The Lesser Banishing of the Pentagram (from here on called the LBRP) is not a ritual found in every occult or witchcraft tradition. In fact, it is mainly a Ceremonial Magick /occult mainstay. But, as someone who practices it daily, I will tell you, it should be a staple in everyone’s system. I belonged to a Ceremonial Magick group that also practiced modern day witchcraft, so the LBRP was incorporated into our rituals. For me it has become an extension of all my magickal practices.
Ok. Long or short, I will try to get to the point. For starters, there will be a lot of Christian verbiage, albeit, it is not necessarily Christian. So those adverse to being converted to Christianity need not worry! In fact, it while it does have an early Christian base, Gnosticism, I can tell you the that the Gnostics did not practice the same way modern day Christians practice. The Gnostics believed that we were all Gods. Yes. All of us contained a spark of the Divine Light, therefore, in the part of the ritual when we get to the part of "Thy Kingdom and the Glory of God"-- it is talking about you. Ok....tangent there...so what is the LBRP? Essentially, it is a banishing ritual that removes any chaotic or impure energies from your auric field by tracing pentagrams in the air by the power of Divine names. The basic components of the Quabalistic Cross and the LBRP are drawn from works by occultist Eliphas Levi. Essentially the words mean: In the Name of God, the God of Yisrael: may Michael be at my right hand, Gabriel at my left, Uriel before me, Raphael behind me, and above my head, the presence of God.
So why should you do it? Well, here are my personal reasons:
As most of my readers are aware, I am a believer in mental health awareness. One, because I genuinely believe that the stigma needs to stop and two, I am a witch and occultist with major depressive disorder. On top of that, I do a lot of Shadow work due to having a mental illness. It helps me to understand myself, my magickal path and my illness.
And I will fight tooth and nail when I see something negative that makes me angry when it comes to mental illness and stigma. And I saw something the other day while scanning through the net, it was a meme, that read something along the lines of "people who live in constant misery are just wanting attention." It made me angry in so many ways.
For starters, its ignorant. People who live in misery live in it because it is all they know. Its why prisoners who are released end up committing another a crim just to go back to prison. They have spent so much time in prison they are comfortable there. Its why substance abusers have a hard time breaking away from their addiction—they are comfortable there. People with a mental illness, especially those living with depression, are not living in misery because they want attention; they are living in misery because its what are brains have taught us is normal. When we talk about how shitty we are feeling we are not looking for a pity party. When we state how little energy we have because depression is sucking it away, we are not looking for attention. We are just stating our feelings. Just like a person without a mental illness would state how great their day was or how awesome work was. Just because our posts are not always sunshine, and roses does not mean we are looking for attention. We are just stating how we are feeling. If you do not like it or if you think the world is full of people with flowers up their ass and fake bright smiles every day, then you need a mighty reality check. Funny thing is, when people with depression write about how they are feeling, there are twenty people behind them who say they are feeling the same way. Sometimes the person to first say it becomes the catalyst for others to open up. That is far from attention seeking behavior.
And if you think it is, then you have no idea what people with depression go through daily. To that I recommend having a conversation with someone who has it.
I wear a lot of hats: daughter, wife, aunt, former belly dancer, former snake charmer, witch, occultist, artist, writer....it goes on and on. To add to my many hats....I have two names....and I answer to both.
So why do I have two names?
Well, naturally, I have a birth name. The name I was given when I was born on November 1st many moons ago. My birth name is Melissa. Mostly, my birth name, is used by my family, colleagues, co-workers and some friends.
Then there is my rebirth/magickal name: Zehara Nachash. This name is what most of my friends, fellow witches, occultists, belly dancers, artists and Voudists call me. Zehara is pronounced as Zeh-HHaa-Raa. Zehara's meaning is 'brightness. This was the name that I took when I was initiated by my late High Priest Balaam into the Temple of the Seekers. Its a special name to me as shortly after I added, "Nachash" which is Hebrew for Serpent. Together, Zehara Nachash embodies my inner spiritual workings with the life and rebirth metaphor of the Serpent. I kept this name as my dance name when I was performer and its pretty much my name to most people, except for those on the "outside."
So, needless to say, whether you call me Zehara or Melissa- I answer to both!
I have heard it on podcasts, read it in books and seen it in posts: (insert witch, occultist, etc.) should not practice magick if they have a mental illness. What a singular discouraging thing to read and hear. Not only do they you should not practice magick, but you also should not do it to help others---because you are not in the right state of mind to do so.
What a horrible thing to say! Especially considering that in the US alone around 1.5 million Americans identify as a witches or pagans and greater populations worldwide. And this is only for those who identify as witches or pagans—what about the occultists? Ceremonial magicians? And what about those who choose not to identify themselves?
Considering that anxiety alone affects 40 million adults in the US and depression affects 16.1 million… it is a safe bet that some of these self-identifying witches, pagans and occultists suffer from depression. And I am also going to bet that most practice some type of magick for either themselves or for clients.
So, what is the big deal?
I understand that you most definitely do not want to have a narcissistic personality doing root work for your, nor would you want someone who has anger issues that they have not yet worked out doing a healing spell for your loved one…I get that…
What about those of us who have a mental illness: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia- but our illness is controlled by medication. Does that make our magick and spell work less effective?
No. No it does not.
Mental illness is caused by chemical issues in the brain. We cannot help it. Medications can. We can still practice our four-fold breathing- in fact, we probably find it easier since we use it as away to help calm us down when we are mid panic attack. We can harness our energy field – another thing we are good at because some of us have used our energy to help us work through depression. We are good at meditation and visualization—things crucial to successful magick and spell work—and things needed to help us through the murky gloom of our illness. Furthermore, and this is the biggest.
We can walk within the darkness and bring in the light. Those practitioners, including myself, who have a mental illness are terrific shadow workers. Part of being mentally ill is dealing with the days when you are stuck in a shadowy muck of emotional and physical pain brought on by psychological issues and shitty serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain. We have walked through the shades of death and fear….and some of us have even attempted to find solace in its silent embrace. We know what its like to suffer and be in pain. But we also know what its like to rise again and take back what is ours.
In fact, I think witches, pagans, occultists or however they want to identify--- with a mental illness-we make damn good fucking spell workers. We can walk and balance out the darkness in the light.
I recently read “Evil Archaeology” by Heather Lynn, Ph.D. While I enjoyed the book, it was the last chapter that really gave me a paranormal brainteaser. In the chapter she discusses an idea called a “thought form.” The idea of giving life (or consciousness) to something that doesn’t really exist.
Huh? (don’t worry, I said the same thing). How can one create life out of thin air? As impossible as it sounds…. its, well, possible!
In Toronto, Ontario in 1972, the Philip Experiment was conducted. It was a parapsychology experiment to see if a being could be created just by shear will power. The small group of eight created a fictional biography of a character they called Philip. The biography included everything from his status into society, his appearance and the love of his life, Margo, a young gypsy woman. After Margo was arrested and executed for witchcraft, Phillip was so distraught he committed suicide.
With the story laid before them, the group would spend time meditating on Philip. Essentially, the group eventually felt that Philip was a real person, and not created by fiction. Now, this is where the fun comes in--- they communicated with him!
In several seances, the group was able to contact the person that they had all created. Their thought form had come into existence! During the seances, not only was Philip able to communicate with the group via rapping on the table, other incidents occurred that could never be explained.
After reading about the Philip Experiment, the very first person I thought of (mind the pun) was Aleister Crowley. It was said that Crowley had such powerful psychic energy he could create thought forms that were powerful enough to topple his enemies. During his feud with Macgregor Mathers, the founder of the Golden Dawn, it was said Crowley created a thought form so powerful that it not only stopped Mathers own thought form, but was able to make it even stronger (Crowley said he was able to do this by the thought forms “own current of evil). Crowley then sent Mathers own, albeit stronger, thought form right back to him and there was nothing Mathers could do. After the incident, Mathers health diminished; He finally died in 1918, with no cause of death on his death certificate.
A more current thought form is the Slender Man. Slenderman was created as a fictional supernatural character created by a “Something Awful” forum user. Again, Slenderman had a fictionalized history and eventually became an internet thought form. The Slenderman thought form was so strong that it not only led to a Hollywood movie, but also caused several violent acts by his followers, including the nearly fatal stabbing of Payton Leutner in Wisconsin. Payton’s two friends, under the order of Slenderman, stabbed Payton over 19 times.
All these stories of thought forms made me think of their place in the magick. They are all created by, as Crowley said, the “power to will” psychic energy to create a living spirit. We all have the access to create a thought form, albeit it does require an immense amount of time. You would need to create a backstory of the character you want to create, their features, their personality. Then you would will that character into being. Its possible as you can see from the examples of above. And thought forms can be used for both good and evil. Since we can create beings from thought form, imagine what the world would be like if they were made to help increase the good in humanity. Power to will.
Its strange to know that I have somehow written enough articles and blogs that I have been able to complete two books in two years! Next year I will be releasing my first ever free standing researched occult book! Thank you all for following me on this journey!
I am a Scorpio. For those unaware, here is a brief synopsis:“Scorpio is the emotional dynamo of the Zodiac. No stranger to the subconscious mind, he reads the hidden motives of others with ease. You may see the Scorpio frowning with a deep hurt inside, or smiling delightedly with some secret knowledge. A keen observer of human nature he fears no enemy, because Scorpio sees all danger and knows the weaknesses of his opponents. To be his friend is to have the bravest ally, the fiercest fighter on your side. To cross him can be deadly. Scorpio is in tune with the forces of life and death, sexuality, birth, dramatic changes, danger, catastrophe and the powerful forces of man and nature. His ruling planet, Pluto, is associated with atomic power and the criminal underworld.The Scorpio is fascinated with anything that offers complete transcendence – spirituality, the occult, ecstatic or thrilling physical states or a complete renovation of some part of his life. To him, these experiences are like a rebirth. They make him feel alive because they give him the spiritual and emotional regeneration he needs.Scorpio is passionate and intense with loved ones. He values loyalty and bravery above all. He can be secretive, but is very open with his most trusted friends.”
I am run a full gamut of emotions and moods, but typically, I am full of life, the social butterfly. Except when I get flooded with what I call my “ecstatic state of ecstasy” –where noise literally disrupts my life. I need silence. I can not speak. Its almost like walking in a dream state. These moments can last days or weeks. Sometimes only a mere hour. I am completely in a zone of creative zen. Where ideas flow through me. My creative surges flourish and grow.
Its often when I am in one of these moods, that people are confused by my mental state. I don’t talk, I don’t want to engage conversation. I am physically in my body, though my spirit is elsewhere. They may speak, but I do not answer. I am channeling the spiritual creative force flowing through me. Noise is painful. I remember as a child, I would lock myself in my room for hours, sometimes missing dinner, just to write. Poetry. Short stories. I couldn’t mingle with my family. Disruptive energy not vibrating on the same level interrupts the flow. Negativity interrupts the flow. Noise is painful. It was not uncommon for me to write 10 poems in an hour during these moments. My parents took it as a rebellious child. I was just feeling the power of the creative force.
“The Scorpio is fascinated with anything that offers complete transcendence – spirituality, the occult, ecstatic or thrilling physical states or a complete renovation of some part of his life. To him, these experiences are like a rebirth”
Rebirth. In my quiet state I enter a path of rebirth. My dancing forms a story of what is hidden in my soul. No longer just a dance. My writing evolves. My ideas are born. My spirit reaches new heights. And I find myself standing alone.
As I grew older, it became easier. “Speak to me but don’t expect an answer.”
However, things changed when I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. My moments of creative bliss would be disrupted by anxietal trigger. Something that would send my brain and body into a tizzy. The ageless “flight or fight response.” My creative surges would get bundled up and thrown into a corner, piled underneath piles and piles of stress and negativity. When they would spurt, I would be to exhausted, or they wouldn’t last long enough for an idea to full emerge.
Emergence is key. When I started to seriously delve deeper into my spirituality (brought on primarily by my Shamanic based show ANIMUS) and in-conjunction with weekly therapy sessions, I have learned when my creative surges are coming and how to access them longer.
People who have known me for a long time, are aware of this. People who don’t know me, don’t understand. And the truth is, I feel no need to change who I am during these surges to better accommodate those around me. Its the role of the Lonely Sage. If there were a cave for me to go to and work until the creativity fully released itself, then I would go there. But I live in the city. My studio, my bedroom, those are my caves. Its where I work. I think the hardest thing, is for people who are not deeply involved in their own spiritual and creative selves, to understand what this mood is.
This past creative surge has left me exhausted, I have been writing non stop, ideas swimming in my head. Show ideas of ANIMUS are forming, images for paintings are forming. And they all are fighting to come out. In the end, I am exhausted, tired. My spiritual energy spent of physically extracting these bits of myself out.
I nurture. I grow. I live. I am free. Walking a lonely path of my spiritual destiny to become the person The Universe intended me to be. We are all great things, waiting for great things to emerge. Even the dark Scorpio.
THURSDAY TAROT MEDITATION: THE TOWER
When I did my New Year reading for 2020, The Tower was the first card I pulled. And it could not have been more appropriate for 2020! I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a tumultuous and unpredictable year full of chaos and uncertainty. The Tower is almost often interpreted as meaning danger, destruction, and unforeseen change. Which for the most part, is pretty accurate! However, with destruction, comes rebirth. I liken The Tower to a volcano. Everything rupturing and bursting apart. The hot lava and darkness enveloping the land. And yet, things grow amidst the chaos. The rich volcanic soil ushers in life. In the midst of the chaos of The Tower- how are you hanging on? How are you coping? How are you planning on rebuilding and growing?
#snakeandbone #tarot #tarotreading #tarotmeditation #pagan #witch #witchcraft #fortuneteller #intuitive #tower #towertarot #tarotcards #tarotcard #meditation
This is one the hardest posts that I have ever had to write. My heart is breaking, my soul aches and my emotions are just about drained. My eyes are read and puffy from the hours of crying. I know the spirit world well, but the physical loss of someone important to you still makes your heart bleed.
It was the early 2000’s and I was 19. Having never fit it in with people, I was striving to find my spiritual place in the world. I finished High School where I was made fun of a lot for being “the weird girl with weird books” and “weird jewelry”---you know the usual: pentagram rings, bat necklaces, Scott Cunningham’s “WICCA For the Solitary Practitioner”—those “weird things. I was free from the conforms of High School hell and was searching for a place where I could find “like minded” people. More importantly, wanted to LEARN. I wanted someone to teach me. I needed a teacher or mentor. It seemed every group I met with was “its our way or the highway” or were strict about who they let in (in other words, established cliques!).
With the feeling of lost hope of ever finding a teacher, I discovered Our Lady of Enchantment. It was a “church” based in New Hampshire run by Lady Sabrina. The best part-- Lady Sabrina offered mail order classes (yes boys and girls---MAIL ORDER CLASSES—before the time of online classes you had to stamp and mail away your course work!!). I signed up for my Herbology and Metaphysics and passed, happily hanging my certificates on the wall in my tiny apartment I rented from my grandmother.
However, you know when they say that a teacher will find you when you are ready. Well, it’s true. One day while I was on AOL Instant Messenger (you 90’s adults get the feels), I got a message from a guy with the screen name Balaam. Turned out that he knew and studied and was initiated by Lady Sabrina herself! He said that he ran an eclectic group/coven (I use coven here only to mean a group of magickal folk that practice alternative religions). His group was in West Roxbury (like 5 minutes from my house!) and wanted to know if I wanted to meet and discuss the group to see if I would fit in.
(Ok……reflectively looking back on that as an adult—I am thinking “Wow Z, what a great way to get yourself murdered. Meeting a strange guy on the internet who has a “group” in his “home” …. But hey, I was like 19 so fuck caution!)
Well, Balaam and Tinuviel (my screen name at the time) decided to meet at Deno’s sub shop in West Roxbury (pretty much the place I would be eating after ritual for the next 10 years!). Its only a short 5-minute drive from my house, so I figured it was safe. I mean, who is going to kill someone in a sub shop?? Besides my intuition was not giving off alarm bells, so I figured I was safe. It was February 1st, 2003. I remember it well because it was the date that the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded. As I walked into the sub shop, shaking off the snow from my boots, I began to look for a guy matching the description that Balaam had given me. And there waiting in a booth at the front was a curmudgeonesque motorcycle gang kind of looking man with a grey Fu-Manchu moustache. Yep. Balaam.
We chatted a long time. Let him know what I was seeking, and his group sounded just like what I was looking for: eclectic, met regularly, hierarchy, the chance to be initiated. It was perfect. He then offered to take me to his home to show me the Temple.
(Ok ok…. yes, I know. “For fucks sake Z---you could have been killed! Going to a strange house with a strange man” --- again I was like 19 remember?? You do dumb shit at 19!).
During this entire meeting, my intuition never gave me a single that something was wrong. I felt comfortable and of course said yes. Balaam and I walked to his house and he brought me up the attic steps to an amazing Temple space. Candelabras, candles for the Quarters, giant altar, statues, a circle taped out on the floor, the most amazing smell of frankincense resin still hovering in the air. It was surreal. Like walking onto some old movie set with Vincent Price playing a sorcerer. The candles flickering on the altar from the night before. It was perfect.
I officially started attending ritual and it forever changed me. The Temple of the Seekers was partially a study group and partially a ritual group. While we did honor the Wheel and the moon phases, we also did rituals for various Gods/Goddesses. When I say eclectic—I mean it was eclectic! It was also where I learned about Ceremonial Magick. I had heard of it, but never really understood it. But over the years that I attended ritual and worked with Balaam, everything clicked. I could draw sigils and put up the LBRP in no time.
The Temple of the Seekers was made up of the best people you could find from all backgrounds. It was just how a coven/group should be. Black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight. It didn’t matter. And people came and went. But the group was open minded and non-judgmental. It was what I wished the world would be like. Everyone getting a long and not having to worry about being judged. We were like an extended family. The Temple of the Seekers became my home. I finally found a place to fit in.
One night after ritual, Balaam approached me and asked if I wanted to work with him privately for study. How could I say no! We would meet on off Temple weeks and have topics to discuss. I learned a lot from him. He taught me about the different types of pentagrams, how to draw them. How to do invocations and evocations. How to read the tarot cards correctly. I was an apprentice, and it was amazing.
After a year in the group, I decide to be dedicated. After my dedication ceremony I felt even stronger roots. I was growing not just magically, but spiritually. Being apart of the Temple of the Seekers helped to broaden my mind and I began studying other non-traditional religions and beliefs. It was like a door had been open for me to places I never thought I would go.
Balaam was more than just a High Priest; he was a good friend. I could talk to him about anything. When I said that I wanted to get a tattoo (my first mind you), Balaam told me he would take me to get my first “tramp stamp”- (he was not very subtle with words- but that is why he was great!). On a cold rainy fall day, we drove to Alston, MA and I got my first tat at Sting Ray. Balaam of course peaked in on my session many times, mostly because I think he just wanted to see if I could handle the pain.
Balaam was the kind of person who emanated wisdom and knowledge, and yet a had a big personality, swearing profusely and making dirty jokes. A real-life version of Baron Samedi! I remember I was his secret Santa one Yule. I found him a shirt that said, “All I Want for Christmas is Santa’s Naughty List.” It was an appropriate gift. Balaam introduced me to sushi and shumai and Israel Regardie and Aleister Crowley, Egyptian ushabtis and most importantly the Goddess Lilith.
In 2005, when my friend Melissa died, Balaam made sure that the Temple did a death ritual to honor her spirit. It was a surprise for me. I had no idea that we were doing that until after our regular ritual, Balaam handed out the death ritual to all us. It was those little things that made him even more special. How I wish I had a copy of that so I could perform it now for him.
In 2004, I decided I wanted to be Initiated. It’s a big deal in the magickal community to be initiated. Its like a rebirth. I will never forget that night! It was in November. November 21st, I believe. I had been on a strict diet for a month in preparation for initiation. And on the day of my initiation I was fasting. As a duty prior to the ritual, I had to clean the Temple. I love cleaning; but not when I have been fasting all day! The amount of dirt and dust from the candles and incense was like cleaning tar off a road. It took me six long hours and very dirty feet to get that room sparkling! Eventually, the High Priestess of the Temple called me down for a ritual bath. During the bath, the electricity went out. The whole block, it seemed, had gone into darkness (I’d like to think it was just for me!). With that said, my initiation was quite amazing. There wasn’t the soft music of Gerald Jay Markoes “Meditations Music of Ancient Egypt” playing the background as it did at all rituals. There was just me, bare ass necked, blind folded and bound. And trust me, if there was anyone who could bind your hands and feet so you were completely vulnerable--it was Balaam! Being spun around by Balaam and Zephyr. I remember the words, the oaths I took at the tip of a sword aimed at my heart, the ritual. And most of all, I remember Balaams booming voice saying, “From now forth, she will be known as Zehara.”
I was reborn. Zehara.
There was an awakening after my initiation. I felt like a stronger minded individual. There was something that ignited me. And once Zehara entered the world—there was nothing I could not dream or do. It was shortly after I was initiated that I started officially taking belly dance classes. And then…I started performing…. Then I started performing with snakes…so I added the Hebrew word “Nachash” to the end of my name. I was now the Bright Serpent. Everyone knew me only by Zehara. And even after years of performing and teaching, I will never be known to others under any other name but Zehara.
Balaam had given me a binder with all the rituals, rules and information I needed to continue my journey. I added to it often, when he would give me spells and rituals from his own collection. Since then I have added to it throughout the years with various information that I have received from my other studies. The small binder Balaam gave me, is now a huge binder going into its second edition. Its my Book of Shadows.
Balaam always told me how happy he was that I went on to teach magick. It was what he wanted me to do. Teach others. I thought about starting my own Temple many times, but I still have never met the right people nor the right place to teach everything Balaam taught me. For now, it’s just workshop snippets here and there. Someday, maybe, I can do what he really wanted me to.
Balaam was a friend and spiritual father to me. When the Temple no longer existed, I felt a loss. I lost my family and my friends. I lost my home. Yet, somehow, I knew that Balaam was always around, and I could just send him a quick message and get an answer. When he opened SEEK BOOKS, I donated a bunch of my personal collection to the store. It was his dream to open a book shop. He taught me to follow my dreams. He was important to me. He was single handedly the most influential person in my life. I still have the robe from Temple and the red cord that Balaam handed me after initiation, which means even more to me now than it did years ago. Balaam taught me that we are all seekers in this world. Seeking to find out who we are and what our place is in this world. “Gnothi Se Auton,” --Know Thyself. He would say that when he placed the oil on our foreheads and entered the Temple for ritual. We are always seeking to know who we are.
While I understand death more than anyone ever needs to, and while I hold strong to the belief that there is life after death, the physical loss of my teacher and my friend hurts. In a strange way, I feel orphaned. I know I have all the knowledge and wisdom he parted on me, but knowing he is no longer here physically hurts me. It is the human part of me that is pained. My spirit knows he has only transitioned to another place.
Before ritual, myself and another initiate would have to go and set up Temple. One of the things we did was to honor the ancestors by lighting candles and reciting: “I light the light that they have made, may darkness flee this temple. I light the path that they have set, may I follow it in their wisdom.” Since the time I first uttered those words until today, I never stopped to doing that. Even now, as a Voodoo practitioner, I light my altar candles and repeat the exact same words. It was hard today to do that, as a I mumbled through tears, my voice cracking as I lit the candles. Balaam lit the path, and I only hope that I can follow it in his wisdom.
My spirituality changed and shifted since I was a seeker in the Temple. I found Voodoo, a religious practice that feels right to me, and still allows me to integrate everything I learned from Balaam into it. I understand death more. I understand the spirit world more.
I knew his time was getting close, and I needed him to know how much he meant to me. Last month, I sent him a card telling him how important he is to me. How much of an impact that he has had on me. He sent me a sweet and short message back: “You're a big part of my life too. Stay well.” I feel lucky that I was able to let him know that before he passed away.
In Voodoo, there is no concept of Heaven or Hell. There is only the land of the Ancestors. And the Ancestors, they never leave us. As difficult and hard as it is losing my mentor, I know in my heart and spirit that he is with the Ancestors, willing to continue to be a source of wisdom for me on the other side.
We all strive to leave our mark. We all want to be remembered for something. Balaam left an indelible mark on me that I will cherish until I too, enter the world of the Ancestors.
To my friend and teacher, Balaam: I love you. I miss you. Thank you.
May you seek no more.
P.S. I named my new python Psyche :) I remember all the stories you told me about your boa Psyche. The name felt right.
In 2015 I was put in a precarious situation that caused my complete uprooting from the only life I had ever known. After 33 years in Boston, a long successful dance career, a little wellness business...and a host of other things; my little rag tag team of my then boyfriend, 2 cats, 5 snakes and a bearded dragon loaded everything we had and moved in two weeks to Arizona. I literally had to leave behind everything that I believed defined me. Boston was home...I was born there, raised there, lived there, had friends there, family there...My Baba was there......and in two quick weeks it was all gone. Our little U-Haul and my Ford Escape were heading out to the South West.
People always ask me, "Why Arizona?"- Honestly, when I was younger, I always wanted a road trip to the South West. To see the Grand Canyon. After we had traveled to Sedona for my 32nd birthday--- I thought, well, since we were forced to leave, let’s just go to Arizona. I mean, we literally had 2 fucking weeks to get out of our current living situation due to...well....let’s just say that sometimes certain "family" can be toxic...And while I don’t like toxic-- I like hexing and cursing (just saying!).
We made it to Flagstaff, AZ on May 1st, 2015. I thought well hell--- I am resilient I can just set up shop and just reclaim what I had left behind. The Universe, its chaos. And when you think "ah I am going to continue teaching dance to empower women and save mankind through Reiki"-- The Universe likes to kick you in the ass (sometimes several times!) until you realize-- that what you thought was your life blood and who you thought you were--was just a small portion of your existence. So, after several failed attempts to restart my dance career and wellness practice-- I realized, it wasn’t going to happen.
After two years we moved to Tucson, AZ, hoping that we would make sense of our lives. And again, I was so focused on who I used to be, that I never took the chance to see what I was meant to be.
Well, welcome to my grand year and half existential crisis. WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH MY LIFE!? WHAT IS MY PASSION!? WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?! Yeah….it was bad. Then, one day I read a quote, “Find your passion, find your purpose.”
HOLY SHIT! What was my passion? Certainly, not healthcare. 18 years in that business and I was burnt out. I love dance, but not enough that it would be my purpose in life. Then one day, watching the umpteenth episode of Forensic Files—it all clicked. I LOVE DEATH! I LOVE SCIENCE! I LOVE WORKING WITH BONES! I LOVE FORENSICS! I LOVE FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY!!
Prior to us moving to Tucson, I had enrolled in a Forensic certification course at a local community college. I had to drop out because I was having chronic migraines. Once I realized that my love and fascination with death, bones and using science to solve crime….it was all done. I FOUND MY PURPOSE! I took the first step (for real this time-nothing stopping me) and just signed up for one semester of an Admin of Justice course at Pima Community College. Once I realized that hell, this adulting in college thing works for me…. I just started searching for schools…
I found Keiser University in Tampa, Florida via the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (I was also going to apply to the University of Virginia—but who wants to deal with snow!?). I got accepted into the Forensic Science program with a focus on Crime Scene Investigation—got financial aid---and hell…. I am working on my Bachelors! And planning on getting my master’s in forensic anthropology from the University of Florida.
My point in this entire post is that, I found myself here in Arizona. Being stripped away to just an empty shell---I was able to find my place in this world. Yeah 37 years old and I am finally finding my purpose in my passion, but you know what, fuck it. You are never to old to find yourself. The past four years in Arizona, I learned about who I truly am---my authentic self. Was it easy? Hell no. Would I do it all over again? Yes. I learned about what I am willing to give up, what I am willing to take, how resilient I really am and most of all, I learned about things that do really matter in life.
I found myself here in the desert. Found me. My true authentic morbidly fascinated odd little soul.
Now the third chapter starts in this wild journey of life
….in Tampa, Florida
—Class of 2021.
I found my passion which led me to my purpose….I found me.