Maeanna Welti & the Healing Wheel
TOTTO had the great pleasure of interviewing queer witch, priestess, astrologer, tarot reader, musician, writer and healer Maeanna Welti. She’s an Olympia Washington resident and Blue Iris School graduate, having been educated in elemental magic, psychic skills, ritual planning, priestessing, and working with the seasons.
I spoke with Maeanna specifically about her newest workbook (which you can purchase here), entitled, “The Healing Wheel: Samhain to Samhain.” I first was given this book by a dear friend who also was beginning to work with its intentional year-crafting. Samhain (pronounced “SAh-win") begins today, October 31st, and lasts until the night of November 1st. It marks the end of the harvest season, and a time of moving inwards. We take comfort and time for contemplation by the warmth of the fire. Plants and trees take their long sleep. This is the time when the veil between worlds is its thinnest. A moment to access deep firsthand wisdom from ancestors and guides alike. And though this is a natural season of stillness and reverence, it’s not without celebration and festivities.
The Healing Wheel workbook offers users the chance to further deepen our understanding of personal development throughout the year, all while gaining new awarenesses of our individual and collective magic, in an inclusive and conscious space. As Maeanna words it,
“This workbook goes through the Wheel of the Year, the system of eight holidays based in old ancestral European wisdom. These ancestors believed that if we failed to turn the wheel, the Earth would fall out of balance. This workbook is a call to come back into balance, to bring ourselves individually into alignment with the seasons and rhythms of the Earth, to work with the seasons for our personal healing, and to have our personal healing and balance contribute directly to our collective healing and balance.”
TOTTO Journal: When did you know you were a witch?
MEANNA WELTI: I don't know that I knew I was a witch until I started studying witchcraft. But I knew I wanted to be a witch from a pretty young age. I know that I always used to fantasize about having magic powers, in the obvious ways you might expect, but also in more spiritual ways. I dreamed of being able to hear spirits, feel animals near by, know how energy was moving. I'm sure that for the most part, my imaginings were quite elaborate and dramatic, but I recognize now that I have always yearned for the experience of being in my senses fully and feeling fully connected to what is subtle, liminal, and beyond the veil.
TJ: How did this effect you or impact you as a young person?
MW: I spent a lot of time in my own little world when I was a kid. I went between my parents' houses and changed schools a lot, so I didn't consistently have friends my age to interact with. I was pretty private and dreamy. I spent a lot of time watching animals and dreaming of having deep, psychically connected relationships with them. I read a lot. I drew lots of pictures of spiders and elfin creatures. I was raised without TV, and I think that this combined with my sensitivity made it sometimes very hard for me to feel like I was on enough of a similar wavelength with other kids my age. I was easily stressed and overwhelmed by the things that other kids seemed to find entertaining. I talked about things in ways that other kids found strange and hard to relate to.
TJ: As the wheel of each year turns, it seems that the world is becoming more and more transparent and vulnerable. In what way do you keep yourself from being overwhelmed?
MW: My practices that keep me magically connected are often the same things that allow me to navigate the world. (I also have a lot of privilege, which makes it easier to allocate time and resources to my self care.) In addition to making sure that I have good psychic hygiene, I try to always practice my magic well- with good manners, clear intentions, and right protections. I ask my guides often for feedback about how I am practicing and try to not cut corners or do unnecessary things. I also limit how much unnecessary external stimuli I allow in. I am not on Facebook and I try to limit my time on instagram. I watch very few shows or movies. At the same time, I do active work to build my emotional stamina. Dealing with overwhelm is not just about controlling intake, but having the capacity for presence with what legitimately needs our attention. I choose to consciously engage with what I want to give my attention to, and I use practices like grounding, getting bigger, anchoring to my center, and connecting to my guides to help me be intentionally, powerfully present, and to be resourced for that presence, while also choosing to not knowingly engage with things that will drain my energy to no purpose. I am lucky to have a partner who has challenged me around my privilege and sensitivity, and I am learning that an empowered stance around being extremely sensitive is not one of constant protection and defense. These senses are for something. They are a gift. Yes, they need protection, but they are also needed and want to be used to shape my offering.
TJ: Is there everyday magic that anyone could apply to their lives to be further in tune with the yearly seasons?
MW: Be in your senses! Magic is real and we perceive, experience it and work it through our senses and our bodies. If nothing else, notice the seasons. Sense the movement of the Earth. Build altars as a way of engaging your body and space in connection with the work the Earth and spirits are doing. Tend your altars and leave offerings to the land and your spirit guides. These things are simple and relationship building, which is the most important thing about both working magically and healing our relationship with the Earth.
TJ: What do you feel was the most challenging portion in creating this workbook?
MW: This workbook is focused on building capacity. It is a call to all of us to build the stamina for real presence. To help us come further into our sensitivities so that we can be more powerfully, fully, freely engaged with the change the world needs. It demanded much more presence from me than it ever has. That's the nature of magic. Whatever we are bringing through we have to work or allow to work on us. This edition of the work book is about twice as long as previous editions, which meant that writing it took much longer than in the past. But the process was also different because I had to be more emotionally involved in what I was writing, and more thorough. I rewrote the introduction until I was not in my brain. I kept engaging with it until I was so open to what was trying to come through me that I was weeping as I wrote. Being in my brain, however well trained it is, was not going to satisfy what the work needed. I got so far out of my brain that I couldn't remember much of what I had written, which resulted in a lot of anxiety when I wasn't writing, because my fear told me it was probably all rubbish. I had very little way to gauge how the process was going unless I was actively in it.
Another theme of the workbook this year is embodiment. We are being asked to bring our magic into our human lives. I found the needs of my body harder to ignore while writing. This often meant that I couldn't write for as long in one sitting, and that I had to more consciously use physical engagement to help the words flow. I also was responding to a call to make myself more visible, which has always been hard for me, and to more directly address issues like racism that I am afraid of making mistakes about. This edition challenged me to repeatedly step out of my comfort zone, both in the writing and promoting of the work.
TJ: How can those who use this workbook challenge themselves in a personal, safe and healthy way?
MW: Use good practices. Have a balance between pushing yourself and nourishing yourself and resting. Question where you perceive your limits to be, but also trust them. If stuff is getting seriously rattled for you, don't continue without making sure you have adequate support. Magic builds on itself. It's ok to do what you can. It's more important to be able to actually integrate what it is you do engage with than it is to do everything. If you can, I highly recommend finding someone else who is working the book to check in with. There is a page on my website just for folks working the book. It will hopefully offer some support to folks who may not have community around this work. Most of all, tend the foundational pieces: ground, listen to your body, listen to your intuition. If you don't have those tools already, there is a section at the beginning that covers these building blocks.