Here's an article published in ASOS Marketplace in October 2012
We’re getting very excited about our Halloween Week Countdown here at J&J and we’ve been lucky enough to have a chat with someone for whom Halloween is more than dressing up and trick-or-treating. Meet the very lovely and glamorous Francesca, a practicing freestyle witch and founder of the website and shop ChildofBones. We asked her a few questions about what it’s like to be a modern day witch and how she plans to celebrate Halloween.
J&J: You’ve been practicing witchcraft for 20 years now – what was it that drew you to witchcraft?
Francesca: I always believed from a young age in the spirits of my ancestors, so for me anything ‘otherworldly’ was accepted in my upbringing and my culture. I experimented with a few religions when I was a kid and I found the whole ‘damning people to hell’ all a bit too ‘Hollywood’. Witchcraft embraced my sense of wholeness and the love of a (female deity) Goddess. It encouraged me not to deny life but to open myself up to it. We remain authentic to ourselves when we can choose our own unique path based on whether or not it feels good to us, rather than by not following the flock.
J&J: What exactly is ‘freestyle’ witchcraft?
Francesca: I call myself a Freestyle Witch mainly because I don’t conform to one specific label or tradition. For many witches and non-witches there seems to be a gigantic attachment to categorisaton of styles and traditions. A common label is that of white or black witch, and the traditional witch community – some of whom undergo serious training – wish to know what style, initiations and traditions any witch has studied. I find all of this rather academic – for me freestyle witchcraft means I am completely eclectic, I take what works for me from any source and I leave what doesn’t work for me behind. I don’t follow any one tradition but in some ways I have a piece of most traditions in my pie.
J&J: What characterises modern witchcraft and how has it changed over the years?
Francesca: Modern witchcraft for me is the ability to be anywhere, in any terrain, and maintain the contact of the Gods and our spiritual authenticity to motion change for oneself or others. And in doing so with clarity and skill, interpreting our beautiful modern world with its omens and portents.
Some of my best guidance came from reading banners on night buses in central London! So if you are in a crowded tube station or standing on a moonlight night waiting at a bus stop this is not a limitation to your magick, this is your life. We city-dwelling witches – who don’t live in log cabins contemplating the seasons and chopping our own wood – adjust and hone our skills to modern interpretations. Whether your terrain is an untouched forest or a burlesque bar, one is no better than the other. This is the modern world and we are modern witches and I am glad I don’t chop wood; it would undoubtedly ruin my manicure.
J&J: Are you part of a community of practicing witches or do you work alone?
Francesca: I am solitary witch, meaning I prefer to perform my magickal rites and rituals on my own. In saying that, I have many friends whom are witches and if I ever want to discuss magickal topics, rituals or any of my new creations of magick with Gods, I have friends who, in their own way, specialise in different aspects of magickal practise and with whom I can have in-depth discussions with.
The magickal community in London is large and although some traditions and schools are closed to the un-initiated, there are very interesting talks and celebrations that can be attended by witches as well as people whom are just interested to know more about the witchcraft scene. Places like specialist festivals and bookshops such as Treadwell’s are fantastic resources for gathering information and making connections. There is also a growing community of pagans and witches meeting up for discussions and so forth on the social networking site 'Meet-up'.
Witchfest is a twice-yearly festival which takes place in London and is organised by a Wiccan organization called Children of Artemis, who put on a good show for witches and people interested in Witchcraft. The events are held around Beltane (May Day) and Samhain (Halloween.) They have interesting guest speakers, workshops, book signings from pagan authors and stalls selling everything you could possibly need as a practising witch from cauldrons to capes. In the evening they even have witch rock bands performing until the early hours – it’s a lot of fun. And I always appreciate that you can go to the Witchfest and drink mead and wine! That is so much more fun than a shot of wheatgrass juice at a new age convention :-)
J&J: Is Halloween an important time of year for you? How do you celebrate it?
Francesca: Halloween (Samhain) is my favourite celebratory day of the pagan calendar! It’s commonly referred to in many cultures as the Day of the Dead and it’s a beautiful time to sense the power of our ancestors, conduct ancestral worship and bring in the Celtic New Year. So it’s a special day for many folk and many cultures. For me it’s the only day I honour with utter reverence. This is my big celebration as it is the special day of my Patron Goddess The Goddess Morrigan.
My celebration consists of honouring her in spectacular fashion. I never follow a script and like to stay spontaneous but it usually involves me singing her favourite power songs, opening up an expensive bottle of champagne (which is an untraditional offering for this Goddess in particular but she loves it) and toasting to her (many times) as well as the earth and my ancestors. I praise her for her glory, beauty and for my onward journey and I always praise my ancestors too because they are the great ones who carved the path before me. Without their bones and their blood, I would not be who I am.
J&J: Tell us a bit about your potions – how do you create them? What ailments or states do they address?
Francesca: I created the entire Child of Bones product range of magickal potions, balms, oils, bath milk and soaps to introduce people to authentic God magick. My range is made from scratch, has no synthetic ingredients and has absolutely been made under strict ritual conditions. I take pride in my work and in my products. Some of my potions can take a full year to cook and the ingredients have been sourced from all over the world. This is has been the journey of my witchcraft life and its accumulation now emerges in this magickal product line. I love my work and it’s my greatest joy to see and hear from people experiencing beautiful magickal transformations through using this range.
J&J: Can anyone use the potions?
Francesca: Yes, anyone can use my products and potions. I sell to practising witches, pagans, Goddess communities and people new to magick. There is very detailed information on my website for people new to magick so that they can familiarize themselves with how to use the potion. I also have a YouTube channel called ChildofBones. Here I answer questions and have more in-depth discussions about Goddesses and God magick, how to use my potions and how to work with certain Goddesses. Alongside my magickal shop I will soon be offering Skype sessions and Goddess ritual kits. This bespoke service is ideally suited to anyone wanting one-to-one magickal guidance when aligning and working with Goddesses.
Jarvis & Jarvis