Witches Found: Raising a Witch – Mother Daughter Magic With Melida and Celia

"Knowledge is an espiral, you know? And it's different espirals around us."

Amy Torok
Apr 17, 2019
34 min read
Witches FoundActivist MagicFeminist MagicEmbodied MagicEarth Magic
The Nahuales by Marta Lidia Churunel of the Multicolores Cooperative

Risa sat down with Melida Jimenez and her daughter Celia. We met Celia last year and after she listened to a couple episodes of our podcast she whispered: ‘my mother raised me to believe I was a witch.’

Celia and Melidaby bb

Melida was born and raised in Guatemala, her social justice activism in the student movement – and later as a doctor – helped create ‘popular clinics’ in shantytowns. Her husband Erwin was also an activist working on safe housing for indigenous people. Together they drew the wrong kind of attention from a paranoid government and, faced with violence, immigrated to Canada in 1985.

Pregnant with Celia, Melida encountered an Ontario health system that wasn’t equipped to provide Spanish language support or culturally-safe care. She began to volunteer with pregnant Spanish-speaking women and working with the Latino American Coalition Against Violence Against Women.

She graduated Ryerson Midwifery, and offers Midwifery care in Spanish in Toronto while volunteering with Mexico CASA Midwifery School and Guatemalan Midwifery projects.

Her daughter Celia is the founder and artisan behind Cucamanga where she specializes in wildcrafted skin care products, using wild harvested and organic botanicals from the Canadian boreal forest.




Celia + Melida

[00:00:00] Melida: As Risa and Celia got to know each other, Celia revealed, whispering, My mother raised me to believe I was a witch. So of course Risa had to get them both on the mic. Here's her conversation with the mother daughter duo of Wildcraft and Activism, Witchcraft and Medicine, Melida and Celia Jimenez on Witches Found.

[00:00:27] Risa: So, we've 

sent the men away with the babies. And we're sitting in the basement of my little house next to the fire. With, um, my beautiful friend, Celia, and her beautiful mother, Melida, who's agreed to come and, uh, tell some stories with us. I'm just gonna talk, I'm not necessarily gonna use that intro, but it's just something you look at and be very skeptical.

Um, thanks for coming. 

[00:01:04] Melida: Thank you for inviting us. Yeah, my pleasure. For Celia, she say, come. Yeah. And I listen to her. You listen to her. 

[00:01:13] Risa: Um, I wondered if, uh, you would start by telling us a bit about your experience as a midwife in Guatemala. 

[00:01:24] Melida: Oh, okay. Well, in Guatemala, I went to medical school, so I was, I studied to be a physician, actually.

But I have some experiences with the midwives over there, and in the, in the highlands, where mostly indigenous people live. So I have some experiences with them, but not me as a midwife. Right, so. It's not personal experiences. It's through the voice of women that didn't have in these societies that we work vertically and with a lot of rules.

They didn't have any education. But that doesn't mean that they didn't know, right? Um, because wisdom comes from your inner Intuition and your inner knowledge, or the knowledge that you have absorbed, not through, necessarily through the school or the, in university. But actually, it is another, um, knowledge that you receive.

You know, the knowledge that put you into small, um, frames. Right? So, we tend to be round and no frame. But then we go to university and then we put all in frames. So you do this and that and that. One plus one is two. There is no way that one plus one could be three. It could be. I'm not a mathematician, but I say that knowledge is an espiral, you know?

And it's different espirals around us. And we have our knowledge through our DNA. Right? Through our grandmothers. So our grandmother is on us and we have the blueprint. But the thing is that this connection is that we stopped. We stopped that. Somehow it was stopped before us too. When, um, you know, women's knowledge was, um, a cause of, um, fear for people.


[00:03:38] Risa: in Guatemala. Do you see that happening as a process of colonization? 

[00:03:45] Melida: Yes, for sure. Yeah. We, we adopted the, the way of thinking of the colonizers, we all colonize in one way of another. Mm-Hmm, , I was grown up in the city, not in the countryside, but the, the colonization is in everything that we do and, uh, we learn, you know, the religion.

The education, the way of society is, is um, organized. The power, you know, you listen to your dad, so the, the, the, the family, the reproduction of the society, you have to listen to your dad or your parents because that the same way you listen to your president or prime minister or whatever, you cannot say nothing against that power.

[00:04:30] Risa: At what point did you start to think about Wanting to be a doctor and then wanting to work with midwives. 

[00:04:40] Melida: I don't know, I think I, uh, first of all, I didn't want to be the same way that my sisters were. Somehow, I don't know, maybe it came out of me, like I was in opposition to everything that they told me.

But I wanted, um, I wanted to do more. Maybe more than, uh, Random intuition that tap, like, tap into it. Or, you know, the, maybe the same wish of, um, helping people. Trying to bring health in a deceased place. Kind of that, I guess. 

[00:05:31] Risa: Did you have, um, a strong female role model when you were growing up? 

[00:05:37] Celia: Yes, I think 

[00:05:38] Melida: so.

You know, it's, it's, I think it's the way we were trained in this man driven society, right? Where women's roles are only in, they are put in the kitchen. But the kitchen is so powerful. Yes. Right? So, it depends how you see the kitchen. You know, if you see as a recipient place where we cook X, it's different.

Yeah. But if you see a gathering of information, yeah. It's different. So our mothers were created with the same, so they have to pass that on us and they just do as they were informed. Mm-Hmm. . But within that context, if you put in another context, it's a, a special. A special place, 

[00:06:32] Risa: right? And the kitchen, I guess, would also be a place where you would start to learn about, uh, plants.

[00:06:38] Melida: Yeah, well, you know, one T for here, the other T for there. And, yeah, yeah, so, um, Yeah, I think all, the relationship with our mothers is very important. And has been destroyed by this male driven society as well, right? Um, and that theme, that is another Yielding our society is a disease doing. Doctors are not with their mothers.

Because we were separated before for something. With our same mother. She didn't know better. Um. So, I guess, um, what I'm trying to say is that even my mother was very smart. She didn't finish school, but she was smart. She was a, um, um, business woman who she, yeah, she, uh, for her, she created the world that we have.

In my, um, country, because she work. So she was very inventive, and she was, was a worker, and she, you know, she used her sewing machine, she was sewing things at night, doing the things that women do in the, during the day, but she, I think she was the one who influenced me to do things, even though she said not to do it.

[00:08:01] Risa: Really?

And, um, Can you tell me some of your experiences working with birth? 

[00:08:13] Melida: Yeah, so I, I went into medicine to work with women, right? I went to medicine in order to give, um, to be a healer, not a mainstream practitioner. That was not understood in many ways, because I didn't give medicine, I didn't give the prescription to go to the pharmacy.

I was sometimes recommending herbs, right? Something just listening to people. And for others, I was not a real doctor. It was kind of Even though you had studied and you were a doctor. But I was interested in morning women health because there is a lot of myths. And a lot of oppression for women's sexuality, right?

Um, in here in this society, what you call liberation of women is as well. So, how to learn to love your body instead of hate your body. How to understand the cycles of your body. And understand them and love them. So, you cannot have love out if you don't have love in. Right? So, that was my intuition. No, I didn't really say it in that words, but that was kind of intuitive learning.

More like the books, more like the experience for women, more like, um, organic learning. And I think that's why I went. When I came to Canada, I was more interested in something more organic, more the relationship. Not the patriarchal way of, I am your caregiver and you have to say as I say. Because I always, I don't know if I know anyway.

So you had, when you come to me, you had to do your part as well. You had to know. Because, um. I'm not your mother. And you have your mother within you. So you have to learn by yourself as well. Right? But the other way of learning, which is accept that we have all this power in us that we have to tap into it and then we have our own medicine.


[00:10:35] Risa: And if you could give advice to women listening to a podcast like this. Maybe women who don't have, uh, spiritual roots, don't have a plant knowledge, maybe western, young, millennial girl trying to find a connection to something that's not, not the Catholicism or Mormonism of her parents. She's looking around, she's looking at witchcraft for something like this.

She finds a podcast like this. this. Do you have advice for a woman like that, for how to connect with this DNA, this mother that's inside of her? 

[00:11:15] Melida: I think we have to stop and listen. I mean, we are so bombarded by the TV and the radio and the songs and this and that. You stop five minutes and really just be yourself.

I think it is in us. I think hard to get discoveries with listening to us. You know, the smells. We smell. Because we are creatures, we are animals. We smell. Accept the smell. It's not bad. It's just different. Right? So, the smells, the, the, the, the textures of our skin. Accept our bodies. Love our bodies. Um.

Because femininity, I learned when I was little, that smells, that is ugly, that ooh, and then we learned that, and then we had to dislearn that. Maybe beauty is not what is shown to us in TV, beauty is us, right? So we all have different faces, different noses, different lips, eyes, but it's beauty too. Yeah, I 

[00:12:28] Celia: think another way to connect as well is, uh, dirt, like, so even if you live in the concrete jungle and you don't, you can't just walk outside and have dirt, but get a potted plant and put your hands in the dirt and don't worry about the dirt under your nail.

Just connect to that and then use those minutes to connect to just a simple potted plant. But if you can't go outside, then take your shoes off and walk in the dirt and see how that feels and what feelings. Come about 

[00:12:58] Melida: when you're doing 

[00:12:59] Risa: that. Do you remember your mom teaching you to do that? Celia? 

[00:13:03] Celia: Um, yeah.

Well, I think she would always tell me to go outside. I, I remember getting really angry and we had a box of old plates and she said, you promise to clean these up. You should just go throw them at the wall, and release that anger. Yeah, I think as, I think you said I was a few months old, you took me camping for the first time.

I was wondering why I had such a strong connection or desire to want to be outside, but you always brought me outside. You always brought me in the summers, camping, or Yeah, and I guess I could see the difference in you and, and puppy of how much calmer they were when we were in nature. And just to be able to You breathe differently, you know?


[00:13:52] Melida: really connect differently. 

[00:13:55] Risa: Did you have experiences with your mom in nature, or were you really city? 

[00:14:00] Melida: I was city. Yeah. Yeah. So no, no I don't. No. 

[00:14:04] Risa: And, but were you drawn to that? Did you find it on your 

[00:14:07] Melida: own? Yeah, well, in other times we were more It's everything is relative, right? So we went out to play to the street, to the street.

And then when summer was there, there was a lot of plants and then it was a little, a little mountain. And we went there and play all day, you know, and I did just somebody's calling you to go back. 

[00:14:32] Celia: Still like, I mean, in the sixties or seventies, like when you were growing up in Guatemala, there was still.

Like it was less urban. 

[00:14:41] Melida: Yeah, yeah, behind my house. There was a little mountain with a lot of Flowers and used to go on play there 

[00:14:49] Risa: Did you have an experience? Or what's your earliest memory of an experience of maybe something magical, or spiritual, or an experience where you felt connected to something divine, if you use that word.

Do you remember an experience like that? 

[00:15:11] Melida: Yeah, I remember. Now that you say it, I was walking in that little path, because it was not completely built. So we had our little house. And there was a little mountain, a little, just, and a path, and I wanted to call all the ladybugs. So I said to myself, if I listen, if I sing to them, they are coming.

And they came. Wow. They were like And I say to my, my little cousin, I said, 

[00:15:47] Risa:

[00:15:48] Melida: have magic. 

[00:15:50] Risa: I knocked over the fire poker. Um, I think Celia, when I told her about my podcast, she told me that you told her she was a witch when she was little. Do you remember doing that? Yes. 

[00:16:08] Melida: And why? Because we are. Right? I think we are.

Witches are good. It's just the patriarchy that put witches in a bad place and we are fear of that. I think if you are a woman and you are a female, you are most likely to accept the fact that you probably are. So Halloween was a special occasion for being who we were. How do 

[00:16:37] Risa: you celebrate? 

[00:16:39] Melida: Halloween. So, everything is so intuitive.

It was not a, you know, a plan. So the thing is, okay, you have to dress as a witch. And she said, well, it's the only day that you can dress as 

[00:16:57] Risa: a witch. Get into it. 

[00:17:00] Melida: And then by the end, she accepted the fact that she was. 

[00:17:04] Celia: Well, you would also sit me at the table and And tell me I'd have to move the envelope with my eyes.

And he'd be like, Celia, you just have to do it. Just try. And I'd say, I can't. Well, you just have to keep trying. He probably just wanted me to just stay there. Stay 

[00:17:22] Risa: still? Celia, 

[00:17:26] Melida: do 

[00:17:28] Risa: you have a memory of feeling like you were connected to, or had magic, or were connected to the divine? It's funny 

[00:17:37] Celia: cause you asked my mom and I thought of something and now I'm, I just, I just forgot.

But there was a few times, um, the most recent one that really stands out and I, I guess, yeah, really stands out was uh, I was in India maybe a few years ago and um, we had just done a yoga journey and the class had kind of filtered out, or maybe it was even after a talk and I was Sitting in the middle of this room, looking out the window.

And there's a tree, um, and there was this little river, and there was these, uh, people walking with their, their donkeys on the river. And it was just really peaceful, and then this bird landed on the tree branch, um, And then, it was, I don't know how to explain it, but there was no longer a wall, and there was no longer a window, and I was no longer apart from the tree.

I was now the bird that was on the tree, and we were just one, and that bird was my grandmother, and she was singing to me, and it was as if everything else had faded, and we had just become One, and that same feeling I kind of held on to when I was pregnant and in the hospital and I was doing a lot of meditating and the same, like, I would just picture birds and they were my grandparents and they were coming to me and so that was something that really connected.

But that's just like the, the latest one I know that, yeah, when you were talking, I thought of something from when I was younger and I. 

[00:19:17] Melida: Well, when we were, we walk in the, in the, in the forest. And you always say, look at all the, um, little Ferris that are with us walking. 

[00:19:26] Celia: Yeah, they're the, there's the, I don't know what the mushrooms are called, but they're the, the white mushrooms that, that grow on the tree.

Um, and a lot of the times they're on like the dead, fallen over trees. I can't remember the name right now. Um, but yeah, my mom used to say that these were the houses of the ferries and so. Since the young age that we would go into the forest, it was always, uh, respecting the houses of the fairies and just respecting the forest because it was the home of the fairies.

[00:19:58] Risa: And did you, did your mom teach you, um, about 

[00:20:04] Celia: plants? Yeah, um, It was quite a long time ago. I, um, I think I, I don't remember what I wanted to start making, but my mom, she tried to sit me down and show me how to make a simple infusion, a simple plant infusion. Um, and I thought it was so silly that in my sketchbook I wrote, uh, like, Muppet style infusion.

Like I didn't take it as serious knowledge. I took it just as a, as a joke. And I remember her explaining to me it was a calendula infusion. Um, and she was explaining to me the properties of calendula and why infusing it and how to infuse it for how long, et cetera. And so I wrote it all down. Um, and it wasn't until a few years later when I actually found out.

That it was a real thing And you can really extract the power of the plant through this extraction that I thought was a simple joke, but um when I was 16, we had went to I went with my mom to Guatemala. She had met, in the Philippines, you had met another midwife uh, that was from the United States that owned a clinic in a small town in Tijua out of Guatemala and she wanted to take a break.

So my mom went there to take over the clinic and I went with her as a 16 year old and she had, was it there that you, you took a course of plants or that was in Mexico? That was in Mexico. But, um Um, yeah, there was like, I remember we went to different communities, Panahichel, I think we went to, to, we went to visit a group of midwives, uh, indigenous midwives.

My mom was just, I guess, showing them maybe more sedentary ways of practicing. Um, and, uh, yeah, there was like different, I remember there was like teas and there were more. Her base and so and even going there as a child being sick My grandma would just make you make me teas. What's the plant? It's like a purple flower They grow everywhere Hacaranda?

No, not the Hacaranda. It was in Guatemala. They're like more fuchsia Very thin. Or bombilla. Bombilla. And so that was really good for like bronchioles. And so she would make me tea out of this Because I guess in Guatemala you're more connected, I mean maybe back then as well, more connected to the plants than we are now because we're so removed.

[00:22:37] Risa: Yeah, we don't see a lot of plants. I mean we do, because we live out in the woods, but day to day in the city, you don't see a lot of plants. I wonder if we could. We'll take the, the spiral pattern and I won't, uh, beat myself up for not asking you to start with this. But we'll loop back around. Would you give like a brief, uh, introduction to your work?

Like kind of a short maybe biography, because there's so many pieces now that I'm hearing that I didn't know about. All I know is the little bit about starting clinics for women in Toronto and in Guatemala, but. 

[00:23:16] Melida: Oh, well, I am a midwife. Yes. I went to University here at Ryerson to the midwifery program. So I have 20 years of practicing.

Midwifery in In Ontario is practicing differently, even probably from Quebec, I think. Um, because in Quebec it was, to have a, um, a home, a baby at home was illegal. Right. In this many, some year that was legislated as legal, right? Right. So, um, I practice in Toronto and I, um, I help women to have their babies wherever they wish to have it.

So we do babies at home and at the birth center and in the hospital. 

[00:24:10] Celia: Um, just to interject, what I think is something that she's not mentioning, uh, was in Guatemala. So she did go to medical school and she became a physician. Um, and instead she had the choice to practice, uh, medicine, I guess, with more, uh, higher class.

But instead she chose to work with the indigenous people and Help heal them. She chose to go that route. So not getting paid more, but getting paid less. To help them. I think that, I think that's really 

[00:24:47] Risa: important. Yeah, I think that's kind of 

[00:24:50] Melida: important. Well, the thing is, is that I am resisting authority. So therefore I am against authority and when you are against authority sometimes you isolate yourself as well.

Why I say that is because, um, medicine is, um, a vertical, um, um, it works in that way where, um, physicians are the ones who say how to do it, you know, and knowledge has to learn in that scientific way, but we really don't know what is scientific way, right? But the experiences, the organic experience, the experience for ancestral people is there, it has been always there.

And somehow we forgot. And we didn't deny that. It's the past, it's people that didn't even know, now we have to Have confidence in the new knowledge and the new ways of, uh, healing people. Without thinking that the big pharma is the one actually who is dictating the, the doctors to, to heal and, and, and.

But it's not healing. It's the big pharma who is actually saying what pill we should take and what pill we shouldn't take. And that knowledge that all the, all the societies and all the cultures have, it's time to recuperate that, it's time to use that, it's time to say, this is the knowledge, this is what we may, well, we humans, we are going to survive this time that we are consuming the earth, right?

So, this is, this is the one that we have all we have to tap into it and rescue and do it. And, and, and let the Big Pharma. out of our lives, which is actually putting us into more sickness than anything, because one pill has so many secondary effects, then you have to take another pill for the secondary effects.

And there's people that have like 10 pills, one for the other, but in the first place you probably didn't need one, right? So in order to heal us, heal our bodies, heal Mother Earth, We have to start acknowledge that the knowledge that always been there is valid, and we have to take it, and we have to use it, and we start to spread it.

[00:27:38] Risa: Do you think about, um, the best ways for people to connect with Indigenous knowledge if we're, for example, in Montreal, in Toronto. How do we, how do we make those connections in a way that's, like, useful to Indigenous people and not just us sort of taking now that we've decided it's 

[00:28:03] Melida: Well, I think we have to decolonize ourselves.

Only with decolonizing ourselves we can really be brother and sisters. But we are not. Right? So if we come to the way that it has been always, I come for your knowledge and I will use it, that is a very bad step that we are going to take. Right? So But we all have different ways of learning as well. Not necessarily you have to go through that, take it away, and then you use it as yourself.


[00:28:36] Risa: seems like a good way to get sick 

[00:28:38] Melida: too. Yeah. So, um, and that, I think we had to really analyze all everything that is here that we end up with. Sometimes we are responsible for what we are, the cause, but we are here and we had to decolonize ourselves. 

[00:28:57] Celia: But even that I think is interesting. So like the idea of Uh, owning, or not owning, where it's like maybe a culture has been using, uh, these certain plants, and so it says that we're maybe appropriating them from them.

Um, but then you think about, like, um, so tapping into a higher conscious, or tapping into the divine, and usually it's not just one person that'll get an idea, it'll be many people that'll get the idea in different parts of the world, and then things just happen too. So, um, yeah. To evolve the same way. I think it's, yeah, it's just about being connected to that divine and understanding that the creativity is coming through you and so when you're getting to know plants or when you're getting to know anything, it's coming through you and it's not you who created it.

You don't own it. You're just a vessel for it to be expressed. And I feel like maybe a lot of people can say something that like they own this idea. But it's, it's not, it's, many people have been, have been given this idea at 

[00:30:06] Melida: the same time. Yeah. Yeah, so how the feminine, we have to rescue the feminine part of the stories and the history and everything, you know.

Women, um, even to cultivate it, you use the different moons, you know, in different parts of the moon you cultivate different things. That's part of rescue, the knowledge that being always there. Yeah. Or talking with the plants before you take away. Yeah. Right, to the spirit of the plant. Yes. Because then you not only heal your, your biology, you heal your spirit.

Mm hmm. You know 

[00:30:50] Celia: what's cool about that, was when I found out, the day I found out I was pregnant, so I was in northern Alberta, uh, tree planting, and Um, I had just come back into camp, well, I'm the cook for the tree planting camp, so I'd come back into the camp and no one was really there and I was, you know, so many different motions like, oh my goodness, I can't believe this is real, and walking into the forest, um, no wait, sorry, back one step, I didn't know I was pregnant, this was the day before I found out I was pregnant, and I started just, uh, cause this is when I do a lot of my harvesting was in northern Alberta, and I was, uh, Just all of a sudden my eyes were just recognizing all the, the raspberry, the raspberry leaves.

The raspberries were not yet, but there were just all these raspberry leaves and I just started harvesting all the raspberry leaves and then it was the next day I thought I was pregnant and so then I went back to that same area and I took my shoes off and I thanked the plants as if they were telling me because raspberry leaf is very good for your uterus to really, uh, strengthen it and so it was as if knowing without knowing.

Yeah, we're all connected. 

[00:32:00] Risa: It's funny, I was going to say when you were talking about, um, seeing the birds when you were pregnant and seeing them as your ancestors, I had a really similar, really strong moment of that. I, I had pre labor, um, maybe, uh, like three weeks before I went into labor, I had a night of, um, contractions, and I didn't wake up.

Mark, who was sleeping beside me, and I was in my mother's house, and I woke up in the morning, and there was a cardinal on a There was a tree blowing and blowing in the wind, and it was covered in yellow leaves, and then there was a bright red cardinal, and it's my grandmother's favorite bird, and she's alive, but I knew I was going to name the baby May after my other grandmother, and after her.

My grandmother's mother and it was just, and I just knew everything was okay and they were there and they were watching and it was just the, the image of the wind in the trees was like very soothing. It was like, this is what's going to happen in your body.

Do you want to tell us any stories that might come to mind about when I ask you about birth and magic? 

[00:33:20] Melida: I think birth is magical. Me too. You know, it's, every woman has a different experience. And the baby comes in different ways. Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it takes a short time. And, but, it's, it's magical.

You know, we all, and some babies are so different from others. So, um, when you see a baby, this is an old soul that look into your eyes and say, wow, it's been here before. So, um, there is, um, always, um, a different scenarios, but, um, very spiritual. Always. You know. Well, it's a wrong moment. You know, it's where you are who you are.

You don't have to pretend. You, you are laboring. You have to be yourself. If you pretend, you will never have that baby. Because you are not yourself. So, that wrongness, that moment of wrongness, then you are yourself and you are giving birth. You are opening. Or your hole is opening and you are birthing a baby, you're birthing the mother as well.

So it's very special, always. And that's what I want to keep, right? Because there is, there is a fine line between life and death. It's a very fine line. And we are afraid of death. But death happens. And it's sad. But it happens. And we blame the people when that happens. But, I don't know. There is something, major things, that we don't understand.

I think we humans don't, cannot understand. And there is always the why, and the who. And who is responsible. But, I think that it's There is more things in there that you don't understand. Yeah. 

[00:35:43] Risa: You remind me of a story I just heard about a, a seeker who goes to a very wise Buddhist monk and asks him to tell him about the afterlife.

And is there an afterlife? And the monk says, I don't know. And the seeker's like, Well, I thought you were supposed to know everything. I thought you were a Buddhist monk, and he was like, I am, but not a dead one.

We just don't know. I was, um, snowshoeing with my mom on the lake this past week, and she got really, really afraid. And she, she froze up, and she, or we were skiing, and she told us that she was afraid of death, and she really struggled to keep going. She said she's very, very afraid of death. What would you say to someone who's very afraid of death?

[00:36:35] Melida: I think we're all afraid. 

[00:36:36] Risa: Just deal with it? 

[00:36:39] Melida: We're all afraid because we don't know. We are afraid of things that we don't know. Yeah, of course. And there is so many stories about what could be. It could be like it's nothing. That could be one. It's nothing. 

[00:36:50] Risa: You could be in the 

[00:36:51] Melida: earth. You can be just nothing.

Then you, then you think more. So, how about all the knowledge that I have? How about the thing that I, where, where, do I stop there? Why we had to, maybe, that, why we don't have to start from zero? There's all this knowledge in the universe. We don't know. We don't know. I don't know. I think, um. The only thing that we do ourselves, for us, like nobody comes with us.

The only thing we do alone? The only thing that we do alone. Maybe that statue? We have to pass through that threshold. And we have to, there is no way that we don't. 

[00:37:41] Risa: And in a way, it's the, uh, only thing that everybody does besides birth. Yeah, so we do it completely not alone and completely alone. Mm 

[00:37:51] Melida: hmm. So, I mean, I think it's grateful.

Mm hmm. But you see, there is some Tibetan way of, the Tibetan way of death. There is a book that is that. And the whole purpose of the Tibetan monks is to be prepared. To die. Mm-Hmm. . So the, all, all your life is to be prepared to die. Well, when you're 

[00:38:17] Celia: born, you're, you're born with your hands clenched. Right?

When you die, you release your hands. So why not release your hands before you die? You know, like, instead of always gripping onto that fear. Mm-Hmm. . Just like I find that whenever you do something that you're afraid of, it's. It's usually the best experiences. So just like, open your hands more often in the day, like you're walking around, maybe you're clenching your jaw, maybe you're clenching your fists.

Just open. 

[00:38:50] Risa: Yeah, I'm constantly clenching my jaw. I notice it all the time, especially since I had the baby. I, I, all my fear is in my jaw and in my, the top of my neck. There's so much fear with being a parent. 

[00:39:03] Melida: It's fear to be alive. Yeah. It's terrible. But everything has, because it has imposed on us, is a patriarchy way of thinking that we are afraid of.

Mm. You don't think there was You were going to be punished constantly, so something bad is going to happen to you, so you have to be afraid of anything. Well, what 

[00:39:19] Celia: was interesting, I was, um, so like, in the turn of the 20th century, uh, before there was doulas, there was just It's a group of women, whether it be your friends or your family or people that lived in the area.

And they all came to your birth to support you, not to get payment, but just so that repar like, so that when they were in labour, they would have women support them. And it they would be with them throughout the whole labour, and then at the turn of the 20th century, then more physicians started getting involved, and so the doctors recognized that the women needed these women there to support them.

Uh, and then once the baby was ready to come out, then the doctor would come in and deliver the baby. But it was always, they always had the women, the support that they needed and then in 1930, so within 30 years, like the majority of births got moved to the hospital and then just, so removing the woman from that power and the group that they had, just excluding her.

Yeah, if you think about birth and how powerful it is and how mommy you said like it's a whole opening and you think about the divine and it's like literally someone is coming out of you. This whole other being, this whole other spirit, someone that is going to think maybe completely different from you.

It's like a portal. We're a portal. So yeah, we're witches. We're like these women that can be. If we would like to be, just like portals of more people. I think that's pretty powerful and 

[00:40:58] Melida: amazing. Maybe death should be later too. Maybe it is. And then, you know that like, you have people that love you when you're in your bed, dying.

You're not in a hospital with people that don't love you and don't love you. And then you are with your people and then maybe it's less. Well, they, they 

[00:41:20] Celia: do that, like, deaf doulas. 

[00:41:23] Risa: Beautiful idea. 

[00:41:26] Melida: Um, 

[00:41:28] Risa: we did an interview, um, recently, and, uh, one of the ideas that came out of the conversation. One of the women there was a trans woman and she was talking, she said the idea of fertility is really important to her.

Um, it sort of is this threshold in a way that physically she can't cross. She can't become physically a woman and give birth. But she wants to, she sees her power and her magic as giving birth to herself. Giving birth to who she truly is. And, uh, my co producer, Amy, talked about, you know, for medical reasons, birth isn't an option for her.

And she feels the same way, like making her art, giving birth to her, her true voice, as a musician, as a storyteller, as an artist, is her fertility. Um, and I feel like there, there's a way in which we talk about, um, Womanhood and birth that can sometimes exclude those other kinds of fertility. And how do we include, how do we make more inclusive magic, I guess, and more inclusive sisterhood, and more inclusive, maybe, 

[00:42:47] Celia: witchcraft?

Well, like, if they could, if we still had that support system, maybe if they would just still be there and come with you. 

[00:42:57] Melida: And not all women want to have babies as well. That's it. Right. There is people that don't want to do it, people that want to do it, and yeah that is, there is a, it's not white and black, it's a whole different colors where femininity, feminine and fertility is in this rainbow, and use it in different ways.

Yeah. And how 

[00:43:31] Celia: the, you know, we're all feminine, masculine, we all have these, 

[00:43:35] Melida: like the ying and the yang. Mm hmm. 

[00:43:37] Celia: But yeah, I think it's really beautiful to think of like, uh, creativity being, like being a vessel of creativity coming from the divine, and so whether or not you can, uh, give birth, um, Or want to.

Or want to give birth. But just being connected, like, yeah, there's more ways of magic 

[00:44:04] Melida: than, and there's more ways of being witches than. 

[00:44:08] Risa: Mm hmm. Yeah, I think having a circle of women, or a circle of, Uh, not just women people. Um, I think also helps for when we are decolonizing ourselves, you know, we can have those conversations and see each other reflected and come out of this black and white.

Mm-Hmm. . 

[00:44:31] Melida: So they dual men duality women. And we, we don't know that. Mm-Hmm. , it was imposed on us. Mm-Hmm. . 

[00:44:38] Celia: Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. 'cause when you look at babies, they're not. , they don't make that concept. They don't, they don't have that concept. Mm-Hmm. . 

[00:44:46] Risa: And so many babies are somewhere intersex. You know, we are starting to talk more about the fact that the XY chromosome and the whatever, it's, this division into two categories is also just for the simplification of, uh, western science a lot of the time.

Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . I wanted to ask more what you. We've talked about the idea of the divine. Do you have a idea, a picture of the divine? Do you relate to the idea of divinity? Do you think there's a god? What is she like? 

[00:45:24] Melida: What is she like? Um, I think there is a divine, or many divines. To start with ourselves, we are We are God, aren't we?

Maybe we are. And we project ourselves. I think because we feel Okay, when we don't think of the world as magic, we are in a very planned way of living. So then, oh, we are afraid we cannot save somebody more than us. have to help us create things. When you pass that and think more about magic, probably you are the one who are the god that you think is up there.

Or maybe it is. Right? I don't know. Sometimes you feel connected and you say yes, and sometimes you feel disconnected and you don't know. And I think it's good to have that, not to really, to To be, um, completely, yes, I believe in this, because you, you are, uh, free to have doubts as well, right? You don't have to hold yourself to it, yeah.

Um, the thing is that we were conquered and colonized by one, the conception of one God, and this God is male, right? And that passed over generations through generations to the point that you are not. Questioning that anymore. Or if you do, it's like, what's going on? Right? But, there is many people that have always questioned that.

And the, the different diva, divinity is the different gods and Goddesses that are in, in different cultures. So because the, the earth and the universe, the cosmos is so amazingly big that we have to have explanations for what's going on, right? So even the, the Astros, the sun and the moon, they are goddess and goddesses in many, many cultures, in many civilizations.

Um. Yeah, but I think, if, I think you're a god, you're a goddess, right? So if I think you and I and everybody has them, then it's mutual respect. Then it's instant love. And then we all in the same way and the same frame. And we are not, um, different from one another. Only our parts are different. But we go to the same conclusion.

So, sometimes I think that it's a god. And a goddess, I'm thinking more in a goddess than a god, because it's, it's more the worm and the femininity of the goddess. Right? So I think that it's a god, but, you know, it's, it's, the god, the goddess that brings you, Lie, but then it destroys you too. So, it's the two things.

So, um Probably it is. 

[00:48:56] Risa: I don't know. I don't know. Um, I'm not a dead monk. Um, can I ask you a follow up question and videotape the response because we were invited to do a live episode of the podcast at a uh, Gnostic Conference and they asked us to do, um, an episode on the topic of the Divine Feminine. And so we're asking all of our interviewees between now and May if they, if they will let us film them talking about what they think is the Divine Feminine or what they think about the Divine Feminine, if that means anything.

You think about it while I get ready. 

[00:49:43] Melida: Mm hmm. Well, the thing is, like, I don't know if I have the How do you say? The authority? Okay. You know, it's, it's, I think I, I, I, I have more, like, intuition. More than authority. But then I am thinking about Patrick again, right? Who Who has put that in my mind to have authority or not.

Right? Right. . So I think the feminine inside all of human beings, which is not only in the female body, but in the male body, in all the spectrum of buddies, that is that divine feminine thing. All of us. And why is feminine? Because maybe feminine is more linked to, um, love and the power of love. That's what I think.

Right? Um, maybe because it's the creation that we can create with our hands, our heart, with everything. And, um, Maybe because we refer to our Earth as Mother Earth. Because it's everything that we have. Um, so what was the question? 

[00:51:17] Risa: Um, what is the Divine Feminine? 

[00:51:21] Melida: I think it's us. We all are the Divine Feminine.

Perfect. Do you want to do one? Okay. Okay.

[00:51:38] Celia: Uh, so the Divine Feminine, um, I see Earth and humans and every living thing connected. We're all one. Uh, the trees, the water, everything. So if you take a step back and listen, Really listen. Uh, we are one. And so in being one, we tap into this higher consciousness that we're all tapped into. Uh, so we connect to that divine of unity, of one, of singularity.

And we can pull out the creativity from that, from each other, because we are all one.

So within that, We connect to it. We are the divine because we are all one. Time is not linear. Time can move backwards and forwards. And so when you look for whatever you need, it's always there. Whether it be love, or strength, or wisdom, uh, it's always there. 

[00:52:47] Melida: I just have to listen.


[00:52:57] Risa: is there anything I should have asked you?

[00:53:03] Melida: I don't think so. I don't know. 

[00:53:06] Risa: Is there any, um, Stories you can think of that your mom should have told me? 

[00:53:12] Celia: Oh my god, there's so 

[00:53:13] Melida: many. What? Um, I 

[00:53:18] Celia: guess for me, what stands out a lot, um, so when you asked her, like, if she had any role models, I would say your grandmother, because you used to tell me so many stories.

She would tell you stories, and if, when I think about someone that was your role model, it was your grandmother. Oh. Um. And then, yeah, you talked about your mom being a businesswoman, so she, she had a bunch of, uh, stores, like, uh, a convenience store, Depenars, and, uh, my mom would, like, wait and be with her mother, so your grandmother, um, and so seeing women in power, you know, like your grandmother taking care of me and your mother working, uh, I think that's a huge 

[00:54:04] Melida: thing.


[00:54:06] Celia: That's something that, yeah, it's huge. 

[00:54:08] Risa: Yeah. 

[00:54:10] Melida: Um, 

[00:54:12] Celia: I just forgot what I was going to say right after that, um, because 

[00:54:15] Melida: I realized that, that Yeah, I think my, my, one of the things that impacted me about my grandmother is that she had, um, her husband, and he had another lover. So she left him. Like, no more, no, I don't want anything.

And she, um, You know, um, have kids by herself, no help from anybody. Wow. And she said no, no to that. So I learned that a good relationship is the one that you respect yourself first. Wow. And I think that impacted me. Yeah. That she was not in need of terms to say no because you did that and that's it. Yeah, what strength.

Yeah, in that time, I got a lot of strength. Yeah. And she raised her kids by herself. Wow. And 

[00:55:09] Celia: I think another thing too is, uh, you told me that when, uh, you and Papi were to get married, uh, it was mostly just for immigration. Like, you wanted to be married before you immigrated, but also you said, when you're not tied to me.

If you want to leave, the door is always open 

[00:55:32] Melida: and you can leave. No, in the evening I get married in the church because I didn't believe in that. And, even though I was raised by that, but everybody was divorced. So I say to him, like, no, why? Do you want to leave? Do you leave? And he's like, I want to leave.

You know, and then we ask our friend just to do it by, for everyone. But no. Papers through. Hmm. But they're still married, but they're still married. , 

[00:56:03] Risa: you, my, uh, cousin and her husband promised to stay together as long as they made each other happy, and then they will part if they aren't happy anymore.

That's good. That was their, those were their only vows. . Mm-Hmm. . And they still check in every year to make sure they still wanna be together. So there's a freedom and a choice. I 

[00:56:24] Melida: think it is. It should be answered. 

[00:56:26] Risa: Yeah, instead of, uh, of fear, I guess. Yeah. I want to save this before we go, just in case. 

[00:56:41] Melida: Um,

do you 

[00:56:46] Risa: want to, do you have any last closing messages for our listeners?

[00:56:54] Melida: Well, I'm Phoebe, thank you for interviewing us. 

[00:57:01] Risa: My very much pleasure. 

[00:57:02] Melida: I think we were from one place to another because it's, it's, uh, just to talk about life. Life is so complex, right? Yeah. And we were not specific, which is good as well. Yeah. 

[00:57:15] Risa: All right. Well, we'll wrap it up because I can hear them upstairs.

They're back. Thank you so much. Thank you, too. I feel more, uh, I feel less afraid. 

[00:57:27] Celia: So, 

[00:57:27] Melida: Thanks for listening to the Missing Witches Podcast. Be sure to come back Sunday for our final Missing Witches episode of the season, where we'll hear the pros and cons of problematic powerhouse Zhuzhanna Budapest. We'll be back next Wednesday with another Witches Found, and a very special Beltane episode on May 1st.

In the meantime, be sure to like, subscribe, follow us on social media at missingwitches, and hit us up at missingwitches at gmail. com. Blessed be.

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