I’m one of those people that always believed there was nothing special or magical about myself. When I was little I would play for hours in my mom’s garden wishing and willing myself to see fairies. But I thought fairies were tiny people like tinker-bell, so when I failed to see tiny humans with wings I got discouraged, and started believing that only ‘other’ more ‘special’ people could see them.
I grew up in a fairly normal middle-class family and no one in my family talked about energy or spirits. My love for connecting with the flowers, getting to know the personalities of the rocks in my mom’s garden, and my ‘imaginary friend’ Diana, just got me labeled being fanciful.
As a teenager, I read trashy novels about girls with ESP and went through a phase of toying with Ouija boards at slumber parties. I desperately wanted to move objects with my mind or see the future, but I couldn’t, so I gradually left those hopes and dreams behind.
I moved towards intellectualism, sharpened my mind at college, read philosophy, studied history. Sharpened my politics at punk shows, and later at protests. Came out as queer and explored my identity with a fierce will. Moved as far away from the mystical as I could and sharpened my sense of irony and sarcasm. I moved to bigger and bigger cities, looking for that dream of the life I thought I wanted.
I now see that what I was looking for was ecstatic connection. I came closest to finding it by playing music on stage, taking drugs, staying up all night a clubs and trying to have sex with everyone. I was always chasing that feeling of “this is what it feels like to really be alive”.
But the feeling, like the drugs and the sex and the music, didn’t last.
Then one night, in London, one of the largest, dirtiest and most beautiful cities I’ve ever lived in, I had a dream. It was simple, and all I remember about it is that I could see and smell the forests of my home. Oregon. The wet Douglas Fir mulch under my hands, the smell of rotting logs and mushrooms. I walked around the whole next day like I had been given a gift. From that moment forward I started my journey home.
I moved back into my parents house totally lost, totally broke and going through my Saturn Return.
I knew I loved plants, so that’s where I started. I got a job working in a nursery. If you’ve ever done it, nursery work can be some of the most soul crushing, un-magical work there is. My job was to wander in and out of large green houses and water tiny pansies with a mixture of water and chemical fertilizer. Not magic!
But through that job I found herbalism. And from there I discovered Chinese medicine and earth based spirituality. I was lucky enough to land in in the same city as my wonderful teacher Colette Gardiner and train as a priestess in her school: Blue Iris Mystery School.
There I learned that everyone has magical abilities. Everyone! I learned that there is no difference between imagination and magic. The very things that got me labeled as “imaginative” as a child were my greatest magical skills. I learned that spirit beings don’t look like the movies, and sometimes you can only see them when you aren’t looking at them, or with your eyes closed. I learned to trust my intuition. I learned that the fact that I could tell what someone was feeling, even when they didn’t say a thing meant I was an empath.
Now when I look back on my journey I see how every step was leading me closer to who I am now. That dream in London was my spirit guides calling me back home, letting me know there was something for me there. When I was spending long hard days in the nursery, pumping chemicals into tiny plants, I would have told you I was very much lost and didn’t know what I was doing. But it was at that job that I learned about Plant Spirit Medicine and got inspired to study herbalism. And THAT was how I met my teacher Colette, but it was years before I would actually study magic with her.
I guess what I am trying to say is that it is easy to look back and see how I was always on this path, always headed towards my calling, but at the time it didn’t feel that way at all.
The number one question I always get asked is “how do I find my purpose?” And it is a question I can’t answer directly for anyone.
What I can say is that the clues leading you there feel like a dream that reminds you of home; a conversation with a work-mate about a book that you can’t get out of your head; a teacher’s name you keep hearing over and over again.
That, and that there are no wrong turns, the universe is constantly placing opportunities in front of you. Opportunities to know yourself better, opportunities to finally accept the truth, which is that you are magic. We all are.