Did you know that Chelsea is the home of the only witch school in North America?

Chelsea Quebec Local logo
by The Local
May 5, 2023
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Photo credits:
Marko Blažević / Unsplash
In a world where the mystical and the mundane coexist, it is often the unexpected that captures our imagination. Hidden in the enchanting town of Chelsea, Quebec lies a haven for the magically curious—a place where the essence of witchcraft intertwines with the everyday lives of Muggles. This is the story of the WitchSchool, a unique institution that offers a transformative journey into the realm of witches, healers, and change-makers. Join us as we delve into the captivating tale of this extraordinary school and the vibrant spirit it embodies.

Discovering the WitchSchool

Imagine a school that embraces the profound power of nature-based spirituality—a place where individuals yearning for meaning and community find solace. Kiki Keskinen, the visionary behind the WitchSchool, shares her wisdom virtually and on her Chelsea property. Dispelling any notion of broomstick-riding sorcerers or Hogwarts-inspired magic, Keskinen clarifies that being a witch is about bending, shaping, and sparking—much like the flame of a candle. Witches, in her view, are healers, activists, change-makers, and shape-shifters.

Credits: witchschool.ca

A Fusion of Roles

Keskinen, who is not only a witch but also a professor at Carleton's School of Journalism and Communication, seamlessly integrates her academic life with her spiritual path. By embracing her intuition, compassion, and openness, she has become a better teacher, bridging the gap between her roles as a witch and a professor. No longer hiding in the "broom closet," Keskinen brings her whole self into the world, inspiring others to do the same.

The Journey Begins

The origins of the WitchSchool trace back to Keskinen's fortuitous encounter with an ad in a magazine. Answering the call, she found herself sitting on the living room floor in a small group, embarking on an eight-week journey of ancient traditions, healing arts, and the power of goddess mythology. Though the word "witch" was not explicitly mentioned, the nature-based spirituality and the profound connection to the forests resonated deeply within her. This pivotal experience sowed the seeds of what would later become the WitchSchool.

Credits: witchschool.ca

Embracing Feminist-Based Spirituality

At the heart of the WitchSchool is a feminist-based spirituality, which encompasses the sacred feminine within all individuals. While attracting primarily women in midlife seeking deeper meaning and community, the school also welcomes curious souls from various spiritual backgrounds, including Buddhism. The WitchSchool offers a structured community, a sanctuary for spiritual growth, and the opportunity to explore feminist-based leadership and nature-oriented spirituality.

Credits: witchschool.ca

A Curriculum for Transformation

Enrolling in the WitchSchool is embarking on a profound transformational journey. The curriculum spans anthropology, history, herbal magic, shape-shifting, sacred circle dancing, drumming, and tarot, all interwoven with leadership development. With each passing semester, students delve deeper into their spiritual exploration, honing their skills and embracing their calling. It's an MBA for witches, empowering individuals to become catalysts for change in their own lives and communities.

Healing the Past, Impacting the Future

As a white woman practicing on ancestral land steeped in ceremonial rituals, Keskinen acknowledges the responsibility of healing the past and shaping the future. Beyond land acknowledgments, she ponders the impact she can have as a witch. By building a spiritual center for activists, she aims to engage in meaningful conversations about the interplay between privilege, healing, and the collective journey toward a better world.

Accessibility and Community

The WitchSchool's transformative experience comes at a cost of $1,600 for a full year, making it inaccessible to some. Keskinen recognizes this challenge and actively engages with individuals who express their financial limitations, seeking alternative programs or inviting them to participate in free community activities. She acknowledges that the program's intensity and limited class size contribute to its higher fee. Nevertheless, Keskinen emphasizes that the vibrant Ottawa community offers a nurturing space, whether or not one joins the Witch School.

Lessons for Life and Beyond

While Keskinen's roles as a witch and a professor may seem distinct, they share a common thread. In both realms, she imparts the importance of attentive listening, genuine connection, and holding space for others. Encouraging her students to be fully present, she believes that by embracing the power of now, one can develop intuition and compassion. This profound ability to engage with others deeply resonates with her journalism students as well, who learn the art of attentive and empathetic communication.

The story of the WitchSchool in Chelsea, Canada, is one of magical exploration, personal growth, and communal empowerment. Kiki Keskinen's visionary leadership has created a sanctuary where individuals can discover their own transformative path. By bridging the realms of academia and spirituality, she weaves a tapestry of knowledge, intuition, and compassion. Though not accessible to all, the WitchSchool serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that healing, change, and a deeper connection to ourselves and the world are within reach for those who dare to embark on the witch's journey.

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