Breaking Spells with Michelle Tocher

In this three-part interview series conducted by Hannah Custis for Immanence, Michelle Tocher delves into subject of how spells are made and broken in fairy tales and real life.

Program One: “Coming Under Spells”

In this first interview, we discuss the meaning of spells, how characters are put under them in fairy tales, and how we can become spellbound in real life. Michelle describes what it looks like to be under a very deep spell and explores the possibility that not all spells are “bad.”


Program Two: “Waking Up from a Spell”

Continuing our conversation, Michelle explains how the awakening process begins when characters realize they are under a spell and how we similarly might become aware of ourselves in frozen states. We talk about the struggle to face the reality of this predicament and what help we might find along the way.


Program Three: “Breaking Spells”

In the final program, we talk about the intrinsic value of spells, how fairy tales can help us to break harmful spells, and how breaking those spells can change the world.

Author of six books, including How to Ride a Dragon: Women with Breast Cancer Tell their Stories, Michelle Tocher has a deep understanding of the healing power of storytelling. She is co-author of Brave Work: The Hero’s Journey at Work, which has been strongly endorsed by the Canadian Career Development Foundation and leading psychologists as a “must-read” for people who are seeking more meaningful ways to work. She has also served as an Artist in Residence for several organizations, including Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, a supportive community for people with cancer, and Casey House, a hospice and treatment center for people with HIV/AIDS. As a professional communicator, she ran a company for ten years and produced books and educational materials for many health and social organizations. She has two Masters degrees, in the history of science, and in journalism. You can learn more about her at and