Of Blood and Bone - Interview with Kate Freuler
Welcome back to another wonderously Witchy interview, Starlet!!!
Today I have the pleasure of chatting with the gorgeous Witchy author, Kate Freuler, who has penned many Patheos articles as well as the upcoming book "Of Blood and Bone, Working with Shadow Magick & The Dark Moon."
1. What were some of the inspirations behind your upcoming book, “Of Blood and Bones,” Working with Shadow magick and the Dark moon?
I was experiencing a time of grief, loss and transition in my personal life and was working through it by journaling. Some of these journals inspired the book. Since witchcraft is such a huge part of my life, my feelings were reflected in my daily practice. I noticed during this time just how infrequently shadow work, or any witchcraft involving painful or negative emotions, is discussed in books or online. Important experiences like facing death, expressing anger, or exploring depression are often just dismissed with some love and light tossed at them. So I decided to write a book about those feelings and the witchcraft that matches them, discussing shadow magick and the dark phase of the moon. This expanded into the shadow side of witchcraft in general: subjects that are hidden or “taboo” even within our own community and rarely mentioned in modern books. This includes discussing blood ritual, cursing, sacrifice, and bones just to name a few.
2. Given the difficulties present in the Global landscape right now, how do you think/hope this work will assist people through their spiritual journey?
I hope that as people learn about shadow work alongside the current state of the world, they’ll see it can be applied to much larger issues beyond their personal lives. We all have a role in the huge shifts taking place globally right now. Just one example is systemic racism. This requires many white people like me to examine our own privilege and internalized biases as part of our shadow work. Doing so often evokes feelings of defensiveness and discomfort. Examining these very feelings are in fact the first steps towards being part of the positive change instead of complicit in the oppression of other people. If you find that social issues make you feel uncomfortable, that is absolutely a sign that you need to delve deeper into yourself to figure out why, and hopefully make changes that are for the greater good (and that’s just the very beginning). That’s what shadow work is: confronting the things inside of you that scare you. The more we do this, the more progress can be made as a whole.
3. Your book touches on the use of blood in ritual, which not everyone is comfortable with (although personally I vibe with bringing this into books of Witchcraft!) Can you put into words what this practice means to you and why you decided to include it?
Blood in ritual has always been a part of my practice since the very beginning. Blood symbolizes both life and death on a very instinctive level. I feel that blood in ritual is one of the most visceral, personal and powerful ways to symbolically declare to the universe and to myself that I direct my own power and am in control of my life force. Blood ritual throughout witchcraft history is usually presented in an erroneously frightening fashion, so it’s important to address harmful misinformation. Also, people are often drawn to it on an intuitive level but don’t understand why. I thought it should all be laid out there and discussed so that people can practice it in an informed and safe way should they choose to. It’s also important to note that using blood in witchcraft is a personal preference, not a requirement, and consent is everything.
4. What would you say to people who are uncertain about the use of bones in their magick?
I always say that if something freaks you out or bothers you for any reason, don’t do it. There are many substitutes for bones and animal remains in witchcraft, and these are listed in my book. For those who are curious about bones but don’t know where to begin, I would suggest finding or buying some bones and meditating with them to see how you feel. Animals die in nature all the time; for me, finding and cleaning their bones and including them in my spirituality is a way of honoring the animal and the earth.
5. Do you have any advice for people struggling in the current pandemic – with the shadow work and self reflection that can bring?
That’s a tough one. I think it would be irresponsible for me to say that people who are suffering during this pandemic should just do some shadow work and they’ll feel better. The isolation many are experiencing goes way beyond normal shadow work in my mind. Humans need connection with others and not having it can be soul crushing for many people as well as physically hard on those who depend on community for their daily needs. The affects of the pandemic on peoples’ mental health worries me. For many, this is their first time having to sit with themselves and be alone, and it’s not by choice. So I guess to answer the question, my advice is to be kind to yourself and to meditate on your feelings a little bit each day to understand and release them. This time away from others may also cause you to see certain relationships and behaviors in whole new light. When our normal lives are stripped down to the minimum, we realize who and what is really important. Maybe being away from certain people is a good thing, and you’ll realize you can end some toxic connections. Other than that, please wear a mask and follow physical distancing rules so we can end this!
Thankyou so much for interviewing with me!
Kate's book is available for pre-order now and is released August 1st by Llewellyn