At the moment my writer’s well is rather dry, even though its been raining here in Indiana for what feels like months. So I thought I would take this opportunity to update you all with what is going on in my life. As always, thank you for reading and being a part of this journey.
Since I have been back….
In March of 2018, I reluctantly made the move back to my hometown Fort Wayne, Indiana from St. Petersburg, Florida. It was one of those situations that just didn’t work out. Even after all of the planning and preparation, and wanting to move somewhere more exciting for so many years. This time last year I had been back for a couple of Months and wrote an article called Now the Witch is Back, reflecting on the experience and getting back in touch with the land I was born on. I was grateful for the experience and getting to live in another city for the time that I did, but this didn’t make coming back any easier. It felt like a failure, like I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be or at least didn’t want to be. Moving out of state, selling most of my belongings and uprooting my life with my husband and fur babies was a huge deal. Then unexpectedly having to come back, and the transition we had to go through to get back on track was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.
Looking back on the experience I can see the things that I learned and all that I would gain from the events that this set into motion. Living in Florida and experiencing the diverse community gave me the spark to follow my own path and embrace my passions. It helped me to see opportunities when it came to building my writing career and growing my artistic endeavors. Coming back and the four months I had to spend living in a small town in the middle of nowhere Indiana with my in-laws before we were able to get back to Fort Wayne was a test of my resilience and refusal to give in. It also gave me the time and the opportunity to write The Poisoner’s Pocket Guide Series. This personal project would go on to grow into something that I didn’t even expect. It allowed me to reinforce my knowledge of baneful herbs and the practice of Veneficium. I developed my own way of categorizing these plants leading to continued personal insight. The feedback I got on this project over the course of the next six months was enough to drive me to form new relationships, start teaching classes, and begin building my own brand. If it wasn’t for moving away and coming back I wouldn’t have been set on the course that has led me to where I am now. From the darkest night we draw power for the most growth.
The Poisoner’s Apothecary
Along with my blog on Patheos, which I have faithfully been writing weekly articles for close to four years now, the Poisoner’s Apothecary has taken on a life of its own. Fulfilling a need in the community for a resource on poisonous plants and their magickal applications, I have watched the community grow. New groups have popped up, more and more people are growing their own witch’s gardens and learning about the plants that are at the core of old world herbal witchcraft. Under the name The Poisoner’s Apothecary, I have had the opportunity to teach numerous classes on poison plants, flying ointments, and ritual entheogens. Sharing my love and knowledge for these plants with the people in the Great Lakes region has brought me great pleasure and shown me how needed this knowledge is.
The Poisoner’s Apothecary has grown into not just a blog, but also an online shop where I create magickally inspired ritual jewelry with occult properties by combining these plants in symbolic ways. This is a very creative process for me that brings me closer to these plants, and allows me to share them with others in a safe and beautiful way. Each amulet is unique, and is a visual arrangement producing a work of art that can also be used as a magickal tool. I have created a number of unique ritual adornments that showcase the arcane beauty of these plants in new and lasting ways.
I was also recently asked to join the faculty of the Grey School of Wizardry, an online magickal academy started by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. The school is online at http://greyschool.org and has hundreds of courses spanning multiple departments from the Psychic Arts, Magickal Beasts, and the Dark Arts. I am currently taking faculty training courses in order to join the Wortcunning department. Learning has always been my deepest passion, and has made me who I am today. I love teaching and sharing information, which is what I currently do full time as my day job. So I am very excited to start teaching classes on magickal herbalism.
My long term goal for all of this was to eventually write a book. I thought that after a few years of online blogging and continuing my own research that one day I might make a book proposal to a publishing company and see what happened. To my surprise, people are paying attention and my work has not gone unnoticed. A few months ago I was asked if I would be interested in writing my own book! Of course my answer was, without a doubt, YES! I am currently working on the finishing touches for my rough draft. The finished work will be published by Red Wheel/Weiser Books in the Autumn of 2020. Writing this book and assembling all of this information has been one of the greatest experiences, and an opportunity that I am so grateful. I feel like every article that someone read, every piece of jewelry that someone has gotten from me has led me to this point. My book of course, is about the Poison Path. It is an exploration of the myth, history and folklore of baneful herbs and entheogens, and their magickal applications. It is going to be an introductory book to the plants of the Poison Path, specifically the witches’ herbs of Europe, but it is also a guide to their practical use in magick and ritual. I cannot wait to share this book with you because it is the first of its kind, providing all of the information I have gathered over the years in one place!
I have also started attending more expos and events. So far this year I plan on being in Detroit in August for the Oddities and Curiosities Expo, and back in February for Convocation. This October I will be in New Orleans where I will hopefully be doing a class on flying ointments, along with some local events in my hometown. Its going to be a very busy year, but I am so excited for where it will lead me next, and I am so thankful to have these opportunities.
Always in arte,
Coby Michael Ward