Jackie lives down in Devon, and so for this shoot it was a case of travelling down to Devon for a few hours and then returning back to Cheltenham that afternoon/evening. This project has really allowed me to travel around Southern part of the country, I can’t deny that. Jackie is a Witch, but beyond that is also a writer, poet, artist, performer, singer, tarot reader, comedian and celebrant. She runs workshops and women’s weekends and also does Shamanic journeying. A woman of many talents. I suppose for me the main focus is that she is a Witch, but all of the other things come into it and are very important.
Jackie lives in a town in Dartmoor, her home is tucked away down a little alley that you wouldn’t notice just walking down the street. She welcomed me in and immediately started burning her own creation of incense that she said was for inspiration, to help with my shoot and interview.
How would you describe yourself and your beliefs?
I would label myself as a Witch, but that to me is also like a Shaman. I would never call myself a Shaman, but I feel like a Witch is like a Shaman of these lands. So what Witches do, you can ask a hundred Witches what they do, and you might get a hundred different answers. But that to me encompasses so many different things, spiritually, practically, emotionally.
How did you first find this path?
As a child I had lots of psychic stuff happen to me, I had information from people who had died, there was a lot of medium ship things going on, which was really out of kilter for someone who was growing up in Birmingham, with nobody to guide me or say its okay. Everybody kind of, wasn’t very supportive. So that was always going on, and then I stumbled across the tarot when I was about 15 or 16, and that really helped. It helped in so many ways, kind of practically but also personally and spiritually, and it was a bit like a guide. I’m still using the tarot now. The eventually I started meeting people who understood, but before then it was kind of difficult. A lot of cynicism.
Is there a specific part of a nature that you feel you connect too?
Trees, and bodies of water. I mean rocks, those are the first things that came. I mean living on Dartmoor, there’s tonnes of rocks. So rocks are also pretty important.
Now its my windroarer. So that nowadays, but there’s certain rocks that I’m very friendly with, just one or two, crystals and actually pieces of my jewellery are kind of strong. Yeah there’s a few, that I just, quite strong and I’ve had them for a long time. Magical.
Comedy and poetry – does it tie in?
Creativity is at the core, it has always been a vital, massive part of my life. Right from when I was a kid, all I wanted to be was an artist. And then the other things have come along the way. But I think that’s the core of it, because when you’re creative you feel like you’re in touch with the spirit other worlds, that’s how I see it, and feel it. Because I do a lot of workshops, and we use, sometimes we might write, after having gone on a shamanic journey. So the writing and drawing, it just helps to express what your experiencing. We just do practical things, like performing a ceremony is very creative. Where you just, you’re open to the universe, in which ever way it will move through you. And you just find the right things at the right time, or you’ll go to a place and the right animal will come. So you can always go and journey at different times of your life and they’ll help you, its great.
Jackie also began by showing me her pack of tarot cards that she has had for many years, she did a short reading for me by allowing me to shuffle them and just pick out one card. I picked out one that was about excitement and fast pace times ahead, passion and travel. I have always felt a little hesitant with tarot, but just a short reading of one card appealed to me and I absolutely loved the outcome. It really applied to me and my plans to go travelling next year once I have graduated. I think this set the shoot off on a good foot, I felt like we had a comfortable relationship.
This shoot with Jackie is another of my favourites so far, Jackie was really relaxed behind the camera and I think just her whole image and environment works really well. I think through her style and her possessions you can see clearly she is spiritual, but at the same time it is clear that she is not playing up to that and that is simply just her style, it is subtle and natural – exactly the look I am going for.
The lighting during the shoot could not have been better, Jackie had thin white curtains and bright streams of sunshine was beaming through them into the room. I sat Jackie on the sofa so that the light came through from the right hand side of her. The lighting was literally in beams, it looked so beautiful and ethereal and just really set the spiritual atmosphere. I was so pleased I managed to get these shots.
Again after this shoot I felt so pleased and happy with my work, a change from how I had usually felt anxious and worried that it hadn’t been successful. Getting a clearer view on the what my project is saying has really helped me feel more confident in myself, which like I have said before, reflects on my subjects I think. If I feel confident, so will my subjects and that means successful images.
- Jackie Juno (n.d) Workshops, tarot, shamanic journeys, ceremonies. (Online) Available from: https://jackiejuno.com/a-course-in-goddesses/