I was raised in the mountains of West Virginia, in a family of Welsh and English folks. Our folklore involved witches and seers and card readers, and as a child, I could not get enough such stories. I really, really wanted to be a witch when I grew up. Not a modern day Wiccan practitioner, which sounded awfully complicated, just a good old-fashioned witch.
Problem: I can’t follow a recipe. Even a kids’ book of spells made no sense to me. To make your wish come true, shouldn’t there be clovers and grass, no dandelions and at least one lightning bug? And some river water?
Every single time I’ve been drawn into the magical idea of spells, the whole set-up becomes overwrought and I end up arguing with the entire protocol. For starters, if the words don’t taste right, why can’t I change them around?
So, I long ago gave up the romantic notion of incantations and plant-based witchery and turned to cards. Only to find that tarot also eludes me. The pictures and numbers have meaning to me, but the tarot experts disagree with my interpretations.
Fortunately, I found my path through mediumship and the Akashic Records with teachers who explained energy from the inside out, in a way that I get. I love my business, but I still felt the call to my childhood dream of magic and even the word, “Witch”.
Enter Ikeoma “Kiki” Divine. A former accountant, then nurse, a psychic, a medium AND a master of the conjure, a root doctor, who now has her own shop and spiritual business in a town nearby. From the minute we started talking, I sensed she was my kind of witch.
We bubbled over in our talk about African hoodoo, which is prevalent in South Carolina and Georgia and has always made a whole lot of sense to me (until we get to the nitty gritty recipe stuff). Loosely speaking, hoodoo looks a lot like the paganism of my ancestors, not surprisingly because Carolina was a British colony and the Africans were forced to hide their traditions under Protestantism and the British Isles pagan practices.
Kiki and I excitedly discussed the energies behind Papa Legba and Maman Brigitte, road openings, come-to-me’s, and get-out-of-your-own-ways. I fawned over her candles, but when I looked at her shelves filled with jars of ingredients, herbs, spices, and teas, I felt the familiar resistance rise in my chest.
Kiki read my mind. “It’s like cooking. Do you follow recipes in the kitchen?”
I was almost insulted. “Of course not! Some cookbooks are simply so wrong, I assume they were printed with typos.” We laughed over how our grandmothers never used recipes, not even with baking.
Then she delivered the big a-ha: She never uses or gives out recipes for plant-based spiritual guidance. In other words, no traditional spells.
Plants and all ingredients, she explained, have energy, and ecology changes every fifty miles. A recipe that calls for one herb might work in New Orleans but not with the same herb grown in Charleston. They’re essentially two different plants. A recipe will never work, she said, if you don’t understand the energy underlying each ingredient and the elements of the locale where the plant is grown.
Lightbulb! A children’s book of spells written in California and edited in New York will be gibberish to a nature-loving, witchy kid in the wilds of West Virginia.
Kiki further explained, “You want things moving in your life, you get things moving in your body. You want to attract something, use a plant of attraction, sweetened up, so what you desire comes sweetly. But you never memorize a recipe or an affirmation. I intuit what the client needs during my session with them.”
That makes sense. My heart nearly burst open in relief. It’s possible I can still be a good old-fashioned witch when I grow up, rounding out my psychic mediumship services. I might even get a cauldron.
On my next visit to Kiki, I’ll tackle my issues with tarot . . .