The “Broom Closet” is a term used in neopagan circles for a neopagan or a witch who is not open about their religion and/or practices. There are many kinds of neopagans and many kinds of magical practitioners.
If you have questions about my neopagan background and perspectives, here are some of the answers!
Do I have to have the same beliefs as you do in order to have sessions with you?
No, not at all. Over the years I have worked with people of many religions and faiths, including people who are “questioning” and people of no faith at all. You only need to feel comfortable knowing that I am open about my animist, witchy, neopagan, polytheist spirituality and the fact that I now offer some of my related tools and skills as optional elements for those who want them.
Be assured that the focus of our sessions is on YOU and your concerns, not my beliefs.
Why are you incorporating your spirituality into your client work?
My spirituality–particularly with regard to my grounding in animism and my tantra studies–has always infused my work as a sexologist, sexuality counselor, and hypnotist–but now I am being open about it. I want to work more deeply and authentically, as a whole person who is connected with my deities, my ancestors, and the earth in my work as well as my personal life.
If you like, you can read this blog post of mine about the divination which helped me make this decision.
What is the difference between “pagan” and “neopagan?”
There is some controversy about the use of these terms. This is how I use them. “Pagan” refers to historical, pre- or non-Christian traditions that are generally earth-focused and polytheist. Think of “pagan” as a term that may be used in academia to describe ancient cultures.
“Neopagans” are modern rivalist or reconstructionist practitioners. They often focus on polytheist religions of Europe and the Middle East. This include modern druids, Norse-inspired heathens, Wiccans, some “New Agers,” and more.
It is not correct to refer to Indigenous spiritual practices, including unbroken traditions, as either pagan or neopagan.
What does “animist” mean?
The online dictionary defines animism as “the doctrine that every natural thing in the universe has a soul. Animism comes from the Latin word anima, meaning life, or soul. People often think of “primitive” beliefs when they think of animism, but you’ll find the belief in the spiritual life of natural objects in all major religions.” An animist is someone who holds a belief in the consciousness of matter, i.e. “soul.”
If that sounds too “far out,” you’ll be glad to know that more and more scientists are coming to see consciousness as an intrinsic property of matter.
What do you mean when you say “witchy?”
Here’s where I really come out of the “Broom Closet!” The short answer is that I study magic and like to see if I can do things that work. I identify as a non-denominational, solitary practitioner of witchcraft. My practices and studies are eclectic and include sex magic, tantra, chaos magic, and more.
The more complicated answer is that I cultivate devotional and creative partnerships with deities, land spirits, and my ancestors as part of my practice. I also view magic and witchery as a way to gain knowledge and to reach deeply into my own subconscious, to leverage my ability to make positive changes in my life.
Should I worry that you’re going to cast a spell on me?
No. Magic should be a consensual experience, just like sex. And I don’t do either activity with clients.
Also, as a sexuality and hypnosis professional, I am always guided by the ethical constraints of my professional organizations: AASECT and The National Guild of Hypnotists.
What does “neopagan” mean?
As a noun, the online dictionary defines neopagan as “a member of a modern religious movement that seeks to incorporate beliefs or ritual practices from traditions outside the main world religions, especially those of pre-Christian Europe and North America.”
As an adjective: “relating to a modern religious movement that seeks to incorporate beliefs or ritual practices from traditions outside main world religions, especially those of pre-Christian Europe and North America.”
There are many neopagan religions. I mostly work with reconstructed Norse and Celtic traditions as well as eclectic magic practices.
What does “polytheism” mean?
As a noun, the online disctionary defines polytheism as “the belief in or worship of more than one god.” A polytheist is someone who has that belief in more than one deity. Personallty I work with several deities from a few different pantheons, mostly Norse and Celtic.
A monotheist believes in one Supreme Being.
When you say you work with deities, land spirits, and ancestors, what does that mean?
It means that I cultivate ongoing relationships through devotional practices and offerings; that I ask for guidance and blessings from them; and I give thanks for their help.
Who are your main gods and goddesses?
I debated about whether I should go public with this, but why not? The Norse god Loki– who is a gender-fluid trickster and shape-shifter–is my main “patron” deity and teacher. In the Norse traditions I also work with Freyr (Frey) and his sister Freya, who are Vanir, and Freyr’s wife Gerda (a Jotun). In Celtic traditions, I have just started working with Brigid (Brigit) in her pagan aspect. I also make offerings to the Egyptian goddess, Bast (Bastet), asking her to protect and bless my cats. I used to feel closer to some of the Hawaiian gods and goddesses.
You say you also work with your ancestors. What does that mean?
I have personally benefited from taking an online course in Ancestral Lineage Healing from Daniel Foor, Ph.D. I am actively working with four of my lineages through devotional practices. For more information, please see his website or check out his book, Ancestral Medicine.
What are those optional “related tools and skills” you mentioned?
• I”ve always used hypnosis to assist people with exploration, insights, and positive suggestions, as well as personal growth and transformation. Now I am open assisting clients with trance journeying, if appropriate and desired. Hypnosis is something I frequently use with my clients, since it is one of my specialties.
• Divination and readings are a great way to engage the subconscious and bring intuitive insights to the surface. Soul Cards are a good choice for someone who does not want to use anything connected with an established mystical tradition. Soul Cards consist of emotionally evocative images which have no interpretation or meaning beyond what the client feels or thinks.
In addition I now offer readings using Tarot, Norse Runes, Goddess Cards, or use the Pendulum, if desired.
• Sometimes it can be helpful for a client to design or participate in a forgiveness and release ritual. The ritual can be customized. The subconscious usually responds well to ritual and this can reinforce hypnotic suggestions given to manage or release emotional stress and trauma.
• Sand tray play is also a great way to engage the subconscious before the hypnotic portion of the session. [Office only.]
• Eclectic magic. If you desire, you may even learn a simple “jar spell” for love and sex, or to encourage wellness practices. Tangible symbols, invested in energy, can help to motivate and engage your subconscious on a deeper level.
What kind of mystical training do you have?
I am mostly self-taught through extraordinary experiences, classes, and educational materials. I am not a member of a coven though Ariel Gatoga’s online Witches Primer course was a lovely introduction to witchery.
I have not been formally initiated in any magical tradition except three levels of Ipsalu Tantra and the Cobra Breath. (I am no longer connected with Ipsalu as student or as an apprentice teacher. This is why.)
For my own personal development, I have taken three Ho’oponopono workshops with Kumu (teacher) Ramsay Taum of O’ahu, but do not have permission to teach it. I have taken Daniel Foor’s Ancestral Lineage Healing course but am not in his practitioner training program. If you have an interest in either or both of these topics, please contact these teachers.
I am a past member of the Anthroposophical Society. I consider myself a life-long learner in general.
What if I have more questions?
Just email me at dr.amymarshsexologist at gmail.com. I’ll be happy to address your concerns. I am also blogging on neopagan and mystical topics at ladyofthelake.blog.