By 2011, I had finished grad school and moved to Toronto. I was working on random writing & gallery gigs and applying for jobs and residencies all over. My friend Sophie Le Phat Ho was editing an issue of No More Potlucks on the topic of magic. She asked me if I knew anything abt magic & I said no. A few minutes later I said, wait a second, I’m on this RadHerb listserv and a person named Dori Midnight posted something abt a healing salve she makes for people post top-surgery. And she talks abt magic in a really exciting way. And Sophie said, ok will you interview her?

I was traveling to Boston fairly often for a contract and Dori—who I had never met before but answered my email anyway—had just moved from the Bay to rural Mass, so we were able to meet in person. That encounter made a huge impression on me. I didn’t have a working definition of magic at the time or even know if I cared, and I can’t imagine a better person to have gently & vividly explained to me how magic can be used, is used, in healing practices like hers, to help people recover from structural & intergenerational trauma & to step more fully into their roles in community

That interview rocked my world & I love that it’s still out there (link in bio!). It sparked my relationship w my plantcestor mugwort & reverberated into a walking tour & sound art project presented by Issue Project Room in Brooklyn (pictured here). It also represents the moment where I dove back into magic after what I experienced as the dogmatic atheism of academic art practice. As I began to rediscover my own desire & capacity for ritual & spirituality in how I approached my relationship with plants, Dori became an important mentor. The grounding meditation I begin all my client sessions with still bares traces of Dori’s own grounding meditation. Eventually Dori told me about the Blue Otter School, and I could alllllmost say the rest is hxstory…..

Photo from my mugwort project, Mongrels (2011) by Talia Shipman and CART NY