From big feelings

stop romantacizing people who hurt you

I Believe You: A Zine for Femmes Surviving Toxic Masculinity

This zine is for all the femmes carrying wounds from masculine folks who didn’t treat us right. It’s for all of us tending, surviving, healing and grieving. I know the work of tending our fierce hearts is fucking hard and exhausting. I know they will never see even a fraction of our struggle or our brilliance, let alone own up to their part in causing all this pain.

Know that I’m with you. I got you. I feel it too.
I believe you.

vulnerability is a radical act

I’m looking for submissions from femmes that both tell our stories and also share strategies for healing, justice and resilience. I’m partial to poetry, short stories, spells, hexes, tarot, recipes, plant allies and visual art – but i’ll review submissions of any genre.

Please send your submissions here.

 

from the body is not an apology.
from the body is not an apology.

 

Because I want to encourage participation of BIPOC voices I’m both going to prioritize those submissions and I’m offering herbal gifts to any BIPOC folks who submit. If you’re BIPOC please include a few ideas for areas you could use herbal support with, in your submission.

If you’d like to learn more about my work you can check out the rest of my site my column on Little Red Tarot, and my Etsy the Witch’s Cabinet.

You can follow this event on facebook here.

hawthornAnd hey femmes – do you wanna learn some skills to set effective and clear boundaries? Skills that are practical, magical, nestled in community and connected with plant allies? then I’d suggest checking out my upcoming workshop Hawthorn Heart. This workshop will take place in person in East Van (unceded coast salish territory) on September 19th and online on September 28th and October 5th.


This type of community organizing and resource creation is my full time work, on top of growing food, brewing herbal potions and doing loads of emotional labour and reproductive justice work. If you believe in acknowledging femmes for our endless labour and want to support this femme to continue their work in the world you can donate monthly by clicking here.

out with the old

support the survival of radical witchcraft

friends,

i’m calling on your support to help me through a huge transition.
i need you to help keep the magic i make alive.

in the past few weeks a lot has been going on for me. i’ve done hours of emotional and supportive labour working harm reduction. this work saves lives, and it also left me with a wicked lung infection. while i was away doing this work someone in my family was placed in a drug induced coma after sustaining a brain injury very similar to my little brother’s – which happened 7 years ago. understandably this has brought up waves of re-emerging grief and trauma for me. tomorrow i’m heading back to vancouver (coast salish territory) to support my family – to cook and clean and kitchen witch them as best as my tender heart can manage.

there’s alot going on. and that’s not all.

after my most recent courting pennyroyal workshop my apothecary was reported to the government. i can’t be 100% sure who did this as the report is anonymous, but while i was in vancouver i was receiving threats from someone, telling me they would shut me down. this person feels very strongly that my work shouldn’t exist. they feel that what i do hurts women. all of this coincided with the painful end of a long standing relationship with someone who refused to have my back through this onslaught.

it wasn’t easy and my heart is still hurting.

these allegations were deeply painful to receive and i believe they are untrue.

those of you who are friends with me, who follow my work, eat the food i make, have been soothed by the remedies i make -you know that the goal of my work is to fight oppression and facilitate deep healing. i do what i do to love others, not to harm them.

as a result of my apothecary being reported i’ve agreed to take my hand-made, hand-harvested pennyroyal and black cohosh tinctures off my etsy. i also have to stop selling my bugspray and sunscreen by october 31st. i’ve been asked not to make or sell any of these things in future. its unclear at this point if i have to shut down my public apothecary entirely in order to comply with being reported in this way. it’s also unclear to me if i will choose to comply, but for now i am stepping back to ground and create a new long-term strategy.

i need time to research and re-group. i need time to bolster myself for potential recurring lateral violence.

in the brilliant words of my teacher and friend rain crowe, “the burning times never ended”.

the person who reported my apothecary is using the power and violence of the state as leverage against me. obviously when this happens to people with less privilege than me the consequences are more dire. i will always aim to center that reality in my work. and right now, that pressure and coercion is coming down on me, my work, my family, my home.

the work i do as a public witch is being threatened for fear of liberation.
crushed for fear of interdependence.
pushed back against for fear of community reliance.

what i do – what we do – scares people. what i am learning is that when you become a threat your power is leveraged against you.  the person who reported me. the state. they want to take my power away.  and there is absolutely no way i will ever let them do that.

part of how i’m weathering this next period is by asking for help.
if you believe in my work.
if my words or medicine have supported you in some way.
if you believe in femme magic.

then you can support me in the following ways:

1) become a donor to my site. donations happen monthly and range from $3 – $20/month. if you’d like to make a one-time donation you can send it to me at this email address through e-transfer or paypal. and if you’d like to make a larger regular donation you can email me back and we can arrange that.

2) buy something from my apothecary. because i need to sell all of my remaining sunscreen and bugspray by october 31st i am selling the final bottles and jars at a sliding scale. no reasonable or generous offer will be refused. keep in mind there are only about 20 bottles of sunscreen and bugspray left so you’ll wanna get them before they run out. you can order them on my etsy or message me back to this email.

 

3) book a tarot card reading with me. 50% of my readings will still be donated to #blacklivesmatter. let’s spread the love and support around <3.

4) send me words of support. give me consensual hugs. and most of all, don’t let what’s happening to me scare you from being brave, bold or fearless with your magic. the best thing you can do to support me is keep making, creating, loving and pushing back against injustice.

let’s keep our hearts fed so we can keep fighting and more importantly, keep loving.

from my tender and fierce heart to yours,

a

glitter-donut

glitter rebellion workshop tour

workshop details:

Glitter Rebellion is a workshop where participants are invited to connect to the resilience that lives in their bones, blood and spirits. Those of us who fight the patriarchy, glitterbomb homophobia and work tirelessly to free our genders from binaries all carry timeless rebellion in our hearts, whether from our blood ancestors, or from our ancestors of struggle. In this learning space we invite folks of all genders and sexual orientations to gather together, create, play, explore, connect, be consensually vulnerable and tell stories. The work seeks to vision both our histories of rebellion and the gifts we wish to cultivate in offering to those who will call us their ancestors.

This workshop space will prioritize imagination, intuition, visions, dream world escapades, magic, creativity and play as primary learning modalities.

your hosts:

Your hosts will be andi grace and Kori Doty as well as the local space organizers they are partnering with. Neither Kori nor andi consider themselves experts on this topic, but rather see themselves as willing space holders. Both andi and Kori have european ancestral ties and access to white privilege. They also both identify as queer witches and medicinal story tellers. They both use they pronouns and live on a rural queer and trans homesteading project called the homostead, that sits on un-ceded sinixit territory. Like everyone, their identities are more complex than brief social location markers can offer. If you have questions about their identities or approaches feel free to peruse their websites or send them messages through facebook or email.

exchange:

to help cover our travel costs and make this work our livelihood we are asking $20 to $60 sliding scale from each participant. We are also open to trades for things like food, medicine making supplies and promotion of our work to as-of-yet un-tapped networks. We are committed to access in such a way that we will not turn people away for lack of funds. However we request that other options be pursued before a request for free participation is made, such as asking for support from allies and other workshop participants, looking into local grants (which we are happy to help write), offering trades etc. We don’t want to turn anyone away from the work because of a lack of financial resources, but we also need to be realistic about those expenses coming from our livelihood, when we consider the larger sustainability of our work. Also we believe that our communities are rich with abundance and generosity, even if that abundance is not necessarily cash driven. We want to encourage de-stigmatized and supportive conversations about class, money, access and the value of labour as an aspect of the learning offered here.

dates and locations:

 

Winlaw Sinixt territory on March 5th.
Bindus 1 – 4 pm.
Details available on Facebook.

East Van Coast Salish territory on March 10th.
Hammock Residency 6 – 9 pm.
and March 20th at The Toast Collective from 1 – 4 pm
Details available on Facebook.
*space at these workshops is limited. please send an email to koridoty[@]gmail.com to confirm attendance.

Quest University sḵwx̱wú7mesh territory on March 13th.
Details available on Facebook.

Victoria Coast Salish territory on March 17th.
SPARC 6 – 9 pm.Details available on Facebook.
*space at this workshop is limited. please send an email to koridoty@wordpress.com to confirm attendance.

We are open to bringing this workshop to more places. If you have questions about the existing workshops, or want to book us for another location please send email to andi[@]andigracewrites.com and to koridoty[@]gmail.com.

 

Wild_rose_flower

Women and Femmes Assertiveness Workshop: Nelson

do you want to learn skills to speak your truth and be heard?

do you ever feel confused about the difference between being “needy” or “a bitch” and having necessary boundaries?

then i invite you to join us for the assertiveness workshop at the Nelson’s Women’s Center on Feb 6th from 12 – 3.

no pre-registration is required though you’re welcome to send me an email to andi[@]andigracewrites.com if you have questions or want to let me know that you’re coming. you can list yourself as attending on the facebook event as well. <3

setting boundaries is a challenging, life saving and drama-reducing skill set, especially for women and femme identified people of any gender – many of whom often struggle to simply and clearly say “no”. this workshop will take you through a series of exercises to help you better understand and articulate your boundaries, both with your loved ones and those who seek to violate you.

i’ve chosen the wild rose as the images for this workshop because i believe this plant carries a valuable medicine when it comes to boundaries and protection. roses can only be as soft, loving and gentle as they are because they have thorns to protect them. boundaries allow for vulnerability and can help facilitate connection and well being. in this learning space we will work with this medicine, as well as with yarrow flowers, as we move through the tenuous and powerful skill of gracefully, lovingly and fiercely setting boundaries. 

this workshop is open to all folks who identify as women or femmes.

the cost is $10 to $20 sliding scale with no-one turned away for lack of funds. folks with greater financial access are encouraged to donate generously, to facilitate the participation of those without financial access. i’m also very open to trades for food and medicine making supplies. ultimately it’s more important to me that folks take part in the work, than i get paid by each participant. that being said, i do need some cash to flow towards this work, in order to keep it sustainable. ♥

i come to this work after years of learning how to set boundaries. boundaries are a skillset i am always learning, adjusting and growing. i’m not an expert, but i have taught assertiveness workshop in hundreds of school across the lower mainland with Anita Robert’s Safeteen program. i also recently took part in Pavini Moray’s boundary class for queer and lesbian couples. this workshop is inspired by both of these teachers, various plant allies, as well as a unique mix of my own learnings and facilitation offerings.

yarrow-green

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Mandrake Flying Ointment: finding abundance in money, love, food, touch and truth telling.

This year I decided I wanted my winter solstice magic to call in abundance.

Financial abundance, food security, loving touch, self confidence, bravery to tell hard truths. This is what my winter solstice magic was all about.

I wanted to get specific and work with a plant ally to aid the magic.

Mandrake was the absolutely perfect fit.

mandragora mandrake root

Mandrake is perhaps one of the most well know witches’ herbs. Though it grows naturally in southern europe it was used widely through-out Europe because of robust trade relationships. This means that many people of European ancestry will have a connection to this medicine. Personally I find the smell earthy and comforting and I find the medicine very familiar, even though this is one of the first times I’ve worked with it, in this life anyways.

Mandrake has many medicinal and spiritual uses. Medicinally it is a powerful emetic (vomit inducing) and sedative, especially when taken internally. It was even used as an anesthetic by doctors for a brief period before other more predictable medicines became more popular. Many herbalist will caution against using it because of it’s powerful emetic qualities, however I find it quite calming when used as a salve.

Mandrake has properties that are similar to but distinctive from nightshades. This salve’s effects bare a very close resemblance to belladonna, another night shade that I absolutely love. The salve is very relaxing and can be used as a balm for aching muscles or as a sensual massage oil. I’ve also used it as a magical ally at parties where I want to get my flirt on.

I find mandrake makes me feel relaxed, giddy and hopeful.

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One of the other widely known qualities of mandrake is its power as an aphrodisiac. The plant was used widely as a fertility medicine and was often credited with assisting in conception. To me it’s pretty obvious how all of these qualities relate to calling in abundance. Plus mandrake was widely used as a good luck charm for calling in money, which I have personally found it to be very helpful with since I started using it.

My experience of using this medicine is that it has helped me to lean more deeply into trust. Trust that I am valid and worthy. Trust that my work will be well received and supported. Trust that I can say both yes and no to my partner and lovers and either will be heard and respected. Trust that the spring will come and with it will come flowers, fiddleheads, seedlings and goats milk.

All my medicines are small personalized batches which means I only have a small amount for sale. If you would like to purchase this salve you can do so here. And if you feel called to this medicine but would rather not exchange money, you can email me at andi[@]andigracewrites.com and purpose a trade of food or medicine making supplies in exchange for this salve.

To your abundance and mine.

<3


if you want to learn more about mandrake check out these resources:

The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra

Witchcraft Medicine by Muller-Ebeling et al

A Druids Herbal by Hopman

A Modern Herbal

girl-crying

U of O: it’s not about yoga, it’s about white people getting defensive.

This past week a lot of people have been asking me to comment of the U of O “yoga scandal”. The controversy is being framed like this: there was a yoga class at U of O and it got cancelled because of concerns related to “cultural sensitivity”. Basically people are saying it got cancelled because there were concerns that yoga is appropriative.

To be honest, up until today I really had no interest in responding to any of this. I stopped teaching yoga over a year ago and I’m not really interested in weighing in on these issues. I know where I stand and I don’t feel like I need to re-articulate my views.

And then, my article about why I quit teaching was linked to a piece in the globe and mail written by the ever measured and reasonable, Margaret Wente. I could quote her, but I honestly don’t want to subject anyone to her garbage. The point to take home is she made many cheap shots (typical of her style) against me and everyone else who takes issue with appropriation.
After friends and family posted the link to her article on my Facebook I looked at the stats for my old site and realized hundreds of people were reading the piece I wrote about quitting teaching. And then I googled the UofO scandal and saw hundreds of articles written about it. I have to admit I was initially in a bit of shock.

I couldn’t help but wonder – why do people care about this class so much?

But really, the answer is pretty obvious.

The public reaction to this class being cancelled isn’t about yoga at all. It’s about white insecurity.

You see, as my friend Liz (who used to work for the student federation of U of O) points out in her recent blog post, the class was cancelled for a number of reasons. One of the main ones was that no one was coming to the class. U of O actually still has a yoga class, it was the student federation that cancelled their yoga class, not the university. So no, yoga has not been banned from the university. And the class has not been permanently cancelled, it’s just under review til next semester, which starts in a couple weeks. And as Liz rightfully points out, the decision to keep or cancel the class is really about how the student union, and specifically the Center For Students with Disabilities who was hosting the class, seeks to meet student need. From Liz’s perspective It’s not actually anyone’s place to be commenting on the class being cancelled other than disabled students and south asian students.

This seems like a fairly sound and factually reasoned position, no? And yet it’s literally the exact opposite of how the media is treating this issue.

How many yoga classes have been cancelled that have caused this much of a maelstrom?

But here’s the thing. People are not getting upset about this because of yoga. They are getting upset about this yoga class because it is making them think about their whiteness. And more broadly it is making them think about racism.

And thinking about racism makes white people uncomfortable. Like really uncomfortable.

http://al-mashrabiyat.tumblr.com/post/58199584374/pro-tip-instead-of-more-white-woman-tears-try
http://al-mashrabiyat.tumblr.com/post/58199584374/pro-tip-instead-of-more-white-woman-tears-try

Personally I think reacting to this yoga class being cancelled is acting as a pressure release for white folks. It’s a way for us to scream at the top of our lungs, “I AM NOT RACIST!!!! THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST OVERREACTING!!! THEY NEED TO STOP BEING SO SENSITIVE!!”. Screaming about this class is acting as a way for us to recenter white feelings, white guilt and white fragility and white apologizing – rather than actually dutifully learning about the issues at hand. Let alone actually understanding the facts.

And us white folks feel are motivated to behave like this because thinking about how we are racist is making us feel really awful about ourselves. Realizing that racism exists and that we are complicit in it is like taking the pill from the matrix. You know, the pill that lets you see the matrix exists. It’s not a pleasant experience. And yet – it’s totally necessary to acknowledge our racism. Denying that’s it’s real is rapidly becoming harder and harder to do. Just look at the Syrian Refugee Crisis; the slanted reaction to the Paris bombings that excluded the suffering of many nations of Muslims and folks of colour; the rising violence against Muslim and Black people all over the world – not to mention that all of this is happening over American Thankstaking weekend.

Talk about timing.

Basically we’re all just fetuses covered in goo having no fucking idea what we’re doing and we’d rather be comfortably back in the matrix, thank you very much.

At least, that seems to be how we’re reacting to this yoga class. We’re kicking and screaming and crying and yelling, “I AM NOT RACIST. LOOK AT MY DOWNWARD DOG?! I have a RIGHT to my yoga class!!!!”

But the thing is, we can’t go back to the matrix. It is crumbling all around us.

Racism is real and it is killing people. White supremacy exists and it is killing people. It’s just way easier to deny these things are happening when talking about a lower stakes issues like a yoga class.

And that is why people care so much about this yoga class.

So maybe, just maybe, we all need to take a minute and .. dare I say it: take a deep breath and calm ourselves? Because we won’t be able to attend to the work at hand, of unpacking all this violence and meaningfully and responsibly responding to it, unless we can step away from our defense mechanisms and into our ability to listen and find compassion.

I mean fuck, isn’t that what yoga is supposed to be teaching us to do?

Cause here’s the thing. I’m not into shaming white people. I’m a white person and I’ve done a lot of work to release the shame and guilt I felt about my complicity in racial violence. That complicity is real. I benefit from racism. That is undeniable. If you disagree with me, please, read a book about the history of Turtle Island (North America) from the perspective of an Indigenous Person. Or \ read about the history of the slave trade. Or you know, watch the news and think about it critically for half a second.

The point I’m trying to bring home here is this: feeling guilty and being reactive isn’t going to solve anything. What does begin to address racism is white people taking responsibility and being real about the benefits we have because of our whiteness. So maybe we need to stop complaining about yoga classes and start listening to and meaningfully showing up for folks of colour.

And maybe, just maybe, we need to start turning to our own ancestor for spiritual guidance. Why is that such a scary idea? There’s actually some really rad things we can learn when we start to complicated, contextualize and historicize our European roots. And no, those roots are not all about Christianity and hurting people. So just let that idea go right now.

If you go far back enough we all have, as my friend Mel Bazil has reminded me, “beautiful origins”.

I understand that looking at our racism is scary, trust me I do. But it’s not as scary as actually experiencing it, which is something we white folks will never truly understand. Exploring our own roots and unpacking our whiteness is rich and necessary work if we want to change the tide of violence we have benefited from for generations.

So get a tissue, put down the yoga mat, stop complaining about this yoga class and go read a book or help a refugee.

 

You’ll feel better for it, trust me.


if you believe in this work and you want to support it’s continued existence, please consider becoming a donor to the site. until the end of 2015 donors will receive poetry chapbooks and herbal medicine for signing up. donations start as low as $3/month and you can cancel anytime. this site is fully donor funded so your donations make a huge difference. <3

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I QUIT! Naming toxicity in non-profit work environments.

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From Pinterest

Last week I quit my nonprofit job. I’ve decided to step away from nonprofit work in favour of focusing on homesteading, reading tarot cards online and writing. And I’ve decided this will be the last nonprofit I work for. Maybe I will take contract work here and there, but it won’t be my main income source anymore. In some ways this was an unexpected change. I was planning to stay with this job for another year or two – to gradually work my way out of the position and into self-employment.  But then I spent a week having panic attacks and received one of the most emotional harsh (dare I say abusive?) emails I’ve ever received in a work place and suddenly my limits showed up hard. I had been having a feeling of unsafety in my gut for about 2 weeks before this all happened. I couldn’t quite figure out where it was coming from.

Now I know. Read more