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Portrait of Marie LaVeau |    Art by Dana Glover

Portrait of Marie LaVeau | Art by Dana Glover

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About my Spiritual Path

Since the ripe ole age of 6, I’ve had an ongoing fascination and interest in philosophy, mythology, and the worlds of science fiction and fantasy. While I have made many attempts to wander away from the calls of the cosmos, I have always found my way back home, to myself, and to the comfort of the fire in the cave. It’s easier to tell the story of how & when of why I got to where I’m at in my journey as a timeline, so that’s what I’m going to use, rather than trying to write this out in essay form.

  • 1991 - 2003 - I was raised in a home that was a combination of liberal Catholicism & cultural Judaism. One of my custodial/foster parents almost became a nun in her young adult years, and my other parent hadn’t stepped foot in a synagogue since about the same time. I was raised in community with my Jewish grandparents and extended family, and largely considered myself a non-Christian, agnostic-but-spiritual person. I read a number of philosophical texts including Plato’s Dialogues, scarfed down as many books on mythology and folktales as I could get my hands on, and had experiences with psychic and spiritual phenomena (seeing dead people, etc.) from as early as toddlerhood. My favourite thing was answering Jeopardy! questions based on the answers my intuition gave me, and having my custodial parents ask me, “How the hell did you know that?” - to which I always responded, “I read a lot.” (because “I just knew.” got me in trouble.)

  • 2003 - 2007 - I discover Wicca, Chaos Magick, and the notion of witchcraft as a living tradition when a copy of Edain McCoy’s So You Want To Be A Witch? falls on my head while trying to get a mythology book down off the shelf. I enthusiastically take to studying Wicca and realise I’m one of those folx for whom the adage, “Not all witches are Wiccan” applies. I start studying and experimenting with Tarot, and reading auguries in a variety of means and events. I stopped studying because I was heavily ridiculed/bullied by peers & my family, and I was dissatisfied with the lack of substantive theological thought and practice from many of the Wiccan bodies and beliefs I encountered.

  • 2007 - 2011 - While I believed in psychic phenomena and spiritual intelligence of the world around me + world unseen, I became an agnostic atheist and a secular humanist. In 2009, I read Octavia Butler’s Parable trilogy books for the first time, and developed a love of Star Trek and the languages + world-building of J.R. R. Tolkien, amongst others. I develop an interest in Tibetan & Mahayana Buddhism and the yogic traditions, culminating in an attempt to become a yoga teacher at 17 and applying to Naropa University. However, my parents refused to support either endeavor, so neither materialised. When I left to go to college in the Deep South, I encountered and started studying Southern Conjure and Hoodoo after revisiting the works of Zora Neale Hurston as my political awareness of my identity as a Black and Indigenous woman started to rise to the surface.

  • 2011 - 2012 - My first custodial/foster parent passes away unexpectedly. Shortly thereafter, I start experiencing overwhelming and mildly traumatizing psychic and mediumship activity, and give in to an equally strong + persistent impulse to learn Tarot again. I leap in two feet first and rather than learning by books, I learn by doing readings for anyone who will let me read for them and volunteering in a variety of places online. My living custodial/foster parent attempts to asphyxiate our household in our sleep, and I was roused from sleep by my spirits to turn the car off in our garage, and on Christmas Day 2012, I flee from home with no degree, no license/ability to drive, no savings, no resume, and barely anything to my name but the clothes on my back and a few belongings. I start reading Tarot professionally for tips to help fill the gaps, and continue on with more training. I started writing for several online pages and communities about politics and current events from a left perspective during this time.

  • 2012 - 2014 - I purchase Jason Miller’s The Sorcerer’s Secrets in the winter of 2013, and enroll in the Strategic Sorcery course a year later. I start having increasingly pronounced psychic and mediumistic experiences, which have started to include visions, dreams, and the realisation that I can put myself into deep trance pretty readily. I start having dreams and visions of the Norse goddess, Eir, after I move to rural Tennessee and am deeply skeptical and hesitant to work with - but after many months of visits, visions, and advice, I end up formally committing to Heathenism. At this time, I receive more intensive training in walking the worlds, working with the land, mediumship, and in Southern Conjure & Hoodoo, as well as revisiting my past experiences with Buddhism and witchcraft. I discover the online spiritual world, and my life gets dusted with Doreen Virtue, New Age practices, Law of Attraction, channelled entities, the works. My political life roars to the fore with Ferguson, the water crisis in Flint (where I was living at the time), and the meteoric and explosive coverage of the murders of several young Black men at the hands of the state.

  • 2014 - 2016 - While living in Flint, MI, I decide to stop doing mediumship. I do a deep dive into the sorcerous traditions of the Norse & Germanic people, being instructed by my spirits in what I later realised was a seidhr. I start to grow out + grow frustrated with the New Age-y claptrap as my political awareness and identity become more and more integral to my life and I start writing more frequently about the intersection between spirituality and ethics, philosophy, social justice, and politics. Several months prior to moving, I receive a mediumship message about Marie LaVeau and the Orisha Oya, and do a cursory study of the African Traditional & Diasporic religions, most notable Santería/Lucumí, Ifa, and Vodou. I perform seidhr on myself and I re-baptise myself as a witch as a form of Ancestral reorganization and healing. I decide to pray to Oya to help me escape from Flint, which happens, but end up homeless in Chicago shortly thereafter for several months. I move in with my emotionally abusive partner, falling into a deep depression as my health worsens. I have a vision of Santisima Muerte, who offers to help me - to which I say thanks but not thanks out of fear, my relationship dissolving (for my own health & safety). I start venerating and honoring her out of gratitude once I realise she did me a favour.

  • 2016 - 2017 - I move to Huntsville, AL in 2016 and all hell breaks loose. My second custodial/foster parent commits suicide, and I sit shiva for her as well as for her mother. With her death and worsening physical + emotional health, I start practicing and studying Ancestor veneration, intergenerational relating, and liberation theology, and I start writing about politics, social justice, economics, business, marketing, and anti-capitalism/anti-capitalist commerce. My survey of the African Diaspora continues, and I also revisit Earthseed and start working with ideas around Chaos animism through the work of adrienne maree brown and re-reading Black & Afrofuturist science fiction and fantasy authors. Magic floods and integrates itself into my spiritual life as a cornerstone, including into my creative and writing work, and by 2017, I have added magical consulting (rootwork + Juno prosperity work) alongside healing and divination to my professional roster as I continue my studies + learning experiences. After a brief period in Colorado, I move to 2017 to be an artist-in-residence and towards the end of my tenure, have a writing fellowship named after me.

  • 2017 - 2018 - I move into my first apartment in Chicago with the help of magic, and my path advances in the direction of Vodou and Folk Catholicism, and I start identifying more as a seer-sorceress and witch than anything else. I go through an initiatory ordeal and ritual possession by the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet during a period of exploring Graeco-Roman-Egyptian theurgy and thaumaturgy. A year later, I go on a spiritual pilgrimage to New Orleans and have a life-changing experience after participating in a orthodox Haitian Vodou ceremony where I begged my Ancestors and Legba for release and healing from my physical illness and trauma. The following night I have a vision of being buried in the ground with my head above the soil, with the lwa Kouzen (Zaka) watering me and tending to the soil around my head as my Ancestors gathered around. Legba squatted to speak to me, and I was given the names of the Lwas who walk with me and instructed on who to speak with to learn to honor them properly, but told that Haitian Vodou wasn’t right for me because “we didn’t speak the same language” (metaphorically). I was crushed, but I followed the advice I was given. This lead to a revisiting of my experiences with AfroLatinx practices of the Diaspora, Folk Catholicism, and continuing on with my sorcerous studies. Within two months of my New Orleans trip, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (in addition to my now-periodic migraines, and PCOS).

  • 2018 to Present - Late 2018, in the midst of my MS diagnosis and health crises, I befriended an elderly neighbor and attended synagogue for the first time in over a decade, which led me to my current studies of Reform & Humanist Judaism. Also during this period, I had a dream about Lucifer, and this subsequently led me to reach out to my long-time mentor-friend and community elder, Elinor Predota, who took me on as an student of the Feri lineages. Simultaneously, I revisited my earlier studies and experiences (circa 2013/2014) of the Demonic/Daemonic Divine, and started practicing Daemonolatry and integrating Luciferian theology into my sorcery and spiritual philosophy, and received the dark baptismal name from my family of Thana Shabina Adrestia, which is why I also go by Priestess Thana and Mistress Thana.

    The way that I have described the integration of my various lineages and paths is to use the symbolism of trees, which is how I see people’s parts-of-selves (as known as ‘soul’ if you believe in a mono-soul tradition). Luciferianism, Judaism, Earthseed/Cosmic Paganism, and Heathenism are the soils of my tree - they ground me, anchor me, and provide the ethical and philosophical basis from which I make decisions and work. Feri is the trunk, being the lineage and framework that helps bridge the space between theory and praxis, providing a coherent and respectful connection point for the diversity of my skills and the cultures to whom they belong without dilution, appropriation, or unnecessary rigidity where it need not be. My Ancestral Medicines (Family Vodou; Hoodoo/Conjure; non-denominational animism), my gifts as an oracle & seer, and my various schools of training as a sorceress are the branches - each reaches out through different realms of reality and space, pulling in knowledge, experience, satisfaction, and nourishment from the corners of existence they reach into. Together, these parts come together within the context of time and my embodied life to help me shape my portion and relationship with fate. This is an ongoing process, one that will continue for the rest of my life, and whose main directive is that of seeking out the edge of my unknown and inviting the Universe to meet me as I do.

My Magical Lineage & Training

My background in the magical and occult arts is extensive, well-rounded, and getting a bit hard to track at this point. Outside of my own scholarly research and specific course working, I am a spirit-led practitioner: my relationship and ability to communicate directly with the spirits I work with, and to burn my own fingers on my craft, will (almost) always trump a book or other resource, with some exceptions (I will never claim a title, authority, or lineage I have no rights to.) I strive to learn about cultural traditions that are not ethnically my own through primary source materials (when possible), oral transmission & direct accounts, and through traditional observation with direct oversight from the community of origin.

Active learning and service-oriented learning works well for me and is how I have accumulated my body of knowledge + wisdom. I use the variety of avenues and tools available to me as a practitioner to engage in ongoing learning, and complement this with practical skills and training to support making my talents practical and effective.

PRIMARY SPIRITUAL & MAGICAL PATHS

  • Feri (Predota Lineage)

  • Folk Catholicism

  • Luciferian Daemonolatry

  • Southern Conjure & Hoodoo

  • Earthseed, Cosmic Paganism & Chaos Animism

  • Pan-Germanic/Northern Sorcery & Heathenism

OTHER INFLUENCES & LEARNING EXPERIENCE

  • Esoteric Daoism

  • Traditional Witchcraft

  • New Orleans/Family Vodou

  • Reform & Humanist Judaism

  • Greco-Roman-Egyptian Sorcery

TRAINING & INSTRUCTION

This section does not include the countless hours of research and active practice of my craft(s) and skills. It simply documents some - but not all - of my formal training as a magical practitioner. Some of these are self-guided courses that I have worked through in full on my own. Bolded listings were directly supervised. This does not include the hundreds of hours of hands-on work, the extensive reading I’ve done, or my work in private with information and instruction I’ve received through direct gnosis.

  • Oral Teaching & Instruction (NO/FT Vodou; Southern Conjure) - L. Abdullah

  • Oral Teaching & Instruction (Southern Conjure) - L. MacDonald

  • Oral Teaching & Instruction (Feri) - Elinor Predota

  • Worldwalking & Land Spiritism - Ms. Flora

  • Usui & Tibetan Reiki Levels I, II, III - Naware Danaus

  • Usui Reiki Levels I, II, III - L. Powers

  • Psychic Development Training - L. Wechtenhiser

  • Psychic & Mediumship Development Training - Karen Hager

  • Curanderismo: Traditional Healing in the Southwest & Mexico - University of New Mexico

  • Elemental Energy Clearing Practitioner & Facilitator Training - Megan Potter

  • Astrology for Beginners - Benebell Wen

  • Tarot as a Tool for Craft - Benebell Wen

  • I Ching and the Practitioner - Benebell Wen

  • Spirit Keeper’s Tarot & Holistic Tarot Courses - Benebell Wen

  • Tarot and Shadow Work for Activating Craft - Benebell Wen

  • Strategic Business Sorcery - Jason Miller

  • Strategic Sorcery Course - Jason Miller

  • Divination 101 (in progress, 2018) - Fabeku Fatunmise

  • Hypersigils 101 (in progress, 2019) - Fabeku Fatunmise

  • Quareia Training (in progress, 2018) - Josephine McCarthy & Frater Acher

  • Healthy Boundaries for Kind People Facilitator Training (in progress, since 2016) - Randi Buckley

  • 4 Skills of Radical Relating (in progress, since 2016) - Dr. Jennifer McCabe

  • Active Listener Certification & Helper Skill Supplements - 7 Cups of Tea.org

  • Psychological First Aid - NCTSN Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma

  • Skills for Psychological Recovery - NCTSN Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma