WITCHES FOUND: Radical Compassion With NOVA

"Imagine yourself looking at a movie, but you're the movie."

Amy Torok
Apr 3, 2019
34 min read
Witches FoundEmbodied MagicFeminist MagicTranscripts

In this episode, Amy and nursing student and witch, Nova, attempt to smash the hierarchies of health with their discussion of witchcraft, mental and physical health, and the notion of Radical Compassion.

CW TW in this conversation, the subject of suicide does come up.

Resources are provided for those who are struggling.

NB: This episode was originally published in 2019. We are going back and posting our early episodes here now in an effort to make our work more accessible. The ideas in these episodes evolved into our two books: Missing Witches: Reclaiming True Histories of Feminist Knowledge and New Moon Magic: 13 Anti-Capitalist Tools For Resistance and Re-Enchantment, and continue to evolve in our coven conversations and zine.

New Moon Magic Book:

Missing Witches Book:

Nova and her brother Jeremy

Resources + Works Cited




Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English PDF




Nova’s mental health blog is under re-construction but we’ll add that link when it’s ready!

Creative Growth Art Center

Creative Growth On Facebook

Drag Syndrome

Drag Syndrome on Instagram

Drag Syndrome on Facebook



[00:00:00] Amy: Warning. In this discussion of mental health with Nova, the subject of suicide does come up. If you are struggling, please visit Crisis Service Canada online or call their hotline at 1 833 456 4566. In Quebec, at 1 866 4566. Appel. Cesse 1 866 277 3553. I know a lot of our listeners live in the U. S., so for you, the Lifeline Network is available 24 7 across the U.S. at 1 800 273 8255, or check out their website for options for the hard of hearing, a Spanish language hotline number, and a Veterans Crisis Line. Or you can check out our Instagram or the show notes for this episode to get more resources. You are loved. Blessed Bee, 

You must be a witch. 

So I'm here with Nova, who is a Montreal witch, and we started talking because I, she posted online that she was reading one of my favorite books, which is which is Midwives and Nurses by Barbara, Aaron Reich, and Dere. English. There is a PDF version, and so I'm gonna put it in the show notes for this because I want everyone to read it, but I also would suggest that you purchase the book. It's short, it's very inexpensive, and then you get all the little pictures and stuff. Anyway, so you probably gathered from the title of the book, which is Midwives and Nurses, what the book is about.

And Nova herself is a nursing student. Yeah. So I thought that she would be particularly capable to talk to us about the relationship between being a witch and being a nurse. So if you want to start by telling us, like, how, what kind of witch are you at the risk of essentialism? Like, how do you describe your craft or your belief?

[00:01:53] Nova: Pretty eclectic. I'm, I consider myself a baby witch, even though I've been like really into this for like years. You know, it's just a process of like a lot of learning and figuring out what works for me, what doesn't. I think a lot of things that, like, I find really interesting are, you know, things that are related to healing.

Which I guess kind of makes sense because, you know, the whole, like, nursing assistant thing. Yeah, so, I, I'm definitely going, like, in the direction, kind of, Green witch kind of like healer type thing. So, 

[00:02:23] Amy: and so how does, I mean, you're in, you're in practical nursing school, like a Western, you know, hospitals, what we think of as like a quote unquote, you know, regular nurse.

So how does being a witch impact your day to day as a nurse? 

[00:02:38] Nova: Well, I find that it helps me take a really holistic approach when I'm looking at my patients, which, like, you're supposed to have anyways, that's one of the first things they teach us, is like, you know, be respectful of people's cultures, be respectful of, like, their needs The, the model we use in nursing actually is called the Virginia Henderson 14 needs and basically that was a nurse who came up with How to approach your patient, so I don't remember them all off the top of my head But it's basically like the need to breathe, the need to eat, the need to sleep, the need for play, the need for Religion or spirituality, whatever that is for you.

So these 

[00:03:19] Amy: needs aren't just the very practical like she starts with the Yeah. 

[00:03:22] Nova: Air. Exactly. So you have, like, the, the different Obviously, like, a person's need to breathe is their most important need. If they're not breathing, they're not doing much else, right? But, you know, the need to feel accomplished is in there as well.

You know, so, so all things like that are really important when you're taking care of a patient. Because as it's kind of explained in the book Nurses and doctors are very different, like, very different. Doctors come in, they look at you, they write a prescription, and then they leave. Like, they might do, like, you know, check your lungs a little bit, but basically the nurses do.

We are the ones who bathe the patients. Now we also have orderlies who help with that. But still, like, especially as a nursing assistant and not like an actual, well, I don't want to say not an actual nurse. We're still nurses. We do a lot of that. We do a lot of like the basic patient care and.

You know, we're the ones who have to listen to them. Not have to, but want to listen to them. Who allow them to express themselves. And we're, you know, we kind of have a role of like, caregiver. In general, like, kind of like, in the book it even says nurses at first were kind of looked at as like glorified mothers, sort of thing, just with some medical training.

And that's kind of what we are, because we're there to listen to you, we're there to take care of you, we're there to Make sure your needs are being met and how that kind of ties in with like my my my My practice I guess is that for me. I'm all about healing. I'm all about wanting to take care of people and a huge part of my spirituality is you know connecting with nature and just Using natural tools to help us be our best selves.

So if you look at Like different medical things that are more recent, we are going back to the basis of using natural things. Like now, in wound dressings, we use honey, which is has healing properties and helps heal it a little bit better. I know personally myself, I'm a vegan, and I don't personally use honey, but I mean, I still think it's a really great thing that, you know, we're using natural resources in medicine.

We also use silver in dressings, because that helps promote wound healing as well, and again, that's something that's very natural, you know, it's not lab made, and I think that's really great. So, 

[00:05:56] Amy: Do you, you see nature itself as being A 

[00:05:59] Nova: healer. Yeah, absolutely. Like, for myself especially, because I do have mental health issues and that also plays a huge part in my practice.

My, the thing that makes my soul feel at home is being in nature. Like, at my foster parents place, they have a little pond in the backyard and there's a rock just big enough for me to sit on in the stream and it's surrounded by flowers and bushes and it's just so Magical, that's the only way I can explain it.

And We 

[00:06:30] Amy: love that word around here. So, yeah, 


[00:06:33] Nova: good. And yeah, it's really just like a rock big enough for me to sit cross legged on. And I mean, I'm really tiny, so like your average person probably couldn't do that. Can I see your 

[00:06:41] Amy: Instagram handle? 

[00:06:43] Nova: Yeah it's TinyMTL is like my personal one, and then like my witchy one is Nova Medusa.

But yeah, TinyMTL actually came from one of my friends who used to call me Tiny. anD then MontrealMTL, you know. It's obvious. 

[00:06:58] Amy: But yeah. And so I know you, you have a couple of things going on in terms of your your Social media presence. Yeah, you just mentioned your Instagrams, but you also do a blog.

You mentioned your mental health Yeah, will you do a blog about that? Can you talk about that 

[00:07:11] Nova: a bit? Yeah for sure. I I'm really not as active as I should be just because again mental But I started a blog on borderline personality disorder because that's what I have and I've been working on myself since I was 15 I'm 26.

So that's like a lot of time to deal with this stuff and you know Uh, make progress. So I'm considered what's what psychiatrists consider highly functional. Or high functioning. So, I have a job, I have stable relationships, I'm capable of being a quote unquote functioning member of society. Um, so, like, everyday people might not see.

My personality disorder, like they don't know my struggles. And it's really easy to kind of dismiss, like, oh no, you're fine. You don't look sick. Yeah, exactly. That's my favorite. You don't look sick. Yeah. Like, okay, you 

[00:08:07] Amy: don't look crazy. You're beautiful. You couldn't 

[00:08:10] Nova: possibly be Yeah. But you're, you're so functional and you're so nice and you know, like everybody loves you.

Like, okay, yeah. That doesn't change the fact that like, I struggle. Mm-Hmm. , you know, 

[00:08:19] Amy: and, and, and a lot of us don't complain either. 

[00:08:22] Nova: Exactly. Like I'm the type of person who. Up until this year, I have, has always pushed myself. Like when I was in school, I was working full time, school full time. And at some point I was a primary caregiver for my grandfather who had terminal cancer.

So I'm the type of person who is always doing something. Yeah, exactly. You know? So a lot of people see that and they're like, Oh, there's no way you have mental health issues. And I'm like, you don't. Know what I go through when I unclose doors. And 

[00:08:47] Amy: it's funny because oftentimes that push comes from those feelings of worthlessness.

Exactly, you 

[00:08:51] Nova: know, and it's like, that's it. And it's just the type of life I've had is always been chaos. So I thrive in chaos. I know. How to handle these situations. You put me in a stressful situation. No problem. I got this, you know, you give me like a normal problem. Like, Oh, you have to write this essay by this date.

I'm like, okay, it's due in two hours. Now I can write it, you know, like stuff like that. Like, it's not great, but 

[00:09:18] Amy: so how has being a witch Informed your, your recovery, recovery is the wrong word. 

[00:09:24] Nova: Yeah, no, recovery is a good word. I like to, I like to put it as that because I will always have borderline personality disorder, but you recover from the symptoms.

Right, you know, so it's, um, a lot of what it is, is you have to look at yourself introspectively. You have to remove yourself from the situation a lot so equanimity, where you are looking at it from an outside perspective. Like, you kind of imagine yourself looking at a movie, but you're the movie. And so things like meditation.

Great for that. Things like reading tarot, you know, it gives you kind of like a perspective that you wouldn't have thought of. Get into that please. So I started reading tarot a couple years ago. I still refer to resources, like one of my favourites is online, Bitty Tarot. Okay. Really, really enjoy her stuff.

And she has like really good descriptions I find of things and she really gets into it. I also have a couple books on tarot that I still reference and when I'm reading, I like to look at a bunch of different references to get like a really whole idea of what that card means and then compare it to how I feel about that card.

So, I practice readings with my friends sometimes and mostly I do it for myself and I do it when I'm feeling like, okay, I, there's something wrong. There's something going on. There's something I'm not seeing. I'm going to consult the tarot instead of 

[00:10:47] Amy: just ruminating. Yeah, 

[00:10:49] Nova: exactly. So I consult my tarot.

And then a lot of times I'm like, Oh, right. Okay. I knew that, you know, like, but it's just kind of like, they're calling you out. That's how I see the tarot. The tarot, they're just there to call you up, you know, give you guidance, like, kind of like be like, Hey, like you're heading in this direction when you should be heading in this direction.

Especially when it comes to mental health, like, maybe you're being too passive. Maybe you're being too active, you know, maybe you need to take a step back and really just like be with yourself, you know, things like that. So, that comes into play a lot. Also I love working with candle magic.

Candle magic is my favorite because I have always loved candles, even like when I was a kid and I love burning things. So, you know, the idea. The idea of, let's say, when I want to get rid of negative feelings, write them on a paper, burn them, they're gone. I mean, it's a little more complicated than that, but, you know, just to 

[00:11:52] Amy: Symbolically, it helps.

I mean, even in getting back to medicine, I mean, we know that placebos work. Doctors don't know why placebos work. Yeah. But they know that they work pretty well. They really do. 

[00:12:07] Nova: Well, not nothing, obviously. Yeah, but it's the power of the mind, right? Which I think witchcraft really ties into. Because it's all about your intentions.

It's all about your power within. Right? And using the energies that surround you to kind of, how can I say this? Like, manifest things, right? So, yeah, so that's pretty much like how that kind of like ties in for me. I do a lot of Intention setting I've started to kind of like, meddle with kitchen, kitchen witchery.

So like, if I'm making myself a tea, when I'm stirring it, I'll set an intention. Like, okay, this tea is to help clear my mind. Or I have digestive issues, I'll make like a mint tea, because that's supposed to help with that. And then set the intention of, okay, this is to help heal my digestive issues, or things 

[00:12:58] Amy: like that.

So again, we're finding like, it's the combination of these two things. Because we know that mint has properties that will settle a stomach and we know that's setting intention. So we, we combine what's going on in our own heads with what really is practically true in the real world. And that's where we find witchcraft 

[00:13:14] Nova: off.

Yeah, exactly. Like for me, what witchcraft is, is the science we haven't necessarily discovered yet. And actually there's a quote from, which is midwives and I have I wrote it down here. It says, she relied on her senses rather than on faith or doctrine. She believed in trial and error, cause and effect.

And that sounds like science. Exactly. So the whole thing is in the book, they're talking about how, uh, at first, medicine was a very religious thing. Like it wasn't, there was no scientific. base. There was no anything and people were often considered witches if they were healers. So if they were using natural medicines and things like that, because, Oh, well, our religious doctors who are men, you know, they, they can't figure it out.

So obviously what you're doing is witchcraft. And then people were hunted for that. Yeah, you know, and it's also it was very much a class thing as well Mm hmm. So that was a huge theme in the book as well that I really related to because It's the upper white middle class men and we have to remember this book was written in the 70s.


[00:14:21] Amy: So we're talking about which is midwives and nurses again if you're 

[00:14:24] Nova: yeah so like the fact that The fact that this was written in the 70s and there are still themes that are relevant today is kind of mind boggling. I mean, the 

[00:14:34] Amy: themes that they bring up from the, like, the Malificus, Malus Maleficarum.

I always trip over that. Malus Maleficarum. You know, which was like the, the witch hunter's bible. Yeah, they had it like Still things in there, you know, that, that we're still contending with. 

[00:14:50] Nova: Yeah, it's absurd. It's just you know, and like they, they mentioned in the book that like midwives and doulas, you know, they were outlawed at one point.

Because they, the reason they give in the book, which I find extremely relevant, is that lay people, so to speak, as they're referred to in the book, or people who are of working class, they were spending millions of dollars a year on doulas and midwives, and so that means the upper middle class, or the upper, upper class white people, male dominated medicine because women were not allowed to study in or women presenting people were not allowed to study in universities and things like that.

They were actually barred completely. And then. They tried to create laws around that, and then when that didn't work, they just made it extremely hard to access. Like, if you got your education, well, you weren't allowed to do an apprenticeship, and if you managed to somehow get an apprenticeship, well, oh, the hospitals wouldn't hire you, and so on 

[00:15:53] Amy: and so forth.

And this is where we see, again, super relevant, very contemporary, that this hierarchy that is created by Religious, capitalist, patriarchy, whatever you, you, however you feel. But where so women weren't allowed to be doctors because A, they weren't allowed to go to school. B, they weren't going to, you know, and so on and so on and so on.

And so they're nurses. And so if you see men are doctors, women are nurses. And the way that we pay. Doctors versus nurses the way that we value doctors versus nurses. Again, capitalism, like if we put a monetary value on something, then somehow it has an intrinsic value and creates our 

[00:16:30] Nova: society. Exactly.

Whereas like no offense to doctors because they are important. 

[00:16:35] Amy: Sure. And I'll shout out to my doctor. I love you. 

[00:16:37] Nova: You're great. You know, but like you're nothing without nurses. Sorry. Like we are the ones who administer the medication. We are the ones who follow up with the patients. We are the ones who make suggestions to the doctors.

If the doctor makes a mistake, he's not the one who gets in trouble. I risk losing my license because I didn't catch his mistake. So like they are literally nothing without us. They would, I need even at a certain point in the book, they mentioned that Florence Nightingale. She is actually somebody that we are taught about in school.

She kind of created the first official nursing school and she also created like, the professional aspect of nursing because before nurses were just kind of like any woman they would hire and Like a glorified maid kind of thing. Yeah, exactly. And so she kind of really established like, okay, no, we need To be sanitary, so you're washing your hands.

You know, she really introduced the, the idea of sanitation and things like that, which is like Massive. Massive. Like, in healthcare, that is the most important thing. Like, that's how you stop the spread of diseases among, like, let's say if you're in a hospital, or you're in an old folks home, or anything like that.

Like, if somebody has a cold, and you go in their room. You wash your hands. I mean you have to wash your hands anyways But I mean like, you know, like that's how it gets spread 

[00:18:00] Amy: and I love thinking about this in terms of like an exchange of energy To like we sometimes we need to wash our own hands before we spread those germs and I'm being metaphorical here of course, but Wash your own damn hands.

Yeah before you start spreading your germs around on the fleas. 

[00:18:17] Nova: And, you know I'm a, I'm a firm believer of like people's energies can affect each other, you know, so if I go into a patient's room who's like particularly negative, I have to make sure that I don't carry that with me to the next patient's room.

You know what I mean? Like, it's not 

[00:18:32] Amy: And I imagine what would be more difficult would be to not let that influence the level of care that you give them. Exactly. So how do you 

[00:18:39] Nova: contend with that? We take an oath. When we become nurses, and this goes for anything, so Both 

[00:18:46] Amy: taking, spell casting, 

[00:18:47] Nova: you know, yeah so I'm gonna give like a really out there example But let's say somebody comes in and they were abusing their spouse And they got hurt in the process I have to treat them with the same care that I treat their spouse Regardless of the fact that I think they're a super crappy human And you know, are doing something that I think is absolutely disgusting, I have to take all of that away.

All of that washes away and I just look at this person as a person and I treat them as that and that's it. And so it's the same thing with somebody who has the negative energy or who's rude to me or insulting or. You know, we have patients who are aggressive, like I've had patients try to hit me you know, it's, you just have to kind of understand the position they're in.

They're in a super vulnerable position, and it's my job to take care of them. It's my job to make sure that They come out of this safe So it's just 

[00:19:45] Amy: it's like nursing is like radical compassion as a profession Yeah, that must be exhausting 

[00:19:53] Nova: Absolutely. 

[00:19:54] Amy: Absolutely. How does your being a witch help you with 

[00:19:56] Nova: that?

I definitely have little rituals I do. So, the easiest ones are the basic ones, right? Where, like, you go in the shower, you sit in the shower, and you imagine the water just cleansing you, washing off everything, just kind of, like, starting over, and clean and new and fresh. Also swimming during the summer.

I love swimming. I'm a water sign, so water, 

[00:20:22] Amy: you know, fire and water, but candles and swimming. Yeah. 

[00:20:26] Nova: You know, just stuff like that, or just like, if I need to, like, I'll cleanse my space with like, incense, or like, sometimes I'll put like a bunch of different like, essential oils that I like. In a spray bottle and you kind of just spray that around the room, you know, just little things like that 

[00:20:43] Amy: changing up the 

[00:20:44] Nova: energy.

Exactly. And which is super important because your energy is also linger. Right? So as somebody with depression, as somebody with borderline personality disorder, as somebody with anxiety that stems from childhood trauma, Those things linger, you know, and when you're trying to heal yourself with those things, it's important to cleanse yourself of those things, you know, like obviously cleansing, I'm not going to get rid of it.

It's something that's my brain is literally wired a different way because of the trauma I experienced as a child. So that's, that's never going away. How you contend with it can change. Exactly. And that's the most important part. That's for me, the most important part of anything in life is it's not the situation, it's how you deal with it.

Say it again. It's not the situation. It's how you deal with it. One more time for the people in the back. It's not the situation. It's how you deal with it. And 

[00:21:38] Amy: so, I know that you. One of your other online projects is the Ethical Witches Facebook page. So you're really trying to live your life in a very compassionate way.

It seems like that's your driving force in everything you do. 

[00:21:54] Nova: Pretty much. Like, it's I created this group because a lot of the groups that I was a part of were very Which groups? Yeah, witch groups, sorry. Specify, yeah. Were very culturally appropriative. And instead of spending my time learning and sharing which things, I was spending all of my time arguing and, you know, trying to educate people like, Hey, if you're not an indigenous person, you should not be smudging.

If you are not a part of a certain culture, you should not be using those cultures tools in a way that's appropriative. Cause you know, there is a difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. Sure. Let's say. Voodoo. That's something that's very cultural. So if you're gonna do that, learn from people who it's their actual culture.

Get the resources from them. Make sure they are the ones benefiting from this. You know, things like that. So it's just something I found myself arguing and arguing and arguing. Like, also, on that aspect, get acquainted with your ancestors. Get acquainted, if that's what, you know, you connect with. Like, I strongly urge you, do your research.

You know? And especially, like, my boyfriend's Swedish, and so, like he's really into the whole, like, Nordic, kind of, Vikings and gods and whatever, you know? Exactly, like, loves that stuff, so I've learned quite a bit through him. And it is really interesting, so if that's what you identify with, like, 100% Learn about it.

There are so many resources, so many, you know, so like, it's so 

[00:23:26] Amy: scary though to see people taking those now taking like, you know, Viking runes and using them as like white supremacy. Oh my God. It's iconography. And yeah, like the sons of Odin. Y'all missing the point of magic, 

[00:23:42] Nova: please. Yeah. Like, it's, it's, no, I completely agree with you, like, it's just, like, again, like, I'm a very healer, compassionate type person, so for me, it just boggles me, like, my mind is completely just boggled when I see people using it for harm or things like that, which is another thing, like, I've seen in groups where people are, like, using their period blood to, like, quote unquote poison or influence their partner, like, they're, they're feeding their period blood.

unknowingly to their partner and like, no guys, consent, 

[00:24:16] Amy: consent, number one in everything that you're going to do with another 

[00:24:19] Nova: human being, you know, like, especially when it comes to like, body matter as a nurse, like. That's concerning, like, you need to know what you're doing, like, please educate yourselves if you're going to be exchanging body fluids or anything, like, it's super important to educate yourself because there's just so many aspects of that that can go wrong.

[00:24:41] Amy: And I know you have a personal perspective on love spells. Yeah. Because your concern is that a love spell is like a form of abuse. 

[00:24:49] Nova: Absolutely. As somebody, can you get into that a bit? Yeah. As somebody who's in an abusive relationship for many years multiple abusive relationships, actually my biggest concern, again, consent.

So what is different between my ex-boyfriend stalking me and calling me nonstop and, you know, trying to convince me to get back together with him? I don't see a difference with that. Like a love spell, you know what I mean? To me, that's the same thing because you're forcing your will. You're forcing your want on someone.

You know what I mean? Like if they don't want to be with you, you got to respect that. And you know, I'm sure there's types of love spells where it's, you know, if, if you do it with the intention of, if there's love still there, bring it forth. Absolutely. That's amazing. And I totally support that. But to force your will on someone, no.

Just that's, that's abusive. Like that's just straight up abuse because if we remove the magical component, then there would no, no one would question it. They'd be like, yeah, that's kind of messed up. Like that's abusive, you know? So we need to understand that. Just because we're being magic doesn't mean we can't be abusive, doesn't mean we can't be wrong, doesn't mean that there's not more things to 

[00:26:00] Amy: learn.

And we've seen this too, a lot of people were leading covens and saying, well, you know, free love is part of the idea of this coven and basically using it as an excuse to sexually abuse 

[00:26:12] Nova: people. And again, just to reference witches, midwives, and nurses one of the reasons that The reason that women or women presenting people were considered witches was because they were sexually empowered.

Right. So let's, let's not confuse sexual empowerment with sexual abuse because again, consent. It's a big thing here. You know, like even as nurses, like if a patient's in their right mind and they refuse treatment, that's their right. A hundred and ten percent, that is their right. The only time that that does not apply is if someone's on suicide watch and they have cardiac medication that they're refusing to take.

Right. Because, obviously, they're feeling suicidal, and not taking their cardiac medication would kill them, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of being on suicide watch. And that's actually also another really complex topic that I won't really get into right now, but I do want to just mention there are people who feel that if someone wants to commit suicide, That's their choice.

And I think that's something that a lot of people should look into and kind of, you know, we need to talk more about suicide. We need to talk about what people are feeling and what drives them to that and in what situations, you know, does that arise? Because like, as somebody who's been there, like, you have to be really, really really down and really hopeless to feel like the only situation in which you will get peace is to end your life.

You know? And not 

[00:27:43] Amy: to mention Schizophrenia where You have to die because That's it. The men are after you and they're 

[00:27:48] Nova: in the woods. And I'm so glad that you brought that up because I actually have an uncle who committed suicide when I was young because he was Schizophrenic. You know? And it's really like It's so hard to live with.

Like it's so, and I'm not saying that anyone who's schizophrenic should kill themselves. Absolutely not. Please don't. Nobody, nobody, nobody. Like, you know. We love you. We love you. Like, please reach out to somebody. I'm always available if anybody wants to reach out to me for any mental health issues.

Like, please. I'm, my door is always open. But at the same time, we have to respect people's choices, you know? And I think it's really worth researching and speaking to people with mental health issues to understand where they're coming from. You know, like I personally don't think suicide's the answer.

I don't. I hope that everybody is able to get to a point where they overcome that, because I know that even just last summer, I was convinced that it was never gonna get better. I was convinced that this was it. I, my mental health hasn't gotten better. I can't do this, you know, but then it did get better, you know, I got the right treatment and mental health care, extremely inaccessible here, which is a whole other problem.

But you know, this is, that's just like a reality. And they also have an issue with addiction. If you are an addict, they will not treat you for mental health issues until you get clean. Like, hello, the whole problem for addiction is usually like mental health issues, like, you know, so it's like the healthcare system is just a mess, and But we're so lucky to have one.

Yes, absolutely. That's the 

[00:29:32] Amy: craziest part about it is that ours is amazing and it's still an absolute mess. 

[00:29:37] Nova: Yeah, and I think like we look at North American healthcare and we think like, wow, this is the greatest healthcare out there. But if you look at other places in Europe, if you look at other places like This is kind of like a

weird thing to say, I guess, because of like the, the stuff going on there, but Israel, they have really advanced Medicine. Like, I remember at one point, my foster mom's sister had gone to Israel, and she got into a car accident. They had fixed her knee up, and then a couple years later, when she was back here, she had to get it changed.

And they asked if they could keep the piece, because it was so far advanced compared to what they had. You know, like, this is, again, years ago, but Sure. But, I mean, 

[00:30:22] Amy: like, the fact that healing is like a capitalist endeavor Yeah. That we're not just sharing this information. That's it. It's just 

[00:30:29] Nova: We gotta heal each other.

It's mind blowing and like as a healthcare professional, I see all of the things that are wrong with it even more so than, than people who just have like one or two experiences, you know, like you see how, you know, there's really a race element as well. Like, people of color are really treated a lot differently.

You know, like not, not everywhere, obviously, but it's still, you know, like I, one of the, one of my friends that I met in nursing school, she has sickle cell anemia and a lot of times she's treated like an addict because she needs pain medicine, but sickle cell anemia, extremely painful. So it's normal that, you know, you would want.

pain meds for something like that. But if she goes into a hospital that doesn't know her, their automatic assumption is, Oh, she's an addict. And that's also a really big issue in healthcare is brushing off addicts. You know what I mean? Like that you can't do that. Like, I'm just, I'm someone who has a lot of experience with addicts.

It runs in my family. It's a big reason of why I'm sober, but that doesn't mean you can just. Brush them off and you know, it's 

[00:31:37] Amy: the hierarchy of problems and these are acceptable 

[00:31:41] Nova: and exactly, you know, and it's just, 

[00:31:45] Amy: I became like a, when I was very young, one of my first forays into activism was that I started volunteering with the AIDS committee when I was very young, because it was insane to me that sick people were also being judged.

And also, you know, people And the misinformation that was going around at the time. So, yeah, I mean, it's one thing to be sick and then to be judged on top of it for what type of sickness that you have. And whether your sickness is, like, valid or 

[00:32:13] Nova: not. Exactly! And it's just so disgusting, quite frankly.

That's the best word I can think of. And, you know, again, going back to, like, North American healthcare, it's super problematic. Like, I don't know what the exact statistic is, but the The amount of people who are pregnant that die from childbirth is disgusting for somewhere that is so medically advanced.

This is another thing that Witches, Midwives, and Nurses touches on, and that's in the 70s, and it's still relevant. And, you know, it's a lot of I was reading an article actually the other day about the trauma associated with childbirth. Because, and like, forget the fact that it's naturally traumatic, that it changes your body goes through, things like that.

But the healthcare providers, they essentially sexually assault people. They perform procedures that are extremely misogynistic. We have, it's called the, I think it's called the husband's stitch or something like that. And essentially it's like they, if you tear during childbirth, they'll stitch it up an additional unnecessary stitch so that you're a little tighter after childbirth, like disgusting.

And, you know, they are very, they tend to ignore the person who's giving birth needs and wants. And that's why we have midwives and doulas and things like that. And that's why they're so important and they're not really recognized in our culture, but they're recognized everywhere, you know, all over the world.

Like I remember I had a bunch of classmates that were from other parts of the world, like, just like a little bit all over the place and like, it, it, they were just like, what do you mean you don't have midwives? What do you mean you don't have doulas? Like what? Certainly 

[00:34:08] Amy: midwives preceded doctors.

That's it. And by a very, very, very hard Yeah, because as soon as, as, as long as people have been giving birth, you know, 

[00:34:18] Nova: there's been someone there to, that's it. Support them. Yeah. And the language in the book is very. Gendered. Sure. So. 

[00:34:24] Amy: Again, it was written in the 70s. 

[00:34:25] Nova: That's it. So I'm just, I'm going to be using that language, but I just want everyone to know that I am including women representing people or trans men and, you know.

All of that. Absolutely. They talk about how, again, the upper middle class, regulars is what they refer to as the doctors, took over the whole birthing process and kind of shooed away the midwives, whereas the midwives were there, like. Hey, if anybody knows how to give birth or help someone give birth, it's us, cause we have the parts and we do this, like, we are, like, if, if anybody knows this, it's us, you know, you need to trust us.

You need to know, trust that what we're doing and, and at very 

[00:35:10] Amy: least we shouldn't be divorced from the situation. Exactly. 

[00:35:13] Nova: And the room. You know, like, at least take what we know and give it to your doctors. Whatever, like, if you're gonna shun us, at least take what we know. And they didn't do that, you know what I mean?

Because it wasn't profitable. Yeah, it's just really discouraging, because Again, this book was written in the 70s and it's still applicable today. Like, it's like, and it, I guess for me, it relates a lot to witchcraft because like, what's more magical than creating life, right? Like whether you're creating life in a lab, like kind of how It was discussed in your, in your episode with the The Lit of Life Biolab.

That's it, you know, like they, they, they mentioned there that like, you know, that's kind of like their babies. That's their creation and they're creating life, you know, and you know, there's some people who decide to give. Birth to humans, which is also creating life and you know, no matter how you decide to create life, it's all magical, you know, like what, what in the world is more magical than creating, you know, so for me, that was something that really resonated because like, you have this magical thing that's happening and they're taking it away from us, like they've done with so much else, you know, and, We're taking the magic out of it, at the very least.

Yeah. You know, or just like, yeah. Just, yeah, exactly. Making it a, 

[00:36:36] Amy: a, a for profit business. That's 

[00:36:39] Nova: it. Which it isn't. I'm sorry, like. Well, it is, 

[00:36:42] Amy: but it, it ought 

[00:36:43] Nova: not be. But like, get out of my vagina. Yeah. Like, get out. Like, take your capitalism. Out of my uterus. Yeah. Thanks. All of my body parts. That's it. Just witchcraft and medicine and healthcare for me is just like, it's one.

It's all intertwined. It's not a separate thing. It's like, you can't have healthcare without magic. Yeah. Like, you just, you 

[00:37:04] Amy: can't. We talked about this before, that I think one of the, my jobs as a witch is to smash binaries. Yes. Smash hierarchies in particular. I think binaries beget hierarchies. Yes. And so, one of my My absolute favourite art galleries, contemporary art galleries in the world right now is the Creative Growth Art Centre out of Oakland, California.

And I'm probably using the wrong terminology, but they give lessons and people who are neurologically atypical. Yeah. Do you want to give me a better turn of phrase? Produce art. And honestly, like I love art. I'm like a sort of hobbyist art historian. I love art galleries. I'm, you know, I consider myself like a, an appreciator of art.

And this is the gallery that is putting out the most exciting, the most impressive contemporary art. As far as I'm concerned, in the world right now. And I know that your brother has, I believe, Down syndrome. Yeah. And so I'm wondering, like, how you can help me to smash that hierarchy of his value and his magic.


[00:38:12] Nova: honestly something that I don't think about often, just because it's so natural for me, having grown up with him. And like, You know, like being a part of that community and like seeing all of his friends and stuff and it's just they are so precious You know, and it's just a question of raising awareness of you know, different different.

I don't want to say disabilities I don't want to say special needs. Those aren't the right terms because They're just people, you know with different 

[00:38:43] Amy: And we all have our abilities 

[00:38:47] Nova: and our Exactly, different abilities, you know? And it's just, they are so pure. That is the best way I can describe it. My younger brother is just a joy.

[00:39:00] Amy: What's his name, sorry? Jeremy. Jeremy, 

[00:39:02] Nova: right. And he has taught me so much about the world. I get a little emotional because like it's just so like, intense, you know? And it's just, he's so, I wish everybody could see what a wonderful person and human he is. You know, just look past the disabilities, look past what is not quote unquote normal for you and just see the person for what they are and you know like you mentioned this this this gallery and it really makes me think of drag syndrome okay and it's a bunch of people with the down syndrome doing drag 

[00:39:46] Amy: I'm having heart palpitations now 

[00:39:48] Nova: It's amazing Because 

[00:39:49] Amy: they We love drag We here at Missing Witches Let's just across the board We love 

[00:39:53] Nova: drag Yeah, it's magical It's, there's no other way to It's transformative Exactly And it's such a great way for them to express their creativity And their They're true nature.

You know what I mean? Because they are as like a community, very I don't want to say performative, but they, they do like to express themselves creatively. Expressive, yes. Yes, they're very expressive, they're very creative, and because they don't have inhibitions, they don't have the same 

[00:40:24] Amy: And, and maybe that's what I'm seeing in this creative growth art center 

[00:40:27] Nova: gallery, like, 

[00:40:29] Amy: I'm not saying like, this is great art for these people.

This is some of the best art I've ever seen in 

[00:40:34] Nova: my life. Because they don't have those things that hold them back. They're just, they see life as fun. And at least this is my experience. I obviously can't speak for 

[00:40:44] Amy: everyone. Not every human is going to have 

[00:40:46] Nova: the same. That's it. But. When they're nurtured properly, which, like, luckily my family was excellent to my brother and really took care of him and sought out resources that were necessary for him, and unfortunately, it's not like that for everyone in the community.

And you really do see it stifle them and stifle their creativity and, you know, you just see, like, you, you sit with them and you just, When you get to know them, they're just, they are magical beings because they don't have those societal Restrictions, so to speak, you know, like they don't that's not something they identify with.

It's not something they really like it's yeah exactly and you know, they all bring different things to the table and Yeah, it was just really great to be able to work with them and, you know, kind of see because some of them were my brother's friends because, you know, it's a very small community on the South Shore.

So, like, I didn't know some of them, which obviously gave me a bit of an advantage because, like, I already have a relationship with them. So it's easier to care for and teach, you know, there's a trusting relationship there. But yeah, and it just, it kind of like shows you, like, go into your magic with, with that kind of carefree, like, no inhibitions.

Just, I love doing this. I'm gonna do it. And 

[00:42:10] Amy: certainly don't be so, stupid. I'm saying it. Yes. Don't be so stupid as to think that you can't learn something from every single person 

[00:42:21] Nova: and creature on this earth. Exactly. Like, I I would strongly encourage everybody to get to know people in the community of people with autism, down syndrome.

There are a list of names of disorders, I guess, they're still called, but let's face it, it's not really a disorder, it's just different. It's a difference. Yeah. That's it. 

[00:42:46] Amy: Difference around here. We, we exalt difference. We're not afraid of difference. 

[00:42:50] Nova: We love it. Exactly. So, like, there's a list of medical terms I can go through to, you know, describe everybody's different needs.

You know, just that community as a whole, I strongly encourage everybody to just, like, get to know someone in that community and see the different things that they bring, you know? And Look past the, what society deems is negative. It just gives you a really different perspective on things and helps you understand the world 

[00:43:20] Amy: more.

Thank you so much Nova, I hope to carry your spirit of radical compassion with me for the rest of my life. Thank you. It's been such an amazing pleasure talking to you, but before we shut it down. Do you have any advice for other baby witches, people who are struggling with mental health or struggling with the concept of radical compassion?

Any last words for our listeners? 

[00:43:43] Nova: Yeah, just learn as much as you can. That's the best way to go about it. You always, always, always keep learning. I've been dealing with my mental health issues for over a decade. I've been interested in witchcraft for over a decade and only really started coming into it now.

And. You know, even, again, it relates to healthcare too, just always keep learning, always keep trying to better yourself, and you know, that ties into compassion as well, like, bettering yourself allows you to be more compassionate towards others, so just always keep learning and try to understand as much as you can about different situations, and remember to love yourself, and be compassionate towards yourself as well.

[00:44:30] Amy: And be compassionate toward yourself as well. Thank you so much. Nova. 

[00:44:35] Nova: Well, thank you for having me You must be a witch 

[00:44:42] Amy: Thanks for listening to the Missing Witches podcast. Be sure to come back Sunday where we learn the story of another witch who, like Nova, wants you to love yourself and learn as much as you can: Zora Neale Hurston. In the meantime, hit us up at missingwitches at gmail. com or on social media at missingwitches. Blessed be.

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