I am from Kentucky and there is an unwritten but understood practice that if you leave there, you can come back but no one is going to know what to do with you when you do. The people I grew up around were so accustomed to living and dying around one another that the idea of leaving was too foreign to consider. Sure, you might fantasize about traveling the world and you might even do a stint in the military or go elsewhere on vacation, but there is a window of return and if you miss it, you will forevermore be an outsider. It is not intentional or malicious and no one means ill by it. It is just how things are. I left Kentucky in 1978 and I could go home today and live out the rest of my life in the exact town where I was raised and I would likely never again completely be back in the club, so to speak.
My parents and grandparents are all dead. My brothers are estranged. My aunts, uncles, and cousins love me to pieces and I love them right back, but when it comes to it, we don’t know one another all that well. My mother went to her grave believing it was a joke that I was a Witch (“Oh Kathy, why do you talk that way? You know that stuff isn’t real.”). An aunt of mine was bold enough a few years back to ask, “You’re not really into that Witchcraft stuff, are you?” The conversation was divinely uncomfortable for both of us and I still don’t think I scored any points. Some cousins unfriended me on social media when my books were published and for others, I stayed their sweetest and best-kept secret.
There were several times in almost forty-two years since I left home that I could have gone back and reassimilated, not the least of which was after my divorce (for those who know him, the divorce was not from Eric, but from my first husband). My life would have been significantly different had I done so. I now live in Grizzly Flats, California and it is the longest I have lived anywhere. As a military wife of not one, but two US Air Force guys, I traveled a great deal, pulling up stakes every few years to go where Uncle Sam demanded. I spent more time as a dependent wife than either of my husbands spent as military members. When my second husband and I put down roots after he left the military, we landed in the mountains of Central California and before we knew it, our many children were adults and sixteen years had passed. So now, this is home. The concept of “home” sure can change as time passes.
Then There Are Internet Homes…
A little known fact about Katrina: I was one of the first bloggers on the internet who wrote about their personal life, back before the average person had Livejournal or MySpace. In the olden days when the earth was cooling and dinosaurs were the top of the food chain, I owned and operated one of the top five websites on the internet that covered ABC Daytime Drama. Yep, soap operas. I hired eleven highly literate writers who wrote commentary columns for me each week and we were the first website to focus specifically on commentary rather than spoilers and news. Other sites had a commentary column tucked into their site content somewhere, but we were almost exclusively commentary. Now and then, I would interject comments about my own life into the articles I wrote and over time, people asked more about my life than they did about the soaps. This led to the birth of “The Non-Soapy Journal,” which was my off-topic personal blog before the word “blog” existed. Back then, it was “online journalism” or “articles” or “columns.”
In early 2015, I was honored when Christine Hoff Kraemer brought me on to write for Patheos Pagan. It was a weird time in my life with many significant transitions for me. I had just published my first wave of books in 2013 and very quickly, Energy Magic, for which this blog was originally named, hit #1 on Amazon in the category of Neopaganism. A few months before in late 2014, I opened my metaphysical store, Botánica de La Reina, in Roseville, California. At that same time, some of my friends and I started North Western Circles Association, which hosted the first Pan Gaia Festival in June 2015. I published book one of my eight books fictional series, Seven Sisters of Avalon, in 2013 as well. When I began writing for Patheos Pagan, I was also eighteen years into running a thriving circle and two of my six children still lived at home. When I look back on that time now, there was so much going on that I am not sure how I kept all the cats I juggled in the air.
I left Patheos Pagan in September of 2015, so my time here was less than a year. This was the last blog I wrote in regularly and blogging sort of faded away after I left. I left for a few reasons, all excellent. Not only was my own life going into overdrive, but the management at Patheos Pagan changed and I no longer felt like I was a good fit. I did not feel like I could produce quality writing with my limited availability. I was trapped in the rather limited category of “Energy Magic,” which was great since it honored my first published book but constrained because it did not aptly represent who I was or what I did. By the time I left, I felt like if one more person schooled me on the true origins of a sabbat, I was going to grab my athame and come out slicing and dicing.
[Insert important schooling about how “Actually, athames should always be dulled blades…”]
I wanted to talk and share and discuss, not argue so when everything that came off my keyboard at that time was met with the dreaded academic “Actually…” I knew it was time to jam. I simply had no time for it anymore. Worse, I didn’t care. I had chronic headaches from rolling my eyes.
Full Circle by Serendipity
Fast-forward to the 2018 Eight Winds Retreat. Yes, 2018. July. I don’t camp. Ever. I went to the ADF Eight Winds to remind myself that I don’t camp. Message received. My point is that it was bizarre for me to be in any kind of camping situation and yet there I was and as a result, here I am today. Jason Mankey and I had several excellent conversations at the retreat and sometime later, he asked if I had any interest in returning to Patheos Pagan. Do you know? I found that I did. The wheels of Patheos turning as they do, I got a yellow light from Jason in December of 2019 and a green light this week, so here we are.
The blog is still a work in progress. Jason says the URL will eventually change, as will the “Energy Magic” title. The actual title of this blog (which you can see in the browser tab) reflects who I am now which is “Witch at the Crossroads.” If you come to this page in weeks (or months) to come and see the new title, it is still me. Progress has simply taken hold when that happens.
My full-time job is that I am a professional Witch for hire. I work magic on behalf of other people out of my shop in Shingle Springs, California. My husband and I own Crossroads Metaphysical Store which specializes in hand-crafted magical items. My husband, Eric, is a talented healer who specializes in the use of sound waves for healing, specifically through crystal and metal singing bowls. His sound bath meditations use eleven different singing bowls to construct binaural beats and harmonic energy patterns that clear and clean the chakras and auras.
My arena is a highly-developed version of the traditional limpia cleansings using sage, a variety of sacred sprays, egg-scrubbing, intuitive healing, Reiki, and brisk sweeping to remove attachments from the past, curses, hexes, crossings, entities, demons, and all kinds of critters that get lodged in our energetic systems. I also do spell-work for people, primarily through setting the lights (lighting and working fixed candles). We both teach classes at the shop and make the products we sell (oils, incenses, sprays, baths, powders, washes, dirts, salts, dusts, etc.). Other healers work out of our shop and we have specially selected vendors who also make their own magical products. I am honored that we get to live the dream most Pagans have of their craft becoming their livelihood.
PanGaia Festival is barreling into its sixth year and it just keeps getting better all the time. I just contracted my third book through Llewellyn Worldwide. This one is on healing from psychic attack. Additionally, I have more than thirty-five other books published. I actually lost count after thirty-five. I should likely look into actual numbers at some point, hmmm? My Amazon author page is linked here if you want to see what I have been up to since I last wrote for Patheos Pagan. I released the fifth book in the Avalon series in 2019 and I have three to go. Since I have to get the new Llewellyn book done and installment #5 was due in December, I am going to have to straight out George R. R. Martin this thing and publish it seriously late. Fortunately, I set my own due dates with the fiction. I just want to finish the series before I die. Life goals, you know?
At this phase of my life, I am a healer, a teacher, a store owner, an author, a festival director, a mom, a wife, a friend (I hope), a public speaker at various cons and festivals, and above all, a Witch. I worked as a Wiccan for seventeen years and in 1997, my husband and I created CUSP (Climbing Up the Spiral Pathway), a spiritual path for creating profound life changes through positive manifestation using the eight sabbats. Magic is not just something I do; I am it and it is me.
My focus with this blog is on what I call “primal witchcraft,” the hands-on, practical, “make stuff happen” magical work. My YouTube channel is also called “Witch at the Crossroads” and has several instructional videos posted and our shop has an online classroom here. Magic is a huge part of what I do every single day, so there is always something to write about and share. This post is a quick “by way of introduction” post before we hit the ground running with other blog entries.
I am grateful to Eight Winds for bringing me together with Jason to have that conversation a year and a half ago so I can be here writing for you again today. I am thankful that he is willing to take a chance on me and it feels great to come home again to something that I left under uneasy circumstances and to reclaim it in a positive way. Maybe we can go home again and Thomas Wolfe just lacked the resources to do it right.