Chris ( aka Ammo ) O’Day, The Fitness Witch, has been in the occult community for over 20 years. She specializes in mind, body and spirit transformations through fitness, nutrition, energy work and magic. She is initiated in Santeria, Quimbanda and ceremonial magic and a 2nd degree Gardnerian High Priestess. She can be reached through her Fitnesswitch page on instagram or her website www.fitnesswitch.com for in person/online personal training, yoga, reiki, tarot and astrology. She currently resides in Redondo Beach California.
I spent a really long time avoiding working with the dead. Even though I was out of the broom closet in my 20’s, I wasn’t ready for such intense work. I was also already 30 by the time a close relative passed away, so death just hadn’t touched my life yet. But from that point it hasn’t slowed down.
I’ve lost so many people to addiction, Cancer and suicide that I’ve lost count. Once death started happening, and my loved ones still felt close by, to the point of appearing in dreams and visions, I realized it was the missing puzzle piece to my magical practice. I set up a simple altar and they were front and center from that moment, ever present and ready to guide in the right direction.
This magic has brought me to such an incredibly healing place, as well as to straight up slap in the face reality checks.
At 9 years old, I died on the operating table. My appendix burst while they were doing surgery. My childhood was plagued with stomach aches. This particular one was worse than usual and landed me in the hospital. After the operation, I was held there for 3 weeks, with a needle in some vein or another the entire time, eating every Italian Ice in the place, and driving the staff insane. I look back and see this incident as to what led me here, all these years later, working with the dead and my ancestors and preparing to be an end of life doula. The dead, at least my dead, don’t fuck around when they want me to learn a lesson.
As I approach the one year anniversary of my fathers death next month, which has shook the very foundation of who I am, I thank him, all my blood dead as well as all of those that have passed in my magical lineage, for their constant guidance and love, and for always having my back.
The best part of this practice is that it is relatively easy to reach the dead in your bloodline, even if you’ve never met. An easy set up to start with is a white candle, a glass of water, photos ( only of deceased people ) and an offering of some kind. If you know their tastes in food, alcohol, etc. you can leave those as well.
For example, my grandfather loved red licorice, so I always buy him Twizzlers. My grandmother lived on chocolate and lipton tea, so I always make sure those things are there, too. Choose one day a week to sit in front of your altar, light the candle, put out the offerings and just be still. Tell them your troubles and ask for guidance. Sit and just listen. If you have trouble making a connection, persevere, and over time things will start to happen.
Beginning a meditative practice will be of great assistance to help you quiet your mind so that you can hear what they’re trying to communicate to you. I’m truly stunned at all the distant relatives (and when I mean distant, I mean 500 years ago) that have made their presence known. And once that connection is made, you have a constant feeling of someone having your back and guiding you to a better life. I invite you to celebrate your beloved dead during the thinnest of veils between worlds, Samhain, and make magic that will change your life.
Ariella Upton is a solitary eclectic witch who was raised by a Christian kitchen witch. She has a wealth of knowledge about herbs, crystals, natural remedies, gardening, history, religion and is currently studying astrology. She works as a PA & manager on Maui, and spends her free time with her magickal family in the forests and beaches they call home. Her shop is on Instagram as @the.celestial.rose where she sells jewelry, artesian smudge sticks, antiques, books and more.
Ahh, Venus, how we adore you! She rules over our relationships, our concept of beauty, our love style and everything we associate with being “nice” in our opinions. So what do we do now that Venus is in Scorpio? Do we bang anything that moves? Do we cut out everything unpleasent in our lives? Do we change how and who we love completely?
I recently had a discussion about this shift with another astrology-curious friend, and I mentioned to her that since Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, which is associated with sex, death and transformation, that many things ruled by Venus would be experiencing these shifts.
Like what? Well, all relationships are a matter of Venus because she shows us how we display affection and appreciation. You may find old friendships, lovers or maybe even a long-term relationship is no longer aligned with your life. Scorpio is working in your life to transform you from tolerating your existing paradigm to THRIVING. The old relationships that were waiting to crumble will likely be expedited by this Scorpion energy, and you may find it intolerable to associate with these people who need to GTFO of your life. Let them go in peace, as they are probably experiencing a similar perspective shift about you.
It can be a painful time, and though these people are not physically dead, it may still incite a period of greiving of what has been lost, and that is totally ok. Greive for the loss, go through the stages, but MOST IMPORTANTLY you must heal and become better than you were before. Don’t bother dumping toxic relationships if you are just going to find new ones. Have the courage to listen to your intuition and act accordingly from now on.
Venus is also associated with our self-worth, ability to earn and even jewelry or fine clothes. Positioned in Scorpio, she helps us to reconcile our sexualities and material worth by aligning to what truly feels right and good for our highter selves. Scorpio is a pretty intense energy, and you are not going to win over her insistence to transform. Allow yourself the space and compassion to eliminate the old baggage weighing you down, which in turn will leave more room for the things we love and are truly passionate about (hey-o, Venus!) This may include a physical purging of things taking up space in your home… might be a good time to have a garage sale or donate your unwanted goods to a charity/thrift store. It can also bring about questioning your self-worth… maybe you don’t charge enough for your goods and services. Maybe you don’t accept praise without doubt. Whatever is holding you back is getting chucked; just do it!
Episode 11 is live! Here you’ll meet Catarina Carlson, a very old friend of mine who sheds some beautiful light and insight on loss and love. If you’d like to follow up with Cat you can follow her on Instagram( *)
I’ve talked about these topics at length, as well as of my favorite book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. In this book, Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about the cycle of love in a new, and yet, ancient way that speaks very clearly to me.
In this book she dissects old fables and explains how they inspire the Wild Woman Identity. In one in particular, entitled the Skeleton Woman, she describes the Life/ Death/ Life cycle and how you need to die in order to be reborn.
In love, from what I’ve come to understand, is that a broken heart is your death cycle. But rather than being a tragic occurrence, it is more of an opportunity. Much like the Death card suggests, it is the gift of rebirth, rather than the mourning of a loss. When you “die,” you are given a low platform, a new angle from which to learn. And once you do, it is then that you are allowed to live again.
Once you reach this new ability of living, you are given a new age of innocence and vulnerability. This is not to be confused with ignorance. Your death cycle has taught you well, and you know now more than you did before. This new innocence, on the other hand, is an act in self trust. Because your knowledge is more advanced, richer, you are able to trust yourself to move through a new relationship in a way that is wiser.
Further, when you live again, you will come across more opportunities to die and reincarnate. There is not just one cycle. In life and love you are constantly learning. And whether it is with the same lover or someone new, if you are not constantly moving through Life/ Death/ Life, you are not living at all.
Life includes pain. But it is what we do with this pain, how we grow with this pain, how we mold it to strengthen us, that creates the new life and all of the blessings it has in store for us. To sit quietly in bliss does not breed knowledge. To focus on pain does not help us grow. We need constant and fluid movement to live fully and experience everything with a wise knowing that this is how we reach the Wild Woman within us. Get moving and stay witchy ( *)
As you know, I have been away in Atlanta to celebrate the life of my Popsie. I was able to be with my family for four days while we stayed in his old house, full of memories and sentimental belongings.
This man was one of the greatest to ever live. Up until the day he passed, he treated everyone with kindness and love.
This is how I want to be remembered.
No one gets out alive, unfortunately. No one lives forever. And while it is important that we fill our lives with experiences to shape the foundation of our person, and to see all we can see, it is of utmost importance that we treat others with kindness.
Everyone that came into contact with my Popsie loved him. His charm was infectious. He truly was a gentleman. And I will miss him so very much.
Thank you all for reading. Stay grateful for those in your life and stay witchy ( *)
To bereave quite literally means to deprive or to rob. Anyone who has dealt with grief will know that this is exactly how one feels. Robbed.
Be it a death, a divorce, the loss of a job, really anything that a person can become saddened by, we all have our own ways in which we grieve.
Some cry, some don’t. Some want to be alone, while others choose to be around loved ones. What is important is that when we grieve, we do it in a healthy manner.
Support can come in all different forms. If you don’t know what to say to a grieving person, that’s just fine. Grieving can be awkward for those not involved. But dancing around the subject of loss, rather than being present and accepting that you have no idea what to say, can actually harm the relationship you are trying to preserve.
The truth is, nothing will make a situation better. There is no magic wand to wave and “fix” reality. To best support a grieving person, offer a kind word, a hug, or even a smile. Let the person know that they can come to you for a chat if they want to. That they are in your thoughts.
Grief is never fun. But it is a necessary vehicle towards healing. The grief never really goes away, but it lessens over time. When you are a friend trying to help, you can always do so by just being there.
Stay supportive and stay witchy ( *)