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The Long Road Here

{Jump to a section of this post if you're either interested in a specific area or don't want to read it all once.}

This is something I’ve been wanting to get to for a while now. As I am a Grade A procrastinator (something I’ve been intently trying to work on), I thought what better time to get it done than on my birthday? As I’ve had quite a few new people follow The Astral Priory on Instagram over this last month, I figured I’d share with you all a bit more about myself, and how I ended up where I am now.

How does a person make their way to working with dreams and in the Akashic Records? How long have I been doing this? I’ve felt that these are very valid and important questions to answer. Personally, when I start working with someone, I’d prefer to know about their background. In a time where so many “spiritual influencers”, “girl bosses”, and entrepreneurs pop up every 5 minutes, it can be overwhelming to decipher whose intent is grounded in really wanting to help via their talents, passions, and gifts, and who are jumping on a trend. And I don’t blame those people either, I get it. Everyday things are difficult for all of us. We’re being pressured to constantly produce, to turn our hobbies and joys into profit-making opportunities, to create “passive income,” to hustle and grind and prove our worth to society by a monetary scale. Not to mention mounting debts, inflation, and a growing global unrest… (I promise not to be completely nihilistic this whole time lol). But I want to give you insight into who it is that you’re interacting with, and possibly even working with. It’s important to me to provide that source of confidence to you.

“Let’s start at the very beginning…”

Baby me circa late 1980's.

Ten points if you know where that line is from. If you’ve ever glanced at my “About Me” section on the website, you would know that I grew up very Catholic. I spent all of my schooling from kindergarten to senior year of high school going to Catholic school (except for freshman year which was the only time I went to public school after convincing my parents. Which resulted in being hit by the culture shock bus, and returning to Catholic school the next year). Catholicism shaped my life experience for all of my adolescence. I did all my sacraments up to Confirmation. I had to do a year of catechism while still going to Catholic school. I blame weekly mass on the fact I have bad knees (way too much kneeling on poorly padded pews). I constantly was afraid that if I wasn’t a good little girl I was going to spend an eternity in Hell. It should be of no surprise to anyone that I was quite an anxious kid, who cried quite a bit.

In spite of growing up in a very fear-driven environment, I still felt very strongly that I was being called to become a Nun. This happened in 8th grade after visiting a beautiful convent in Temecula, CA during a Vocation Day field trip. My skewed perception of life in a convent was heavily influenced by two of my favorite movies at the time, The Trouble with Angels starring Haley Mills (1966), and The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews (where the ten points would come from if you guessed the name of this section's title). Needless to say, those examples weren’t exactly true to the realities of Nun life. They had an almost Disney-like filter I was seeing it through. But I felt it strongly on a spiritual level. The thing was that spiritual level was only through the context of a heavily Catholic and religious scope. I was never allowed to have any other worldview than that. And I was so young, my desire to question authority and fight against false narratives was still very much suppressed. I wasn’t nearly confident enough to be combative, and I spent a lot of time trying to keep my head down and making myself disappear.

The only time I saw a glimpse of someone in my family stray outside the Catholic lane was when I told my grandpa that I wanted to become a Nun. I was sure my Mexican grandpa who I was very close to would be ecstatic his granddaughter decided to give her life to the Church. Instead, he responded with “No granddaughter of mine is going to become a Nun!” He would also constantly say he was going to Hell, which I didn’t believe even when I believed in Hell. You see, his mother and tia were curanderas in Mexico. She had died when he was 18 from breast cancer I’m told, so I never knew her. I have the only picture of her in a frame sitting on my altar for years now. My mom said he saw a lot of crazy and scary shit when he was a boy from when people would come to his mom and tia to have work done on them, but he never discussed that with me. When I was a baby, my grandpa and mom took me to his tia’s ranch to have her bless me. I like to think she passed something on to me somehow.

Though my young life and education were all Catholic all the time, I am a true Millenial after all. The zeitgeist was all about the witch wave. I grew up watching Charmed, The Craft, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Hocus Pocus, and Practical Magic. My friends and I filmed a little movie in their garage about 3 witches, we even wrote a little spell and chanted to it in the garage while we drew a star on the floor with chalk. Their Sicilian, Catholic parents might not have appreciated that so much… After school, my friends and I would go to the Public Library to work on school projects, but instead, we’d go to the witchcraft section to secretly check out books. This is where the story I briefly alluded to in my “About Me” comes from. My grandma, the above grandpa’s wife, had quite the opposite feelings he did. I would go to their house sometimes after school, and one day my grandma caught a glimpse of one of the witchy books I checked out from the library. She told my mom, and they both called me into the kitchen to talk to me alone, my grandma told me that those books were Black Magic, and I had to promise I wouldn’t get those books anymore. Feeling deflated I said, “Fineee.” I’m smiling as I write this because that grandma ALWAYS pops up anytime I have a reading done, and even during my Dream Tending schooling. I’m told her feelings have changed 😉.

The Depression Catalyst

Like many other people who find themselves in spiritual spaces, I experienced many bouts of depression since I was a kid. Though I was always extremely sensitive, there were times when it was amplified. I noticed the sadness set in around middle school. This isn’t necessarily surprising as kids are complete assholes at that age. Between the awkwardness of adolescence and puberty, and sustaining and being a bystander of bullying, it was a hard time. My mom had brought up sending me to counseling, honestly, I wish I would have started as a kid. I could tell she felt helpless as she told me I reminded her of the song "The Mind of Love" by k.d. lang, a beautiful but really sad song. Neither of us knew that there were also factors that were playing a big role in my tendencies towards depression until just a few years ago. When I was still a kid I was diagnosed with both ADD (now absorbed under the ADHD spectrum) and Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disorder in my thyroid. Doctors NEVER mentioned that symptoms of BOTH of those diagnoses are, yup, you guessed it, Depression. So on top of normal young people's hardships, I had two other layers of shit that would almost make depression an inevitability for me. Knowing that back then might not have changed any outcomes, but it would have been nice to know that it wasn’t my fault, which is something I felt back then. That I was just a weak person by nature. That was never true.

Years later, when I was around 26/27 (my Saturn Return), I found myself faced with depression yet again. I had just finally graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Textiles & Clothing (Fashion Design) from Cal State Long Beach. The job I had been working at decided to not renew their lease and closed. I found myself unemployed and it took about 9 months for me to find a job in [relatively] the field I studied in. But the struggle to find employment really beat me down. The countless edited resumes and cover letters were fruitless, and though I had a degree and years and years of experience, it felt like it was for nothing. It was at this time, from the recesses of my desperation for some sort of guidance, I reached out to a psychic.

I had always wanted to see a psychic, but more for entertainment purposes. She was very on point on our first meeting, and she could tell I was emotionally and energetically fucked up. She recommended a Chakra Balancing (not sure if I was really aware of what “chakras” were at that point), but it wasn’t something I could afford. She was so kind that she offered to do it in exchange for some clothing alteration work as she knew I didn’t have the money. For a few years, we maintained that relationship with bartering as our currency. I will always be grateful for her kindness and understanding. During that Chakra alignment was the first time I ever experienced a weird, almost trippy, womp womp feeling coming from between my eyebrows. I know that sounds like an absolutely ridiculous description, but that’s what it felt like. It was pulsating, colorful, and very visceral. This opened up my world that had previously been so fenced in by the confines of religion.

Eventually, I found work in the fashion industry. I was always being kept out of reach of the positions I really wanted though. Let’s just say that I believed some of the motivations of those who were keeping me from moving into other fields were being influenced by factors that had nothing to do with my work ethic… It was at this time I entered a relationship for the first time in 4 years. You can probably tell I don’t tend to jump from one relationship to another. But this was the beginning of my Tower card era. I fell hard, fast. I was 28 and unfortunately still extremely naive as a result of my very sheltered upbringing. My first long-term relationship years prior ended mutually and without any significant drama overall. So it didn’t really prepare me for what was to come. I won’t get into all the details because that’s a book in and of itself. But it completely shattered my world. I was left completely heartbroken and what I truly believed at the time, destroyed. I had not only been cheated on but lied to on a level that most people close to me believed to only be possible in a Lifetime movie. I wish that was an exaggeration. It was 2016, and this was around the time the term “narcissist” really started to explode. As I would stare at these descriptions on Instagram posts of what that was I had so many dots connected, but I also had therapists (plural) remind me I couldn’t diagnose him with anything. We’d never know for sure, and really that wasn't the important part.

While I was still reeling from this bad breakup, a shit storm would follow. I was laid off from my job, and was faced with multiple health issues including an egg-sized cyst in my left breast that I was terrified was cancer (it runs in my family), not to mention internally coming to terms with the fact that I had been sexually assaulted shortly before this horrible relationship. I struggled to find another 9 to 5 type job for 3 years after. I had to have surgery to remove the cyst as well as numerous biopsies on my cervix. It goes without saying I was depressed, and at times mentally I veered toward suicidal ideation. My mom once again pushed me to see a therapist, but this time she made the appointment for me. For the first time in my life, I moved forward with therapy before I had lost my job, but couldn’t continue once I was laid off. Which was horrible because at that time I really, really needed it.

In the course of this 3-year downward spiral, I explored additional “healing” outlets. I was introduced to meditation by my psychic and tried hard to build a practice of this. I explored working with candles, bought crystals, and dedicated a space for an altar in my room. I listened to spiritual podcasts. Attended meditation circles and Red Tent events. I worked with the moon cycles. I did 30-day manifesting challenges. I wrote intentions. I bought oracle decks and read books. I hiked alone a lot. But I was doing all of this from a very manic and desperate place. I didn’t see changes, and it made me feel even worse. Like, “Wow… I can’t even do manifesting right!” (read my post on Akashic Manifestation for more on my feelings with “manifestation.”)

In 2018 I was at a particular low. I was doing a freelance virtual styling job, but nothing that led me to feel that I was gaining a firm footing. I decided to look into options that were more concentrated, I felt that I needed to be guided personally. I didn’t feel capable of shepherding myself through these valleys, it’s why I had been to therapy prior (which I wasn’t able to do during this particular time due to our wonderful health insurance options here in the U.S. *eye roll*). I found a women's retreat held in Sedona, AZ. It was initially a group retreat, however, they ended up canceling the group aspect of it. But after I had consulted the woman who ran it, she agreed to hold a one-on-one private retreat for me as she could tell I was in need. So I drove to Sedona alone, a beautiful drive. I was encouraged to turn off my phone the days I was there. So after I let my family know I arrived, I went no contact while I did the work.

Over the next few days, I worked with 2 different women separately learning different concepts. I did several different guided meditations, one in particular that called in my ancestors which was extremely powerful. I cried harder than I had ever cried before. Like a silent scream that had me bent over in agony. I was able to go to a certain area where the “vortexes” are believed to be and was guided through meditation there too. There were other concepts as well, some of which I was a bit reluctant to, and still am honestly. It wasn’t because I thought they were too woo-woo or esoteric, but because they seemed too individualistic. A very white, new age, way to move through the world that didn’t resonate with me. Similar to what we see a lot today; maintain your own “high-frequency,” fuck whatever else is going on in the world that doesn’t concern you. I pushed back and asked questions and offered scenarios, but would be told that I was coming from a place of “ego.” I don’t believe that was the case then or now. I was and still am very grateful for that opportunity, and it did help me as I moved forward. But I took what I needed and left what didn’t feel true to me.

Journaling in a hammock swing in Sedona.

My situation wasn’t magically cured after this. Shit was still bad for a while. And I had to work really hard on how I reacted to all the things happening that I had no control over. That was the real work. I eventually was able to go back to therapy and continue the EMDR work that I had to stop a few years before. I finally was ready to address the sexual assault that I had a very hard time admitting to myself years after it happened. I was able to say it out loud, even if it was just to my therapist at first. I was slowly feeling more secure as we worked through my traumas. I was nowhere out of the woods yet, but I was experiencing slow improvements I was able to recognize. I still work with all those things I mentioned: crystals, candles, meditation, etc., but not from the same frenzied space.

The World of the Akasha

I had my first Akashic Records reading back in 2017. I honestly don’t know how I came across this type of reading or even the account of the person who I’d end up turning to. It was back when Instagram was actually helpful and you would be introduced to new accounts, unlike nowadays. In that first reading, I felt like I had been spied on. How did this person know so much about me and my life experiences? It was extremely validating and I never had a feeling that this person was phoning it in at any point. I would gift myself with Akashic readings for my birthdays in the following years. And in 2019 I decided to go to an Intro to the Akashic Records 101 class with Leah of Crystals of Altamira to learn how this world worked. It was the first time I dipped my toe into the world of working with a spiritual modality, rather than only being on the receiving end of the work.

In 2020, I had been working for a company that encapsulated everything I stood against. Obviously, I didn’t know this going in. In the beginning, I thought it was an answer to all my prayers, the result of successful manifesting. In some aspects it was, but the red flags popped up immediately and the downfalls completely outweighed the few boxes this job had initially checked for me. Not to mention we were in the thick of early pandemic days, and as their business was being affected, the pressures on the rest of us mounted. I absolutely hated it there. I was starting to feel the physical effects of it, heart palpitations, migraines that returned, and a layer of anxiety that never eased. I was so scared of quitting because I had waited so long to find employment, that I was terrified of reliving that unending search again. But I couldn’t ignore the very present effects it was having on me. I consulted with family and friends to get their thoughts about it, most everyone was supportive that I should leave. But I needed that additional confirmation. I had a card reading with someone who I still go to to this day, and before she started to pull the cards she personally advised me against leaving without another option set up. But when she pulled that first card, the answer was YES. Leave! So I got the hell out of there. A decision I definitely do NOT regret.

That year I felt that I was ready to do more work that would require me to be more of an active participant. I took several different classes with Jasmin, aka Esoteric Esa, who would end up being the person who encouraged me to start doing readings for others. I practiced a lot, read books, and continued to take different courses so that I would become more confident, and eventually became a certified practitioner. I really enjoy learning and growing in anything it is that I feel passionate about. Even now, I’m soon completing a year-long Akashic Mentorship program with Leah of CoA.

Entering the Dream Realms

I have always experienced my dreams in a very vivid way. I remembered and still remember the dreams I had when I was a kid. Likely because so many were so unsettling, that they always stuck with me. You know that saying that if you’re in a scary dream, you should pinch yourself and know you’re dreaming because you don’t feel pain? Yeah, that would have never worked for me. Even when I was young, I would feel physical sensations in my dreams. Mostly pain. I dreamt of dying and feeling the last breath leave my body. In 2019 I had a series of two intense possession-like dreams. They were absolutely terrifying and I could feel myself being pushed out of my body and whatever spirit/entity took over. I’d wake up in a panicked sweat, afraid of going back to sleep. I’d pray and would sleep with selenite and tourmaline under my pillows. Anything to try and make that not happen again. And no matter what type of reading I would have after this and ask what those dreams were about, no one really had any real insight into what was happening.

Premonition dreams were also a regular occurrence for me at night. It could be simple dreams where someone from my past would show up out of nowhere, and the next day they would contact me. The night my grandpa died, I dreamt that the phone by my bed rang and I picked it up to my mom telling me he had passed; to then be actually woken up by the same scenario happening again. But this time it wasn't the dream, and I was so confused by just living that same scene, I dropped the phone on the floor. The most significant time my dream intervened in my waking life, was literally telling me the name of the person my boyfriend at the time was cheating on me with. Before I had any inkling that he was cheating, let alone the name of a person that wasn't even on my radar. I did tell him about this dream and I remember his nervous and abrupt denial. The dream was of course right, but I take joy in knowing how unsettled that probably made him 😈.

Years later, while I was in the middle of taking another year-long course with Leah called Living Systems, I was introduced to the world of Dream Tending. It was a practice she had learned during her PhD program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She had asked me if I’d like to be a guinea pig, and it was an immediate yes! I shared a dream I had years ago that I could still see so clearly. It involved a post-apocalyptic world with zombies and being dragged by Satan into an open grave while giant spikes stabbed my torso (which I could feel), preventing me from leaving. Fun times huh!? We worked with this dream and it opened it up so much for me. I was sold on Dream Tending from then! It didn’t take much time for me to decide that I wanted to actively learn and become certified in Dream Tending.

During the in-person portion of the program while I was in Carpinteria, CA, the birthplace of my grandma I spoke about earlier, she’d reappear yet again while I was having the first possession dream tended in front of our class. Our professor could feel her presence strongly, even though she had nothing to do with the actual dream I shared. Of course, I broke down crying yet again, as I usually do. But it felt so reaffirming that I was supposed to be there, that I was meant to learn this work. Dream Tending is birthed out of the foundations of Depth Psychology. It isn’t necessarily a “spiritual” modality like the Akashic Records or Reiki. It’s a praxis that I feel is birthed from the more fringe realms of psychology, but there’s no denying the magical qualities it has. Tending to the spirit is part of the work, it’s inherent to it even if the practitioner or the Dreamer is reluctant to those realities. I myself witnessed those in our program who were so conflicted to use the word “magic” to describe their experiences because it didn’t seem logical. But they relinquished to the fact that there was no other way they could describe what they felt. They gave in to the things they had a hard time understanding. Which is why I’m glad I came to this work not from a psychology perspective, but already believing in a world of magic and the “unexplainable.”

I’m very passionate about this work. I believe my life of experiencing some disturbing and twisted dreams has prepared me to walk in the halls of Dream Tending. I’ll be starting my second certificate program in January of 2024.

Some Tidbits for the Road!

Kudos to you if you’ve read this whole thing! Is this possibly more than you need to know about me? Perhaps. But I wanted to put it all on the table. I think it’s important to have an idea of what’s brought me here. How and why I’ve found myself doing this work. What ways I “qualify” to even hold these spaces? So if you’ve been toying with the idea of working with me in the future, I hope this provides some reassurance for you. Maybe even some comfort if any of the things I mentioned are things you’ve experienced yourself either now or in your past.

So I end here with some random factoids about me!

  1. I love making costumes for myself to wear for the annual Renaissance Faires! It tends to be one of the few times a year I get to create something for myself

  2. My fur baby Peanut is the love of my life. To get a better understanding of my feelings about my animals, see a true example here.

  3. I'm a really good judge of character. I realize that probably sounds stupid after reading about my ex, but I swear it must've kicked in after that! I pick up on someone's vibe or energy pretty quickly. I feel strange describing it in that way, but it's true.

  4. My Pet Peeve are buzzwords. Words or phrases like “self-care” used to urk the living hell out of me! It’s not that I’m against this or any other buzzword meaning, it’s just that the overuse infuriates me! There are other words lol!

  5. I was a pretty good Swing Dancer/Lindy Hopper pre-pandemic. I learned swing dancing back in 2013 as I’ve always loved big band music, and my grandma (same one) also used to be a swing dancer when she was young. It’s another thing we share. I’d love to go back, but honestly not really ready yet for someone to be breathing that close to my face…

  6. I’ve been journaling for several years now, but I started when I was a kid. I have a box of likely over 20 filled diaries and journals that I may just have burned with me when I die.

  7. I love all things haunted!... But I'm also a big scaredy cat. Haunted Mansion is my favorite Disney ride. I look for ghost tours everywhere I travel. I unfortunately did not have a wonderful paranormal experience in Colorado when ghost hunting was not even on the schedule.

  8. I got to touch and work with an original Gone with the Wind costume. After I received my Bachelor's I received a certificate for Collection's Management for Costumes and Textiles. This is how I was placed in an internship with one of the oldest costume houses in Hollywood, all so I could be in the presence of this costume. (GWTW is one of my favorite movies primarily for the costumes. I know, I know.

  9. I studied abroad in London for a summer. I took a course in fashion photography, but I mainly went to travel and have fun.

  10. I almost got fired from Disneyland because of the Pirates of the Caribbean 2 movie. I was denied the day off so I called in sick and proceeded to go to the premiere (that was on Main St.) because I wasn't going to miss my chance of seeing Orlando Bloom... I was outed by someone who interviewed me on a YouTube channel. It would've been worth it.

The Gone with the Wind dress I worked with at my Internship.

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