It’s time for another Tending the Hedge, a series of features highlighting herbalists, artists, educators, and activists who engage in a practice of “magical stewardship,” all bravely sharing their magic with the world, living and working with intention. I see this as a form of mutual aid and raising each other up, as a rejection of competition and scarcity culture, and an opportunity to highlight ways in which folks are tending the hedges of their communities, so to speak!
This week, I am thrilled to feature disability rights activist, self-described “heathen witch,” and my dear friend Charlotte. Living with a disability and chronic illness, Charlotte offers her individual voice and deep kindness to the often ableist witchy and wellness world. Here we talked about uniting as a collective, and how true magic happens through intersectionality.
What are your pronouns and what is your sign?
She/her. I’m a Virgo sun, Virgo moon and Libra ascendant.
Are you a witch? If so, what does that word mean to you?
I am! I’m also a dedicated heathen who honours and works with the Norse pantheon, so I consider myself a Norse witch. I’m not sure if language is entirely capable of capturing the true essence of the word ‘witch,’ in all honesty. Instead I will list a few words to signify the type of thing it encompasses for me on a personal level – empowerment, liberation, healing, roots, home.
What drew you to your work? Why is it important?
I became disabled at 19, and started blogging about my experiences navigating life with an invisible disability and chronic ill health. I’ve been politically active my entire adult life: I’m queer and I’m strongly a leftist/socialist, but experiencing first hand how difficult it actually is as a disabled person to access the world in ways most people take for granted really fired me up politically and over the past few years I’ve become somewhat of a disability advocate/activist. Spirituality has been my solace. I have refined and deepened my craft, as well as connected with my ancestral Scandinavian roots and traditions. Spirituality for me has meant empowerment. Returning home to myself. I want to help people to empower themselves through magic and spirituality; to cultivate a connection with divine consciousness and align with their greatest good, however those things look for them. I want people to use these things as a tool to strengthen their voice, especially those people who, like me, live on the margins. There’s nothing the ruling classes fear more than us uniting and realising the power of our voices both as individuals and as a collective. They rely on people staying asleep, which is why waking up to your personal power is so important, not just for yourself but for the world. We all have something to give.
How can others engage with this work and tend the hedge in their own communities?
The spiritual community at large, and often its intersection with the wellness industry, is sadly full of ableism, toxic positivity and spiritual bypassing. It can be extremely alienating for people who are disabled, neurodivergant or physically or mentally ill. I encourage able bodied practitioners to educate themselves on ableism and the ways in which disabled people are excluded from these spaces, so that they know what *not* to do. As an example, instead of pushing the narrative that you must practice the craft or give offerings outdoors and in nature, which immediately alienates people with various access needs, try and encourage people to work within their means and their ability. Help them find ways to adapt their practice and remind them that it’s perfectly okay to work within their ability. Repeat after me: nobody is less of a witch because they have a disability or condition that stops them practicing in conventional ways. Magic truly happens when we empower one another.
Did you enjoy this feature? Check out other magic-makers in the Tending the Hedge series!