Heddy Johannesen Halifax-based writer
Lady Spiderwitch is a freelance writer and Witch. She was always interested in the occult since a young age. When she moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, she had an experience that would lead her to her witchcraft path forever.
She predicted that her brother’s best friend was seriously ill, without knowing how she knew what she knew. This started her on her path of magick and witchcraft.
She was at home one night with her family when she was overcome by powerful emotions. She had the intense feeling of something strongly kicking her in the stomach, like a quarterback kicking a football across a field. She felt intense pain and had a vision of Thompson, her brother’s friend, bent over in pain and surrounded by a red and orange glow or light. She then had an extremely strong sense that he was in deep trouble. She knew with absolute certainty Thompson was sick without knowing how she knew what she knew. 15 minutes later, Thompson arrived sick and in pain, as she had envisioned him to be. His kidneys had failed him. His father would not take him to the hospital but his mother came and the four of them, (Mom, Jesse, Thompson and his mother) all went to the hospital together. She now knows it was intuition and spirit telling her what she had to know. She was feeling the pain that Thompson was experiencing as he approached the house where she lived with her family.
She has been very intuitive ever since. She studied every class at Little Mysteries, the local bookstore for Witches in the community when the store was open, including tarot, runes, crystals and chakras. She read several books and studied to become a Witch on her own. She was mentored for a short time by a friend and local Witch. She studied Spiritual and Psychic Development with Willow taught and offered by the Spiritual Science Fellowship. She studied Astrology Level One with Wynne Jordan, a renowned astrologer. She studied Psychic Protection with Angela Jeffreys.
She offered intuitive readings after graduating successfully from the intensive eighteen-week course. She attended several psychic fairs and continues to develop her clairvoyant abilities. She also offers readings from her home for querents.
Spiderwitch expanded in her study of the spirit world. She developed her natural clairvoyant abilities to see the dead. She learned the ghost history of her beloved home town and went on the ghost tours. She shares her knowledge with others who are interested or need help with magick spells. She keeps two blogs where she shares her knowledge.
When her aunt passed, she sensed a presence behind her that night. When her grandfather passed, she sensed he was at peace. When her father passed, even though the caller was 10000s of miles away and she never knew him, she knew what the caller would tell her mother who was on the phone with him. She has sensed presences at the Five Fishermen Restaurant and at the Citadel Hill Ghost Tour.
She writes for a few Pagan publications such as Circle Magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer pagan Ezine, Crone Newsletter Ezine, Naming the Goddess, Paganism 101 and the upcoming devotional anthology to Bast: Queen of the Sky who Rules over all the Gods. Her work also appeared in the recent publication titled Healing Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide to Identifying, Foraging and Using Medicinal Plants.
She grows a herb garden, uses herbs in her magickal workings, and is currently completing a personal Herbal. She continues to practice her craft, write, and work on her herb garden, guided by her familiars. She has studied herbs and makes herb potions, oils, candles and tinctures for her personal use and for others. She has experienced significant encounters with animals and birds such as the time when crows warned her of a death, been visited by her pet guinea pig’s spirits after they died, and has a natural affinity with animals. She currently has two pet familiars Magic, a guinea pig, and Penny, a Norwegian Forest Cat.
She is an experienced seamstress and has sewn her own costumes, altar cloths, and cloaks. She teaches candle making and writes on her blogs. She is currently at work on her first paranormal novel. She attends local public rituals offered by the local pagan community and ESSNS. Spiderwitch has a passion for Celtic mythology and has enjoyed learning about the gods and goddesses of Celtic legend, myth and lore. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter- @magicka66. She lives in Halifax.
THE NOVA SCOTIAN BOOKS SUNDAY SEPT. 24, 2006 GEORGE ELLIOTT CLARKE’S REVIEW OF MY BOOK OF POETRY, METAMORPHOSIS
Heddy M Johannesen’s first poetry text is Metamorphosis, a self-published work, (for copies, contact email@example.com). A Haligonian freelance writer, Johannesen’s approach to verse is spontaneous as Davies is deliberate.
Both writers exhibit the ideal qualities of contemporary East Coast poetry: vernacular freshness plus sculpted articulation.
Johannesen’s Metamorphosis is slimmer and simpler than Davies’ work, for it is an amateur’s artless art. Her lyricism is, frankly, reckless, but beauty is wreaked, nevertheless.
Flight of the Butterfly tells us, sprightly, “Hope is the hue / of my monarch’s wings / in flight. / A silken angel lingers / on perfumed heavenly / petals.” Then, the clichés begin: “gossamer wings,” “lightness of a breeze” and “sips ambrosia”.
Despite an anachronistic term, the poem ends with a sign of poetic promise: “Alas, I dreamed my wings / were held in your / hands. / / you were here, forever. “ Suddenly, the butterfly is no longer an abstract symbol, but the embodiment of a dashed love.
Johannesen’s temptation is to turn things into symbols: a difficult act for even long-practiced poets. But she wins some success where her diction is tactile: “Eros / I want to be a black mare / trot over sandy beaches / feel your dark glistening coat. // I want…/ your eyes (to) peel to my soul…”
With its realized (not only imagined) details, The Wet Poem demonstrates Johannesen’s clear talent: “A blues song plays / faintly / on the radio, / shaking / desk, / my nose is so / stuffed up, / like a false gift / filled with Kleenex, / crinkling, my / head is so pounding. “
Metamorphosis has many such moments, and it is really splendid when verbs are fresh and nouns are firm: “Under leaves crown a massive / ample tree, leaves trickle / to gray earth…”
Johannesen’s book marks the arrival of a gifted voice. Welcome her “rage at bare pages.” (End of article)
This issue, we sit down with the prolific and talented Lady Spiderwitch. Here, she discusses Celtic Faerie witchcraft, the state of Paganism in Canada, and her first poetry collection, Metamorphosis.
Eternal Haunted Summer: If you could correct one common misconception about modern Paganism, what would it be?
Lady Spiderwitch: The one common misconception about Paganism I would correct is that we don’t sacrifice animals, we don’t drink blood, and we deserve just as much respect as anyone else.
EHS: How do you describe your personal spiritual path?
LS: I’m a practitioner of Celtic Faerie kitchen witchery. I do a lot of magick working with herbs and flowers from my garden. I concoct potions, candles, brews, and spells. I work with the Sabbats and seasons, lunar phases. I work with faeries and then it’s easy to explain why objects get moved in my place without me moving them. This Samhain, I made an offering of milk and honey to the faeries in my garden. The Spiritual Science Fellowship trained me in the Spiritual and Psychic Development course, an eighteen-week intense Mediumship course. I also studied astrology with world-renowned astrologer Wynne Jordan, level 1. I attended a wonderful herb workshop with the local Herbalists Association of Nova Scotia the other night with a friend. I drank my first and only ever herbal tea of sage, mugwort, rosemary and thyme tea with mistletoe tincture there.
EHS: How did you come to the magical name of Lady Spiderwitch?
LS: My sister mentioned Spiderwitch as something for me to be for Halloween once years ago and it stuck. I like it. I like spiders and spiders are always around me. So are crows and cats.
EHS: What is it like being a Pagan in Canada? Is there an active community? How accepting of Paganism is the larger society?
LS: I live in an area where we have a strong pagan presence. We celebrated Samhain publicly and there was a great turnout. There are a few awesome metaphysical shops where I live, too. The acceptance is coming slowly, seeing as Time magazine just accused witches of being terrorists. But we are gaining some slow acceptance here. More ‘muggles’ are attending the psychic fairs. The only way to know if there’s a community here is to be involved in it. The coven I’m in, Earth Spirit Society of Nova Scotia, was a presenter at World Religion Day in January 2013. This is how it went:
“As it turned out, our first presentation was not at WRD, but rather at the Festival of Lights, held at Mount Saint Vincent University, the previous month. Festival of Lights is an annual, multi-faith celebration of the winter solstice. This presentation was also well accepted. Although there was press at WRD, there were no public commentaries on the presence of a Pagan group. In fact, except for positive feedback, there was no response at all, beyond a single incident of someone, for some reason, having difficulty with a Discordian pamphlet from our display and this was resolved with a letter of explanation. Pagans are stepping into the light and finding casual acceptance after five years of work to make it happen. Pagan Presence originated with a single purpose: involvement in World Religion Day. Today, Pagan Presence is ongoing, with the purpose of Pagan representation at multi-faith public celebrations.”
(Quote from the Earth Spirit Society of Nova Scotia website: http://essns.org/wrd.html.
EHS: Is it true that you do your writing in a haunted attic? Haunted by whom?
LS: I used to write in a haunted attic when I lived in an old Victorian house with my mother. An elderly lady haunted our house, waiting for someone to return who never would. I suspect the home I live in now may be haunted. Something has to explain objects moving on their own and all the noises and the tingling on the back of my neck at night in the washroom. I am very clairvoyant. We have a saying here: For every wave that washes in, there’s a ghost story. We live in a place where it is accepted to be dining in a haunted restaurant. I dined at the famous Five Fishermen restaurant, known for its ghosts. The building has residual energy in it and a high turnover rate — the employees quit if they see cutlery flying off the dining tables. The building was a schoolhouse in 1817 and then Anna Leonowen’s art school, then the Snow family bought the building and turned it into a morgue when the Titanic sank in April 1912. In 1975, it became a restaurant and still is –and apparently, still haunted.
EHS: What kind of research goes into your writing? Is your desk covered in books?
LS: I do lots of research that would serve the writing I do. Yes, my desk, my bookcases, and on occasion, my floors and bed get covered in books. I have an organization system, but it gets out of hand occasionally. I enjoy doing research on actual haunting, lore, myths, folklore, and Pagan publications. I also read widely about mythological creatures, the pantheon of different gods and goddesses. Celtic mythology is my passion. I’m trying now to find more information about the Vikings.
EHS: You have been published in a wide variety of venues, from Essential Herbal to Circle Magazine to Crone. Which was your first? Of which are you most proud?
LS: The ones I’m most proud of are my article “The Clay Goddess,” about my matron deity Brighid; and my contribution to the book Naming the Goddess that Moon Books just released. My two articles were published in Circle Magazine in their summer 2011 issue. That was my first pagan writing in a pagan publication.
EHS: A few years ago you published your first collection, Metamorphosis: A Poet’s Symmetry. How did you decide which poems to include in the anthology?
LS: That was hard. I decided to just go with the strongest poems. I organized them into lighter and darker poems. Light and dark in tone.
EHS: Which poem in Metamorphosis was the most difficult to write? Which was the most deeply personal?
LS: I think “Ode to a Rose” was the hardest, because I tried to write an actual ode about a rose. I think the “Frightening Spirit’s Dance” was the most personal, because I was head over heels in love with someone then.
EHS: Where can curious readers find Metamorphosis? Will there be a second volume?
LS: Unfortunately, there aren’t any copies left. Sorry! However, I have been thinking about a second volume.
EHS: What are some of your favorite books about witches and witchcraft? Any particular titles that you recommend?
LS: I like Scott Cunningham’s books, Ravenwolf’s books, Arin Murphy Hiscock’s books, and I read about any book about witches and witchcraft I can get a hold of. Reading widely gives me a broader understanding of what is involved in witchcraft. About recommending a title, it depends on what the person is looking for, but I like Deborah Blake’s books. She is fun to read and comprehensive.
EHS: Which book fairs, conventions, or other events will you be attending in the foreseeable future?
LS: We hold an annual Word on the Street book fair here every September, and I attend many book launches and readings by my favorite fellow authors. There is a stronger market though for Pagan publications in the US, and Europe.
EHS: What other projects are you working on?
LS: The other projects I am working on are my supernatural novel and my blogs and maybe a second poetry volume. More writing for Eternal Haunted Summer. I am also hoping to complete an ebook about herbs this winter.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of EHS.]
Suzanne sent you a message. Testimonial
Subject: chalice – article in circle
Merry meet Heddy – I just picked up my copy of Circle from our local Chapters – and I was immediately drawn to your work on the Chalice… so insightful and just a lovely read.
My husband and I are planning to move East within the next 3 years – retirement from the 9-5 is looming large! and we are so excited! We both have family in NS so that seems to be the place that is calling us – I have lived there for a number of years with my ex-husband and moved back to TO in 1999, but always felt the Gods would lead me back..even though I am a Toronto girl – just seems like home!
It would be delightful to meet one day, should you still be living there and I would consider it a treat to chat…
anyway, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the work and was very excited that it was you~!
Goddess bless my sister of the Ages – blessings and abundance to you as we celebrate the Harvest Full Moon !
Isn’t She just glorious??
Brightest blessings of Avalon
As an urban herbie, I cannot thank you enough for the Essential Herbal. It transports me immediately from the concrete jungle of New York City to the quintessential comforts of the natural world. Yesterday I was riding home on the subway, and I nearly sank into the gorgeous green pages of the latest EH. I tell you, Tina, I was practically salivating as I read the Cranberry Tea recipe, and I could actually smell the scented pinecones article! It was truly magical! I could not believe how excited I was getting over a bunch of recipes, but the candor of your writers – you included – makes reading The Essential Herbal a standout specialty. Keep it coming!
Edit Red Comments:
Oh man… I’m a big fan of “awakening” imagery and the rising of the sun always gets me. This poem reminds me of waking up before work and getting to see the sun warming everything I can see all around me. I know that’s a bland sounding experience, but every morning it feels new… well done!
Under a blood moon
I love it! Beautifully written! l
I like this poem, its an excellent piece of work.
Chapter One Ghost of Ravens Cove – Critique
Critiquer: Charliebe1 · Submitted: Today at 16:36
Wow! What a great revision. Your story has improved immensely. I commend you for re-writing your story instead of giving up on it. I took the time to read others critiques (as I often do to make sure I am on base with my critiques) and you seemed to take everyone’s suggestions and comments to heart. Since I already read the previous draft I feel I might be of better help with a classic critique than an inline- I’ll leave the inline to first time readers.
Setting: Awesome scene! I still love the creepy house. Some people may think it’s a cliché but creepy houses are always good, scary reads. You set the place up well. I like the winter scene and the bits of information about the MC being cold. And the basement! Very interesting… I wonder what’s down there?!?
Characters: Rosemary is great. She’s a witch and an artist and has a great cat! Nice makings for a horror story. I think you improved on your emotions with her. She seems MUCH more real. The smoking bothers me a little, I’ve never been into characters who smoke, but that’s personal opinion. I just wanted to note it because there are a lot people who are bothered by smoking these days and it is something to take into consideration. As far as Simba goes, I think he’s a nice touch to the story. The cat seems to have a lot of life and you have taken the time to get to know Simba as you would Rosemary.
Flow of Actions: Much, much improved! Things connect a lot better and one-action streams to the next without rocky hesitations. I read right through it easily.
Dialog: Dialog is just ok for me. I think you have strong points in setting and knowing your characters, but dialog could be improved. It is a bit choppy. Where the actions flow so smoothly, I feel the dialog jumps around a bit. With that said, Rosemary’s dialog with Simba is excellent. It’s nicely placed and sounds appropriate and flows effortlessly. It’s the phone call and the talk with the lady that I feel could have some more time spend on.
Plot: I like the plot. I find it interesting and it makes me want to know what’s going to happen. Again, the basement part is great. Your storyline really feels like you know where you are going with it and what you want to convey to the reader. I think this is another one of your strengths.
Scary Factor: There are parts in your story that I do feel are scary. It’s suspenseful and you did really well with the scary factor.
All in all, you did really great job with this story and the revision. I know you’ll have wonderful success with it after all the hard work you’ve displayed with the revision. Any story that an author puts her heart into is a great one- and you definitely got a great one!
Best of Luck in future writings!
Merry Meet All,
Today I had the honor of being interviewed by a friend who is also an author. The interview is on his blog site at http://www.dawsonwalton.wordpress.com.
I am posting it here so people can read it on this blog, as well, if they would like. I was happy and honored to be interviewed about my writing. I hope you enjoy reading this interview.
This interview is with Heddy Johannesen, an up and coming writer.
“So Heddy, tell us about yourself, what do you write?
I like to write nonfiction and fiction. I like to write poetry, but I feel my success lies in nonfiction and fiction. I am currently at work on my second novel. I have over twenty magazine articles published and have been published in anthologies, Ezines, and they were mostly nonfiction.
What has been your proudest moment as a writer?
I can’t say specifically which one was my proudest moment as a writer. I have a few, the best one being when I published my book of poetry, Metamorphosis, and the success that came with it. The book is in the U.S., the UK. And George Elliott Clarke reviewed my book in the Chronicle Herald. My other proudest moment was when I reached 13,000 total page views of my blog. I loved it that people enjoyed reading my blog that much. My blog is about finding the sacred in the mundane and how to live more spiritually. I think that in today’s crazed, rat race world, there is a cry for something meaningful and people have found that in my blog.
What would you like to see happen in the future with your writing?
I would like to publish my ghost story, because it is personal to me on a few levels. I learned about my family history as I researched it and it has challenged me from the beginning. I feel like I am sharing something personal with readers, and I hope that they get that sense if they read it. I am also a medium and I once lived in a house that seemed haunted, and I tried to put that experience in the story. How it felt. I remember nights when I laid still, every hair on end, listening to sounds in the house when I knew people were asleep. I am a witch too. The paranormal is a popular topic in books today, like Twilight and Harry Potter. There is a demand for paranormal books right now. I love being challenged.
Besides writing, what are you most passionate about?
Writing about witchcraft comes naturally to me. I have several magazine articles published in Wiccan/Pagan magazines that reflect the content of my blog. The topics ranged from history of pagan bonfires to herb magic to how I honor my chosen deity. I have magazine articles published on health and well-being too, with a spiritual focus.
Besides my writing, I am passionate about my garden and of course, my pet cat Shadow and the environment as well.
If you could give a new writer advice, what would it be?
If I could give a new writer advice, it would be to read everything under the stars, read widely in your chosen genre, never say no to an opportunity, and practice, and practice your writing and always try to be the best you can be. I try to be positive and pour myself into everything I do. Drink lots of coffee. Be open to constructive criticism about your writing. Be flexible. Support the writers around you in your community and they will support you too. Join a critique group.
Where can people find your work?
I am included in the Salt Lines anthology, and my book of poetry, Metamorphosis, can be found at Bookmark on Spring Garden Road.
My blog can be found at http://lady-spiderwitch.blogspot.com and I can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
On a personal note, I have read excerpts of Heddy’s upcoming book and all I can say is Wow I can’t wait to read it in its’ entirety.”
Thanks are in order for Author Dawson Walton for interviewing me. The link to his blog is posted at the top of the page. Feel free to browse and read about it.