2016 has been a bitch of a year. I don’t think I know anyone that hasn’t at some point in the year thrown their fists up in the air in an act of defiance to whatever entity rained shit down on them. It was just that kind of year.
In a way it made sense. In numerology 2016 was a Year 9 cycle, a time for endings, cleansing, and releasing. This is often a time when it doesn’t matter how hard you try to swim against the current of chaos, it will take you down eventually. I liken the Year 9 cycle to the Tower card in the tarot. It’s a time when everything that you’ve been working on and creating in your life, from relationships to career progress, are shaken. Some of those things come tumbling down in a fiery wreck of a mess while others stay standing, just a bit worse for wear. In the end, when the cycle ends and the last aftershock is felt, the foundation it all rested upon remains because that was solid as ever.
Year 9’s test you. You have no choice but to come face to face with what works and what doesn’t and to admit that some people, projects, and beliefs just don’t fit anymore and need to go.
For me 2016 was a huge year of waking up. Not so much in the spiritual sense, although there was a bit of that, but more in the area of personal awareness. I realized that for the last three years, from 2013 to now, I’ve been in a very strange transition period. This isn’t news and I’ve talked about it a lot in the past. To spare you the long and repetitive details heres the quick summary:
In 2012 while living between Salem and Boston I had a bit of a spiritual breakdown after completing my Cabot 2nd Degree. I was torn about doing 3rd Degree while also facing the nightmare of my husband needing to be back in San Diego for work again. After deciding not to stay in Massachusetts alone to do 3rd Degree I hit a crisis point with my path. I never fit in in Salem and never really made any friends there. It was around this time that I decided to leave the Pagan community completely to do some soul searching.
I quit all the public Pagan and witchy work I’d been doing from the Modern Witch Podcast to even blogging. Right after getting back to San Diego I had a “break up” with my best friend that came a bit out of left field. I changed my name from my public Pagan name back to my actual name, declared my full intent of parking my broom for good for the time being and watched, with total lack of surprise but a twinge of disgust, as a large portion of my “friends” made a mass exodus from me.
Only recently have I forgiven those people. The hurtful comments I got then, and even still get now, no longer dig at my soul. Just because I choose to explore other things outside the witch circle doesn’t make me any less a witch. Just because I spent three years focused on spiritual magick like gratitude, mindfulness, forgiveness, intention, and manifesting doesn’t make me any less a witch. My decision to spiritually point my ship toward Buddhism for three years and not some version of Wiccan-ish Neo-Paganism doesn’t make me any less a witch.
My soul was calling out for something beyond the circle, for something that didn’t require wands and swords and cauldrons. But since I decided to explore outside that space I wasn’t “witchy enough” anymore. Because I didn’t feel the need to parade myself around in a cape and pointy hat saying “I’m a witch!” to every person I met, I wasn’t “witchy enough.” At least, not in the eyes of other people who call themselves witches.
But there was something that made me less a witch over those three years. And it’s all clear now as this Year 9 cycle ends.
I was allowing other people and community bullshit to take away my power and my joy and to, in a way, sour me on other witches and the witchcraft community. That in turn led to me packing up my cauldron and going home and refusing to share it with anyone else. Ever.
You may not have seen me talking a lot about witchcraft and you may not have seen a lot of signs of magick happening in my world for the last three years, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening. My Craft is now, and always has been, for me. It’s not a fashion statement, it’s not a fuck you to society, it’s not something to make me “edgy.” It never has been. I’ve been at this for three decades; 3/4 of my life! It’s just who I am and I don’t need to do it in front of anyone to validate who I am.
But this is where the lie comes in. I spent those three years trying so hard to run away from myself, mainly because I was unhappy with other people and the Pagan community as a whole, that I tried to be someone I wasn’t. Without actually realizing it I was trying desperately to fit into a different community, one that I found to be far more open and accepting (at the time), and I did it with all the trappings and appearances that come with it.
I look back on it now and liken it to the idea of “dress for the job you want.” I wanted to be at peace, reflective, still, more connected with my higher self and Divine spiritual wisdom…and all of those things tend to get laughed off in the witch and Pagan community as “new age fluff” (at least in my experience, your milage may vary). I traded pentagrams for OM symbols, Goddesses for Buddha, and ritual magick for meditation.
I only worked magick and did rituals when I really needed to, which became less and less as my energy work and higher spiritual work deepened. My ability to manifest based on focused energy and intention alone, without the help of gods and spirits and rituals, exploded.
I was still a witch because it’s just what I am! I believe fully I didn’t choose it, it chose me…or followed me from a past life, who knows. But what I do know is that over those three years and with all the things I learned and experienced in other communities and traditions I became a FAR BETTER witch than I would have been had I NOT done this.
As I tried to graft on this image of the peaceful spiritual warrior onto myself I started to realize it never felt right. Granted there were more than a few times in the last three years when I would put on my witch finery and feel like that didn’t work either.
When I moved in October and I was packing my stuff, I started to look at the actual “things” that I’d gathered over the last three years. The stuff that doesn’t really matter but for some reason we think it does. The a-typical yoga and spiritual inspired boho wardrobe, the collection of crystal jewelry, the obscene number of mala beads that I’d collected (which, don’t get me wrong, I love)…and I felt like I didn’t know who’s stuff this was.
I also realized while packing that I hadn’t once in nine months opened my storage bin of herbs, my chest of sabbat ritual gear, and I’d hardly changed my altar more than once or twice. I hadn’t actually done a full ritual working in months and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d cast a circle (actually, I did remember just recently and it was over a year ago).
Since I was on this kick to get rid of anything I hadn’t used since our previous move, I needed to go through these totes and boxes of witchy and Pagan stuff that had been stored in a closet without seeing the light of day since that move. As I did that I stopped to hold things like my Excalibur dagger I use for circle casting and my poppets that I’d collected from my travels. Smelling all the different oils, tinctures, and potions that I still had but hadn’t used in ages, I felt something click. Or maybe it was more of a snap.
This new version of “me” that I was trying so hard to create because I thought she’d be the happy, successful, loved, and celebrated woman was a BIG FUCKING LIE. This wasn’t me! And when I stopped to ask myself why I was really doing all those things I’d been doing I realized it was either because I was trying to put as much distance between me and the shit in the past that hurt or because I had some ridiculous notion that if I could become this person I would become more successful career wise.
It’s all a lie. Every last bit of it. I’m not that person and I’ll never be those things.
This was the moment that I realized I officially had no more fucks to give about what anyone else wants from me, what anyone else thinks of me, and most importantly, what other people in the magickal and spiritual community are doing, thinking, or kvetching about this week.
It seemed like there was always some big new argument or debate each week in the Pagan community (especially online) and I just don’t care. One of the reasons that I wanted out of the community in the first place was the constant academic pissing contests that went on where if you didn’t know the origins of anything and everything then you were uneducated and not dedicated enough to be “good at your Craft.” Gods forbid you admit to reading a Llewellyn book and you were labeled either lazy or “fluffy bunny.”
I don’t want to debate history and origins and who said what first and what book taught what ritual first. Who the fuck cares! It doesn’t change who we are today. I’d rather LIVE the axioms of the Craft than debate where they came from.
That brings us to today, to a place where I’ve realized what actually does and doesn’t matter for me. I’m at a place now where a lot of things I cared about even just a year ago don’t matter to me anymore. I thought it might help you to understand where I am and what you can expect of me in the new year by making a few declarative statements.
I am a Witch…capital W. My magick, my practice, my Craft is not something I feel I need to make a big deal out of. It’s just who I am. And sometimes I may not share things about it, and that’s OK.
Since I’m publicly reclaiming my witch hat, you will see this space transform into more of a witchcraft and magick focused space. However there are topics of a more new age or self-help variety that I will be keeping around because they are important to me. This said, I will not entertain witch wars, Pagan debates, or academic pissing contents. Some might see that as a shallow approach, I see it as staying focused on the practical applications of magick and what matters most…living well in the now with magick as a tool.
I fully, 100%, embrace the dark side of magick and spirituality. Again, it’s not to be “edgy” or to oppose those that are riding on the love and light train. I embrace the dark as well as the light. They go hand in hand. When you are fully steeped in one and never connect with the other, you’re out of balance. I’m not an “an it harm none” Witch. I’m a “do no harm but take no shit” Witch. If darkness, gothy things, necromancy, magick of ethical ambiguity and the like frighten you or make you comfortable, you and I may not be seeing much of each other after today.
I see Witchcraft as a practice and an art, not a religion. You can be a Witch and practice magick and be a Catholic if that’s where you fall spiritually. My spiritual beliefs are truly a combination of the things that feel true for me. They originate from traditions like Buddhism to Celtic Paganism to Shamanism and even some Neo-Wicca, because those are the roots my 11 year old self followed to get here. If you don’t agree with my way of practicing and believing that’s OK since the only person that has to really like it is me.
Also in line with my “no more fucks to give” approach to 2017, I just want to issue a blanket trigger warning to some people. I will say what I want to say here on out without worrying about upsetting or offending any of the social justice warriors who may stop by any of my online spaces. It’s my space after all.
When it comes to the work I do I plan to focus simply on sharing the things I love and the practices that have worked for me over all these years. Again, they could come from a lot of different places. For some that will be exciting but for others it will be infuriating. And I’m OK with that.
I will no longer offer any kind of coaching programs or personal healing work. I have decided to focus my time and energy on doing intuitive readings through my Etsy shop and writing. My writing will include everything from stuff here on the blog to new ebooks, print books, and courses. That said, it will be a rare thing for me to lead any live classes. My plan is to focus on creating self-study programs.
I recently reopened by Facebook page and I’m still on the fence about it. I also started to get back on Periscope but got so busy with Samhain readings, and now the holidays, that I haven’t been back. We’ll see where that ends up. In the meantime though you can always find me on Instagram and Twitter.
I want to really encourage your connection and engagement here on my blog and especially on Instagram. I don’t bite! Please reach out, share comments and thoughts, let me know what you need, what you’d like to learn, what you’d like to read about. I’m going to start doing more videos as well, but they will be right here on my site, not on YouTube or anything (because the whole comment section of almost any video on there is just utter cancer and I refuse to spend my time wading through shitty comments from idiots).
2016 was just the worst. 2017 looks to be a truly new opportunity for change and growth. I’m embracing it completely. In a lot of ways it’s not about changing so much as coming back to myself and letting you come along with me. Hopefully you’ll join me.