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Category: Spirit and Self

Finding shadows and creeping back toward the light.

Finding shadows and creeping back toward the light.

Hello, world.

Words that I’ve typed more times than I can count, as a child of the Internet and a software architect who had computers in my home while the Internet was new and still forming. See, I still capitalize Internet, like an old-school user who remembers when it was something most people didn’t understand or use. They still don’t understand it, but everyone now uses it.

I’d hoped those words would lead me to what to write next. I hadn’t wanted to stop blogging or writing in my journal, but between the pain of grief at personal and world events, pain in my body, and taking on a magic new identity, a law student of all things, I didn’t have the energy to write. My entire being was sapped by stressors, for months.

And now that I have a break from school, I’m still not sure how to get back to writing. And everyone talks about healing, and I know that’s part of what I want and will be, but I don’t know how to heal the gaping wounds in my self. To be truly honest, I don’t know how to love myself, flawed and broken and hard. I take comfort in the fact that others love me as I am, and that keeps me going. But if I’m going to learn about healing, shouldn’t I extend the same unconditional love that I give others to myself? I don’t. I hate my body, I hate my past, I hate how I got to where I am. Everything I do extends from wanting to prove to others that I am worthy, I am capable of being loved. It works for others, my wonderful community of supportive friends, quasi-coworkers, and foster-family. It doesn’t work for myself.

That’s not where I thought I was going with this. But the words write themselves, and if I’m going to take myself where I want to with Witchling in Flight, I have to let myself be vulnerable: because that’s where the healing magic will take place.

It’s hard to come to this conclusion, and it makes me want to reach for chocolate (which I’m not allowing myself for a month; more on that later, perhaps). Somehow, I need to give myself space to be vulnerable and empty out a dark space in my psyche, so that I can shine brighter and for more people than my close set of friends.

Time will tell if I’ll ever be ready.

Practicing Pagan: rituals and actions to feel in tune with my Deities

Practicing Pagan: rituals and actions to feel in tune with my Deities

I mention in the sidebar that I’m Pagan, but I’ve never talked about what that means, because I’m not sure yet. I’ve spent over a decade reading about Wicca before coming to terms with the fact that it doesn’t work for me. I love the trappings of religious witchcraft, but a couple of fundamental beliefs of Wicca don’t work with me. That’s left me floating and unsure about what I believe and how I go about showing my devotion.

So one morning while I was meditating, I was surprised to feel a nudge to write here about what I’m doing. Something about it being more concrete if I tell people a bit about my beliefs and what I’m trying to practice, as well as making a commitment to it.

A miniature clay tree on carpet
A home for the spirits in my house, tucked away where my housemates won’t notice it

The commitment part is important because I’ve failed, recently, in my daily devotions to my Deities. For a while, I was offering part of my tea to the spirits around me, and incense and a candle to my Goddesses and Gods, trying to get into a rhythm of these daily devotions, and suddenly I stopped. What stopped me? Were these devotions not enough? Was I not feeling like I was truly connecting, and subconsciously decided against doing it anymore? Was I in too much pain again? (Incense and scented candles can trigger asthma attacks, if my asthma control isn’t good, and headaches if I’m the slightest bit sensitive. Which I have been for the past few weeks.)

The key, I think, that makes it hard, is mindfulness. A lot of times I do these activities by rote, without stopping for a few moments to recognize whichever entities are present. Using my phone as an alarm, the moment I wake up, I see all the emails and text messages and life that I’ve missed out on while asleep, and I get so anxious to get caught up, that I forget to ground and center myself in what it means to be me. The last couple of days, I’ve managed to undo a little bit of that, by having my phone on airplane mode while I sleep. It’s not perfect, because I still have that anxiety pushing me around, but it’s a start.

Now to find the best practices for me to feel connected and protected. That’s why I read as much about paganism as I can: to find practices and rituals to keep me connected to my Goddesses and Gods.

There’s a dearth of daily spiritual practice in our rational, secular culture (as a white United Stateser), and I have no rituals from childhood to associate with my current spiritual work. Making things up as I go along is an uncomfortable practice for me: as a perfectionist, I want to do everything right the first time. But that’s not possible for we imperfect, irrational creatures, and it’s not fair to expect that of myself.

Candles, Tarot decks, and miscellaneous clumped together in a small space
My messy altar

I expected to make an altar full of things that are meaningful to me and to my Gods, but because I don’t have a lot of private space — I have two housemates whom I keep these things from — my “shrine” is set on the top of my dresser next to my jewelry, and there’s not a particular rhyme or reason to it. I always expected I’d have things that matter to my spiritual practice, but right now it’s a collection of candles, incense, Tarot decks, and miscellany that managed to find its way to my room. It’s not as ordered or well-kept as I’d like it to be.

But it does its job of reminding me to take a moment to say a prayer for my ancestors, for my house spirits, and for the Deities Whom I honor. And that’s the part that matters.

So while I’m not entirely sure, still, how I’m practicing and what I believe in, I am taking my first steps, and they are important ones. I will continue them and keep trying new things. And I will continue sharing my spiritual journey with you all here.

Looking for guidance on your own spiritual journey? Book a reading and let’s discover what will work for you.

Reflecting on the Four of Swords

Reflecting on the Four of Swords

I’ve been meaning to write an entry for four days now. I spent a whirlwind weekend at Paganicon, exploring what it means to be pagan in a world that needs so much more from us in terms of social justice, and how do I personally put together practices that keep me grounded in my beliefs? I have a few starts to answers to that second question, and I’ve been feeling really close to my Tarot cards the last few days because of the conference.

Which is awesome.

I grabbed my Fey Tarot and brought it with me a few places over the weekend, including a Tarot meetup for queer people on Monday night. I got to see my decks through others’ eyes, and check out some great and new-to-me decks that others have. And while I was sitting there, leafing through my cards, this Four of Swords snagged my attention.

An image of the Four of Swords, a fairy putting on war paint for battle, from the Fey Tarot deck

I’ve seen it before in readings, and it is such a strong card to me: gearing up for battle, putting on the war paint—I have a joke with a friend that my makeup is Pigments of Protection, my armor against the outside world. So I see myself putting on makeup in this card, and getting ready to do battle with the day.

Last night, as I was drawing a card to write about in my paper journal, I saw this Four of Swords at the bottom of the deck, thought about it a minute, then shuffled. Shuffled four times, cut the deck, and flipped over the top card: Four of Swords. Well done, Tarot. Well done.

I see in this card that I have all the tools I need to protect myself as I venture into the world: I have my makeup, I have my understanding of how to pay attention to my needs. I have some light shielding in place so that I don’t “read” too much from others. (I have a lot of work to do to feel confidence in my shielding from others’ energy, though.) I’ve figured out reasons for why some “normal” interactions bother me and what I can do about it. I really am ready to take on the next stage of my life.

I can see where protections might go too far, though, and if I ever see this Four of Swords reversed, I’d have to examine myself to see if I’ve been shielding myself from too much. Am I being vulnerable to the people who matter to me, or have I closed myself off entirely from everyone? Am I pushing friends and family away instead of letting them know what I need? That happens often enough that I need a good nudge to remind me that people care about me, and it’s okay to let down my guard.

For now, though, I’m reassured by the presence of the Four of Swords reminding me that I got this. I can go after my hopes and dreams, because I’ve worked hard to earn the skills I need. It’s a beautiful feeling.

Coming back to life

Coming back to life

When I texted a friend this morning to say that I didn’t know how I feel about the full moon today, she suggested I use my daily meditation to ask for guidance. Then I spent my entire meditation period thinking about getting out a notebook and my Faeries oracle cards, so I count that as my answer. Look, Gods! I’m doing what you suggested, even!

A notebook, pen, and three Faeries Oracle cards

I have to give my spirituality more priority. Moon cycles create dramatic changes in my life, and it’s going to become even more important to honor those. With the theme of the year continuing to be intense, carving out space for me to reflect and honor the important things happening in my life will help me feel less like I’m always behind on things.

I’m finally starting to feel like I have a handle on how my body will react to the world, now it’s time to get a handle on my spiritual life. It’s hard and important work for me to do.

I miss writing, again. I dropped off when I started taking care of myself after surgery. Now it’s time to get back into it and catch up on all I’ve missed.

My city is grieving.

My city is grieving.

This is an email I sent yesterday to far-away family and friends. It contains racism, police brutality, and violence.

If you don’t think you can read it all, please consider donating to Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. They are on the front lines of this fight. They need our support.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this, because I don’t trust the media, but we live under a militarized police force this week in Minneapolis. I’ve spent a lot of this week in grief and anger and hearing from people who are going to the site where on Sunday morning yet another black man was murdered by the police. I can’t believe this is still happening here. And I can’t believe that the police’s response is to armor up and threaten all the people there.

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Video: Something Wicked – Queer Witches

Video: Something Wicked – Queer Witches

I’m just about to plunge myself back into the world of coding a new theme, after spending most of the day trying to catch up with emails and phone calls. (Being an adult is way too much trying to catch up with people on the phone!) Before I start yelling at my computer, though, I wanted to share this excellent video with you about queer witches in the media.

(I wish there were a transcript, but at least there are some good visuals sprinkled throughout if you watch it!)

I’m only just discovering my queer identity, and having witches in the media presented as queer is a huge affirmation for me, a chance to say “oh wow, those witches are powerful and hot, that’s something I could be too.” Really important!

Being human, stumbling, and keeping going

Being human, stumbling, and keeping going

I’m sitting at home near a candle that’s not burning as perfectly as I’d like and thinking about what I should be writing. I know I should be writing, because it calls to my soul. But what should I be writing? And do I have the confidence to write it?

I was emailing with my friend Libby over the weekend, wondering if I could ever write again. I wanted to, I have big feelings in my chest that need to get out, but how do I write? I’m not sure how to anymore. Libby said: just write. Free writing will take you where you need to be.

So here I sit, with some poetic music playing, and writing for everyone to see.

Over the past few years I’ve become really afraid of blogging publicly. So many blogs these days are written by the point of view of someone who has it figured out, whatever “it” is. I don’t. I feel scared and small, and if I start focusing on the things that scare me, I panic and the monsters get so much bigger than they really are. Then I’m paralyzed with fear.

Instead of focusing on the things that scare me, I’ve started ignoring them, and letting myself hold on to things that make me confident and proactive. That’s why I am researching so much about starting a business in my state (but waiting a day or two more to actually register). That’s why I forget to write here. Because I want to stick to safe topics, ones that I already know, because that’s what people do in the blogosphere these days.

That’s not who I am.

Who I am is a timid explorer, still trying to hold xyrself steady on xyr feet. My legs are shaky, my balance sucks, but I can still take the steps I need to to keep going. I might hide from the big truths for a while, but I am fascinated by them, and I want to grapple with new ideas and play with words. I don’t want to be the woman with the big truths. I want to be the fairy with the musical laugh, asking the right questions to provoke insights for others.

So I will stumble, and I will reach out, and I will try new things, and I will have faith in myself and the people around me. I will pay more attention to the journey than the destination.

I am a witchling in flight, and I dare you to uncover your own truth.

Playing with the Full Moon and Faeries Oracle

Playing with the Full Moon and Faeries Oracle

I’ve been slooooowly outing myself to my social circle about my Pagan inclinations, and it’s been much more well received than I thought it would be. I guess that if people love and accept me as I am now, glitter obsession and all, it’s not a far cry to see me believing in the power of Tarot, astrology, the Moon, whatever. I am already that slightly left-of-normal, but now I’m committing myself fully to that path.

The best part about being more honest and open about the path I’m walking down? It’s giving me more motivation to buckle down and study. After spending a couple hours planning a full moon ritual yesterday for tonight, I came home and spent another hour or more doing some play time with my Faeries’ Oracle cards.

I canNOT remember when I got these cards. It was for my birthday, but was it in 2014? Or 2015? 2013? A friend sent it to me with the intent that I use the book that came with it to work with the cards. I’ve hemmed and hawed, picked it up, read a page, then got nervous and put it back down, spent more time with my Fey Tarot instead.

A book, "The Faeries' Oracle", placed on the grass with a bag of oracle cards

Until last night, when I got home and decided Now was a great time to pick up the cards, pick up the book, and work on the first couple of exercises. And I learned some good things about myself and the path I’m going down while playing with these cards. Maybe soon I can use them in addition to Tarot to do readings for others, too!

I also mentioned that I’m planning a full moon ritual for tonight. I’ve studied different types of religious witchcraft paths for years, always been drawn to the moon, and until now never had the courage to follow through and do something for the full moon. I’m grateful and looking forward to a good, simple, respectful, great time to play under the Moon’s watchful eye.

Some of the Fey Tarot cards scattered on the grass

Another great thing about being open to my friends? Hanging out on a beautiful day at the park and admiring the Tarot with them.

Standing in the eye of the storm

Standing in the eye of the storm

When I first started reading about Wicca when I was a wee young girl, all the books told you you absolutely had to have an altar, and it has to have these things on it: athame, salt, wand, pentacle, imagery of the God and Goddess. “If you don’t have these things, get creative and get something like it,” they said. They never said that an altar is something you do for yourself, that you do to connect with your Gods and Goddesses, your connection to magic. This is one of the reasons I could never quite get into Wicca, despite wanting, so badly, to be a witch.

Lately there is a resurgence of people taking back the word “witch” from Wiccans. Over the past twenty or thirty years, Wiccans have worked hard to de-stigmatize witchcraft by associating it with their peace-loving religion. That’s great, but witchcraft is not synonymous with Wicca. An altar does not have to look like the books told me. Altars come in all religions. Altars should look the way that you want them to look.

I’ve been reading about altars in different polytheists faiths lately, and I’m being inspired by this secular witch’s photos of her altars. Altars are places to put things that are sacred to you. Flowers, mementos from ancestors, feathers found on a walk, things that inspire you. While I’ve been mostly curious about bloggers who call themselves “devotional polytheists” lately, I’m thinking about altars in all senses. A place for my Tarot cards. A place for a pretty rock or two, some crystals, a candle. If ever I could get my garden going, then a flower or two. An altar should have meaning for the user, especially if it’s this user, especially if this user is trying to develop her spirituality and understand what she is called to.

It’s time for me to start a practice. My practice will be inspired by devotional polytheism and witchcraft. But, you know, starting is hard. Finding a place to live where I can be free to start a practice is hard. I want to work on my relationships with the spirits of my land and house, which is hard to do when I have such a hard time just keeping clean. I’m on the verge of big changes, I think, or still riding the waves of big changes that have been building for me, and these changes are going to uproot my life. How do I trust to what’s real and true while so many new things take place around me?

I’m not sure yet. But I have a lot of wonderful support while I figure all of this out.

Aura cleansing and Camp NaNoWriMo

Aura cleansing and Camp NaNoWriMo

This week, I finally have had time and energy to pick up The Mystic Foundation again. I wrote about it in January, how I really appreciated how balanced the view is of all types of mystical traditions, and I do still like that. It seems like a starting point to all types of things: chakras, astrology, aura, meditation… What I find really fascinating is how much of this book becomes “things I really ought to be doing for myself and need a good starting point for… oh hey check out this exercise!”

Last night I got into the chapter in spiritual bodies, and there’s an exercise on cleaning your aura that seems like it’d be absolutely beneficial to me. I’ve been stuck lately, feeling very heavy and sluggish. The exercise has you working on “cleaning” your aura’s dense areas so that they are filled with light again, not holding you down. Seems like something that would help me! Hold me to getting this done, readers! I’ll report back at least after doing it three times.

On a completely unrelated note, a friend poked me to look at Camp NaNoWriMo this morning. I haven’t done NaNoWriMo in many years, but this seems like a fun way to write with friends. You know what would be amazingly awesome as well? Having a Luminous Emporium cabin! Would you write with me? Pleeeease, please please please? If I do it, I’m going to write poetry, blog posts, and journal entries, so nothing too fancy and scary. There will be a lot of processing, I think, so it might also be deeply personal. But it would feel so good to write. Join me? Pretty please? Comment here if you’re interested!