Like so many others, when Covid-19 hit, Sarah Malphrus found herself wondering where to go from here. Back to Baltimore was a no brainer, now that her job as a pastry chef in a bustling New York City restaurant was shuttered and showed no signs of reviving. Losing both a new home (she had just moved to NYC less than two months prior) and a passionate career? It was a lot of change in an extremely small amount of time.
A few months after struggling with the fallout, Sarah – who identifies as a witch, astrologer and practitioner of divination – began turning in earnest to the occult rituals of her twenties. After all of the upheaval the world was going through she now felt propelled by the pandemic to start the business that had been at the back of her mind for while. A collective for women to meet, grow, heal and learn – all centered around the occult and magic.
And so it was that Sarah woke up one morning in the middle of July, applied for an LCC and Foxglove Collective was born.
“It’s a Cancer,” she explained with her musical laugh, “It’s empathetic and emotional and wants to coddle everyone.”
Sitting in front of me, wearing a canary colored shirt as layers of necklaces adorn her, Sarah seems to vibrate with joyful energy when discussing what she hopes will become the go-to place for witches, both experienced and novice, to gather, find support and community.
“Baltimore has this really special connection to the occult and the spiritual world,” she states, as I automatically think of haunted bars and Edgar Allen Poe. “There’s probably a pretty subterranean witchy, metaphysical community but I’ve never really been able to find it.”
She was positive Baltimore needed a proper community space for witches to find each other and evolve together.
“Some of the witch shops, I never felt like they were particularly inviting. And I think for being a pretty fringe community, not putting out a vibe of all inclusive, is pretty detrimental. I wanted to create a space where people of all beliefs and practices and skill levels could come together and learn and heal and grow.”
Community, learning, healing and growth are the pillars of Foxglove Collective. Named after a poisonous plant her influential grandmother grew, it invokes for Sarah a feeling of looking to the lessons of your ancestors and passing this knowledge down to others. This idea has resonated with the budding community.
Foxglove Collective has gained an impressive online following in just three short months, with more members joining the online platform and coven each day. The Foxglove Collective Instagram account gives off earthy, magic vibes and is becoming a destination for all things witchy. As with all things in 2020, the collective is virtual for now, but there are a variety of services for clients of all skill and knowledge levels.
Tarot readings can be arranged to be given either through Zoom or in person, for those comfortable. Readings can be as simple as a card pulling or as deep as diving into questions that have you curious. For those that like to look to the stars, you can learn more about your sun, moon and rising signs by having you star chart pulled and analyzed.
There are online gatherings for members, which focus on the new and full moon cycles. If you’re not familiar, it involves no sacrifices, just mediation, journaling and intention making. The intimate online gatherings really are peaceful, relaxing, and grounding – as I found when I attended the New Moon in Leo Circle in August. I was told the chill and content feeling I experienced was magic. With that and the welcoming people I met, I’m eager to attend another one.
The most interesting and unique service, however, is definitely Foxglove Collective‘s Ritual Boxes which are curated by Sarah herself to help you with your magic practice. She likes to think of them as a sort of choose your own adventure with witchcraft.
Boxes are filled with crystals, spells, and other tools to help clients with their own rituals. Best of all, each is based on a questionnaire which asks about your signs, current practice and intentions. Keeping with the mission of community, all of the wares are sourced from local small businesses like Wight Tea Company, Cherry Valons Retro Designs, and members of the Foxglove Collective itself.
Proceeds from each box sold are also distributed throughout the community. Besides going to the makers featured in each ritual box, 5% of every sale goes to a Baltimore area non-profit. Donations from ritual boxes sold August through December will go to House of Ruth.
With the coming of fall, a limited edition Samhain Box will be available for presale October 1, 2020 and shipped in time to use over the Samhain weekend. (That’s Halloween weekend for those not in the witchy know just yet.) I was able to get a sneak peak and can tell you there will be exclusives not available elsewhere from Cherry Valons Retro and Sahira Apothecary among the wares. A fun Zine all about Samhain and the makers featured in the box will be tucked in as well.
The box gives off big autumn vibes, so I’m excited to see what’s in store for the Yule Ritual Box which will be available in time for the winter holidays. Those wanting to make sure they get both should look for more announcements on the Instagram page, as more details are dropping tomorrow.
As a start to the education aspect, Foxglove Collective is partnering with Coven Collective Marketplace to offer an online Spell Jar Workshop. It’s a pay what you can model making it accessible for anyone who would like to participate. Plans are in the works for other educational forums and classes, like how to decolonize your witchcraft and the problems with “smudging” and burning white sage. Sarah admits it’s a work in progress since she wants it done right.
“I’m a white woman from the South and I want to be as transparent as possible,” Sarah says as she gestures at herself, “I want to do a whole Instagram Live or Zoom on sage burning and why we shouldn’t call it smudging. But I won’t do it until I can partner with an Indigenous witch who can truly speak to it and teach it. The idea of decolonizing your witchcraft is important and we shouldn’t be continually raping the people that we stole land from by stealing their culture too.”
Her hope is to connect with witches of all different backgrounds and give them a safe, welcoming place in which to teach others who want to learn. As these connections are made, educational talks and classes will be offered throughout the year.
Ideally, as the world returns to normal, classes and gatherings will move off of the electronic world and back into the land of the walls and windows. A brick and mortar storefront will open sometime in 2021, locations are currently being scouted that meet the needs of the collective and its clients. In the end, it’s the community that really matters most.
As Sarah puts it, “Magic’s not just about getting what you want, but you can use it to help and understand others. This will help us live our best fucking lives.”
For her, magic, the occult and Foxglove Collective are all about connecting to spirituality, people and the world around you. With a little help from your witchy friends.
“Witches supporting witches,” she said to me with a mischievous grin, “2020 and beyond.”
The article, Hey Baltimore, there’s a new collective in town. was written by Elizabeth Schap and first appeared on just B more.
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