WITCHES FOUND: Bossing Up with Athena Holmes

Amy Torok
Apr 10, 2019
31 min read
Witches FoundBlack WitchcraftSonic WitchcraftQueer MagicTranscripts

"I'm always working backwards with my art. I'll create the thing and then I'll figure out later what the inspiration was or why I really made that... I guess it's a bit of like channeling."

Big Sissy Self portrait (L) – Ms Homes live shot by Sarah Anita Mcneil (R)

Ms Holmes

Ms Homes on Instagram

Big Sissy

Big Sissy on Instagram

AfroDrag in the Montreal Gazette


Music: This episode opens with Black Supremacist by Big Sissy
and closes with Gotta Get Away by Ms Holmes



[00:00:00] Athena: Everything goes back to nature and the universe and, you know, that's where we come from and that's what we should be serving and that's where the answers are.

[00:00:25] Amy: Big Sissy is a witch, is a 

[00:00:27] Athena: slut, is a bitch. From a planet called Blackstar, just left a month. You know the way, right? Big Sissy wants to play, wants to fuck, wants to lay. Any place, any hour. Come on, baby, my golden shower. Huh. It's 

[00:00:43] Amy: in my 

[00:00:44] Athena: branch. She was a, she was a, She was a, she was a, She was a black supremacist.

The world's traversed races between us. She was a black supremacist.

I'm Athena Holmes. I'm a musician and artist, creator performer, and I'm a boss. 

[00:01:18] Amy: What does boss mean to you? 

[00:01:23] Athena: I like to tell people what to do. And I'm good at it. And I get shit done. And I get shit done. I have a vision and I like to execute my visions. 

[00:01:34] Amy: Let me give an example. You looked at the Montreal drag scene.

Yeah. And you said, Why so white? Right? Yeah. And so you made Afro drag. 

[00:01:45] Athena: Yeah. Not even so much, it's so white, but more like, where are the black people? Where are they? Where are they? And so you're 

[00:01:52] Amy: not here. Held up a welcome sign and said, come on out and, and they, you built it and they came. They really did.

And it was wildly successful. It was really successful. So how, how do you make that jump from noticing a problem and just grabbing the solution and making it happen? Cause you saw a problem and you solved it. Yeah. So how, how did you conjure the fortitude to do that? The bravery to do that?

[00:02:23] Athena: I just, I don't know. I guess I just really felt, I felt something inside of me that said. You need to do this. anD I was definitely afraid because I was already overworked and I didn't know if I could take on more projects. I didn't know if people were going to care. I didn't know if I was going to be able to pay anybody.

So yeah, I guess I listened to the calling inside of me that said, you know, this is, you need to do it. And And once I guess I made that decision, I just go forward. I just start doing, taking the steps that need to be taken because I've organized a lot of events. So I just start going. I, I always feel like I do this thing where I have no idea what I'm doing, so I just do it and I'll figure it out.

I have the feeling that it had, I can't, I can either ignore this feeling and it's going to nag me or I can jump off the cliff and we'll figure it out. 

[00:03:22] Amy: So what do you say to the Missing Witches listeners out there who are like too afraid to jump off the cliff? What's your advice to them? 

[00:03:29] Athena: Close your eyes, plug your nose.

[00:03:32] Amy: Cause that's it, right? That's it. There's no guarantee that it's going to be a safe landing. You really just. 

[00:03:38] Athena: Yeah well, honestly, in the past couple of years, I've taken a bunch of risks, and every single one of them has paid off. I've never had, you know, again, this feeling that I had to do something, went ahead and did it, and failed, quote unquote.

I never had it, it was never a bad experience, it was always a huge gain. Mm hmm. 

[00:04:01] Amy: And I assume you mean not necessarily like financial, but you learned a lot or it was like a joyful experience. 

[00:04:07] Athena: Yeah. The impact on, on the people who were involved was great. I guess if people want to want to jump off the cliff and they're afraid they, they could ask for help.

They can ask for help. Just a little, yeah. This is something I did for Afrodive because I'm not very good at asking for help. And this event couldn't have been as successful had I tried to do it all on my own. 

[00:04:30] Amy: Yeah. And as a community organizer to try to do everything on your own is kind of counter to what you're trying to do, right?

[00:04:37] Athena: Yeah. I always feel like I don't want to ask people to, you know, it's too 

[00:04:40] Amy: much. I feel you. And I, I think that that's like very deep seated, um, and like, and I, I don't know what your life was like leading up to this point, but I assume that at some point you felt like you couldn't ask for help. 

[00:04:57] Athena: Yeah, definitely.

I often feel like I should not burden people by asking them or that I'm asking too much of them or as, as though they're not able to say honestly, yes or no. But I have also had a lot of bad experiences where people say yes, and then they disappear. 

[00:05:16] Amy: But they really meant no. Yeah, yeah. Okay, so here's another lesson.

Y'all just tell the truth and say no for real. Honestly, in any given situation, whether we're talking about dating or business or art or witchcraft if you don't wanna do it, say no. It's totally fine. And the person that you're saying no to will appreciate that more than you just not showing up on the day when you need them, when they need you to.

[00:05:40] Athena: So much more . Yeah, . I can't even, yeah. I. It's not necessarily their fault. It's also societal conditioning that you should please and you should say that the right thing. But I guess you could always send an email. Send an email. So many ways to say no. 

[00:06:00] Amy: So many ways to say no. And so many different ways to be a witch, which as you guys know is one of our mottos, kind of.

And Athena is like a Especially equipped to talk about this because they have like multiple performance personalities. And I think the witch in you comes out very differently. So can you talk about your different performance do you call them personas, do you call them characters? Do you? 

[00:06:27] Athena: Yeah, I would say they're personas, I suppose.

Yeah. I mean, it's definitely harnessing different kinds of energy, depending on which persona I'm embodying. 

[00:06:35] Amy: And we'll put some pictures in the show notes, so you really understand what we're talking about here. But, because it is a very visual difference. Right. Yeah. So, I'm gonna let you talk, like, big sissy versus Ms.

Holmes. Everything 

[00:06:47] Athena: else. Alright, everything else, yeah. So I've been going under the name Ms. Holmes, which is my last name, Ms. Holmes for my singer songwriter project, which is, you know, just natural instruments, guitar, I mostly write on guitar. So Ms. Holmes is, is basically just, it's just me. It's just me on stage with my guitar.

painting. I feel like when I can play guitar and sing in that kind of a space, it's, it's a lot about colors and mood and creating those with sound. And I'm sort of on a journey experiencing those colors and sounds as I'm, as I'm creating them. And You know, the energy of the audience is very intimate and powerful.

It's powerful. Especially when people really give you their attention in that kind of a space. And you can be very vulnerable. yeAh. I love I love instruments. I love, I love the guitar because I just love the texture of the instrument. Like the percussive elements of the instrument. I used to play a lot of acoustic and really kind of, beat the guitar to create like rhythmic sounds.

Now I play a lot more electric, so I just go with reverb and let those notes hang. 

[00:08:00] Amy: I did a solo acoustic act for a very long time myself, and there really is such like a vulnerability. The difference between playing with a band and where it's just you and your instrument and the audience. Oh yeah.

Like it's, it's an extremely vulnerable position, but it's also very powerful. Yeah. So I think that that's maybe a good metaphor for how you can be vulnerable and powerful at the same time. Yeah. 

[00:08:23] Athena: You know? Mm hmm. And then when you're working with a band, you're also conducting. So you get to work with another kind of fire, another kind of element that yeah, it's really interesting.

And then you get to create the link between the audience and the band and, you know, conduct it all. And, and I love bringing an audience into a song, getting them to participate in one way or another. And, and finding a nice way to like a nice entry point for them to come in so that they can feel comfortable and then ramp them up to a point where they're, they've forgotten that they, that they were even shy in the first place to sing 

[00:08:58] Amy: along.

Audience participation. Yeah, I love it. Yeah. So many people are shy to sing and that breaks my heart. Yeah. Honestly, when someone's like, Oh, I can't sing. I like. Makes people sad. Cause if you can talk, you can sing. That's my like, you might not sound amazing, but who cares? Like this is about getting your own breath 

[00:09:23] Athena: out.

Yeah. And allowing those resonations to happen inside of your body, which is extremely healing. You know, it moves things. It moves emotion. It moves. It moves your blood. It creates movement in and therefore healing. Yeah. 

[00:09:40] Amy: So full disclosure, I I'm not sure how I came upon your Instagram, maybe through Phoenix, but, um, there was like a video of you singing and I was like.

I think I immediately went to your website and tried to order the record and had a bit of a problem ordering the record and then wrote to you because I'm like a crazy person like that. Like when I hear an exceptional talent, I want To support it. Number one. And number two, like I want it in my collection.

I want it to, I mean, we're going to play some of Ms. Holmes's music and some of Big Sissy's music, but like this voice, y'all, it's like, it's the kind of voice where you hear it in an Instagram clip and then you go and try to buy the record immediately. I don't know how, how else it's jazzy, like neo jazz, neo soul.

[00:10:29] Athena: I, I describe it as roots, blues and jazz because always been, I feel like I'm inspired by the message of roots in terms of roots being, you know, it could be reggae, it could be folk, just sort of sharing a message with the people and blues because blues is kind of at the base of most popular music in the Anyways, but also rhythmically and guitar wise, I started with the blues and then jazz because I don't know, it's just something in me.

It's in my voice. It's a part of me. The tonality of jazz. So I feel like those are the three elements. That I keep going back to for my sound. 

[00:11:05] Amy: Now, Big Sissy, on the other hand, I'll let you finish that 

[00:11:09] Athena: sentence. Big Sissy is a witch because she comes from Blackstar Planet. And, Blackstar Planet is they have a society which is matriarchal.

And really works in harmony with the universe. It's not a capitalist society. It's not a hierarchical society. And they don't have any internet and they communicate in sort of a, sort of a telepathic, energetic way. You know, they do spell casting and they wouldn't call themselves witches, but that is what humans on earth.

How they call, what they call them and with her, I also like to sort of highlight parts of quote unquote femininity that people have associated with, which is or, you know, women aren't supposed to talk about, like, you know, menstruation, whereas big sissy bleeds freely on stage, calls it her life force is all about it.

And it's like body hair. So she, she has a beard. Sometimes. And also, you know, really hypersexual in a way that is just across the line from what society deems appropriate or what ideal, you know, acceptable even. Yes, please like be feminine, exert your femininity, be sexy. We want to see your body, but not that much.

So, you know, Yeah, I just try to, try to go in deeper in those areas with her. 

[00:12:37] Amy: And I mean, obviously 100 percent all of that is like witchcraft boiled down to its purest essence and then made human in the form of, is she human? Is Big Sissy human? 

[00:12:50] Athena: She's a half earthling and half a black star, but she doesn't know that.

She thinks she's just. Right. And then how do you relate to that as a biracial person? Yeah, I'm not sure. I'm, I'm, I, I'm always working backwards, you know, with my art. I'm, I'll create the thing and then I'll figure out later what the inspiration was or like, why I really made that or, you know, sure. Like, again, I guess it's a bit of like the channeling where I, I get the message and I, I deliver it and, and then I'll think about it There's not a lot of premeditated.

Thought or cognitive thought that goes into these ideas, these songs, these shows. 

[00:13:33] Amy: Like the spirit creates the art and then the human comes and does the editing. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:13:37] Athena: That's how it is. You 

[00:13:39] Amy: got it. Because at a certain point, you know, the spirit might get a little awful, a little half cocked.

[00:13:49] Athena: I'd like to, I'd like to incorporate more actual magic and like spirit. into the live performances, but, and I've done a little bit, but I just want to be careful because you have, you must be, and there's a lot of people in that room and there's a lot of energy and the venues themselves have a lot of energy and it's you have to be very careful.

Big sissy came out of the desire to be to not have to make, hit the right notes, sound nice, always play the right notes. thing say the right thing be who I thought the audience wanted me to be on stage and to give myself permission to just say, fuck it. Again, 

[00:14:41] Amy: hello, witchy, hello, witchy, giving yourself permission to say, fuck it.

It's like the wittiest thing you can do. 

[00:14:46] Athena: Carry on. Yeah, that's it. Cause I w you know, I would see people on stage doing things that made me really uncomfortable. In a 

[00:14:54] Amy: good way or in a bad way? Well, 

[00:14:56] Athena: I was just uncomfortable. I don't even know. I would be like, Oh, they're going on too long. Or you know, that wasn't, I shouldn't have ended it like that.

Or why are they still going, talking or, Oh my God, what are they? Oh my God, they're naked now. Like, ah, all these, lots of different things that people were doing that made me uncomfortable. And I was thinking that's not the right way to do this. So then I had to say to ask myself, like, what is your problem?

Why do you have a problem with this? Why is this making you uncomfortable? Maybe you should try, you know, if they're giving themselves permission to do something like this. Maybe you should give yourself permission to do something that you think is not the right thing to be 

[00:15:40] Amy: doing on stage. Okay, so I have two things to say about this.

Number one is that the first thing you did when you reacted to something that someone else was doing was check in with yourself. And you were like, why am I experiencing these feelings? A lot of people skip that, I think. Well, and don't take the time to even ask themselves why it made them uncomfortable.

Now, the second thing is that. You said it made me uncomfortable, and I was like Big Sissy is like the most disquieting, like, one of, you know, freaky in the best way possible, you know, I'll describe the last Big Sissy show that I saw where it was like I assume it was fake, but you know, there was fake menstrual blood involved, you know, again, nudity, the kinds of things that you were talking about were making you uncomfortable, food, like a weird, like food and sex and blood.

It was like all like. So compelling and amazing because, you know, we're punk, we're punks at heart. Well, me and big sissy, anyway, we're punks at heart. And I was like this, so it, it, it's incredible to me that that came out of your like, discomfort at seeing someone else because you took you next level, 

[00:16:46] Athena: that shit.

Right. Oh, thanks. I think I have so much further to take it actually. Well, yeah, there are many levels after next. 

[00:16:52] Amy: So can you describe like,

[00:17:01] Athena: Do you mean what, just what she looks like? 

[00:17:04] Amy: Well, you kind of already talked about what she sounds like, but like maybe about the lyrical differences and also, yeah, the physical aesthetic and why you, I mean, there's so many ways to be, to Ugly was the word that you used. So I'll use that word. You know, upsetting to society.

So you could have gone anyway. You could have been Gigi Allen. You could have, you know, I mean, I'm not suggesting it, but instead you went to this like very hyper feminine, but also like hella witchy, hella dark, hella powerful, but also ultra feminine in that kind of drag way. Yeah. So can you talk a bit about.


[00:17:48] Athena: well, another way that sort of, I mean, I had that discomfort, right. And I wanted to check in with that, but I also just started writing songs. Well, I had started producing electronic music and I didn't have an, a way to perform those songs because it didn't fit with my other project. So, I sort of created Big Sissy and at first I wasn't exploring those ugly things or discomfort.

I was just doing the songs, but as the songs started to get more interesting, like singing about menstruation and singing about you know, sexual favors or singing about anal sex and, and things that you want then that started to create more of a narrative. And being somebody who was assigned female at birth, but never felt comfortable in that role.

I think with Big Sissy, I'm sort of going, Oh, you want me to be feminine? You know, because I'm, I'm pretty. You think I'm pretty. I'm, I'm, I'm thin. You want me to exaggerate these Parts of myself that you claim are a value of 

[00:18:55] Amy: worth especially in the music business in this industry. 

[00:18:58] Athena: Yeah, there you go So sure, I'll do that, but I'm gonna do it at a level that's gonna make you uncomfortable Where you're like, that's it's not quite what we had in mind

[00:19:11] Amy: Oh, yeah. Okay. The long hair is going to be green and the lipstick is going to be black. 

[00:19:16] Athena: Yeah. Everything just kind of came piece by piece. Honestly. It wasn't super premeditated. I had a gig last minute and I didn't have the hair for it. So they were paying me well. I went out and got a wig and it happened to be green.

[00:19:30] Amy: But green is like, it's like an upsetting hair color, right? Like, it's like, you know, it's not again, I'm using air quotes. It's not pretty. It's not if you're going to dye your hair crazy, my hair is lavender. It's very pretty. Yeah. You know, so you can be crazy and still pretty, but like. Sissy is like, but it just happened like that.

It just happened like that. You chose a wig. You like to 

[00:19:52] Athena: happen to be green Yeah, I don't remember that. I I didn't necessarily want a green wig. I just it called to me 

[00:20:00] Amy: And you've run with it, 

[00:20:01] Athena: oh, yeah now it's her signature color never going back Yeah, and 

[00:20:05] Amy: it's gender neutral, you know, it's not pink, it's not blue, it's like, yeah, and also it's like of the earth, like Big Sissy is so fake in terms of like plastic hair and like, yeah, yeah, yeah.

But now we like have this, anyway, we could go on and on about the poetry of Big Sissy's look. We can if you want to. But I saw, I think it was a YouTube clip of a Big Sissy show where you were going around the Crowd trying to get them to chant reparations. 

[00:20:35] Athena: Oh yeah. That was a good show. . 


[00:20:37] Amy: Do you wanna talk about like, 'cause you talked a lot about big sissy fucking with gender.

Sure. But how does Big Sissy fuck with everything else? 

[00:20:44] Athena: Yeah. Well, I mean, I just love to have a performance art element of the show and a way of making people uncomfortable. Making them think, making myself uncomfortable, talking about things that are on my mind, things that are maybe bothering me. Big Sissy has now developed this element where she's, you know, a black supremacist.

And so we did this show where I had a, a white person come on stage and I gave them a hat and I asked them to, Take this hat to their people and ask them to give as generously as black people have always given to them. And so they did that. And yeah, I walked around the whole space and had everyone saying reparations as a big chant.

And it was very powerful. It was powerful. And, you know, I got money. I needed, I needed cab fare that night and I got it. It works. It does work. 

[00:21:43] Amy: When you scream reparation in people's faces, they tend to give you a couple extra coins. 

[00:21:48] Athena: Yeah. And I think it's important that, you know, it's, there's the white person who is going around with the hat, you know, Making, making that happen.

And also because white people just don't do enough. They're just not doing enough. You know, always asking, what can I do? You know, it's been laid out. We, we talk about it daily. All the information is out there. So if you really want to know, you really want to do something, I'm giving you an opportunity at this show to, to create a positive action and you know, be the ally that you claim to be even just for this one night.

And, and I'm really curious as to like what kind of an effect that has on. People and especially like say on the person who who had to pass the hat that night like how did they feel when they? Went home. What did they think about it? How are they checking in with the discomfort that they had in that evening because she was uncomfortable.

[00:22:46] Amy: Oh This is somebody you yanked out of the audience. This wasn't like someone. Yes 

[00:22:50] Athena: No wasn't performance. Not at all. No, I really got somebody to come out of the audience good and And yeah, I shouldn't have to contend with that. 

[00:23:00] Amy: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Cause when you go to a big sissy show, you know, we were talking about this earlier, like my personal motto, I'm in my forties now.

And my personal motto is if you don't like my apples, don't shake my tree. So if you're going to be upset by having to confront your own racism as a white person, like skip big sissy show or maybe like double go double go and get as comfortable as uncomfortable as you can. And really. Yeah. Yeah. I think putting your money where your mouth is, is a big one.

In this world where there really is no excuse anymore. You were saying like people like, how do I help Google? How do I help? It's really, and don't take a woman of color's time to explain what you could have done with a Google search books. Like Katrice Jackson Layla Assad just did her project and these are all super accessible and already written and free.

And Layla's project is free. 

[00:23:56] Athena: Or Layla's project is by donation. You can 

[00:23:58] Amy: choose to donate as well. So you have to buy them, buy them, send her your money. I mean, Layla, like the fact that she. Took this on and it's still taking it on and it's doing like live Instagram, like all the time and really taking it on.

I mean, she's putting her money where her mouth is for sure because she's just wanting to get the message out. Like giving up money is the same as paying in a sense. Right. You know, I 

[00:24:23] Athena: think that's one of the things that. I think that what Leila Fassad is doing is the same thing. She must have had a feeling inside, a calling inside, was afraid to do it.

Maybe it was too afraid for many years and then just decided I'm going to make this investment and it's paying off big time. Yeah. It's paying off. It's having a huge, it's having a global impact. 

[00:24:44] Amy: hoW do you navigate because you're, you're racially charged as a performer, as a, as a person. 

[00:24:53] Athena: I mean, we're Facebook friends.

I'm racialized. You 

[00:24:57] Amy: are a racialized and, and do you find that that's polarizing for people? Because again, like on Facebook, you know, you're, you're very loud and proud about black excellence and reparations. And do you find that hard to navigate? Do you get. A lot 

[00:25:11] Athena: of, well, Facebook is made in such a way that it will promote posts that are controversial.

Hmm. That's the way that the algorithms 

[00:25:21] Amy: work. 'cause getting a lot of 

[00:25:21] Athena: reactions, whether Yeah. Yeah. You, you'll notice that I mean, even sometimes you, if you post something that might upset somebody. They'll see that, but they won't see any of your other posts, so social media is its own thing. But I don't know.

It's been a whole journey for me because my, my mom is white and I was raised by her and her family and always being the only person of color. Oh, really? family and you know, so, and always being told that, you know, you're not different and we love you. But knowing that I am different you go to school in elementary school and you get called the N word and you're like, well, mom, like what's exactly.

So I've been on a whole journey. I've been on a whole journey the past couple of years learning about. Learning about race, learning about blackness, learning about white supremacy. And what was your question? My 

[00:26:22] Amy: question was like because you're, you're pretty vocal about your politics, let's say like, do you get backlash if you do?

How do you deal with it? Do you care? I mean, I assume it's the same. inside you that causes you to do your projects that causes you to say what you're going to say. So do you care how people react? 

[00:26:43] Athena: I'm affected by people, how people react. It doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to, it's going to change the way I'm going to speak about things or I don't know.

It, it, it affects me for sure because people get really mad or people can be really indifferent or people can just lie to your face. And that's, as a Scorpio, probably the thing that I, I have the least tolerance for, so I've been learning a lot about, I've been learning about picking my battles and that's.

That's something that I'll probably be learning for a long time. 

[00:27:24] Amy: Because there are so many battles yet to be fought. Yes. Getting down to like a more what's the word? Conventional idea of witchcraft. I think you told me that when you were younger you sort of dabbled a little bit in this world of Wicca.

How did you come upon it? How did that happen? 

[00:27:44] Athena: Well, definitely, I think being from BC, like I'm from Victoria being around nature, I always felt the power of nature. And Victoria has a lot of spirits probably because of, you know, the genocide of the indigenous people as well as just other elements in terms of its, its geography that, that leads it to having a very charged feeling.

So. You know, that was always around me. And there was, there's a lot of Wicca practicers, practicers, practitioners in Victoria as well. So, there was like a curiosity, of course. I think. I'm sure that watching the craft was one of the main things at an early age. All people of a certain age. Huh.

That got me inspired, especially because they had one black girl in it, so you're like, wow, okay. Can we share 

[00:28:36] Amy: that Rachel True right now? Because like, she was basically left out of the reunion, and then people were like, what? And there was like a Essentially like an online campaign and it makes no sense.

[00:28:48] Athena: It makes no sense at all. Was she left out or she chose to opt out? No, no, 

[00:28:51] Amy: she, they like didn't invite her. And so of course we're like, 

[00:28:55] Athena: come on. That's garbage. 100 percent garbage. She's, there's only four people in the movie. 

[00:29:01] Amy: Right? Anyway, there was a big stink and she's like been invited now to like whatever con.


[00:29:07] Athena: I hope they're paying her twice as much. 

[00:29:09] Amy: I hope they're paying her three times as much because that is some baloney. Yeah, that's bullshit. Yeah. And so, okay. Thank you, Rachel True for inspiring all of us always and continuing to inspire us and for giving so many of us like a jumping off point, like a pop culture reference that we could relate to as young.

People, right? You know, there was like witches of Eastwick, but that's like Cher. Like, yeah, we'll never be Cher. And then you just, I mean, nature again, like you say, living in BC, like if you're not awed by nature in BC, then you're definitely not a witch. 

[00:29:49] Athena: Just feeling this connection, I guess, to nature and the power and feeling a lot of energy around there.

And also just needing it, needing it, going through hard times like as a young person and having nature be there to really comfort you and, and give you things that you're not getting in, in society or in, in life from people. 

[00:30:11] Amy: CaN you get into that a little bit more? How does, how does nature speak to you?

And what does it, what does it give you? 

[00:30:17] Athena: Well, I mean, it's really our mother. You know, it just, it's comforting, it's creative she listens to you, um, I'm, I just even get emotional because I'm just so grateful for having had access to nature in that way. When I was younger and have, and because I don't know, I just, I, I don't even know if I would be here if I didn't have that access when I was younger.

[00:30:59] Amy: So in the midst of you not belonging, you, there was a place where you belonged, like Kam Tsel Mo. You belonged with your mother being nature. Yeah. Yeah. Because when we're around people we're like noticing our differences and when you're in nature, it's just the oneness really She held you in her arms.

[00:31:20] Athena: She really held me. Yeah, and she listened and she had things to share and so much inspiration and just always being You could just I was nice that I could always go there. I always had somewhere I could go and feel safe and feel See beauty and see diversity, you know, and and just the vibrations like being near the water.

Just very healing and comforting 

[00:31:49] Amy: and the city can be very alienating and isolating the skyscrapers and the concrete and 

[00:31:58] Athena: the yeah, I mean, Victoria doesn't really have, I mean, now, now they, there's so much development, but yeah, no, there's also, this is like this really strange kind of undercurrent of violence in Victoria.

It's a lot of violence and, and yeah, I definitely experienced a lot of violence as a, as a young person in Victoria. And then also, you know, the violence of just having to conform in terms of your gender and having to sort of try to conform or not stand out as much as you try not to stand out as a person of color in these white spaces.

And then also to be performing your gender in this particular way, it was, it was just a hard time. So having. Access to nature, like I said, it's like, really just helped me survive. So 

[00:32:50] Amy: how do you do that in the city? 

[00:32:53] Athena: wEll, I'm in a much different place now in my life but I'm definitely nature deprived.

You need help. Yeah, I really do. I really do. Yeah. Yeah, in the city, no, it's, you can't, I mean, I guess in my own home, in my own space, sort of, when I do spells, I have a way of, of being able to connect to the, the greater vibrations of the universe and nature. And that's probably the most grounding and connecting that I can, that I feel 

[00:33:26] Amy: comfortable expanding on your spell work a little bit?

Like how, like what do you do? Spell work. I mean, it's so vast, could be anything, so what's your modality? 

[00:33:37] Athena: Mostly candle magic is what I do. We live 

[00:33:40] Amy: for candle magic. So many of us are like, either because we like to burn things or we really, you know, yeah. So go on, go on. 

[00:33:49] Athena: yEah, I don't know that's candle magic.

Like do you do color correspondence? Color correspondence, yeah. And then well, I'll integrate different herbs and crystals. And I also, like, the, recently I've been using my bath, like, connecting it with the spells. So, I'll either, like, cleanse myself before I perform the ritual, as a, as a part of the ritual, or after to sort of, I guess absorb other elements that are a part of the ritual.

yEah, very powerful. I like that a lot. 

[00:34:29] Amy: We live for a ritual bath. And do you, do you think that these spells like help you to conjure the bravery that your work requires? 

[00:34:38] Athena: Yeah, I'm sure that they do. I think I've been using them more in like lately as a way of. Cleansing, like spiritual cleansing, because I feel that not being connected to nature and being so much in the city has been very toxic and been having like a very sort of like, feeling like a metallic sensation like, all over my being.

So I've been using it as a way of cleansing and rebalancing myself. And yeah, so if I'm, if I'm balanced and cleansed, then I can access my bravery, that's for sure. 

[00:35:14] Amy: Did everybody hear that? If you're balanced and cleansed, you can access your bravery. I love the idea of accessing bravery. That it's not something that you have or you don't, but that you definitely have it, and it's just a matter of gaining access to it inside of yourself.

True. I love that. 

[00:35:31] Athena: Because you are We, you know, we are, from, of the universe, we are divine beings it's not about the individual you, it's just about accessing that deeper That deeper unity connection and ancient knowledge, right? Other ways. I'm actually going to be doing my first Drag King performance later this month, which is, I'm feeling anxious about it.

[00:36:03] Amy: Yeah. Do you have your number in your head already? Do you know 

[00:36:07] Athena: what you're going to do? Yeah. That's one of the reasons I'm nervous is because With Big Sissy or any performance I do, I always sing live, but for this number, I'm going to be lip syncing. Oh, 

[00:36:17] Amy: so your moves have to be on point. If you're not singing live, then you have to bring it in other 

[00:36:21] Athena: ways.

Right. Yeah. Yeah. It's a funny song though, because there's also a lot of dialogue with just a little bit of singing. So I, yeah, it's a whole nother character to be accessing and to be working more in like a clown kind of way. But it's also. I realize that I'm nervous about it because of doing quote unquote boy drag.

And it's just sort of a dysmorphic kind of situation. Like what if I, you know, this is me in my, you know, masculine sort of what you think you would look like as a man, I guess. Or like a cis man or whatever. And then what if you don't look? Man enough. I don't know. It's a, it's a whole thing that I realize is playing into the anxiety about the performance that I thought was just performance anxiety, but it's another level like identity stuff, 

[00:37:16] Amy: right?

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You're navigating your own gender. Yeah. In a way that most people don't bother to even consider, let alone. You know, 

[00:37:24] Athena: contend with or acknowledge or maybe they're, maybe they're doing it internally without checking. 

[00:37:29] Amy: Yeah. So, again, what, what made you. Choose how you identify yourself just in terms of the vocabulary that you use.

Obviously you don't choose who you are, but you choose the vocabulary. 

[00:37:44] Athena: Well, actually our vocabulary is incredibly limited when it comes to genders. So I'm just going, I'm just trying things on with what I have to work with, to be honest with you. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was, for lack of a better term, I identified as male until I was 13.

And then went through puberty and had to, or, you know, didn't really have an option. It was like, you can Okay, now you have to be a girl because you're a girl or whatever. Because that's when 

[00:38:18] Amy: they start really separating the bleeders from the non bleeders and so on. There you go. Yeah. 

[00:38:23] Athena: And also, you know, you want to fit in and you want to have friends and not be a weirdo.

More of a weirdo. Yeah. So then I performed like that for a while. And then you know, just. It's just that forever internal nagging feeling that, like, this is a lie this is a performance, something's not right, like, I'm not being my true self, and then 

[00:38:51] Amy: It's performative in your daily life as opposed to when you're on stage, which is exhausting, I assume.

Like the difference of being performative when you're walking down the street versus when you're doing an actual performance on a stage. Yes. Which I imagine is 

[00:39:05] Athena: exhausting. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So then, you know, I just, there's not a lot of language, but I just learned things about you know, gender and, and just chose they as a pronoun because that's what I have to work with.

That's pretty much it. Yeah. I don't 

[00:39:22] Amy: think, I was hoping Z was going to catch on. It's like, yeah. And it just rolls off the tongue. So it's like, I feel that like being able to. move between genders, uhhuh in the way that you're preparing to do with your other side of the binary of the drag king performance.

Yeah, I feel this is witchcraft. It's like shape 

[00:39:43] Athena: shifting. Really. Exactly. Honestly, like even as big sissy, the thing that, well maybe, maybe it will cease to amaze me one day, but has still surprises me all the time, is that people don't know that it's me, , I invited somebody to the play. They came, they saw the play.

After the play I went upstairs and I said, Oh, you made it! I'm so glad you came, that's great. And in that moment They realized it was me. And they told me that they watched the whole play thinking that, Oh, maybe Athena was directing or maybe Athena was doing lighting. Athena's apparently not performing in this show.

And mind you, there's only two people on stage. They watched the entire show. You invited 

[00:40:25] Amy: this person. This was not a coincidence that they were there. 

[00:40:28] Athena: And they they didn't know it was me. And I guess, you know, to some people who maybe really think within the binary and they would think that, you know, someone who was assigned female and then is dressing in femme drag, it wouldn't be hard to distinguish them, but people don't, they don't realize it really is shape shifting and so actually this conversation that we're having has me thinking that I, I should perform a ritual to help me access this other part of myself or this other character that I'm about to move into for this King performance because another thing about the King drag that has been I've been hesitant to do is that a lot of the time the represent, the male representation that I see in King drag is really like this this really sexy guy and that's not, I don't want to bring this pompous.

Masculine bro. Mhm. And even with this performance, it's initially, I had decided I was going to be like a janitor, a creepy janitor. That would be the Again, like 

[00:41:37] Amy: you, your aim is to disquiet instead of to comfort, and I like that about you, and I always will, carry on. 

[00:41:45] Athena: So this guy's not a janitor, this guy's a garbage man, and he's he's actually kind of quite charming.

He's kind of um, he's dirty, but he has a heart of gold. In terms of like, femme drag. I've only really felt like I wanted to be big sissy, but when it comes to this king drag, I feel like there's a lot of different characters that I want to explore. So that's interesting. So you think 

[00:42:10] Amy: that this is going to be something you'll keep doing?

[00:42:12] Athena: Maybe, yeah, probably. 

[00:42:14] Amy: We'll see how it goes. Thank you so much, Athena. It's been an amazing pleasure talking to you. Thanks for having 

[00:42:22] Athena: me. What a surprise, I was scared at first, I was worrying that my love

When I'm doing fine on my own, oh, checking out the unknown. It seemed, before, once upon a dream. So it couldn't have been more right. The very first night, oh.

Life without love, can be so wrong, what am I 

[00:43:23] Amy: to do? Feeling myself 

[00:43:27] Athena: under your spell Go with the 

[00:43:32] Amy: flow Gotta get away, 

[00:43:36] Athena: ooh Time to step back Gotta get away, ooh To a primitive place Gotta get away Oh, loving on 

[00:43:53] Amy: my own

Thanks for listening to The Missing Witches podcast. Be sure to come back Sunday when we'll hear the story of another amazing Wiccan witch, Doreen Valiente. In the meantime, hit us up at Missingwitches@gmail.com or on social media at Missing Witches. Blessed be.

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