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.
Featuring an Oracle Card from the deck I’m working on (very slowly) with @tamalgoth! Samhain, as most of you here know, is the Pagan New Year. It is a time for reflection and intention setting, with the veil of the living and the dead at it’s thinnest. I was in Montreal, the most haunted town in Canada, for this Halloween/ Samhain, and didn’t get much time to reflect until the plane ride home yesterday.
This year has been a lot of learning and boundary setting. Strengthening my boundaries and respect for myself has helped me to grow and learn further. It has helped me to empower myself in ways I couldn’t imagine. And it has also helped me to let go of things that don’t serve me, even if they are emotions in a situation that I cannot change.
Whether it was dating and realizing more of what I need in a man, or switching up side hustles and realizing what is truly important for something that just fills my pockets, there have been a lot of lessons, some down times, some upward bumps, and mainly self reflection and independence.
So, if you haven’t already, I invite you to do some reflections yourself. Start with October 2016, and make a list of each month leading up to this past Samhain. Write a short summary of what happened in each month, and next to it write the lesson.
Did you achieve something? Lose something? Have a rough time? Take a respite? Find the highlights through each month and look for the over arching message within it. If you’re having trouble, you can even pull a card on the message of the month 😉
When we take full inventory of our year, it helps to show us how much we’ve actually grown. We all tend to take for granted our achievements and growth spurts, so take some time for yourself to reflect before setting new intentions for the year to come. Stay grateful, and stay witchy ( *)