Coming Out of the Broom Closet 

This is me.

At 36 years of age, I just began to live an authentic life. I am no longer afraid to risk rejection, humiliation, or scorn. I am not easily embarrassed. I do not fear what people think of me.

For the first 35 years of my life, I existed in two worlds simultaneously. The contrast was so glaring that I feared I would never be able to bring the two parts together and still be loved by my family or respected by my peers.

Part One: I am what mainstream society expects of me.

 I excel in school and begin taking college classes at 16. I marry and have my first child at 18, and finish college with my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at 21. I begin working at an exhibit company that focused on environmental and cultural sites of interest throughout the world. With the birth of my second child I begin teaching students with disabilities at an elementary school to be closer to my children. Six years later I take a position with the Florida Department of Education where I support students on a statewide level. I earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and advance to the University of South Florida where I expand my skills to include web development. I provide for my family, pay my bills, vote, serve as a member of my homeowner’s association, and try to be an upstanding citizen.

Part Two: I am rejected by mainstream society.

I am a mystic. I read constantly and my library includes books on psychic development, philosophy, astrology, Buddhism, and tarot. I am drawn to religion and spirituality but have lost faith in organized religion. I accept Jesus as a profound teacher and role model but do not believe he is the only messenger of God. I sit in nature for extended periods of time trying to connect to the earth and my spirit guides. I believe in spirit guides. I read tarot cards and I believe that they provide insight and guidance into our daily lives. I surround myself with crystals that I believe contain positive energy and vibrations. I bathe in salt and essential oils when I feel down to cleanse my aura. I believe some people have gifts that allow them to see auras, communicate with spirits, and see the future. I track the phases of the moon and align my intentions accordingly, and will complete certain rituals that I believe manifest my desires. Some would call me a witch, but I don’t really believe in the Devil.

Fear

For many years I kept the two parts of myself separate and few knew the whole truth of who I was. Only my closest friends knew the “real” me. I was afraid and ashamed to reveal my interests and beliefs for fear of people thinking I was crazy or just plain stupid. How could an intellectual believe this crap? I feared that this side of myself would open me up to public scorn or potentially hurt my chances of getting a job in the future.

Mostly, I was afraid of hurting my dear grandmother that I loved deeply. She was the best grandmother that anyone could ever wish for. She was deeply afraid of anything “new age” or “spiritual” as she believed it was from the Devil. She was in her eighties and I didn’t want to do anything that would stress her already fragile heart. A couple of our family members were struggling with addiction to narcotics, stealing and lying to support their habits, and she was deeply hurt and stressed out about this. I would never have forgiven myself for causing her any more stress or risking her health further.

Breakdown

Beginning in February of this year, most of my readings began featuring the Three of Swords in the future position. This card represents deep sorrow, grief, and heartbreak. Naturally, this scared the shit out of me. What it could mean? Would my husband betray me? Was someone going to be hurt? What awful thing lurked around the corner? As a result, I loved deeper, I hugged longer, and I made sure to tell everyone how much I cared about him or her every time we were together.

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Three of Swords, Wild Unknown Tarot deck (Kim Krans)
The Three of Swords came to fruition on May 12th, 2016, and it is a day I will never forget. My beloved grandmother had been in a rehab facility due to an ankle injury for which she required physical therapy. I was going to see her as often as I could, rubbing lavender oil on her bruises and bringing her food that I knew she enjoyed. That afternoon, my mother had visited her after work and found that she was quite ill. She didn’t look right, and she was so weak she couldn’t lift her arms. The staff had not noticed this, but my mother was alarmed and insisted a doctor check her out. The physician was called and he agreed it would be prudent to have her taken to the hospital. My mom was scared, so I decided to join my mother and grandmother just to make sure everything was okay. My grandmother was loaded into an ambulance, and mom and I followed her to the hospital.

Upon arriving at the hospital it became apparent that everything was not okay. The moment we arrived at the Emergency Room, a team of people rushed in. It was determined that her pacemaker had stopped working and her heart was failing. We were immediately barraged with questions about her DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders. We were told it was serious and she could die very soon. We had to make frantic calls to try to determine her wishes. After several insane, tear-filled hours, the doctors were able to get her pacemaker working again. It turns out that the rehab facility she was in was not making sure she drank fluids or taking her to the bathroom regularly, and her kidneys failed. It caused her blood levels to become toxic and force her heart out of rhythm. When she was stabilized that night, I told her that her sister and my sister were so worried that they were on their way to see her. She laughed and said, “Well, I ain’t dead yet!” Those were the last words she ever said to me, and it was the last time I saw her smile.

After a moment of hope that she would recover, I awoke the next morning to find out she had slipped into a coma. Various life-saving procedures were tried to revive her, but within the day she was gone. It was May 13, 2016. Friday the 13th.

Even now, months later, I feel a vast emptiness inside as I remember that she is dead. She is not at home in her recliner sitting with my grandpa. I can’t call her and tell about my day. Tears flood down my cheeks as I remember that last moment we had together, and I hope wherever she is that she feels my love for her from beyond the veil.

In my experience, the death of a loved one creates a vacuum in your life that I do not believe will ever be filled. It is such a void that when I allow myself, it swallows me whole and I swim in an ocean of grief and tears. It is a physical sensation of heaviness and emptiness simultaneously that I feel in my chest whenever my mind wanders and I think of her.

I recount this story of loss and grief for two reasons, I suppose. The first is that this is the first time I have written about it, and it is therapeutic to do so. The second is to return to where this story begins, and explain how it took the passing of my grandmother to bring the two sides of me together.

Integration

With my grandmother’s death, I no longer felt I had to conceal who I was. I would have hid it forever if I could have kept her in my life, but that was not possible. For the first time, I was free to be me and to integrate the two parts of myself without shame. I no longer feared what people would think of me if they knew what I did behind closed doors. Fearfully at first, I began to share my metaphysical interests with my family and my close professional colleagues. I then publicly shared information on my website and blog on my personal Facebook page. There was no more “hiding in the broom closet.” This is who I am – take it or leave it.

Death serves as a reminder that life is fleeting. With luck, we might have 100 years to experience all this existence has to offer. No one knows what comes next – NO ONE – and anyone who tells you with certainty that they do is full of shit.

We are not here just to get an education, work, fall in love, raise children, and accrue possessions. In fact many of these things distract us from our true purpose. We are here to be our authentic selves and live the life to which we are destined. We are here to help others and be our best selves. There is so much love and beauty to experience and share with others.

Forget what you think you know about life. In fact, don’t think at all. As Eckhart Tolle says, “You are not your mind.” For five minutes, don’t think. Just be you, in the moment, and be still and silent. Pretend your mind is a puppy and when it begins to think about the laundry, tell it to sit.

Be in the present. The only thing we truly have and are guaranteed is this present moment. Try to live in it and be as authentic as you can be. Every moment that passes is a moment lost. When we come out with confidence and lose the fear of judgment, we inspire others to do the same.

As soon as you are able – and it might not be now (you have your own reasons for holding back) – I encourage you to live without fear and be who you are. People might just surprise you.

*I am so thankful for my mother, for her unconditional love. Though I am not at all the person she would like for me to be, she loves me anyway and never makes me doubt it. I am so blessed to have her in my life.*

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Is there any truth to Astrology?

Astrology: Fact or Fantasy?

My interest in the occult borders on fanaticism. I love to read about and explore a variety of esoteric topics like spiritualism, tarot, astrology, Kabbalah, mediumship, and life after death. I suppose this has something to do with my endless search for the meaning of life and my obsession with death and the afterlife. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the physical world and I have an astute respect for science. However, I also have a burning desire to “peek behind the veil” and see a glimpse of something, anything, that will prove to me without a doubt that there is life beyond this world.

Until this point in my life, I have only dipped my toe in the ocean of knowledge that comprises the field of astrology. I have a pretty firm understanding of the 12 zodiacal signs and their characteristics. When someone gives me their birthday I can name their corresponding astrological sign about 90% of the time. This is all about to change. I’m about to dive right into that ocean.

Recently I purchased a book from Books-a-Million entitled The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need. The book was $19.99 and I couldn’t resist buying it, especially because it claimed to have a direct link to a website where you could get your free custom astrological birth chart. Had I bought it on Amazon, I may have discovered before tonight that this book was published a long time ago, and the link to the website has long since expired. There would be no easy birth chart with the corresponding pages highlighted for me. However, I felt better when I realized that you can easily get a free astrological birth chart from a variety of astrology websites.

Tonight I sought out my birth chart and immediately began interpreting it. The first thing I noticed was that on my chart the Sun was in the 8th house – the house of death, regeneration, and legacies. I became alarmed when it suggested that people who have the Sun in their 8th house can suffer from the early loss of their father or husband. Terrified, I dug a little deeper, and was deeply relieved upon reading that the loss of a father doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical death, but rather can refer to the loss of relationship due to a lack of emotional support (this describes my relationship with my father perfectly). Over the course of an hour I read interpretations from many different astrology websites and was stunned at how clearly the descriptions fit me.

The Sun in the 8th House (taken from www.Freespiritmind.com):

Natives who have their natal Sun placed in the 8th house are illuminating the obscure meanings of death, sex and the occult. No matter which their Sun sign is, they become quite Scorpionic in their character, have deep desires and a very strong will. For them, power is very important while sex is a mystical experience of death and rebirth.

This Sun placement creates an urge to go deep into the mysteries of life and death. Such individuals are very interested in discovering the meanings of life, constantly seeking for answers on whether death is the final destination or we continue towards somewhere else. These interests make them attracted to the occult, and they can reach tremendous knowledge about such kind of issues. Observing the big picture of how life functions makes them difficult to be satisfied by common experience and everyday reality. Nevertheless, this placement attracts a lot of supernatural experiences, and many of them are permanently transforming them. Everything that is unexplored or taboo for the masses, fascinates them and attracts them. This is also a reason for the masses to slightly fear them, or consider them morbid and dark.

For those of you who know me, you may find this description of the Sun in the 8th house very interesting and frighteningly accurate. As I mentioned before, I am very interested in the occult and I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with death. I even have the words, “The trouble is you think have time” tattooed on my ribs as a constant reminder of death and an encouragement to live every day to the fullest. Most recently I had my grandmother’s names (both of my grandmothers were named Betty) tattooed on my wrist as a way to honor their influence in my life (my last grandmother passed away on May 13th of this year).

I have only begun my journey into a fuller understanding of astrology, but I am so excited on this new venture. For me, this quick exploration into my birth chart affirms that astrology is definitely more fact than fantasy.

Please comment below if you would like me to draft an interpretation of your birth chart. I’ll be doing two free birth chart interpretations and will choose two people below. To do so, I’ll need the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Time of Birth (as close as possible)
  • City, State, and Country of Birth

 

Candle Magic 

Modern Candle Magic

People have used candles to strengthen the power of prayer for hundreds of years. Candles are especially common in Catholic churches, where the devout light a candle as they pray to extend their prayer and honor the one for whom the prayer is meant. Vigil candles have been a part of Christian worship since the time of the martyrs.

There is something deeply spiritual about the act of lighting a candle. As the small flame fills the surrounding space with light and warmth, it gives us a sense of peace and connectedness with our world. With the conveniences of modern life, we lost our reverence for the element of fire. For thousands of years our ancestors built entire communities around fire. Fire was life. It offered warmth, protection from animals, and entertainment. It was around a fire that they ate and drank, slept, and told stories into the night. Focusing our attention on a flame connects us with those who came before us, and some say the light of a candle even attracts their spirits.

Candles have a sacred place in every spiritual practice. Those who are learning to meditate may find that it settles their mind to light a candle as they begin. The same is true for tarot readers who seek to enter a relaxed state of mind before beginning their ritual of preparing and reading the cards.

Harnessing Intention with Candle Magic

Everyone wants things in life, but not everyone will receive them. This is because desire alone is not enough to attract the things we want into our life. We must will these things into existence. Our intention is a powerful force in this world. When we set our intention and align our will accordingly, we begin to a manifest the changes in our life that we desire. It is our will that commands our focus, holds our attention, and shapes our actions in the world.

Our will is carried out by our conscience mind. This is why controlling our thoughts is paramount to our success in life. The law of attraction states that “like attracts like,” so if we spend our time focusing on negative things, we will attract more negative things. If we want positive things in our life, we must keep our thoughts positive.

Candles can be used to strengthen our intentions and, with a little planning and forethought, they help the universe bend to our will. When you reach a point in your life when you are truly open to magical thinking and the power of intention (also known as the law of attraction, or the Secret), you are ready to embrace the use of simple spells using candles.

Here are a few simple steps to developing the perfect candle spell.

Step 1) Set your intention. Be very clear about what it is you want. Do you wish to get rid of something, or do you wish to bring something to yourself?
Step 2) Determine the color and size of your candle. The candle must be allowed to burn out completely. For most rituals I use a spell or chime candle that burns out in about 1 -2 hours. When I have a very important matter at hand, I’ll use a vigil candle that burns for about 5 – 9 days. If you must put the candle out, snuff the flame. Do not blow it out. However, my preference is to let it burn (safely) until it goes out.

 Color Guide

White (in addition to these listed uses, white can be used as a substitute for any color as it is the combination of all colors) = Purification, protection, repelling negativity, peace, healing, truth, cleansing, spirituality, clarity, wholeness, and joy.

Black = Banishes negativity. Protection, banishing, inner strength, repelling black magic or harm being directed at you, healing grief and loss, and ending bad habits.

Yellow = Confidence, charm, persuasion, wisdom, mental strength, personal power, self-esteem, cheerfulness, concentration, communication, memory, logic and learning.

Orange = Good fortune, prosperity, luck in legal matters, achieving goals, cleansing negative attitudes, happiness, enthusiasm, power, action, increased libido, energy, and courage.

Pink = Love (friendly, romantic, spiritual, and universal), compassion, forgiveness, joy, harmony, sensitivity, emotional and spiritual healing, and self-love.

Red = Action, passion, love, sex, fertility, potency, energy, health, power, vitality, and courage.

Purple = Psychic abilities, spiritual awakening, inviting visions, intuition, spiritual protection, healing, respect, wisdom, purification, sensitivity, spiritual growth, and dissociating from the ego.

Blue = Spirituality, inner peace, domestic harmony, weight loss, insomnia, wisdom, truth, healing, serenity, patience, kindness, prophetic dreams, improving memory, and storing knowledge.

Brown = Promotes concentration, intuition, locating lost items, healing and protecting animals, stability, clear thinking, telepathic abilities, and decision-making.

Green = Growth, money, prosperity, good luck, abundance, generosity, physical and emotional healing, rejuvenation, renewal, and financial success.

Silver or Gray = Deflect negative influences, protection against otherworldly entities, stabilizes energies, promotes inner peace.

Gold = Attracting the gods, encourages success, wealth, communication, persuasion, victory, masculine energy, and confidence.

Step 3) Determine when to conduct your candle spell based on the phases of the moon (I keep an app on my phone for this purpose).

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Source: http://cdn.farmersalmanac.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/moon-phases2-573×400.jpg

New Moon = Powerful time to get rid of something that plagues you, like addiction, disease, or a very negative influence in your life.

Waxing Crescent = Self-improvement, increasing creativity, or inviting an energy into your life.

First Quarter Moon = Attract/bring something to you, like money, a new job, a lover, or the perfect house.

Waxing Gibbous = Giving yourself a boost/kick in the pants to finish something you already started.

Full Moon = Very powerful… It’s important to use to this for something that really matters.

Waning Gibbous = Endings/finding closure (ending relationships or partnerships that are no longer serving you).

Last Quarter = Assisting with transitions and overcoming temptations.

Waning Crescent = Get rid of something that plagues or annoys you (but save serious problems for the New Moon).

Step 4) Choose the appropriate anointing oil. Before a candle is lit, it must be dressed with oil. This infuses the candle with your intention. The right oil depends on your purpose. I use my intuition to choose the right oil. I look for something sweet for attraction, and something earthy/strong to repel.

Here are a few examples:

Cinnamon Oil = Prosperity, finances, and lust/love.

Eucalyptus Oil: Purifying and healing.

Frankincense Oil: Spirituality, psychic abilities, luck, protection, and purification.

Jasmine Oil: Love and money spells, increasing dreams.

Lavender Oil:  Cleansing, healing, and love.

Lemongrass Oil: Mental clarity, breaking habits.

Lime Oil: Energy, fidelity and loyalty.

Orange Oil: Attracting lovers, peace, personal power, and luck.

Patchouli Oil: Mastering skills, growth, love, and physical attraction.

Peppermint Oil: Energy, mental stimulant, enhances vitality.

Vanilla Oil: Lust, mental powers, sexual prowess, personal power rituals.

Ylang-Ylang Oil: Peace, love, and sex.

Once all of these steps have been taken, and the magical night is upon you, conduct your ritual. Begin by gathering your materials, and include a small knife or toothpick for engraving something on the candle. I also write my intention on a small slip of paper. In most cases, I’ll burn the slip of paper completely after I light the candle, but in a very important matter with a large vigil candle I’ll put it underneath the candle as it burns.

Go to a quiet spot. Hold your candle and you think intently on what it is you desire. It is at this moment that your will becomes permanently fixed upon your goal. Visualize yourself in a life where the change you seek has taken place. Take as much time as you need to fully commit to your intention and push as much energy as you can into the candle. Engrave on the candle any words or symbols that relate to your intention. For money, I may engrave a dollar sign. Sometimes I will research a rune that aligns to my wishes and engrave that on the candle. Engrave whatever you wish, or skip this step – it’s up to you.

Anoint (cover) the candle with oil. If you are repelling something, start at the center and work the oil towards the ends. If you are attracting something, start the oil and the ends and work it toward the middle. Focus on your intention very strongly while you anoint the candle.

When you are ready, light the candle. Slide your note into the flame and let it catch fire, then burn it completely.

Remember to ensure your candle burns out completely, and safely. Be sure that no well-meaning family members blow out your candle, as this is said to extinguish your wish.

As the moon goes through a full cycle, hold your intention in your mind and visualize yourself having met your goal regularly. Try your best to master your thoughts and keep them fixated on your intention.

Wait and watch for the universe to respond.

Note: Using a ritual like the one described above, I have successfully quit a 15 year smoking addiction, eliminated an unhealthy fixation on a past event, and got a sizable raise at work. This really works. I must encourage you only to use this ritual for positive purposes. Many in the magical world believe that if you send out negativity or evil into the world that you will receive it back three-fold. I would prefer not to test that theory.

Please feel free to share your thoughts or your own personal practice with candle magic below!