A part of my life I don’t often share is my woo. It’s the part of me fascinated with tarot and psychic mediums and the many other esoteric ingredients floating around our cosmic blender.

This magickry has been going on for many centuries and is not considered woo at all in some circles. When I was growing up, however, psychic readings were true Area 51s and astrologers the people who hung their shingles next to palm readers in hokey tourist towns, hoping for a bite.

The world of woo has changed pretty radically in the past 10-20 years. Slowly, surely the occult has become less other, and today we have influencers and celebrities freely endorsing their preferred mediums and shamans. CEOs now take vision quests and share these experiences with their leadership teams. Certain astrologers and their kin have even become celebrities themselves. Practices that were once strictly supernatural have become… well, kinda super regular.

The shamanistas and mediums and channelers have always been my tribe. Even before I knew about them, they were mine. This made coming to other-worldly information in my mid-twenties not unlike coming home.

I’ve worked since then to lend my life meaning. To make spiritual sense of my experiences. Maybe some folks find life meaningful always, no matter what, but I’ve had to search for it. I’ve always felt pulled by something just beyond my line of sight. The something is as fascinating as a prism to me, as absorbing as a favorite daydream.

And you can’t see it. I can’t show it to you. Can’t point at it and say Look! Amazing things are over there! And here, inside me!

It’s been a wonderful journey, the searching, but it’s also had its downside. Over the years I’ve paid very close attention to all the information coming to me from astrological chart analyses and psychic readings and energy workers receiving input on my behalf from sources that are difficult to name. Much of it rang true, and much has steered me true. I’ve never regretted a single one of these interactions, but I have noticed one concerning side affect.

Every time someone told me of a tendency in me, a pattern I might live out, or made a prediction based on the stars, I took it as absolute truth. And these details stayed with me. I remembered them like my own DNA, started to base some of my decisions on them.

To be totally fair, none of these psychics or readers recommended I take all the information literally. In fact they each recommended I take what resonated with me and leave the rest. The trouble is I resonate rather easily. I even resonate off other people, feeling their feels and confusing these feels for my own. I’m like that glass that starts ringing from some ping in the distance without ever being touched.

So I couldn’t tell what really resonated, which meant that I couldn’t leave much of it behind. Through some of life’s tougher times I sought support through traditional means as well—therapists, a steady yoga practice. These methods were also profoundly helpful, but still the other details lingered, accreting into something like fatalism.

I kept waiting for these things to happen to me. I found myself watching primarily for them instead of watching what was actually happening in my life. The watching for over the watching what created a sort of tunnel vision I tried to justify with a hoped-for light at the end. Sadly, I was missing a whole lot of the here and now light spilling over me.

I was binding myself with the information intended to set me free.

And so I gave it all up for a while. I stopped searching for myself and the things I didn’t yet see. Maybe I even ran off the rails for a bit. Who’s to say? I can say that I did start listening to myself in clumsy, ass-backwards ways. Sometimes I had great advice for myself, and sometimes I was a spectacular saboteur. But that was okay too because I was starting to learn about the subtle waves in me, the different beaches. About who was talking and who was ready to listen.

I’m still just beginning this practice in the grand scheme of my life. I have drawn very few conclusions so far, and I’ve shed far more information than I’ve gained. Maybe this is the correct method, maybe it’s not. But screw correct. There is no correct, not really.

And a decade and half or so after beginning my search, I’m starting to get that the details for life are not so much in what is meant to be as in what we open up.