This is the first post from my new photography project or Magic Practitioners. I’ve been part of a pagan community for many years, and it’s wonderful to have a safe space where people can explore faith, belief, ritual, connection to nature, and find support. There are many practices that are shared, but the main idea of paganism is that everyone is encouraged to find their own beliefs and define their own practice. It has been a big part of my life, and I have discovered many things about myself and felt emboldened to express myself by people I love. I wanted to do a project exploring what magic means to people, and I didn’t want to limit it to just pagans, and I believe magic is something that can be shared without boundaries.
I always like to sit down with the people I photograph at the beginning of their shoot and talk about what they’d like to focus on; what changes they’re going through, what personal strengths they draw from, and anything they want to reflect on. I always ask them what intentions they want to set for the photo shoot. In paganism, magic is all about setting your intentions, and photo shoots have always been a kind of ritual for me. I think this format works really well for this project, and I think it lead organically to the idea for this project.
When I sat down with Sarah Joy before this shoot, we talked about what intentions to set for the photo shoot and how magic is part of our day-to-day lives. She comes from a conservative family and hetero-normative culture that aren’t accepting of her magic practices and personal expression, and she’s in a state of transition in a lot of ways. Magic is all about intuition, and I really admire her for following hers and making her own way. Magic can make you feel powerful, but it’s also about feeling connected. Practicing magic is often playful, and that’s something we included in our photo shoot a lot.
We also talked about gender. In a lot of magic practices, for example in my experience of paganism, there is a divine feminine and a divine masculine. Both exist in nature, and people and connect to and express aspects of both. Divine femininity and masculinity are very different from the stereotypical ideas of gender in mainstream culture. I’ve always found that when I tried to fit myself into conventional ideas of femininity, I feel constrained. It doesn’t make sense to try and fit lots of different aspects of yourself into such narrow ideas, people need room to change, over time and also day to day. Sarah Joy and I talked about how channeling divine femininity has been a source of strength. The moon and various goddesses are associated with divine femininity, and Sarah Joy and I invoked both in our ritual at the beginning of the shoot.
We bonded over how important clear communication is to us, and how frustrating it is when people don’t have logic or consistency in their communication. It’s so important to have consent with friends, family, and partners, and when people are inconsistent and don’t consider their own subjectivity, it creates such a block. Words are powerful, and it’s so toxic when people refuse to acknowledge the meaning of what you say. Magic is all about intention and about creating a direct flow, and it can be a powerful healing force.
We talked about how she’s transitioning to a new phase of being an adult where she has more consistency and more agency. She’s starting to build a business with her healing practices called Awaken Divination (a link is available below). She provides life coaching including Tarot readings, in-depth consultations about career and relationship issues, dream interpretation, and more! I’m really inspired by her work and her determination.
You can see her amazing website here: Awakendivination.com
You can also follow her on Instagram: @awakendivination