The most important thing I did to find my purpose

medium_90667421When I was in my early 30s my life was fairly aimless. I lived in a tiny RV trailer in the driveway of a big group house that was shared by 7 other people. I was stuck in an unhappy relationship that was going nowhere and I barely eked out a living cleaning houses and having a failing massage practice. Worse than all that, I had this lingering feeling that my life was supposed to amount to more than it was, and I didn’t mean wealth or accomplishment in the traditional sense. I really felt like I was here for a reason, but I just couldn’t figure out what it was. By luck or divine providence I stumbled upon a class on magic and decided to give it a try. The class was awesome and I learned a lot, but things didn’t really start changing for me until my second year of training. It was during this year that we all took a vow to follow the sacred holidays of the quarter and cross-quarter days and “walk the Wheel of the Year”. The class begun in ernest on Feb 2, Imbolc, or Candlemas as it it some times known. It was there that I took the vow to “Live my life as a magical act”. For the next year and a day I had committed to letting every second count as some kind of magic. It felt serious and important at the time, but of course I was completely unprepared for the journey I was about to take. By the end of the year, I had accepted my calling as a healer, was headed to grad school to get my degree in Chinese Medicine, and had fully accepted myself as a magical being What started as a simple vow, deepened as the year progressed. By Ostara, in March, I was ready to plant the seeds for a new life. By Beltain, May 1st, I had come to know some of my deepest heart’s desires. By Mid-Summer I received a vision so powerful I can still feel it today. It was then that I really began to realize my own capabilities as a magical person. August 2nd, Llamas,  brought the first rewards of the year in the form of acceptance to grad school, and by Samhain, in October, I was ready to say goodbye to much of my old life, I moved out of my trailer into the first house I ever owned, and started school to prepare for my career in medicine. By Winter Solstice in December I was ready to be still in the dark quiet of the year and comfortable for the first time with not knowing where exactly I was headed, but knowing it would be amazing. It wasn’t just the celebration of these ancient holidays that made the year so amazing, it was that I had vowed to walk through the year in a way that allowed the mystery teachings of each holiday to become present in my life. Each holiday has, buried within it’s rituals, a deeper set of lessons and wisdom to teach us.  When I made my commitment, I committed to being living vessel for those lessons and I was amazed at how life provided exactly the circumstances I needed in order to learn and grow. For instance, Beltain, the high holiday of May Day, is the time for honoring our deepest desires. It was then that I realized how all my life I had wanted to be a healer. On the Fall equinox we celebrate the harvest, and savor our rewards, but even in the harvest there is an element of letting go. That which is harvested does not grow anymore. It was during this time that I bought my house, and was about to begin grad school, which meant deciding what things from my old life were important to continue nurturing, and which things it was time to harvest and be done with. The wheel has turned many times since that first year that I made my vow, and each year it never ceases to amaze me how much there still is to learn from the simple wisdom of these powerful days. In the years since that first one, my magical practice has deepened and grown. I have earned my degree and started a rewarding practice as an acupuncturist. I have met my soul mate, and together we brought our son into the world. Some years I celebrate all holidays in a grand fashion, sparing no extravagance and celebrating in large groups. Others, like the year my son was born, I observed them quietly and simply. But I always feel the energy of the earth and the seasons no matter what I am doing externally. Returning each year to familiar rituals has taught me many lessons. First that change is a process, that all things have a perfect time and place. Also, that there is a pattern and web to life that is much greater than me, but of which I am an integral part. And perhaps most importantly, that change is the only constant. I am so excited to be offering a year-long immersion in this transformative practice starting this Imbolc (Feb 1st). If you would like to learn more about this class, join me for a free phone call on January 25th. In this call I will share more in depth on each holiday  and how you can use Wheel of the Year to make 2015 your most transformative year yet.  Enter your email below.
photo credit: alabaster crow photographic via photopin cc

Is Goal Setting a Waste of Time?

Intention is Nine-Tenths of Magic

If were to pick THE most important aspect of my entire spiritual practice it would have to be intention setting. Intentions allow us to use our spiritual practice to actually change our lives and the world around us, instead of just enacting some empty rituals.  In a world where goal setting has become king, and everyone and their grandmother has a bucket list, intentions are the key to making sure your ambition gets you exactly what you want and need, and not just some thing that you thought you wanted but have since outgrown.

What is the Difference

Intentions are like what Danielle Laporte calls Goals with Soul.  A goal is just a bench mark that you set for yourself for some future time frame.  The problem with most goals is that at the time you set them, you have no idea what will be still be important to you when you complete them. When we set a goal we are assuming that the way we are now, is how we will always be.  It is limiting.   Intentions on the other hand are open ended.  They are about how you want to feel, what qualities you want in your life, not about the external bench marks.

Goals are fixed, Intentions flexible.

A goal is usually one thing, I want to do X. An intention is usually more about the quality of what you want in your life. I want more abundance.  I want a career where I feel like I’m utilizing my full range of talents and skills.  The great thing about intentions is that they leave room for the universe to find you something better than your wildest dreams.  Something maybe you’ve never imagined.  When we set a goal, we are limiting our success to only that which we are able to imagine.  When we set an intention we are letting the universe decide how big and how far we can go.

 How to set intentions:

1. Get really clear on what you want.  Start with the tangible: a new job, a new car, more money.  And then dig deeper. Take one thing and really go into why you want it.  How do you think its going to make you feel when you get it?  Then take that feeling and see if you can come up with a broader term for it.  Want money? Why? So I can feel less stressed about survival, so I can play more, so I can go on vacation!  What are the feelings behind those things? Relief? Freedom? Relaxation? Respite?  I challenge you to steer clear of big general words like ‘abundance’ unless you have really done some thinking on what that really means for YOU.  Many times we throw words like that around with out really having a felt sense of what they mean to us.  By the way, if you really want to dig deep into this process check out The Desire Map.

A little cautionary tale here:  A few years ago I had a friend who asked the universe for money.  The very next day her car was rear ended and she was injured.  She ended up getting a settlement from the accident, in the form of MONEY, but at the price of her physical health.  That is why I feel like it is always better to get as clear as possible on what you want.  She thought she wanted money, but I bet if we asked her now she would admit there were more important things than the actual money, like health and freedom from financial strain.

2. Once you’ve distilled down your desires, see if you can sum them up into a sentence.  I find it helps to start with either “I want to call into my life ……(insert desires here)” or “My intention is to …..(insert what you are trying to accomplish)” Then add the all important phrase “or better”.  Leave room for the Universe to step it up a notch.

3. If you are trained in ritual, you may want to then translate your intention into a ritual act, but even if you aren’t here are a few ways you can work with it: place your intention on the your altar, write it in your planner, set fire to it and let give it over to the universe, or just hold it daily in your mind as you go about your day.  Leave the rest up to the universe.

And now I’d like to hear from you.  How do you feel about Goals?  Love em, hate em? Have you ever set an intention before, how did it work out? Leave me a comment below, and if you love this article be sure to share on Facebook or Twitter.

Allison Carr LAc believes that healing yourself makes the world a better place.  Learn more about her work and classes at

Photo modified by me, quote from Pomegranate Doyle

photo credit: Jason A. Samfield via photopin cc

5 Myths About Living a Magical Life

real magic is not about escaping the mundane, it's about finding joy in it

real magic is not about escaping the mundane, it’s about finding joy in it

When I first took a vow to live my life as a magical act I felt so excited and giddy about the ways my life was going to change.  I was walking on cloud nine for weeks.  If you read my last post you’ll know that it did change in many amazing ways, some more amazing than I ever could have dreamed.  But I also realized some very profound and real things that taking this vow didn’t mean.  There are some very real misconceptions about the Law of Attraction, and walking a spiritual path.  I found that once I debunked these five myths for myself, I was much less prone to resistance about following my path, and I enjoyed my spiritual practice a lot more.  Read on to see if any of these myths might be preventing you from having a satisfying spiritual practice.

1. When Bad Things Happen It’s My Fault

Recognizing your own power to shape your life, and refusing to be a victim, does not mean that you are at fault when life goes awry.  Let me explain. I believe the universe is a vast complex ball of chaos that doesn’t fit neatly into our human brain sized boxes of cause and effect.  When we start to realize our own power, we often mistake that power for being omnipotent.  I believe that everything that happens in our lives is an opportunity to learn a grow, but its happening may have nothing to do with us.  Sometimes yes, the message is loud and clear.  You keep getting in the same fights with all your friend, you keep choosing the same crappy partner, you keep finding mates that are just like your mom or dad.  But life isn’t laid out and planned out from the beginning to end, there are the lessons we have to learn, and then there is Random Shit That Happens.

But doesn’t everything happen for a reason?  Yes, but the reason isn’t always ours to know.  What if that shitty thing that just happened is WAY better than what could have happened?  What if missing opportunity you really wanted just saved your life?  Not to mention that we live in a big world full of people all living their own lives, and learning their own lessons.  Sometimes we just get caught in someone elses life lesson.

2. A Setback Means I’m Going the Wrong Direction

I see this one all the time.  I tripped and fell on my way to class, maybe I should re-think the class.  I didn’t get that job, maybe I should re-think my direction in life.  Yes, when something is continuously hard to manifest, and we alway seem to be running into road-blocks, maybe its time to re-evaluate.  But if we quit every time we encountered one set back, we would get no where.  Chances are if one setback has you running for the hills, its has more to do with fear and resistance than divine intervention.

3.  If everyone got what they wanted, wouldn’t the world turn into Chaos?

Yes and no.  The flip side of learning that you are powerful and can draw what you want into your life is that you have to really decide what you want and why you want it.  This is learning about Heart’s Desire.  True soul-desire differs from greed because it serves a purpose.  It helps you do your work here on earth, and that helps everyone.  Greed is when we just want more, because we don’t know what truly nourishes us, so we keep needing more and more to fill the void that never get satisfied. And yes, there are those that use the powers of manifestation to get whatever they ask for, not realizing that they don’t really want any of it.  But that’s not what I’m talking about when I talk about waking up to magic.  I’m talking getting what really fulfills you, what makes your heart sing, so that you can give back.  And a world where everyone knew what that was, and had it?  That would be a beautiful world!

4. If I have the power to shape my world, what if I think a bad thought, won’t something bad happen?

We can’t control our thoughts. We can’t control our emotions.  Yes learning to lean more towards positive thought and healthy emotional expression is a good thing.  But magic doesn’t happen by accident.  Its not like the movie Carrie, where we wreak havoc with our anger.  Magic takes a specific conscious intention, it takes a ritual act to focus that intention.  Intentionally hurting someone with our words or actions has bad consequences, but not in the form of knives spontaneously flying across the room.  Yes if you are always thinking negatively, chances are you are surrounded by negativity, but only because you can’t see anything else.  You aren’t going hurt someone just by thinking badly of them, unless you are really trying hard to curse them.  And if you are, then we need to sit down and have a little talk about magical ethics.

5. But I’m totally on board with this magical life thing already, why do I still have dirty dishes to wash and debt to pay?

You know how in the books little faeries come and clean your house and do your dishes, or a handsome stranger saves the day?  Yeah, that’s never gonna happen!  The mundane tasks we may love or hate still exist whether you live magically or not.  The difference is how we look at them.  I still have to mop my floors, clean my room, feed my family and pay the bills.  But if I choose, mopping my floor can become a blessing or space clearing on my whole house.  Feeding my family: a spell of abundance.  Paying bills, well this is still a hard one for me to wrap my brain around, but what if every time you gave someone money, it came with a silent blessing: “may you have everything you need.”  It seems silly and small, but imagine how different things would be if every time money changed hands, it came with a blessing?  Its not in the avoiding of these mundane tasks that we find the sublime, but in the embracing of them as potentials for acts of magic.

And now I would like to hear from you.  What other myths about spirituality can you think of that have proved to be untrue?  Leave a comment below.  And if you like what you read, pass it along by sharing on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest (easy social share buttons below)!




Are these 5 things keeping you from finding spirtual community?


medium_3437790239We all want it:  connection, community, our ‘tribe’, to feel like we belong.  One of the most common things people tell me they long for, is a sense of spiritual community.  Not only finding a belief system they resonate with, but being able to share it with others.  And why not?  I have found that some of the most intense and profound experiences I’ve had with other humans has been in a shared spiritual context.

But if you aren’t into organized religion, how do you find a group of like-minded people to have spiritual connection with?

In this article we are going to discuss some of the most common pitfalls that keep us from the community we crave.

Don’t assume it will just come to you.

Just like getting a date, finding a job or finishing a project, this isn’t going to just happen on its own.  You will have to put some hard work and commitment into finding your community.  Put yourself out there, find classes, meditation groups, or gatherings where you are likely to meet others that share your beliefs. Test the waters.  Forming community takes time, and a willingness to engage.  This doesn’t mean you can’t ask your spirit guides for help, or say a prayer for what you want, it just means that you are also going to have to take some human action.

Don’t be too picky at first.

When you are first getting started don’t rule out opportunities just because they aren’t an exact fit.   That goddess group may not be exactly your cup of tea, but you may meet some folks there who feel the same as you.  Go with an open mind however, don’t go just to trash an event, or talk shit about it afterwards.   At the same time don’t stick with something that really doesn’t resonate with you.  See if you can find the balance between trying new things, and being honest with yourself when it’s just not for you.

Don’t propose on the first date.

All too often we are so eager and thirsty for spiritual community we go in looking to form commitment before even getting to know someone.  If you find yourself going to meditation groups, classes, or public rituals for the sole purpose of finding people to form a group with, you may be coming on too strong, and missing the gifts available to you.  You would never propose marriage on the first date, so why would you expect someone to commit to a deeply intimate connection with you on the first meeting.  Test the waters, go slowly, get to know people  before proposing you all form a coven and become blood sisters.

Don’t assume that having spiritual commonality will protect you from human drama.

We would like to believe that when we are dealing with folks on a spiritual plane that we can bypass all the petty shit that gets in the way of normal friendships.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  In my experience, our vulnerability increases dramatically when engaging in spiritual activity with others, and often so does our bad behavior as we sometimes seek to cover for our weaknesses by acting out.  Before joining any group, or forming one of your own, ask yourself how well you know the folks involved.  Are you likely to be supported and treated kindly when your shit comes up?  How well do they deal with their own shit, and are they willing to take responsibility when they act out?

Don’t try to control the process.

Unless you are trying to form a cult, you will need to relinquish some control over how things unfold.  You may have the perfect idea of how best to form community, or make commitments with others, but you don’t always know best.  True community is based on a shared value system, where everyone is honored for their unique gifts.  In my practice we have a belief that each person present in the group is holding a very important piece of the puzzle and that we wouldn’t be complete without them.  This ensures that everyone’s perspective is valued and no one person has all the authority. Trust that when others show up, they are there for a reason, and when they can’t be there it is also for a reason.

So how do you do it?

Put yourself out there, meet other people and then start slow.  Invite folks over for a casual solstice dinner, or new moon ritual.  Don’t get too heavy or too deep at first.  See who sticks around, who do you have commonality with, who does it feel like you can trust.  Don’t take it personally if folks aren’t ready, just find the ones who are.  Also recognize that no one person needs to be everything to everybody.  Certain folks may be great for a causal dinner, but not the types you want to book a weekend meditation retreat at the beach with.  Other people may be the type that you can spend hours going incredibly deep with, but they don’t get along with your other friends.  It takes all kinds of people to form community.

In what ways do you struggle with finding spiritual community?  Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to share this article on Facebook and Twitter if it resonates with you.

Allison Carr LAc believes that healing yourself makes the world a better place.  Learn more about her work and classes at
photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc

Who should you tell about your spiritual beliefs?

Photo by- Marcus Ranum

Photo by- Marcus Ranum

It’s been a journey for me to be more and more ‘out’ about being a witch and a priestess.  Often I see people struggle with this question, “Who do I tell, and when?”

It makes sense why you might be reluctant to be open about your beliefs, especially if you identify as being ‘pagan’ a ‘witch’ in any way ‘woo-woo’.  We live in a culture where these beliefs are still considered evil, or devil worship by some, and just merely backwards or silly by others.  So I always feel like it is a personal choice how much you want to reveal, and your reasons for staying hidden about your beliefs are totally valid.

I want to share my experience however, in hopes that it will help some of you make the decision.

As a disclaimer I will tell you that I live in Portland, a town very welcoming and open to alternative beliefs and lifestyles.  We have our own TV show dedicated to our quirkiness (Thanks Carrie Brownstien and Fred Armisan).   I’m also a small business owner, and thus, I’m my own boss. I realize these things put me in a unique position to have the luxury to be a little more public about things than some of you.

However, time and time again, I am astounded at how much opportunity and goodness comes my way when I risk being open and honest about what I believe.  The more and more I do it in my business life the more I’m rewarded by getting to work with people who are attracted to my viewpoint, and share similar aspirations as me.  The more I do it in my personal life, the more rewarded I am by the openness and connection it creates in my community and family.  One of my favorite moments was getting to talk to my mom about animal allies after publishing this article.

So how do you make the decision?  I would answer these questions as honestly and openly as you can:

How much could you lose by being ‘out’?  For some of you the answer might be your job, your family members, community status.  These are serious considerations.  But for others of you it might just be some annoying friendships with people you would rather lose anyway.  Think about what you would be willing to let go of, if others react unfavorably, and also keep in mind, often other’s reactions are much more welcoming than we’d fear.

How much community support and buffer do you have?  I have a strong community of like-minded people, a family that is open, and a loving partner, who supports my spiritual practice.  All of this helps make any backlash I might get for my beliefs a mere annoyance rather than a devastating loss.  Who is around you that already knows about and supports your beliefs?  How much do they already help you stay strong in the face of adversity?  Are any of them harboring fears about you coming out that may make them less than supportive?

How willing are you to talk about something that is deeply personal and sometimes hard to articulate?  Like it or not, when we go public about our spiritual life, we open ourselves up to questions.  Some of them can be in an attempt to discredit us, but most are just out of honest curiosity and a desire to know more.  How comfortable are you talking about what you belive?  Do you have a language that is comfortable for you?  Are you ready to be questioned?

What are your reasons for being public?  This is perhaps the most important question for anyone to answer.  For me it was a matter of trying to be as authentic as possible in my daily life.  I also am guilty of being a recovering cynic, so it was important for me to fess up to my beliefs as a way to make peace with my past self.  I also feel that the more open and honest we can be about our belief, the less they will be stigmatized or misunderstood.  Your answers may not be the same as mine, and I really encourage you to think long and hard about this one, because sometimes it can make everything worth it, even if the answers to some of the above questions aren’t so favorable.

I hope made it clear that I don’t belive there is one right answer to the ultimate question of whether you do or don’t go public with your beliefs. Whatever your choice, I hope it ends up being as posative and life affirming as mine has been.

Have you grappled with this question? Leave a comment below and let us know what your decision was and why.


Allison Carr LAc believes that healing yourself makes the world a better place.  Learn more about her work and classes at