Cultivating Courage: Using Witchcraft & Tarot to Overcome Fear

Cultivating Courage: Using Witchcraft & Tarot to Overcome Fear

Cultivating Courage3

This post is all about how I’ve used the tools of tarot and witchcraft to bring myself closer to who I want to be. Two weeks ago, I published a post on how fear impacts my queer and witch identities. Many of you read that post, and shared with me that you could see your own experiences reflected here.

A quick summary of the last post:

I edit myself. I worry that if I’m open about being either queer or a witch, my extended family won’t love me anymore, or I will be barred from getting the jobs that I want because these identities freak out potential employers. I am constantly hearing misinformation and judgement thrown around about witches, witchcraft, bisexuals, and how people do or do not tell their story.

I titled the post “Moving Beyond Fear,” but I realized after it was published that I didn’t actually talk about how to move beyond fear. I just needed to let that fear spill out through my fingers, into the keyboard. That’s really step one of moving beyond fear – you have to admit it.

On this blog, I’ve mostly talked about tarot. And the cards play a really essential role in my life right now. But I am also a practicing witch, meaning that I use magic and witchcraft as a symbol for personal growth. Tarot helps me define the magic I need to do. Tarot helps me look inward, and determine what actions I need to take. Witchcraft helps me crystallize my intentions. As I move through a ritual or spell, I visualize myself taking the steps I need to take.

Witchcraft is a powerful tool to use when you need to make a change.

In this post, I will talk about the witchcraft that I used to shift away from fear, and into action.

First: I set my intention.

I set the intention two years ago to be more open about myself and my identities. That’s right – this process began two years ago, and I must say I’m still working through some of these issues. I don’t have it all figured out. This is a process that takes time.

It began with many journal entries, which ultimately turned into a full on New Year ritual and a manifestation spell. I drew a circle, called my ancestors, and made a pledge to be more open and honest. I took a crystal, and charged it with properties that would symbolically untie my tongue. I wanted to carry something with me that would help me to find the right words, that would help me come out and say what I need to say.

Ritual means moving through symbolic actions that will ultimately help you to achieve what you’re trying to do. It’s not just intention setting: it charges your motivation with added fire. When the ritual is over, you approach your goals with added energy.

I performed the magic, and I carried the stone with me.

Then, the magic sat.

Long story short: I was floundering, struggling to define what I wanted my life to be.

Of course I couldn’t be open about my identities! I didn’t realize how absolutely critical they were to me, and I wasn’t even honoring them internally.

I feared that I would never get a job in the field I wanted, that I would constantly have to settle for work that was deeply unfulfilling and even problematic. I feared that if I didn’t stay in my relationship, I would never find another relationship – and at the same time, I feared that I was making the wrong decision.

To move beyond fear, you need to define what it is, then take an action that will displace that fear.

I left the job that was making me unhappy. I felt free, and happy. Then I felt stagnant. Then I began graduate school. Then I left my unfulfilling relationship.

My fear of not being good enough professionally didn’t leave me overnight. But the fear that I wasn’t living according to my ideals was totally displaced. The internal dialogue that I was a sell-out was interrupted: I couldn’t be a sell-out, because I had left the work that made me feel so icky.

I displaced the fear that I was settling for a relationship I didn’t want. I had to change that internal dialogue – of course I wasn’t settling, because I left.

The last seven months have been intense, full of ups and downs and emotions and serendipity. But they have been characterized by one thing: Slowly, surely bringing my all to my work.

Tarot has been with me through it all. I take out my cards more and more to help me work through the process of becoming. 

Tarot is ultimately what helped me open the door to talking about my spirituality. I put it out there on Facebook – a relatively “safe” social platform for me – that I would be interested in reading cards for my friends.

15 readings later, I knew that this was a powerful project that I wanted to continue. Northern Lights Witch was born.

But the biggest takeaway? My friends and family support me. 

Reading the cards is an energy exchange; casting a spell or doing other witchcraft is energy generation. And now that I’ve brought people into my practice, it’s harder for me to remain silent about my witch identity.

I’m still trying to figure it out. There are still some extremely conservative family members that I haven’t talked to about this stuff. But I’m gaining strength from those relationships with friends and family that are supportive. I’m getting used to the feeling that it’s ok to be open. That is a stage of developing strength, and I’m loving it.

I’m excited for the next stage.

When you displace fear, you make room for other things. You make room for yourself to come forward.

This process is going to look different for every person. You may have safety concerns that mean you need to be careful who you tell that you’re a witch or that you’re queer. Your fears are probably very different from my fears, and they probably come from a very different place, and that is only to be expected.

But your fears aren’t permanent. You can change your internal dialogue. You may need to do a little witchcraft. You may need to take some tough actions. But it doesn’t always have to be this way.

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