I often joke that I've been a witch since Halloween 1980. My grandmother made the costume for me sans those horrible plastic masks they had back then. This may have been because I loved the Wizard of Oz and always loved the duality of Good Witch and Bad Witch, though secretly still want an army of flying monkeys to this day. I still have the gown, but sadly the hat and cape did not make it through the remainder of the 1980s due to excessive wear. I was a weird kid and interested in weird things. I wasn't the pink dress princess, my little pony loving girl of the 1980s. I wore mostly black because I grew out of children's clothing by the time I was 9 years old and I loved horror movies and heavy metal music. My Barbie Dolls looked like rock stars instead of fancy debutantes. I probably drove my parents crazy cutting up all the ball gowns and making rock star outfits for them.
I wanted to write a little more in depth about my path into eclectic witchery and my experiences in life from early childhood that led me down this path. I draw from many practices and traditions that are part of my old ancestral history: European and specifically Slavic Witchcraft and Folk Magic, in addition to White Magic, Black Magic, Hoodoo, and other Occult traditions.
My heritage is Eastern European, predominantly Ukrainian with roots Slovakia, Poland, Hungry, and Romania. There is also Germanic, Irish, English, and Northern European ancestry as well. I was mostly raised within the Ukrainian tradition and Byzantine Catholic until my family converted to Roman Catholicism. Eastern European families tend to be matriarchal by nature. My Grammy and Grandma were both strong women, who while not the "breadwinners" of the family, wore the proverbial "pants" for the family. I inherited a lot of their strength, wit, and dominant personality from them and my flare for fashion and wearing all black from my paternal grandmother.
My father gave me my first crystals when I was about 4 years old, a rose quartz and a donkey carved out of polished quartz. I still remember exactly how that rose quartz felt in my hands as a child and can visualize every mark and ripple of the stone. I haven't seen them in decades at this point and my mother has been searching high and low to see if she can find them. She found many other things along the way including geodes, petrified wood, seashells, and other crystals and rocks. Some were my brothers as well and quite a few were from my grandfather. I remember the geode being from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, my brother has one half and I have the other now.
I've always been a dreamer and have excellent dream recall of details - even from dreams I had as a child from things like hiding inside my grandmother's sofa from the dinosaurs that were coming down the street (probably because I loved watching Land of the Lost), dreaming that I was a bat and flapping my arms with the sheets in bed, and stuff about nuclear power plants (I live in Pennsylvania, and was about 4 years old when Three Mile Island happened, also I used to build nuclear power plants with my blocks.) I've always been fascinated with dream worlds and dreams in general. As a side note, many years later my mother told me that I used to have dreams about animals biting my fingers and hands when I was very young and she said that she never told me that she used to have the same dreams when she was a child.
I was a creative and imaginative child and loved drawing and building things. My earliest artistic renderings were drawings of houses whose chimneys were struck by lightening. I think that was a common theme because the apartment complex we lived in was next to a bus depot with a tall chimney that may have been struck by lightening. I was also introduced to death at a very early age, my kindergarten teacher had a heart attack and died in front of us in class. We thought she was asleep. We tried to wake her up and eventually went to go find a grown up. I couldn't really communicate what happened to my parents, but kept saying something about her leg. Later they received a phone call informing them what happened.
In 1981, my family relocated from Pennsylvania to Rome, Georgia which is about an hour outside Atlanta because my father got a teaching job at a college there. Being a transplanted Northerner in Northwest Georgia was an eye opening experience, suddenly I was the "Dumb Yankee" because the Civil War nee "War of Northern Aggression" as they called it was still a sore spot in the early 1980s apparently. In retrospect, Civil Rights were somewhat nebulous because one day I came home and asked my mother "why the Black kids had to sit at the back of the bus?" A great question coming from a six year old. I'm not going to mince words, I grew up in a racist town where Black people were always referred to by the N-word. It wasn't even malicious, it was so commonplace that it was just normal. Might I add, in addition to being a "Dumb Yankee" because I was from the North, I was also a "N-word Lover" too, because calling a young child that is totally acceptable apparently. I guess us Northerners do things differently and that can cause quite a stir, my father was almost run off the road by the KKK for giving a Black colleague a ride home from work. Yah, that kind of different. Even though I was white, I was still "othered" because I was from the North and somehow that made me not quite white like the Southern born Whites. I still ruminate over my childhood experiences and never really come up with answers that make any sense.
We rented the first house we lived in Georgia for about a year and then bought a house across town. I liked the first house better as it was on a wooded property with lots of trees and stuff. The house we moved to across town was in a small development that was built on swampland. I grew up with lots of tornado drills at school and occasional warnings. I never saw one though, but my mother did. I still get anxiety during severe storms. Part of me loves storm energy and my inner child is like "we're all gonna die!!" One of the things I loved was making "witches brew" after storms, collecting the debris, plant material, and putting it in murky water. When I made my first batch of Florida Water, it took me back to that place as a child. I spent a lot of time outdoors traipsing through wooded areas collecting arrowheads that we would find making forts out of tree branches and limbs.
The second house we lived in was previously owned by a family whose daughter died in a tragic car accident, she was in a car on a foggy night with friends and they stopped at the train tracks because a train was coming, but didn't know the car was partially on the tracks and they were struck by the train and killed. My bedroom was her bedroom and I felt her spirit or ghost. Children can be more aware of these things than adults. I don't know if I ever told my parents about it. One of my earliest spiritual beliefs was in past lives and reincarnation. I don't know where I would have stumbled upon the concept as a child especially in the Catholic church, but it always made sense to me. I used to have waking visions and dreams of past lives throughout my childhood of a young girl named Camille Christiana Peacock and flashes of her life and death. I think she may have drowned. I have the details all written down somewhere in my vast archives of writing. I don't think I told my parents about that either though I remember telling some friends about them in grade school or junior high.
At some point in time, given the lack of Northerners of Eastern European descent, my family converted from Byzantine Catholicism to Roman Catholicism and I started going to Catholic school in the third grade. Given the lack of cultural diversity, there was a Jewish family in our parish because they probably were the only Jewish family in that part of Georgia. I was interested in the stories, but I was one of those kids with a lot of questions and I wanted concrete answers to them.
I always felt like I was a child that was born as an adult. I wasn't overly interested in childhood things and hated being a child. My favorite movies were Grease 2 and Rock N' Roll High School. I still stand by my stance on Grease 2 being vastly superior to the original. I watched MTV from its inception and that for me was when my whole world changed. We ended up moving back to Pennsylvania in the Summer of 1984 and that's where the story will pick up in the next installment.
I pride myself in being open about my struggles with mental health issues because suffering in silence benefits no one and further emboldens the stigma around mental illness. While my depression and anxiety issues are under control outside of occasional situational reactions, I do struggle with ADHD on a regular basis. I was twice misdiagnosed as bipolar because the ADHD symptoms mimic those of mania without the psychosis, mood swings, or delusions. I was on Adderall for seven years, but switched to a non stimulant medication called Straterra in June when I was dealing with chronic insomnia due to a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. Sadly, it seems that the Straterra is no longer working effectively because I have become more erratic, bouncing between hyperfocus and inertia, having several conversations at the same time, forgetting things, and having lapses in short and medium term memories. Oddly enough, my long term memory is pretty detailed and epic.
I've always been a creative person as a result I went to art school and pretty much took classes in every major (except interior design) over the years. Eventually, I graduated with a BFA in Studio Art (mostly photography) and Art History. I also did a year in grad school for photography as well. My adult life is pretty much a stream of endless ideas, to do lists, half finished things, random explorations into new shiny things, revisiting said half finished things, more new ideas, expanded to do lists and so on and so forth. I'm surprised that I get as much done as I do all things considered.
At the beginning of 2019 (or maybe later 2018) one of my said to-do lists was to great a pagan product line. I'm working on other blog posts chronically my own personal journey and how witchcraft fits into who I am and what I do. This may take months to do or I will write them all one afternoon. My focus and creativity spurts are hard to predict. I honestly can't make something or won't write if I am not in the mood to do it. This is also why my product releases are all over the place, one week its all ritual oils, the next its soaps, ritual powders, more oils, and random things that came about at the spur of the moment after that who knows? It really depends on the week. I spent most of April and May making shampoo bars and outside of the new ones I created for Halloween and the Winter Holidays. I haven't made any since then. Making soaps and shampoo bars are one of those things I have to be in the mood to do, so I tend to work on them for a few weeks and then don't make any for months. Again, I am hard to predict that way.
I realized that while I have extensive documentation that it is pure chaos. Most of it is in my Google Drive in various documents of ideas and formulations, some is in my book of shadows, and the rest is in multiple notebooks, scrap paper, and post it notes. It can sometimes take me months to do something after I have formulated it. I am always working on numerous products at the same time and often have a backlog to work through I currently have formulated over 20 new botanical blends (including an Imbolc and New Years Intention one I did today), 10+ ritual herb blends, a few more bath salts and bubble baths, more ritual oils, a years worth of monthly subscription box themes and corresponding products, 10+ new kits and collections, several more incense blends, a couple more soaps, flying ointments, candles, spell bottles (which I just decided to reclassify as witchy decor), perfumes, botanical perfume hair mists, two new herbal hair rinses, and a bunch of other stuff that I am forgetting.
I am inspired by my experiences, things I see, and people because that is the nature of creativity, but everything I do is based upon my own research, my own creativity, and extensive education and training in my field, which includes numerous Aromatherapy certifications and courses, Herbalism, Perfuming, Incense Crafting, Soap Making, and skin care formulation. These are the building blocks of my products. I have an extensive home apothecary of herbs, flowers, dried fruit, oddities, essential oils, perfuming aroma chemicals and fragrance oils, carrier oils, colorants, salts, soap making supplies, candle making supplies, jewelry supplies, and random things I buy for projects as I go. For instance, I have bags of those wooden coffin boxes they sell at craft stores around Halloween. I stocked up because I know that I will use them for something at some point.
I'm doing my best to function and get through each day without forgetting basic things like eating or brushing my teeth. I'm literally at the point of decorating my house with post it notes until my medications get adjusted again. It can take me up to two weeks after I've made something to design the product labels, label & package them, photograph new products, figure out the wholesale/retail pricing, and finally list them on my website, Etsy, and Amazon Handmade. I recently started using a social media scheduler to post new products to my social media because I kept forgetting to do it. Though, I occasionally post progress shots to my personal Facebook and Instagram.
As my best friend said to me 20 years ago with regards to my online writing: "a sentence ought not read like a car chase," but, that is how my brain works. At least, I have gotten better at writing and editing and often have to read what I wrote several times to make sure that it makes sense or that I am elucidating myself clearly and also I realize that I've missed crucial details or remembered something after the fact that I now have to work into what I wrote. That pretty much sums up my current state of being - its messy, erratic, forgetful, and there is candle wax everywhere.
an eclectic witch, certified aromatherapist, herbalist, perfumer, skincare formulator, and incense crafter who specializes in unique creating handcrafted perfumes, bath products, skincare products, soaps, shampoo bars, aromatherapy products, incense blends, ritual oils, botanical charms, candles, and ritual and spell supplies.