Contributor Interview: Jillian Locke

Having left the mechanized confines of the city, Jillian Kristina has put down roots in the wild of the deepest woods. It's here that she started to remember: her heart, her sight, her voice. Now, she's a grateful conduit & coach, relaying the magick and messages buried there, asking to be shared.

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W&W: Do you consider yourself a witch?

This question is two fold for me (and I totally blame my Gemini Rising for this):

First, I think the word 'witch' is one laden with ignorance, violence, oppression, and condemnation. I think it's a label, and I believe - know - labels are dangerous. This particular label is one of the most historically dangerous labels, and I don't feel it's one that we need to 'reclaim.'

What I do know is that within the feminine, there is immense and essential pure magick. Pure, benevolent, destructive-for-the-sake-of-positive-creation, power. A connection to Gaia, to the universe, to every single breathing organism. The feminine knows this and connects with it. Harnesses it, for the good of all. Shares it, for the good of all. Today, we need that more than ever. There's been an uprising of the feminine, and we need that more than ever, too. 

So do I consider myself in tune, in touch, and working for the benefit of all? Fuck yes. Will I adopt a label that has been used to snuff out the Wise Women, the Medicine Women, the Hag on the edge of the woods that even royalty would sneak to see for healing and divination? Fuck no. I'm a woman carrying a fucking gorgeous and harrowing lineage of wisdom, knowledge, and undeniable truth forged through dedication, commitment, intuition, sight, connection, and lifetimes of waging the worthiest of battles in my veins.

And I'm not afraid to share it. Not anymore.

W&W: What does your magical practice look like? (i.e. Solitary, Coven, etc.)

My magickal practice is very solitary. I grew up Catholic, and frequently refer to myself as a 'recovering Catholic.' I have a truly difficult time trusting groups connected through any religious - and on some levels, spiritual - context. I'm not saying there aren't any good communities, or covens, out there, but I've seen too many groups ruined by power and politics, which I think is an inevitable weakness - and wound - of human nature. 

So, I prefer to practice in the woods surrounding my off-grid home. The trees are my cathedral. The sun is my torch. The moon, my guiding light. Orion is my compass, my North Star. I have full faith and trust in all of these celestial bodies. It's from these higher powers that I draw strength and sustenance.

That being said, I do have a few sisters that I call on regularly for connection and support. One is a medium, the other, a death walker. We balance each other, affirm each other, and breathe magick into each other's days. They, too, are solo practitioners. I guess it seems that we never truly operate alone, but when it comes to ritual and personal practices, we all prefer our own space, our own intentions, our own personal magick, which is still intended for a greater good outside of ourselves.

I also enjoy sharing my practices with my boyfriend. When he's got big decisions to make, he intentionally sets out to 'see what the trees have to say.' We both revere our land as our place of worship. I feel extremely comfortable rearranging my altar with him present, and discussing my spiritual beliefs and how I'm incorporating them into my - and our - daily lives. The more I share my practices with him, the closer we grow. He's the first partner I've ever been able to do this with, and it's been beyond-words liberating for me.

W&W: How do you feel about the rise of witchcraft as a popular trend?

Again, this question is an interesting one for me.

I feel like it's become a fashion trend - another label. It's a brand. It's marketable.

However, I do see the gift in it. Over the last two years, I've started offering tarot readings and Reiki to the public for the first time ever. Ever. It's incredible how positive the response has been, and how many people who wouldn't usually reach out for such guidance have contacted me. I believe this new mainstream status has helped people who were unsure or curious to investigate these avenues of insight and healing that they would've been too nervous, or even scared to, before. And there's such immense healing in practices aligned with the energy and messages that the universe and nature are always trying to convey to us, and more people are finally beginning to investigate these, because since they've become more mainstream, they feel safer to do so. They feel like there's less of a chance they'll be condemned or ridiculed or judged for it.

So yeah, there's a gift in the mainstreaming of it all - healing, a feeling of acceptance, and more so, a feeling of safety in pursuing a knowledge of and experience with practices associated with 'witchcraft,' even though these practices go so much further beyond the confines of this term.

W&W: What influences your creative process?

Honestly, life is my greatest inspiration. Life, the mountains (they bring me to tears. every. single. time.), the cycles of the moon, of nature, and most importantly, myself. I'm a very in-the-moment kind of writer, acting as a channel to alchemize what I'm going through, which is largely affected by the energy and movements of the cosmos, nature, and of course, Life. And from what I've seen, people seem to really resonate with that writing, which further fuels my favorite phrase, 'Fighte Fuaighte'; Gaelic for, "Woven into and Through Each Other."

I'm a huge fan of horror, and surprisingly, it has truly effected me on the deepest of deep levels. There's a level of comfort in it for me; I grew up watching Alfred Hitchcock with my grandmother, who played the most integral role in opening up my world and stoking my heart with passion for all that is the occult. She also fueled my passion for the Fae, which is a relationship I continue to strongly cultivate to this day. I really feel as though the beginning of my journey into my personal magick began during all of the weekend's I spent at her house, watching horror movie marathons, crocheting, and simply feeling safe in being 100%, unabashedly me.

I also need to mention my connection with the goddess Diana. She's my matron goddess, and during the times in my life that I've truly called upon her, she has shown up with massive force to course correct me and kick my ass in all the essential ways. As of late, Brigid has been showing up EVERYWHERE. These are two powerful goddesses that I feel deeply aligned with; I definitely feel a recommitment to really diving into goddess energy as a huge influence on my creative, spiritual, and magickal life right now.

W&W: Who is your favorite writer and why?

This is easy: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, John O'Donoghue, and Danielle Dulsky.

My grandmother turned my on to Stephen King at a very young age. I've read more of his books than any other author (aside from Neil Gaiman), and it still amazes me how synchronistic any work of his I'm reading at the moment aligns with my life. In the midst of the horror, he also writes so beautifully and lyrically about the human spirit. He's spiritual, insightful, and powerful. He really is a channel for higher-powered messages. He'll always be my favorite.

Neil Gaiman - damn. From graphic novels to Neverwhere, that man's inherent magick, mystery, and gentle heart have stolen my heart.

John O'Donohue speaks the language of the heart in the most beautiful, flowing, lyrical lines I've ever read. I actually found the phrase 'Fighte Fuaighte' in his soul-soothing book, Anam Cara.

Danielle Dulsky is my newest favorite, specifically, Woman Most Wild. That woman completely aligns with the word 'witch,' and despite my feelings on the label, her words speak to me on a level few have before. She's bringing me back to the deepest, most wounded levels of my Wild feminine, and helping me heal the fuck out of them. I don't know what realm she descended from, but I couldn't be more grateful to hold her words in my hands.

W&W: So other than being Witchy As Fuck, what do you do in the world of Muggles?

Almost two years ago, I sold 90% of everything I owned and relocated from the Boston area to Middle Tennessee. I live off-grid, in the middle of the woods with the love of my life, about 20 goats, the sweetest, strongest pit bull-turned-goat dog, and my black cat familiar, Vladimir. It's these woods that brought me back to life, and gave me the strength to start offering the spiritual and magickal practices I've been using as healing tools for myself, to others. In this vein, I've started creating ReWilding coaching services. I feel really pulled to share the insane transformation I've undergone through a literal, physical ReWilding of my own life with others, in the hopes that I can help anyone who is hearing the call to find their way back to their True North. Back to the primal Wild of their hearts.

I'm also (first and foremost) constantly writing - my latest blog, 'The Tennessee Woman,' can be found here:

OH - I also just authored my very first deck! In collaboration with a dear, magickal sister of mine, we created the Wild Moon Lunar Phases deck! And we've got a few other projects up our celestial sleeves - stay tuned!

In short, I've really started to take my magick and infuse it into the world of the mundane and my everyday life, meaning that I'm shaking shit up for muggles every chance I get!

Where to find you:

When I'm not communing with the trees and building raging bonfires, I'm hanging out in my virtually curated spaces:

Instagram: @root_down