap as I sit in a cast circle trying to be all mystical and witchy and serious.
I nominate the following blogs for “The Witchy Blog Award”:
The following questions were put to me by an aspiring journalist with an interest in divination, the occult, and the paranormal. They’re good questions, all, and I tried to answer them as clearly as I could:
1. Tell us about yourself. What do you do for a living? What are your hobbies and interests, hidden talents?
I was born in California, raised in South Dakota, and live in Nebraska. I’ve always been drawn to writing and started journaling when I was 12; I’ve always been drawn to the occult and paranormal, experiencing spirit contact for many years at various levels of intensity in my grandmother’s old house. At one point, as an adult, I began writing books, books on the topic of divination (the tarot) and books about witchcraft and gray magick. To my surprise, these books have been quite successful. I earn a living, so far, through writing and tarot reading.
My hobbies and interests? I’m an avid reader (most writers are). I love gardening, collecting (swords & daggers, tea pots, rocks and crystals, old books, feathers, sterling silver jewelry, and cats); I’m a chocoholic, a master procrastinator, a lover of old movies, antique shops, forests, old market areas, and high heels (some of which I buy but never wear). I love creating magickal oils and potions, eating ice cream cones, and designing websites. I’m a dreamer and visionary caught in the harsh reality of the modern world and modern life.
2. You are a professional tarot card reader. What sort of services do you provide to clients?
Yes, I am. I provide readings to my clients through a variety of mediums, including web cam readings though Skype, video readings, telephone readings, and emailed readings that are written out and sent to my clients. I provide face to face personal readings within my own community, as well as in-house readings done at book stores and shops and readings done for parties and corporate events. I also provide spell consultations to those individuals who want to cast a spell and do some magick but aren’t exactly sure how you put a spell together.
3. What was your career before you became a tarot reader? What made you decide to become a professional tarot reader?
Before I became a tarot reader I spent the greater share of my life raising a large family, being a stay-at-home mom and a home schooling mother. My decision to become a professional tarot reader was a very gradual and totally unexpected choice. It was probably the last thing I ever thought I would be, or the last thing that I ever thought I would do. For one thing, I always swore that I would never be able to charge anyone anything for a reading. Once I actually began reading for people outside my circle of family and friends, I realized that this was a job, just as any other occupation is a job, and that I would not be able to spend hours and hours working for free. I also realized that what I did made a difference in people’s lives; what I did was something very special and unique, and I also realized that what I did– not everyone was capable of doing.
4. How did you learn to read tarot cards? How and when did you discover you had this particular ability?
I bought my first deck of tarot cards (The Goddess Tarot) between fifteen and twenty years ago. It was the box that caught my eye when I was walking through a local book store. For weeks and months, this deck called to me every time I visited the store. At first, I tried to ignore it. I’d give the pretty box a perfunctory glance as we walked past the shelf. Eventually, I stopped. I would pick the box up and look at it. This went on for weeks. Eventually, I stopped. I finally asked for permission to open the box to see the cards. I gave in to whatever it was that was drawing me to this foreign deck of cards, to this strange thing called ‘tarot’, and I bought the deck.
The first few weeks, I was simply enamored with the artwork. The deck was totally unfamiliar to me, the meanings a mystery, how to put everything together to actually make sense of it never even entered my mind at this point. Although the ‘little white booklet’ that came with the deck was helpful in helping me learn the meanings of the individual cards, it did not help at all in learning how to look at the cards intuitively; it did not help at all in learning how to put all of this together on different levels to read the story the cards were trying to tell me. This came later, with a dawning moment, one of those ‘ah-ha’ moments you never forget.
It was only after the key turned and the door opened, that I realized the depth of knowledge, the true mystery, the exciting potential that lay in a deck of tarot cards. And the stunning revelation was that I actually understood the language.
5. How do tarot cards work exactly? How do they give a person guidance and advice?
The cards work, for me, simply as a trigger to unlock a series of associations– through the image, through my own intuition, through some connection that I really can’t describe and probably don’t completely understand. I just know that when this connection works, it is truly amazing, as amazing for me as it is for my client. I know there are people who follow all kinds of rules and ritualistic behaviors with their cards, but in general, I don’t. I view the cards simply as a tool. Two things that I do follow through with: 1) cleansing the cards of residual energy through the use of a incense and 2) placing clear quartz crystal points on top of the deck when they’re not in use.
How do the cards give personal guidance and advice?…they reveal possibilities for future events; they give warnings about situations, choices, or individuals in your life; they offer answers and alternative endings to the story; they connect with spirit guides; they connect with the divine; they link the human part of us with the universe in a way that imparts to us universal knowledge; and once in a rare while, they connect with the spirit of someone who has passed.
6. You have many clients all over the world, and they consult you via Skype, or over the phone. How are you able to read their energies, even when you’re thousands of miles apart?
Distance is irrelevant when doing a reading. Everything in the universe is connected by a thin strand of energy, everything, and the slightest touch anywhere sends vibrations everywhere– this is the basis for practicing magick, and this is also true when it comes to connecting intuitively with another individual. Just as a mother might instinctively know when a child is in danger from across many miles, through the tarot it’s also possible to connect on a very personal, emotional, and spiritual level with another human being no matter what the physical distance might be between you.
From here in the American mid-west, I’ve connected with and done readings for people in Canada, Great Britain, Greece, New Zealand, and Australia. It’s been an amazing experience, enriching my life as much as it has touched their lives. It truly is a miracle, there’s really no other word for it. It also confirms to me the incredible capacity that human beings have to open themselves up to each other.
7. What has been your biggest challenge with regards to your abilities? How have you overcome this challenge?
One of my biggest challenges is reading for men. It’s much more difficult for me to reach and maintain an open and fluid connection with male clients. How have I overcome this challenge? I’m working on it. I would imagine, being a woman myself, the connection that I have with female clients is much more empathic. It’s easier for me to understand a woman, her life, her dilemmas, her choices, and her fears. Reading for men is a totally different experience, and I can say this almost without exception, there seems to be a wall that I have to get past in order to pick up the energy of the cards.
8. Do you consider your ability a gift? How do you help people with this gift?
Of course, it’s a gift. Reading tarot cards is something that, for whatever reason, I have the ability to do. How and why I’m able to look at a deck of cards and pick information out of them are questions that I can’t answer. I think that everyone is born with a natural intuitive ability, a sixth sense, but not all people are able to put this gift to use. I think there are some people who are unaware of their psychic abilities, deny them, or are even frightened by them, so they squelch them. It’s like a muscle– if you don’t use it, you lose it. By using this gift, you strengthen it, grow with it, and develop an understanding of it.
I help people with this gift by giving them insights into their lives they otherwise would not have. Being aware of the choices available to them, the possible consequences that will ensue, alternate paths they can take, all broadens their perspective. It helps people to make better decisions in their lives, to come to terms with their past; it comforts them, and it lights the way for a brighter future.
9. Could you share some memorable experiences you had because of this talent?
Oh, my, there’s so much that comes to mind. The little girl at the Harry Potter bookstore party (Ace of Cups, reversed), someone she loved has left I told her. They most certainly had. A favorite cousin had moved away. Bless her little heart, it was like a dam burst, and I let her chatter uninterrupted while she told me all about it. There was the older woman, a doctor’s ex-wife, so marred by control and emotional abuse, it was painful to watch, painful to see all of her raw spots exposed. There was the man who denied the affair, until he finally admitted that he was living with his mistress, but he didn’t consider this an affair at all. There was the grandmother who had lost her five-year-old grandson due to a medical condition and problems with the ER equipment. There was the young Hispanic couple with the sick child. Highlights have included reading for a world famous architect and a grammy nominated musician. The world is full of fascinating people.
Humanity opens up before me like some supernatural ethereal akashic record, but it’s all flesh and blood, tears, worries, loves lost, loves found, personal issues to work through; it’s hopelessness, it’s hopefulness, it’s finding clarity, it’s relief, it’s all bigger than life, and it’s all painfully personal…this is what it’s like to read the cards for people.
1o. How do your clients find you? Where is your office located? Where can they reach you online?
My clients generally find me through my websites: The Witch’s Corner & Tarot: Books, Classes, Readings. I’ve had clients find me by word-of-mouth in the internet world and email me ( firstname.lastname@example.org ); and I’ve had people find me at social sites, like Facebook and Pagan related sites.
I don’t have an office; but I do personal face-to-face readings in my own community (Fremont, NE), usually at one of our local coffee shops. These readings are scheduled privately and are by appointment only. Payment has to be made at the time the reading is scheduled– this might sound nit-picky, but after having a couple clients miss their appointments and spending an afternoon sitting there waiting for them, I realized just how valuable my time is– and now, they realize this too.
11. What’s a typical day like for a tarot card reader? What’s your usual schedule?
On days I’m doing in-house readings, I try to keep my schedule and the atmosphere light and stress free. Other than that, it’s just a matter of getting dressed and trying to estimate what traffic will be like in the cities so I get where I need to be on time. (I’m extremely punctual, so I’m usually early.) It’s very different reading at a shop where the clients have to pay for their individual readings themselves, as opposed to a shop that pays me a set fee so the readings for their patrons are free. When people get ‘free’ readings, it’s like a stampede– long lines and continuous readings that go on anywhere from two, four, or six hours. I quickly learned that I have to pace myself and that it’s okay to take regular breaks– no matter how long the line is. People generally tend to be realistic, well-mannered, and polite.
The Skype, video, and emailed readings are another story, especially the written readings…that usually means you’ll find me at the kitchen table in the wee hours of the morning with candles lit, a pot of coffee on, and me in my bathrobe, all comfy and busy. Video & Skype readings are fun, and the Skype readings are really as personal as face-to-face readings. I’ve had quite a time with international clients when we try to figure out time differences; it can be a juggling act and often results in some rather odd hours for either me or the client.
12. You have a natural talent for tarot reading, but is it possible to learn how to read tarot cards? How would one go about learning this skill?
Yes, it is possible for anyone to learn to read tarot cards. However, just as with any other endeavor, everyone’s skill level will be different, some people more attuned to it than others; but still, anyone can learn to do this. It’s fun, intriguing, and it is an excellent way to strengthen your intuition, your natural psychic abilities. Tarot cards can also be used for personal meditation and exploration, a very private thing, a special relationship shared between you and your tarot deck.
You’ll learn to read the tarot by 1) choosing and purchasing a deck…I always recommend for beginners that they choose a very basic standard deck to start with, and I usually suggest the Rider/Waite deck. 2) learning the basic standard meanings for each of the cards in the deck. 3) starting a tarot journal. 4) investing in a tarot course, or purchasing books on the subject, so that they can go beyond the standard definitions for the cards and learn to read intuitively, learn to interpret a spread, learn to apply numerology and a bit of astrology into the picture…there’s so much to the tarot, so many ways of looking at it, so many other esoteric connections to explore. Studying the tarot can become a life-long passion.
1.You call yourself a witch. Do you ever worry about the negative connotations behind the term?
I identify completely, specifically, and thoroughly with the word “Witch”. It is who I am, it is what I’m made of. It envelops me genetically through familial connections, through spiritual connections, ancestral connections, through universal esoteric connections. I revel in the word. I worship the word and the idea of the creature behind the word. It is one of the most positive connotations in the world. It is the wise-woman, the healer, the mid-wife, the herbalist…it is the ultimate image of the perfect woman.
Here I should note that in modern times many males who embrace the pagan path refer to themselves as ‘male witches’, and they are, by all means, free to call themselves whatever they wish. But for me, within my world, within my practice, within my experience, within my coven…”Witch” is “Woman”.
[*note: scroll to the bottom of this post for further info]
Do witches have a creed of some sort?
Some do. Those who follow specific paths and formal traditions, those who consider themselves Wiccan, those who practice what they call White Magick, those who stand at the edge of the cauldron and only dip one toe daintily, cautiously, carefully within the bubbling depths, they will have a creed. The Wiccan creed is, “Harm none, do what ye will.”…this isn’t a bad creed. It actually makes a lot of sense. Those of us who follow this pagan path did not choose to do so in order to harm anyone. Harming anyone or anything is not our intention, it is not what magick is for. But there are exceptions. Within the world of the Gray Witch, there are boundaries that, under certain circumstances, can be crossed. The one thing that breaks the Wiccan Rede for me is the need for protection, the need for self-defense, the need to keep safe myself, my family, my home, and anything else connected to my world which would directly affect my standard of living, or my sense of well-being…Harm me or mine, and you will experience the wrath of the dark angels, the animosity of those spirits called upon for protection, for retribution, for justice.
What are today’s witch’s like?
Today’s witches are a diverse panorama of women from a varied melting pot of humanity. They are immersed in our culture and within our communities so completely that they have become part of the tapestry of our modern world, rather than some medieval myth.
As I state at my website, The Witch’s Corner:
Who is the Witch?
She’s a teacher, a librarian, a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, a shop keeper, a writer, a mother, a student. She’s a blue collar woman, she’s a professional woman, she runs a business, runs for office, runs a household. She’s a companion to her spouse, a grandmother, a partner to her same-sex mate. She could be any woman you’ve ever met and any woman that you interact with everyday.
What makes her different from other women? She sees things that other women don’t. Nature speaks to her in an ancient tongue that has been forgotten by most. Her body responds to the waning and waxing of the moon, to the powers of the planets, the changing of the seasons, the behavior of wild animals, the energies of the plants, the energies of the stones.
The Universe speaks to her with the colorful images on cards, by the crystal images of a glass ball, by the movement of the pendulum, by the visions only she is shown.
Who is the Witch?…She is the Sorceress, the Mother, the Healer, the Wise Woman, the Priestess. She is part of a dim and distant past, and she is the shining light of our future.
Witches celebrate the earth and the seasons. What specifically do you do?
We most certainly do celebrate the earth, the turning of the seasons, called “Wheel of the Year”. The progression of the Goddess’s story is highlighted throughout the year; it’s connected to the natural world, through the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. And it’s interesting that you ask me this question, as this very topic is part of my next book. As I try to explain about the significance of the Pagan holidays in our modern world:
“…I think, for one thing, we have some innate deep-seated unspoken need to have our lives punctuated by milestones; whether personal milestones like weddings, graduations, and births; or societal, communal, and spiritual milestones. There’s a strange reassurance that the universe works in an ordered and predictable manner and time table. And maybe this is comforting to us because so much of life is unexpected, unpredictable, played without a script, and undeniably finite.
Long after we are but a memory, there will still be people celebrating these pagan holidays, punctuating the end of summer, welcoming with open arms the predictable end to the season of light and warmth, retreating into the dark and comforting confines of winter and the still peace that it will bring, only to return to a new season of light with spring.”
What specifically do I do to celebrate these holidays?
Some of these holidays might pass quietly, barely noticed by the rest of the household, significant only to me, celebrated with somber reflection in the flame of a candle upon my personal altar. Other holidays are more all inclusive; like Samhain, when we get all giddy and excited, decorating the house and grounds for the evening, opening our doors to friends and family, reconnecting with our ancestors; but also reconnecting with each other. As the bonfire burns late into the night on Samhain Eve, and the air gets cooler, we huddle together, punctuating another year, reminiscing about the past and looking toward the future.
Is a coven supposed to be 13 women?
A coven can be anything you want it to be. As far as I know there are no written rules and laws to be followed, there are no Pagan Police who will break down your door and serve you with a warrant if your coven is all female or all male, whether it has 13 members or a hundred. A coven is a very personalized group of people, like-minded people, gathering to celebrate their pagan spirituality, gathering to support each other in the day to day humdrum of daily life. Coven members provide a shoulder to cry upon, an ear for listening, a field board for new ideas. Your coven consists of people you can laugh with, be totally yourself with, and they are a group of individuals within this great big wide world with whom you can depend upon for loyalty. Your coven should be a safe haven.
My personal preferences?…My coven (The Coven of Bristolwicks) is an all female coven consisting of 13 members. I prefer the all female energy, the hen-party aspect if you will; I prefer a small group; I like the number 13- it’s significant to me and it ‘feels good’. I want Coven Sisters for all the reasons I just stated in the first paragraph.
Reality check– when you put any group of people together, it might take some time, some experimenting, some failures, before you create a group of individuals who will work well together, who will successfully support each other, who will get along, and who will ‘click’. But when it works, you know it; and when it works, it is an amazing experience.
Is there a prescribed form to your rituals?
Yes and no. I’ve performed formal rituals; I’ve written formal rituals. I’ve done so in the past, and I probably will do so again in the future. But this is not the only way I connect with the Divine; this is not the only way I celebrate my spiritual path; this is not the only way I create magick. My favorite form of witchery lay in the world of the Kitchen Witch, the Green Witch, the natural witch. Spells put together by the seat of your pants, on a wing and prayer, have been some of the most powerful– and successful–magickal endeavors of my life. When Spirit hits you, when you make this connection, you want to grasp it when and where you find it. My special connection with the Goddess does not rely upon getting all dressed up in formal robes and wielding a ceremonial sword to cast a formal circle.
How does being a witch help you in your everyday life?
Being connected to your spirituality, no matter what path you take, is reassuring in the idea that there is more to ‘the big picture’. There’s something larger than ourselves, there is a higher power, there is a rhyme and reason to the Universe and how it works; and thus, there is a rhyme and reason for existence within this realm.
Witchcraft is a very unique spiritual path, in that the power to create change, the power to shape our lives, the power to overcome obstacles, all lay within us. Divinity is part of us, not some intangible stereotype hovering in the heavens above watching as we screw up and drop to our knees. I embrace the Goddess– I am the Goddess– and the Goddess is me. All of life’s infinite possibilities lay in the knowledge of my own being and within the energies and entities that I have aligned my life with.
If you approach your spirituality in this way, everyday is a celebration of the miraculous.
*Note: This blog and my experiences are related to the world through my eyes, through my world; it is a Woman’s Point of View. My focus is on the feminine aspects of my spirituality, my beliefs, my practices, my experiences. I could not, and would not, try to explain or write about the male pagan experience.