"Deer Women is a Beauty & Ritual brand that brings you back to nature, magick and wild beauty." -Deer Women founder (Jessica Magdaleno)
As I write this, I am sipping on a hot cup of Deer Women Oculta Blend. I have been anxious to isolate myself and reflect on the conversation I had with Jessica Magdaleno, the Mother of Deer Women. Still blown away, I am excited to share our time together. This was meeting was no ordinary tea time interview. Jessica is a woman, a mother, to behold and who she is, her experiences traveling the world and what she creates is nothing less than the divine feminine in the flesh. Jessica not only creates teas with intentions, healing and knowledge. She is a visual artist and occultist/magician who collaborates with impressive creatives. While I was with her and even now alone with my tea and desktop, I feel a surge of excitement that has me hungry to see what Jessica manifests from here on out. I am beyond eager to learn more from her workings that are intended to bring us back to our wild, beautiful selves.
Since I began to practice witchcraft, tea's have been a tool for me to help ground myself, free myself and help keep myself warm or cold and hydrated. I never liked tea before, but once again, when I began to accept the magic within, the urge just came over me. I felt no connection looking through the tea aisles at local grocery stores. I was overwhelmed with the numerous blends at tea houses I would visit because no one knew or wanted to talk about the teas. So, I settled on some teas that came as close to what purpose I needed them for. I first came upon Deer Women's tea at @TheBeardedLady'sMysticMuseum. The dark labeling and colorful herbs drew me right in. The herbs were listed along with the teas intention. These are what I've been looking for.
As magic goes, I got to meet Jessica in person at @Covenweekend just a few weeks ago. Jessica was eager to answer my questions about her blends and also informed me of her other creations such as her balms (flying ointment) and other projects. I was entranced by her story about her travels and how tea is so predominate with purpose in so many cultures. I had to learn more. So, Jessica invited me to her beautiful home secluded in the local mountains. The setting was perfect Yuletide environment for us outsiders, but, Jessica and her neighbors were recovering from the biggest storm the area had seen in over thirty years. When I arrived, Jessica poured me a cup of a new tea blend she is working on and told me how she spent the morning clearing tree branches from her yard, how her daughter's treehouse was obliterated and how the element of water while life sustaining is also so destructive and untamed and deserves our utmost respect.
Sipping on a chocolaty blend, we began our conversation like we've know each other for years.
MH: This is delicious!
DW: This is a new one. I haven't released it yet. What does it taste like to you?
MH: I'm getting a coffee ish taste.
DW: Its a choco. I usually use cacao but, this is actual chocolate and blackberry and there is going to be an herb in it shipped, its kind of related from mandrake, to kind of give off a hallucinogenic effect. So, it will be this nice hallucinogenic winter tea.
MH: What will it be called?
DW: *laughing* I don't know yet.
MH: So, I drink tea with intent. I don't recall ever tasting a bad tea while doing so. Recently, I tried a loose leaf tea with the purpose of enhancing psychic dreams. There was a particular, bitter ingredient and It mostly kept me awake all night. What do you make of that?
DW: Yea, ingredients are important, especially when consumed for intent. Some teas are bitter. But, I blend bitter ingredients with a black tea. That smoothes it out and gives a base. I use mugwort in my De Wilde Witch, its a prophecy tea. I use a blue flower that gives it a sweeter taste. Rose petals that give it a flowery taste. That's the best way I can describe it. I drink the tea I make so of course I use organic ingredients. Of course I want them to taste good so I put a lot of work and research into my tea. So, its not like I throw a bunch of ingredients together and not understand see what strange interaction there will be. I am very particular, almost OCD about my tea.
MH: There is certainly magick behind your tea. I appreciate the work and research you put into yours. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their own blends?
DW: Anyone can make tea but you have to research. You have to respect measurements. What a lot of people don't understand is that tea making is beautiful but, it is an art. Without research, someone could think two herbs like Valerian root and mugwort would go together, but you'll just end up with nightmares. Some people think the more ingredients the better. Thats not always the case. I have KA which has a ton of ingredients but, its based off of Egyptian recipe and it has been carefully researched and these ingredients all interact beautifully together. Some are for taste. Some are for aesthetics. Some, like the blue lotus are for divination. It also has herbs for geared towards mothers, and helps with depression and anxiety.
MH: How do you come up with your recipes?
DW: I travel a lot. Its been a little less with my daughter but, I still travel. In every culture theres a tea culture. Its more predominant in other cultures than it is in Western society. We just just drop in a pre packaged teabag or stop at a coffee chain. So, when I would come back here, in America, I was, like, offended by by spending $7 on a tea. In Belgium, herbs like wild cherry bark are given to children because its good for their respiratory system. It kind of allows them to participate in tea culture early on. So, when they grow up, they don't run to pharmaceuticals immediately, they turn to natural herbs. So, when I came back, I couldn't find a tea for my daughter. I asked my friends in Belgium and went to the apothecaries there. I was inspired to make my own childrens' line, Starchild, for her. So, that's my inspiration.
MH: Do you grow your own herbs?
DW: Some of them. Its a different climate for me so I am still adapting to the climate. The motherwort grows very well here. I can't grow mugwort up here. I can grow a lot of mint. Chocolate mint so I am using that in my Christmas tea. I can grow elderberry which I use in my children's line. This was also inspired by Belgium. If I can't grow it, I met a lot of farmers in my travels. My lavender comes from France. I met a farmer there when I was taking a class in perfumery. This is another reason why my teas are so highly priced. I don't just buy bulk dry and bland herbs. I buy from quality places from my travels. I also feel like it invokes the area where I traveled. I like buying from who I know I am supporting their families, I am supporting a country. I try to source from areas where I can invoke the spirit of the area. KA is an Egyptian tea and I want to respect it and also fund the Egyptian culture. I believe if I am taking ideas from that culture and being inspired by them, I owe that respect back to them.
MH: Do you do any divination, specifically tea leaf readings?
DW: Yes! KA and Oculta. Those two teas are great for divination. My amazing friend taught me to read tea leaves so I created those blends specifically for the purpose of confidence with Oculta and and divination with KA. I also collaborated with @misshavashim whom has an actual fortune tellers cup.
MH: Lets discuss Dellamorte Dellamore?
DW: Dellamorte Dellamore is the black tea dipped in amaretto liqueur. It has 24 carat gold leaf and rose petals. Its basically a bergamot tea that I soak in Disaronno, an Italian liqueur. Dellamorte Dellamore means love and death and also the name of my favorite horror movie, an Italian splatter filmed named Cemetery Man. I loved everything in Italy. I fell heavily in love with the aroma. It invokes the sense of cold cobblestones, the smell of a cemetery, the smell of liqueur, the sweet romance. I chose the gold leaves because Italy is very decadent. Its also an ancient idea for tea. Samurai used to put gold in their tea before they went to battle. Gold leaf is also alchemical. But, anyways you need to see Cemetery Man.
As Jessica and I continued our conversation, we found ourselves discussing her other projects that circle around to witchcraft. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my conversation with Jessica.