Fernie, aka Golden Mirror Fortunes, is a gay Latinx Catholic brujx (witch) – a combo that is sure to resonate with many others at the intersections of diverse sexual identities, spirituality and culture. Hey Fernie! Tell us more about your life as a gay witch and person of faith?
Fernie: The combination of gay, Catholic, and witchcraft hasn’t always been one to demonstrate or live out loud very easily. Still, it’s always been at the core of who I am. In my mind, this is a matter of faith. Faith is at the centre of witchcraft and religion, and is at the centre of my life, too! Being gay has been an interesting aspect because I feel it wasn’t accepted culturally, but it always felt right. I knew who I liked, I knew why I liked them, and I wasn’t going to try and change that. I also never felt rejected by my individual experiences with religion – I know this is very different from most people’s Catholicism experiences. Still, I was blessed with priests and nuns who, while not saying out loud that gay was okay, spoke to me of God’s everlasting and all-encompassing love, rather than what might cause me to be a sinner. This is something I’ve come to embrace in all aspects of my life; as a gay Catholic brujx, it is my job to make the world a better place through love, compassion, and grace.
What was your relationship to Catholicism growing up?
Fernie: My relationship with Catholicism was strong growing up and has only grown as I’ve gotten older. We went to church every Sunday, I went to CCD (Catholic religious education) every Wednesday, and taught CCD while in High School. Teaching CCD was probably my first experience in education. It has formed me and made me the teacher that I am today! As I’ve grown older, my love for God, Jesus, and Mary has deepened and matured, so that now I understand them as family, and not as something beyond my knowledge. Well, that’s not true – God is always beyond knowing, but I at least try to walk a bit closer with Him every day. This means a daily Rosary walk, watching Mass on YouTube on Sundays (at least during the pandemic), and daily prayers.
How did you come to explore and expand outside of the faith you were raised in?
Fernie: I’ve always felt that brujeria (specifically, but witchcraft more generally) and my faith were interconnected. I grew up in a small, rural town on Mexico’s border, and my great-grandfather was a village healer and his son, my grand uncle, was a curandero. For me, then, praying to God was always looking for miracles, and they often came to be. There was magic in the land, in the air, in the plants and trees, and it was my job to figure out how to draw this magic out. I used to think that it was as simple as swishing a hand and asking for something, but as I got older, my faith helped me realize that it is work that is the engine of magic. God only helps those who help themselves, you know? As far as working with other divine beings, it was a natural extension of my ability to communicate with the divine. Knowing that others out there could help intercede on my behalf for certain things provided me with great comfort on dark nights and helped me bring even more light into the world.
How do you blend your faith and your spiritual practice now?
Fernie: My faith and spiritual practice are intertwined in a beautiful, gorgeous braid that ties my witchcraft and my religious background. Praying for me can be both a traditional Catholic prayer, like the Our Father or Hail Mary, or more freeform. The blending is intimate, and without forethought – for me, the difference between my magic and prayers doesn’t exist. The interconnectedness of everything helps me channel and bring together all of the universe’s spirits and forces. My prayers that I was taught and have developed are a way of bringing that connectedness to light.
Did you experience any personal challenges in your own journey to accepting yourself as a witch?
Fernie: A little, but not much, my family had a lot of magical folx already in it. Still, we were also very religious, and as there was never a dissonance there, I never developed a dissonance. Every now and then, I remind myself that there is nothing inherently wrong or bad with my practice. Especially if I don’t agree with the church or a fellow witchcraft practitioner on something they may say.
What has the reaction been like from your family and faith community – have you encountered any discrimination?
Fernie: My faith community doesn’t really know about the witchcraft, I guess? Pre-pandemic, when I was still able to do many events, I would see people from church when I was out selling mystic shop items and Tarot readings. Even, other than an occasional sidelong glance, I never got any discrimination. However, I wouldn’t feel very comfortable reaching out to my church for an event. My family has loved having another witch in the family. Since I was little, I would always interpret people’s dreams or help them figure out some sign that they encountered. On occasion, my mom might say that I’m doing something I shouldn’t, or that I’m “opening doors” to evil, but I know it’s just a passing mood. Overall, my whole family has been super accepting – and Golden Mirror Fortunes is a small, family-run business! My sister helped me launch and was always at my side with all of the events we would do!
Do you ever feel you have to be in the broom closet, either hiding your faith in witchy communities or hiding your witchiness in faith communities?
Fernie: In terms of hiding my faith in witchy communities, I don’t feel like I’ve ever had to hide my Catholicness. Suppose people have ever felt a certain kind of way. In that case, I know that there are different strokes for different folx, which has probably helped me by insulating me from some shady words or thoughts. I feel that I have to hide my witchiness (even more than my gay/queerness) in my faith communities. I think it’d be a taboo I wouldn’t want to break, and whether out of respect or anxiety, I generally don’t share that I’m a witch at church.
What message would you give to other people on their journey to integrate their sexuality, faith and witchcraft?
Fernie: Feel comfortable about what it is your integrating, and do it at your own pace. I think we place a lot of emphasis on living out loud or being altogether everything at once. This, for me, just isn’t my reality, nor is it feasible – we have to have our different shades of ourselves at other times. Just like the sun and moon engage in dance but never lose who they are, we, too, must contend with ourselves in ways that feel authentic. I live as loud as possible (usually), but I know when a whisper, a nudge, a smile may do the same amount of work, and I’d love for everyone to find the space to do the same. Above all, be kind, be respectful, and help make the world a better place.
Tell us more about your witchy business! You look like a busy (sparkly) bee!
Fernie: I love making myself busy helping reflect people’s gorgeous light right back at them! My business centres around the various ways in which a person might need a magical boost. Whether it’s devising the perfect ritual, creating a crystal kit, or dressing a candle, I provide people with tangible magic to help them revving their engines. I also have Golden Mirror Fortunes Teaches, which is the learning aspect of my business. Every semester, I come up with a couple of classes and teach them to those interested in making their own magic. The core business of Golden Mirror Fortunes, however, is fortune-telling. I love helping people shedding light on a situation that doesn’t seem to have any paths forward. Golden Mirror Fortunes was created in my own time of darkness, and it’s helped illuminate so much of my own path, and I’m delighted to be able to share this with the world!
How can people find out more about you?
Fernie: Instagram is the very best place to find out about me! I love talking to people about magic, witchcraft, Brujeria, and Tarot, so feel free to DM me. Every week I host Witchy Wednesday and Fortune Friday, where I help people out with either a magical problem or give a free reading. I hope to see all of y’all’s gorgeous faces there!
Stay in touch with Fernie from Golden Mirror Fortunes: