Crystal Joilena – “The High Priestess” (Behind the Scenes)

Crystal Joilena

Today I’m thrilled to share with everyone a cool feature, from an artist named Crystal Joilena, that showcases some exclusive behind the scenes photos from her recently released single and video for “The High Priestess.” Joilena has provided some guest vocals on a track with Motionless In White, and her sound strays somewhere between the dark synths of PVRIS and Evanescence, paired with the pop prowess of The Weeknd.

”The music video for ‘The High Priestess’ took a lot of preparation on my part. I had some ideas of what I wanted the music video to be for a couple of months, but I was suffering from my autoimmune illnesses and transitional phases of life, so I knew I had to wait to film it. I asked my guides, my ancestors and The Divine Feminine to send me visions through dreams in the meantime and to help me prepare for it. 

They granted my request and I started seeing Ancient Greek goddess Persephone in my dreams, and she had a blue dress on, a moon crown, and she was walking in an all black void, faceless. The High Priestess tarot card is associated with Persephone, so that’s exactly how she appeared. In the second dream, there was a feminine figure in an all-black hooded dress sitting on a throne with 10 daggers pierced in her skin and she was inside a black salt circle, she had a white moon mask on. To me this represented a balance of dark and light, or the shadow self and the higher self. Persephone went over to her, took all of the swords out, then whispered “Hecate” and then the shadow self woke up, so I realized that the shadow self was the Greek goddess Hecate.

In the next few dreams, Hecate had a moonstone wand and was fighting off a masculine entity with a horrifying face who would later be known as The Devil tarot card, to me this represented my toxic patterns built on my own past trauma, the poor choices in men that were always leaving me in the three of swords (heartbreak) energy, the side of myself I wanted more than anything to cut cords with because I knew how much it was holding me in stagnation. It also represented toxic things about the music industry that were getting inside my head and tearing me apart inside, the number of times I felt I had to prove myself, and all the times I felt I was just cast to the side because no one believed in me.

Later on, the dreams would show a massive altar, an altar with offerings, candles, tarot cards, crystals, and figures of The Divine Feminine, the figures were Persephone, Hecate, and Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis, who represents healing, protection, and magic.  In the end, The Divine Feminine all worked together to destroy the masculine entity, there were sigils that were burning, there was an explosion with smoke and after the smoke cleared, I saw myself as The High Priestess. I saw this as me putting an end to my toxic habits, stepping into my own power, into the energy of my higher self and not caring about the past, who someone misinterpreted me as, or what anyone else thinks of me, I just wanted to be unapologetically me, for my highest good..this is everything that The Divine Feminine stands for, everything I’ve been trying to achieve for so long. 

I knew that I wanted to replicate those dreams as much as I could and I knew that meant me channeling Persephone (The High Priestess-higher self) and Hecate (the shadow self) I felt I was meant to channel both of them in the music video. I also knew I had to gather together all the crystals designated for each deity, so I did that. I had to buy a few more as well to really set those vibrations in, and I bought the ones I didn’t have yet. I was also looking on Etsy for music video props, and I found the deity mask I was searching for, the black dress and black hooded cloak for the shadow self, the blue dress and blue hooded cloak for The High Priestess, I decided to get a blue wig to match the blue dress as well. I bought a black and white Persephone and Hecate to represent the light and the dark, mini statues for the altar, and an Isis candle holder with black and white candles.I also bought a dummy so that I could pierce it with daggers and Persephone (also myself) could remove them.

There were many other miscellaneous props I had to get so I bought some cardboard pillars as well. I also thought I looked like a Sith Lord in the Hecate costume, so, as a Star Wars fan, it called for a lightsaber. I didn’t want any ordinary lightsaber, I wanted a lightsaber that would also have The Lord of the Rings vibe, and I looked online for one, and sure enough, I found a Sauron lightsaber from Tethan Props, a lightsaber store based in Australia. I bought it immediately. A mashup of Star Wars, LOTR, The Divine Feminine, and tarot cards is what came to mind for this music video, and getting everything took a few months. Once I had everything I finally messaged Eric Dicarlo, sent him the song, and said we needed to do this, and we booked a date at The Art Factory. 

I told him I would be doing spellwork and burning things, and I needed a big space to put the salt circle, the dummy, the altar, and the tarot cards trail I had in mind. He found the perfect room where that was allowed, and everything was going well. When the day of the music video finally came, I woke up early, but I was suffering from my hiatal hernia and had a bad flare-up of Crohn’s disease that left my entire body in immense pain and I was very sick. I popped all my pills, still pushed on, packed up everything I needed, and started on my makeup. 

The setup we built took a few hours and I was feeling very sick while I was trying to make everything look like it did in my dreams, a few setbacks happened, the instructions on the pillars were very complicated, and my partner couldn’t figure it out, and we had to leave them out, the dummy looked so ridiculous at first, but it was all I had, and all my budget could afford. 

I was very insecure during the process and had a lot of doubts in my head that it wasn’t going to look as I imagined it would, I wasn’t happy with how I looked either because I felt my sickness showed through my face and body, I lost so much weight from all my health issues since October and I feel it changed the way I look, but I had to get through all of my doubts and insecurities and make the effort. By the end of the filming process, I was exhausted, wanting to collapse, but hoping that I succeeded in depicting my visions, a few things were different due to the setbacks we faced and I was nervous. 

When I finally got the music video back from Eric, it exceeded my expectations. He added some of his own twists on it and I was so shocked at how amazing it came out, not because I didn’t trust in him, but because I didn’t trust in myself and it was hard to stay in a positive mindset, but it all worked out in the end and my efforts were not made in vain, I am very proud of the result and grateful that our minds worked together in a well-balanced collaborative way. The hard work that we all put into The High Priestess made it one of my favorite music videos to date, and I plan to keep striving and doing better with my ideas and the way I depict them.”