What’s in a Label?: Discovering My Sexual Orientation

As Pride Month approaches, I feel called to share a journey that took a very long road to its realizing. In all the things about myself that has taken time to understand, my sexual orientation was at the top of the list of most confusing.

Looking back, when I was really young (elementary school age) I was not afraid to experiment. I kissed boys, I kissed girls, I talked about what I thought sex was and would it possibly could be. The topic fascinated me! However, growing up in a highly religious environment (at home and at school), the topic was not easy for me to discuss with the grown ups. Whenever I did bring it up in mature company, I was usually left with at least some inkling of regret after the conversation had ended. The shame was too much to bear to continue to risk it further so, like many other children, I sought answers myself through peers or media. I actually learned a lot about the physics of sex but not enough about sexuality itself until much later.

There was always a stigma around homosexuality (as there tends to be in Christian settings) so I dared to not inquire about my urges towards other girls. This suspicion was solidified for me during the 6th grade. I came home with my boy crush written on my hand in pen. My mother asked me about it and I reluctantly explained. She responded with, “You are at the age now, huh? Well, I guess I should be glad you didn’t come home with some little girl’s name on you.” My instincts immediately told me that this was not a good time to come forward about my past girl-on-girl experiences.

I never felt like my sexual attraction truly conflicted with my spirituality but I learned to suppress it for social reasons. I suppressed it so well, in fact, I became a bit homophobic (projection, much?). Being around gay people made me rather uncomfortable and I found myself judging in a very stereotypical way (probably because my own tomboyish nature often caused people to perceive me as a lesbian which really annoyed me). This criticism didn’t last terribly long as I spent most of my teenage years in a very culturally diverse environment in which I gained friends and associates of various backgrounds and sexual orientations. However, it wasn’t until college that I became reintroduced to the idea of widening my own personal options.

Like many college kids do, I found out a lot about myself both in the classroom and the dorm room (if you catch my drift). By this time, I had never considered being with the same sex since my grade school days. I figured it was a developmental phase that had come and gone. Then, ironically enough, after several failed attempts at having a romantic relationships with guys, a good gay friend of my told me to consider trying women. I was shocked to hear his suggestion, wondering what it was about me that would prompt such an idea. Hadn’t I feminized myself up enough to be with any of my male counterparts? I eventually learned that wasn’t the point at all but that there was a side of myself, more obvious to everyone else at the time, that I had not been in touch with; a side that I had, in retrospect, apparently forgotten to some extent.

Years after graduating from college, I still had not acted on my friend’s recommendation. Luckily, I found the guy (or should I say he found me) who would become my husband and didn’t give it much more thought after a while. Yet, the question resurfaced between him and me – apparently he saw the same thing everyone else did. At first, I was aggravated that this notion had not yet died along with my frequent wear of sports gear and over-sized hoodies (because sexuality is all about the appearances, right?). Then, I had a serious reckoning with myself. Why would I be so aggravated if some part of it weren’t true? Why would the questioning linger in my mind like it did if there wasn’t a “question” in the first place?

And so, it took my fiance’s nudging to finally make me do some exploring back down memory lane. I came to realize that I was not acknowledging a part of myself because I was afraid of what it meant to be that. I was afraid it meant something more than just being myself or that my Self would have to live out loud in an uncomfortable and probably not fully accepted way. I’m glad to say now that I’ve come to terms with that – privately and publicly.

Thankfully, I live in a time where the concept of sexuality is expanding and while it is confusing and even upsetting for many traditionalist, it’s actually very relieving to those of us who have lived our lives in the previously undefined gray areas. As for my label, I currently accept bisexual heteromantic as most accurately describing my experience. At first I thought, “Oh god, I’m one of those people with an obnoxiously complicated sexual identifier”, then I thought, “Who cares?

I’ve come to figure that anyone who does will have to carry that burden on their own. I’ve already done that. I cannot say that I understand all the sexual walks of life just yet, and I may never. Nonetheless, I am learning that it’s most important that we give people the space to figure it out. And, if there is something in us that struggles to allow that, then the time may call for your own self-reckoning and I hope, if no one else does, you grant yourself that safe space.

Happy Pride Month!

My Prosperity Floor Wash Recipe

Much like spiritual baths serve the purpose of cleansing our physical and energetic bodies, floor washes serve the that purpose for our home and work spaces. Creating floor washes is a staple practice in the hoodoo tradition that was spread throughout America by African slaves as early as the 17th century. So what is who hoodoo exactly? Let’s get into some history.

Denied the right to outwardly practice the traditions of their homelands and tribes, slaves combined their African spirituality with what they learned of Native American herbalism and ancient folklore into one system. The folklore traditionally stems from European culture as it was forced upon them at the time. However, the slaves noticed the similarities between the European saints and African deities and, therefore, was able to satisfy their conquerors with the use of European images and names in place for discretion. Yet, as freedom of religion has evolved in America since, many modern hoodoo practitioners do not limit themselves to neither the African nor European pantheons.

In the cases of many modern practitioners, no one or any pantheon is acknowledged, rather than the invocation of ancestors and/or the spirits of the herbs used in the work. Flexibility is allowed here as this differs from person-to-person but there must be a personal clarity in order to get the most out it (as is the case with pretty much everything). Anyone may create a cleaning product from plants, but the intention that goes into it is the most important ingredient of all. It is also gives direction as to which material ingredients should be chosen for your concoction before starting. For instance, what you may use for a prosperity floor wash may be somewhat different than that of a love floor wash.

As for my prosperity floor wash, the ingredients may slightly change to accommodate what I have available to me or what I find may work better for me over time. Here is what I generally use:

Water (spring is preferred but the tap is fine if that’s all I have)
Roses (symbolic of love and beauty)
Lavender (for calm and cooperation)
Bay leaf (for protection and attraction of inner desires)
Fresh basil (a versatile herb used for purification, banishment and luck)
Tea tree oil (has antibacterial and antifungal properties; use for protection and purification)
Frankincense oil (has antiseptic and astringent properties; for spiritual and emotional healing)
A natural cleaning product of your choice (I am a fan of Dr. Bronner’s and Better Life products)

I place the intention into my mixture as it boils and stir it clockwise. I let it charge on my altar for a while and usually apply it in the hand-and-knee fashion, keeping my intentions clear the entire time. I could do better about crafting and using my washes more regularly but whenever I do it, the results are pretty amazing! I find the my home space is lighter and happier. I am more at peace and so is my family and our visitors when in the space. The areas in my life for which I set my prosperity intentions began flourishing, often in unexpected ways.

Again, it is perfectly okay to try out someone else’s recipe for starters, but it’s important to be open to trying out different herbs as you learn more and notice results. I, too, started out by trying out what I learned from other hoodoo practitioners but my personal craft has and continues to evolve in a way that is unique to me. I do not use measurements for my floor wash. Instead, I go by how much I have on-hand and how much I feel I need to use at the time. The more often you make your own, you will develop a intuition for what you prefer and what works best for you.

Have you made a hoodoo floor wash before? What ingredients have you tried?

Retrograde Mania: Lessons from the Past

If you began experiencing a lot of challenges this year around April, it may have something to do with the three planets – Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn – that went into retrograde last month. These planets so happen to rule the more abstract aspects of our personal lives and since retrogrades have everything to do with graduating further beyond hindering patterns and issues of the past, we may be facing the resurfacing of pain from old wounds we thought had already healed.

You’ve likely got more layers of healing to go!

Jupiter (retrograde April 10 – August 11, 2019), being the planet that rules the acquiring of knowledge and luck, is checking us on things that hinder our ability to attract the things we want. If you’re finding yourself frustrated due to lack, now is a good time to look in yourself to figure out why.

Pluto (retrograde April 24 – October 3, 2019) is the planet that rules the process rebirth. Use any tough ordeals to see where you are being encouraged to mature and let go of certain thoughts or behaviors in order to propel yourself into a more enlightened sense of being.

Ringed Saturn (retrograde April 29 – September 18, 2019) reminds us of where we are limited, and wants us to learn the proper discipline necessary for us to endure the tests of time. This requires hard work and critical introspection in the areas in our lives that could use some considerable tightening up.

Watch my tarot reading for the retrogrades below:

Retrograde Mania Tarot Reading by Brittney Shawnee’