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Chelsea Wolfe Slyly Merges Witchcraft with Sobriety

Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe Slyly Merges Witchcraft with Sobriety

Leave it to Chelsea Wolfe to pair witchcraft and sobriety — and to do it so nonchalantly at that. To Wolfe, neither really seem to be a big thing. Though of course they are monumental. But Wolfe simply wiggles her nose and gets on with her day.

Naturally, pulling a Samantha doesn’t make you Bewitched. But is sure gets you close. Especially if you come at the form from Wolfe’s positive angle. See Chelsea Wolfe is a good witch, one of the cunning folk. And one more album like She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She and she’ll be featured amid the covens of the world right alongside Samantha.

Hopefully, by then the world-at-large will have got up to speed as well.

Witchcraft and Sobriety

If Chelsea Wolfe existed in a more mainstream realm, it’s likely folks would have something to say about her combining witchcraft and sobriety. After all, witchcraft comes with a bouquet of stigmas, even after eight seasons of Charmed. It’s considered dark and malevolent; in short, evil, by just about everyone who isn’t familiar with its nuance. In reality though, the number of “bad” witches prowling our streets are few and far between. Unfortunately, folks are gonna need to get a whole lot more Charmed for the stigma to subside.

Or listen to a whole lot more Chelsea Wolfe.

“Over the years, as I’ve embraced a path of witchcraft and following the cycles of the seasons and the cycles of the moon, I put that into my writing process a lot, and I’ve started to share that more because this has been such a positive, wonderful thing in my life,” Wolfe explained to Krysta Fauria via AP News.

Hear that, naysayers? Wolfe’s using witchcraft to access the cycles of the seasons and the moon. Not to cast spells on unsuspecting know nothings. Furthermore, it’s been a positive, wonderful thing in her life. Who are we to deny her that?

As for kicking the drink to the curb, well, let’s let her explain that too:.

“I got sober from alcohol in early 2021,” she told Fauria, and I had already started this record. It’s interesting to kind of hear the songs that I started before that and the way that they changed. That created a lot of openness and clarity in my life and my creativity that I just was then naturally channeling into this music. It became a lot about rebirth.”

Wolfe isn’t the first to equate sobriety with rebirth and Zeus knows she won’t be the last. But it’s nonetheless good to hear her become so upfront about it. Guess that’s the openness and clarity talking.

To think, she’d come from such a dark place. In an excellent interview with Jon Garcia of Knotfest she further explains what sobriety has done for her.

CW: I spent so much of my life with a lot of self-loathing, self-deprecation, self-destruction. Once I got sober, essentially letting go of the numbing agent that was kind of keeping me in that state, it didn’t make sense to stay there any longer. I was suddenly open to new ways of being, and new experiences.

I was finding joy in simple things like breathing and singing. And I wanted to affirm that feeling, finding safety in my body for the first time because I’ve always been really hard on myself and quite frankly mean to myself, and there were people in my career-life making that worse by telling me I’d be more successful if I was smaller or presented “prettier.”

We can only imagine the “friends” telling her to prettify for Likes. Thank Zeus she didn’t. Because if she had we’d never have the sublime stirrings of her seven albums.

She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She

And Chelsea Wolfe does indeed have quite a catalog of stirrings. From 2010’s debut The Grime and the Glow to the just out She, Wolfe has amassed an exemplary collection of folk-infused post Goth the likes of which nobody can equal. For heads of a certain age, the sonic barrage provides comfort, like a remake of a favorite old blanket. For younger guns, Wolfe’s wowsomeness delivers an informed example of what moved their predecessors. It’s the spark of the new wrapped in a timeless old saw.

Sobriety aside, She delivers on Wolfe’s promise. The singer may be experiencing openness and clarity, but her work hasn’t turned into some kind of gushfest. Quite the contrary. In fact, even the direct lines are wrapped in metaphor and double-meaning.

What is open and clear though is the sonic dimensions of the album. Perhaps that’s because of TV on the Radio founding member Dave Sitek coming in to produce. Or perhaps it’s just the comfort of having long-time collaborators Ben Chisholm, Bryan Tulao, and Jess Gowrie by her side. Whatever it took, it took Wolfe to an ever higher realm.

If you want an idea of mood, check out the 10 songs Wolfe told Alternative Press influenced the record. Wolfe named Depeche Mode’s “Waiting for the Night”, the Smashing Pumpkins’s “Daphne Descends”, Björk’s “Bachelorette”, Madonna’s “Frozen”, Nine Inch Nails’s “The Hand That Feeds”, Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”, Low’s “Rome (Always in the Dark), Radiohead’s “Where I End and You Begin, TV on the Radio’s “Staring at the Sun”, and Lhasa de Sela’s “Anywhere on This Road”.

If that’s not enough to drive you to imbibe, then nothing will.

Healing Properties congratulates Chelsea Wolfe on She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She, as well as her still relatively new sobriety. We hope it continues to bring her openness and clarity, and helps her to keep experiencing the joy of breathing and singing. If you want to do like Chelsea Wolfe and let go of that numbing agent, please give us a ring. We’d be glad to assist.

Chelsea Wolfe, photo by Ebru Yildiz

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