Posts in Extended Reflections
Gestation - A Journal Entry

Be exalted O God above the nations;
Be exalted above the heavens
above the moon and the stars
which You have ordained:
Be Glorified above all.
When I consider the work of Your hands
who am I
that You are
mindful of me?
I search
day and night
and my troubles are always before me
for I am torn
two worlds:
the Celestial
and Chthonic
for my house
in Gemini.
Have mercy upon me, O God
and teach me Your ways
that I might know Your Truth.
For even now,
my soul is among the lions;
I lie among the sons of men.
But you, O Lord
have Ordained Strength
because of Your lovingkindness.
Reach down Your hand upon me
and still my mind
as you still the waves of the seas.
Clear a path for me
and guide me with Your eye
that I might know your ways
and walk upright in righteousness.
Teach me your ways, O God
that I might praise You.
Grant unto me
Your Holy Wisdom
that I might glorify You.
Praise the Lord among the nations
Praise Him all you His hosts:
Let everything
that has breath
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord.

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I am gestating.

In the Spring, I will begin a 6 month journey into a Holy Rite, about which I’m still unsure how much I should share. The Journey includes 6 months of rigorous prayers, recitations, fasting and seclusion from society.

I am currently and already in the process of preparing for the Rite, and I have found myself twiddling my thumbs, unsure of where to focus my energy in the meantime. I seek Truth but have lately found myself spinning in circles, waiting for Passover to come.

The Full Moon is tomorrow, after which most of my Magic will cease until the New Moon, but even then, Mercury will be in retrograde until the end of March, which puts further restrictions on my Magical practice. Presumably, after I finish the 6 month Rite, I will no longer be obligated to planetary correspondences, but in the meantime, I’m trying to follow everything by the book (by the book I mean, the protocols of Solomonic Magic).

I suppose I’m really just writing this entry for myself as I try and process how to proceed before April 20, though perhaps the abstracted concepts of waiting and gestation will resonate with you, Dear Reader, as well.

On a surface-conscious-level, I want everything to happen over night though I know deep within that mastery takes time and struggle. Sometimes, the very thought of knowing my Initiation will not happen over night brings me into a state of paralysis, where I just want to reach for my phone and give up any agency I currently have.

Pray for me, Reader that I might have mental clarity and focus in the days leading up to the Rite, and I too will pray for you that you also might find mental clarity and focus as you strive towards your goals.

Let us not throw up our hands & give up our agency,
for at the center of the spinning wheel
resides a stable spoke.

↺ Amanda ⟲
HTX Oracle

Stormy Weather

Day 2 of my trip, and I am in Mississippi. Every time I’m in Mississippi, something weird happens. Accordingly, I find myself a little on edge tonight. Afraid of the dark, the unknown, that which presumably hides just beyond the beam of light.


My past experiences inform my current interpretation of reality, and my interpretation of Mississippi is: shit gets weird. Look out.

I know I am safe in my cabin, so I lock myself in with a clear view of the door. Fear is funny that way, the way it dictates our behaviors and assumptions.

The reality that exists outside of my fears is: there are infinite circumstances out of my control. Worrying beyond a certain level of precaution becomes irrational, a spiraling cloud gathering all other thoughts into its vortex.

I know, rationally, there is a reality apart from the cloud of fear. Many meditation teachers call this reality, the blue sky. Our thoughts are like clouds that come, go, change over time and dissipate. We need not take our thoughts so seriously, but rather, remember the blue sky, remember a reality that exists outside of our limiting interpretations of reality.

Even if our interpretation of reality is rooted in some realness: my past experiences in Mississippi have been weird as fuck, so my survival brain reacts accordingly: protect, be aware. But I must also remember the blue sky.

I could spend my whole life living in fear, caught up in clouds that seem real, but these cloud-like thoughts are just that: coming, going, changing over time and eventually, dissipate.

I know I am safe tonight, and I’m sure I will sleep well, but there’s a lesson in the experience: our current interpretation of reality may be based on past experiences. My anxiety comes from my past weird experiences in Mississippi, and this feeling is natural, an animalistic instinct for self-preservation. However, if I were to live my whole life in fear based on two or three strange encounters, then I am just limiting myself. There exists an Infinite, big beautiful blue sky, and if I get too focused on the clouds (fear, anxiety, the need for self-preservation), then I miss out on the greatness of the present moment, and only there can one find true peace.

Good night, lovers. 

Faith, Hope and Free Dessert

by: Amanda Kay Holstien, Sr.

Today is my first day on the road. I'm heading how to Texas and Louisiana to do 2 weeks of shows (come check them out & say hi!). 

I'm sitting in a cabin with my dog in Virginia, smoking a spliff (naturally). 

Sometimes it feels like my life is a dream - everything that has come together to bring me to this place here, now: the death of my father, my divorce, moving to New York on my own. Sometimes it feels like my life has already been written. Sometimes it feels like I'm the one who writes it. 

I'm turning 30 this month, which is significant in some symbolic way. Age is ultimately an arbitrary number used for measuring and categorization, but if that age ends in a zero, it somehow feels significant. I'm not bothered about turning 30. In some way, I've always felt like an old soul - studying the Bible instead of going to parties in high school. 

I don't believe in God in the same way I used to believe in God. I now believe that God or the Universe or Whatever is much bigger than our limited consciousness allows us to imagine. If there does exist some Divine Good far larger than the Universe itself, then surely that Infinite Being is much more complex than the dogma & rules we ascribe to It.

What I do believe is the Universe is inherently good. I can't explain in some analytic, logical way why or how evil exists if the Universe is inherently good, but I do know that with every struggle comes an opportunity for growth. With every road block and time things don't go perfectly, there also exists a chance to gain wisdom, insight and gain a deeper insight into the beautiful complexity that it is to exist.

It has taken an immense amount of faith to bring me to this cabin with my blind dog, smoking a spliff, but I have come to trust that the Universe is on my side the more I seek goodness, truth and authenticity. I'm aware what I'm saying might come off as hoakey or like Oprah's episode about The Secret, but stay with me as I explain.

Think about it this way: reality exists outside of our interpretation of it. For example: Let's say I am with a friend at lunch. At the end of our meal, the waiter brings us a free dessert. My friend loves dessert, and is thrilled at the blessing of chocolate cake without a fee. On the other hand, I am upset by the free cake because I am on a diet and the cake is a temptation for me, and if I eat it, I will gain weight and thus be unlovable (or something like that). The reality that exists outside of our interpretations is: the free cake given to us. In this situation, my friend and I have two totally different ways of interpreting the same reality: my friend is positive and grateful, while I am annoyed and riddled with anxiety.

Reality exists outside of our interpretation of it. There are multiple ways for us to interpret any given scenario of our lives: positively, negatively or with indifference. Ultimately, however, we have a choice on our interpretation. 

I recently decided to get rid of most my shit, buy a car to go on the road, tell jokes, sell art & smoke spliffs. After breaking up with my boyfriend, I was faced with many ways to interpret my life: who am I and what do I want for my life? I could choose to live in fear and play it safe, or I could choose to take a leap of faith and believe that the Universe is on my side.

What do I have to lose?

Since deciding to make the move & go on the road, so much goodness has come into my life. I've been booking a shit ton of road shows. Friends have offered me rooms and couches to sleep on. I've sold art. I've made money doing standup. 

It reminds me of the teaching of Jesus from the book of Matthew: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."

Putting aside gender being ascribed to an Infinite Being, I can still find a valuable interpretation of this teaching: seek goodness first and goodness will follow. Inevitably, things will go wrong, but inevitable things will also go right. I can interpret the world with negativity and anxiety while living in fear and doubt, or I can have faith and seek goodness, truth, honesty and authenticity.

There are multiple ways for me to interpret this moment in a cabin smoking a spliff with my blind dog, and there are multiple ways for me to see my future. I am not destined for a life that is out of my control. I will not sit passively by and just let life happen to me. Rather, I choose to have faith and trust that God or the Universe or Nature is inherently on my side. After all, I know that I have made it this far in my life through my 20s: through a divorce, the death of my father, moving to New York. I've made it this far and have come out stronger and wiser at the other end. Struggle is inevitable, but with every struggle is a blessing, and I will choose to be grateful for the free cake. 

My Flashlight
amanda holstien philosophy

I realized my flashlight was actually blinding me from seeing what was beyond its stretch of beam. My flashlight only allowed me to see that which was in its light and blinded me from that which was outside it. My flashlight made the dark, darker.

As much as we believe in certain truths about the world, often times, these truths are not the full story. Our truths are informed by our experiences, but these truths are only one way of interpreting the world. We get within a limited box of beliefs about the world and who we are, and we miss out on the opportunity to see the world more broadly, calmly, with a clearer awareness. If we let go of out limiting assumptions, we are opening our eyes to that which lies outside the beams of the flashlight.

Though flashlights serve a purpose, when I turned off my flashlight, I was able to see the stars.