On Prayer

My introduction to spirituality came in the form of the Catholic church, and let’s just say it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. I loved the hymnals, the smell of frankincense at mass and studying the stations of the cross depicted around the perimeter of the church while the priest recited the homily. The message, however, never resonated with me. It didn’t help that I had a nun as a teacher who publicly humiliated me and a principal who would call us into assembly just to yell at us while her contorted face blistered into the color of a ripe tomato.

Given the circumstances, I understand why I drifted away from prayer–if my elbows were on the pew in front of me or my butt touched my heels while I was genuflecting, the chastising that resulted completely pulled me out of the moment. Roughly a year after I transitioned out of Catholic school and stopped going to church altogether, I stopped chatting with God before I feel to sleep. A year after that, I stopped fearing the repercussions of my sinful behavior and I began my slow voyage towards adopting an atheist paradigm.

Being an atheist is still pretty freaking taboo in my culture. I remember telling others my age and having them gawk and grow silently uncomfortable. I remember being told I was going to hell at the bus stop and telling the girl who “damned” me that she didn’t know what she was talking about. It was even worse when others tried to convert me–no, I’m not really interested in talking about your God, thank you very much. Was there a time where I thought that believers weren’t as bright as the average bear? Of course. In hindsight, I think I chose this view to compensate for my lack of spirituality, of connection, of community.

It wasn’t until five years ago that I began to reconnect with the idea of prayer as a sacred act. First, I had to identify an energetic force or deity I actually felt comfortable praying to, and once I convinced myself that the concept of deity wasn’t in and of itself foolish, I used pathworking as a gateway to the psycho-spiritual plane where I first met the Morrighan. It was liberating to a) speak to a goddess for once, and b) to finally hear back from the divine. My prayer was defined less by worship or request, and more by insightful and honest conversation. My archetypal approach to witchcraft helped greatly in this–I considered the godhead a manifestation both of my psyche and the collective unconscious, and so invited myself to play an active role in my relationship with deity. As such, The Morrighan didn’t exist on high; she was a part of me, and easily accessible whenever I wished to visit her.

Since then, how I pray has expanded and evolved. I use the tarot to tap into messages from the collective unconscious, and I consider this a form of prayer. I meditate and slip into an alpha state and pray silently and unconcerned whether anyone or anything hears me. I pray in fits of fear when I’m too anxious to be grounded and the esoteric and ethereal are the only channels through which I can direct my nervous energy. I pray through joyful, immersive experiences like listening to music and hugging my daughter. I pray when I’m sad and static. When I’m angry and I scream an obscenity filled truth to myself and the cosmos, I’m praying. Whenever I’m holding space for someone (and it’s difficult for me) and whenever I compromise for love and whenever I read the tarot for myself and someone else, I’m praying.

Prayer, to me, is being honest with myself. It’s speaking truths (however upsetting and heartbreaking) and acting on behalf of those truths and striving to be kinder, better, and more compassionate everyday. It’s less of a structure, and more of a feeling, and I know I’m doing it when I’m doing it.

By expanding my understanding of what prayer is,  I was finally able to do it. And now that I’ve unlocked that ability within myself, I feel more in touch with my fellow humans, the world, and the cosmos.

Much Love,

Jessi

Surviving A Spiritual Slump

Do you live, eat, breathe, and sleep moon phases? Are you able to meditate, perform ritual, do yoga, commune with your deities, and sage that shit on the daily? Are you constantly on your spiritual A-game with no signs of stopping or slipping away from the woo?

If so, I applaud you–you are the Super-Human New-Age Goddess we all revere and aspire to be.

If you’re a professed human being like myself, however, chances are that you fall out of touch with your inner-divine from time to time. In the woo community, this disconnection is generally referred to as a “spiritual slump,” and even though it’s incredibly natural and common, it causes many stress and concern.

So, what should we do if the flatline of spiritual malaise begins to sneak up on us? 

Attitudes vary. Some claim that periods of disconnection are part and parcel to the spiritual journey and that we should just ride them out while enjoying the beauty of the moment. Others recommend going through the motions until you (inevitably) reconnect with your practice. Still others claim that spiritual slumps are an indication that it’s time to move beyond current spiritual practice and experiment with new approaches and ideologies.

 

But what if none of these approaches works for you? What if you can’t shake yourself out of a slump and you can’t release your attachment to spiritual practice?

I was an atheist for the better part of a decade. You could say I “lost my religion” at the ripe age of fourteen–I wasn’t too keen on the patriarchal conception of God and I was far too logical, literal, and green to consider working with an archetypal pantheon. Instead, I took up the banner of nihilism and existentialism, and although it was something to believe in, it left me feeling empty, isolated, and hopeless.

This is no way to be. And I have the sneaking suspicion that these feelings prompt many to experiment with woo even though they don’t consider themselves particularly spiritual.

When I finally reconnected with this aspect of myself and rediscovered my place in the glorious All that is the universe, I was intoxicated by the feeling it gave me. Having lived a life apart for so long, all I desired was to prolong this oneness, this union. But, like so many things, this deep spirituality ebbs and flows, and the first time it ebbed, I have to admit that I was fairly devastated.

Spiritual slumps suck. And however true it may be, “this too shall pass” offers little comfort in the moment.

I feared that I was losing it again and that I would never get it back. I did all the things–performed ritual even though it no longer resonated, experimented with new approaches and ideologies, I consulted the tarot, and I tried to accept my slump period and take advantage of the opportunities it afforded me. Nothing seemed to help–I still felt lost and disconnected. And then, something wonderful happened–I felt my spirituality returning. I tried to pinpoint what had caused the shift, but I eventually realized that everything had caused it.

Ultimately, it was my dedication to being spiritual and living a spiritual life that brought the feeling back to me.

Even when I was sad and despairing, I persevered in living my truth, working my shadowpracticing compassion and forgiveness, spending time at my altar and receiving guidance and counsel from those who’ve been through similar experiences. Each of us works through our spiritual slumps in our own way, and if we truly wish for a deepened connection with the divine, we’ll have it.

So, how do you survive a spiritual slump? Hold space for yourself. Seek guidance and support from those you trust. And never give up hope that you’ll find your way back.

Much Love, Seekers,

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Seeking spiritual guidance? Consider booking a reading with me.

 

5 Ways to Make Spring Fever Your Friend (And a New Tarot Spread!)

The sun has warmed and the flowers have bloomed. Dogs and babies and grown-as men and women are laughing more, jostling more, smiling more. The smell of coffee emanating from the cafe seems deeper, more intoxicating. And everybody looks damn good.

It’s official: spring fever has hit me like a Mac truck.

It happens every year–I’m chugging along like the little engine who could, making deadlines and conceptualizing projects and getting my hustle on and adulting like a complete badass. Yet, on the first day the temperature rises past 70 degrees, I chuck my planner in the corner, put on a flowery dress and say, “Fuck it. I’m going to walk the earth.”

Instead of writing this blog post yesterday, I sewed a light, flowing skirt and spent the better part of the day walking around and thinking, “I must look so seductive and amazing in this skirt.”

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(Image from yesterday when I finished said skirt and was seriously feeling myself so I took a picture in my messy-ass room because fuck it–it’s spring. And yes–that’s a clean diaper on my dresser.)

Don’t get me wrong–I still went grocery shopping and mailed some tarot bags and cleaned and cooked and live-streamed a Spread This, Witches video, but there were a fair few things I didn’t check off my to-do list.

And if the gloriously balmy breeze streaming through my wide-open window is any indication, there are a fair few things that may be left unchecked on today’s to-do list.

Because I’m a decades-long sufferer of Spring Fever (and because I’ve had to figure out how to prevent my life from falling to shit as soon as the winter breaks), I’ve generated some fail-safe methods of keeping myself on task and in the driver’s seat. Firstly…

Let Go of the Expectation of Perfection.

It’s nice outside. You’re a human being. If you’re lucky, you’re a Pagan (heehee), and the call of the wild is freaking impossible to resist. So give into that impulse to commune with the mother goddess of nature and go out and enjoy her bounty. 

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(Image from the cherry blossom in my neighborhood from one of many “I’ll just go out for a few minutes” turned two-hour walks.)

This season comes but once a year, and if you don’t allow yourself time to enjoy it, you’re going to have to wait another nine months to do so. You don’t have to be completely productive all the time. Likewise, you can indulge in a total “fuck it” day without utterly falling behind (as long as you don’t let it go to your head and are able to put your nose to the grindstone the next day!)

Make the most of Crappy Weather Days.

If I see rain in the forecast, I book my schedule to capacity. If I’m able, I do all of my client readings on that day. I write as many blog posts as I can and I shoot a video or two if possible. I order in take-out and I let the house fall into chaos and fully devote myself to work. I turn off the TV and immerse myself in the interwebs, tweaking reading offerings and the design of my website. Why? Because when the sun breaks and it’s beautiful again, I can spend my evening walking to the park and listening to drum circles and watching hippies hoop and walk the slack line. Holy crap, I do really live in the crunchiest neighborhood ever.

Make the Most of the ‘Weird Hours.’

The ‘weird hours’ are those that fall outside of the nine-to-five–the super-early mornings and the late nights and evenings. Many of us use these times to unwind with a cup of tea or coffee or wine (which is freaking glorious, btw) and a good book or TV program, but when the spring arrives and the greatest delight can be found through riding a bike or laying on a blanket in the grass, I use these hours to get some serious shit done. I’m writing this blog post in the “weird hour” time slot. I’ve finally figured out the proper lighting and camera angle to shoot my cardslinging videos at night (as it gets nicer, expect many more of these!). Likewise, the warmer weather makes it easier for me to get out of bed and be immediately productive, so I use that to my advantage by writing/responding to social media posts while I make breakfast. It can be super multi-tasky, but when you’re doing yoga in the park at sundown, you’ll be happy you did it.

There’s a Spread for That!

This is a tarot blog after all, and what would this post be without an awesome spread to round it out? I conceptualized this spread this morning when I was like, “How the hell am I going to stay on task when it’s so damn lovely outside?!” I’ve christened it the “Spring Fever Spread”, and it goes a little something like this:

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  1. Energy to embrace as we bloom into this glorious season.
  2. Impulse to resist for the good of Self and All.
  3. Card to channel to get some serious shiz done when you need to.
  4. How to be like the spring and be a creative badass.
  5. Advice for finding harmony and balance.

Bring the Inside Out, and Bring the Outside In.

If, like me, you do a majority of your work on your laptop, bring that bad boy outside. Sure, you run the risk of distraction, but if you persevere in this, you’ll be able to find a way to be productive despite the call of the wild. Experiment on days where your schedule isn’t madly packed so you can allow yourself a digression or two. And besides, how awesome is it to read tarot outside?

Tear open the shutters and fling wide the windows, folks. Go to your local farmer’s market and buy a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers and feature them on your kitchen table. While you’re at it, select some gorgeous produce and make a spring green salad. Create a vibrant home that’s filled with light and cleansed by a constant breeze, so even if you can’t be outside, it will feel like you are.

Much Love and Happy Spring,

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