On Receiving Authentic Guidance

I’m reading a compilation of channeled writings by Alice A. Bailey, called Ponder on This. It’s fascinating stuff. Bailey was part of the Theosophical movement of the early 20th century. 

As the friend who loaned it to me noted, I don’t believe all of the things I’m reading in this book. But there are plenty of gems and lots of food for thought.

One of the sections I just read was about receiving guidance from the non-physical realm

The text cautions the reader against accepting guidance from sources which might not have their best interests in mind. It’s important not to give up your free will and follow guidance blindly, just because it comes (or seems to come) from a source beyond one’s conscious mind.

How do you know if the guidance you’re receiving is authentic? The primary method is to evaluate the advice on its own merits. As Bailey notes, no true spirit guide “ever seeks to control any person, nor will he indicate to him in the form of positive command, any action which he should take.”

Your spirit guide will make suggestions, but not try to force you. They know full well the value of your freedom to decide your own course of action.

It’s also key to establish an ongoing relationship with your guides. Get to know them like you would a new friend here on Earth. Like a good friend, your guides are more likely to respond to your own sincere queries, rather than offer advice at random times.

I first met my primary spirit guide, who is my Holy Guardian Angel (HGA), to use a term from Western occultism, in a dream in February of 2007. When I wrote about the dream in my journal, I noted, “I wonder if he is some sort of archangel or oversoul person.”

Recently I was going through some old journals as part of my library project, and discovered that I first received my HGA’s name, Zeke, several years later, in February of 2013. It happened during a polarity session, when the polarity therapist was working on my heart chakra.

Throughout the ensuing decade, I’ve been developing a closer relationship with Zeke. We communicate in many different ways: through channeled writing, divination (Tarot or oracle cards, usually, though sometimes the pendulum), and a sort of tele-empathic conversation that involves feelings as well as words.

There are still times when I wonder if I’m just “making up” a response from Zeke, but as the years pass, I’ve noticed an energy signature that accompanies his replies. It’s easier now to distinguish from my usual train of thought.

But even if I’m creating the whole relationship in my imagination? We know through psychology that it’s healthy to encourage conversation between the different parts of the personality. 

In Ponder on This, we learn that true guidance comes from one’s “own soul, when through meditation, discipline and service, he has established contact, and there is consequently a direct channel of communication from soul to brain, via the mind. This, when clear and direct, is true divine guidance, coming from the inner divinity.”

This is in line with what Zeke told me during the polarity session in 2013, which was one of our first direct, conscious conversations. From my journal: “The concept was complicated, but in some way I’m part of him or he of me (or both).” This is also aligned with Jung’s concept of the animus, or the unconscious masculine side of a woman’s psyche.

I didn’t consciously realize it until I was taking Carolyn Elliott’s WEALTH course in 2020 and 2021, but “attaining Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel” is one of the major milestones on the spiritual path, as described in Western occult traditions. It’s fascinating that my rather eclectic study and practice of magick brought me, inevitably, to a conscious relationship with Zeke.

In my experience, receiving authentic guidance from “beyond the veil” has a subjective ring of truth to it. Often this guidance feels like something I once knew, or have intuited, but phrased in a simple, understandable way.

Zeke gets right to the essence of the topic. He is kind, focused, and succinct.

What’s your experience with spirit guides? Have you received wisdom that you knew to be true, from a source beyond the physical realms?

Books: My Favorite Hobby

I’m obsessed with this library-building project – in a healthy way, I hope! It’s so much fun to catalogue the books we own, and also to add all the books I’ve read over the past 25 years or so (when I started keeping track of them in my journals).

There’s a feature in LibraryThing where you can mark a book “read but unowned,” which will come in handy when I’m at book sales or used bookstores. My memory can be iffy, and I don’t always recognize a book I’ve read by the title – but now I can look it up.

The point of the project is not to be useful on a physical level, necessarily, though. It’s something for my Talking Self to delight in while I’m on this healing and grieving journey.

I was told by my guides that right now, for me, being is more important than doing, and that I’m undergoing some kind of deep inner transformation. I mean, I suppose we’re all in that boat in terms of energy transformation, as our planet gradually adjusts and the energies of the new astrological era flow in (yep, that old cliche the Age of Aquarius – cue the cheesy music – but there’s an element of truth to it).

At this time, though, I’m being specifically told that the most important thing for me right now is to BE, without falling into the old patterns of worry and struggle. Giving my brain something interesting to do is helping me to follow these instructions.

Plus, I’ve been fascinated with books and stories (and libraries!) since I came into this lifetime. It feels so good to organize our books, both physically and digitally. It’s inspiring my creativity to page through old journals and re-discover what I read and when. It’s like seeing old friends you haven’t thought of in a long time.

My reading goal this month is to make some space on my TBR (to be read) shelves (pictured here) for some new books. There are some local library sales coming up in April and I want to be able to get some new reads, and have space for them already prepared. Virgo goals, right?

While spring is bursting out in many areas, right now in Maine we still have lots of snow falling, and it’s a great time to snuggle up with a book. I usually have a few books going at once. I tend to read fiction pretty quickly, while taking my time with nonfiction, especially dense works where I might even take notes.

I joined a virtual spiritual book club, and this month we’re reading The Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness by Maureen Murdock. I’m slowly making my way through Ponder on This, a collection of old channeled writings from Alice A. Bailey. I just finished reading Emma Straub’s Modern Lovers, and enjoyed it. I need to pick a new novel from my TBR shelves. I tend to rotate between fantasy or sci fi, general fiction, and historical fiction. What’s on your bedside table? 

With my own longer-form writing projects, things are going a bit more slowly. I’d been editing my fantasy novel, having printed it out to mark up with a red pencil, but I haven’t picked it up lately. I have a finished draft of my Elements of Creativity book, and I’m getting ready to dive into a new round of edits for that. BlackLion suggested that I add some fictional case studies to it, and I’m having fun fleshing those out. It’s proceeding at a snail’s pace, but I’m relying on my guides to let me know when it’s time to ramp up the doing part.

In the meantime, while I’m following their lead, I’m deep-diving into just being, which for me will eternally include the pleasures of a good book, or several.

Comment below with your latest favorite reads – let’s inspire one another, bookwyrms!

Starcat’s Favorites: My Library

I started a project earlier this winter that is truly just for me: organizing and cataloguing our home library. It’s turned out to be a perfect way to help me deal with the grieving process, by keeping my mind busy.

Plus, I find playing with my books to be a lot of fun.

My catalogue is housed in LibraryThing, which I’m finding easy to use. It has all the features I was looking for and can be accessed by computer or smartphone.

So far I’ve catalogued the books in my office, our upstairs hallway, and most of the ones in my bedroom. We’re already up over 1,000 volumes! It’s officially a library, even before I do the two huge bookcases in the living room.

What do I mean by official? I did some research and learned that in order to qualify as a library, you need to have at least 1,000 books. Fewer than that is a book collection.

The books aren’t just mine – I’m including Quester’s and BlackLion’s in the catalogue. I’m guessing we’ll be close to the 2,500 range. I’ll let you know once I’m finished.

In the meantime, here are some fun reads from the internet to keep you company:

Speaking of libraries, a client shared that the soundtrack for her work sessions includes ASMR videos like this one, where the setting is an enchanted library.

One of my favorite new-to-me writers is Erin Morgenstern. She’s only written two books so far, and I’ve devoured both of them. But I recently found out she has a blog full of stories, and I’m captivated.

If you’re doing some de-cluttering and want to make a bit of extra cash, here’s a helpful article about selling unwanted items online.

Are you a perfectionist? Or a recovering one, like me? Here’s a fun piece from NPR and a quiz that goes with it. Turns out I’m a Parisian perfectionist. Oh la la!

Winter in Maine is hard. I’m daydreaming of a vacation to tropical beaches, perhaps staying in a lovely home like this one.

Feeling stuck? Here are some tips for getting back in the groove.

A thought-provoking article from a priestess friend: “I give myself permission to step away from the blame game patriarchy wants to play and begin defining the world in which I want to play.”

Have you heard of the “second arrow” of suffering? I ran across this Buddhist concept this week. Here’s the story.

I enjoyed this interview with one of my favorite astrologers, Chani Nicholas.

An amusing riff on novel writing from author Margaret Atwood.

Here’s a video tip for releasing tension from your neck (and check out some of her other videos too – very cool!).


Life Through the Lens of Pleasure

Here’s a question for you: How often do you do things just for your own personal pleasure?

Do you even know what those things would be?

I’m in a coaching program where our theme this month is embracing pleasure.

Even though I’m at a point in my life where my kids are grown, my partners are mostly self-sufficient, and I work for myself, I’m finding that I don’t often focus on pure pleasure.

Why? I’m not sure. Maybe some remnants of the Puritanical culture here in New England. Perhaps because I was taught that service to others come first. Maybe I’m still a bit of a workaholic, although you wouldn’t know it from my weekly schedule.

I allow plenty of time for daily spiritual practice, yoga, rest, and nourishing self-care throughout each day. But it’s about more than just how we spend our time.

Embracing pleasure is about the attitude.

I can do my morning routine of meditation, journaling, yoga, and brunch with a determination to get it done, check these things off the list, then get to my office to work.

But it’s very different when I dive into this same routine with the intention to savor each moment

Sure, there is a certain pleasure that comes from checking things off. Dopamine, anyone?

But I’m finding there’s even more juicy goodness in the act of being in each moment, no matter the activity. 

It’s even possible to savor the pleasure of housework. Hear me out. I like a clean and pretty home. Spending a few minutes doing the dishes and tidying up each morning contributes to that. I could do it with resentment, or rush through the process in order to finish up.

Or I can breathe, feel the warm water, be grateful for these plates and cups and bowls. 

Pleasure isn’t just about doing the things that you love, although that’s part of it. I mean, I made a list on a post-it note called “FUN & PLEASURE,” so I’d be reminded of the things I enjoy.

But again, any of these things could be done with a “checking it off” approach, which in my view misses the point.

What is the point? To enjoy life to the fullest.

We’re not here for very long, in the scheme of things. Why rush?

Why do we have this default need to be productive, get things done, move forward constantly? Why do we feel guilty when we do things just for our own joy? Doesn’t that sort of attitude contribute to burnout and even illness?

Honestly, I think we might (collectively) be addicted to the hustle.

My dear rebels and Thriving Artists, let’s flip the script. Let’s change the paradigm by starting with ourselves.

How can you begin to add more pleasure to your life, and embrace the joys of the things you already do?

I suggest that you start with a simple list, like my little pink post-it note. Write down your particular pleasures, even if they seem odd. I mean, de-cluttering is on my list. I find the process satisfying and enjoyable. So what?

Next, begin to cultivate awareness of how you’re feeling during any particular activity. Can you shift your lens just a bit, to embrace the pleasure in it?

It’s a bit like mindfulness practice. You’re encouraging yourself to notice how you feel, and tune in to the particulars of what your body is up to. The natural landscape on your walk or commute. The warm water of the shower, and the scent of the lavender soap you bought at the farmer’s market last summer. The smells of the aromatics and spices as you cook dinner.

These tiny sensory pleasures are everything.

Coax yourself to become more present to your daily activities. Include some non-productive times where you get to do your favorite things, just because. 

Embrace pleasure, and notice how it unfolds into your day like a cat stretching after a nap. 

Imbolc Blessings!

Imbolc, sometimes called Candlemas, celebrates the turning point from winter to spring. Here in New England, the nights are still long and the weather is cold, though the days grow longer and a bit lighter.

It’s the time when we plant the seeds of the spiritual work we want to pursue this year. We carefully craft our intentions, letting the growing light feed them as the Wheel begins to turn slowly toward spring.

As part of our celebration, we make and bless the candles we’ll use in this year’s rituals.

Our work at Imbolc might encompass setting new goals, releasing old patterns, creating healthy habits or planning new ways to become active in the Pagan community.

The early signs of spring appear: buds sprouting on the trees, snow beginning to melt and perhaps even a crocus or two coming up (though often we must wait for Spring Equinox for actual flowers).

We are anxious for spring to arrive so we can once again take walks outside and work in the garden. Yet we still face wintry weather, such as snow, ice storms and chilly winds. We learn to be more patient, watching the slow progress of the land’s awakening.

In Celtic lands, Imbolc was also known as Brighid’s Day, honoring the Goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing. We create crafts and poems and include them in our rituals. We have time to explore indoor pursuits such as learning about astrology, designing a garden or practicing martial arts. We may have the opportunity to help those who are in a crisis situation and need our healing energies. We explore ways to simplify our daily lives.

During the last few weeks of winter, burrowing under the icy surface to work with deeply felt emotions can be very powerful spiritual work. We can learn to flow with our own emotions and those of others.

Imbolc is a good time to practice deep listening and pay closer attention to our inner landscape. We might find new ways to meditate, becoming more mindful or exploring our senses in more detail.

As we shed light on our hidden depths, we watch the days grow gradually longer and warmer, lifting our spirits as the Wheel turns toward spring.

NOTE: This post is an excerpt from my book Starcat’s Corner: Essays on Pagan Living. You can get your copy here.

Starcat’s Favorites: Snowy Days

I know, I know, I make no secret about winter being my least favorite season.

I understand that many people dread snowy days because they have to move all that snow around. I’m blessed to live with three strong men who deal with the snow moving, and thus I don’t have to do it myself.

The thing I like about snowy days is how beautiful and quiet everything is. It’s like permission from Mother Nature to actually slow down and rest.

Rest is something I’ve needed lots of, lately. Rather than feeling guilty about it, I’ve embraced it. So, I like it when the weather collaborates, and plans are cancelled.

Lately, I’ve mostly been reading books – the actual paper kind – but I do have some fun finds from the web to share with you:

I’m currently in the process of cataloguing the books in my home library. So far the list is handwritten (with part of it in a Word document), but I’ve been looking into the best cataloguing system. I think I’m going to go with LibraryThing.

Speaking of books, here are a couple of “best books” lists, one from Bookfinity and a much more detailed (and fun to read) one from The Marginalian.

I enjoyed this article, 5 Tips to Regain Your Power. “Your physical, mental health, and happiness are worth more than a potential missed opportunity. The most powerful word we have is a full sentence. No.

In modern Pagan mythology we most often think of the moon as feminine and the sun as masculine. But that wasn’t always the case.

Planning to travel in 2023? This might be the best time to make your bookings.

One of my mentors mentioned the “3-6-9” method of manifesting, and I hadn’t heard of it, so I looked it up.

Mike Dooley shared this article on the “light body,” and I found it quite interesting.

What are you reading these days?

How to Start a Creative Process Journal

You’ve probably kept some form of personal journal before, for yourself or for a class. But have you ever kept a journal specifically for your creative process? 

You might be writing a book, or it might be a process journal for another long-form creative project you’ve taken on, like making a mural or series of paintings, composing an album, or creating a business.

No matter the topic, keeping a process journal can be highly useful during a big creative endeavor. I’m going to use the example of writing a book – hey, I’m the book midwife, it makes sense! – but feel free to adapt it to your own needs.

What does one include in a writing process journal?

The main use I’ve found is to track what’s working – and equally, what isn’t – as you establish a regular writing habit

To further that goal, start by making an entry at the end of each writing session – that is, each time you sit down to focus specifically on writing (or editing, or brainstorming about) your book. 

Include the date and time, how long you wrote, how many words you wrote (if you’re tracking word count), what methods you used (sprints, Pomodoro technique, free writing, etc.), and how it felt. 

You might also want to include other information that will help you determine when you feel at your best and most creative, like the moon phase, how you slept the night before, and the like.

Here are three sample entries, so you can see what this could look like:

Tuesday 1/10/23, 11am: Did some writing sprints with 2 other writers on Discord. I did 3 sessions of 15 minutes each, and wrote 1072 words. I felt good, and the words flowed pretty easily. I had a good night’s sleep. Moon is waning gibbous. I stopped in the middle of a scene, while I still had energy, so it’ll be easier to start next time.

Saturday 1/14/23, 2:30pm: Wrote on my own today, for almost an hour. I only got 844 words – felt sort of sluggish today. I struggled with ending the scene. I slept fine, but I’m achy for some reason, and got hungry during the session. My brain doesn’t want to focus. Moon is last quarter today. 

Sunday 1/15/23, 11am: I joined a 90-minute co-writing session with that new online group, and it went super well! I wrote 1433 words, and enjoyed it. I got a little distracted near the middle of the call, but overall it went well and my creative ideas were flowing freely. I like having others there, even if we’re not interacting a whole lot. Slept okay last night. The moon is waning crescent. It snowed all day.

You can see from these examples (completely fictitious, but based loosely on my own experience) how a pattern is already beginning to emerge. This writer seems to do better earlier in the day, and when around other writers. 

The more entries you make, the more personal data you’ll have. Use it to observe your own rhythms and cycles. This will help you plan writing times and use methods that best serve you and your process.

You can also use your writing process journal to capture notes about your project when you’re not actually in writing mode. 

This might include, depending on the genre you’re writing in:

  • character studies
  • a flash of a scene that came to you in the night or while walking the dog
  • anecdotes or case studies you want to include
  • ideas for a subplot or added chapter
  • sketches of the places or people in your book
  • a list of candidates to write your Preface
  • graphics you plan to include
  • your response to writing prompts about world-building
  • notes for your eventual revisions and edits

Add your own ideas about what you’d want to keep in your writing process journal. 

If you don’t enjoy writing longhand, or can’t read your own writing after the fact, keep a journal in digital form. You can even do an audio log on your phone, just make sure it’s organized such that you can review it.

I suggest reviewing your writing process journal at least monthly. Look for clues about what will help you improve your process. I don’t mean that you should only focus on making things as efficient and productive as possible. I also want you to find the joy and pleasure in your creative project. This will keep you going when you start to struggle or become bored. 

Keeping a writing process journal is a powerful way of improving the experience of writing your book.

It’s also a great place to begin, if you haven’t started writing your book yet. You can compile all your ideas and notes in one place, and then commit to writing sessions, with the support of your journal.

Have you tried this? Is it something that appeals to you?

Starcat’s Best Books of 2022

Here it is, everyone, my annual Best Books post. But this time I couldn’t pick just 10, so I’m featuring my 14 favorite books from 2022.

As always, please note that these aren’t necessarily books that came out in 2022, just ones that I encountered and very much enjoyed.

I read 70 books in 2022. This is more than usual – I often average about a book per week. Apparently reading was a useful coping mechanism for me while grieving and when I was quarantined with Covid in November. 

Here are the books that stood out the most and became my 2022 favorites:

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. This book, which was gifted to me last year, speaks perfectly to where I am in my life currently. My spirit guides told me to read it this autumn, and they were right (of course). Sometimes it helps to have a bird’s eye view of where we are in life, and May provides just such a perspective for those undergoing a “wintering” experience. 

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. This book beautifully combines historical fiction with a touch of the paranormal. I loved the evocative language. The story carries you forward with just enough insight to keep you guessing. The ending was perfect. I want to read more by Morton.

Mastery by Robert Greene. As part of the WEALTH course, I’d already read Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power. A friend handed me this book and I devoured it. As a creative entrepreneur, it was fascinating to read this study of people from history who stayed focused on their craft for a lifetime. When you follow your callings, despite distractions and difficulties, you gain access to your unique magick. This book inspires me to stay focused on my most powerful creations. 

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. This was the first fiction of Gilbert’s I’ve read, and it was enchanting. It is historical fiction, but with a hint of the otherworldly (this seems to be a genre I resonate with lately). It also turns out to be a meditation on love. The ending was unexpected, but stays true to the characters and their nature. 

The Three “Only” Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence, and Imagination by Robert Moss. I’ve long enjoyed the works Moss has written on dreamwork. In this book, he expands his repertoire into the use of synchronicity and imagination in living a purposeful life. I highly recommend it. 

The Girl and the Goddess by Nikita Gill. I’d read Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters, which is mainly poetry, and knew Gill was a powerful poet. But this book was also a coming of age story. I loved it. The contrast between the main character’s daily life and the presence of divine magick leading her onward was exquisite. The lyrical language lights me up. Read it!

Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: the Journals of Alice Walker, 1965-2000 by Alice Walker and Valerie Boyd. Alice Walker is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I’m a lifelong journal keeper, so when I heard she was releasing her journals, I had to read them. I wasn’t disappointed. This tome shows the balance of creative genius and human flaws that all of us bear. As a writer, I found it inspiring and uplifting. As a human being, it touched me deeply. 

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This book blew my mind. I can’t imagine creating such an epic tale of time travel and having it make sense to the reader, but Niffenegger manages it with aplomb. It was a fascinating story, with characters who felt authentic. This is powerful writing. I was captivated and swept along until the final word. 

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem. This book is powerful medicine. I feel like its philosophy and techniques (should) form a huge part of the future of our society. Despite the heaviness of the topic, Menakem brings hope and caring to the discussion of the healing we need, individually and collectively.

Circe by Madeline Miller. I have a fond spot for the Greek myths, which I studied in high school and college. Miller takes a relatively minor character from The Odyssey and creates an epic tale of love, loss, and identity. This is well worth reading, both as a highly entertaining story and as a parable for magickal women. I loved it.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. I also want to give an honorable mention to her book The Once and Future Witches, which is the one I heard of first. But of the two, this one is my favorite. The theme in my favorite books recently seems to be “modern or historical fiction with a touch of magick,” and this book fits that bill. Well, there’s more than a touch of magick here. Trust me – it works. 

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link. I don’t often read collections of short stories, but this one drew me in. This is a collection of strange modern faery tales. It is intended for a teenage audience, but I found all of the stories both entertaining and thought-provoking. Some of them were hilarious. 

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I’ve been enjoying the weird worlds that Murakami conjures, since discovering his writing a few years ago. This is one of my favorites so far, and not just because it has a cat in it. Reading a Murakami novel is like entering a dream world, where everything makes sense in a strange way until you wake up. When you leave the world of the novel, it lingers in your imagination like a rare perfume. If you enjoy the unusual, you’ll like this one.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Being a long term bookwyrm makes it extremely hard to pick favorite books. But I would venture to say that this book is in my top favorites of all time. It is a masterpiece of lyrical prose. It touches all the inner and outer senses. I’m in love with her writing. I’ve ordered her other novel, The Starless Sea, and look forward to diving in. 

What did you read last year that you loved? What’s on your to-read list for 2023?


Word of the Year 2023: Trust

Happy New Year, everyone!

As longtime readers know, each year around this time, I read back through my journals and do a year-end ritual of reflection. This year I’m finding that I’m averse to it, or most of it anyway.

This past weekend I finished reading through my 2022 journal entries and it just left me profoundly sad. There were a lot of deaths in my life in 2022.

The loss of my Dad was the most significant, followed closely by the death of my familiar, Percy LoveCat. But I also lost my Uncle Walt (Dad’s brother), my old friend Luke (who I’d recently reconnected with), and my childhood neighbor and friend David. These were all people who had a significant impact on my life, even though there were plenty of years (in the case of Luke and David) when I didn’t see or interact with them.

Even Queen Elizabeth II died in 2022! It sounds weird to mourn her loss when I’m not a British citizen, but I’m of English, Scottish, and Irish descent, and it feels like a significant change, in a big-picture way. 

I’m well aware that, even with the loss and grief, there are many blessings and things to celebrate. I also know there is much to anticipate in the coming year.

So I’m cutting myself some slack, and not doing the parts of the ritual that don’t appeal to me. I’m trying not to judge this aversion as bad or good. It is what it is.

It feels so weird, though, because normally I delight in the process.

I did make a vision board, and picked a word of the year (TRUST), because those things still felt fun. The word of the year came to me without trying. 

I went more for a vibe, feelings, and aesthetics in my vision board this year, rather than specific things or places to manifest in my experience. I love how it came out. It feels right. 

What about you? How is your year-end and new year process going? Are you doing the things you normally do at this time of year, or changing it up?


In Which I Surrender…

My 2022 Word of the Year is RECEIVE, but over the course of this year my inner work has morphed into a theme of SURRENDER

I’m moving from the head to the heart, in terms of which part of me gets to lead the way. I’ve been tapping more deeply into my intuition and the wisdom of my inner self. 

Losing Percy Lovecat in July really hit me hard, and I found it challenging to do some of the things I’d taken for granted in the past. I slowed way down, and only did the essential things in my business. I said no to a lot of events and gatherings.

Then my Dad died in late September, and any momentum I’d built up over the summer dissipated immediately. Grief can be all-encompassing. 

Having Covid in early November certainly didn’t help.

Like I told Quester, I usually live my life “like a straight-A student,” making sure I check all the boxes and get things done. But the impact of grief this year has made this impossible. I’m probably at a C- at this point, or even a D. (This is judging by my inner critic’s high standards, mind you).

The weird thing is that there have been no consequences. Life goes on. So does my business. No one in my life seems to mind that I’ve turned inward. 

Meal planning? Nope. Making videos? Not much. Planning outings or gatherings with friends? Haven’t felt like it. My planning skill, an innate part of my Virgo Sun, seems to have deserted me. But I haven’t gotten any flack for it.

When I realized that, I was like, “Well, then, what’s the point? Why do I bother to do all this stuff if no one besides me even cares?!” I had an existential moment, and then realized: it’s an ego death.

The ego brain tries to control things by hustling, forcing, or willing things to be a certain way. It’s doing this in order to protect us. That’s its job.

When we drop the reins, whether by choice or circumstances, we surrender to Divine flow. We give our inner self, and our spirit guides, more space to help us. 

This is, in and of itself, a form of receiving.

But the ego won’t like it. Chances are there will be backlash from that part of us.

Mine is having a bit of a meltdown about it. 

But learning to lead with your heart, or your intuition, is worth all the ego angst. Your ego self won’t really die, as it fears. It’s a useful part of the human psyche. It just needs to learn a supporting role, rather than directing the show. 

What are some of the tools I’m using to support my transformation to a new way of being?

Awareness. When I feel an intense emotion or get triggered by something, I stop and feel into it. Rather than letting my brain assign a reason – “I’m stressed about lack of money” or “What if that person is judging me?” – I go deeper. Often the feeling is grief or fear. The mind wants to blame our feelings on something external, to ease the pain. If we just let them be feelings, and experience them, they seem to dissipate more quickly.

Yoga. After a few months away, I’ve recently gotten back to my near-daily yoga practice. My body is super thankful. I feel stronger already, and have a bit more energy for daily tasks.

EFT (aka tapping). I admit that I was resistant to this for a long time. I would do it if led by a practitioner in a workshop, but never did it on my own. Thanks to an assignment from a coach, I’m now doing EFT on my own and it makes a world of difference. Like yoga, it allows one’s body to process emotions in depth.

Listening within. I’m taking more time to listen and see what advice my inner guides have for me. Often this takes the form of a Tarot or oracle card draw, or using my pendulum when I want a specific yes-no answer. But sometimes it’s just free-form listening, which usually leads to…

Journaling and/or channeled writing. It’s no surprise to me that writing is an easy way for my inner wisdom to emerge. You might have a different method. The idea is to find a way to bypass the Talking Self and let your inner expression flow. 

Getting extra support. Earlier this year, I signed on for a couple of new magickal coaching containers. One is a barter with a longtime client and friend. The other was an offering from an acquaintance that intrigued my soul. At the time, I didn’t know why I might need this extra support. I’m so glad I listened to my intuition, because it’s amazingly helpful at this point.

I won’t lie to you and say that this is an easy process. It’s not, at least for me, at this time. But I’m already seeing some of the benefits of surrendering to this transformation. 

By focusing on my inner work as a priority, life feels more meaningful, even here in the morass of grief. By not stressing out about the little stuff, solutions seem to present themselves more easily, and I’m not adding more pain. Being supported on this part of my journey helps me to feel seen, cared for, and nurtured. 

I’ll update you as the story evolves…