Madame Phoenix, Witch, High Priestess and healer, has been a practising occultist for over 30 years. Her fan favourite spiritual supplies, all hand-made in small batches in Toronto, Canada, are renowned by our customers, as well as practitioners of the magical arts across North America. We sat down with the High Priestess herself to learn more about how she developed her spiritual practice, and how the power of ritual can help you recenter your relationship with the natural world.
The Phoenix Rising
Madame Phoenix recounts herself as a precocious youngster, who was always asking her parents those difficult to answer, esoteric questions from a young age. In her quest for answers to life’s great mysteries, she found herself at local Christian churches, which she found interesting, but wasn’t quite what she was looking for. A voracious reader of mythology, she felt a deep connection to Classic Hellenic Greek Mythology, which, as she reflects, “lit me up spiritually”. She also studied the Celtic mythographic sphere, and dipped her toes in Norse mythology, but felt most strongly drawn towards the Greco-Roman mythological system.
At the age of 12, having not yet found a framework for what was serving her spiritual hunger, she came to the conclusion that she could create her own framework instead. This was in 1988, before the world of esoteric & unorthodox ideas were so widely accessible through the internet. Yet she had an innate intuition that the answers she was seeking always led back to what physically and spiritually connects us all - the natural world. So, she took the four elements; earth, air, fire and water, and assigned them to each season. From there, she started to perform rituals at every full moon, solstice and equinox, working with the gods of the ancient Greek pantheon.
By the time she turned 16, an adult figure in her life provided her first introduction to literature about Wicca and Witchcraft. She was blown away that this knowledge - something she felt so strongly within herself - already existed in the ether. The rest, you can say, is history. Having studied at York University in Toronto in the late 90s, she joined campus Wiccan groups, who introduced her to the Wiccan Church of Canada, where she connected to other covens that she’s still a part of to this day.
A couple years before she started her own business, she was going through a lot of life changes. What happened next is what she can only describe as “setting my whole life on fire”. Through that adversity, she developed a resonance with the myth of the Phoenix. From the ashes of disaster and defeat, destroying the old self makes way for renewal, resilience and evolution.
By this time, having worked in the occult business in Toronto for many years, she was constantly being asked by customers what supplies she used in her own practice. She would carefully curate bundles of crystals, resins, herbs and oils based on their energetic qualities, and the intention of the practitioner. Over time, the demand for high quality spiritual and magical supplies became clear - it was time to take what she was making for herself out into the world, to help others through their own journey of radical transformation. In 2014, with the help of her partner and his graphic & web design skills, she soon had a logo, a website, and much needed technical support.
When asked where her ideas come from, she explains that her constant creative machine is fueled by the universe, perhaps directly from the gods. Ideas come mostly at night, jotted down in notebooks full of ideas and product lines that have yet to be developed. The recipe will click into place from her vast mental catalogue of scented oils, and decades of practice and research on energetic properties of each ingredient. Sometimes there is an element of synesthesia involved, like in the case of an amethyst candle. She would ask herself, “what does an amethyst smell like?”. The answers are all clear in her mind.
Other times, she’ll identify an emotional need, and determine the best course of action. Feeling like you’re pinned under the heavy burden of life, like your path is constantly blocked or interrupted? You may be in need of an uncrossing spell. Combining herbs, plants, oils & resin allies that spiritually purify and clear negativity, clears space to be filled with peace and prosperity. Label designs, each one designed by Mme Phoenix, have a specific intent behind them as well.
“A symbol or a seal that is built into the label design is passively charging the candle, salt or oil, to consecrate the thing that you’re using… so it’s an ongoing piece of magic!”
The Art of Exchange
She first discovered Alternative Thinking as a customer herself. A ‘vegan snacks’ sign caught her eye, and she soon found herself wandering through this beautiful shop, filled with fantastic energy and welcoming staff. When she got back home, she decided to contact the shop and ask if they would be interested in carrying her products. Since then, the Madame Phoenix product line has consistently been amongst our best sellers, always receiving rave reviews from our customers.
“I walk around in a constant state of awe and gratitude that it has such a response with people… The ability to help people transform their lives for the better - if I have that skill, why wouldn’t I use that? It’s just so humbling that people enthusiastically got on-board with my on-going ever-creative vision… I’m excited every day I get to go to work. It’s such a blessing.”
Awakening Our Inner Nature
The energy of the city can feel overwhelming, sometimes leading to a sense of disconnection from the natural world. But tuning into nature, as Mme Phoenix believes, is largely about tuning into yourself.
“Looking up, both physically and spiritually, is so important, because we tend to be nose to the grindstone; in our lives, on our phones, into our thoughts, and into our own anxieties and worries. But literally, as well as metaphorically, looking at that bigger picture is very restorative.”
In her home garden, she grows many of the herbs and flowers used in her own products. But even if you don’t have access to outdoor space, she suggests cultivating house plants indoors. In a city like Toronto that puts such an emphasis on green space, you may also have access to a nearby ravine, or even a small parkette.
“If you’re walking through the financial district, just stop and look up at the sky. Pay attention to the birds, feel the sun on your skin, take that moment to reconnect as a human mammal on the planet, regardless of the structures we’ve built... It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to take that second to recenter yourself, and to be aware of and connect with the natural world around you. It’s free, and you can do it anywhere.”