Healing

I’m Back. Welcome to Witch ‘n Bitch.

Dear Gentle and Sexy Reader,

VOTE, y’all. Are you registered?

You’ve noticed I’ve been away for fucking ever a couple years. And that I’m no longer over at askdrding.com but over here, on a big-ass fancy professional website. It took me a minute, but I finally fully launched myself all the way out of the broom closet of being a semi-anonymous, sweary, shit-talking psychologist blogger who wrote in the third goddamned person for reasons unknown even to myself, to finally officially revealing myself as a the straight up Tarot reading witch and shamanic practitioner I’ve been, well, pretty much forever. I’m assuming you’re not totally shocked.

I’m over on IG a lot. And I have a cool af intersectional witch group forming over on the AskDrDing FB page, called Witch ‘n Bitch. But, you ask, “How do I know if Witch ‘n Bitch is my jam? I don’t own an actual cape or BoS, you see.” Excellent question!

First off, this is non-binary space. IDGAF about your genotype or phenotype or if you identify as male or female or have transcended the gender binary altogether. C’mon over. Tell us your pronouns.

Second: you don’t have to be a big boss witch, a Wiccan, or a witch of any kind. I’m a retired Catholic, a former altar girl at St. Patrick’s who still digs a lot of the traditions I was raised in, and in fact, it’s where my interests in mysticism originated back when I was a fake nun. We talk about what being a witch means, or doesn’t mean. In the end, it’s the results that matter to me most, so if you resonate with the group but don’t consider yourself a witch or a believer in the otherworlds, cool.

If you’re someone who’s into using magic/k, witchery, energy work, shamanism and/or other embodied spiritual practice to help fix the flaming pile of used diapers that is this country right now, including room for “deep trouble/good-hearted” hexing* along with healing…

If you’re someone who groks #blacklivematter, #POClivesmatter, #ibelievesurvivors, #resist, #LBGTQIA, and #bodypositivity along with #ableismexists …

If you’re able to dialog with others in a respectful way about spiritual and metaphysical topics and be willing to examine the ways these intersect with the lived experiences of oppression and patriarchy in your own life and in the lives of others…all while conspiring (literally “to breathe together”) to heal some shit in the right-now…

If you are an intersectional feminist who maybe secretly digs “woo” or who ain’t quite sure about the rest of it, but is open to learning…

If you’d also like to trade old-timey or newfangled spellwork, recipes, rituals, charms or invocations, discuss healing techniques, explore your spiritual/intuitive gifts, share stories of boldness, love, empowerment, healing, awakening, and grief…

You get the idea. Psychology, a discipline which used to encompass soul, mind, and spirit, has spent the last 50 years or so trying to forcibly separate the soul from the mind, and my stance in WnB is that I’m here to help make reintroductions and hold space for folks interested in limning these deeps. I expect the group to function independently at some point, like when I go on vacation or enter my hibernation cave in the winter.

You absolutely must answer the questions three to get in. Fact. This space must remain not only safe, but sacred. I’m not here to argue about it. My house, my rules, but the rooms inside are yours.

If I’m teaching anything, it’s along the lines of rediscovering and nourishing aspects of the Self and its ways of knowing that have been disallowed, fractioned off, suppressed, oppressed, or devalued. There are many Ways of Knowing. Multitudes. Not just the ones we’ve all been taught in textbooks and by the culture at large, or even in classes. Deeper, older ways that can be helpfully integrated with modern understandings if we have but eyes to look; ways, that, if applied over time, can result in a return to wholeness, to original blessing (as opposed to original sin), to singing the tired old bones to life again, and make them stronger from the breaking.

I am here to lovingly affirm that we can learn through joy as well as pain. We can regain power that seems forever lost to us at the hands of oppressive structures and forces. Every human being, I believe, has this ability to call their spirit back when the shit comes down.

I’m deliberately letting the ways and means of this group coalesce in a natural way. We are still “forming and norming” what this group is going to be about, because I had that “storming” part covered, around the time of the autumnal equinox and Aries moon, when something deep in my marrow finally arose and plainly spoke: ENOUGH.

Enough.

I’m turning 50 in a few months. This is a time of great change and even turmoil, the realization of unfinished business and incomplete mourning, of deeply knowing the certainty of death and the finitude of earthly time. Midlife can be, and is for me, the second adolescence of the psyche and body, and a revisiting of the awful and also glorious truths of life as revealed by the turning of the wheel.

It’s go time, baby. Let’s make it count. Tell your friends. Only the ones you know will be into it, though, ok? I’m weary of arguing with those who do not seem to be able to recognize that everybody matters, or nobody matters. Let’s create a cauldron of healing, of dreaming a new future where this gobshite diaper-fire patriarchy is a thing of the past and burnt to bits, and a healthy world is invoked and dreamt awake, where the Sacred Masculine and the Sacred Feminine coexist right here, right now, in real life, in real time, for earth and all her peoples. Blessed Be forever.

*Hexing = to bind and thereby neutralize harm, render harmless, dissipate, ward off, protect against, etc. You get it.

Intuition: Muh Spiritual Adventures

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In psychology, we think of intution as knowing without knowing how we know, something that happens without conscious reasoning. In psychotherapy and counseling, we encourage attention to it, because acceessing deeper and broader knowings and feelings is key to the healing process. Most of us walk around not heeding this sort of thing, or at best, attending to it but brushing it off later as mere coincidence, and we miss a lot of important information about other people, situations, and places due to this oversight.

But there is another type of knowing out there that psychology doesn’t much reference,  or only in a pejorative way; psychic intuition.

This type of experience goes by many names, depending on culture, language, and spiritual training. You’ve probably heard some of the following terms: the Sight, psychic insight, communion of the saints, contemplative or centering prayer, clairvoyance, clairaudience, mediumship, visions, active imagination. It goes by many names, and of course there are differences amongst these phenomena, but they all share one thing in common, and that is this: knowledge that comes from a metaphysical source, without conscious thought process.

Adventures With Catholicism and Zen

The two main traditions I’ve formally studied, contemplative prayer of the Carmelite order, and Soto Zen Buddhism, emphasize not getting distracted by “psychic” phenomena such as the ones I’ve listed above, as they are seen merely as semi-interesting diversions to the purpose of the practice, which is either union with God or enlightenment respectively. This always made a kind of abstract, esoteric sense to me, but left me feeling sort of displaced. For example, back in the early 1990s when I began a formal practice of contemplative prayer, I had all sorts of odd things happening; I found that I could sense what was going on with someone for whom I was praying, even if they were thousands of miles away, particularly any physical ailments. I again began seeing auras around people, as I had in adolescence. I had no framework for understanding these experiences except the guidance of my spiritual directors to not heed any of it, because according to tradition, it wasn’t important.

In hindsight, I see the Carmelites exhortations as emblematic of the Catholic Church’s long and grand tradition of steamrolling women along with anything else that threatens their hierarchical control over the masses; if people could trust their intuition, then why would they need organized religion and the ridic anti-contraceptive musings of half-dead old men to tell them how to live? Heresy! She’s a witch! Where my money at! And so forth.

Several years later, while performing zazen (sitting) and kinhin (walking) meditations central to Soto Zen Buddhism, I enjoyed the peaceful discipline of calming the mind, but again began having vivid spiritual experiences. The sensei wasn’t too keen on all that, so I would usually practice my own version of zazen outside of the normal daily zazen, where I’d actively invite light beings and saints to offer me their counsel so I could become a better psychologist.

Eventually I quit formal zazen practice and training altogether. It was too hard to have to keep my eyes open instead of closed, and again I felt squashed and like I didn’t really belong. Plus, there’s a minimum of bling involved, and I really like spiritual bling. Truth.

Back From Self-Imposed Psychospiritual Fuckery

It’s been a long road back to myself, my homies, back to trusting my own inner knowings and inuitions. It’s so easy to get lost in tradition (“We’ve Always Done It This Way!”), stubborn orthodoxies (“This Is THE Only Way! There Is No Other!”), fear (“If You Stray From Our Path, Jesus Gon Gitcha!”), and self-doubt (“No One Is Going To Respect A Shrink Who Is So Freakin Weird, Man!”). And Lawd knows I’ve been lost in all of them at one time or another, sometimes simultaneously.

The one thing that has persisted is the desire to help relieve suffering, and all the things I listed above are the enemy of this goal, I’ve found. It’s taken me a long time to stop contorting the shape and texture of my soul into something more socially, academically or religiously acceptable, and my road has turned out to be quite different than the one I’d hoped to travel back when I was a young shrinkling-in-training.

My hope for anyone reading this is that you learn from my adventures and mistakes BCUZ OMG SO MANY. I have put myself through a lot of psychospiritual fuckery while trying to come to terms with my identity as medium and intuitive who happens to be a psychologist, feeling like I had to have Everything Figured Out And Justified before I could return to blogging and whatnot. If I could travel back in time and lovingly read myself to filth, I would have told myself this: The world is going to hell in a flaming, rickety-assed handcart that smells like feet and fear. We’re destroying the planet, each other, and girl no one cares about one foulmouthed little shrink. So you may as well tell your truth and keep moving forward. Also? Blunt-cut bangs are iffy on you.

Word.

Reinventing Dr. Ding

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Don’t worry, chilluns. Dr. Ding ain’t going anywheres. I remain as obdurate, apophenic, and (according to me dear Irish mudder) “raunchy” as ever.

I just stumbled across this cool post on the subject of grieving at ReinventingErica and wanted to share it with y’all.

I discovered Erica O’Grady (note: good Irish name, by the by) on Twitter, and while I confess to not always being 100% sure of what it is she exactly does, I know enough about Social Media to cleverly deduce that she’s a big kahuna. Giant mojo hand here, people. Check it out.

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