This series explores what it is like to be a spiritual seeker and Priestess in the 21st century.
Is there more empowerment & direct access to the Divine in the world now?
I’m interviewing women from my Priestess Training Program to find out!
I am many things to many people and I value all the different facets of me so much. I went from not really caring for who I am, to launching into a full self discovery of who I am, what I am, and how I want to be in this world. I’ve now come to a place where I selectively choose how I show up in this world that best serves me, those I love so dearly, and for those I have yet to meet.
I am mother to my 4 kids, 3 here with me on earth and 1 one in heaven. I am wife and best friend to the guy who captured my heart almost 20 years ago. I am the respectable and honoring daughter of both my parents and my husband’s parents. I am a devoted sister to every friend I choose to have in my life; blood, old, and new. I am an artist of mixed media and digital arts that creates from the deepest parts of my soul. I am a feminist and grief advocate (yikes, scary topics, i know, but both so necessary). But the role I’ve come to cherish the most this past year is the role of the priestess, the daughter of the moon, the listener of stories, and the healer.
I don’t even know where to begin. Like anyone else, my life is a roller coaster of joys and pain. With every tragedy in my life, it was a reminder of how much I had to live for.
Through this journey, I’ve discovered and embraced my empathic heart.
For so long, I felt it was a curse. It hurt to feel everyone’s emotions in the room. I dove into depression every time I read or heard about abuse, murders, or lost children/people. I was often called a cry baby because I couldn’t handle my emotions, but what people didn’t realize, is that I was handling emotions for hundreds of people.
Now that I’ve learned how to protect myself, I’ve embraced my ability to heal. I was so scared to take on the role of healer. I thought being a healer would literally kill me because of the deep emotions and downward spiral depression that is involved. But learning how to protect myself and cut chords has changed my outlook significantly. I no longer fear this gift of empathy. I embrace it wholeheartedly and eagerly look for ways to use it to help others. I can say with every tragic life altering event I’ve experienced, I found myself diving deeper and deeper into my spiritual path that I never knew could exist. Through every gut wrenching, thought I-would-die kind of pain, I found that I could love deeper and enjoy life more fully. Through my spiritual path, I’ve discovered the biggest demon that haunts me is me. Every day is a battle to overcome that self demon, but every day my higher self grows stronger.
Death keeps me authentic. Death and I have an intimate relationship. Death has a way of affecting me in a positive and profound way. That sounds so ludicrous to say, but I’ve encountered so much death in my life that I’ve come to respect and honor the grace and knowledge that Death brings.
I remembered attempting to kill myself at 12. Yup, I just threw that out there like it’s no big deal. Unfortunately, it’s more common than people like to admit. I took more than the recommended dosage of tylenol while my Mom wasn’t home. I remember being curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor, crying and asking God to end it all quickly because I couldn’t take this emotional pain anymore. Then my cousin Karen appeared out of nowhere. She had died at the young age of 15 and had spent the last 2 years of her life in the hospital fighting a severe illness. She appears in my head to tell me that I was being selfish in wanting to end it all now, when she knew I was destined to do so much more with my life. She wanted me to live. She wanted me to go to prom because she always wanted to go to prom. She wanted me to kiss a boy because she never knew what that was like. She said if I wasn’t going to live for myself, I should at least live for her and experience all the things she couldn’t because she died so young. This broke my heart. I remembered crying so hard for her after she left me in the bathroom alone. I remembered forcing myself to throw up everything I just swallowed, because I needed to live for her. From that day on, I chose to live my life to the fullest.
Then Death decided to show up when I was 26, to tell me that my unborn son of 5 months wasn’t meant to live in this world. Birthing a child that I couldn’t save was THE hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It was a 12 hour labor of emotional pain, agony, heartache, devastation, you name it, I felt it. There were so many times I just wanted to die. I didn’t want to be in my body or in my own life. I wanted to leave my husband and 1 year old son to start over again. I thought I’d run away to Paris, color my hair blue, and call myself Francine. I so desperately wanted to be a different person than the woman who lost her unborn child, in the sea of pregnant friends/colleagues/family. Again, this heartbreaking Death experience reminded me to live my life to the fullest and more importantly, not deny the gifts I have to offer in this world. It was years of reflecting and processing this experience that I finally embraced my empathic abilities to be with others during their grief journey and hold space for their crying hearts.
Death came again a couple years ago when my father passed and this time, I knew she was coming for him and I ignored all the signs. I ignored the voice that told me 6 months beforehand. I ignored the dream I had several days before his death. I ignored the voice I heard 2 days before he died. This couldn’t be real. My Dad is young. I am young. He’s my best friend. He wouldn’t leave me so soon. He has grandkids to live for. He has plans for his retirement. Who’s going to take care of my Mom? This isn’t real. This isn’t happening.
And then it did. It happened right in front of me at 3 am in the morning on Oct 15th, 9 days after my last child was born. Watching my Dad die of a ruptured heart aneurysm shook me to my core. My entire world as I knew it was gone within a couple of hours. When you lose a parent you are close to, you lose part of your identity. I didn’t know who I was without him in my life. He was always there. He was always a phone call away. He was the wisdom I would call upon when I needed help. He was the comforting voice I would talk to when my heart was broken. He was the guy I called every time my car broke down. He was the person I would call if I needed some extra cash, no questions asked, no debt to repay. He was the first person in my life that had my back, no matter what and now he’s gone. I spiraled into depression and I lost myself to the point of no return. Then, out of nowhere, magic happened. My Dad started coming to me in my dreams. Then he started showing up in places unexpected. He would talk to me in my mind’s eye. His death opened me up to a whole “psychic/medium” world I didn’t even know could exist for me. Then I would have flashbacks of my childhood when I had moments when I saw energy or dark matter or encountered a spirit that wasn’t familiar, which told me I was open to it, but never fully understood it at a young age. My Dad’s death super launched me into a metaphysical world that has enhanced my spiritual journey and put me on a path of life changing discoveries and THE MOST engaging relationships.
The Universe doesn’t look the same to me anymore. My entire world has shifted and I’ve become more in touch with myself and my abilities than ever before.
Once again, Death has taught me to be authentic and honor my true intuitive self. This is how I’ve always been, but it took Death to remind me of that.
Knowing the gifts that Death means to bring, doesn’t make the loss any less hard or less tragic, but I have more of an appreciation of it than I did before. Death has taught me how to live. Death has taught me how to love deeper. Death has taught me how to be OVERjoyed instead of just plain joy. Death has taught me that you never know when it will come, so make the most out of every second of every day. Live your life as authentically as possible, because being anything else is a waste of time.
Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. This used to be my curse and now it’s my greatest strength. My heart is so deep and wide. I have the ability to love all and love hard. I also have the ability to tap into the source and Spirit messages meant for others when they need it at the time they need it through meditation, journeying, and cards. I can sense extreme joy and extreme sadness in those I’ve made connections with at any point in my lifetime, so I can share or carry either emotion for and with them. I believe strongly in people, especially women, and their ability to get through ANY struggles in their life, so I’m really good at convincing people why they should believe in themselves too.
Making logical sense out of the illogical experiences. I often pull the card “Surrender” from my affirmation deck because I struggle with making sense out of the senseless. This is a huge lesson for me to learn, to let go, have faith and trust what I can’t control or foresee. I continue to need to learn this lesson, but I have faith I will eventually get there.
I start every morning with pulling an affirmation card, asking Spirit what message I need for the day. Depending on my own energy at the time, I will do meditations to check in to my chakras to see what I’m lacking or needing to feel whole and complete again. I’ve started the practice of building seasonal alters. This has been a great reminder of the ebb and flow of the seasons and how it affects me energetically and emotionally.
Whenever I start a new art project, I make sure to cleanse my art space and tools. I like to start clean because I never know what kinds of messages or emotions will come out in the art I share, and I want it to be as pure and genuine as possible. Depending on what I’m sensing my space needs, sometimes I will rattle or drum over my workspace to shake up the energy or breathe new life into the space. When I create, it’s always in spurts. I may draw or doodle everyday, but I don’t do paintings/collages every day. I wish I could, but I’m not moved to do so. When I get moved to create, I will be at it like a crazy woman for hours into the night. Then I have 6-8 pieces done, and then I create nothing for like a month. The whole process is fascinating to me, but it manages to feed my soul and mirror the ebb and flow in my life.
When I need further clarity in my own life, I have a group of incredible sisters I call upon. They graciously share their gifts of intuition and wisdom to help me see what I’m obviously missing. Their addition to my processing enriches my experience more than just me alone and I am forever grateful that they are in my life.
I also enjoy taking nature walks. Often times, signs will show up in nature that will show me the animal or plant medicine I need at that moment.
The biggest thing I’ve done this past year in terms of spiritual practice, is to include my eldest in what I do and encourage him to do this for himself. I started his 9th birthday with an early morning blessing ritual. I taught him how to build his own altar space, cleanse his own spiritual tools, pay attention to signs in nature when needing advice, and encourage him to listen to his solar plexus. Watching him discover his inner intuition and listening to him while he shares the conversation he has with the spirits of the land validates for me that I’m doing right by him and the spiritual journey he is blessed to have at such a young age.
To me, being a Priestess in this world means being authentic, showing up to live every day as authentically as possible, being open to whatever the Universe is willing to throw your way, choosing to live wholeheartedly, and healing everyone who seeks it.
My heart is full, my mind’s eye is open, and my hands are ready to bring some form of healing to whoever the Universe puts in my path.
Kelly K. Mackura is a mother, wife, mixed media artist, and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She is a life & art coach for women and currently studying Reiki.
Though she be little, she is fierce and truly living an extraordinary life.
Kelly is truly a healer. Her spirit shines in the world, and I am so grateful to know her.
If you’ve been searching for an incredible group of sisters to support you on your journey, join Priestess Training.
This post originally appeared on vanessasage.com in 2015