Disruptions With Purpose

On Astrology, Spirituality, and Culture with Stella The Good Witch

July 19, 2021 Stella The Good Witch Season 1 Episode 11
Disruptions With Purpose
On Astrology, Spirituality, and Culture with Stella The Good Witch
Show Notes Transcript

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“[Astrology is] about accepting and finding ways of having compassion for and working with the different ways that we are and making it into more of the sort of strong, affirming, aligned ways that we can be in the world and letting go of maybe the less sure.”

In this episode, we have an inspiring, uplifting and educational conversation with astrologer and self identified Witch, Stella The Good Witch. We breakdown what we mean when we say witchcraft (I promise it's not as scary as you think), the power of using astrology to get us closer to our personal calling, to be fully witnessed and to have more compassion and self acceptance of just who we are.  

We also dive into what spirituality means for both of us and how it's something that can be fully self created, which I just love. 

I’m so excited to give you a little peek into a part of my life that I haven’t really let out of the bag yet.  

In this episode, we talk about: 

Astrology: how we can use it to help guide us to living more intentionally'
Witch Craft: what is it really (I promise its not crazy )and why it can be such a powerful tool in Spirituality: something that can be self-defined to fit our own values.
Burnout: taking care of ourselves first is fundamental in our healing of the world.
Connection: how going through our own personal disruptions can be healing pathways of connections with our families and communities.
Disruptions: what do I really mean when I talk about disruptions and the power it has to completely shift our lives for the better.

Effortless Uncover What's Calling You:

You have dreams for yourself and an ambition for your life. You’re here to create influence, impact, and change.

And if you're like many, you may be stuck  and spinning by the question "What Is My Purpose?"

Finally reveal what’s important to you so that you can begin living the life you’re meant to be living without needing to know your purpose.

Asking ‘what is my purpose’ is one of the most frustrating questions you can ask yourself when you’re longing for a life rich with meaning, creativity and happiness. 

The free meditation below is specifically designed for people who are unclear, spinning, and stuck by the question ‘what am I here to do?'.

Grab Your Free Actionable Meditation 

Become A Guest:


Do you have a suggestion for a Disruptor your know (it may be you!) who would be a great guest on the Disruptions With Purpose podcast?   Submit a suggestion.

Resources:

About Stella:

Stella the Good (Enough) Witch was born on Halloween and raised by witches. When they aren’t offering cosmically informed spiritual counsel, they spend most of their time cooking food, organizing for social and environmental justice, planning a trip or returning from one and collaging. They love helping artists, activists and healers prevent and recover from burnout. They live by poet Wendell Berry’s words “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” 

Ami: Okay, Stella, thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate your time.

Stella: Thanks so much for having me.

Ami: I'm curious, could you just maybe start us off by telling us where you're situated?

Stella: I'm here in Montreal. I moved here about three years ago from California, and I'm really just getting my bearings. You know, this is unseeded indigenous land and acknowledging that is really important. 

Ami: And you know what land you're situated on?

Stella: I am learning what land I am situated on. I believe it's the Gania Hagy land, but I have not gotten my land acknowledgement down in a way that I feel super proud of or comfortable with but it is one thing I'm working on.

Ami: For me, too, like when I've been really, really trying to dig into the land that I'm situated on and it's such an uncomfortable process for me at first, and what I've been learning from so many elders and people in this work is that making those mistakes is such a part of the process. I just hated saying it out loud because I was like, "What if I get the words wrong?" and now, I'm just like, "Well, I don't know". I'm located on Treaty 3, The Mississauga's of the new credit, so I'm located in Guelph.

Stella: Yeah, yeah, I really appreciate that acknowledgement, I think some of the ways that white supremacy really keeps us stuck is perfectionism and the sort of unrelenting expectation of being better than everybody else. When in fact, so much of whiteness is, in fact, predicated on so much worse.

Ami: I love that and I love to talk to you more about that as the conversation progresses. Because, you know, we've had a conversation before this and you just dug in so generously with your responses to some of my questions and so I just can't wait to dig in a little bit more. I'd love to hear about your upbringing. You grew up in a pagan community in Ohio, you were raised by Witches, you're born on Halloween, which traditionally is thought to be when the veil between the world is the thinnest, the veil between the living and the dead, and one of your earliest memories is your father reading from an astrology book while you all sat at the kitchen table and listened, and you received your first tarot deck when you were 11. Can you please tell me more? I would love to hear about your upbringing.

Stella: Yeah, sure. In a way, I was raised by cultural appropriators. They were very passionate about traditions brought to this continent by people who were enslaved, Santeria Voodoo and also native traditions, but in a very broad and non-specific sense. Now, they're both very into the Buddhist way, which makes sense in terms of being in the sort of third act of life and eldership and preparing for death in a way, and certainly nature-based sort of Witchey traditions was a regular part of my life. Kitchen Witchery is what I identify the most when I'm just being able to.

Ami: Please tell me more about what that is to you. 

Stella: Yeah, making magic with everyday items. You know, what you have in your home is what you need for creating a more spiritual and grounded life and so that is a big part of my practice. It was very special growing up in the Midwest of the United States in a pretty conservative town, in a swing state, being exposed to a lot of different spiritual traditions. Many of the people in our spiritual community were, you know, mystics from monotheistic traditions and it was kind of a place where all the sort of religious weirdos or marginalized people got to celebrate together. I feel really grateful for that. 

Ami: I'm curious, like, so was it a town that you live in or was it like an intentional community? Can you tell me more about that? Like what what was it that brought all of these people together?

Stella: So I'm from Cincinnati, Ohio, which is a medium to small size city and this was very similar to the way any spiritual community gathers. So every Wednesday, especially in summers, there would be sort of a study group where people would share different aspects of the traditions that they were coming from.

Ami: All different traditions, didn't have to be the same tradition.

Stella: Absolutely, yeah. There just weren't enough people for there not to be that kind of diversity. It was really interesting moving to the West Coast where people could be very specific and very sort of narrow about who they gathered with because there were just enough people to have that kind of critical mass. Whereas growing up, it was we all got to stick together kind of feeling, and then we would gather for the solstices and equinoxes and the cross-quarter so the eight high holy days in the sort of wheel of the year, which is very astrological for me, and part of where I sort of first connected with the importance of seasonality and cyclical time.

Ami: So you identify as many things, and I'm learning from you, a Witch being one of them. Also, you are an astrologer, that's your profession, what you do professionally. It's how I found out about you and I'm wondering if you can tell me a bit more about what is astrology?

Stella: Yeah, you'll get different answers from many different people. I have a very broad and inclusive kind of relationship with astrology, so if you pay attention to the cycles of the moon, you are in a relationship with astrology. So for me, there is a way of looking at the movement of the planets and how those sort of correlates with seasons in our lives as human animals and interpreting that as a symbolic language that helps us live more deeply into the lives we want to be living, have more compassion for ourselves and each other, and sort of being in a better relationship with time. So not really trying to rush things when it's not really the time to know things, but knowing when it's go time as well can be a very useful sort of way to use a strong sense.

Ami: Is that really what you focus on practising? Like really helping people understand more depth about who they are so that they can go and do better work in the world?

Stella: Yeah, so my primary work is one-on-one. I have a Libra Stellium, and Libra is all about engaging sort of in conversations like this one-on-one with people. I work on an ongoing basis with most of the people and I am honoured to get to support. It's really rooted in, you know, supporting them in what they want to be doing and using astrology as a lens to sort of check-in with my intuitive sense of things and know that what I'm saying is grounded in who I'm actually talking to rather than my sort of bias or assumptions.

Ami: Interesting. I remember when I first became introduced to astrology, I think Chani Nicholas kind of open that up for a lot of people. I think that she really made it very accessible for people. She certainly did for me, my experience of it anyway. The one thing that I really got is I finally felt so seen for one of the first times in my life. I was like, "Oh, my God, somebody gets me", but I mean, somebody is like, "I am completely okay", like this feeling that I've been feeling about this thing that I have, that's actually exactly who I'm supposed to be and that's actually my gift. It's actually the cultural narrative that is placed around that thing. Like, maybe I'm too emotional or I like I love chit-chatting and so I get distracted very easily and that's all in perfect alignment with who I am. So it was kind of like my permission slip, I felt like I was given a permission slip and I was like, "Go be you", that was really my experience of astrology.

Stella: What a blessing.

Ami: Totally.

Stella: I'm so glad. 

Ami: How do you or do you see what you're committed to in your life as being a disruption?

Stella: Well, we have a very specific relationship to time culturally in this sort of Western white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy, and it's very linear and it's very finite and it's very rigid, and I think astrology is a way that we can without engaging in the same sort of cultural appropriation and there are much astrology and there are many cosmologies. Every culture has had a worldview in relation to the stars and in relationship to the sun and the moon and specifically, but certainly to the planets as well and so I come from a very specific sort of Western view of astrology that comes from the Greco Roman tradition but is becoming something new. I'm really excited about the work of astrologers who are publishing books like Precolonial Astrology, and, you know, really working to Queer Astrology because astrology, as much as it is a tool for disruption, can also be a tool that reinforces the power structures and reinforces the hierarchies and there was a time where the wealthy had astrologers who helped the masses through predicting eclipses and things like that and Ronald Reagan famously had an astrologer.

Stella: His legacy is reflected in that the way people talk about him as a president, you know, shows many sorts of more mainstream astrologers the power of astrology. I would seriously question that and want to disrupt even that narrative within the astrological circles. So I think how we use astrology can be disruptive and certainly the work around the Queer Astrology conference, which was an imperfect community as well is a way that we can return to an understanding of the importance of our ecosystems and our relationships as human animals with said ecosystems and with said Cosmos, but it really is how it's used and I think it can just as easily be capitalist exploitation has much, and we see that with the sort of ways that which is being appropriated by corporations to sell plants like Sage, which are being overharvested already and the First Nations communities that use that are asking people to not use that if it's not for their tradition and then we see Sephora selling it right now.

Ami: It's becoming "cool".

Stella: It's whitewashed, greenwash, you know, we see all these movements even like it's Pride Month right now and we see the ways that banks are covering their facades with rainbow flags and still doing incredibly exploitive things or at least getting rich off of exploitive things. So everything that election gets right.

Ami: I got it. But I also hear what you're saying, though, is that there's actually really a place for us to connect deeper to parts of ourselves through astrology, which I would say is also another side of the cultural narrative and disrupting that part that I'm really interested in, of how we use it as a tool so we can say, okay, this is what's happening over here in our culture, and then questioning whether or not that actually fits for us, being intentional, being like, "Okay, so this is what I'm using. This is what I know to be true about myself. This is what culture is telling me to do. This is what the status quo is telling me to do and I'm going to now make a decision for myself from that place. Whether or not that fits for me". It's kind of like a sweater that you put on, like, "Okay, does this fit? No. Okay, I actually can put that back. I don't have to keep wearing that sweater anymore". Awesome, that's cool.

Ami: One of the things, when I saw you, I kind of instantly fell in love with you, that you identify also as a Witch and I do, too, I'm active in a Coven and I kind of feel like I'm coming out of the closet a bit here. I really noticed that when I tell people, when I've been starting to tell people that I am a Witch, I notice they kind of like take a little bit of a step back, you know, energetically, maybe not physically, but there's like a bit of like, "Oh, my gosh, this woman is crazy".

Ami: Like, "your wife is crazy", and it's fascinating to me to watch people's reactions. Because really what I mean when I say that I'm a Witch is that I live my life guided by intuition and that I place Earth in its cycles at the centre of my spirituality, and that I believe that we're all connected, you know, the land, the water, the people, the animal, the forest. I believe that all of this has a power, a deep, innate power, and I use that as my spiritual guide. I'm like, "Is that really that weird?". You know? It can't be that weird, so for me, I very intentionally have defined myself and call myself a Witch because I feel like I'm standing in solidarity with the thousands of women that came before us that were persecuted for being healers and midwives and astrologers and tarot readers, you know, the women of the community. And so I'm curious about your experience of being a Witch and growing up in a pagan community that maybe you can talk about what is Witchcraft?

Stella: Well, I feel like I couldn't have said it better myself than what you just described, I really resonated with your frame. Growing up in a relatively conservative town, there was a way that it was really important to stay in the broom closet, and I'm really grateful for the ways that more and more people coming out around their spirituality has opened doors and has made it so that even though there is that reaction or that response, that we can stand in that power and that liberatory vision for everyone to come.

Stella: Going to and living in San Francisco for 15 years, it was incredibly healing and therapeutic to have the experience of saying I was raised by Witches or I'm a Witch and getting the response, "Same here" more often than not, or some version, I remember going to an interfaith gathering opposing police brutality and having a person who was there who was part of this Episcopalian church. When he found out about my faith, spiritual context and tradition, he was like, "Oh, well, you know, I'm an Episcopagan, too. So it's you know, I'm very much a part of what you're doing," and that doesn't happen here in Montreal or Ontario or Quebec in the same way. There's still, I think, a lot of fear and there's still a context where the way that Disney and other sorts of cartoons portray Witches, gives a lot of misinformation, which is intentional and which is the legacy of the inquisition. 

Ami: Totally.

Ami: I'm cheering you on like, yes, yes, exactly. It's so interesting for me to watch my children go to school and learn and hear things about what a Witch is. And then me at the end of the day be like, "Okay kid, I'll see you later. I'm going to go be with my Witches now," and them not being able to connect the two. So I feel like I have a duty to undo, to undo that patriarchy because that's really what it is. It's like women gathering, Stella. Women gathering is like one of the most powerful, profound things that we can do. It is such an act of activism, just women gathering alone, period. There is something that is created in that space that is such a powerful experience to be able to support each other emotionally, like allow the things that so much of our society has told us to suppress. Emotions are grieving, are, you know, the ability or the longing to want to chit chat. You know, all of these things are such a powerful, powerful force. So I think this, even if it's just women gathering alone, you know, they don't even necessarily identify as being a Witch or being any new spiritual callings. That alone is such a powerful force and it is undoing the phrase of the patriarchy that has kind of set us up and to be where we are right now.

Stella: Absolutely. When you look at the history and the current moment around social movements, it almost always starts with a small group of people gathering and feeling their feelings deep enough to be moved to action and to be moved towards relating with the community in a more powerful way. I keep thinking of the work that's happening in Thunder Bay right now, around replacing the security guards in public spaces like the city hall libraries and taking those security guards out and replacing them with others. 

Ami: Is that really what's happening right now?

Stella: There's work done around that right now. Yeah, yeah, it's very powerful and the friend, the person that I am closest to in relation, who is involved in that work is one of my birthday twins who were two years or two weeks younger than me. So it's very powerful, I think, to have those folks in our lives astrologically to sort of see that kind of inspirational work and connect with it in a way that is both spiritual and very practical and very much in this world.

Ami: Can you tell me more about that? What is it that you're involved in? What does that look like for you? How does that actualize itself?

Stella: Yeah, you know, for me, if spirituality is moving you towards engaging with your communities in meaningful ways and you know primarily how that's showing up for me, I'm very, I'm still getting to know this land. I'm still getting to know these communities. My friendships are still improving, but not fast enough and so most of what I do is with plants and volunteering at rooftop gardens and farms and things like that and trying to create more food justice and food sovereignty. But I think there are also ways of connecting with mutual aid and solidarity around community care through projects like the Hologram, which are very powerful ways of how people gather together and support each other and ask good questions that can help us to sort of creating communities of care as the structures that we have that continue to fail us.

Ami: I just had this realization that you were raised as a Witch. So for you, this is just your normal, I'm making the assumption here and that is like your normal. So I imagine that it could be challenging, the peace of heart sometimes because you're like, "I don't know, it's like this is just how I was raised, we're talking about the kitchen table. Like, that's just like who I am". And for me, when I found out about it, I found that this was okay. This was the thing, you know, being, earth-based spiritualist, a Witch, whatever you want to call it, was a thing and you can kind of define it as however it works for you. That alone was mind-blowing to me as somebody that was raised in a Catholic church. I was like, "What?" Like, I can actually define what worked for me and we six women right now, can actually define what this Coven looks like and practice on our own. So I just find that to be such a fascinating, you know, piece of why this is so attractive and why this is so, so powerful. And we're speaking around, asking those hard questions, like asking hard questions to dismantle so many of the things that we just don't even realize that is part of our upbringing, like you being raised as a Witch, me being raised in the Catholic Church, not even like knowing that we are being ingrained with these thoughts and feelings and outlooks and ways of being that are actually causing more harm than good in the world.

Stella: Yeah, you know, my mother was also raised Catholic, and I think that there's a way that the sort of ritualism and the relationship with just clearing the air with incense and things like that are ways that there's an overlap in that Venn diagram that I think makes it easier to step into that for me. It's interesting because, whenever you're part of a marginalized identity, there's a way that you are certainly aware of Christians supremacy. I'm certainly aware of Christian traditions. I had to hold that multiple, multiple ways of awareness. I found myself as a kid being really close with people who were from pretty fundamentalist Christian traditions and having to find our common ground, which is that in a relatively secular materialist construct, we were both, doing sort of ritual and being engaged with spiritual tradition and it was important, you know, worried my parents, to say the least. But there's something very powerful about being able to sort of like witness. You know, Son of a Preacher Man, which is a song I listen to on repeat as a teenager. So, you know, there's something about magic there. But it's really fascinating to see the ways that, even though I was exposed to and have been defined by growing up in Christian dominance, I am very grateful that there was a consistent message around not letting anybody else stand in the way of your relationships.

Ami: Take a moment there, because that's so amazing because I love what you're saying. There's so much that I notice for myself and what I was saying before that sometimes I come to it that, you know, this one is bad and one is good. You know that one is bad and one is good and that's actually if we were to uncover the layers a little bit and get to the depths of it that are actually both come from a place of love and care and like a connection to the divine. That's really at the essence of what both of these things that we're talking about is about and I just really appreciate that framework that there is at the heart of it, something that really connects us to something greater than ourselves. Yeah, so great.

Ami: So I'm curious about a story you might have, like a personal story for yourself that has led you to a disruption in your current thinking, that has brought you in greater alignment with your values, your higher purpose.

Stella: Yeah. The thing that's coming to mind most strongly is, you know, I was a young environmentalist, there were experiences within the pagan community that happen in churches and that happen in all communities around sexual harassment and sexual violence and just sexist behaviours that led me to become a bit of a lapsed pagan in my teens and early adult years. And I really focused on my commitments to creating change in the world so that no one else would suffer in those ways. So I studied sustainable agriculture and women's studies in undergrad and spirituality was not a central part of my life during that time at all. I was very product-oriented and I was very interested in getting a lot of things done and accomplishing a great deal in social movements and environmental justice work. And when I graduated, I was working with a nonprofit organization that was doing really great work and still is to this day. But the people I was working with were burnt out. There was a lot of, there were many ways that I saw racism playing out in both power structure and in the sort of relationships with the communities that we were serving but weren't a part of and I really burnt out on doing that kind of work in the world.

Stella: And I thought that working in the nonprofit world would be what I did for the rest of my life and that sort of despair when confronting the reality of the nonprofit industrial complex and my sort of idealized fantasy about what change work like funded by rich people in terms of foundations and grants, really drove me to a place of breakdown. And I felt like my whole identity was changed and shifting and I didn't know what was on the other side. Fortunately, one of my mentors in that organization who was playing out a lot of these dynamics that I found really disturbing was also a Witch and encouraged me to take an astrology class with the organizer from way back in the Ruckus Society and she really, I think, did what you described in terms of helping me to accept who I was in the world and to find different ways to connect with the parts of myself that I'd set aside because my societal pressures had encouraged me to do that, spirituality being one of those ways of being in the world. There was something about feeling just really, really deep in despair, dismay and allowing myself to develop a spiritual practice from that place.

Stella: So that's a big disruption, you know, that's what I can't, I couldn't live in my sort of "save the world" without taking care of myself, a way of relating and thinking about the world, which is why now the practice that I have is primarily with people who are feeling themselves burning out, which, you know, at the end of this pandemic here, I would say many of us are, if not. Burnt out them in that sort of process of being reborn from those ashes or trying to prevent that experience, and there's a way that I think those sort of spiritual crises can be a real opportunity for growth and expansiveness and not just self-awareness, but more effective action in relaionship to our communities.

Ami: I love what you said there, what I sense, what I'm hearing is like you have to put your own oxygen mask on first, like if you're not looking after yourself, that you can't look after the world. And, you know, if we're not staying true in our commitment to the things that give us life, like when we start to get burnt out and we just keep giving from a place of emptiness that is actually the opposite, like we're building resentment. It's building up. Burnout is the death of our soul and that when we take a step back and we like intentionally ask, "Is this serving me anymore?", I guess is actually serving me as a serving, you know, my purpose, what I care about, my stand in the world. No, it's probably not. And to ask, like, "What can I do differently?" And, like, "What is actually calling me forward?"

Ami: Yeah, it's really, really beautiful and my experiences, too, I've only ever I've you know, all of my paid jobs have all been in the not for profit world. I've never not worked in the not for profit world and I have had a very similar experience of the burnout that comes from it, a lot of giving. I feel like it really comes from a place of have not like we don't have enough or there's a big problem that desperately needs to be solved. And that also energetically is can be so depleting of like from my experience of it, it's like, how do we convince the world that this problem is so important that they have to stop their doing and actually support it? And that can sometimes be just exhausting. So exhausting.

Ami: I'm wondering, I don't know why this popped into my brain, but like, what is something that people assume about you that's not necessarily true? Like what's an assumption that a lot of people hold about Stella that, you know, it's like, no, it's not actually the truth.

Stella: Yeah, I think that there's this idea that, and this is only with people who don't really know me, that I'm very serious and I am. All of these things are very serious, very important topics, but there is a way that, you know, sort of one of the kindest things that somebody ever said about me is that I'm serious about play and serious about fun. And, you know, just really one of my favourite art forms is comedy. I just love the power of laughter that's not punching down, that is sort of aware of, you know, positionally and saying something important that would be really hard to hear if there weren't the laughter that sort of creates the space to allow those important messages.

Ami: And I really love that, I love homour. Humour is such an amazing antidote to the heaviness, you know, the grief. It's like it's the balance to it and when you can hold both in such an eloquent way, like life feels better. You know, for me, something that people assume about me is that, I'm actually a really big, I'm not as much of an extrovert as I think people think I am. I think that one of the things pandemic has taught me, I spoken about a few times on this show, that one of the things about this pandemic has taught me is that I actually really love time by myself. And if you really knew me, you'd know that when I'm out in the community, I'm doing so many things at once. I have like a million things on my plate. I'm always on the go. I'm like doing something all the time and it's actually quite exhausting. I really, really value having time by myself and being quiet. Like, I wake up very early in the morning now so I can be up before the children, so I can read and drink coffee, and go inwards and have like that time. You know, I sometimes I find myself at parties, I'll host like a dinner party or host people at our house. And I get so exhausted by the externalness of that experience that I just kind of excuse myself and go to bed in the middle of partying like, "I'm going to bed now." I'm curious if there's anything else you'd like to do, something that sparked an interest or something you like to explore a little bit more in this conversation?

Stella: Yeah, I'm curious about a recent disruption, you know, something that's recently really sparked something new.

Ami: Give me a second to think about that. A recent disruption. Well, I think, okay, I'm going there. So a recent disruption is that my mother recently had some strokes, strokes, plural, and she lives in North Carolina, in the United States, and I live in Canada. And so the borders are closed and I can't get there very easily. I can, but it's quite a challenge and so the disruption that I really got was how important my relationship with her is and how much I really care about that, in that my life on the go all the time has really been a detriment to that relationship and the disruption that, yeah, I really want to see my mom more, you know, only seeing her once every two years because of this pandemic, as you know, been a real challenge for me. And something else I kind of, in that realm, is that my mother is Acadian. She's from New Brunswick and there was a distance that happened between her mother and her and I didn't really have much of a relationship with my grandmother. As a result of that, I really got that it's not just even that relationship that I feel like I'm grieving or longing for, but that there's like a deep, profound want and need and desire to want to have a connection to my culture of where I've come from, I kind of feel a little bit orphaned, a little bit in my cultural identity, not really knowing like where I come from. So I guess, you know, I'm not really sure that answers necessarily like a recent disruption, but like just like more of a realization of that, I have a longing for a cultural identity that I don't really feel like I have a connection to. Yeah, thanks for asking that.

Stella: Yeah, it reminds me, what you were saying earlier about that, you know, wanting to show up and care for your mom and I'm so sorry that that's happening. Reminds me a lot of what you said about the importance of care and thinking about the ways that, I just see so many mothers living with this sort of constant state of guilt about how much they're able to show up or not show up, and it's sort of coming from both generational directions, and there's a way that I wonder about. You know, it's so clear as in what you illustrated, the ways that all these different isms, all these different forms of oppression like really take us away from ourselves, take us away from our cultures, take us away from the places of strength and connection that are available to us and I wonder about. You know, it's so funny immigrating here, I worried about so many things, I was so anxious about so many things, and I never in a million years thought that the border would shut down. And it really illustrates to me, as much as I'm happy to not be a person making policy in this very complex time, just how borders are a literal representation of that way that we're cut off from connection and how much, if we are all cared for, if we are all connected to ourselves and to each other and to the larger communities of both sentient beings and I'm a big animist, so also beings. There's something I think really think about.

Ami: It is true. The border is such a challenge. It's a thing, you know, it's stopping, it stops a lot. I'm a privileged white person that gets to go across the border easily. If it wasn't a pandemic, you know, like I'm not somebody that's trying to flee a country or can't get in to see, you know, loved ones dying because of my passport. You know, my passport allows me to be able to go anywhere I really want to go in this world. So all that, too, is something that I've been really up against. To go back to your original question, I think it's an interesting question around, like what disruption can be, because when you first ask me that question, like what? And I think disruption is not always necessarily a thing, but it can be a realization that we've had about ourselves. You know, I think that that is a disruption of the way that, ah, the way that we used to think or the way that our mindset once was in shifting the way that we are thinking can also just be such a disruption and like shifting, my trajectory was going down this train track. I made a decision for myself. I had a realization and now the train is completely going and down a different track and my life is headed in a completely different direction. Like that's how powerful a mindset can be and like shifting the way that we think and live our lives, changes things quickly. 

Stella: I'm starting to understand more about your passion and enthusiasm around the topic of disruption. 

Ami: I mean, I just I find that later

Stella: On that, I'd be so curious to hear.

Ami: I just think that that's really what it is, that's what I'm super curious about and that's really what this podcast is to me, is about like exploring for people what was a mindset shift that shifted something for somebody that's stopped, you know, like that sweater I was talking about when, you say like, you know, culture, our upbringing, our parents are community members, our neighbours, our teachers, said you must do things a certain way. And then we had this realization at some point in our lives were like, "Well, what if I actually don't have to do it that way anymore?". And we can go in something completely different. We can choose it for ourselves, but it's going against the grain. That's what I care about. You know, it's something so simple, what looks like in my life is that, I legally keep these in my backyard. It's such a small, tiny example, but it's a big example of being, it's like we're not doing this. We're not allowed to do it. And yet, it's something I care deeply about and I'm going to do it anyway. We'll see what happens as a result, you know, and it's opened up many opportunities for me to have beautiful conversations with my neighbours. And so it's, you know, tiny example of when I, you know.  Yeah. 

Stella: Yeah, I love that. Coming back to that sweater, there was a concept I was introduced to in a psychology of gender class that I took, the wardrobe of self. I think all of these sort of ways of understanding personality, ways of understanding cultures and ways of understanding power dynamics, you know, help us to relate to our wardrobe of self and wardrobe of community and just much more sovereign, liberated and conscious ways. Sometimes that wardrobe of self, you know, gets lit on fire and we get to be reborn into and recreate.

Ami: I love. That's so great. I love that.

Stella: Can be exactly like that all of our

Ami: Exactly. All of our life, you know, it is not necessarily the truth that defines us that, that we actually have a say in a choice by working through intergenerational trauma, our own belief system, all of the things that you kind of got us to this moment right now and being like, "Oh, man, like I can choose something different just by making a choice". To me, when I got that, I was like, "What? Just a choice alone is something that can change the way that I operate my life?". It's amazing.

Ami: Anyway, Stella I want to thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation with me. I've thoroughly enjoyed it, it's such an honour to get to know you and a real joy. So thank you, kindly.

Stella: Thank you for taking the time to help me remember this bit, which is that I think one of the misconceptions of astrology is that it is prescriptive about how you are or how you're going to be or what's going to happen. There is this real sort of misunderstanding and, you know, in part because of the way the newspaper column horoscopes are written and things like that, where it's it's a rigid way of relating to the self and not a complex system of understanding the multiple selves that we have and an understanding that sort of each aspect of the self can be interpreted, massaged, understood in many, many different ways. And if something doesn't resonate with you, the important thing is that you are the ultimate authority on your life and taking what resonates and what liberates and what helps us from the astrological context is the best thing and letting go of everything that sort of doesn't serve and so I start off all of my sessions with people really making that clear, that it's not about astrology being right, it's about astrology being helpful or of service. And it's not about telling you how you are or how you're going to be, it's about accepting and finding ways of having compassion for and working with the different ways that we are and making it into more of the sort of strong, affirming, aligned ways that we can be in the world and letting go. 

Ami: I love that. That's so very helpful.

Ami: Permission slip of taking what serves you and leaving the rest. Yeah, thank you so, so much for your time, I really appreciate you taking the time to have this conversation with me today. It's been a serious joy to get to know you and to uncover really awesome, unique parts about yourself. So thank you and for me too, you ask great questions. 

Stella: Yeah. Oh, thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you so much for holding this space qnd thank you so much for your Witchiness and your celebration.