Welcome to the 3rd post in my monthly feature The Octoradiance Series. Octoradiance means “8 rays of light.” My vision is to share candid 8-question interviews with my favorite mystics, healers & creatives – the type of questions I’d ask during a heart-to-heart over a glass of something delicious.
This month I interviewed Eeden Shale, a priestex, ritual tattoo artist and musician based out of Philadelphia.
Eeden and I met through the Twittersphere and quickly formed a friendship that blossomed into an occultist’s dream collab when they helped me pick the launch date for my nail reading book with a (very successful and beautifully crafted) electional astrology reading. Eeden is also the one who wordsmithed my professional motto, “Merging cosmology with cosmetology.” And then we formed a witch’s triad with another friend to perform magic together! Just to give you some context as to why I love Eeden so much and am so delighted to share this intimate conversation with you in which we cover everything from botanical tattoo inks to shadow work to Xena Warrior Princess.
1. What is your most controversial professional opinion?
That the dark side of spirituality is NOT shadow work.
I could simplify this by saying, “most popularized spiritual teachings are propaganda,” but that wouldn’t do the question or the answer justice. It’s not just that it’s hyped up, or that witchcraft & meditation are now marketed as trendy topics. The problems are not solely concerned with profit, judgement (or lack thereof), clout, or societal control — they originate with mass manipulation beyond humanity & end with our transcendental well-being.
It’s not necessarily my first choice to be the source of unsound news, but there are endless ideas presented in this field that are rooted in insidious undertakings & I believe that masked frequency forcefulness is one of them. Nobody incarnated here is an exception to being impacted by overt, backhanded infiltration to our natural state – planet Earth has been mutated. Though, those aware of their own generative power become empowered to manage correcting the damage, even creating change in our consciousness forever.
Unfortunately we may also find endless people exploiting the idea of purity in a spiritual sense, when really to be pure here is to cleanly navigate the mud. To not be unknowingly addicted to the high of congregating and curating for dissonance.
But there is a difference between “ignorance is bliss” & living in a dystopia, influenced by unintended disruption. I’m not saying I know everything – I don’t & am very much still a student. Though, I do think that the masses need to do more research – beyond face value – to be genuinely reputable in these practices. This doesn’t come down to credentials, brands of identity & book smarts. Authenticity is defined by knowing how to integrally wield your forces and connect with the origins of your power.
It makes sense to me when educators, energy workers, or spiritualist practitioners withdraw from the public eye because the gaze can be scalding. Not just with harsh judgement or boundary violations, but with the sheer amount of soured information that gets tossed around like a joint. People are really sipping off of a metaphorical arsenic-spiked Kool Aid, convinced it’s truth because it makes them feel something.
Sensation after being numb is good, but just because it’s stimuli doesn’t mean it’s beneficial.
My message to those who feel uncomfortable reading this is: take several steps back from following any line of thought that discourages discerning those sensations in the first place. There is a fine line between sensuality & intuition, and sensationalism & indoctrination.
I feel a collective need to constantly re-evaluate our ideas on sovereignty. There’s a vastness out there of etheric doctrine that needs to be grounded into the realms we walk. Are you prepared to turn spirituality into its modern form: altruistic activism? These needs are relevant to several avenues, namely: for sacred geometry uses, the tattooing & Reiki communities, as well as many wellness extremists.
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2. How did you get into your line of work?
It was a snowball of a light that shined through survival, which I would call Creativity.
In my teens I had already been in fine art trainings for a few years, though meanwhile was confronting serious depression. Living in an abusive environment was a harsh reality that only painting provided solace from. Music became a complement to the artistry, & from there I was seeded into the world of punk rock.
Scratchy riffs, edgy art & eclectic expressions of appearance all became central to my release of the pressure. They allowed me to find identity outside of the hell I was in, which ironically included an intense amount of New Age bypassing.
Tattoos, piercings & elation of natural “shadow” walk in, stage left. This is where my point of view began to present a fresh take – where I could control my body as well as my pain factor. For someone who had felt absolutely helpless & divided, that was a milestone to understanding the truth of human wholeness.
As I drove home my determination of adventure & rebellion, the abstractions to differ me from my peers grew deeper. I started homeschooling simultaneously as I began knowingly practicing witchcraft, so was in full Hermit-card-mode constantly. The first cognizant candle spell I did (my first rodeo was more like a second grade seance) had actually been a healing spell for my high school sweetheart’s mother, who had said some awfully mean things about me. It felt like retribution, to live by candlelight & whispered sacred words, like poetry to my blood. From youth, I had felt unmistakably connected to my Druidic ancestry, so reawakening to that was a bridge of passage.
At sixteen, I began tattooing, a self-taught transition from my practice in pointillism illustration. Much of my “medical expertise” had come from the previous years of self destruction, where I learned how to care for a wound.
The moment my needle hit skin was probably the first time in this life I really, truly understood love that transcended physicality. Such a sensation was a homecoming, despite being told by most studios that my work was not able to compose well on skin (to which my inner teenager unabashedly says, SUCK IT). Shortly thereafter, at 17 I dropped out of my early-entry, double-majored college classes to pursue body modification as a career.
So long academic prodigy, hello the dark wilderness of the modern day tattoo industry! I was then, & still am, determined to persist in dismantling the neglectful factors which permeate that scene.
Only months later I received an intense awakening while working as an art teacher in a summer camp. This would be what some describe as a “contactee” experience — I see it as the moment I was able to really commit to life again. I’d been broken-hearted in what I’d seen in the tattoo industry so speedily, and at home was under duress to live with my abuser. The art teacher gig allowed me to live elsewhere as a minor, hence the ability to once again breathe.
After the awakening, nothing was the same: how I tattooed, how I recovered, what I saw in my Earthen participation.
Here on out, it’s been a whirlwind of lived cycles, and I learn more about this craft all the time. If you told my ten year old outer-space-loving, Green Day obsessed self I would be working as a tattoo ritualist? As a healer? A ground shaker? I’m not sure what little me would say, but I would definitely tell them that my first true love shall be found within ink.
3. What are you obsessed with right now?
Xena: Warrior Princess! I’ve been watching the series as means to reflect on my own “battles,” & show a powerful femme warrior archetype to my inner child. A passion of mine is finding means for spiritual observation through modern media or technology. There’s often bits of soft disclosure or references to the collective unconscious I’m always intrigued to find or feel relevant in life.
For example, one episode (no spoilers, don’t worry) depicts a god being made mortal, which causes mortals familiar with properly channeling anger to become more focused. Meanwhile, those who are normally calm become abnormally argumentative.
I’m seeing a similar pattern in the world with what is now considered an epidemic unfurling. Those who have understood what’s at stake – physically, politically, spiritually – are more prepared, even if mostly mentally.
We are resourceful in the chaos, finding the right tools of restoration. The writer in me feels a heart full, with artistically living these moral & character developments. Taking this time to explore a TV series is really reminding me of the joy in a good story.
4. What is the theme of your 2020?
I’ve spent so much time grinding, organizing, curating, & generally tending to my businesses or community. Truthfully, it’s grown tiring to be constantly commanding myself to live up to something so I can show up. What timing, now that we’re seeing an utter shift of economy, rest & “productivity” concepts in wellness or workforce.
I would much rather stand in my experience of existence, now that I know what matters most to me, & allow what must be built upon to present itself at will. In this way, I’m reclaiming my peace, my boundaries, my mental health, survivorship, & professional life as I’m not focused on being everything all of the time. I can simply be where I am at, with the tools that are given & the opportunity to go from there in my hands.
5. You are an advocate of working with nontoxic tattoo ink in your ritual stick n poke practice, Sacred Pokes. Why do you work with an alternative?
Yes! It’s a delight to talk about this, because I feel so enlivened about reconnecting the natural art of body ornamentation to our Earthen origins.
To begin with, many manufactured tattoo inks are completely unregulated & often go through periods of mass recall when they’re later found to contain carcinogens. There are indeed reliable ink brands out there, though even name brand ones are susceptible to these stages of needing to be taken off the shelves. I, too, have needed to reformulate time & time again. That’s certainly my perfectionist quality coming out so it makes sense to me why others change through stages too.
At present I am gestating a fresh approach as my relationship to the herbs & elements has rewired. Initially Sacred Pokes had been creating more of a charcoal-clay infusion, though lately my heart says that a pigmented herbal tincture better suits the stage my practice is at. This inclination really reflects the fact that herbalism as a subgenre of alchemy has genuinely changed my life, the deeper I’ve explored it – delving through trauma with applicable tools similarly to how handpoking does.
Though that’s where I’m at now; the reason I started making inks is the same. The immediate impulse when coming across something that could be potentially detrimental is to seek a solution. In terms of tattoo ink, I looked to traditional formulations, then applied the inspiration of my mentors & knowledge from alternative medicine.
There’s more to the science of it like I’ve written about, though at the end of the day these are still aspects of ritual technology. The techniques are meant to be molded for the best of the wearer, across all dimensions, starting with the physical. After receiving a tattoo, the energy is imprinted upon your etheric body, too! Why not use material that is more biologically engaged in that anatomy-to-spirit translation?
Read more of Eeden’s thoughts ink safety here.
6. You mentioned being of Druidic ancestry. Are there any books, role models or resources you can recommend for folks wishing to learn more about the Druids?
As great as it would be to give you a single, straightforward answer…this question begs context. Which, there is VERY little of on the Druidic nation, given that their texts or oral customs were destroyed or documented in slander.
Remember that Rome captured their land & dispersed their people into cultural submission, putting it lightly. Those are the records of the Druidic order still given scholarly focus to this day – false claims of violent sacrifice clouded historical value, until debunked. This was the Roman method of assuring division in captured populations, rather than resistance: see that their future be erased.
It is with this understanding that one must index information out there – which may be useful or fraudulent – with one’s inner knowing. The cells of the body will not forget who we are, or what happened to our people, even if our minds have. Our ancestors were buried face down to prevent their stories from continuing – we must make it a point to listen to them.
The Celts, Welsh & Gaels were the direct descendants of the Druids. So were the Picts; Sacred Pokes did a peculiar study on their society for Samhain, featuring an essay and 2-song release. It’s worth acknowledging that these are only the confirmed genetic links to the Druid order; however as a partially nomadic people they probably distributed their makeup farther than this. Their systems of travel were well oiled & spanned continents. Meanwhile, Druidry is considered both a lineage & a way of life. They are not mutually exclusive, as this gnosis of eco-synthesis is inherent to human divinity in whole.
So for starters, there’s a lot of male arrogance in the neo-Druidism network, which I think is a survival mechanism against subconscious trauma. Having our matriarchal elders slashed created a savior-victim complex interplaying with revitalists, yet it muddies the waters of research. It’s become a contest of “Who’s the Real Last Druid Alive.” Eye roll.
That being said, definitely do as much reading as you can find – but you’re your own best guide in this. Spirit will walk you through remembrance when you trust.
I’ll start you off here though: The Druids had three main orders; their namesake in charge of law or philosophy, the Ovates as healer-prophets, & Bards as historian storytellers who opened portals with their vocal chords.
A reading resource I recommend sampling is the Thulea, but tread lightly because the delivery can be a bit brash – recall my comment about the patriarchy?
Video resources or role models include Liz Williams & Ben McBrady. Liz is a content creator who I feel speaks very earnestly to our craft & materials. She embodies the essence of a Druidic matriarch with grace – tenderly organic leadership. Ben is an elder practitioner from one of the last continued ancient orders. As mentioned how ancestry isn’t always the final factor, this individual was inducted as a Druid from outside of the bloodline. I think he’s a particularly fascinating example, because he also has Roman ancestors who identified with the Druidic nation.
In my opinion, resources are the prerequisite & actualizing with discernment is the kicker. One can know the book but not the breath. We’re always learning, while the best teacher is life itself. The plants. Animals. Circumstances. Primal fields of consciousness. At the core we uncover a ceremonial science interwoven with daily living.
7. Can you share about your current projects and offerings that you’re excited about?
With pleasure. Right now, I’ve been working on merging many of my projects into a more refined path. Some may know one of my projects but not another; these past years have been spent with my hands in several crafts!
I’ve just begun a Twitch channel to share online art classes, which focus around expanding emotional expression & consciousness creatively. This is something that’s especially exciting to my ever-evolving way of engaging networks. As of now I intermittently air free or by donation versions of my workshop, Art With Intent: an integrative painting immersion, Bob Ross style. My hope is to keep unfurling talks, panels & connectivity there, interweaving art with activism.
On Patreon I have begun sharing geomagnetic storm information as well, since there’s few sources that compile our cosmic weather into cohesion. They impact us so thoroughly, especially as our evolution accelerates – people would be surprised to see how often they align with what’s called ascension symptoms.
Other content I’m sharing on Patreon include meditations around energy alignment & writing regarding the Priestexx path. Gender inclusivity amongst spirituality is incredibly important to me. These opinions mirror my desire to disperse information that has been withheld for so long. This is partially why not all of my content there is Patron-only — some works are simply free.
Ultimately what I share on Patreon is a tribute to what I vet out, real-time, in the esoteric context. A major focus of this is reconstituting sacred geometry, as many mainstream presentations of the formulas are totally perverted. The importance of calibrating these corrected coordinates rests within our cellular crystallization processes – the “firming” of our embodied awareness on this plane.
Lastly, what I’m offering to uplift the collective is an Initiate opportunity. These years, I’ve worked one on one with folks to help guide & birth their path onto fresh horizons. Increasingly, the understanding of a need to adapt to each person has been applied, the Initiates attest to that affirmatively. I connect with each one where they are in their journey & develop a course structure around the most relevant studies. Obviously this changes as we grow.
So art plus esoterica coaching has been my passion project, & every new person teaches me something too. It’s really beautiful to see how folks are able to open up when worlds of creativity are combined with our multidimensionality. For those called, you can find the Initiate tier on my Patreon for a very modest mentorship rate, essentially more cost effective as a one-off remote session with me.
Connect on Patreon.
Oh, and my band Knife Friend just put out a single! We’re about to release an EP as well. So for my friends who dig folky punk or post hardcore, we made some songs for you. Check them out here.
8. We are in the midst of a historical, paradigm-altering global event and despite our best research and predictions, nobody really knows what is about to happen next.
As a witch and poet, if you had to pick one mantra or verse to serve as an empowering grounding frequency in these mysterious times, what would that be?
One?! What! Why? Okay, I’m going to play this game but not at the expense of literally only choosing one. So I’ll give you one thing I said & one thing somebody else said. This whole interview could be a continuous poem so I call, it counts!
“Each person would be uplifted
via the virtue of sharing &
the ecosystem of
Singular yet sincere. I believe togetherness will save us. Intimacy is in the prophecy, of stating sovereign consent to grow in unison.
Now for what somebody else said. I’ll depart with a lyric by the legendary spoken words from La Dispute, said seamlessly for itself:
“We are but lovers,
We are the last of our kind.
And if we let our hearts move outward,
We will never die.”
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