I’m loving the 11 questions for the #seasonofthewitch tag thing that’s been going around the pagan/witchy YouTube circuits, first started (I believe) by The Woodland Hag, so check that out first before proceeding. I’ve also binge-watched many of the video responses so use the hashtag #seasonofthewitch to find them all.
Here are my responses to the 11 questions, but instead of video form, here they are in blog form.
“1. In what way (Witch, Pagan, Wise Woman, etc.) do you choose to identify and why?”
Although I don’t self-identify as witch (because in my native tongue, within the cultural context of my motherland and native traditions, it doesn’t actually make sense), the way I present, my practices, my interests, and point of view are very witchy as “witch” would get defined in the culture and region I am in right now. So when others identify or label me as witch, I’m perfectly happy with it.
I don’t formally self-identify as pagan because I’ve been told by pagans that I’m not pagan and I’m not all that interested in debating that point. Sometimes I might casually use the reference “pagan” just for convenience of terms.
Empath? Psychic? Highly Sensitive Person? Even if I happen to qualify for any of those identity markers, I wouldn’t use them for myself anyway because I’m not so sure I belong or feel like I belong in the communities that currently hold up those identity markers.
I have heard at times that what my mother does is a form of shamanistic practice, but I like to mimic her– she repudiates all labels and just talks matter-of-factly about her interactive relationship, her experiences, and her perspective of Spirit, of spirit worlds, and that’s that. I’ve adopted a similar approach.
I do call myself a tarot reader, however. Because I read tarot cards. I also call myself an astrologer. I’m a feng shui… I refuse to use the word “master.” Consultant sounds a little clinical and dry. I guess I don’t mind occultist.
“2. What does my daily practice look like?”
My daily practice isn’t about certain forms of devotions I have to do and it doesn’t always necessarily even appear “spiritual” (or maybe more accurately, ritualistic, ceremonial…). It’s not about burning incense, lighting candles, reciting prayers or mantras, meditating, going into ritual space, going before my altar, or my favorite– Instagramming my witchcraft. =)
It’s been two years since I came up with the password-protected Closed Circuit idea, which in hindsight I don’t know if it was a good or bad idea.
Good, because it succeeded in the sense that I really got to know some of you better and it achieved what I hoped it would– actually getting to know you, you who reads these blog posts. =)
Bad, because no one reads or does due diligence so I end up feeling like a broken record, repeating myself over and over on the spirit behind the Closed Circuit, that it isn’t meant to be exclusionary, but the opposite–it’s intended to be more interactive, so these blog posts aren’t one-way but rather, become two-way exchanges where not only do you get to know me, but I get to know you in return.
If I’m going to get personal and real with you, I don’t want to feel like I’m talking into an empty void. I want to feel like I’m actually talking with someone. This is just you agreeing to step forward and saying yes, yep, I’m here, this is me, I hear you, I won’t judge, I’ll just listen and be present.
Most Eastern esoteric paths espouse that a practitioner of any esoteric art should proactively cultivate and strengthen the personal Qi, or life force, because when you do any form of intense metaphysical work, you’re drawing from that pool of personal Qi. If you’re not mindful of replenishing that Qi, then the constant weakening of your life force from the occult work that you do (this includes divination) can cause physical and mental health concerns. So to maintain optimal wellbeing–and that’s physical, mental, and psychic-spiritual wellbeing–cultivation practices are necessary.
The Metaphysician’s Qi
Divination, ceremonial ritual, mediumship, channeling, pathworking, spell-crafting, astral journeying—these practices are believed to exhaust a lot of your personal life force, and so as a metaphysician, you want to establish a routine practice of cultivating and strengthening your Qi, or life force, to maintain your wellbeing. Otherwise, you can become more susceptible to illness, both of the physical and mental variety.
Taking measures to cultivate and strengthen personal Qi is a practice everyone and anyone can benefit from, much like how everyone and anyone should be mindful of nutrition and physical exercise. However, the nutritional needs of your everyday office worker is very different from the nutritional needs of an Olympic swimmer. So we can make the comparison here of an occultist to the Olympic swimmer, because it’s considered an out-of-the-ordinary lifestyle, and so your nutritional needs– in this case psychic-spiritual nutritional needs– will be different from the average person.
Let’s cover six ways a metaphysician can cultivate Qi:
Readers Studio 2019 was the first time I’ve ever attended a conference as an attendee only, with no presentation obligations. And it was fantastic. I’m not sure I ever want to go back to presenting. It was that fantastic.
Maybe other presenters are different, and less vain, but when I’m scheduled to present, I spend a lot of time focusing on me. How do I look. Do I know my stuff. Will my PowerPoint slides work. Will there be a tech malfunction. Pray to gods there are no wardrobe malfunctions. How do I look. Do I know my stuff. What do people think of me. Is my presentation good enough. They’re gonna realize I’m a total fraud. How do I look. Also, how do I look.
This time, I didn’t think about me at all. I dressed comfortably, didn’t even bring more than the pair of shoes I wore onto the plane, and 100% of my attention was on learning and mingling. I had a blast.
For day job work reasons, I couldn’t make it to Thursday’s Divination Day, and boy do I regret it! I heard it was phenomenal and I’m really kicking myself for not having the chance to attend.
For the Foundation Reading on Friday, my partner was my good friend Ethony. She gave me the reading I totally needed and since we’re close, I asked a legit question, meaning you know, you don’t skimp on the truth, the facts, and how you’re really feeling. And Ethony’s reading was amazing!
It was really cool to get to observe her reading style. I don’t know if she realizes it (I think she does) but she channels most of her readings. You can literally see her change state. Something Ethony-but-not-just-Ethony comes through, and when she’s done, something leaves her eyes, something returns, and she’s chattering like good ole’ Ethony again. It’s so fascinating.
Her master class was early Friday evening. She channeled and shared with us the Thirteen Muses of Tarot, but I’ll just share the one I felt an immediate connection to as the muses were being revealed to us: Brujula, the Muse of Transition Readings, who is a compass and guide at our crossroads. Ethony also showcased thirteen beautiful card images depicting the muses. The reading I did during Ethony’s master class was really powerful.
At the breakfast roundtable on Saturday morning, Al Juarez talked to us about telling time with the tarot. A roundtable discussion is when the moderator, in this case Al, moderates everyone n the room to share their insights into the given topic.
Some of the really cool things I learned at that roundtable about telling time with tarot:
Charge a tarot card based on the question at hand. That charged card becomes your significator. Shuffle the deck and proceed to distribute the cards into 12 card piles representing the twelve months. The card pile you find the significator in will indicate the month that the queried event will happen.
Gina Thies shared a really cool point: develop a system for tarot divination that covers the who, what, where, when, and why of a matter. The card or cards you pull for the “when” will help you with telling time.
Saturday morning was George Koury’s master class on the Peter Pan method of reading, which reveals your life purpose. George is a psychic, medium, and angel communicator who descends from a family line of psychics and mediums. He commands a powerful, yet nurturing, gentle, compassionate presence.
So, How do you deduce your own life purpose? Start by asking the question: What did you love to do as a child? The answers you brainstorm in response to that question can help point you toward your life purpose. I loved that!
Next was a master class with Sasha Graham. Her presentation was titled, “The Magician’s Secret and Seven Sacred Cornerstones of Constant Magic.”
Sasha is the real deal. We had such a powerful, magical, but also impressively informative master class with her. In one of her writing prompts: “My heart’s work is…” I can’t even believe what I blurted out onto paper. Even now, reading it back to myself, I giggle nervously.
Should I share it? Bah. You know and I know I want to. Why front. Okay here it goes:
The prompt was: “My heart’s work is…” and as soon as she said go, you had to write. Your pen could not leave paper so if you just didn’t know what exactly to write, you were supposed to write “I have more to say” and just keep writing that until you actually have something original to put down.
So, funny enough, most of journaled my page was “I have more to say.” But then every so often, I’d blurt something out. By the way, just so you know, I totally took these master class prompts and sessions seriously, and when she said go, I went. I entered a trance state and did my thang.
On Sunday morning, we revisited our Friday Foundation Readings and this time, applied the techniques we learned during the three master classes. That meant identifying which of the 13 tarot muses came through in my reading (Ethony’s master class), what the cards might reveal about my life purpose (George Koury’s), and how to see the unseen in this reading spread (Sasha Graham’s).
I came home with lots of goodies! Liz Westwater of West Star Health & Healing gifted me with her Angels Sing spray, which is a magical blend of angelica root, gemstone-infused water, and so much more. It smells divine!
By the way, next year’s lineup of master class presenters is going to be so much fantastic. I’ve already marked it in my 2020 calendar to attend. Will I see you there?
Learn more about Readers Studio at the Tarot School.
Online communities have these fun little unintentional trends, like for a while, you just had this concentrated uptick of people posting about shadow work, and then it was the depth year, and although this post is coming at the tail end, the concept of work productivity and personal validation through productivity has been a recurring topic of discussion.
A remark I receive on repeat– and this has been recurring throughout my life, since my adolescent years among high school peers– is how productive I appear to be. What’s my secret? Do I have more hours in the day than everybody else? Should I be patenting a business method for my secret sauce to productivity? No, really, what is it that keeps my engines going?
Over the years I’ve received numerous requests to do a day-in-my-life walk-through and I’ve finally gotten around to doing it, in blog form. =) This will be a typical weekday in my life. At some point in the near future I’ll post a sequel: a weekend in my life.
I wake up before sunrise, and so what you see above is what I typically see when I head downstairs to the kitchen to make myself a pot of coffee, especially through the winter months.
As I walk down the stairs and while the coffee brews, I’m mapping out my morning. What needs to get done in the next three to four hours? Where did I leave off on each of those projects I’m about to dive in to?
My breakfast this morning is sauteed bitter melon (just a little bit of animal fat, no seasoning) and fresh blueberries. I don’t eat this for yummy reasons. I eat this for medicine reasons. While I’m prepping, I’m checking work e-mails, drafting and scheduling blog posts, outlining talking points for videos, or if I’m in the middle of writing a book at that time, then my laptop is open on the kitchen table and I’m writing while I’m cooking.
To be clear, modern medicine wins over homeopathic, folksy, holistic anecdotal home remedies every time for me, and if I get diagnosed with something, I’m going to go with the prescription pills. But on the regular, in terms of preventative care, I’m a huge proponent for considering the medical and health benefits of food. I very much follow Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for my diet and cooking. So almost everything I eat has a TCM purpose to it. Herbology isn’t just having shelves full of pretty glass jars filled with exotic herbs. It’s something I implement into daily cooking.
I’m not going to say something like breakfast is the most important meal or that it’s even necessary. I don’t think it’s necessary for most people, given their 21st century lifestyles. However, in agrarian cultures, you *had* to eat breakfast, because immediately after, you’d be working out on the fields until sundown! That’s my ancestry and DNA, and so I find that for me, even though I’m not working out on a literal field, what I do is a modern and mental equivalent. Breakfast powers the operations of my mind and keeps me going in an optimized and productive manner.
Most mornings, I get to watch the sunrise. My home office window looks out directly east (something intentional, which I looked for when house hunting), so I can sip my coffee, do stretches, a morning meditation, or a morning ritual facing eastward and actually get to catch a glimpse of the rising sun.
This is important to me. Watching the sunrise conveys a rather remarkable and paradoxical feeling where, simultaneously, you feel both incredibly honored and important and yet also, equally, incredibly small and insignificant. I think that’s quite the compelling thought at the start of every day of your life.
Near the tail end of 2018, I shared some of my thoughts on the upkeep of a YouTube channel and whether I should continue my efforts there. See: The Mass Exodus Away from YouTube.
What I decided was to work on a six-part video lecture series to post on my YouTube channel and use the series for a social experiment. I told myself I would invest the effort, time, and dedication to craft this video series, put it out there, and study the public response to the series for making my determination on how I want to go forward.
I was never going to publicize any of this private data-keeping or air to anyone at all how I was feeling. But I follow Jessi Huntenburg on YouTube and she recently posted a provocative video, “Money Shadows in the Witchcraft Community.” Watching her video made me decide, yah, this is going up. Because she’s so right. And I feel my data confirms every point Jessi made.
But then it also made me feel like crap, because as a creator you want to be the kind of good-hearted person who puts out content for free and not expect anything in return, but then after you put out the content for free and actually not get anything in return, oh now suddenly I’m not happy with that? What happened to “I don’t expect anything in return”? And of course you’re smart enough to realize your own hypocrisy, so now on top of feeling bad, you feel guilt and shame. Because apparently, you’re not as good-hearted as you thought you were.
I used to do this by newsletter, but I accidentally deleted my regular newsletter mailing list in Mailchimp and then couldn’t figure out how to get it back. Oops.
To write up this year in review, I took out my 2018 Metaphysician’s Day Planner and went through the pages, the months at a glance, weeks at a glance, the divinatory forecasts, reflection notes, and everything I documented this past year. I’m gearing up to write in all my goals, resolutions, and plans for 2019 soon.
If you’d like to order a Metaphysician’s Day Planner for 2019, you can read more about it here before you buy.
If you’re into that whole tarot year thing (where you add up the digits for your month of birth, day of birth, and then this current year, 2018, then reduce it down to a number 1 through 22), then 2018 was a Strength/Justice year for me (depending on how you ascribe Key 8 in the Majors). I’m gonna guess my life path has programmed itself to the RWS system because it was definitely more of a Strength-y year than Justice-y.