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My Beloved Dead

Artist journal page created by Connla Freyjason for an Artist Journaling group in which he was formerly very active. The theme for that day? Lies he has told…..Features elements from the January Gathering: Winter Time (available by clicking this image) by Duncan.

It’s that time of year again: the time of year when even the Muggles don’t have troubles talking about the Beloved Dead and actively seeking them out.  Halloween (Samhain) has been my favorite time of year since I was a child because it is the one and only time of the year where I, Michelle Iacona, get to “put my crazy on the front porch”, as they say down South.  It’s the one and only time of the year when people like me, who can do what I do, are even semi-accepted by the Muggles. It’s the one and only time of the year when I feel like I can be completely myself.  The rest of the year, I have, for most of my life, been forced to live inside the shell of a firestorm of lies, and so have my Beloved Dead. You see, I bring most of mine with me, everywhere I go.

For the past twenty-four years, I have literally given over my life to being a shamanic trans-medium.  When you say the word medium to most people, it either conjures images of some wizened old gypsy-woman, sitting in a trance in a very controlled environment, while the dead speak through her in her voice, or of some young, hip whipper-snapper who is constantly spot-on, but defines mediumship simply as relaying the messages of the dead to the seeker(s) (ala Hollywood Medium).  Neither of those is what I do.  I’m not that kind of medium.  There is very little that is “controlled” about my environment–sure, we have wards on our house, and I have wards on my person, and I have a few in my “ranks” who actively act as guardian or warrior figures; that’s pretty much where any of the normal definitions of “controlled environment” begin and end.  I can literally “switch off” with any of the members of my “ranks” at the drop of a hat, and with some of them, most Muggles would have zero clue that “Mishy has left the building”.  I patently do not “channel on cue”; I don’t “take requests”; I’m not a deejay.  What I do is not a “parlour trick”, nor is it a service I perform for the living.  No, this is a service I perform strictly for the Dead. And these Dead have, over the past twenty-four years, become Beloved.

I’ve often been asked by those who actually understand what I do–such people are few and far between–precisely why I do it.  I give up a lot of my time to do this; I have literally risked my lifemy livelihood, and my relationships with other living people to do this.  It would be so much easier simply to be the priestess, the Druid, the writer, than to do this.  In fact, because I do this, I actually have very little time for all of those other things that I can do, and do well.  So why would anyone choose this life?  Because I love them.  I love them with a love that is completely selfless, and very few people ever get to know love like that, much less express it themselves.

I certainly don’t do it because of what the Dead might teach me.  Trust me, I’ve been “at this” long enough to know that just because they’re dead, doesn’t mean they’re smart! Contrary to apparent popular belief, death is not the sort of spiritual awakening most people seem to think it is.  Does it clue you in, often quite suddenly, to what’s really going on in the Universe? Sure.  It’s definitely a crash course in cosmology, not unlike being thrown into the deep end of the largest swimming pool imaginable.  Most of the Dead I know and have met have been shocked by that, most of them to the point that they honestly need therapy: someone who can actively listen to what they’ve just experienced, and then help them make some sense of it.  In fact, the “cosmic newsflash from the Great Beyond” that is that sudden dip in the “cosmological pool” is often so overwhelming that the Dead actually need a break from it.  Luckily, I’m here, to give them that break.

Which works out nicely, because given my disability, I could also really use a break from my own body.  Lots of people have psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, and live with it every day.  Very few people have psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis on the level that I have it.  That’s not just my opinion: that is the very informed official diagnosis of the former head of Pediatric Dermatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).  If you are not actively living in my skin–as my Dead do–you cannot fully understand what I live with, on a day-to-day basis.  Imagine your own body attacking you.  Pretend your skin breaks open and secretes acid whenever it takes a notion to do so, while at the same time your bones are eating themselves and erroding.  That is what I experience every day.  So, yeah, I need a break.  Thankfully, my Dead love me back with that same selfless love, and are willing to step in and give it to me.

It’s rare that I get to use the personal pronoun “I”; most of the time, you will hear me refer to myself with what my Dead and some of my dearest live friends, relatives, and lovers have jokingly come to refer to as “the royal we”.  That’s because the instant I stepped foot on this path, my life ceased to be merely about me.  Suzanne jokingly referred to me today as the MDTA–Mass Dead Transit Authority–and she’s not wrong!  My life has become the paragon of that famous quote from Star Trek II: The Wrath of KhanThe needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.  Wherever I go, whatever I do, the Dead are not far behind. What happens in my life reverberates in their afterlives, and vice versa, when they are here on the physical plane, “riding” me, or “horsing” me, or however you want to describe them inhabiting my flesh and blood person.  I have a responsibility to my Dead, and my Dead also have a responsibility to me.  We keep each other safe; we work to better each other’s welfare.  If you ever needed a real definition of what a symbiotic relationship actually is, take a look at our life, and you will find it.

Experiencing life (and death) in this way has taught me lessons in loyalty that most people never get to learn. The quickest way to end up on my shit list is to hurt or offend one of my Dead.  I have both ended relationships with the living and had relationships ended for me by the living due to my ardent defense of my Dead.  The Celtic Value of Loyalty informs everything I do in my life, and everything my Dead do in their afterlives, in relation to me, and this has been the case for twenty-four years between myself and Connla, twenty-two years between myself and Taliesin, and soon-to-be twenty years between myself and Michael.  “Newcomers” (whom we lovingly refer to as “Newlydeads”) quickly learn the value of loyalty within the scope of this relationship, too.  In the end, I don’t care if one of my Dead has been with me for two years or twenty:  they’re already dead, they’ve been through enough; hurt or offend them at your own peril. I will become the protective mother (think: Kali-ma), when it comes to them, and that is a side of me nobody wants to see! They reciprocate that loyalty: hurt or offend me, their “vessel” or “conduit” (and also, more importantly, their new family), and be prepared for a reaction equal to someone defending their child, spouse, or mother from an arsonist.  

These lessons in loyalty that I have learned in relationship to my Beloved Dead have often made it very hard for me to socialize with the living.  In fact, for the most part, up until four years ago, I had reached a point where, apart from a very few live people, I honestly preferred the company of the Dead.  The Dead don’t tend to stab you in the back as often as the living.  Perhaps that’s because they can more clearly see all they stand to lose by doing so.  The Dead don’t take a look at this particular situation and decide “oh, wait, I don’t believe in that”, or “I don’t believe in you”, or “I don’t believe this is actually happening”.  The Dead don’t point their fingers at me and call me a devil worshipper or a fake.  No, they are quite aware of what they are experiencing and what we are going through.  The Dead don’t demand “prove its”.  Live people tend to do all of that and more.

Which is why, when we moved North four years ago, and suddenly found ourselves in a whole new world (cue that song from Disney’s Aladdin), surrounded by people who actually understand what I can do, and what we are doing, we still didn’t tell those people what’s actually “going on” here.  We finally found ourselves in a position where we were meeting people who we honestly wanted to keep in our lives, which is rare for all of us, myself included.  We’ve lost more people than I care to count over the past twenty-four years because we were honest: because we told them what was “going on”, and they either:

  1. Decided they needed a “prove it” (in other words, they wanted us to treat our lives like some damnable dog and pony show and somehow prove to them that this is actually “real” or authentic)
  2. Decided they could dictate to me and my Dead who is in-body when (I’ve actually had at least one person turn to me, sitting here, spending time with them, as a friend, in my own body, and ask “when is Michael coming back, because I miss him, and really want to spend time with him instead”)  
  3. Stated they “believed in” all of this, until such time as said “belief” became somehow inconvenient to them  (this one most often happens when the person in question has definite pre-conceived notions about precisely what kind of personality the specific Dead person involved ought to have, according to them.  I often wonder what would happen in the world if we treated living people that way?  It’s because of this one that every singly one of my Dead now introduce themselves under their taken names, and to most people never reveal their actual given name–and, therefore, their true identity–from birth and in life.)
  4. Challenged me and my Dead to a face-off over afterlife cosmology, based on their own personal gnosis as a living person who has never actually been dead (Yeah, this one happens often, yet it never ceases to boggle my mind and theirs.  I mean, if you’ve only read books and seen movies about Iceland, for example, you wouldn’t try to tell a native of Iceland that either a) Iceland doesn’t exist, b) is nothing like what they say it’s like, or c) that they are the tourist, and you’re the aficionado, would you? This is genuinely the exact same thing! Yet it happens to us. Regularly.)
  5. Refused to obey our rules. (Look: our rules are simple, and really the same as in any other friendship with any other live person.  Things told in confidence should remain in confidence. If you wouldn’t go around spouting to everyone within shouting distance a secret told to you by a live friend, then why the hell would you feel motivated to betray the confidences of the Dead?  If you treat other live people with respect, not expecting them to jump through hoops or otherwise “perform”, why the hell would you do that to the Dead?)

It is still terrifying, every single time we “come out of the coffin” to someone we care about.  It’s one thing, to be “out and proud”, here on this blog, where we’re speaking largely to strangers who we hope will become customers who we hope might become friends.  It is another thing entirely to be face-to-face with someone you’ve come to know and love and worked hard to build relationship with and have to finally say “oh, by the way, all of the time that we’ve been growing attached to each other? Yeah, some of that time it was one of my Dead, not me, and they really care about you a lot, so please, don’t be one more person that we lose because of this….”   

Inevitably, in the sorts of circles in which we now travel, there will be those people who will ask “but I, myself, am psychically aware, so how is it that I couldn’t tell this is what’s happening, if this is really what’s happening”?  My response to those people is two-fold.  First, if you have actually spent time around me, and then around Connla, Taliesin, or especially Michael, how could you not tell the difference between me and them? I am a girly girl with a fairly strong Southern accent (especially if you are hearing me for the first time and are not from the South), who enjoys dripping with jewelry and wearing long, flow-y skirts, and generally “being a chick”, versus Connla, who speaks with a deep voice (although he has, admittedly, and much to his chagrin, picked up a Southern lilt courtesy of living in the South for twenty years), dresses in a very masculine style, and saunters everywhere he goes like some action hero who just got kicked out of the comic books? Or Michael, who is obviously Australian.  Second, after a decade or so of scaring the holy bejeesus out of small children who can most definitely see who is in here, whether they want to or not, my Dead have grown very skilled at cloaking themselves from “prying eyes”, willing or otherwise.  The first hundred or so times that you have to turn to the parent of a suddenly-screaming child and say “I don’t know what I did to frighten your child, but I’m really sorry” teaches you to keep your guard up, and never let it down.  Those first few hundred times when a kid calls the person in-body out as a dude, in an otherwise apparently female physical form, in the middle of Walmart also quickly puts the kibosh on not putting up a protective shield, lemme tell ya! Finally, and perhaps a bit too simplistically, my response to such people would be: “They’re people inhabiting a person.  Do your psychic bells and whistles always go off, every time you’re around people inhabiting people?  If so, that has got to suck for you!”

Most live people fear the Dead, and fear Death even more.  I feel profoundly blessed that I no longer do.  The Dead are just people.  If you aren’t afraid of other live people, you shouldn’t fear them, either.  Sure, over the years, I have had encounters with the angry dead, too.  I don’t enjoy the company of live angry people–they, quite frankly, scare me–so it’s pretty natural to feel the same way when it comes to dead angry people.  My solution, when it comes to them, is simple: they aren’t invited to “hang out”.  Most people feel a certain sadness when it comes to speaking of the Dead, or dealing with Death.  I’m not a stranger to grief, even though I know in my heart of hearts that it’s not like we “can’t keep in touch”.  I’ve seen what the Dead themselves go through upon crossing over–how they miss their living friends, relatives, spouses, children the same way those living friends, relatives, spouses, children no doubt miss them.  The Dead grieve the living, the same way we grieve the Dead.  And that is painful to know and to watch.  If I can afford them a momentary happiness, by letting them briefly “live” again, in the midst of all of that, I am honored to do so.   But they are absolutely not allowed to ever make contact with those living friends, relatives, spouses, children, because I understand, and they have to come to understand, that the pain of such encounters would be debilitating for both parties involved.  Why? Because of “prove it“.  Because this is not the “Mishy Dead On Demand Network”.  Because pre-conceived notions define belief in existence too often when it comes to this.  Because the absolutely unavoidable debate on cosmology that is destined to ensue will do more to build sadness and anger than it will to quell it.  Because, quite simply, these are our rules

Long before Samhain became a time for me to honor the Beloved Dead, Halloween was a time when this little Southern girl could actually whip out the Ouija board and the Tarot cards and dress the way she wanted to, without anybody threatening to burn her at the stake (which actually happened to me in high school: a group of boys decided that because I was actively doing spellwork for my friends and reading Tarot that I should burn for that, and they meant it.  While they never actually went through with attempting to carry out their threats, that did not make them any less real, nor any less terrifying).  Over the past twenty-four years, Halloween also became a time when I could “let my Dead out in public”:  they could actually go to the “redneck bar” dressed and behaving as themselves, without fearing any sort of backlash apart from “wow, Michelle always has the coolest and most authentic costumes! She even acts the part!”  

As an ordained Druid and medium, however, Samhain has brought a much larger view of this time of year into my life.  It is the Celtic New Year: a time when we let go of the old, and welcome in the new.  It is also, obviously, the time when we Pagans pause to actively honor our Beloved Dead.  Three-thousand-words-into this blog post (and thank you for sticking with me this far), that is why I am writing here today, rather than Connla or Frances or Taliesin or Tobias, or any of the others of my “possee”.  I am here, writing this, because I am sick and tired of having to live behind a veil of lies, and so are they.  Being forced to live our lives that way does not honor my Beloved Dead; it lessens them.  So this is my “New Year’s Resolution”, of sorts:

Believe whatever you choose to believe; my Dead and I will continue to know what we know.

This is who we are.  This is who I am, and what I can do.  I love and honor my Dead, for I know that my Dead love and honor me.  And for all of you out there who have loved and honored us in the same way:

Thank you.  We also love and honor you.

 

 

 

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Bless The JWL….

So a few months back, the Jehovah’s Witness Ladies (henceforth known as the JWL) began visiting our house, and being me, I took the time to talk to them.  I mean, they were consciously trying to bring the “Good News” to me, so as an ordained minister, I figured it was my job to give them some “Good News” back, right?  Well, they came again today (I’m writing this on Tuesday, even though it publishes on Wednesday), and for the first time, I invited them in, and we had a chat around the table that I’ll admit got a bit heated. Still, at the end, they wanted to come back next week! (I told them to come back next month; I have to get my message out to people, too, after all!)

The JWL are very nice ladies, and while I don’t agree 100% with what they teach, I commend them for getting out there, no matter the weather, and getting people to actually read the Bible, instead of just take for granted what they’re being taught in Church, Sunday School, or the media.  It’s very apparent that when I get “too Churchy” (i.e., I quote the Bible “a bit too much”, or, at least, a bit more than makes my readers feel comfortable), y’all walk away.  You move on to something else, and dismiss those blog posts out of hand, and, honestly, given what I’ve encountered myself with evangelists from various Christian walks of life, I can’t say as I really blame y’all.  (I can tell that through my analytics–isn’t that handy?) But the Bible is like any other book of spiritual Truth, whether you’re talking about the Bhagavad Gita or the Koran: it’s not the book that’s bad, it’s some of the people who are pushing it on you, and the way they choose to interpret and teach it.  I told the JWL all of that today, too.

The number one thing I learned from our little tableside chat today is that I need to get way better at quoting chapter and verse if I want to hold my own with folks who argue every single point that way, and I really need a copy of The Message that has numbers throughout, instead of just at the tops of the pages.  If you can actually show people “no, it actually says this“, that goes miles towards making your point.  I also learned not to attempt to have a comparative religious argument when running a fever. For example, these ladies had never heard the word sovereignty in a religious context, and when I’m running a fever of one hundred degrees, I’m not quite as good at explaining things as I normally would be.  I actually encouraged them to Google it!

Of course, it didn’t help that once I explained I was multi-denominationally ordained, they sort of looked at me like cows at a passing train.  It was almost as if that somehow made my ordination void in their eyes.  Who knows? Maybe it did. Only God and they can know their own hearts. And it really doesn’t matter: I’m just as ordained now as I was when they sat down at the table. Nobody can take that away from me.

Nobody can take Jesus away from me, either.  When they started talking about Jehovah-God, I was tempted for half a second to tell them that me and the Father aren’t on the world’s greatest terms right now, but I decided to let that one pass.  That wasn’t going to teach anyone anything, so better to bear that thorn on the inside.  Since the night before Christmas Eve, me and Daddy-Dearest have sort of been on non-speaking terms, but that’s okay: that’s why Jesus came in the first place.  I mean, when He got here two-thousand-some-odd-years ago, the whole point was because most folks weren’t on speaking terms with Daddy-Dearest anymore, because they were sick and tired of the way He hardlined everything, right?

Which I think is a big part of where the Church is going wrong right now: there’s too much God, and not enough Jesus. And even when there is Jesus, it’s not the real Jesus, it’s some overly sanitized white dude who’s great with kids and sheep, fun at parties (that whole water into wine thing), and a really fabulous life guard (I mean, He walked on water, c’mon, y’all!).  He’s gentle-hearted, and gentle-tongued, and He encourages us to keep turning our cheek until our whole face is a bloody pulp.  Sorry, but that’s not the Jesus I know, because that’s not the dude who is actually in the Bible!  The Jesus the Church tends to teach is the one that serves their purposes best, and generally their purpose is getting you to listen to the hardline of God, which is precisely what Jesus said He came to stop.  And yet they call themselves Christians?  I told them that, too: that all these wrong-wing Christians go on and on about “put the Christ back in Christmas” (yes, I’m fully aware I was talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I may have slightly over-explained this point), when what we should be going on and on about is “put the Christ back in Christian“!  Which isn’t an attempt to take anything away from our brothers and sisters out there who don’t have Christ as a “resident entity” in their religion, like the Jews, and the Hindus, and the Muslims, and the Buddhists, and the Pagans.  But if you’re going to call yourself Christians, for Pete’s sake, let the actual Christ be in there somewhere, and not just some construct that suits your purposes!

Which, I’m afraid, is precisely the same situation with Jehovah’s Witnesses as with other Christian branches, I’m sorry to say. Even though they work hard to go  around and get folks to actually read the Bible, they’re still actively trying to get folks to read the Bible their way.  And they can come back as often as they like–I actually do rather enjoy trying to help them broaden their perspectives, and it’s good practice for me, in the realm of apologetics–but I’m only going to ever read my Bible one way, and that  is Christ’s way.

I’m sorry if my opinions on this are offensive or off-putting to anyone, but they are precisely that: my opinions.  I’m also sorry if I’ve worn out Christ’s welcome by talking so much about Him in this post today, but He’s kind of necessary to the discussion at hand.  I can only hope I wear out His welcome a lot less than the folks who actively try to teach a version of Him that isn’t the real Him.  The real Him didn’t sit in judgment of people–He hung out with tax collectors and hairdressers, y’all, both of whom were considered untouchable outcasts in that society, and sinners at face-value alone–and He didn’t try to shove Daddy-Dearest down folks’ throats (which is not to imply that this is what the JWL did to me today, or do at all; they simply have their emphasis, as does every world religion, everywhere).  In fact, He did exactly the opposite: He said “you’ve heard it said this way, but now I tell you this instead“.  And the real Him didn’t tell people with diseases that they were spiritually unclean (which was highly implied in our conversation today, and I’ve already been down that road twice in my life, and it’s a topic that is guaranteed to get anyone on the wrong side of me); instead, He said “come to me, and I will make you better”.  He nurtured, rather than judging.  And note that He only healed the folks who wanted to be healed: if disease was actually an expression of the sinful nature, I’m pretty sure He would’ve set up a little booth somewhere in Jerusalem, ala Lucy from Peanuts, and called everyone to come on by….

Did He act according to the Father’s Will? You bet your bippy! But it is made clear, over and over again in the New Testament, that the Father’s Will had changed from the version of Him folks had come to know in the Old Testament.  No longer was He vengeful; no longer was He pissed off.  He was sorry He had been such a hard-ass on His followers to the point that He had turned them into a mass of hypocrites and faithless bastards (and I use that term here precisely according to its original intent: a fatherless person, without an inheritance, because that’s precisely what those folks had become, and it is likewise precisely what people are steadily becoming in our modern age, because all they’re learning is pissed off, vengeful God).  The Father’s Will is not Original Sin, it is Original Blessing, and if more emphasis were placed on the latter than the former, I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be as many atheists and agnostics as there are right now in the world! I told those nice ladies that, too: that we could sit here and discuss this topic all day, but there is absolutely nothing they could ever say to me that would make me buy into the concept of Original Sin because it is, quite simply, both Scripturally and factually inaccurate.  Pardon my French, but it’s bullshit, and I’m a Southern gal, so if it quacks, I tend to call it a duck.

I hope they didn’t think I was making fun of their methods when I handed them my Dragonfly Theology one-sheet and my business card. When I told them they had inspired me, I actually meant it.  These folks have been doing this for years, and obviously, it’s working on some level, or they wouldn’t still be getting out there in the cold going door to door, right?  I mean, whether we agree with all of their beliefs or not, these folks should be an inspiration to all of us: they believe in things “outside the norm” and “off the beaten path” of Christianity, and whether we agree or disagree with the specifics of those things, I think we all can agree that it takes an enormous amount of faith and courage to get out there and keep attempting to be triumphant for those beliefs in the way that they do. I’m “outside the norm” and “off the beaten path”, too, and I only pray that my faith and courage remain as strong as theirs.  They definitely believe that what they’re bringing door to door to folks is “Good News” of a better life–a promise that things don’t have to be as crap as they might be right now in people’s lives.  They’re trying to provide a safety net to all those folks who don’t have one yet.  I may teach very different things from them in my ministry, but ultimately, we have the same goal: I also want to show folks a better way; to give them that promise that life doesn’t have to stay crap, and that there really is a safety net out there.  The JWL may never become dragonflies themselves, but they’ve certainly helped to strengthen my wings, and for that, I thank God for them. Bless them and their tenacity, because they’ve taught me a thing or two about faith and courage, even if we have to agree to disagree on disease and Original Sin, and I’m pretty darn positive that makes Jesus smile.

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Why I Don’t Offer Magick As A Paid Service….

There are some Professional Tarot Readers out there who broaden their “marketing perspectives” by adding paid spellwork to their repertoire of services, but I will never be one of those people.  Why? Some of it has to do strictly with laws of energy exchange (I’ve only got so much to go around, ya know?), but it also gets into some pretty heavy ethical questions, and has a lot to do with the history of such things as plenary indulgences in the Medieval Church.

Say what?

Back in the 9th and 10th century, it became a fairly common practice for very rich people to purchase plenary indulgences from the Church (note: historically, you will find the Church described or defined as Catholic at this point in history, but technically, the Catholic Church did not happen until the East-West Schism of 1054, in the 11th century).  What’s a plenary indulgence?  It is officially defined as “a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins”.  Basically, it’s like a “get out of jail free card” between a person and Deity.  This practice of buying and selling plenary indulgences also has an official name: simony.  That is defined in canon (Church) law as follows:

“a deliberate act or a premeditated will and desire of selling such things as are spiritual…by giving something of a temporal nature for the purchase thereof, or in other terms it is defined to be a commutation of a thing spiritual…by giving something that is temporal.”

So, basically, it’s selling somebody a mundane representation of the prayers you just said for them.  Spells are prayers!  For those keeping score, simony is not only a sin, but it’s also illegal in a lot of places–as in, you could go to jail.  I tend to avoid things that could land me in the slammer, how about you? Sin is also nothing to sneeze at….

Sure, there are plenty of shops (some of which are quite reputable and which I wholeheartedly trust) in Salem, Massachusetts that sell “spell packets”–essentially a “take home spell kit”, that you can buy, take home, and perform the spell yourself. That is completely different, in my opinion, from simony, because that’s not paying someone else to do the spell for you, that’s purchasing the tools and the expertise to then go home and actually do it yourself. In that scenario, nobody is being paid to do the spiritual work for you; you’re just buying the tools and the “know-how”. That’s no different than going to a Catholic-based shop and buying a rosary, which is obviously not only perfectly okay, but encouraged.

Simony aside, there is also the issue, as I said, of the law of energy exchange.  Basically, this is a theory that says that we only have so much energy to go around (which, if you think about other things that use energy like, say, light bulbs, for example, makes total sense), so we’d better use it wisely.  I have done on-demand spellwork for people in the past–for free, mind you!–and I found that after doing two or three workings in a row, I was completely mentally, physically, and emotionally tapped out.  (And I will still do spellwork for free, by my own initiative, not on-demand, the same way I will pray for someone for free, because, hey, that’s just what you do, right?)  I found that once I had done those two or three spells in a row, I had nothing left for little ole me! And I was in high school at the time, constantly being bullied, and having other teenagers actually threaten to burn me at the stake, so I could’ve really used some mojo left over for me!  My basing some of my reticence to do spellwork for money on this law of energy exchange is not selfish; it’s simply taking care of myself, which is something most of us should do a whole lot more of, ya know?

And then there are those heavy ethical questions I mentioned….

Most of the time, when someone actually hires you to do spellwork for them as a paid service, they want something highly specific.  Most of those very specific things involve either love or money: they want so-and-so specific person to fall in love with them, or they want so-and-so specific money-making venture to come through for them with a big payoff.  That isn’t a true spell; that is an attempt to play God/dess. I feel the same thing applies to prayer: you don’t “make deals” with God/dess wherein you say “oh, if you’ll just let John Doe love me like there’s no tomorrow, I’ll say the rosary every day and give twenty percent of my paycheck to charity every time”!  It doesn’t work that way. You don’t honestly know exactly what’s best for you–only Deity knows that!  So when a spell is being cast, one asks for the “ballpark” of what they want, and then leaves the Universe and Deity room to actually provide for them what they need.  Someone may think they want John Doe to love them like there’s no tomorrow, but they should actually ask for a fulfilling love to enter their life, for the benefit of all, and harm to none.  And when you start doing paid spellwork, most people aren’t going to take that explanation to heart. They aren’t going to be in a position where that is what they want to hear. There is a scene in the film Practical Magic which perfectly sums up what I’m talking about here: a desperate woman comes to see the elderly witch sisters who are Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman’s “crazy aunts”, and she is so desperate that she is literally scratching on the glass of their back door.  This desperate woman comes to see those two ladies for paid spellwork, and that is the kind of desperation one often encounters when one throws their hat in that particular ring–people like that lady in the movie are in no condition to hear that highly specific spellwork is the wrong thing to do. They want you to play God/dess. I am not God/dess. Most people who really know me would agree I’d make a pretty lousy deity!

I close nearly every counseling session that I do for follow-up with my Professional Tarot Readings with: “I will keep you in my prayers.”  That’s not just my Southern way of being polite; that is a wholehearted assurance that even when the reading and the counseling session are done, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers, whoever you are, and whatever you’re going through.  I don’t just do this to make money; I do this to honestly help people.  When you’ve hired me for a Reading, you can count on the fact that you mean more to me than your bank account.  But that is as far as I’m willing to go.  There is absolutely everything right with caring about your clients; there is absolutely everything wrong with enabling desperation, which I feel is precisely what paid spellwork does.  I believe doing repeated readings on the same question when a client is in a desperate situation is fleecing them for money for the exact same reason: that is enabling their desperation, instead of caring enough about them to empower them instead.

So, no, I won’t be adding paid spellwork to my repertoire, because I am here to empower, not enable.  I am here to provide a gateway to your own Self-Empowerment, not to provide a magickal “quick-fix” in a desperate moment. “Quick-fixes” are precisely that: band-aids, that are going to hurt a whole lot more, when they’re pulled off, than they did when you put them on!  I’m in this to provide you with a long haul, not a “quick-fix”, so that those desperate moments will hopefully grow fewer and farther apart, until eventually, they no longer happen at all.

Season of the Witch