(Pulled directly from her December full moon gathering script, quotes provided by Lizzie, our local friendly druid, and someone I want to, and am going to, befriend)
When I metaphorically died back in April 2020 after learning my best friend suddenly died, I ended up going through a transformation of sorts.
To sound like a cliche, I ended up rising from the ashes like a phoenix and have only evolved since.
It all started with a spiritual awakening.
Before My Metaphorical Death
Before April 2020, I wouldn’t say I was spiritual, or stoic. I would say I wore my heart on my sleeve and boy, was that heart intense at times.
Before April 2020, I didn’t believe in coincidences. Much like today, but a little less intense on the unbelievability.
Before April 2020, I was a COMPLETELY different person than the person I am today. I don’t even recognize that person. I can’t even remember that person.
I have been chasing the person I am today for years, decades.
Before my metaphorical death, I was lost, untethered, drifting from rocky shore to rocky shore.
I know I was steadfast, stubborn, daring. But I was also chaos.
Before my metaphorical death, I didn’t have a North Star, just a family I knew I couldn’t leave behind. A family that kept me waking up every day, even when the darkness of midnight clung to the sunrise.
The Full Moon
As we come up on the 3-year anniversary, I owe every piece of who I am, of whom I’ve become, to the person who crossed through the veil and left this realm too soon.
If someone would have told me 3 years ago that a witchy, Pagan, Wicca-friendly shop o’ curiosities would change my life eternally, I would have asked if I could have some of what they were smokin’.
Witchy? Witchcraft? Magic? Rituals? Ceremonies? Uh, no thank you.
“Feel your feet on warm mother earth…the cool breeze on your skin, the soft earth beneath you…”.
As I tried to focus on the words Lizzy Lineberger was reading from the pages she held, my energy was all over the place.
Those pages our local friendly Druid were reading from, illuminated only by the flames of the Full Moon bonfire that kept us all gathered, warm.
Finding my feet, and after searching for the cool breeze and soft earth, I followed Lizzy’s instructions.
I am nothing if not a rule-follower.
But, in my defense, I follow the rules only so I can break them. Properly. And legally, of course!
Anyway… I closed my eyes, per her voice. I listened to the drum “calling to the wild green inside”.
I blindly looked for the moon and reached out to the moon’s silver rays she said were reaching down for me.
I am nothing if not helpful. And impatient. So I helped the moon by reaching out halfway.
“Imagine the cool silver light spilling down and filling you, pushing out anxiety and fear, doubt and stress.”
It was at the conclusion of this softly spoken sentence, that my eyes had to open. I couldn’t keep them closed if I tried.
My curiosity about full moon rituals and gems and rocks and minerals began due to a cousin and her daughter who is into that stuff.
Yep. Into that stuff. I may have already long been a full believer that there is a higher power, maybe even multiple higher powers pre-April 2020, but I had never been interested in the whole “witchcraft” scene. Or is it the Occult scene? I dunno. But that stuff just isn’t wasn’t my scene.
I did try to go goth one year…huh…*shrug*
Don’t get me wrong. I have always been a believer in the unexplained, the unseen, the unheard, the unknown.
But witchcraft? Really?
Opening My Eyes
On December 7th, 2022, I quietly told my husband where I was going as I quickly hopped in the car, not knowing what to expect.
My anxiety was through the roof. I don’t do many social situations. I definitely don’t do any social situations that I have ZERO knowledge of. And I absolutely don’t do Religious or Sacred social situations.
On December 7th, 2022, at 6pm, I drove into the sunset to my very first Full Moon Ritual.
Or is it Full Moon Ceremony? I dunno. Moving on.
I only heard about this thing from an old friend who posted about a brand-new store and how cool it was on FB because SHE is into that sort of thing.
But, nonetheless, that curiosity that had begun over the past year or so, peaked. I had to check out. No. I HAD to check it out.
I saw they were holding a Full Moon Ritual and KNEW I had to attend. I even added it to my Living List after the fact because I just knew that this was something I NEEDED to experience.
I didn’t tell a single soul until that night. I didn’t want anyone’s opinions or judgments to interfere or sway or affect my perspective of what I might experience.
Which is odd, because I am always telling people about new experiences and the things – both dull and crazy – that I find myself in. I wasn’t keeping this a secret. I don’t think anyways.
Regardless, anxiety be damned, I drove to Through The Veil, that new local witchcraft shop owned by Courtney Pheils-Hesse and August Hesse, and told my toddler brain to shut up and buckle up.
By the time I arrived, the shop was FULL. And I was a whole 75 minutes early. But when I got out of my car and took in just the front of the building alone, something just clicked.
Opening 2 months earlier on October 1st, 2022, Through The Veil has become the go-to spot.
And when I walked in the door, I got why.
I didn’t even have to move another foot inside. I knew why I was called to this place. Why my soul absolutely needed to come. Of course, that realization didn’t happen until that evening, after the Full Moon Ceremony.
After my eyeballs popped open involuntarily, I tried so hard to follow along with Lizzy. I tried imagining “the roots growing” from myself through the Earth. I tried. I really did.
But then I could only think about my K. Steele Photography logo that I designed in less than 60 seconds.
My mind wasn’t picturing the “hot, glowing center of the Earth and the energy that emanates from it”. Nope. Not at all.
My brain stuck on the words “Coincidence? or Fate?” and I totally missed the part where I was supposed to “draw that warm energy up through” me.
But when Lizzy softly transitioned to telling the crowd gathered closely (because it was December) to “feel how those two energies meet in the middle where your spirit resides and allow those energies to fill you”, my eyes closed once more.
When I walked into the store for the first time, I was overwhelmed.
There was just SO much. I had SO many questions but didn’t even know what those questions were.
I had zero clue where to start, how to start. Hell, I had zero clue how to even maneuver a store like this.
Somehow, I managed to get to the checkout desk and asked a question that I don’t even remember. I was sweating bullets. It was probably a stupid question. At least it was probably stupid to the person who lives this life.
Yep. Lives this life. No longer into that stuff. Nope. By just being in this store for only a couple of minutes, surrounded by all the things witchy and not kitchy novelty you see in random aisles at box stores or on memes, this is a valid way of life and I get it now.
The super amazing, super helpful, super patient human that helped me settle all those energies that Lizzy later told us later to feel, didn’t make me feel like an outsider, a poser, a wannabe, an imposter, or a fraud.
And for that, I am forever grateful.
Because just those first few minutes in Through The Veil changed my life eternally.
I can’t even explain it. It’s like all my life, but especially the last almost 3 years, has been pointing me, driving me, pulling me to this moment where I just stepped back and took a deep breath after the super amazing human that made me feel like I found my home, left my side.
I was 75 minutes early because I wanted to make sure I had a good parking spot and a good spot around the firepit. No. Cauldron.
Selfish? Yes. But I also didn’t know a SINGLE soul OR a single THING about witchcraft and paganism. I was scared shitless. I didn’t need the added extra stress of finding parking in the dark.
I wasn’t 75 minutes early to find my home, change my life, enter a whole new phase of my life, or experience a 2nd spiritual awakening, only more intense this time around.
But here we are.
Finding My Home
I have never been one to say that I don’t feel like this life, this Earth, this realm, is my home.
Heck, I have never even had the thought. When I learned that that was a thing, I tried to look at my life through that lens. But nothing. Nothing but crickets and static.
This life, this Earth, this realm, feels like home to me.
When Lizzy reminded us in a velvety whisper that “the moon is full and complete, just as we are full and complete, no matter what life circumstances we’re in,” something else clicked.
At the time, I didn’t know what it was that clicked. In fact, I am still trying to understand what the click fully meant. And I think I will forever be trying to understand that click.
“Repeat after me:
I open myself
to receive the energy of the full moon,
and the energy of the earth”
I have now been back to Through The Veil 4 more times, with zero plans to forget that the store, and the lifestyle, exist.
Ok, lifestyle isn’t the right word. Maybe state of being is appropriate. But I don’t know if one word exists that could possibly describe this way of life.
At least not to someone who hasn’t experienced it firsthand.
This way of life just is and exists because it just is.
I took my husband so I could show him what I wanted for Christmas. Something I have always been curious about but never once acted on those curiosities until that Full Moon Jamboree. I watched him buy it. And I made him hide it so I didn’t play with it until Christmas.
I took my Auntie and my 10yr old to the Winter Solstice and changed our relationship in the process. For the good. Don’t worry.
I took my 10yr old to the January Full Moon Gathering a few weeks ago and had the opportunity to finally give voice to my newfound beliefs, opening my kiddo’s, and mine, mind in the process.
I took my husband, 10yr old, AND 13yr old to the store on a random Saturday morning because the night before, one of the agate (that’s not what it is but I can’t remember what it was so placeholder) rings I purchased on that first Full Moon Shindig slid off my finger, never to be seen again. I felt like a literal piece of me was missing. It was such a weird feeling, that it physically hurt. We went the moment we woke up. Thankfully, we slept in that day.
In the process, my 13 yr old’s curiosity began and I discovered something I didn’t know was even possible for me.
I found my home.
I am not referring to the building. Duh.
I am referring to the atmosphere. I am referring to the amazing individuals who spend time at Through The Veil.
I am referring to the souls and the community that I didn’t know was missing from my life.
Feeling Moonlight Drum Beats
As I felt “the beat of the drum as moonlight” filled my core during that first Full Moon Get-together, I took a few deep breaths and stilled the positively overwhelming chaos that was raging inside me.
Lizzy told us to “think of this year…think about what we’ve had to let go. The things we’ve let go willingly for our own good, and the things we’ve had to pry away from ourselves, but still let go through pain and grief.”
And when I say my jaw dropped, I am still pulling it up from the center of Earth.
I had NO clue what to expect. I have ZERO knowledge of what kinds of things are said at these things.
But boy, that last sentence Lizzy brought to life…we have officially come full circle, my friends.
That’s because I let it ALL go this year. I let go of ALL the things for my own good for once and it was HARD. I was a non-comatose comatose human for 6 months last year.
I read 320ish books, ignored my chores, and let the bills pile up. I lost my way.
For 6 months, I thought that everything I had learned about myself, that all the work I had put into rebuilding myself, was all for naught.
I thought I was permanently stuck.
But, a FEW DAYS before, like 5 to be exact, I wrote an article titled “92 Badass Ways I Unapologetically Beat To My Own Drum”.
AND, that day, I FINISHED MY FIRST NOVEL mere moments before leaving for the witchy shop. Finally.
My spidey senses were tingling. Coincidences kept wracking up. in lightning-quick speed.
Lizzy went on to remind us that “you can’t fill something with its lack. You can’t [be] complete with an absence.” Truth! “So tonight, we’re going to replace the things we’ve let go with the things we want to grow.”
Well, shit. I have never thought about replacing the things I excitedly threw out the window.
What do I want to replace the absence? Do I even want to replace the things? Or do I want to make something new, create something more permanent? Can I even do that? Can I fill the absence by letting it go because the space that absence occupied no longer fits me?
Damn. I was in deep now.
A Moment (or a few) of Silence
Since I was already diving deeper into my subconscious soul than I ever have before, my thoughts followed along with Lizzie’s voice as she guided us on how to replace that absence, because why not?
I thought about what filled me, what helps me “feel still and peaceful and joyful”. I thought about the energy I wanted in my life.
And then I spent the next few moments with my eyes closed, my skin warm, and my ears listening to the drum as I felt the moonlight wrap me up in an unconditionally strong embrace.
Because for once, in that moment, I knew, without a doubt, that I had arrived where I didn’t know I was headed.
I noticed how strong I felt in the moonlight’s embrace. I saw the world around me shift into a whole new perspective. I felt my mind’s eye take a deep sigh.
I wondered how warm I would feel if the sun’s rays joined in this moonlit embrace.
I visualized the sunny, vibrant, bold energy I wanted to build something more permanent with that would be a new space for this new me.
I imagined this new place no longer tainted with all the toxins I released last year or the stormy, dull, unsure energy I have let hold me back.
Photos of the past adorn the walls, but only feelings of gratitude remain where despair once did.
Because in this strong embrace, this space has been waiting for me.
Call me weird, kooky, strange, crazy, what have you. But don’t dare call me unauthentic, an imposter, or a fraud.
This is my unconditional truth and I am stronger because of it.
A Life Eternally Changed
Lizzy pulled us gently from our silence by reminding us to “thank your spirit for showing you what you want to grow and remind yourself that grace is a choice.”
It was at that moment that I felt a little panic set in because, even though I may have created a whole new space, I didn’t have a single clue what I was going to do with this new space.
I felt like a newborn all over again, given a blank slate.
Over the past 6 weeks, I have filled in some of that blank slate.
Some of the things are etched in Sharpie, like no longer discounting who I am.
While others are lightly penciled in because I just am not sure yet. Like, am I a witch? Do I HAVE to be a witch? Are all people who are spiritual a type of witch? Or are all witches spiritual?
Which came first – spirituality or witchcraft?
Side note: When I add my thoughts on the philosophy of stoicism in the near future, that is when the real fun will begin.
“Blessed in the bright light of the full moon…repeat after me:
I love you
I bless you.”
As the drum beat started to slow, widening the spaces between, Lizzy brought us all back to the present.
She reminded us of the roots we pulled up and told us to push the warmth back.
She reminded us to let go, sending the roots down and the moonlight back up.
She drew our attention to our earthly body, the cool breeze, and the soft earth as we grounded ourselves, returning to our center.
And when we were back from that enlightening ritual, I opened my eyes once more.
But, the shifted world and new perspective I saw before I closed them the second time, was no longer the world in front of me.
Because the world in front of me was not something I could visualize.
But one I could feel without uncertainty.
My Spirituality Journey
When I stepped into Through The Veil, that amazing human I first interacted with asked me what type of witch I was based on whatever stupid question I probably asked her.
I think I just stared at her. Awkwardly of course. And I may have been humming “uhhhhhhh……” for special effects.
I had no idea. I had NEVER been asked that question and I have never even CONSIDERED that question.
I knew from learning that I had undergone a spiritual awakening 2 years prior that I was on a spiritual journey of sorts.
But that was as far as that understanding went.
I have learned a little bit more about what spirituality means to me, but not much more.
Other than that, I know nothing. Although, I wouldn’t consider myself a newbie, noob, newb, a spiritual rookie, or just beginning.
You could say I’m self-taught.
I was raised in a home that was kind of sort of Christian, but yet we don’t talk about Religion, let alone go to Church.
Not because we think Religion/Church is bad or anything. But because it is just not part of our life.
When we had kids, I wanted to raise them to have an open mind, and we have done pretty good with that parenting approach.
The best thing I ever taught my kids, the thing that I am super proud of myself for, is teaching our girls that death happens, and its OK.
Since our girls were young, we have always talked about death being part of life and not being scared of it. That we still hold those who parted before us in our hearts and memories, that we can still talk to them, and they will provide us signs that they are with us still.
But, after he-who-shall-not-be-named was elected President in 2016, my views on organized Religion quickly, vastly, and eternally changed.
I don’t want to have a single hymn or verse from the bible read. I want it to be a huge bonfire celebration with weed, good beer, delicious pizza, and upbeat music to vibe to.
Anyway, I went on a tangent there.
I am the first one in my family, besides my cousin and her kiddo, that I know of at least, that is spiritual like I am. Or rather, intensely spiritual like I am.
And maybe that is just because I feel safe and comfortable talking about my spirituality because I am unconditionally strong and I know, without a doubt, that this is who I am and I want to live my truth, be unapologetically me so that others can find this feeling too.
I owe a lot of my healing and progress to my spirituality.
The same way God-loving, organized Religious people do.
Spirituality and Religion aren’t at odds with each other. Quite the opposite. Or, they should be. They are their own journeys to the same end – enlightenment.
So, when that amazing human asked me that question, it jumpstarted something in me and I needed to find out.
6 weeks later, not a single day goes by that I don’t think of that question. I don’t have the answer yet. But I am getting close.
In the past 6 weeks, I have looked at myself closer and deeper than ever before.
For instance, I don’t read my daily tarot card or horoscope until right before the day because I don’t want it to have any subconscious effect on my day.
At first, it was just a test to see how “right” the tarots and stars were. Now I know it is just another sign I am still on the right path.
Also, I have always believed in signs, symbols, numbers, connecting the dots, and trusting where my words take me. And I still believe in fate more often than coincidence.
But these are things I no longer feel like hiding, or holding close. Now, I am ready to lean into what makes me, me. What makes me, human.
Let’s Talk About Fate
I wrote the following random ramble down as a test, an experiment of sorts, and as a way to document the crazy shit that happens on my spirituality journey.
Backstory: This is in regards to taking my 10yr old to her first Full Moon Ceremony. I didn’t want to go because my Papa had just passed a handful of days before and I was just emotionally out of spoons.
P.s Heads up. Since it is one of my random rambles, those tend to have poor grammar.
“I didn’t want to go tonight but I knew that was why I had to go but I still decided not to go and then I had to ask E if she wanted to go and of course she said sure which I cannot stand by the way is it a yes or a no or a reluctant yes and an I don’t want to make the definitive choice bc I don’t want to make you do something you don’t want to do but anyways, based on history, it will be worth it and I will have been glad to go but now I don’t want to get my hopes up and tonight ends in an “this could have been a meeting” vibe. I guess we will see bc we are going bc I can’t say no to E. Especially when she is interested in things I am!”
“Well, as per history, I really did need to go tonight. And I need to look up Citrine and I am going to email Lizzy to get scripts.”
That night, the idea for this post was born. Not the details. Nope. Those didn’t come to life until I started typing today.
I had no idea my words were going to take me here, or how I would write this story.
Coincidence? or Fate? You decide.
But, once again, here we are.
An Unknown Future Known
I don’t know what the future holds. But I do know that I am in the right place. I am on the right path. And I am home.
However, I do know that I am not even sure what the heck a spiritual journey really looks like. Or if everyone’s path is totally unique. Or what people even try to gain or learn while on one.
I do know that the people I met at that first Full Moon Gathering (p.s. it is Full Moon Gathering. I finally looked it up), and the humans that I interacted with the next 4 times I went, are who I want to surround myself with.
They are a community I am actually excited to be a part of and grow with.
Because they get it. They understand.
In just 6 weeks, I have gone from forgetting to thank my spirit guides to actively thanking them whenever possible.
I also know that I am still learning the lingo. Is it a witchcraft shop? A pagan shop? A Wiccan shop? A spirituality shop? Occultist?
No. That last one sounds wrong.
I will probably be learning the lingo forever. And that’s OK. Because for the first time in my life, I feel permanent. I feel like I am finally anchored, no longer drifting from shore to shore.
All because I stepped, nope, LEAPT out of my comfort zone without a parachute and landed confidently in the next phase of my life, in that brand new space.
I don’t know what comes next, but I’m not worried. I didn’t know visiting a witchy store was the next step either, and it turned out to be the next logical discovery on my spiritual journey.
Maybe the next logical step is discovering what type of witch I am. Because yeah, I am not just into that stuff, I live this life.
If you are on a spiritual journey or have arrived, I’d love to chat with you.
In the meantime, Adventure on with Curiosity,
~Kelly “Beast” Steele
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