When I was a little girl, magic was part of my everyday life. Fairies, ghosts, and spells all were real, and I knew my toys came to life, too. I made potions, I gave life to all kinds of inanimate objects (playing cards and markers to name a couple favorites), and I allowed myself to stay in the mystery and enchanted energy field that is the ether. Sometimes it scared me, but if I’m being honest, I loved that as much as the parts that brought me joy. There was a darkness and a shadow I could sense and even experienced, but it never made me want to run away. It made me want more. I remember being fascinated with the story behind The Chronicles of Narnia, my desire to be the character Lucy as strong as my desire to stay up past my bedtime. Finding a mysterious wardrobe that leads you to a magical realm, an entirely different world where the magic that is so often snuffed out in our world, runs rampant, wild, and free.
Funny though, because as I write about my childhood I realize now I already had unlimited access to such a place, and I took full advantage.
All childhoods come to an end though, and we find ourselves in awkward teenagedom. I remember being one (if not the last) of my friends to finally let go of the magic. Santa came until I was twelve years old, and if I’m being completely open with y’all, I played with my Barbies until about thirteen. Even after that, I never seemed to let go of “playing pretend.” When I was seventeen and cleaning my bathroom and bedroom, I imagined myself as a sharp-mouthed British house cleaner hired by an all-too-proper English woman who lacked the rough and tumble experience of the “real world” (yes, I committed to several characters at a time, I do have a Gemini Mars after all). I got into college and pretended to be on a cooking show every time I was alone in my kitchen...and in all honesty I still do, and I have no intention to ever stop.
I’m looking at all of this though, and I’m having quite the revelation. Firstly, I see now why I was always seen as a nerd and a dork, why I still feel that way, and why I probably always will. But I also see why I’ve never been willing to compromise this, why I refuse to give it up or hide it away. Though I’ve learned how to keep my feet on the ground so that I can maintain a responsible, realistic Earthly experience, the truth is I’ve always been standing at the cusp between realms. I’ve never given up my access card to the many, many other planes outside the “real world.” I’m an adult, I’ll admit it, I grew up. But in sharing my story it’s clearer than ever that magic is still and has always been as much a part of my everyday life as it was during my days in the fairy garden.
So, when did I realize I was a witch? When did I start practicing with intention? When did magic become magick for me? Valentine’s Day, 2016.
Well, it was probably a little closer to February 7th or so. My husband and I have an adorable habit of letting each other open gifts early. That year he was beside himself with excitement, he knew he struck gold with this V-day present. I remember he didn’t even wrap it, a large box was delivered to the house that day and he let me be the one to open it.
God I still remember my awe.
I’ve barely started typing it out and the tears are coming now; it’s one of those stories that makes me fall in love with my husband all over again every time I recall it. I opened the box and found a complete beginner witch’s kit. Herbs, incense, oils, a cauldron, candles, a calligraphy set, and my very own leather bound Book of Shadows. Here’s the thing though, I wasn’t in awe of the supplies (not yet anyway), I was completely taken aback because, folx, to this day I can’t recall a single memory where I told my husband about any of my interest in paganism and witchcraft. For whatever reason my little Scorpio self kept that part of myself private. In high school I’d look at Wiccan and Pagan shops online, I’d learn about their gods and their practices, but I never told anyone, and I certainly couldn’t ever justify spending money on any of it. I thought witchcraft was passed down to you, I thought you had to be invited and initiated. And here I was, holding my very own starter kit. It’s one of those stories about one of those moments where you have no choice but to believe in magick, to believe in soulmates. I got started right then and there, and I never looked back.
I remember coming to work the following day and bursting at the seams to tell my new-old friend that I’d met a little less than a year before at my new job. Sadie and I had already started having conversations about the paranormal, conspiracy theories, religion, and philosophy probably less than a month after meeting each other. She was the only friend I had at the time that I could share my news with that I knew wouldn’t judge me, but would also be genuinely interested and excited! We started secretly studying branches of witchcraft on our computers at work, visiting our favorite metaphysical shops during our lunch break (which inevitably resulted in us showing up way too late in the afternoons), and sharing every detail of the rituals we started creating at home.
Around this time Sadie and I started creating magickal products for each other and for friends that were interested. I remember walking back to the kitchen one day for our afternoon break and I mentioned to her that I thought we should start a little Etsy shop together. And thus, Arcana Herbal (though back then it was Apothecary Craft & Brew) was born. Sadie and I would make the product in ritual with our magick and intention, and our friend Erica would handle all of the design, packaging, marketing, and branding. From the moment the three of us started collaborating, our power was unstoppable (though we’ve definitely learned some hard lessons along the way).
We were about three years into our business when Sadie and I both realized that as much as we loved and appreciated being part of a team, we admired Erica’s freelance business she ran in addition to Arcana and her full time job. Erica is an incredibly talented artist and designer, and at the time she offered her services through her own personal brand. Sadie and I had started really figuring out our individual niches within spirituality, and felt pulled to creating our own unique brands. I guess that’s what happens when your Saturn is in Capricorn! And this is around the time I really get back to my creative roots and start writing again.
“I’ll start a witchcraft blog!”
I exclaimed with absolutely zero knowledge about starting a blog. That’s okay, I thought, I’ll just research! To the computer!
That Witch Next Door came into existence. Except the problem here is I almost instantly became jaded af. I read a ton of info from articles about monetizing your blog, creating a site that generates money through affiliate marketing and the like, and immediately declared that my passion and voice had no place on the internet! Yay! Without hesitation I threw the idea that I’ll write about how my spiritual practice can benefit others straight out the window. Why? Because I wanted to write about that, and everything I read online told me I couldn’t write about whatever I wanted because no one cared.
Well, as you can imagine, my creative fire started to die out...fast.
In an effort to stoke the flames, I started making jewelry as a hobby. Only I killed the hobby part and attempted to shove the activity into my brand and make it part of a business. I was trying to force a puzzle piece from an entirely different puzzle to fit in with one I’d started; all because I was getting frustrated and burnt out. Luckily, I realized pretty quickly that jewelry really did need to remain purely a creative outlet. So now from time to time, when I get really into maker’s mode, I’ll make a bunch of jewelry. Usually for friends and family as gifts, but I’ll take any overflow to Arcana to sell on the front counter. No strings attached there, exactly how a true hobby should be.
So at this point I’m not selling jewelry anymore, but I’m still not blogging. I have about fifteen unfinished blog posts stored in my computer files. They sit there, taunting me every time I need to look for a picture or other document. My website is a mess because I tackled Wordpress all by myself like the complete overachiever that I am. But it’s also at this time that my tarot service is really starting to build its foundation. I was doing regular readings at the shop, practicing pulls and spreads at home, and I studied technique and interpretation in my downtime. This is where I really, and I mean really, see astrology for the first time. I’ve always loved reading my horoscope, I always loved being a Scorpio, but that’s it. I knew literally nothing else about the subject. But through my tarot study out popped astrological symbols and elements. I created my free birth chart on Cafe Astrology, completely rebuked their generated interpretation, and resolved to learn to do it for myself.
This was a massive turning point in my path. My tarot and astrology study merged into this giant force that began to encompass so much more than just my practice--I had started to really understand who I was at the very core of my being.
It was through this great merge I was finally able to see what That Witch Next Door really was. Through sharing my experience, my knowledge, and my skill, I can help others discover their own magick and start living with intention and mindfulness. What I do is an important and invaluable work. If you’re looking to evolve and grow, if you’re looking to connect with your higher purpose, if you’re ready to empower yourself by living with intention, conviction, and integrity, you’ve found your community. You’ve found your people.