Want To Be A Witchy Healer But Grew Up In A Fundamentalist Home (Or Culture)?
Support for the Aspiring & Closet Good-Witches, Heathens, and Elders-In-Training Recovering From a Fucked-Up Childhood
“I thought I was done with that!”
That’s what I’ve heard over and over from dozens of clients over the past years.
If you’re on this page, then I’d guess that three things are true:
First, you grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home (or something like it).
Second, you are a healer.
Third, you are seeing how your childhood religious brainwashing is interfering with your ability to show up fully as a witchy healer (and also, to support yourself fully).
I mean, you see it so clearly. You’ve fully rejected the notions that humans should have dominion over the Earth, the madness of the ‘one true Church/God’, that good people go to heaven and bad people burn in hell for all time, that all humans are born filled with sin and need saving, that life is a struggle to endure, that women must submit to their husbands and also, homophobia.
But now you are more aware of how, despite your rejection and despite having moved towards a more non-dogmatic belief system, you are still held in patterns of fundamentalism including:
- rigidity of viewpoint,
- judgement of others who think and feel differently,
- Deep difficulty with self-compassion and forgiveness,
- Frequent and vicious blame and shame of selves and others etc.
- Ongoing self-doubt; looking to others for validation (of any/everything)
- Constant self-sacrifice or life-as-struggle with heaven as the (if you are good enough) reward upon death.
You say to yourself, “I thought I was done with that but here it all is yet again!”
The ideology might be different but the neurology is the same.
The content might be different but the context is the same.
The archetypes might be different but the architecture is the same.
You tried a lot of things to free yourself from this conditioning:
- therapists (and you’ve had some good ones),
- other healing work (e.g. energy work, bodywork/massage, acupuncture, workshops on healing and transformation etc.),
- ritual/ceremony (ayahuasca or other entheogens even perhaps),
- journalling, reading books, listening to podcasts,
- yoga and meditation.
But here you are.
You feel powerless, anger, grief, shame and keep wondering, “Now what? What else can I do? Will anything really make a difference? These patterns run so deep/are so ingrained!”
You want to know why, despite your rejection of your fundamentalist programming and all the (very good) work you’ve done to transform how you view the world, these painful/harmful patterns keep playing out in your life.
You want to solve this once and for all.
You feel an urgency that comes from three places:
Urgency #1: You’re getting older. Added to this is your stage of life. You’re not getting any younger and your recurring patterns are making you realize life is short and precious and it is time to step fully into your life’s work that you’ve been putting off. You yearn to bring your gifts into the world in a meaningful way that contributes to increased beauty, love, kindness and transformation.
Urgency #2: You want the pain of this fundamentalism to stop with you. You don’t want to pass it onto your kids, grandkids, friends or community. You feel ready to find peace (even if you never speak with or engage living family again).
Urgency #3: The world is on fire. Added to that is the state of the world: There is this increasing sense that the world is on fire and it’s now or never. You know you have a role to play in the current crisis. You are ready to be fully present and take action from a place of guidance, love, and inspiration.
To make it worse (and better!), now you are drawn to witchy, dirt-worshipping things.
You are a nature lover, a healer, a storyteller and writer, herbalist, sensitive social-justice warrior, an artist, energy worker, a medicine maker, a plant and animal whisperer, and devoted to working in collaboration with Spirit. Some nights you might even lie awake and imagine yourself as a wise elder to whom people come for guidance and support.
You want to be free to feel the backing of spirit and your ancestors as you fully express your witchy ways instead of being in the thrall of your inner fundamentalist.
My guess is you’d be thrilled to spend your days doing or being at least one of the following:
And so you are seeking someone with a similar background to help you disentangle and heal from the harmful aspects of your fundamentalist upbringing.
Hi! My name is Larisa Noonan.
Over the years of working with clients I’ve seen the lasting damage that a Christian fundamentalist upbringing can bring. Many of my clients have been stuck for a very long time, unable to make the changes they desire. In short, they’ve struggled and struggled “but so does everyone” they say. And then, one day, they realize that their upbringing still lies at the core of most of their suffering in this lifetime.
I also grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home.
Long story short, as a teenager, I abandoned all I’d been taught about ‘the world’ and went on a search for healing and to discover what was true for me. It was exciting and freeing initially.
Fast forward a decade or so and you’d find me walking a path of being a healer myself. From the outside, I’d done the hard work and freed myself from the pain of my fundamentalist upbringing. But, at the same time, I was in a place of extreme struggle, self-doubt, confusion, chronic pain, and anxiety. I just wanted to hide away forever as the fundamentalist programming of my childhood re-asserted itself in ways I could not have predicted or imagined.
- A deeply embedded and unconscious fear of losing myself to others led to me fully believing I never wanted to be married or have children – all of which were eventually shown to be complete distortions as, in truth, my heart’s deep desire was/is to be in a committed partnership and have children.
- Constant sabotage. Every time I started to gain traction in my work as a healer (started to have more people notice me/my work or to bring in more income), I would shut it down.
- Rejection of god and higher powers left me bereft of other-than-human support and guidance as well (and also unwilling/untrusting of human-humans to support me). I was on a hero’s journey and it was all up to me – to heal, to fix, to survive, to thrive – and if things weren’t working as I desired, then the fault was all mine.
Now, while I still have moments of self-doubt and struggle, the old programming no longer controls me.
I am free to follow the calling of Spirit and to help others also become free of the tendrils of fundamentalism that are keeping them stuck in struggle and pain. I know first-hand how painful and embedded these tendrils are.
I know as well, without doubt, that you also can become free of them so that you can do your witchy, healing work in a way that is healthy, nourishing, sustainable, and life-enhancing and doesn’t lead to burn-out.
My Work Might Be A Fit If You…
- are highly sensitive and/or empathic and want to ground these gifts in your life in a truly integrated and beneficial way;
- want to be (know you are) a bridge between earth/matter and spirit
- know that you are alive, in these times, for a reason and that your specific gifts/skills are needed. You are ready to claim, embody, and live your gifts/purpose in a much bigger way.
- allow yourself to be touched deeply by the beauty of the earth – by the feel of sun on your face, the sound of the wind in the trees, seeing a flower opening…
- crave a very grounded, embodied, practical approach to ritual/ceremony and working with Spirit… You aren’t into the framework of ‘all is love/light’ and know, perhaps from personal experience, that there is more to this universe than love/light.
- are connected enough to your body to be able to track physical sensations (with my help initially perhaps)
- aren’t afraid to cry or grieve (or are willing to cultivate this necessary skill)
We Might Get Along Really Well If You:
- have grief for the state of the world and can be brought to your knees in grief for the state of the world/earth. You want to show up more in service of the earth and healing without losing or sacrificing yourself in the process.
- talk with trees. And plants, and stones, and animals…
- have been burned, harmed or minimized by other ceremonialists, ritualists and ancestral healers (for example: when bringing legitimate concerns to leaders/facilitators you might have been told it was your own stuff coming up and to just ‘drink more medicine’).
- are fascinated/obsessed with the intersections of healing+trauma+nature connection+spirit+grief and read books like Gabor Maté’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and When the Body Says No; Bessel Van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score; Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine; Rasmaa Manakam’s My Grandmother’s Hands; or Daniel Foor’s book on Ancestral Medicine. Also books like Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and Coyote’s Guide to Mentoring by Jon Young; Malidoma Somé’s Of Water and Spirit; Tom Brown Jr’s Grandfather; Martin Prechtel’s The Smell of Rain of Dust.
- have a nerdy side: Have a love of fantasy/sci-fi books and television series like Firefly, Torchwood, Sherlock, LOTR, The OA, and also, historical fiction like The Boudica series, the Maeve Chronicles, or darker stories like the Kushiel series perhaps…
- might be found volunteering to clean up rivers/wetland, count migratory birds, plant trees/native plants or hanging out at nature connection or ancestral skills events, meditation retreats, healing workshops, or art/local handmade crafts fairs/festivals.
From time to time, I lead events both online and in-person.
Finally, consider checking out the Witchy Healer Wisdom School, an in-depth ancestral healing and mentoring school specifically for witchy-healers with fundamentalist backgrounds.
You can learn more about the school here (it’s a long-form version of this page; procure your favorite beverage and settle in :).
Thanks for dropping in,