Interview: Allison Carr Waechter

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Allison Carr Waechter is a witch, an artist, a writer, and council to writers in distress. She resides in the Midwest with a wild mountain man, a perpetually annoyed rescue dog named Lola and a feral red lynx named Neville (just kidding, he is actually a teenage Maine Coon. It just feels like living with a feral lynx).

 

 

 

W&W: Do you consider yourself a witch?

Yes. All day, every day. Any damn day.

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

I’m pretty solitary, though I have a coven to call on if I need support. I practice what some people call “sympathetic magic” that’s heavily informed by my lifelong study of fairy tales, folklore and Jungian psychology. Essentially, when I practice I gather objects that are meaningful to the intention of my ritual and I “do” whatever feel right for the moment. I’m sure that sounds extremely vague, but essentially I rely on deep intuition to guide my rituals.

I do follow and honor many traditional witches’ holidays, lunations and seasonal cycles, but I don’t base my practice on strictly observing sabats/esbats unless my coven is doing something in particular.

I also use tarot, path-walking, meditation and intuitive journaling/channeling as a part of what you might consider my witchwork. I believe that intuition and empathy are my super-powers -- though I think it’s really important to note that they’re two different things (which are often conflated).

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

To be honest, it doesn’t thrill me. As an intersectional feminist who sees the harm that our capitalist kyriarchy causes, I feel pretty ooky seeing my spirituality co-opted and sold as a fashion trend. The danger I see here, and the one I actively seek to destroy, is that because our overculture/kyriarchy privileges whiteness, maleness and Christianity it’s easy to see where the popularity of “witchy” stuff is being influenced by that.

Witches who practice “darker” arts are shamed for perpetrating something called “low vibrations” and non-white witches are classified nearly always as “evil” right off the bat. The stereotypical view of voudon as pricking voodoo dolls and raising the dead is a perfect example of this. Brujas, curanderas, and witches from Eastern European cultures are also often painted with the “too dark” brush in favor of the “good vibes only” and angel guides crowd. I’m not here for that.

My practice is based on intuitive personal perspective, but I have deep, deep respect for witches whose traditions are deeply rooted in cultural and hereditary magicks. That shit is amazing and I try to be very careful not to appropriate it or take from it, unless it is shared with me (and I fucking love it when witches from hereditary/deep cultural practices share because it takes so much skill to witch that way!). So it really bums me out to see all those witchcrafts picked apart, decontextualized and sold as a trend for white girls who get praised for being cool and edgy, while witches on the margins get pushed further out. This is why community that prioritizes practices that share but don’t take are really, really important. Though I completely understand why some witches won’t share their cultural magic anymore -- if you’ve been stolen from too many times that’s what happens.

W&W: What influences your creative process?

Books, fairy tales, Jungian psychology. I absolutely love to take an old story or an image and make it relevant for today. We’ve stepped too far away from the old ways in terms of storytelling, in my opinion. I like to recycle everything and make it fresh for new eyes, but keep something of the essence there.

But more than anything the power of what’s outside the center inspires and appeals to me. Living with severe anxiety and depression and having a sister with Down Syndrome made me someone who deeply identified with those ostracized for both what can be “seen” as different by the overculture, as well as what can only be felt. I try to use those experiences as empathetic launch-points for all of my creative ventures. I long to give people a way into belonging through my work.

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

Nooooo! Don’t ask me to choose among my favorites. I am a recovering academic (meaning that I have a Master’s but decided not to get my PhD). Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes embodies everything I wish I could have done as an academic, but I was actively discouraged from studying folklore and fairy tales from a feminist perspective when I was in school. It kind of killed my passion! I revisit my original passion every time I read or listen to CPE’s work though.

W&W: What tunes are currently on your spotify that you are jamming to?

My Raven and Bone playlist. 

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

Primarily, I teach and coach writing. I work for a Research 1 institution as an adjunct writing instructor, but my real passion is in coaching small writing groups and individuals. Not to brag… NAH, totally bragging, but I’m pretty good at unraveling a problem, so when writers are banging up against a wall in their work, that’s when I’m at my shiniest.

I’m also an artist and a writer. Right now my studio is in limbo because we’re working on prepping our house for sale, but I do lots of digital collage, design and hand-drawn ink images. I do lots of screenprinting and jewelry making. Basically, my coaching and teaching engages my “logic brain” and my art and writing engage my creative muse. I love being on both sides of things.  

Where to find you:

Instagram: @acwaechter Website: www.allisoncarrwaechter.com