ABOUT YLVA MARA
Ylvadroma Marzanna Radziszewski
| she/her/they/them |
I am a traditional witch, published author, artist, and herbalist. I am also a non-binary trans woman and a survivor of childhood incest and later sexual assaults. I currently live on unceded Chitimacha, Houma, Chahta Yakni lands now named New Orleans. I was born and raised on occupied Tequesta, Mayaimi, Seminole, Calusa, Ais, and Jeaga lands, now named Florida. I’m a multi-ethnic, white person of Polish, Romani, and Jewish ancestry. My father is of Polish and Ashkenazi ancestry. My mother is of mixed Romani heritage with her father being of German Sinti & Lovari heritage; her mother being of Croatian Rom & Bashaldé (Slovak Romungro, Kalderash) heritage.
My ritual and art practice are intrinsically woven together; I believe that magic is art and that art is healing. Through art as ritual I attempt to ground my experience living within diaspora as someone who also lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder, CPTSD, Autism, and chronic illness from Stage 3 Lyme Disease. I am the founder of The School of Traditional Magic, former High Priestess of Cunning Crow Apothecary & Witches Temple (both now closed). My debut book A Practical Guide for Witches is available everywhere books are sold. Co-creator of The Living Altar alongside Kiki Robinson, The Opulent Witch. I am also featured in TASCHEN’s Esoteric Library - WITCHCRAFT.
I approach my work with a commitment to further understand how access to wellness and traditions of magic is complicated by and interconnected with the violence of settler-colonial, cis/het centric, ableist, white supremacy and capitalism; centering my practice in service to those most affected by systems of kyriarchal oppression.
As someone who was raised within a forcibly assimilated Romani & immigrant Polish family on colonized Turtle Island; and as someone who benefits from gadjeness, colonialism, colorism and white privilege, my work focuses on magic as accountability and collective liberation.
My practice centers supporting Sex Workers, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Romani community members, Femmes (especially my Fat Femme siblings), survivors of trauma & abuse, survivors of incest & assault, chronically ill folx, Trans & Non-Binary specific health concerns, harm reduction, abortion & reproductive health support, and folks navigating the complexity of mental health concerns.
In 2010 I earned my MS in East Asian Medicine from Bastyr University and have a bachelor's degree in Social Work from Florida State University (2004.) My work in social service focused on familial reunification & mediation, mental health advocacy, substance recovery support, case management, anti-poverty & anti-racist activism, and LGBTQ rights. Still a part of my healing craft, I advocate to make ceremony an active form of radical resistance.
In 2016 my teacher, Jackie McCloskey, passed away. I am forever changed by the 19 years I spent as her apprentice. For the wisdom and blessing of the Healing Craft, I first thank my teacher Jackie McCloskey, School of Traditional Magic is my gift to her in honor of her teachings. I thank all my teachers, those whose teachings I still honor including Jackie McCloskey, Starhawk, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids, Steve Dahmus, Araceli Dominguez, Betsy Bergstrom, Ron Thomas, Rawiyah Tariq, Jezmina Vontheile, Aurora Luna, Michelle Jackson, the writings of Radomir Ristic; and those whose work I no longer endorse including Debra Francis Dancing Crow, and Char Sundust. Most importantly my Grandmother Jewel for the Latcho Drom, and my Grandmother Angelika for the gift of our Whisper.