Black Cauldron Apothecary and Tarot
Black Cauldron Apothecary is an external herbal medicine, natural body care & tarot business based out of Vancouver, BC on unceded Coast Salish Territory. It's run solely by Quin Molyneaux, a femme witch with Libra/Virgo/Scorpio leanings. Quin is herb, tarot, magic & nutrition obsessed and approaches these things from a perspective based in radical self-acceptance, self-love, self-care, harm-reduction and intersectionality.
How did you end up making what you make?
I feel like it's been a whole life process but the short version is that I started learning about plants & how to extract their medicinal properties from a couple of close friends. I lived rurally and co-ran a farm during some of the worst chronic pain I've experienced so started out by making medicine for myself and the people close to me.
What have you learned in an unexpected place or from an unexpected person that informs your making?
I'm constantly learning from expected & unexpected places. Probably chronic pain was the most unexpected teacher. It's what originally brought me and the plants together.
What inspires or drives you to make what you make?
The short answer is nature, astrology and my amazing friends. A few years back I quit my job and moved my cats and all my things with my then-partner to an island and started a farm. I wanted to live without the constraints of time or money as much as possible and really wanted to never have to work for anyone but myself ever again. After my dad passed away suddenly in 2013 I realized I only want to do what I love, what I want and what I feel makes the world a better place and helps people. Also, that I never want to let fear stop me. That's my commitment to myself and what keeps me going.
Who are some of your favourite other makers? Local? Worldwide?
Too many to list! Of course all the lovelies involved with Collective Howl. Locally, I love my bestie Evelyn Edwards gorgeous painted portraits of queer and genderqueer folks. A little further north I love Julie Glaspy's bone jewelry and Silver Cedar's plant-cast jewelry. Everything Jessika Fancy from Spinning Wheel Apothecary makes is magical, and current other faves are Mateo at Leather Coven and Oliver Hiebert's artwork, especially his reimagining of Pamela Coleman Smith's drawings into a psychedelic tarot deck.
What is your favourite season and why?
I'm going to cheat and say the time between Lammas & Samhain. The hottest part of summer with all the plants in full bloom turning into fall colours, my birthday, Halloween, witches New Year & Scorpio season time is my favourite time. It's when my brain and body usually feel the best and everything is abundant but starting to slow.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Aw geez. You guys! So many. But Dwayne The Rock Johnson probably wins. I just love him. Now you know. Okay?
How do you connect to your landbase?
Hmm. In all sorts of ways. Thanking a tree for keeping me dry. Trying to pay attention when the same bird yells at me at the same place every day. Walking my dog. Forest trips. Swimming in every natural body of water that I can. But also larger things like recognizing and remembering that this land isn't mine, it's unceded Coast Salish territory. Working as sustainably as possible as a white settler with chronic pain within the capitalistic system. Trying to disrupt that system as much as I can. Never taking more from the forest than I need or can use. Talking to it's ancestors and mine. Giving thanks, giving something back to the land like a piece of my hair or other offerings or tending a plant after I have picked some of it. Growing a garden. Feeding my favourite people with things I've grown or foraged. When all else fails, taking off my socks and digging my feet in the dirt.
Do you have any sort of mantra or quote that strikes you?
"The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match with the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature." Joseph Campbell
Do you remember the first thing you made that you felt was great/ the first time you found passion in being a maker?
Any time anyone tells me that something I made helped them or brought them some form of relief. Especially my Grandma & my Mom who are two of my biggest supporters.