This trip has been absolutely brilliant.
Occult travel is something extremely special. I’ve traveled a fair bit in my time, but I have never gone on a trip that is both an artist residency and steeped in occult and mystical knowledge. Occult travel is something special – it’s hard to replicate without a lot of research, because the occult is by definition hidden in shadow.
This trip, I have had some seriously fantastic opportunities. I have:
- Stood in the neolithic stone circle at Avebury
- Drank countless beers in pubs
- Stayed at an English farmhouse nestled in the countryside
- Taken up drawing again
- Done tarot for some of the artists here
- Spent Samhain on Glastonbury Tor
- Done a candle magick ritual to solidify intentions for the next witch’s year
- Visited the wondrous Stonehenge, and learned of the ancient practices there
- Gone on a walk with a British naturalist through ancient Yew forests
- Made many new friends
I came on this trip to learn where to go next.
It’s no secret that I’m at a professional crossroads. I’ve written about it and blogged about it. I applied for an artist’s residency in Iceland over the summer with the Light Grey Art Lab, and when she was reading my application Lindsay said she thought this trip would be good for me. I wasn’t sure if I could make the money work. I told myself that if she followed up, I would go. And she did. So I’m here.
All I knew at the outset was that I had wanted to explore England’s mysteries for years. I’ve been dreaming of visiting Stonehenge since I was a child, and this seemed like a really good way to explore the country for the first time. I am in a group with some fantastic artists, learning so much more than I would on my own journey.
I’m also surrounded by so many creative people. It has been deeply healing to be traveling with these weirdos – I’m realizing that my life in general has been so fraught lately. It feels amazing to just be light, and to have that be ok. So much of my life is so heavy – taking a break and getting some distance has been amazing.
This solstice, I was given the powerful message that I am a healer, not a warrior.
Since then, I’ve been contemplating where to go and what to do next. I don’t have answers yet, but I do have some ideas.
I know that I’m incredibly interested in pursuing more education, particularly in the field of mental health. I would love to combine tarot and mental health counseling, to work as a healer. But I’m also feeling the pull to become more well-rounded as a witch in general.
I’ve been wanting to learn more about herbs and plants for years. Yesterday, we went on a walk through a yew forest that is literally thousands of years old, and the British naturalist on the trip took time to identify different plants and tell us stories about their folklore. He told us all about how hedgerows are grown, and why certain plants are used and the superstition behind them.
Later, we foraged for our dinner, and made dinner over a roaring campfire in the woods near his home.
Yesterday was so deeply and unexpectedly healing. It was probably one of the less strictly “occult” days on the trip, but I got the chance to try out what it would feel like to be an herbalist, to have that knowledge of plant lore. I caught myself trying to plan future trips back to England to continue to learn about this fascinating landscape, the traditional knowledge and management that has shaped the country for thousands of years.
My tarot energy for the trip
Before I met up with the group, in true occult travel fashion I drew cards for myself for this trip. And again, the Hanged Man (or rather, The Precipice) showed himself for me. I’m in a time of suspension, a time of preparing to release into deep transformation and death.
The Hanged Man tells me that now is not the time to make plans – but to let go of control and allow myself to be an observer. I’m taking this to mean that I need to be as present as possible in these times, to be as light as possible, and not to force it. The Oracle also showed up in the reading – she has been my other friend these days. This is a time to look at inner mysteries, and to honor my inner priestess. I need to listen to my intuition. But to do that, I need to release my control.
And the 3 of Wands just reminds me that I’m working on building the best community, and to honor community and collaboration in my work moving forward.
If you’re curious about the program I’m traveling on, check out Light Grey Art Lab’s page for this trip. It has been fantastic – and if you want to join them for future travels, I highly recommend it. I will interview Lindsay with Light Grey for the blog soon – so stay tuned for that.