In continuation of our Spring Awakening theme, we are drawing connections between self-care and service.
Paige Vanderback, blogger and host of the Fat Feminist Witch website and podcast, understands this concept well. Paige sees both feminism and witchcraft as sometimes interchangeable tools to better her life. What is implied by her content is that these tools better others’ lives as much as her own. Paige draws a connection between spirituality and activism in a way that’s playful and often hilarious, yet deeply respectful of women, bodies, people of color, witches, and the planet.
This April, we are celebrating our first 4/20 since the launch of Emerald CBD! We sent a bottle to Paige, and she was kind enough to provide her feedback, plus ritual tips for the 420 holiday! Read on to learn more about the Fat Feminist Witch and her take on cannabis:
HB: What was your first impression of Emerald CBD?
PV: It smells so beautiful, like FRESH cannabis plants. I really noticed a difference on the apples of my cheeks, which get really dry from walking in the winter cold. By the end of the first week, those spots are much smoother and less red. Actually, my whole face is a lot less red in general.
HB: How might you incorporate or highlight Emerald CBD or other cannabis products into (witchy) ritual?
PV: I consider weed to be one of the best third eye and crown chakra herbs of all time. One of the side-effects of consuming cannabis regularly for a lot of people is a lack of dreams or less ability to recall them. This is very good for people who use cannabis to treat conditions like PTSD and to help with insomnia, but I want dreams! So one night I used a drop of the emerald on both my third eye and crown and meditated on having dreams that night and being able to recall them. The next morning I was able to recall a full dream in detail for the first time in a year!
My theory is that incorporating the CBD oil into that ritual was still honoring the spirit of the plant, versus trying to fight against it and its effects. I'm very excited about this experience and have since started recalling more and more of my dreams when I use the oil on my third eye at night.
HB: How does being a witch affect your self-care practice?
PV: Being a witch is all about harnessing my personal power and not being afraid to use it. Since deepening my spiritual practice in 2015, I'm a lot more aware of emotions—mine and other people's—which makes me feel like I have more control. I've always been a very mushy, sensitive, empathetic sort of person. But deep emotions like that aren't a detriment to witches—they're a source of power.
Being a witch has also made my baths so much nicer - all salty and full of lovely herbs, and made me fill my house with plants so now I'm breathing the cleanest air ever, and attracted all the neighborhood stray cats so now I'm never lonely!
HB: What’s your favorite part of cannabis culture? What’s your least favorite part?
PV: I read in Newsweek a few years ago that Legal Cannabis was slated to become the first billion dollar industry in the United States dominated by women, and that's incredible. [The industry] offers space where creativity and compassion can be center stage. It also gives women a way to help themselves and other people, finally getting in on the ground floor of a major industry with infinite growth potential.
As far as my least favorite part, I don't like seeing how many white people, in this day and age, are still appropriating black and Caribbean culture with the dreadlocks and fake reggae despite the fact that black and Jamaican people keep asking them to stop. You can listen to Bob Marley and smoke weed without pulling a Rachel Dolezal. There are just some parts of weed culture that are vestiges of another time and that we all need to re-evaluate—just like in any other subculture.
HB: What cannabis topic deserves the most immediate activism, in your opinion?
PV: Now that cannabis is legal here in Canada, and full legalization is a very plausible reality for the US, we need to get the people with cannabis-related offenses that are in jail, back home. Or at least their cases should be re-examined! I think it's outrageous that I could legally smoke a joint outside of a prison wall that houses people who were arrested for weed. This should be THE priority, not only for activists but for the governments legalizing cannabis too.
HB: One thing we love about your brand is your book club (on your Patreon page). Would you mind naming a cannabis- or non-cannabis-related read you’d recommend for the 4/20 holiday?
PV: There's a book called The Pot Book, edited by Julie Holland. It's full of different essays by doctors, scientists, activists and even people like Tommy Chong. I think it's a great read for anyone whether they smoke or not, actually, because it's so interesting, and it gives people a really wide overview of the uses of Cannabis and what it's meant to the world.
If you want to read about witchy uses for weed there are unfortunately not a lot of book sources (yet!) but there's a bi-weekly column in High Times called The High Priestess written by Gabriela Herstik who wrote Inner Witch, which is fantastic and gives you ways to work weed into particular types of ritual.