Column: The Crafting of a Life

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[Guest voices are a key part of The Wild Hunt’s mission. Today we welcome Katrina Messenger. Katrina is a certified archetypal and dream pattern analyst. As a Wiccan mystic, she works extensively with mythology, dreams, ritual and trance as a means of self exploration, self healing and self evolution. She believes that any attempt to change the external world must be paired with the inner work of a personal spiritual practice. If you enjoy her work and reading other guest writings, consider donating to The Wild Hunt, and when you do let us know if about other voices you’d like to see here.]


The world is changing. It is undergoing tremendous change, upheaval, growth, chaos, evolution and decay. It is a time of immense transformation. And what if you are a mystic — a mystic and a witch? What is the role of a mystic during such a madness? And what exactly do mystics do?

The last one is actually the question that I get most often. It is a fair question, I suppose, but I have no idea what mystics do. I only know what I do.

And this mystic begins her day by noticing the quality of the light. Sometimes I do it from my bed, noticing the reflections on the walls or the shelves but mostly on my books which are everywhere.

[Photo Credit: smilla4 / Flickr]

[Photo Credit: smilla4 / Flickr]

I tend to inhabit at least two worlds at once, because to paraphrase Marie Louise Von Franz, “When you pay attention to your dreams, your waking world takes on the character of dreams.” And for me this means that I dream while I am awake. My waking world is filled with symbols, images, patterns, messages and meaning, and my challenge as a mystic is to experience each of them as deeply and sincerely as I can.

When I first come downstairs, I sometimes briefly open the door just to look out at the world. I notice the colors of the trees, the bushes, the flowers, the squirrels, the birds, and any late-returning raccoons or possums wobbling back to their urban hiding places. If it is warm, I leave the door open so I can swim in the sounds of the city/forest.

Besides seeking to return to source, most mystics on the surface play vastly different roles. Depending on the theology of their faith tradition, our practices may vary as well. But nowadays what was once considered mystical practices, texts and teaching can be had for a few shekels on Amazon. What distinguishes mystics from others is that as we climb up the middle pillar, we tend to all have a consensus on what is within the human heart and what is true about the world we inhabit. We all tend to be just a little off, a little uncanny — okay we tend to become crazed in our joy, compassion and grief.

When I am relatively healthy, I can be found dancing within blowing leaves, or having animated discussions with stones. My recent pain levels keep me mostly home bound, but I can still hold a vigorous debate with the local squirrels. And I have been known to snatch an intrusion off a stranger or two as I walk by. Just cleaning up the local flora I say.

The phone rings.  “Katrina, do you have a moment?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“I don’t know why, but at this very moment everything seems like it is too much for me. I have been crying for no good reason. Why is my life such a mess?”

“Okay. So tell me what in your life is such a mess?”

And I listen. I am listening at multiple levels. What is said, what is felt, what flies past my door, the sounds of the birds, and trucks, the smell of the flowers and empty stoves.

“So tell me again what is such a mess?”

“Well, now that I have walked through everything…I have a lot on my plate, but nothing is actually a mess.”

“Hmmm, I think you forget sometimes that you are an empath.”

“Oh yeah.  So what I am feeling is….?”

“The collective soul of this city I think. We are in the nation’s capital, after all.”

I see his energy brighten as the cardinal lands on the railing. He is relived.

Now is time for some tea. I am not sure, but I think tea must have been invented by a mystic. It is the glue that holds me together. My students always check the state of my tea cup as they enter. “Greetings, teacher. Do you need some tea?”

[Photo Credit: jennlynndesign / Flickr]

[Photo Credit: jennlynndesign / Flickr]

I scan the news, the memes, the personal revelations, the jokes and even the contributions of the trolls. All of this input feeds into the flow of sounds, images, emotions, smells and body sensations. Most of us project our internal conflicts on to the world, finding suitable vessels for all our unconscious content. Empaths introject the miasma of the world inside of themselves and become infected with the madness. Mystics rely on their inner state to help them comprehend patterns in the world, and then work with these patterns within the flow of stimulus flowing in from the world all around them. The tree becomes the survivor, the truck the interloper, the crow becomes the messenger and the clouds are the bystanders.

I have refereed discussions between oil and water, the desert and the clouds, and the indigenous and the colonizer. “Where are our agreements”, I ask of fire and trees. And sometimes, as I work with my clients, I can calm a storm a thousand miles away.

“I am sitting on a wall at the edge of the cemetery. The maitre’d promises that my spot will be available very soon.”

My client looks uncomfortable with the imagery of this dream. I am uncomfortable as well. I cannot clearly see her face; it is occluded somehow.

“So what do you think it means?”

“I am not sure, that is why I brought it to you.”

“Well we know that a cemetery is where we bury our dead.”


“So dreams often begin by setting the domain of the image, so here your dreaming self is saying we are in the place where we bury what is no longer alive.”

She looks at the floor. Her eyes are glistening. “Does this mean I am going to die?”

“No. What it is saying is that you are not actually living. You are waiting to be buried.”

She wipes her eyes. “But I do not want to be buried.”

“Good.” We then discuss ways to actually engage with life on its own terms.

The whole time as I energetically hold her I am also gently rocking the families of fallen. We are sitting in my living room but we are also inside a great temple, a mosque, a church and a synagogue. As the voices are raised in song, she begins to slowly swing her feet in rhythm to the silent hymns.

Slowly her face is revealed to me. Whatever was blocking her is lifting just enough, and her spark is slightly more pronounced. This is why she returns. For now, I am her link to life. Later she will reconnect on her own. I hug her as she leaves. I see her stepping into the flow of life as the sound of her car blends into the gentle cacophony of my street.

All of the images, symbols and insights influence my teachings, writings and workings. My workings are somewhat sympathetic. When you swim inside the ethereal, thought forms have substance; I can manipulate them directly.

“I need more tea.”

As I pour the water into the kettle it becomes a waterfall and all the downstream waters are being fed by this new source of clean water. I am pushing the pollutants toward the soil that can reclaim it, transform it … over time.  “Oh Mother Gaia…” and the kettle is full.

I open the back door as the birds scatter from the nest in the awning. I can smell the honeysuckle wafting on the breeze. Sweetness comes in over the mountains bringing relief to the grief stricken families. Memories of their loved ones from better times, as I reach for the almost-empty honey jar. I scrape out what I can into my mug.

The kettle water is warm enough, I think, to melt the remaining honey bits. As I swirl the jar in one hand, I reach for the cap, and it happens. The jar explodes in my hand. There are shards, glass shards, everywhere. I am extremely startled. I quickly drop the shards from my hands into the rubbish and rush to the living room.

[Photo Credit:]

[Photo Credit:]

I pick up the tablet, and it is another man down. “No, no, no…” I let the tablet fall into the chair and I rush to the front door. I do not open it. Instead I press my crown into the hard wood. They have killed another black man. I can feel a wail in my chest slowly working its way up. Tears are pouring from my eyes and the entire world is spinning out of control.

Slowly I notice that a sound that was present is now gone. The kettle, the water is now hot. I slowly stumble toward the kitchen. There is broken glass everywhere. “Everything is broken and falling apart.” The wail is still rising. I grab the broom and sweep up the glass. I push the glass on the counter into the trash can.

I put the teabag in and reach for the new jar of honey. I pour a bit more honey and then the hot water into my mug. I lift the mug with my right hand, using my left to hit the timer and then the light switch. I step over the threshold, and very deliberately place my mug on the table next to my chair.

Sitting sideways I rest my head on the back cushion. In my mind’s eye, the face of current victim morphs into my younger brother, then my older brother…black men dying on the city streets. I see my brother Winfard’s face as the blood pools around him. And I am losing ground… I see my youngest brother and the fear clogs my throat. I see my nephews and their sons, uncles and friends…and then I see Sandra Bland and it is my blessed niece’s face that takes my breath away. I see my cousins, and their precious children and all the grandchildren…and I am falling. All of them, every single one of them is in danger of being murdered. I see all of them, one by one, bleeding on the asphalt with no one to hold them, to keep them safe, to comfort them… and the darkness reaches for me.

I know I need help; I am too far down. The wailing begins, I am screaming in pain, agony, rage and fear. I silently call to my patrons. I call them by name, by blood, by skin color and symbol, and they rush toward me.

We got you, sister. We got you, daughter. We got you, honey. We got you, Kathy. We got you. And I can feel them holding on as the darkness swallows me. At some point, I am only breathing. They are holding on to me, keeping me from slipping away.

And so I breathe, and for a long time, it is only the sound of my breath. Then almost imperceptibly I realize that I can actually sense the entire room breathing, then the entire house, the entire block, and soon the entire city. As I continue, I am breathing with the entire eastern seaboard, the eastern half of the U.S., the whole country, adding in both Canada and Mexico, adding both Central and South America, and finally the world. Then I am breathing with the moon, the inner planets, with Mars, the sun, the entire solar system, the arm of the Milky Way, the galaxy, ’til all of the known is breathing, in and out.

Slowly it begins to pull back until it is just my house, my room and then just me still being held within a loving embrace and breathing. I slowly open my eyes and I am back. I wipe my face and blow my nose. I notice the wisps of steam from my mug. I smile slightly and take a sip. Delicious.

There is a knock at the door. I open it smiling with my entire body.

“Katrina, Hey!”

“Come on in, welcome.  Would you like some tea?”

And the work of this mystic continues once again.


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The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.