I wholeheartedly believe that anyone can be a witch.
I believe it like breathing. Like living. As if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Because being a witch isn’t about the crystals you love or the tarot cards you sling. It isn’t about how you look, how you dress, or what goddess you believe (or don’t believe) in. All it requires is adopting the core principle that you have power. That you’re able. That you’re not merely a victim of the various structures and forces that operate in and around your life.
Nay–you’re a powerful creatrix with a will and desire all your own, and you can make and remake your life however you see fit.
Being a witch is connecting with the deep inner knowledge that who you are right now is enough. That you deserve to be treated with love and respect. That you are a wondrous product of the life force of the universe, and as such, are worthy of your visions, your desires, and the space you inhabit on this earth.
And with this empowerment blooms the understanding that others are worthy, able, and are rightful inhabiters of this world and this universe. That people be how they be and do what they do, and as long as they’re not impinging on your right to live freely, you should let them be as they choose.
Being a witch is standing up for the right of others to exist.
It’s understanding that the magick of this world is accessible to everyone, and that the very magick you wield in the circle is the same magick that unites us all.
It’s the recognition that you don’t have to live up to others’ expectations of you. It’s the realization that you’re solely responsible for your choices and reactions regardless of what’s happened to you. It’s healing yourself and working through the wrongs done to you because you know you deserve to be free. It’s fighting to love yourself even when you receive messages of hate and rejection, and it’s fighting to love others even when it’s uncomfortable and hard.
Anyone can be a witch, because being a witch is saying, “I’m here. I exist. And I get to choose my experience,” and making that declaration is your goddess-given right.
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.
As you well know, today is the first day of the glorious month of May, the date of my late Papa’s birthday. Each year, true to form and without fail, he recited:
“Hip Hooray, the first of May! Outdoor screwing starts today!”
Not the classiest of one-liners, but definitely telling in terms of the pagan roots of his Scottish Heritage. Beltane is the fire festival of fertility and represents the peak of Spring’s verdure and the transition from maiden to mother in the triple goddess tradition. When I was living in the motherland in 2005, I attended a Beltane festival on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill and reveled with the fae and fire-breathers well into the evening. These twin memories make this day a poignant one for me–not only do I honor my grandfather’s memory, but I think back to times of freedom and wildness and living without boundaries or regret.
Whenever May pops her head over the hill, I’m filled with a renewed sense of vigor, zest, intuitive connection and generative creativity.
Perhaps this is why I find myself hosting not one, but two challenges this month, both of which seek to unite us with our inner knowing and our potential to consciously create our experience. The first, #mayjorchallenge, almost spontaneously created itself when I sat down last Sunday and said, “I really want to create an Instagram challenge for May.” I decided upon using the major arcana as my inspiration and decided that I wanted to “put the archetypes to work for us,” so to speak. The questions accompanying each bloomed naturally and organically like the petals of a flower. I looked at what I had created and I thanked the muse and the season for the inspiration.
If you can’t tell already, I like to go in depth with things, and the more unique and genuine they are, the better.
I am deeply moved by personal narrative–I fell in love with it long before I fell in love with the tarot, and it continues to be my main inspiration for doing the work that I do.
Our stories are our birthright and our legacy, and they form the patchwork of the quilt that represents our experience. As we grow and change and move through our paths, the thread work becomes more intricate, the patterns more varied, and the colors richer. Eventually, we reach a stage where happenings and our reactions to them become gloriously magickal. I read a passage from The Art of Loving by Erich Fromme last night that perfectly illustrates this phenomenon:
I shall become a master in this art only after a great deal of practice, until eventually the results of my theoretical knowledge and the results of my practice are blended into one – my intuition – the essence of the mastery of any art.
I’ve been thinking a lot about intuition lately–of the role it plays in my decision-making, in my tarot reading practice, and in the way I approach spirituality and witchcraft. Earlier last week, my husband and I bought a car–during Mercury Retrograde, no less–the same day we test drove it. Hell, it was the first day we even looked for a car in the first lot we visited. But despite everything working against us, it just felt right, you know? Like this was the car we were supposed to have. There was a bit of logic to back it up (a good deal), but for the most part, it was impulsive and generally ill-advised.
I’m a huge proponent of listening to my intuition, and I’m the first to admit that despite the logical circles I trace in my mind, my gut feeling (when I have one) wins out nearly every time.
Therefore, when the glorious Arwen Lynch let me know it was my turn to proffer a tarot tag to our beautiful YT community, I knew almost instantly (intutively?) That I wanted to write one that focused on intuitive tarot.
The Seven of Swords AKA my most triggering card in the tarot deck.
In it, I explore this idea that our ability to interpret tarot intuitively can be honed, which raises an interesting question regarding intuition in general–is it a practice, or an innate ability?
Honestly, I think it’s a bit of both. As a society, we’ve largely lost touch with that inner knowing that was so prized and revered in the ancient religions. If we can explain something logically or rationally, it’s discarded or stripped of legitimacy. Yet, this inner verve, inner desire, inner compass, inner knowing, is part of what makes us human and of this earth. The Spring blooms into being without argument or decision. We don’t choose who we couple with (especially on May Day!) based solely on how much “sense” our coupling makes. Attraction is an intuitive hit, an epiphany that says, “I dig this person” long before you know much about them. Such is the magick of May, and such is the magick of our very human experience.
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.”
(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.
(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:
Energy to embrace as we bloom into this glorious season.
Impulse to resist for the good of Self and All.
Card to channel to get some serious shiz done when you need to.
How to be like the spring and be a creative badass.
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.