I could caption this with something like “witch in the city” and it would just be another lovely looking Instagram window of a smiling white girl living a magical life. But! Yesterday brought some interesting lessons for me and I’d rather share that with you all instead.
All week I felt SO excited to be teaching about my FAVORITE topic in this AMAZING space in BROOKLYN!
Cut to the morning of the workshop: my dog woke me up super early and I couldn’t fall back asleep, when I stood up to get out of bed my back went out, my period came early with heavy, intense cramping, and I had what felt like a mini bout of stomach flu right before I had to drive into the city. Phew! And yet I was still excited to teach and still laughing at the trickster nature of these poisonous plants. I got through the lecture part of class fine, then when it was time for the shamanic journey I was hit with a throbbing headache. While working through my personal discomfort during the journey, a clear message started to emerge:
I can still be myself, my truest, deepest Self, even when I’m suffering, even through pain.
If you are alive in a human body you will suffer, that’s a given. AND yet you can still be your brightest, truest Self through your suffering.
Being a super sensitive one I’m always trying to create a safe environment for myself where I won’t become overwhelmed. Even though I’m someone who constantly teaches that you are ok exactly as you are, and that suffering is a part of life, my under the surface inner dialogue still tends to go something like “if xy&z are all ok, I will be ok too.” Yesterday gave me a little reminder of what it feels like to surrender to the pain I can’t control.
Last night I dreamt of fly agaric again... in my dream my garden gnome, Franklin, presented me with 2 dinner plate sized mushroom caps. I knew that they were safe because Franklin was gifting them to me. I’m looking forward to someday working with this ancestral medicine 🍄✨
One of the reasons I decided to major in painting at a Buddhist university was so that I could avoid paper writing... And now I dedicate almost all my free time to researching, writing about, and experimenting with poisonous plants 🤷🏻♀️
P.S. I took this photo to send to my grandma who likes to see what I’m feeding myself.
Poke essence ✨🖤✨ helping to release stuck energies/feelings, setting boundaries, it can be very grounding/physical, and it’s good for work with otherworlds 🖤✨
I chose the shop name "Persephone Collective" a few years ago when my intention was to open a brick & mortar shop of witchy goods... a collective. But since that doesn't look like it's meant to happen, I wanted to change my username to reflect more of what I'm offering here. I have been contemplating this change for a while, and today on my 30th (!) birthday, it feels like it's time to make the jump.
I deeply resonate with the Persephone myth - I see it as a lesson in taking difficult life experiences and turning them into your source of power. Persephone is not only the goddess of springtime and flowers, but she is the queen of the underworld. We hold both. We are not either/or. I try to hold awareness of this as I walk my path and I hope to bring others to a deeper acceptance of this in themselves as well. Soon I will be publicly be offering 1:1 coaching (still struggling to bring myself to use the word coach but can't seem to think of a better alternative) to help bring you into a deeper sense of yourself. This will be through the use of many tools such as tarot, meditation, shamanic journeying, hakomi, herbal medicine, non-duality, and more. I feel that the name shift better suites what I am working on this lifetime and how I hope to work with others as well. Also, someday (hopefully very!) soon, my second book will be done. It will be called Persephone’s Path and it will be all about the Persephone myth and what I’ve written above.
Thank you for coming along on this journey with me!
Cloudy, rainy, chilly days are my happy days. I’m more productive, more relaxed. We’ve had several of these days in a row after a whole summer of increasingly less rare 90 degree days and hardly any rain. This past summer felt so oppressive and tiring.
I feel like myself in this gray weather, like I can breathe and rest again 🌧🖤☁️
Did you know that it’s ok to not always be busy?
Do you know that it’s ok to rest? It’s ok to take a break. To stop thinking. To do nothing at all.
Spiders weave their beautiful web and then wait patiently. Work then rest.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing is ok. You are ok.
Every single time I post anything about datura I get at least one message or comment either warning me of the dangers of datura or asking me to give directions on tripping with her. I’ve shared about lots of poisonous plants - foxglove, belladonna, henbane, hellebore, mandrake, bittersweet nightshade, aconite… none of these seem to inspire the amount of interest and/or concern that datura does. I believe that datura is a plant that really wants to work with us humans. So what do we need to understand to best work with her?
Datura can be a dangerous plant! When used improperly she can cause terrifying hallucinations for days, the loss of bladder and bowel control, respiratory arrest, central nervous system depression, temporary blurred or lost vision, and in rare cases coma, seizure, or death. Most datura related deaths are the result of poor judgement and loss of coordination resulting in accidental death.
But when used properly… ah! Such a sweet, supportive, opening, transformative, loving energy. She is a plant that has the power to change your life for the better. To me she always feels like a wise grandmother - wrapping me up in her soft arms while still teaching me tough lessons with firm boundaries.
You should wear gloves when harvesting, weeding, or transplanting datura. You should never ingest or smoke it unless under the guidance of someone with many years of experience doing so, preferably someone who is in a lineage of this kind of worship. She should ALWAYS be approached in reverence. I have never had a negative experience working with her, which I believe comes from the deep respect I have for her power and wisdom and always doing my best to listen to what she is telling me. Don’t rush a relationship with her. Let her come to you. Please don’t ever treat datura as a cheap, easy way to have a trip - I can almost guarantee it won’t be pleasant when approached this way. It is a sacred plant and should be treated as such. I have a few older posts and a saved story where I speak about the many cultures that have traditionally worked with datura as a sacred medicine.
The safest (yet still extremely powerful) ways to work with her are through flower essences, plant spirit medicine, and just sitting in her presence. You can ask her to visit you in your dreams too. Topical ointments from a trusted source are another safe source of connection - Medicinal Nightshades is my go to source for this!
Ideally, we should be approaching ALL plants with this kind of respect. The plants that want to work with us will seek us out. We don’t need to go looking for them. If you want to build a relationship with a plant, treat them the same way you would treat a person you wanted to enter into a partnership with. Ask them if they want to work with you, respect their boundaries, listen when they say no, be kind and loving, and work towards quieting the mind enough to really hear what they are saying. Ask before you harvest, ask before you take in their medicine.
P.S. If you want to learn more about datura and the poisonous plants mentioned above, I will be teaching a workshop on The Healing Magic of Poisonous Plants at Anima Mundi in Brooklyn on September 29th. More info can be found on on the class can be found here!
TFW when you’re completely energetically depleted from overextending yourself all weekend and you find a giant datura patch while driving through the suburbs 🖤🖤🖤 Datura said to take in its essence as a hummingbird drinks the nectar of a flower.
Baby mandrake root
2nd edition of “Here You Are” is now available! This printing has an updated introduction and an easier to read font. The images are also slightly glossier making the color pop more.
Deeeep thanks to those who have supported, shared and bought copies of the first printing. This book is essentially my essence and life’s work in physical form 💗
Also - due to an error with my printers I have some slight misprints available for almost half off. Misprinted and perfect versions available for purchase through my website 🙂
Just uploaded a lil 20 minute guided meditation to YouTube. It can be found in the “about” section of my website ☺️ link in bio 🙏
I teach meditations just like this one every Saturday morning Hawk & Hummingbird!
In the video I’m sitting in front of one of my neurotic dot making paintings aka shields aka color field/consciousness shifters. I haven’t dedicated as much time to it lately, but painting giant color fields is definitely one of my favorite practices in this life 💙
We’re not here to be consumers
Today I filled my lil sacred pouch with fresh prayers and herbs and seeds and crystals and a half dollar coin that mysteriously appeared in my pocket. I needle pointed this last year and since then it has stayed in the pocket that rests on top of my heart in the jean jacket I bring everywhere. It feels good to have a potent collection of things that remind me to stay grounded and remember who I really am when I’m out in the world getting overstimulated and overwhelmed.
Life can be hard and things seem to be especially difficult for everyone lately. I wish I had more to offer but the words “be kind” are all that come to mind.
Earlier today I placed this little Milarepa statue at the base of my nettle patch, which seemed to really please the nettles.
Milarepa, considered one of the more important figures in Tibetan Buddhism, was said to have sustained himself solely on the nettles growing outside of his cave, which eventually turned his skin green. That green skin is an easy way to identify him in thankga paintings.
“All meditation must begin with arousing deep compassion. Whatever one does must emerge from an attitude of love and benefitting others.”
“Strong and healthy, who thinks of sickness until it strikes like lightning? Preoccupied with the world, who thinks of death until it arrives like thunder?
“One should see that all appearance is like mist and fog.”
Datura, a most magical plant whose flowers cover almost every continent in various forms. Globally it has been used medicinally, shamanically, and as a sacrament.
Datura is used to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Used properly it is a powerful pain killer, muscle relaxer and can have a strong aphrodisiac and euphoric quality. Out of all the poisonous plants I’ve worked with, I’ve found Datura to have the most balanced energy - she not only reaches down to the Underworld but also up to the Heavens. When approached in reverence it is as though you are being hugged with all the infinite wisdom of your grandmother. Yet, when communed with carelessly, she can result in insanity or death.
Last night I dreamt that I was standing behind the counter at a coffee shop where my friend was working, keeping her company until her shift was over. A different friend came up, ordered her drink, and asked me if I was working there now. I said “No, just visiting.” Then woke up.
Upon waking I immediately understood the correlation between “just visiting” in the dream and “just visiting” in my waking life. We’re all ultimately just visiting here.
Earlier this week, hellebore, my dearest plant guide, told me I was taking *this* too seriously, getting too attached to the storylines and outcomes. A few days later I sat under a holly tree during a very stressed out moment and the holly reminded me that *this* isn’t really where my work is.
*This* in these instances refers to my personal life and identity structures. I try to remember as much as possible that Kathryn is just visiting, and while what I’m doing here is important in certain ways, getting attached to that importance is an unnecessary pain. We can be passionate and excited and invested while doing our work here in this world yet still remember that we are just visiting.
Earlier this week I got to meditate with a sweet beach dwelling yarrow. I had visions of her filling the cracks in my energetic field with her flowers. She protectively placed her flowers and some black obsidian over my third eye and clearly pointed out the boundaries that exist between self and other. I asked her 3 different times if I could take some of her leaves with me to carry in my medicine pouch and every time she easily, directly said No.
This has been one of the biggest struggles in my life - knowing what is mine and what is others, being able to really feel my autonomous self, feeling grounded, safe, and solid in my body... I am truly grateful for the gifts that come with being so open and permeable, but I know that it’s time to really do this work.
thank you yarrow 🙏
Harvesting beachy mugwort for a friend ✨ her aura in this photo occurred naturally 👸
I generally don’t work with mugwort because I find her SO opening to the upper chakras that I get overstimulated, but the past few weeks she has been calling to me 💕