Who are you?
I am a writer, tarot practitioner and creator behind Southern Spells—an online space for people to connect with themselves and the mystery of life on their own terms. My intention is to create resources and facilitate experiences that are at once practical, magical and healing.
I have been a keen student of tarot since 2014, supporting a close-knit community of clients through tarot readings, coven meetings, writing classes and healing sessions in my local community and across the world (thanks, internet magic).
I live in Sydney and am currently 6 months pregnant with twins.
You write that you identify as a witch. How did you discover this part of yourself?
It’s been a gradual discovery, developing over time. I was always a witchy kid, making potions and doing weird little rituals with objects I found in nature. I grew up in a pretty esoteric-leaning, creative community (for my primary education I attended a Steiner School) so I was doing meditation, pottery, gardening and yoga at a young age. This gave me permission to explore parts of myself that were inward, subtle and a little strange. Growing up as an only child with a single mum (a novelist), who had a reverence for artists, especially female artists, also influenced my eventual identification as a witch. How could it not? Cinema, books, art galleries and travel were part of my life from an early age and throughout my teenage years. I am very lucky to have been exposed to a lot of different ways of thinking as a young person. It taught me to value personal freedom of expression, and to live a life of my own design. That is what I believe a witch to be (and all that is required to call yourself one)—someone who wants to create their own life, on their own terms.
What does wellness mean to you?
A practice of taking care of my whole self from the inside. That simple, deep care that comes from an inner need, not from an external ‘should’. This includes calling upon external support and supporting others. I believe in a view of wellness as community centred as well as individual.
How do you care for yourself?
Over the years, I have learned that for me, a Sagittarius and Manifesting Generator (if those labels mean anything to you), I feel my best when I keep it simple. Right now, that means saying loving things to my body while I’m in the shower, giving my growing belly a daily massage with my favourite body oil, pulling a tarot card and writing a page of word vomit in my journal most days, cuddles with my cat and walks with friends in the park.
I also care for myself through fortnightly therapy and a monthly healing session— sometimes this is acupuncture, kinesiology or reiki, sometimes it’s a tarot or astrology reading.
How did Southern Spells manifest? Why Tarot?
Southern Spells grew naturally out of an old blog that I started writing when I was at university. What began as a series of musings on yoga, meditation, creativity and mental health, quickly developed into an exploration of the esoteric and occult once I discovered Tarot in 2014.
A key catalyst for getting into Tarot was a breakup at 25. Several years prior I had been gifted the ‘Motherpeace’ Tarot deck, but I was too scared to unbox it. At that point my awareness of Tarot was narrow, confined to fear-based stereotypes and superstition. Despite my trepidation I had still held onto the deck, and it travelled with me through several share houses. It seemed to call out to me, quietly. That calling became louder when I went through this particularly spiky breakup. My grief about losing this incredible person was the thing that broke the spell. Suddenly, opening the Tarot deck didn’t seem scary at all; it felt safe and necessary to explore. I began pulling cards daily, devouring the contents of the accompanying guidebook and journaling about my findings. Soon I was reading and listening to everything I could find about Tarot and its history and researching different modern readers.
Why Tarot? Well, partly because it chose me. I chose it back because it inspires me greatly. Tarot combines and connects so many things that I love—art, writing, magic, history, philosophy, psychology, occultism… It’s the ultimate tool for living and making choices as a human being. It helps me deal with the mystery of being human, and I get a real kick out of sharing that with others through my work. Southern Spells is all about embracing the fun, strange and profound pieces of being a spiritual seeker. Otherwise, what’s the point?
What is your favourite card?
My favourite card is not a fixed thing, but right now I would say it is Temperance. Temperance is my personal Tarot card of 2021, so I feel quite close to it right now. I find the imagery of this card across decks utterly enchanting. This card is currently helping me find a pleasurable middle path through my life, after a decade of living in the extremes.
Your work is deeply connected to the mysteries of the universe. How do you engage with these ebbs and flows of life? How do you teach others to engage with them?
Pretty much all the rituals I do come back to the same thing: the practice of being with the unknown. It is the ultimate challenge for me, and I find for most humans. A similar underlying theme of coming to terms with and learning to collaborate with the unknown underpins much of my work with clients, whether it be holding space for people to show up to the blank page in my Weekly Writing Club, teaching about the archetypes of the Tarot in my Monthly Coven meetings, guiding someone safely and deeply into their body during a 1:1 Healing Session or translating the messages of the cards for a Personal Tarot Reading.
As a person, I am and have always been multifaceted, forever changing my mind or opening a new tab. This influences the way I show up in sessions, readings and group offerings. It is important to me to meet people as multifaceted and complex beings, not as one-dimensional or black-and-white entities. The many— and often competing—aspects of myself and my interests used to be something I loathed and railed against, but over time I have learned to embrace my multitudes (and others’) as the greatest gift.
The way I incorporate tarot, meditation, creative writing and transpersonal counselling into my offerings at Southern Spells feels fitting to my nature, and needed in the world. I currently read and teach Tarot through the lenses of pop culture, mental health and mysticism, and I am excited to keep allowing my practice to grow and expand.
We are experiencing profound disconnection on a global level. Can you speak a little about how your work helps people to reconnect with themselves and the world around them?
I love this question. The way I teach and read Tarot places the individual’s connection to their inner self (their intuition) through the cards and their messages at the very centre. It also acknowledges our human need for connection, and the many ways we have the power and choice to connect with one another —through relationship, art, community, spirituality, etc. It is my hope that this dual connection—to ourselves and to the mystery of the world around us— is one that my work supports and fosters.
What role do you think the practice of Tarot plays in our current era?
Tarot is a gateway to your intuition. It is a compassionate and direct guide for living as a human, acting as a mirror for each stage of one’s earthly transformation. It is a benevolent, wise and sometimes blunt advisor, one that wants to help you be in the driver’s seat of your life. It is not a reliable resource for predicting the future (what is?) but is rather a steadfast companion. It says: You don’t have to figure out your path on your own. We’re in this together. Lean on me.
Tarot is a tool for clarity and compassion, riding the ebbs and flows of life, understanding yourself on a deep level and creating a life on your own terms. To me these are all incredibly important things to come back to as we navigate the current era and its gifts/challenges.
All of this feels timely to me. More and more, I’m seeing evidence of mystery, empathy and the inner life being revered as something beyond the ‘woo-woo’. A great example of this is Hilma Af Klimt finally getting the global cultural recognition now that she deserved at the time she was living and making art. The rising interest in mysticism is helping us reconsider how relevant it is to art, culture and society. This gives me hope.
How important are daily rituals to you?
Daily rituals are important to me. What’s equally important to me is that they be fluid. I rebel against rules. What I enjoy about daily rituals is that they are structures that I get to make up according to what I need and have available.
How do you mark and celebrate change?
I find the astrological calendar/wheel an incredibly helpful time marker throughout the year. There is a different Tarot card that corresponds to each astrological season, and I find the rhythm that the 12 signs and cards create to be both grounding and inspiring. They help me transition and take monthly inventory with a little less resistance and a lot more clarity and fun.
Can you think of a ritual that would resonate with our world at this moment in time?
Right now, I am all about ritualising the daily act of showering or bathing. So often cleaning ourselves can feel like a drag or utterly boring. Why not bring some magic to the mundane? Choose your favourite scent or brand of soap. Light a candle in the bathroom. Unpack your day to yourself, to your cat, to the universe. Sing. Water is such a powerful clearing and cleansing agent—let it wash away the day or night you’ve just had, let it brighten you. After you have finished and dried yourself off, massage your beautiful body with a luxurious-smelling body oil or moisturiser. To me, this is such a simple and impactful way of coming home to your physical self.