Meet Michael Cardenas, initiated high-priest, contributing writer for Thehoodwitch.com and head witch in charge of his enchanting new product line, Olde Ways Apothecary. Michael has created an array of handcrafted magically infused products which include an Empath bath soak for psychic protection and cord cutting, as well as his deliciously fragrant Love Uncrossing and love attracting bath scrubs and salt soaks. Did we mention his products are also organic! Michael's energy and charm is so dynamic that his products reflect just that and will leave your mind, body, and spirit feeling feeling brand new!
We had the chance to sit down with Michael to discuss spirit, altar building , and of course witchcraft!
THW: Hi Michael can you share with our readers a bit about yourself?
MC: I'm an initiated witch, and trained spirit worker with over 15 years experience. I offer professional Spellwork Services, Tarot Readings, and I make Ritual Products. I have dedicated my entire life to my spiritual practice which is influenced by European Witchcraft, Mexican Brujeria, American Hoodoo, and Afro Caribbean Santeria. My paternal grandmother is a Priestess of the Santeria religion, and she is a major inspiration. Seeing her elaborate altars adorned with candles, statues, and offerings was absolutely the origin of my obsession with altars. My maternal grandmother, who also keeps an altar, is a beautiful, loving, compassionate, devoted Catholic and taught me how to invoke the Archangel Michael for protection, how to cleanse myself with holy water, and to always keep a candle lit for your saints and guardian angel. All of this has made me who I am.
THW: What's the story of your brand name?
MC: Olde Ways represents old school magic. It represents using what works, and honoring tradition. It's primarily focused on the work itself which is why I consciously chose a name that wasn't just about me. I am a conduit of it, but it is an entity all on its own.
THW: How long have you been a professional working witch and do you find that people have a bias towards working with a male identifying witch versus, say, working with women identifying witches?
MC: I have been a professional witch for over 10 years. I have been really public about it through social media for about 5 years. My business was word of mouth back in the day and it was always something I did before and after my day job. These days since making Olde Ways public it has become my full time job and I am so grateful. I have encountered the question "Aren't witches women?" by a few people throughout the years but never from clients. My experience has actually been the opposite with clients usually seeking a male perspective. Witchcraft in the European sense is a predominantly female tradition (which I respect and honor) but it is also found in just about every culture globally and isn't limited to one gender. I don't really care about the politics or validation. I'm a Witch. Always have been, always will be.
THW: You have some of the most BEAUTIFULLY decorated altars on instagram, What inspires you when creating such elaborate altars/ offerings?
MC: Thank you! I really love your aesthetic so that's a huge compliment coming from you. Creating an altar is like creating your own personal microcosm and alternate reality. I like to keep it fresh, vibrant, and relevant to whatever going on in my life. When I set up an altar it is usually inspired by the season, the deities/spirits that are communicating with me at that time, and what type of work is going to be required of me which is an entirely intuitive process. Most of the time the spirits work through me, guiding me to create a habitat they can thrive in. Offerings are also a highly intuitive process mixed with traditional lore specific to the type of spirit, so do some research as well.
THW: You just launched the Oldeways apothecary a few months ago, what was the inspiration behind that? And how did you get started creating your own magick infused products?
MC: The Olde Ways Apothecary came about through a personal breakthrough overcoming self doubt. It has always been a dream of mine to have my own ritual product line and didn't have the courage to do it. I finally got out of my own way and fully invested in myself. I have created my own ritual oils, baths, incense, and herbal blends for personal and client spellwork for years and this was just a natural transition, offering my potions and body care to the public. I'm obsessed with high quality artisanal bath products and really wanted to incorporate that heir of luxury into the metaphysical product world, which, let's be real, are usually synthetic dyes and perfumes with zero magical properties. Most of the time the "herbal baths" offered are literally potpourri and cheap perfume. I'm not ok with that! I need some real shit! I want to FEEL the magick. I need beautiful herbs, flowers, roots, naturally sourced fragrances, essential oils, absolutes, and most of all I need that magickal essence. I need all of that, and that's exactly what I'm offering.
THW: What is it that sets Olde Ways apart from other natural skincare brands on the market?
MC: These are Witch Made products blessed through ritual and intended to be used as a magical tool in a sacred space to assist you in manifesting your desires. I only use the highest quality herbs, flowers, and oils because it makes a huge difference in energy. It's the energy and attention to detail that sets it apart.
THW: We receive SO many emails from baby witches across the world that don’t know where to turn with getting started on their spiritual journey, specifically, with Witchcraft. What advice would you give to those who are just getting started in the craft and who would like to learn more about connecting to spirit and/or creating authentic and meaningful rituals on their own?
MC: Learn about spiritual cleansing, psychic protection, and psychic development before moving on to any other type of magic or ritual. Psychic protection and spiritual cleansing will help you to avoid and overcome many of the pitfalls new and experienced witches alike run into such as: spiritual fatigue, sensory overload, psychic attack, and even entity attachments. Psychic development will help you to develop your natural intuitive abilities and put you in contact with your spirit guides and ancestors so that you can navigate the spirit world with confidence and skill. I would also say that practice makes perfect so make it a point to consciously connect to your spirits everyday and infuse your life with magic.