As always when I give a tarot reading, I try my best to stay positive, but when I saw that my Theme of the Year card was The Tower, I have to admit I was nervous. The Tower depicts lightning striking a burning building and people falling out of the windows; not exactly what you’d call a cheerful image. I immediately knew it was going to be a rough year, and it did not disappoint. I lost my health insurance which led me to run out of my medications, I got sick/ injured a ton, many people I love spent a fair share of their time in the hospital, and my beloved cat, Stinky, passed away. While the Universal Energies/Ancestors/The Tower definitely kicked my ass, there is a bright side to this card and situation; The destruction and razing of one element leaves space and opportunity to build anew, higher and stronger.
Perhaps the best way this was demonstrated this past year was in therapy. Many people believe a spiritual or mental awakening looks like a sudden, beautiful epiphany but that is usually unlikely. Growth is ugly and unpleasant. Expansion is achieved through pressure, hard work, and likely a large amount of tears. I learned that self-care isn’t just warm baths and treat-yourself themed outings, but it’s also being brutally honest with yourself about your habits and coping-skills you’ve learned over the years that no longer serve you. Being honest with myself has been extremely difficult but has improved my life drastically; I’ve caught my patterns of people-pleasing, stopped impulses to break-down when times have been tough, and I’ve become aware of my tendency to go mute rather than communicating my concerns. The most important thing I’ve learned is that I’m not broken; I am whole.
I am thankful for the challenges 2019 dealt me and I’m ready for a new hand. Here’s to 2020!
Bonus-List of Awesome Things that Happened in 2019:
Stay-cation while Dog/House-sitting
Settled into new job
Taught tons of Yoga and Meditation classes
Went to Renaissance Faire
Got a new car, thanks to my grandparents!
Saw tons of live music, including Herbie Hancock, Kamasi Washington, and Snarky Puppy
Saw the dentist
3-year anniversary with Emmanuel!
Read tons of beautiful tarot spreads
Went to therapy biweekly
Hung out with family and friends
Read 33 books
Put in notice at work to focus on yoga, meditation, tarot and most importantly, mental health!
***This is a post about anti-witchcraft propaganda, its effect on me personally, and my experience as a practitioner. Please read this with an open-mind.***
So, I found this pamphlet on the Chicago Pinkline train today on my way home. It was placed on the seat to be found my someone like me. From the pictures you can see why it was particularly upsetting for me.
Basically, the comic was an anti-witchcraft, ignorant approach to converting sinners. It was not a surprise to find this but definitely a disappointment.
Want to know why I don't talk much about my beliefs? Because after hundreds of years of purposeful misinformation by the church people have absolutely NO IDEA what we actually practice. I have told people I practice and they have treated me like an idiot. Managers have seen my cute little amethyst pentacle (a symbol for the 5 elements, not the devil) slip out from my shirt and told me it was inappropriate for work. In fact, even I was ignorant about witchcraft and felt extremely uncomfortable identifying as a Witch for a very long while. I always knew I was Pagan, but after years of growing up and observing Witchcraft being vilified in the media and our American-Christian-Culture, Witchcraft felt dirty in my mouth. It was this way for a long time until after reading, researching, and really trying to understand what I was, I couldn't deny anymore that the only thing in my way of having a happy spiritual practice was my own bias against my own beliefs.
I know a few people who have converted to Christianity after their experience with witchcraft, but it was NOT because someone was rude and bigoted towards their beliefs, it was through gentle kindness and a slow realization that it just wasn't for them.
This comic makes it seem like witches are plotting against Christ and the Church. I think it is very much possible to be a kind, responsible, loving Christian. Sure, I was raised by Pagan parents (who, by the way, NEVER forced me to believe anything. I am solely Pagan because they encouraged me to explore and decide for myself what beliefs really resonated.) but having an art-historian/former attendee of Catholic school as a mother, I was raised with a lot of stories from the bible. I've heard tons about Jesus and I think he was an awesome guy with some great teachings. I actually know a lot of you guys here on Facebook from church because I love Classical and Baroque music and it was almost exclusively written for the church. Do I hate Christianity? Nope. Does this pamphlet make witches like me out to be Jesus haters, crappy children to their mothers, and angry idiots? Yes. Does it make me want to follow the word of Christ any more than my decently Christ-positive upbringing? No.
If you and I have different spiritual beliefs, fine. Tell me what you believe and we can have a respectful conversation in order to understand each other more. In fact, I LOVE talking religion and nearly went for a degree in it. But if you want to try to tell me what I believe, I promise that you will get nowhere.
I'm usually pretty quiet about my witchcraft practice. Yes, I post my altar and my tools from time to time on my instagram, but I don't ever really talk about what I believe in. This pamphlet was the cherry on top of our political climate that has been encouraging people in their bigotry. I think it's time I talk about what we believe.
First off, everyone practices differently. Witchcraft is not a religion therefore anyone can practice. I know Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists who practice. No matter who you are, the basic idea is to work with the cycles of the universe, rather than against them, to make your life better.
Let me say that again.
Witchcraft is using the cycles of the universe to make your life better.
THAT'S IT! No demons. No sacrificing babies. No encouraging evil. Sure, some witches do these things, but some Christians shoot up schools. All I'm saying is that we dont judge an entire population based on the actions of a few.
Now, back to the cycles of the universe. This means that we use both physical and psychological rules/properties to our advantage. For example, if a witch is stressed out, they might run themselves a bath filled with lavender and myrrh (The bath, lavender, and myrrh all being proven to help reduce anxiety and improve health. This is the physical part.) while also repeating a self-love spell in their head while they wash away any dirt on their body (This is the psychological part, proven to be an effective tool for self-care and improvement.).
Yes, you read that right! Taking a bath with intention is witchcraft. Once you learn about witchcraft it becomes kind of funny to realize all of the witchy things you do on a daily basis without realizing it. Here's a small list of things that are witchcraft:
Slow breathing when you're stressed.
Cooking a meal for your family with love.
Listening to your favorite song when you're sad.
Math. Yes, math.
Taking any kind of medication to heal yourself.
Looking through old family photos to try to understand where you came from.
Giving your friend a hug to make them feel better when they're sad.
I'm not joking. Is this all really worth telling someone that they're going to hell? I'd say no.
Something that might seem strange or evil to outsiders is that a lot of us practice Shadow Magick. This is looking at the darkest parts of yourself, understanding your past, coming to terms with anything "bad" you might have done, ACCEPTING IT, then learning from it in order to be a better person. Without shadows, there would be no light.
Personally, I follow a mostly green path, which is to say that I get my meaning from nature. I try to be as close as possible to nature whenever I can because it makes me feel whole. I like to gaze at the stars because it helps me to realize that I am small and my mistakes are insignificant in the grand scheme of things but it also makes me feel important and beautiful because the odds of our universe exploding and creating the perfect conditions for life on Earth is SO small that I feel indebted to live my best, most human life I can. Witchcraft makes me want to be a kinder and smarter person. It makes me want to try every hobby, meet every kind of person, read every kind of book. My practice helps me take care of myself, my family, and the world around me. It helps me make and follow through with goals. Witchcraft is definitely not evil. Witchcraft is a neutral, empty vessel and it becomes what you put into it.
If you read this far, I really appreciate it. This was honestly hard to write. I'm very used to the judgmental tones and I had gotten so comfortable that it was normal for me to hide my beliefs. I've slowly become more and more open but I know in my heart that this judgment I have recieved is completely and totally due to purposeful misinformation and willful ignorance.
Feel free to share this post if you like; I would love to start a discussion. If any of my fellow witches want to add anything, PLEASE DO! Anyway, stay respectful and spread some kindness today! 💖💫🖤
I've grown up in a world that puts bandaids on issues rather than healing the source of the wound. Depressed? Here's a pill. Is your child crying? Punish them and make them be quiet. Hate your corporate job? Keep working, you'll be promoted eventually. The thing is, after a while you'll realize that you're still depressed, your child doesn't trust you with their emotions anymore, and you're still stuck in a dead-end job. In order to fix a problem, you have to go to the root of the issue.
For me, my main issue has been my health, both physical and mental. In high school I started seeing a therapist, which is probably the closest thing to spiritual healing you can do without being overtly spiritual. Therapy had helped me through some of my roughest times, but once I was done, I stopped working on my mental health. I continued taking my medications, ignored all issues, and pretended like nothing bad had ever happened to me. But the pills would fix everything, right??? Of course not.
As time went on, things got worse. I started to develop anxiety around men and I didnt like to leave the house unless necessary. I knew that this was wrong, that this kind of life was not for me. I loved the outdoors, had men in my life who I trusted and loved, and I knew that my future would be bright. I had given all of my strength away to people who didn't deserve it, and I was done.
I got started immediately with therapy since I knew that my anxiety with men was the most important thing for me to overcome. I started actively watching myself and my reactions in certain situations and began attempting to rewire my brain. I focused on the realization that I had way more power in any situation than I gave myself credit for. I then started picking up my spiritual practice, meditating, reading my cards here and there, praticipating in group magick, and going out in nature as often as I could. This step was essential since it gave me the daily practice of reflecting on my purpose on this planet and living each day purposefully. Next, I began working on my career. I quit my retail job, I started applying to yoga jobs again, volunteering with Yoga for Recovery, and networking with other instructors. Things had been improving, but there was still a lot of work to do.
Of course, right as my work started to pick up, I woke up one morning to ordain a wedding when a horrible sickness rushed over me. The sickness lasted for weeks, keeping me unble to work. I went to doctors and they tried to give me a prescription antacid and an anti-nausea medication since they didn't know what was wrong. Just another bandaid. I was hopeless; I felt all of my work was for nothing.
Luckily, the universe had been looking out for me and sent me two lovely humans who would help me out. The first, was my boyfriend's mom, Angela. Tired of seeing me sick and sad that she couldn't help, she paid for me to see a Chinese Medicine doctor. The second awesome human was that doctor, Diane Miller. Diane gave me some pretty tough news: I could no longer bandaid my problems. I had to change my lifestyle, my diet, and the way I approached sickness. She gave me accupunture, guided me through meditative breathing, and gave me probiotics and stomach enzymes to help my digestion. Her approach to medicine was something I had never seen before; It was a spiritual practice. She has been seeing me for free since that first appointment, and I've only been mildly sick twice since I've seen her. My world began to shine bright again!
After all of these months of sadness, sickness, and healing I've discovered that working hard on yourself and your health truly pays off. These past two weeks I've been specifically spending time on things that make me happy; Helping others, reading Harry Potter, spending time with Emmanuel, kissing our cat Stinky, seeing friends, and working on my spiritual growth.
Healing is painful but it's worth the pain to free your brain.
March, 2018. This is the month where I create my own yoga business with no savings.
On the 1st of the month, I picked up my certification. I was finally complete, I had gone through all of the tough work, and I had nothing else to worry about. Wow, did I quickly find out how wrong I was.
Fast forward a two weeks, and here I am; I need to buy yoga insurance, business cards, the proper domain to THIS website, a yoga alliance membership, more trainings, and extra yoga mats for future students. I'm currently discussing the possibility of renting out a place for my studio, but I have so much to pay for first.
Yesterday I called to cancel my Corepower membership since I can no longer afford it.
I decided to become a yoga teacher for my career path because of my love for the practice and my dedication to the spiritual side of my life. I didn't choose the path for money - Infact, I knew this was going to be very difficult. Luckily the universe has been looking out for me and I just started a new retail job fourteen days ago so that I can pay for all of these expenses as they come up. It's only been 12 days and I'm already much closer to becoming a full-time teacher, and even closer to being part-time.
I believe I can do it. Check back on April 1st?
What are you up working for this month? What are you manifesting?