this is an interview I gave to my beautiful teacher Vanessa Sage as a reflection on the priestess training I am doing with her. I know this isn`t directly related to my business, but actually – it really is. I have build this with the intention of creating something that is true and authentic to me, that would sustain me in a way that is ethical and heartfelt. So for me personally, finding a way to stay spiritually grounded as an entrepreneur has been absolutely essential. What do we do all this for? I am still not 100% sure, but the experiences of the past year, all the beautiful people I have met and collaborated with, the places I have seen and will see, all the beautiful practices I learned from Vanessa made me believe in sisterhood, miracles and telling the moon about your wishes more than ever, even if things are hard sometimes.
So, here you go:
How do you describe yourself?
This is such a huge question! I still go through phases of feeling claustrophobic within labels, but I am getting more intimate with being a healer and a priestess, amongst many other things. I am very much invested in my own and other`s healing, mainly through body work at the moment, and I love everything that the priestess path has offered me so far with all my heart. There are other, more worldly, identities I am attached to – I am also an activist, artist and a very queer person, which is sacred to me too.
I think the process of questioning expectations and experimenting has been quiet a journey in itself. It seems so outrageous to call yourself a priestess – but really, we are women who circle, we contribute to each other`s healing, we find alternative ways of receiving and passing on knowledge, we question the ways we live, we nurture a connection to our source and to nature – it makes a lot of sense to me.
What are some of transformational changes that have happened to you on your spiritual path?
I have asked questions about faith and spirituality for as long as I can remember, even though I was not raised within a religious framework. I remember wondering about true justice and afterlife as a child, about the meaning of things that seemed either too beautiful or too hard. I think the biggest transformations and spiritual changes always came in darker periods which does make me wonder why humans have such a hard time learning the easy way. But in the end heartbreaks or the loss of loved ones were always my greatest teachers. I love this quote:
“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Connecting with my lineage, developing a very different understanding of time and journeys and aiming for a deep sense of trust in the meaning and purpose of life have been some of the biggest changes on my journey so far.
What has really helped you be your authentic self?
Being around others, like you Vanessa, who are incredibly courageous in being their authentic self. And sitting with the question of what it would really mean to loose more and more approval from society. These were small questions at first – what if I didn`t use my degree to get a job? What if the rhythm of my life was not dictated by a 9 to 5 job? And they got bigger along the way – what if I never wanted a husband and children? What if I thought our collective healing was the ultimate priority of our time? What if I wrote books even though no one has offered me a publishing deal? What if I just did things that give me joy or that give others joy because that`s enough? What if I tried to go build a little wooden house in the woods? I think the more you question, the more authentic you become.
What are some spiritual strengths that you bring to the world?
I am much less afraid of darkness now and I am very honest about things not always being a shiny kind of soft pink. Having faith, unlearning things that aren`t serving us and deeply believing in each other takes hard work and I am not scared of this journey anymore. I also think my love is very strong and very loyal – its always been things way, but it`s not always been something effortless and easy. I care deeply for the people I love and I enjoy being very nurturing.
What have you struggled with on the spiritual path?
Being a person of faith is not always a “cool” identity within many communities, for example amongst activists, artists or queers, so there was a sense of needing to hold space for myself there and to find others to connect with was not always easy.
Another challenge is the realisation that many religions have, often in correlation with white supremacy, caused an immense amount of harm and suffering to humanity and the planet, which I guess leaves me wondering about the sense or the truth behind that. Imagining faith before and independent from patriarchy requires a great deal of creativity and a really resilient desire to go beyond almost everything we are being told today. I think positioning myself in this web, understanding how diverse and fluid interpretations are and trying to be compassionate and inclusive is a huge challenge as is understanding my many privileges as a white person born in Europe.
How do you claim a sense of empowerment?
I think for me there is empowerment in my stubbornness and my unwillingness to participate in things that do not make sense to me. I am very much an introvert, so I often am actually very glad to retreat and practice what nourishes me – reading, writing, making art, lighting candles, doing body work, learning about complementary medicine… There are always things I can`t access because of my beliefs and identities, but as I grow older, I appreciate more and more that the corporate career, the straight marriage, the terraced house was never meant for me anyway and that I have a lot of freedom to create something that is meaningful and beautiful to me.
Do you have a spiritual practice that incorporates ritual or ceremony? What does it look like for you?
I meditate, take walks in nature, write and I have an altar in my bedroom. It`s important to me to give life a framework that is not dictated by outside influences – this is private, just for myself and sometimes a few others. I think a need for rituals and celebrations is very human and it took a lot of unlearning for me to go from watching “Sex and the City” for comfort and drinking white wine as a Friday night ritual to lighting candles and journalling. I´d say that my spiritual practices are very committed, but also very fluid. I am trying to listen to what is needed at the time and I think this honouring of one`s needs is radical in itself.
I am also trying to honour the seasons more, to learn from them and grow humble in my understanding of the fact that nature is much more powerful than my macbook. I think embracing winter and allowing down time with introspection and darkness rather than constant expansion and light is a good move in that it is very much opposing our cultural ideas about productivity and purpose.
What does it mean to you to be a Priestess in the world today?
So many things! To me it means holding space for healing and faith for myself and others, but it also means to gather courage to change and question, to resist patriarchal ideas about meaning, structure and achievements and to nurture instinct and intuition, which are aspects often seen as feminine and less valuable. For me personally it also means learning about pre-Christian European traditions of healing and ritual, community and connection to nature, but I am really just at the beginning here.
From a spiritual point of view it means exploring my source and my place in the world, to form a value system for myself within which I want to operate and leave something of myself behind.
I highly recommend Vanessa and her work, which you can check out here (this is a partner link)