oracle of Los Angeles Amanda Yates Garcia

Using Magic To Metablize Trauma & Pain with Amanda Yates Garcia

For our Season 2 finale, please welcome Amanda Yates Garcia aka the Oracle of Los Angeles. In one of my most enchanting conversations, we speak about her book “Initiated,” being born into witchcraft, the trauma of colonization, surviving a legacy of trauma, and using witchcraft as a tool for healing. 

Amanda also talks about her own excellent podcast (which I can’t recommend enough) “Between the Worlds,” where she interviews new guests each week on the topic of divination, tarot, and magic. I don’t like to play favorites, so I won’t, but there’s so much good stuff packed into the hour we’re together that you don’t want to miss.

Plus, it ends with an exercise from Amanda about the ways we can incorporate sex magic into our sex lives. Learn more about witches and how any of us can use witchcraft to create the lives we want, in this week’s episode of LaidOPEN Podcast.

Show Notes

Welcome back to Laid Open podcast. This is your host Charna Cassell, and my guest today is known as the Oracle Valet, Amanda hates Garcia, the author of the memoir initiated who was brought up by her mother practicing witchcraft. So welcome Amanda.

Thanks so much for having me. I’m so excited and chanted even to be here. Well, I love that your podcast between the worlds is a new favorite of mine. And I love it. I always take notes while I’m listening to your podcast. And I feel like every time I listen, I get a book recommendation. I just ordered that the Tarot deck of filesystems and Yeah, makes beautiful it’s beautiful. It’s like witch’s wisdom Tarot. For those of you out there listening brusher Phyllis Kara. So it’s such a it’s such a joy to have you here. I feel like there’s even where to start with my questions. I have so many questions. And I just trust that an organic conversation is going to unfold. And I just encourage everyone to really listen to our podcast if you’re a beginning witch or someone interested in magic, or if you’re really are experienced because the conversations are deep. Yeah, our tagline is Taro grad school without the debt. Yes, I love that. Much like your podcasts. It starts with Taro, witchcraft, magic and the mystery traditions. But because all of those traditions and bodies of knowledge are so far reaching and extend into the arts and literature and history and geology and mythology and all sorts of things ecology. So we touch on all of those issues as well. So it’s a fun point of departure to go into the canons of them mystery traditions. It’s, you know, one of the things that I really love about the way that you guide the people you’re having conversations with is, you know, you’re bringing, you’re bringing so much wisdom from different places. And so the things that I feel as listener are fed. It’s like, my intellect gets fed. There’s emotional connection, there’s a body connection, there’s spiritual connection. It’s like, all the pieces are getting addressed. And that feels really holistic and deeply satisfying. Oh, thank you so much. Yeah, it is. It is really satisfying. I mean, magic and witchcraft is really satisfying. Yeah, I put, yeah.

Well, in your last episode, and I can’t remember the man’s name, he was introducing different techniques for self protection, energetic practices for self protection. And one of the things that I appreciated as a therapist was, you use really good analogies and, you know, paralleling, you’re like, Okay, so there’s, you know, there’s this practice, but this is not that different than what I do in the therapy room. And I was appreciating it, because, yes, I’m an unconventional therapist, and I use energetic practices a lot. But I was like, oh, yeah, this is totally even in the same language. This is stuff that I do with my clients. Yeah, so you’re speaking to the episode that we did called protection magic with George Lizzo, who is a pagan priest who lives in Crete, who has done a lot of work around protection magic, which she, he started to do because of growing up queer in a very conservative place. And feeling like his choice was either between being himself being his most authentic self or, you know, conforming to for him to avoid being bullied or harmed in other ways. And so he she developed these skills and protection magic, which I think is really beautiful. But what’s really fascinating is, you know, Magic is something that human beings have done since the beginning of time, right? It’s older than science. It’s older than psychology. 

Gets older then art as a field of aesthetic contemplation, really, it’s the oldest cultural thing that we have evidence for humans doing, you know, even before toolmaking, really, as far as we know, because they were, you know, painting animals and things on the cave walls is like, you know, at least 30,000, if not more years ago, so we know that that was had a spiritual purpose and and most likely a magical one, which is to form a relationship, a sacred relationship with reality, with the material world with the world around us, and CO create with it, that’s essentially what magic is. So the practice of magic exists in all cultures, in all places across the world. Throughout time, there’s no culture that doesn’t have magic. And so of course, many of the things that we do now, especially in relation to healing, or the sacred, or the psyche, are forming deeper connections with the world are going to have their roots in magical practice. So, you know, a lot of the time people think of magic as something that’s marginal to, like intellectual thought, or is irrational on the basis, like on a scientific basis, but in fact, there is a reason why magical practitioners do what they do. And if there wasn’t a reason for it, we wouldn’t still be doing it, it wouldn’t be like the oldest thing that humans do, we’d stopped doing it if it wasn’t relevant to us anymore. So Mm hmm. And, you know, this piece about co creation or collaboration, and I’m picturing, not just it’s like with, with the elements, right, versus, in North America, being raised in such an individualistic society and focused on self.

Right. And so it’s a really, it’s a, it’s a radical, re embracing and remembering of where we come from. Yes, it is, I mean, witchcraft, is a animistic tradition. So it sees all of the universe as alive.

So that includes plants, it includes animals, includes funghi, it includes stones, it includes rivers, it’s the air that we breathe, it’s the glass that we drink from, everything is alive with spirit, everything has consciousness, and that which has consciousness can be connected with communicated with engaged with, we can have romance with all of the universe, and we can be intimate with all of the universe. So even though that is always the case, we, in the Western world, and you know, modern society have forgotten our capacity to have that relationship. And because of that, as you said, we become so individualistic, that we’ve kind of forgotten how to have a relationship at all, we’ve become very lost and alienated within ourselves. And I think most of the people who are working in, in all forms of healing, whether that’s political activism, or psychology, to the practices of healing the body practices of healing the spirit, ultimately, that always has to be rooted in our relationships to the entire planet. Because right now, we have to heal humans ability to be in relationship with more than human beings. Because if we don’t, all life on Earth, as we know it is in parallel. So I feel like that is a really fundamental part of the practice of, of healing is returning to our connection to all that is, yeah, yeah, it’s along those lines. You know, I get curious about the people that reach out to you as a resource. And I also think about people who are in deep grief. 

Around climate change, and, and how to how to keep moving forward and feel empowered to make a difference through practice, but also when you’re in relationship, and you can really feel the earth and realizing how depleted This being is just as if you had a family member who was dying of cancer. And it’s like managing that place of heartbreak, but also remembering they’re alive. You know, that’s, that’s what comes up for me when you say that. I’m curious.

Yeah, that’s really interesting to think about that. That sense of aliveness, you know, as you were speaking to that I was thinking about how the practices that we’re involved in now of trying to reconnect our psyches, to the stories of all the worlds all the beings in the world.

This is something that’s rooted very deeply in indigenous experience, right? Because people, indigenous people, and we were all once indigenous don’t see themselves as separate from the land. Right? There’s, they’re not separate from nature. And so they’re part of this living being. And a lot of the philosophers and healers and writers who I’m, you know, most inspired by, in terms of the work that I’m doing are, in fact, people of color. You know, it’s ironic, because people of the Western world, specifically in Europe, processes of colonization throughout the world have enacted so much trauma on the rest of the world.

But in a way, like, for instance, the indigenous people here in the United States, have been able to maintain their historic practices, even despite all this genocide.

And so their practices in relation to the land are more recent, in a sense, right? Like, they have maintained that connection, because there’s there’s been 500 years or so of colonization, but in Europe, that pain of separation, that violence, that profound trauma, of separation from the land and colonization happened, for 1000s of years, Intel, the people there forgot that ever existed, that they ever had that connection to the world and to each other. And the more alienated they became more capable of violence and colonialism. I’m not saying that people throughout the world don’t commit violence. And historically, of course, violence has existed since the beginning civilization. However, the very profound levels of chattel slavery or genocides things like that, like as Rasma minicam says, you know, Intel, we deal with the trauma of our past, we as Europeans, we blow that trauma through the bodies of other people, as you know, I think one of the most profound traumas is shame. Yes, it’s something that people will do anything not to experience, like literally anything. And so we want to blow that into the bodies of other people so that they hold it for us so that we don’t have to hold our own shame. Yeah. And as that resume American says, in his book, my grandmother’s hands, you know, the work that we’re we’re meant to do is to metabolize within us that shame, that trauma, and clear it in a way release it into the world as compost rather than as poison. I feel like that’s what we’re doing with magic. I feel like that’s the work of the witch, you know, which is metabolize trauma, they metabolize pain, they, they transform it and transmute it into something that can nourish the world rather than something that will harm. That’s right. That’s so beautifully said, you know, the, if you’re thinking about someone who’s a witch, who’s this empowered agent for change, right, you have to believe that you’re capable of creating change, right. So inside that belief, and that sense of empowerment, there is dignity.

Right, there’s an uprightness. And so what I really see for people around shame that, you know, body of shame is a collapsed structure. Right? It’s caving in on itself. And what shame does is it inherently in a conversation with another person, it takes up all the air in the room, it takes up all the space, right? Think about white, white guilt in this case, and you know, it doesn’t leave room to be accountable. It really, if you don’t have that sense of self respect and dignity, you can’t take responsibility for your impact, right? You just want to shut it down. Whatever the concern from the other side is. And so I feel like when you’re talking about when I’m picturing someone who is transmuting, something, there has to be enough embodiment, and feeling and belief and strength internally to take that action.

Wow, yes, so many pings from that, first of all, this idea that, in order for us to work this magic, this witchcraft, we have to believe changes possible. And you really hit the nail on the head, you really identified.

For me, one of the most important things about magic and one of the most important things about personal power, and agency.

That idea that we believe that we are powerful enough to create change, and that belief is not easy to come by in our world. Yeah. And for me, as someone who, you know, was born into the practice of witchcraft has been practicing it all my life, and 45. Now I still am learning about that. And my power as a witch is still increasing, because I go through periods and through cycles, where I believe that I’m capable of creating change. And sometimes I forget, I lose my connection to that. And I think it’s also important to recognize that yes, we as individuals can create change, but also, in order for the change that we need. We it has to be collective. Yeah. So we all collectively have to realize that we are participating. And what you said, I think, is really insightful, specifically around this idea that people who have a lot of shame, or people who, for instance, may be enacting violence, or are having really difficult time in relationship, that they can’t handle their impact on other people, or they can’t even really realize that they have impact on other people. So for instance, in my 20s, you know, I was really struggling with a lot of trauma, which I talk about a lot and my book initiated. And I was like, really vacillating and wrestling with this idea that I was a powerful and magical person, and that I was completely nothing, you know, that I was like a total fuckup and mess. And I would like, try, you know, and get to the place where I was powerful, and be sucked back into this underworld where I was, like, a maggot on the floor, you know, so I was like, really wrestling deeply with that, which I think a lot of us experienced, especially those who’s who have experienced a lot of trauma personally, but we’ve all experienced trauma in our entire civilization is based on profound trauma that’s almost unimaginable. Yeah. So when you’re saying about not being able to handle the impact, I didn’t realize that what I did, and what I said, and how I related to people had an impact on them, because I didn’t see myself as being powerful, right? I didn’t see myself as someone people cared about. I mean, I think maybe consciously I did, but unconsciously, I might have said that I could understand that are dead. But looking back retrospectively, I did not understand that I did not understand that I that people that what I said or did matter to anyone. Now, if we’re harming yourself, that’s, you know, that’s bad, right? It’s not good for us to harm ourselves and to cause our own suffering.

But the thing is, is when we have that attitude or belief, we don’t just harm ourselves. We harm tons of people. Yeah, without even realizing it. You know, like, if you don’t believe that what you say matters to anyone, then nothing you can say can hurt anyone. You know, if you don’t believe that you are a powerful person, then nothing you can do, can hurt other people. And that’s what’s so heartbreaking about a lot of the violence that we see in the world today. It’s all evidence of people not being able to handle their impact, and therefore not even being capable of realizing that they’re having an impact, even if they’re killing someone else. It’s that much of a disconnect between reality like external reality and the inner world. And that’s where that alienation comes from. Which, in witchcraft we call the disenchantment of the world. That term has a long history. I won’t go into this very second. But enchantment is connection. Enchantment is seeing everything as related, and disenchantment, then is alienation. As seen, nothing is related. Nothing isn’t spirited, and we are all alone in the universe, we as individuals are completely alone.

So the process of reconnecting is really essential. And it just goes back to what you were saying about how if you don’t believe that there is anything else in the universe, then you can’t hurt anything. It’s really so tragic. It’s yeah, I mean, I could feel myself as you talked about disenchantment, and just all the like the emotion that was welling up in my body. And one of the things that I really think about when I think about someone who’s like, yeah, I don’t, I feel disempowered. So I don’t recognize my impact. As I think about the parents, I think about your mom, you know, my own mom, there is a certain resonance with certain scenes in your book with my own mom, and the idea that a parent who’s frozen and disempowered and witnessing abuse happening, but unable to take action, and their lack of presence. Right, their absence, my dad was absent, right. But absence and a lack of presence both have an impact, even when the person feels so disempowered, right, yes. You know, yes, that’s, like, I think, you know, a lot of well, a lot of women I’m thinking in particular, but I think this is true of everyone, you know, there’s been so much trauma, like sexual trauma, for instance, for women, and it often starts at a very young age, which in my case meant my mother had such extraordinary trauma as a child, that that trauma takes up so much space, that to be seen as a child is really hard. And the and, and so it feels like that trauma is more important than you are. And like you can’t bridge between their world and your world, because trauma, trauma makes your world recede. You can’t touch other people, you can’t be close. And it’s interesting, because we like it’s not just about violence, it’s also about kind of a neglect, or emotional neglect and an inability to to let our worlds meet. You know, it sounds like you had some of that same experience. Yes, I definitely did. It’s profound combination of abuse and neglect. And the thing that you that you just said that was so beautiful and accurate, that trauma makes your world recede. And I’m just thinking, Yes, that’s the intelligence that was like, whether it’s conscious or not, someone is dissociating so they don’t feel and that disconnection is so much safer than connection. And then healing is the process of how do you learn to re trust the value of connection?

And I’m just, I’m just getting like total goosebumps rash goosebumps right now that I’m thinking about that. And then as you heal, one of the challenges is that as your world comes closer and closer, you start to realize your impact on other people. Yes. And so then you have to go through this process of realizing like, oh my god, what have I done? Like I have hurt people, and that’s one of the reasons why we are now

I’m able to make that leap a lot of the time, you know, for instance, culturally, what if we were as a culture to address enslavement and genocide, that would mean we’d have to realize the impact of what that was. And is, we’d have to see it, and we’d have to feel it. And we’d have to really acknowledge that that happened. That was real, it happened to real people, it is still happening to people, people that we love and care about.

And that the idea of moving through that I think is understandably, excruciatingly painful and made even more difficult by the fact that it’s not like it’s a healthy civilization that’s trying to make that shift. It’s an extremely traumatize generationally traumatized people. So it’s just, the impact of that is so difficult, we see it within the family system, and we see it within the culture at large, you know, the personal, the personal is political. And that’s why being able to heal our own trauma is so fundamental to being able to heal the trauma of the world. But what I love that you said, and I just think is so beautiful, I want to write it on a wall is that healing trauma is about recognizing that relationship is possible and, and good. And that we have the skills to have it. It’s about that reconnection. And so it is about that reinstatement, it’s about that connection between other people, and, and being able to increase our capacity to recognize our impact, and also to recognize our loves.

And to feel safe. And yeah, and that is such a tricky one, when people that love you people in your intimate Network, also are your abusers. Love becomes so complex. Right? And, you know, for me the first time I came out when I was 15. And then later, also, it there was more shame for me and acknowledging my attraction to men than there was in coming out. Because for me, it felt like it confirmed like I wanted the abuse to happen if I admit that I’m attracted to men, and there was a boy in college who, you know, told me I was beautiful and told me he loved me. And those words both times I had panic attacks, basically. Right? Like I had no capacity, and was so overwhelmed by being loved. Like, I love you was not set in my family. And I really have had to go through a deep healing and having a dog helps with that. But like I love you, I love you. I love you. Now I just like I love you as it gushes from me, but at one point, someone saying that was just devastating and overwhelming and confusing. And I don’t think I’m alone in that experience. And what you said is absolutely true. Right. The personal is political. And there’s always these microcosms of what happens. You know, when Trump was in the White House, I was definitely thinking about, like, how familiar the authoritative, abusive father was. And we are comfortable with what’s familiar, even if it’s painful. There’s trust almost just because something’s familiar. So you know, it’s like thinking about what’s happening on a global level, or, you know, a state level also shows up in people’s homes, right? They always, like going in zooming in zooming out, zooming in zooming out. And so, you know, what do we feel in the collective like, how worthy of love and isn’t your name doesn’t your name worthy of love? 

Worthy of love because my mother didn’t feel like she was growing up. And so she wanted to give me the thing that she always wanted. And one of the things that you’re speaking to about pushing love away having a panic attack when someone says that they love you.

The tragic irony of that, of course, is that probably if someone had asked you at the time, like do you want love, like of course everybody wants to and and of course, we’re also obsessed with it, right? Like we’re constantly trying to get it.

You know, often in our early life, like in our 20s that’s what preoccupies most.

So our time is like our our love lives and, you know, wondering like, are they going to call it and are going to call, you know, all of that stuff. And yet at the same time, we push it away, we can’t handle it, we go about it in the exact way that’s going to kind of drive it off. It’s really that I had a therapist once who was really fantastic, who, who talked about this thing called distancing techniques, which, in this particular instance, that I’m thinking of, I was talking about a family member of mine who we were having a conversation on the phone, and I felt like, we were making inroads, I felt like we were connecting, and all of a sudden, they said something kind of out of left field that just felt like a job. And it was so and I was plunged immediately into this story of my childhood where I was, like, come here, Korea, can we come here? Oh, no, you can’t come in or lay up no slap for you. So it’s like, you know, come in. But then if you get here, like, it’s gonna be thorny, and it’s gonna hurt you. And, you know, my therapist said that this, this little jab that came in, in the conversation where I was like, is that a jab? Or, you know, oftentimes, it comes in the guise of being helpful. You know, like, I know, I my father is, you know, say things like about, you know, criticizing my body, right? Like to fat or whatever, which, like, you know, ridiculous, but but we would say, oh, but I’m only saying that to help you. You know, like, it’s, it’s like, I’m doing that I’m telling you that because I love you which meat makes love very confusing, if it feels like a violation. And yet, the person saying, Well, I’m only saying this, because I love you. My care and violation are intertwined. In any case, my therapist was saying that this little job was probably not on a conscious level.

It was that the person who was saying that, to me, was true, was so traumatized that day to found love to be so dangerous that they to fund intimacy to be so dangerous that if they ever felt me coming close to them, they would push me away. And the irony of that, of course, is that

I do that too. Right? Like we inherit that, like, without even realizing it. Like there’s, there’s this book, I’m thinking about trauma, I have it in the other room. And I’m forgetting the name of it. But in it the psychologists who wrote it talks about how the very things that were done to us, we are probably already doing to other people in some form, whether we realize it or not.

Like now, yeah, absolutely. Two things, two things come up in terms of what you’re saying, one I started thinking about, it’s funny, it’s the first question I was going to ask you. And we haven’t, by the way, gotten to anyway, questions, which I love.

So thinking about distance, right, and we’ve again, I always hold like, I don’t believe in the word resistance, for instance, because I believe in our innate intelligence, that whatever we’re doing serves us in some way, or protects us in some way. Right. So distance, it’s this thing that it’s like, you know, having distance it, it protects you. And, and also, we want to heal our inability to be connected. And so one of the things that I was thinking about is how the value of distance or time passing as it relates to something that, you know, you have to wait for a wound to become a scar, in order to really see the wisdom and be able to then share that wisdom with others. And thinking about the process of initiation, right, like, you know, I was thinking a lot about my own initiations as I read your book, and we all go through them, and we may not label them that and it takes a certain amount of perspective, and that back to this place of self respect, and dignity and empowerment, in order to see the value of those wounds and have them start to transform into scars or to see the way they’ve served us and perhaps initiated us into our life’s path or purpose.

Yeah, I mean, in the book, I talk about how we often see initiations as the sea theater. You know, we see it as something that we’re kind of pretending to do like someone you know, like a graduation or still inputs, like a ribbon around your neck. But that that graduation is a symbol of all the work that you did, right all the struggle to, to do the classes to show up on time. To turn in your homework all the nights you stayed up late, like worrying that you wouldn’t

Pass liquids are, you know, all of that stuff is, is in that symbol. Yeah. And so, in the book, I talk about how the things that are, are our greatest challenges which are personal just to us, right? No one else has had our same experience our same life, and does our initiations if we make it through them, and if we gain that perspective, however, in the book, I also talk about how it is not a short thing that you will make it through your initiation, right initiations can be incredibly dangerous. Yeah, some people don’t make it through. And it’s not because there’s anything wrong with them. But because they’re, they’re doing something that is extraordinarily challenging. And what’s the word when something is well, just a harrowing is a harrowing journey that not everybody makes it through. And then even even making it through is not enough. You have to make it through and then transmute it in into something useful. And I don’t mean to say this in a gaslighting way, like, Oh, it’s good that your traumas happen to you, because then you know, you become stronger. In the book, I talk a lot about the goddess Persephone, who is dragged into the underworld against her will. Right. So a lot of the time the heroines journey is one where she’s not going voluntarily to defeat the dragon, you know, she like, dragged into it against her will. And then she finds her way out. And it’s her finding the way out, it’s her catching the torch from others who have come before her in witchcraft, it would be the goddess Hackaday, who, whose symbol is the torch, and I see her as coming in to this dark place where we’re heading and alone and lost in this labyrinth, you know, hearing the echoing of the monsters off the halls. And sure light shows us away. And then when we get out, she lights our torch, and we can go in and help others find their way out as well in the cycle keeps going and going. And what I mean by lighting that torches, where Hackaday appears is the writers, the mentors, the artists, the musicians, the people who inspire you, and the people who show you that it’s okay to love that. It’s that, that it’s okay to be in love with the world. It’s okay to love yourself. And you follow that light because what happens before that, and what keeps us stuck in the underworld is there as the traumatic event were dragged to the underworld, but Hades.

But we get lost there. Because we keep going deeper into the darkness, right? Which means that we’re like, I’m in the underworld, and I want to find my way out. And the way that I find my way out is by listing all the things that are wrong with me, or by going through and figuring out what is so unlovable about me What is so wrong with me, how have I been such a horrible evil person? You know, we think about all of those things. But that just digs us deeper in Yeah, yeah, that’s we don’t start to come out. Until we start to move towards that torch light, we start to move towards the mouth of the cave. And the mouth of the cave is love. And love is not being like you irredeemable monster, figure out why you’re such a fuckup, it’s more like you are worthy of love, just for being here, exactly. And connection is possible for you. And it will keep growing, and you’ll keep gaining capacity to do it. And there are things that are inspiring and beautiful, and move towards those things. And that is how we find our way out of the underworld as individuals and also as a collective as a species. So the way that we find our way out of the underworld as a species is when instead of being like, well, this group of people did something bad to us, and so we’re going to punish them. So from that from that, so that they don’t do it again.

And instead, we all as a species start to look towards what is good, what is loving and cheering for everyone. The way to heal is through the well being of the entire community and all beings on this planet. So

That’s all we have to do is all lean towards that. And then it will happen without, without a battle. Right? Right. It’s the image of somebody, you know, in the underworld, and we could just put all bodies not just one person, right? Again, there’s the collective or there’s the individual. And if they’re simmering in the belief that there’s badness that they are bad, that part of them is bad, but also habit, there’s simmering and habit, right. And so if you know, we know this, right, that when there’s been trauma in your childhood, we consciously unconsciously seek out what’s familiar, and we repeat our patterns and our habits, our parents patterns and habits. Until something interrupts us until we choose to consciously go, I’m going to choose something different, you keep falling into that same hole. And so again, it’s this piece that feels on some level. Like, you know, we feel powerless around how do you how do you change white supremacy? How do you turn around climate change? Like these huge things, that one person, how do we do this? And I, you know, in simplistic terms, I absolutely agree with you. It’s like how if we can all stop collapsing into that place of shame, like, I’m bad, I’m bad, I’m bad, and go okay, so that’s part of who I am. And there’s a complexity to who I am, who we all are. How do we then turn towards and look at a different kind of modeling that existed in our family or in our culture and go like, Oh, there’s some wisdom, there’s some light, there’s some love? And how do we keep dipping back into that? And then like, that becomes the new habit. Yes, exactly. And it’s reminded me of Adrienne Marie browns, you know, work with pleasure activism, and what’s the name of her other book?

I’m blanking on it. Oh, my goodness. Well, anyway, she’s very wonderful. And she talks about murmurations, right, like the, the murmuration of starlings and how all the birds are all the fish and a shawl, like suddenly decide to move another direction. And that is what needs to happen, in order for us to shift directions as a species is that we all just have to decide to go the other way. And, of course, our habit is to fight is to look for the problem is to make it really urgent, is to put more rules on is to, you know, like use law or to do all these things that we’ve learned how to do over hundreds and hundreds of years. And the problem, of course, is that we see, for instance, with law, is that it’s written by the people who are in power. And even if in theory, it’s supposed to apply to everyone. In practice, it doesn’t, you know, like, there are so many millions of people in jail for, you know, drug offenses, for instance. And then people who are literally selling drugs, like to millions of people and getting them addicted to Oxycontin, and their name is on the side of a hospital or something. Yeah. So we can see that, like the laws that are written to get drug dealers off the street, are not really about doing that. So why do we keep thinking that if we try harder this way, it’s going to change like we’ve tried. You try to let’s try taking care of everyone. Let’s try loving everyone getting people’s needs met, being in relationship to the world and see how that works. Right? Right. Well, there’s so much of the black and white and the rules, and the rigidity and that kind of structure comes out of fear, right? Which is like, the opposite. Like Love is the antidote to fear. So often, it’s so interesting what you said before with Trump, you know, he is exactly like that, kind of traumatizing father figure like despotic head of the family is like one minute loving you and praising you and telling you that he’s so proud of you in the next minute, like meeting you or humiliating you. And, you know, as we know, it’s trauma. So often when we have a traumatizing experience, we seek to relive that experience so that it can go better this time, right? Like we’re gonna figure it out this time. Like when we were kids, our parents maybe neglected us, so we’re gonna have an ugly act full partner, and we’re gonna change them and we’re gonna make it work and we’re gonna be so good. And, and we’re gonna be so dazzling that they’re gonna love us now. And I feel like that’s kind of what happened with Trump too. And, you know, the, the brutal violent, head of the family, like started with colonization and domination of like Romans in Europe or in England, or what, like, it started with the brutality of the separation of the people from the land, and then like forcing them to work in factories or whatever, collecting and forcing them to go to wars that didn’t have anything to do with them. And so now, you know, fast forward 500 years.

And here we are, you know, one of the things that was in your book is, you know, your birth, like, it’s starts with a traumatic birth, which is a near death experience. And then there’s this, you know, normalizing of practicing of witchcraft in your family life, but also not the normalizing of abuse, but like, abuse was there too. And so whatever we swim in is an imprint, that becomes something we’re habitually drawn to. And then there’s also the awareness of this hypocrisy, or like, my mom is this really powerful witch, and yet she’s this deeply insecure woman that you then took on yourself, right? Like that thing of, like, I’m really empowered and now I’m in my own in abusive relationship. And, and so, you know, maybe there’s, there’s not a full embracing of witchcraft as a tool. And then eventually, you get back to this place, and I think you said it in the book, but like that witchcraft is love, which, you know, I get shivers when I, when I think about that, and and you start to see it as a tool for healing. And I would love for you to speak to that. For our listeners, people who are curious, maybe who are total newbies and want to tap into a new resource and way of healing. Yeah, well, witchcraft is loved, because it is about it’s about relationship and learning how to be in relationship, and it’s about Enchanting the world. And that happens through literally chanting through through speaking relationships into being right, so through singing them into being. And yet witchcraft is also very complex, because we have forgotten how to do this, we have forgotten how to do this work. And even the people who are teaching us how, for instance, my mother is teaching me how to do witchcraft. And she was doing the best with what she had, you know, she was teaching me as much as she could, but she couldn’t be outside of the systems of patriarchy, she couldn’t come to me from outside the systems of, you know, coloniality, or hegemony. So what we need is for everyone to start practicing ways of reconnecting, and whether that’s witchcraft or anything else, you know, there’s 1000 ways to get there. But the way that you usually start off, for instance, as a, which is learning how to do some basic rituals, such as grounding, centering, releasing and shielding, casting a circle, calling in what’s called calling in the quarters, or calling in the elements north, south, east, west, the earth, air, water fire. But those practices, initially, we kind of take them as surface value. Right, so we’re connecting to the core of the Earth, we’re sitting on our butts, and we’re imagining a line going from our tailbone into the core of the Earth is a very, you know, common meditation, we’ve probably all done it and like a yoga class, this is something we know. 

But the more we do it, the more are an understanding of what it means to connect with the earth. And the more our felt sense increases of being part of the Earth, so we can understand what that means intellectually, that we draw a line, you know, from our tailbone to the earth. But it’s another thing to really feel that sense of power, coming from this magnificent planet, rising up through our bodies, and there is no separation. You know, we’re part of this, we can feel the life force flowing through us. And you have to call the quarters 1000s of times before you can really start to sense that and, you know, you just have to start seeing

Where so, you know, we’re we’re all in different places in our journey. And there’s the, the journey is endless, there’s no destination, right? Well, you always keep learning more and more about this. But, you know, casting a circle, for instance, another thing that which is still, you know, this is about creating a cauldron and the container for the energy. It’s about feeling that sense of togetherness and connectedness, it’s about the circular nature of time and the circular nature of reality and the circular nature of power. So that it’s not hierarchy pyramid, it’s connection, togetherness, spiral, spiral and spiral out spiral together. And we just start off by learning, you know, the symbols of it are the words, and then the more you practice them, the deeper you understand them. And that’s the true I think of any spiritual practice, like, you know, Zen meditation, or if saying the rosary or whatever, you know, people might do, I think their levels of knowledge in in the same way that when you start practicing learning a musical instrument, you know, it’s hard at first it feels foreign, you can’t get your hands to move that quickly. And it takes a while before you can really play without having to think about it. Right? Yeah, I see your guitar in the background. And I took lessons for a period and this idea of where you’re just like, there is no way my fingers can do this thing and do this without pain. And then your belief grows, your capacity grows to stretch literally, right? Totally. Yeah, sure. You literally start off being like, my hand cannot do this. And we’ll never be able to do this. I don’t have big enough hands or they can spread in that way. Like they’re just not going to Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And then, and then suddenly, one day they do. Yeah. And then there’s always more. Yeah, I mean, it just keeps going. Yeah, when I was when I was 18. And my first year in college, my first semester in college, I wanted to drop out. And I made a friend who also wanted to drop out. And she gave me my first tarot deck. Wow, yeah, and have been a gift to her. You know, I actually gave it I had a client who was competing with me a couple years ago, when I gave my deck to her and it was very beautiful. It was so sweet because she was such when she came to me such a straight laced, you know, came from like a very Republican conservative family in the south and all that and like, you know, it was a was a very different being by the time she left. But so this, you know, I consider Taro, my first initiation into trusting my intuition, starting to trust and listen and see my, my subconscious, you know, externalized, it’s like, oh, this is what I know. And then over time, as I’ve come back to Taro repeatedly, you know, I used to pick things and do things very differently. But then eventually, it was like, oh, there’s a lot of electricity in my hand when I put it over this particular part of this stack. And then I can trust that and it’s like, your body, and your intuition, keep deepening and awakening. Yes, that is exactly the way that I see my practice, when I see clients one on one, that it’s about helping holding space, creating an irregular space for them to come into contact with their own intuition and just start to trust it so that they can take it out into the world. And it’s really interesting what you’re saying about your clients moving from straight laced to magical and witchy. And that is why I think a lot of you know, conservative folks might say, witchcraft is dangerous, because it literally is you literally will come into contact with your intuition, you really will start questioning the dominant order, you really will start saying, I have power, and you can’t stop me. And so it is dangerous. And there’s a reason why they say that, you know, I was at an event A few months ago, and a woman came up to me and was saying that she really loved my book. And she was telling me how she had given it to her mother in the Midwest who, you know, went to church every day and was like, very, very conservative and, and like very much like in a balance of this kind of abusive family dynamic. And she read my book, and then like now she’s like a tarot card reader. And now she’s like, giving witchy advice from like, working with crystals and everything. And, you know, I feel like the thing is that a lot of us are witches, and we’ve always known we were witches. We were born knowing we were witches. And our culture had to beat the witch out of us. But the witch

She is hiding in the shadows. She’s just right there always waiting to come back in. And as soon as we create an opening, she does come back in, you pick up a tarot deck, and they’re like, Well, you know, tarot decks can put you in touch with spirits. And it’s like, yeah, they can I make sure we can and you will find them. Yeah. And you know, along those lines, like, in terms of when you work with clients, I know there’s a range of of offerings. And I would love for you to share some of those. I don’t know if you’re still teaching classes and workshops. I hope you are I do, right. So just please like, you know, I know that the witchcraft is a huge umbrella, right, so many things that fall under it. And one thing that I want to put a plug out there for because I’m super into this book, you interviewed the woman who wrote the witches feast? Yes.

Oh, my God, I love that episode. And I’m so into the book. And it’s such a beautiful, beautiful book, The person who wrote the witches feast. I’m so grateful for their work, because it’s a glorious book. And I have planted recently, a ton more like new, additional herbs, and have been researching where to get particular herbs in that book. And and I would love to know, on a superficial note, if there’s a place that you love to buy bulk herbs. Well, do you live in LA? No, I’m actually I’m in Oakland, California. And I used to go to scarlet sage in San Francisco. And there’s a place called loss of Carnac. There a couple places locally. So I get my herbs here at a place called Wild Tara here in Los Angeles. And the book that you’re talking about is the witches feast by Melissa Jane Madera, who is co owner of Katlin books in Brooklyn. And, yeah, there are so many ways to get involved in witchcraft. And it can be as simple as just growing your own herbs, or, you know, working with a tarot deck or doing kitchen witchery. Or getting to know the plants and animals that live in your area. As I said, witchcraft is about relationship to the world around you. So whatever you have available to you, is golden, you know, the witches of your work, working with, you know, mail order, like pewter cauldrons, but they got online on Etsy, you know, I just used they were living like, literally in the woods or at the outskirts of town. So they were just using the herbs that were available to them. And I highly suggest that you work with the herbs and plants that are available in your area. And it’s you can totally substitute plants. But what’s more important than getting the right Pollyanna is forming relationships with the plant. So you have so it’s better to grow your own parsley than to get a Mandrake root, you know, sent to you from overseas, because you’re, you’re working with the energy of that plant, you’re forming a bond with it. And relationships are not based on extraction. They’re based on mutual pleasure. So to form a relationship with a plant to the point, but yeah, so for me with my own practice, I lead monthly Moon rituals on the full moon. And I also see clients one on one for three different types of sessions. I have healing sessions, where we do trance work, and kind of go deep into altered states of consciousness and, and do magic there and for healing purposes and purposes of empowerment. I also do divination. So working with Tarot, and that is really about finding clarity, if you’re feeling a little lost or uncertain of the choices that you’re making. I also work with astrology in those sessions, which is about understanding the mythopoetic trajectory of your life and finding options and ways of overcoming obstacles that you might not have been aware of. And I also do ritual sessions. So rituals are a way of again, overcoming obstacles but rather than through learning about them or a deeper insight into them, you’re actually doing activities to shift the energy around. Magic is really just about shifting energy in transform it the transformation of energy and awareness. And then I also do lead workshops. So I’ve got one coming up with my podcast between the worlds on

At Tarot basics, and then I have a workshop coming up with Edie via which is with a bunch of other amazing women. It’s about women and radical radical women throughout Asia. So I’ll be talking about the witch, as a radical woman, there’s amazing other lineup there lots of different thinkers and writers. And you can follow me on Instagram at Oracle of LA, you can go to my website at Oracle of Los, you can read my book initiated memory over which families Garcia, so there’s also two ways to dive in. And they all have ideas for you. So you said something a minute ago about being in relationship is about mutual pleasure. Yes, exactly. We talked very briefly, you know, at the very beginning, we talked about potentially talking about sex magic. And so I’m wondering if if, with the little time that we have left, if we could talk a little bit about that. And if there’s any kind of practice, something that you would like to guide our listeners through, and it could be related to that, but it could be related to anything that we’ve talked about. So the basic practice of sex magic, sort of sex magic one on one is

to consider the transformation that you’d like to make, you know, to get a clearer feeling of that, a clearer image of that. And when I say image, I don’t just mean like a visual, but a felt sense, however you imagine the situation to be so with visualization, I always compare it to memory. So even though you might not be able to visualize everyone can remember and memories not actually happening, right? But we can remember our childhood room, for instance. And that’s the same when you’re doing visualizations, right? So get a visualization of the transformation that you want to occur, like, for instance, that you have a loving partner who, you know, you’re involved in, like a mutually committed relationship. So let’s say that’s what you wanted.

And then you practice self love, and you do it in such a way that it’s not just like, okay, wham, bam, thank you, man, let’s get this over with as fast as possible, you know, like, let’s get to the money shot or whatever, you really take the time to build up the energy and to let it you know, find the deep sense of eroticism there. And then, the moment of climax, you visualize the orgasm, like shooting that energy off into the web of the universe. Now, this can work also, even if you don’t climax in a traditional way, like even if you don’t orgasm, for instance, but you can just ride the waves of pleasure by also use it as as a devotional practice. So you know, dedicating your lovemaking to the Goddess, for instance, and sort of allowing her to come into your body

as you experience the pleasure, and not to get anything right not to be like, and now will you please get me a new job, but why? Like, why just like, as a way of connecting with her and filling, filling your, your devotional practice grow. So that’s enough, right? Like, just try that, see how it goes, see how it builds your experience, and what it opens up in New as you do this. And you will see that things change the way that magic works

is not a direct correlation, right? It’s not a direct causation. Let me say, it’s not like you’re gonna see this happens. And then this happens, but you’re going to change the way that the energy is working around and within you, and then a transformation will occur. So for instance, I just did the spell for the Lions Gate to help me concentrate, and I have a really debilitating ADHD. And since I did that, SVO I have been writing every morning, but it didn’t really seem like a direct relationship. And in fact, I the spell ended, I kind of forgot about it. And then I started noticing like, oh,

and I started to write every morning because I had gotten this book that said, that your the best way to produce a lot is just to book time, and just, you know, do it during that time. And that’s it. It’s just scheduled. Don’t cancel it in the same way you don’t cancel other forms of work.

Right, like I don’t cancel client sessions and say like, I’m not feeling it today. But the thing is, I got that book after I did the spell. And of course, I’ve read 1000 books like that, I knew that I’ve known that when you have ADHD, you’re constantly trying to figure out ways of dealing with it, you know? So I’ve known many, many different ways. But this time, it’s stuck. Yeah, so a lot of the time was ritual, it really helps us no one sticks us, for instance, I used to smoke and then I did a ritual to stop smoking, and I haven’t had a cigarette and like 15 years, but I had smoked for 15 years before that. So rituals really do work. But they don’t necessarily work by causation, which is where I think people get confused. They change the field of energy around you. Well, there’s, you know, I, a lot of how you describe magic feels very much like the somatic practices that I do with clients and and the basic principles, energy follows intention and attention. Right. So where you put your intention and your attention, more in that area, that part of you that intention, that that thought that vision, whatever it is, will be that body part will be come more alive. Yes, exactly. energized. So you going through a physical ritual, it goes, Okay, it means this is important enough that I’ve taken the time to do this thing, the way that you dedicate a yoga practice, right? You’re like, you know, peace and quiet. Right? You Why not dedicate a masturbation session? 

Right, equals sex magic, because, you know, there’s some kind of vow that you’re taking, right? There’s a commitment, right, you get, maybe you need to have a witness, like someone’s witnessing your masturbation practice, and it becomes more sex magical, because you’re like, I am intending this thing. Like, I’m picturing a couple getting married, and they speak about and they’re like, Oh, we’re accountable for this. Like, we’re asserting this into the world and we have witnesses. So maybe you need to have a friend. That’s an accountability, buddy, around whatever it is, but you witnessing yourself can be enough. Yeah, totally. And also, when you get the gods involved, that’s like a really big one. Yeah. You get the spirits involved. And I think the thing is the way that witchcraft, you don’t have to believe in God or the gods or spirits to practice witchcraft, although many do and I certainly do. But that’s a whole another step another episode. Because that it’s like just connecting to your guides and connecting to what you may call gods or whatever it is, or the God inside you. Yeah, yeah. Whole deep other topic. But thank you so much. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with you. So it’s so much fun. I could have just kept talking to you all night. It’s been such a delight. And I feel just so overjoyed to see all these beautiful connections between our practices and in deep honor of your knowledge and practice and the beauty of your practice and your work and, and its powers really joyful to witness. Thank you so much. I know I felt I was like, the last five questions. We were, you know, things we talked about. I was like, oh, I want to talk about seven other things inside of that and I’m going to snow herd the cats.

The thing about wishes, we’ve got so many cats.

They’re just running all around all the threadings thread. So much beautiful depth. I know I definitely like we need to have another conversation. I will have to get you on my podcast. Yeah, we’ll have you come on. That would be wonderful. And I look forward to like maybe doing a session or something. Anyways everybody once again thank you so much. So much. Thank you, all you dear listeners for for your time and attention and sending magic to those who want to receive some excellent and between the worlds is this this divine beings podcast. So if you really get excited by this episode, please tune into that one. This has been laid open podcast with your host Charna Cassell. Please join us again next week. If this show feels beneficial, we’d love it if you would please rate and review it and share it with your friends so others can find us. If you have additional questions around sex and trauma, you can submit them at Follow me at laid open podcast on Instagram and Facebook and read more about my work at passionate Until next time, remember who you are


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© 2022 By Charna Cassell, LMFT. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. MFC 51238.

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