When I came across Sabrina Scott’s work, I felt like a soft guiding light came on inside my body.
An artist, illustrator, tarot reader and witch, Sabrina’s magic centres on body-wisdom, liberation, mediumship and the relation between seen and unseen, the energy of bodies in communion. (Regular LRT readers may already be a little weary of me banging on about their a-mazing graphic novel/poem/autoethnography/song of connected, earth-based magic, but heck, have some more: Witchbody is incredible.)
Encountering Witchbody led me naturally to reach out to Sabrina with words of gratitude and appreciation. And that led to an offer of space to promote the book. And that let to the proposal of a whole new column on radical healing and magic! Don’t you just love it when that happens?
Sabrina’s new column, Heal & Harm, is a personal/political exploration of how magic and ritual can aid healing, particularly from trauma. In the interview below, Sabrina introduces themself and their column. Please join me in welcoming Sabrina to the blog by leaving a note in the comments below!
Hi Sabrina! It’s so great to meet you and have you here with us! Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! I’m Sabrina (they/them/she/her). I live in Toronto, Canada, and I love to do a lot of things. Most of my time is spent working! I read tarot professionally, but I’m also a professional illustrator and graphic novelist. I teach design at a university, and I also teach workshops on magic and witchcraft. I’m currently working on my second graphic novel (slowly but surely), and I’m also halfway through my PhD in Science and Technology Studies – what I see as a kinda history and philosophy of knowledge thing.
On the corny side of things, I really love spending time on the beach, and I come alive under the sunshine. I am basically a plant and a total summer baby even though I was born in December; typical Sagittarius. When I have free time and I wanna relax I also love going out dancing, staying low-key with a few cocktails, and borrowing friends’ bathtubs to lie around in because I don’t have one of my own. Truthfully though I’m a bit of a chilled out homebody and don’t go out much – but when I do watch out, I never think I’m gonna go hard but it somehow always ends up happening. I spend most of my time reading and writing and thinking really hard, and trying to pay attention to the energy and feelings of my body and the place(s) I move through and with. This may sound silly but one of my most joyful ways to wake up is spooning of my three cats, listening to their breath and heartbeat as they sprawl out beside me. I like drinking coffee and walking in the rain.
What role does tarot, magic and/or ritual play in your life?
Magic is the most important part of my life. It’s a foundational, crucial building block for me, and the realities of magic and witchcraft form the basis of my ontology. All that I do is magic informed – buying groceries, walking down the street, teaching a university class or little dingy spiritual workshop. My experiences with magic and witchcraft shift my direction and my orientation, at all times. My system of practice is a bit animistic, mediumistic, and intuitive, and I regularly commune with non-human bodies even outside of ritual. Ritual and daily life are not so separate for me!
I’ve been actively engaged in both magic and tarot for about twenty years. I see the tarot as a way of tapping into energies that are always swirling around us, and making these voices a bit more visible. As an artist and illustrator, and a deeply visual thinker in general, I particularly love the tarot as a divinatory tool. It’s the one that resonates with me the most, and I think taught me a lot about illustration back before I even knew what illustration was. Illustration is different from fine art in a lot of ways, but one key way is that it’s distinctly about efficacy and clarity in communication. A well illustrated tarot deck is able to do this: communicate the jist of the card’s meaning even to a novice at first glance. I do read cards professionally, and I don’t like to be prescriptive or determinative with my clients. We look at the energy and we see what different courses of action may reveal, make possible, or close off. I have different relationships with different decks and see them like I do many different friends – each with their own personality and distinct form of insight. I hope to make my own deck one day!
So, can you tell us a bit about your column and what you’re hoping to bring to our community?
My new column is called Heal & Harm. Here’s the little blurb I made up for it: “Heal & Harm is a new no-bullshit column released every two weeks to honour the full and new moons, affirming the old as hell phrase ‘a witch who can’t harm can’t heal’ and oscillating between summoning good vibes and releasing pain.”
A big part of my motivation for writing the column is to get my thoughts out there with more frequency! I’m a bit of a book-based writer, and that can mean that people won’t see anything new from me over a period of years. The fact of the matter is, though, I’m always moving and thinking, and reflecting on how to work with magic in ways that summon and release, particularly in response to some of the current political climate(s) around trauma, violence, and assault, particularly as it relates to gender(s), queerness, activism(s), communities, and individual healing processes. I am deeply skeptical of the word ‘healing,’ and I am also incredibly aware of how the word ‘healing’ gets thrown around as a quick-fix quick-pill to swallow in a lot of new age spheres, and also how this tends to influence practitioners’ perception(s) of magic and how it works, particularly newer practitioners. I have received so many messages from new practitioners, people who are interested and dabbling, who may want to change their life, who may be isolated, who may be dealing with trauma, who may be desperate for change. My book is really just one place to start and it’s more philosophical than based on how-to practical and pragmatic advice, and so part of my motivation for doing this column is to bring some no bullshit practicality to discussions of magic and how to do it.
I think a lot of writing for beginners can be pretty shit. I’ve read a lot of practitioner-based books, as well as academic histories and anthropological studies, so in my writing I bring with me the benefit of practicing witchcraft for about twenty years, but also having read the academic texts with the requisite disciplinary lens to get something concrete out of it. So I have a bit of an interdisciplinary perspective, both practical in the get-your-hands-dirty sense of things, but also highly academically informed in a lot of different ways. I wish to bring a deep understanding of these academic pieces, but also a lived expertise in the mechanics and techniques of magic and energy work.
Basically I’m a weirdo and excited to connect with the Little Red Tarot community! I am a non-binary, queer, disabled human and I bring a lot of that intersectional perspective to what I do. Since so many writers in the LRT community are also thinking holistically and activistically, I feel like it is a good home for me!
Whoop! If you’re as into this as I am, please welcome Sabrina in the comments box below!