With shifts in my personal life, most notably the start of an exciting new day job (I’m not a full-time witch… yet!), Taurus season has *flown* by! Last spring I relocated to the 1000 Islands, a region that has been shaped by summer tourism, and the town seems to be coming to life after a period of hibernation. As much as I love the energetic shift, the new schedule has led to me being a bit lax about my morning meditations over the past 2 weeks, and recently one morning I was starting to feel the effects– scattered, impatient, off-center. It was so good then to take just 5 minutes for a single-pull tarot reading, and SO apropos that I pulled the 2 of Pentacles Rx– an invitation to explore imbalances in our daily life and to realign with our higher priorities.

Tarot and meditation have helped give me clarity around my higher priorities, and my new moon and full moon meditations are something that have become a beautifully balancing practice in my life– though they came to me in a very roundabout manner.

Though my parents are both staunch atheists, as previously mentioned I was drawn to all things witchy from a young age. As an avid reader, I naturally devoured anything related to witches, the occult, Celtic and Arthurian legends, etc., and through a circuitous recommended reading list, I came across The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess. Looking back it’s extremely dated and only holds space for a binary gender view, but at 13 years old, I was fascinated, and spent the better part of a summer picking flowers and performing stilted moon meditations.

Then it was back to school, and my baby witch spirit was crushed.

Haha, not really, but more or less. Rural, predominantly white and (though public) predominantly Christian high schools during the Bush administration weren’t exactly welcoming spaces for alternative spiritual practices. For more than 15 years, I generally fell out of any spiritual practice, describing myself as an agnostic. I transitioned my interest in feminist-centric spirituality instead to feminist art and social activism, which carried me through my education and into my early career in non-profit arts and academic administration.

It was through a position in academia that I began to explore my spirituality, through work on mindfulness. Working under a psychologist and a professor of education, I worked in a college center addressing issues of diversity and inclusion in higher education. Through administrating programs addressing implicit bias in teaching styles, introducing faculty to the concept of microagressions in classrooms, etc., I began working with a group of faculty exploring the benefits of mindfulness in diversity and inclusion work. And through this work, I found myself attending a lunch-hour meditation 2-3 times per week.

Now, I’d been aware of meditation for years, having attended guided meditations both secular and Buddhist, and, as someone who has an anxiety disorder, it had been recommended to me multiple times for managing anxiety and depression.

Perhaps it was that I was very lucky to grow up with an immediate family that was very open about mental health awareness, but I was initially resistant to the idea of meditation as part of a plan of treatment for mental health issues. My mother’s background is in psychology, and therapy never held a stigma in our household. I have had beautiful experiences with therapy, both for assisting in times of trauma and as an outlet in times of growth or stagnation. I highly recommend talking to qualified practitioners, and would never recommend mindfulness/meditation/spirituality in lieu of necessary healthcare. That disclaimer out of the way…

Over time I found that I wanted other “tools” in my self-care “toolbox,” so to speak, and meditation and ritual were recurring themes in conversations I was having at the time. I’d seen a slew of white exclusionary feminists brandishing their newfound “spirituality” like the hottest appropriated accessory, and it just squicked me out. Eventually though, it was the promised mental health benefits that lured me in…

(To be continued…)

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