A Community for Spiritual Misfits with psychic, Pagan-Christian Priestess, Kate FontanaMay 15, 2023
Calling all Spiritual Orphans & Spiritual Misfits! Have you ever felt like you didn't quite fit into the box of the organized religions around you? Maybe some of the aspects of ritual and practices resonate with you but other critical beliefs leave you completely left out in the spiritual cold. For so many of us, this is part of our story. Kate Fontana shares her own unique story from the self proclaimed spiritual fringe. She takes us back to her Catholic roots and through her journey of learning to love herself (body, mind and spirit) and opens up about a mystical experience she had with Jesus that completely changed everything for her.
From outcast to Priestess, Kate founded and directs The Sanctuary Northwest , and offers group work as well as private individual sessions (see below)
BIO: Kate Fontana is a psychic, pagan-christian priestess, and mentor to the spiritual fringe.
Kate knows first hand how it feels to be overwhelmed, stuck, powerless, or burnt out (or about to be) in the face of the relentless troubles of our time. She understands how many people are longing to feel more nourished, grounded and joyful in their bodies and life. She believes that deep engagement in service to our world and living well in our bodies do not have to be incompatible. Through her unique earth- and body- based offerings, she helps spiritual misfits connect in down-to-earth ways to their innate resilient center, and nurture reluctant unconventional leaders on their sacred path.
Kate is also the founder and director of The Sanctuary Northwest, a center for resilience and culture. She has a background in liberative theology, clinical spiritual care, trauma informed yoga, interspiritual contemplative practice, activism and somatics. She loves karaoke, whales and being an auntie. She lives on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish peoples in Tacoma WA with her sweetie Coda and their zoo of animals.
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YouTube: Psychic Medium Joy Giovanni
Hey beautiful soul Welcome to spirits speakeasy. I'm Joy Giovanni joyful medium. I'm a working psychic medium energy healer and spiritual gifts mentor. This podcast is like a seat at the table in a secret club, but with mediums, mystics and the spiritual luminaries of our time. So come behind the velvet ropes with me and see inside my world is I chat insider style with profoundly different souls. We go deep share juicy stories laugh a lot and it wouldn't be a speakeasy without great insider secrets and tips. You might even learn that you have some gifts of your own. So step inside the spirits Hey, beautiful soul. Welcome to the spirit speakeasy. Our guest today is a unique and really creative individual. One of the things I love about her work is that she talks about her approach for what she calls spiritual misfits or spiritual orphans, those who maybe came from a more religious based tradition, but just don't find themselves fitting into any of those boxes, which, when I first heard about the way she talked about her work that resonated so deeply with me, her name is Kate Montana, she identifies as a pagan Christian priestess. Or sometimes the way she explained it in this episode, was that a pagan priestess with Christian vibes, which I thought was really cool. She's a mentor, to the spiritual fringe is the way she says it again, which I just love. And also, she's a psychic and healer. So, I was really, you know, I've been I've been trying to coordinate schedules with Kate for quite a bit to get to share her with you. I love her profound perspective on things. She also has the heart of an activist. I just I'm really just I tease her about this sometimes I'm really a little bit fan girl for her work. So I'm really excited to share this conversation with you today, between myself and the incredible Kate Fontana. Welcome in everyone to the spirit speakeasy, whether you are a returning listener or a new listener, I'm so happy to have you with us today. I'm really excited to share this guest I'm going to read her bio so we can jump right into the conversation. We've actually been chatting a little and I was like I have to press record because I really am excited to share her with you. Her name is Kate Fontana, Kate's a psychic pagan Christian priestess and mentor to the spiritual fringe. Kate knows firsthand how it feels to be overwhelmed, stuck powerless or burnout or about to be in the face of relentless troubles of our time. She understands how many people are longing to feel nourished and grounded and joyful in their bodies and in their life. She believes that deep engagement and service to our world and living well in our bodies do not have to be incompatible. Through her unique Earth and body based offerings. She helps spiritual misfits connect in Down to Earth ways to their innate resilience center and nurture reluctant unconventional leaders on their sacred path. Kate is also the founder and director of the sanctuary Northwest, a center for resilience and culture. She has a background in liberative theology, clinical spiritual care, trauma informed yoga, inner spiritual, contemplative practice activism and somatics. She loves karaoke whales and being an auntie. She lives on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people in Tacoma Washington with her sweetie Kota and their zoo of animals. And make sure you check the show notes because Kate's got lots of contact points that I'm going to share with you. Welcome Kate Fontaine, I am so happy to have you.
Thank you so honored to be here.
I have to tell you one of the things when we first met that I was most drawn to about your work is the idea of spiritual misfits because I feel like that so deeply resonates with so many of us who maybe don't feel like we fit into any traditional box of a religion or belief system. I would love for you to just dive in and talk more about that. Yeah.
Yeah, it took me a little bit to like kind of land on that phrase, but it even as you're saying it back to me, I think it it really it really is like how I would self identify. And I've met so many people on on my own journey who have are kind of like collectors, you know of practices and experiences. and who were our experiences don't necessarily fit into one specific. Yeah, tradition or lineage. And I guess what I can share, just from my, my own journey, so I was raised Roman Catholic. And there's a lot of ways that I still feel Catholic. I mean, many Catholics will say, it's in your DNA, like, you never stopped being Catholic. And, and yet, they're, you know, especially in the last, you know, 50 years, but then, especially in the last, like, 10, there's been a mass exodus or reckoning, you know, with for many folks in, in Catholicism, and I really rest wrestled for, like, a lot of my adolescence and into my early 20s, with having so much love and like longing to be, to, to belong to that community, and, and then needing to come to terms with like, being a woman, being a queer person, and how I could exist in a whole way. And where I could exist in a whole way. And over time, what the only thing I've really settled on in that is like, that has to occur in me like that intersection, all of us are like, a, an intersection of infinite experiences, that's never going to be totally represented, or, you know, like, we're the one place where all of that lives. And so it takes time to it's taken me time to develop, like a sense of wholeness in myself, that allows me to kind of travel into different scenarios and environments and still experience that wholeness. And not like demand, that everything change for my comfort, even though I think there are some things that are worth advocating for change. But, yeah, so I think that that experience of being a misfit has, has been one of kind of negotiating a sense, that sense of identity and belonging and the tension amidst those and yeah, and becoming comfortable with I mean, I imagine all of us, actually are more misfit right, then, then.
Well, yeah, then and I love what you're sorry. Yeah. What you were saying about being a collector of experiences and things that resonate with us. And it could be as simple as a quote that we hang on to that's from a different me faith base, or, you know, someone outside of our cultural sphere. And I think that's such a profound way to look at it. And so true, because I don't think like you were saying, we all are an individual, unique collection of all of the things right, the circumstances, beliefs, schools, we went to people we knew and didn't know. And it's, it's so profound that you're now trying to hold a space, so people can be completely individual but still part of a community. The other thing as to being a collector, you have quite a unique collection of modalities that you practice as well. Would you mind sharing a little bit about your journey of how, how, how the breadcrumbs I kind of feel like minor breadcrumbs. And I know you've said that, too. Like, how'd you find your breadcrumbs? Yeah. It was a dark forest. It feels like a dark forest sometimes. Yeah, totally.
Um, well, I do think the, the first sort of trail was, as I was describing, like, coming to terms with being in in this institution in this religious tradition. That just did it, in my opinion, didn't recognize my whole humanity. And, and where's that I have also internalized that. So I think I had to, I started with kind of my own wrestling. I've really struggled with depression since being an early teenager. And and I guess just kind of followed my pain in that way, which I imagine is true for many folks like what there's some phrase or what Whatever like you that, like, I don't, I don't know, like, we don't change until what is is more painful than the change itself. So yeah, I think my own pain I, I am a functional overachiever, you know, which is a way that my I guess like my neurosis manifests in a socially acceptable way. So, I always looked very successful on the outside, I was involved in all the things very academic, got great grades, did a lot of community service projects and organizing. And by the time I was, like, 21, or 22, I just, everything looked great on the outside on the inside, I felt totally empty. And on top of the emptiness, I had a lot of shame about that, because I didn't, I couldn't understand why I would feel this way I didn't, I didn't feel like I had earned that kind of, like pain. It's interesting, you know, like, and so then I did, like, 10 years of therapy. And it turns out, we all have pain, you know, and it's not relative, like, there's not like a competition of, you know, who's is worse in order for us to like, be able to, like, be able to really own and appreciate like, those troubles. And so it really was like, kind of pulling through that, that I sought. Help, you know, and I would say, yoga, the yoga tradition, and particularly like the goddess lineage, and the yoga tradition was the first place that I experienced, like, kind of a recognition of myself in the Divine. And I like that, yeah. And I had never, I'd never like, I've never felt like an even really agnostic, or, but I also had never felt like a personal connection with the sacred. And I was also completely dissociated from my body, my physical body. And you know, we can get into a lot of the reasons why that happens in like, Western Christianity. But for me, like yoga was kind of the entry point back into my body and back into an experience of the Divine that felt relatable as like, as a woman as a embodied person. And then from there, so I swam in a lot of like, Eastern contemplative practice for many years, taught yoga, ran a yoga studio, started a meditation practice. And I had a lot of peers, and even in my own therapeutic work, started exploring trauma and how that impacts, you know, our experience of being in bodies. So I taught trauma informed yoga for many years. And then this is the part that like, I don't know, thinks things got weird, but But this, I know, you're psychic. So all of this might be weird. I just won't be excited about it. Um, I had, I guess, what I would call now like a mystical encounter with Jesus. And this was about six or seven years ago. And what I felt was, like a presence of a very tactile presence of unconditional love that, for me, was familiar by the name Jesus. And to be clear again, like I had never, that was never a part that I'd been into in my Christian heritage, like the Jesus people. I did not, you know, I was like, yeah, he's a great teacher model. He did some cool things, but I didn't get the whole like, Jesus is your best friend like Lord and Savior thing that was not that actually is
something that's important. For so many people, it is kind of the focus. And so yeah, it I mean, it even adds an extra layer to your experience, just because it wasn't necessarily part of your practice.
All right, it wasn't and when I had this experience, it was what kind of clicked for me was like, oh, Jesus is an energy field, like Jesus is an energetic presence that exists in the cosmos. And we're all alike. I think they go by many names, perhaps in different traditions. But for my lineage, the image and the kind of felt sense was like, okay, Jesus. And I also really experienced them as as a Swiss I use them, but like, they did feel very masculine, which was odd for me because I'd been so immersed in like the feminine divine of yoga and the goddess world. And I mostly work with women, female bodied folks, and and I felt this, just like deeply gentle and supportive, holding presence. And I was like, okay, I can get behind a Jesus like that, you know, like. And so that really drew me back into my tradition of origin. And around that time, I encountered a woman who told me about this movement called the Roman Catholic women priests. And when she told me about them, and like said that she was one of these women priests, my jaw dropped, and I burst into tears. And then I like head, we were on retreat, I like did not talk to her for two days. And then I was like, Okay, it's the last day, I should probably go talk to this woman again, find out what's what. And I learned about this movement, and it really felt like, so she gave me the card of a somewhat local woman priest, who lives in kind of the town over from me. And I called her and I was like, okay, just so you know, this is not me saying I want to be what you are, I just need to know more information. Yeah, that's fine. And so then over about five years, I just kind of those were the breadcrumbs I was like, I don't know where this is going to wind up. But there was an energy there was like a, a pole that later I'd be able to identify or at least I name it as like, Eros like the pole of desire, the pole of spirit in that real kind of womb place. And I just had to keep going with that it did not make sense for like my practical life, but it absolutely made sense for where I had been coming from and like a lot of pieces felt like they fell into place. And this movement, because this movement is ordaining women and queer folks, actually folks of all genders. And they've been officially excommunicated from the Catholic Church, but the movement continues to claim lineage and to petition for re inclusion. So I was involved with them for several years, I went to seminary, got my academia nerd on so like, that is one modality I love. Like the intellectual exploration, I love reading and studying texts and. And, at also, at that time, I mean, part of what sort of launched that was like another, like, crisis. Because I lost my job. I was running this yoga studio, and I made a financial error that was devastating for the studio and was transitioned out of my leadership role and it really rocked my world at the time, it really rocked my, I realized how much of my identity was tied up in that the community I had been involved in, in the work I was doing. And it was also like, you know, the cosmic to buy for whatever like, Okay, we told you about this thing, so get a move on. And so I went to seminary I also so that was when I started psychic school. And that was also when I started training and at the time, it was called cultural Cymatics, but a modality around body based into integration of activism and like culture building. So I didn't wasn't really aware, like at the time, they felt kind of desperate, like I was doing this academic thing. And then I was in psychic school, I'm doing Cymatics and now I've I've been seeing how they've kind of braided together, you know, and and in the last two years, I've been kind of examining that braid and been like, Okay, what do I do? What am I doing with this? What am I given all of these things I've been threading together and
on it is so fascinating because to to look at it just on paper, those things do seem or sound or feel like very separate modalities. It's interesting that you use that analogy, because that's how I feel it too is the braiding together of all the pieces of me to make whatever this body of work is right. I feel like you said so many important things, John, oh, the part that we were talking about? No, I love it, though. Because one thing I want to touch on is, it was huge. In the beginning of my work, I didn't really realize in my initial training that I wasn't fully in my body. I think a lot of us, especially early on, don't even know what that means. I remember being like I don't, what do you mean, where do I feel in my body? It's not my body. Like I don't I don't know what you're talking about. And I feel like we know now that often that is a reaction response to trauma. I would love for you to talk a little bit more about that. Because I do feel like a lot of people. I mean, some people will just say that the human inclination is to want to go straight for those mystical experiences. And while sometimes they happen spontaneously, often, what I've seen, you know, just from observation with other practitioners that I know is it does typically tend to be after some form of therapy, emotional processing, healing, moving back into our body so that we can create the space for those mystical experiences. Yeah. And while like, usually the way I say it is like, it's not the sexy work, it's like the hard work, but it is the through way. So I would love to hear more about that.
Yeah. Yes, I mean, the way there's, I think there's a lot of different places, I could go with that. But the way that I imagine it, for me is like, Yeah, we really strive or kind of, maybe idealize the spiritual path from the little glimpses from the mountaintop. You know, from the, like, ecstatic pinnacle peak experiences, and that is such a small fraction of life, you know, and especially a spiritual life. I do. I do think those are often catalysts. And at least they have been for me, and especially with that period with encountering Jesus, like, I went through about a six week period where I truly felt myself in an altered state, like I it felt like glowing golden light. Emanating from me, you know, and like, I felt like this cheesy kindergarten teacher or whatever, like, I've got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, you know? And, but even, even while I was in it, I remember something that was very important for me, was this sort of knowing like, Okay, I'm getting a glimpse of something, but it's not going to last. But it's still real, and it's still touching on something that's real. And it's okay. I remember having part of the grace of that time that was did not feel like it like I had, I was doing it. It was more this gift of knowing enough having this real open handedness, like, Okay, this isn't going to last forever. Can I just drink it in? Well, it's here. And then I remember seeing it fade after about six weeks and life got really normal again, you know, and yeah, and even since then, I I've still had periods of deep depression. I just this last winter, I had one that I was like, Okay, I guess this is the I guess this is like, I guess this is what's most real, I guess this is who I am. You know, we still go to the highs and the lows. But there's a lot of time of life that's in between, that's just like, you know, the what is it chop wood carry water part?
Yes, for sure. And that's
actually more of what my work is. Now, when, as I'm working with people, it's a lot more about what we're doing in the daily little ways that that make room for the integration, of experiences of those that experiences like that. those that come because we're human, like they will come, you know, like, and some people are good at facilitating those higher intensity experiences. And those, those can be really transformative. And if they don't have a place to land in life and in our bodies, we get sick, we burn out. We we have psychotic breaks, there's a lot of risks risk, I guess, in those peak experiences, you know, like the electric lightning bolt that doesn't have a grounding cord starts a fire. And
that makes so much sense. Right? So,
yeah, I think that's been a lot of my own growth and ways that I try to support people in very simple, you know, a lot of the somatic foundations are what might look like very boring. You know, things like I'll have a person hold the thing, and be like, Oh, is this heavy or light? Is it cold or warm? Is it soft or rough? And so when you when people are like, I don't even know what it means to get in my body, like, that's where we begin. And it's, and then they're like, well, that is not sexy, right? Like I said, it's not sexy, or, you know, even the first psychic practice, like in my psychic training, it was a year long. And the bulk of it is self energy management. It's not Yeah, and there is a lot of like, profound stuff that comes through that. But the real, it's a, it's a, it's a daily tending to, I mean, you'll, you'll know this to like a daily tending to our own energy field and own energy hygiene. That's like brushing your teeth, making your bed, you know, cleaning out the cobwebs of our inner world. So
my first mentor used to call it changing your spiritual underwear, yes. Which I always thought was very funny. But it is, I mean, it is one of the things I love so much about your work is, like you said, We, in our human experience, we do have these peaks and valleys, you know, whether they're spiritual or just human life, we have great successes that we feel very on top and things that happen in life that just take us to the lowest of our lows. And but most of life is spent in this in between time and you have this beautiful set of practices, I'm sure many, many practices in the toolbox that you teach that are for that in between time, right practices, and some of it personal ritual and energy management and things to move us through the day to day, I guess, maybe in a more intentional way, how would you describe it? Yeah, like, what are the what are the practices providing?
Yeah, I think, Well, I would describe it as like, little touch points to a sense of connection to life. And, one, one way I've been thinking about, actually, since I did some traveling last year to Ireland and the British Isles, and we had a guide, take us to Stonehenge, this is maybe a roundabout way to say what I want to say but and he, he, he, it was just me and my partner. So it was like a very, like, personal experience. And he guided us around a different route. So not where all the tourists go in, but kind of up this other way. And his instruction was like, you know, just sort of tune in to where it feels like the land wants you to go and where the stones want your attention where they want you to pause and the way he described it, it really started to feel like hot stay with me for a second it felt like acupuncture for the land. Like these little pinpoints of attention that the land was asking for, to the to create a little thread of release or opening in that wider ecology. And, and that's how I think about those daily touchpoints like, you know when You haven't had a good cry in a wild, right? Yeah. And there's just this buildup or like when you when you're carrying on to resentments like that person, you just have the list going on, and it builds up and then it has to get out and it's probably gonna get out. And like the fight, I just had one of these recently, it was like, something sparked it, but then all the little backlog of things came out. And if we're doing a little smaller doses of tending, then the backlog maybe doesn't have quite so much time to accumulate. So, for me, that'll look like like before I, when I get up in the morning, I just drink my lemon water and try to take some conscious breaths with that. I'll go and stand on the grass and like imagine my route down into the earth. And I try to pause a couple of times a day, maybe light a candle, some people are very sensory. So smelling something. While cooking, it can often be a really beautiful moment to just sort of distribute the accumulation of like the daily dust or whatever. Yeah. So anyway, like the way
you talk about that as more like intentional tending along the way, just like you would I use the analogy of a garden a lot in this work in this relationship with ourself and our own soul and our energy that it seems like what you're saying is if we just kind of weed a little bit and prune a little bit along the way, then we don't get this. You know, overgrown mess that has,
yeah, professionally, you totally help with. Yeah, the other one thing that comes to mind, as I've explored more of my Celtic and Irish ancestry. In many, many families, there's a prayer for everything. And this is true in a lot more earth based traditions worldwide. Like there's a, there's a prayer for everything. And, you know, in the morning, often it was the mother or grandmother would like wake up the house, you know, like, stoke the embers from the night before, say a prayer to wake up the fire again. And, you know, in the evening, often a husband or father or grandfather would walk the perimeter of the home or in the land and like say, say the blessing the you know, the protection prayer and and then there's something at midday actually, in Ireland, still, they play on Public Radio, they play the Angelus, they ring bells, and it's the time for praying this particular prayer at noon time. And, yeah, I mean, they're still like, overlay, very Catholic, but not too far under the surface. Very pagan.
That's always been so fascinating to me how those two are so enmeshed? Yeah, several hours of totally about that. And there is something for me anyway. And I think for a lot of people, there is something comforting in certain rituals, or certain prayers, or certain, I think it's why as adults, sometimes we crave those things that we experienced comfort in as kids and a lot of them are rituals, like you're talking about, which is a beautiful thing to return to.
Yeah, kids really do. They'll take to the rituals more, more than adults sometimes. Often because, like, if, if if we have sort of baggage with a religious tradition, and I have a lot of folks who work with me who were raised Christian, maybe consider themselves recovering Christians. And at first, there's a lot of hesitancy, it kind of have to warm people up to like singing again, or praying aloud. Like I had what I offered, like, prayer. I said, like, Would you like to pray to a client recently? And they just sort of laughed in my face like, No, I wish to become a carrier. That word. Yeah, that's what I just said. Like, okay, just think about, imagine the possibility we do a lot of approach work around those things that I think were really beautiful parts of the of many religious traditions and expressions. And, and I think our art don't just belong to those institutions that they're part of our like, I think of prayer is part of our innate language of connection to the rest of the world, and to life and to spirit. So yeah, those are the things I really like to do with folks.
I love it. I have kind of a hard question for you. I'm wondering kind of how we were talking about that religion can be difficult in a lot of aspects or at least The version of it that we most commonly experienced today, which I think, for my own learning husband was very different than maybe what it was in its primary origins. But as someone who identifies as a woman identifies as queer wants to hold this priestess hood, what makes you want to continue to pursue it from the Catholic parenthood that has excommunicated you, rather than just shifting to something else? I have some personal feelings about this. So I'm so curious to hear your thoughts and feelings? Yeah,
that's a good question. And I mean, I have totally wrestled with that. And, and actually, some things have changed. So I'll share those two. But the first thing I'll
didn't tell you, I was going to ask you this. So but no, no, no, this
is a great question. It's
been thinking over here.
When I consider like, I contemplate a lot. And I have been asked a lot, like, why don't you just be an Episcopal priest? Or like,
why don't you do something
else. And I have said, like, I wish I felt called to that, like, it would make my life so much easier. Or I wish I could just let it go. And one of the things that's really actually helped me with this came out of the cultural Cymatics work was exploring my relationship with that tradition, from the lens of attachment, and attachment theory. And that, like, you know, we have attachment relationships with all sorts of things, not just our primary caregiver. And I could see how I had a real anxious avoidant attachment with this institution, like, I couldn't come near, but I also couldn't let it go.
I mean, it's kind of intrinsically set up that way a little bit. Yes.
So that helped me actually kind of work on the attachment relationship. And. And then, in the last, like, year or so, I had been working, I was working with my mentor in that, in the Roman Catholic women priests. And something was just not clicking for me. And I couldn't feel the pole. And all the steps were sort of laid out in front of me, and I just wasn't taking them. Like, once you're considered a candidate, you could be a deacon in six months, you could be ordained within two years and, and I had done all that upfront work. And then I just got to this place where I was like, I just wasn't moving forward. And it took many more months to feel out this fear to kind of let the fear come forward of really a fear of this. I mean, this isn't even my theology consciously. But I remember this very vivid image of like, it looked, it was my version of heaven, I guess, which was, it kind of looked like an inn. And you could see the lights in the window, and I was like, out in the gutter in the darkness. And it was this very primal fear of being cast out, you know, being like, not being able to enter the gates or whatever. And again, like it's not even what I believe happens, but there's a deep part of me that did believe that and that even being a part of this fringe movement was still enough, like connection to that, that I was like, okay, but I'm still in here. Right. And but, and so I felt deeply afraid of like, choosing my own exile. Yeah. And, and then the other part that came up was I felt I didn't really I felt like I needed external validation. I thought I needed someone else to name me
to like deem you worthy.
Yeah, this pre Yeah. Yeah. Like give me the title. And give me permission to like use use these tools of the lineage. And I meditated on this. You know, I did my own sort of psychic work on this and the image or the message that I got from my guides was like, no one can. No one names you a priestess, but those who come to you as that and for that, and I both felt this like deep relief and a deep sadness, like kind of getting that message. where it was, and that was kind of my turning point where I was like, Okay, I guess I'm, I guess this isn't where I need to be. And because I've always been my work has been so earth based and felt felt kind of even older, or like I was, um, I guess who knows, but I always felt I was touching into something older or more basic, yeah, maybe not older, but just like more basic than any of the particular prescribed traditions within the church. I've, a lot of the practice is just like listening to the land, and what does the land want? And I do think that's where a lot of all of our religious rituals have come from, you know, like, what do we have wine? What do we, we have a river, let's do something there, you know, like, Yeah, I think it really has come from these very located relationships with the elements of the land and, and that's what I want to lead people in. And that really feels more of my, my calling. So I actually did leave the, like the candidacy for official ordination in the Roman Catholic womenpriests movement about a year ago. And it felt scary, it felt like I was like, letting go of my last institutional support. And I turned my attention to really just like, building my kind of local community. And I, you know, I've been calling myself a Christian pagan priestess, still, or I'll say, sometimes pagan with Christian vibes. Because, in large part, because that is still my lineage. And, you know, it has felt to me kind of like, the ways I've tried to reckon with being a white person, it doesn't work to just decide not to be a white person. Like, me, for me, this is just for me. So like, it's still part of my lineage. So what does it mean to be an ancestor of that lineage in a good way for me, like being ancestor, and being a descendant of mostly, you know, Catholic, Christian, not white at the time, but people who would become white in this country, you know, settlers immigrants, and so I do still hold on to that identity, or that label, I guess. In part because I want to be responsible with that lineage. And, and connected to that lineage, for the healing that I want to be a part of, through it, and the beautiful pieces that, that still feel nourishing to me, like, I don't know, I can't really explain it, but like, the Eucharist feels nourishing to me, like I have a little tattoo about it. It feels like spiritual nourishment. And you know, like the liturgical year, I love that. It all is very earth based and pagan to me still,
yeah, I can't tell you anytime I hear about your work. Just the feeling of the energy to me feels like it's tapping into something very ancient, very, I wouldn't identify it as simple, I would identify it more as like, original, like, from before, you know, the, the ceremonial things like you said, the waking up of the family, the processes within the home that the way the food is infused with love and care and nurtured over whatever period of time it originally took to make. And you know, we don't necessarily have to do it that way anymore. But even just pausing to have intention, for me feels like tapping into those very deep, intuitive things that are I feel original to all of us. So I think that's a really beautiful way of of understanding why you still feel connected into all of that. Yeah. Is this what leads to the development and birth of sanctuary Northwest?
Yeah. Yeah, let me share a little bit about those things. So right now my work is a little bit not split, but I have kind of two elements that I've been nurturing. So the sanctuary Northwest is a center for resilience and culture. Um, and originally, we were focusing around trauma resilience. And I do work with a lot of trauma survivors for one on one somatic resilience work. But around that has really formed this culture element where I get to be priestess for my community, which is really lovely. We do seasonal celebrations, we just celebrated Beltane, a few days ago and had a beautiful kind of flower ritual. And, and the intention around that is, is to nurture more healthy culture that eliminates or mitigates the, you know, the causes of trauma, in cultures, in communities and in individuals. So, we do work to reconnect to the land to body to ancestry in a culturally respectful way. A lot of the folks I work with are, as I said, like often former Christians or former church goers, people who, you know, miss, who don't miss church, but missed the rituals and community. A lot of white folks who were, you know, maybe coming out of the activist world, or have done anti racism work, but still kind of, often what gets replicated in those circles are a lot of the sort of dominant norms of whiteness culture, and those, those take a little more time to unwind, like in our bodies and psyches. And so I work with a lot of folks around that. And then my other sort of project that's forming is that I'm very excited. What did they say scared excited about is? Yeah, it's called priestess school. And I do not have a launch date for that yet. But my dream for that is really to offer the thing that I didn't have. Yeah. And to, that's the part of like, nurture reluctant, unconventional leaders on their sacred path. And for many people, this won't necessarily look like, you know, hosting big events. I have a good handful of clients who are moms who want to be the priestess of their home in a more supported in a more supportive way and kind of be the support a spiritual foundation for their children and families. With the outside of kind of traditional faith, faith groups, so I'm very excited about that. Yeah, and nervous I, I guess we never feel ready for like, the big thing that's gonna come through. But
I was just telling it to someone just last week that in this work anyway, the way I always feel is the way I thought it was going to be was, you know, you get this inspiration, and then the elements line up and then that step appears on the staircase, and then you graciously step onto that is not me, of course, yeah, exactly. Oh, no. But that's the way it seems to work for me is like, I, some sort of growth happens in my work personally, and you know, publicly and I feel excited about something new or like you were saying that that got a womb pole to express in a new way. And then I have to start stepping for that step before any of the elements have appeared. And just through my, you know, intention and personal work and action in the world, trust or no, or that that step either will then appear, or I'll be directed in a different direction. So that's what for me always feels the scariest, I think.
Yeah, I think the thing that I've had to, I still have to, I still have to relearn basically every time it happens. This came from one of my first yoga teachers. In the tantric tradition. The Dance of the goddess in the world is described as this the word is spunda. And it's the expansion and contraction, which is a movement that we see through all natural processes, right, like the breath is probably the most accurate decibel. But for some reason when she was describing it, she was making this motion like her arms went out. And then she like curled in, you know kind of arms came in and kind of the cat pose. And it just clicked for me like the things that I've always basically the places in life that I don't want to be there, those are contractions that are just part of the dance like, the valleys are exactly peaks all the time. Yeah. And I was gonna mention this when we're talking about that earlier. Like, we think that's not the spiritual part, you know, we think that's the absence or when I'm not, you know, being connected to whatever, but it it's there all the time. Like, actually, the pulsation is the, the dance is the dance. And so I keep having to remind myself when I'm in the contraction, it just means we is about to expand girl like, yeah, and then so early, like, when I get a big expansion, I'll not I try not to like, set myself up. But I try to remind myself like, Okay, this is temporary, too. I'm probably going to crash a little after this. And part of the skill set, I think in those daily tending is being able to ride the expansion and contraction in a more more skillful way. Ideally, or like a less sort of ping pong way.
Yeah. Yeah. Or even just having the acknowledgement or the awareness that all the parts of us are present during all the time. Yeah, you know, yeah. That we're no less in those valleys or contractions, were no less the full embodiment of our spiritual selves, you know, then we are at the very peaks of it. Well, it's a really profound idea. I love that. I love that idea of the breath, because it is something that I think we all have a reference point for, you know, yeah. So beautiful. Besides the priestess school, which I am super excited to hear more about as it develops and would love to have you back on when it's in its full, full and ready, flagship. You also are getting ready to launch a podcast that I'm really excited to hear a little bit more about. I don't know much about it. Yeah,
that's great. I was doing some editing for it just before this. So the podcast is called priestess of ordinary things, which I was, you know, even just given what we talked about, I hope makes sense. What we're talking about and what what the podcast is oriented towards is to support people of all genders. I know, Priestess is a feminized or feminine word, but I think, I guess I kind of use it just as a counter to the hyper masculine, you know, but for folks of all genders, tasked with the sacred purpose of tending the sacred of daily life, and how to live during these turbulence, which, to me seemed like to turbulent times, and, and on the edge of cultural collapse on a lot of dimensions. How do we live through these? Well, enough? Margaret Wheatley is this author who writes about having an island of sanity amidst the chaos. And that just that image has been so vivid for me, like how do we gather even though the ship may be going down? Like, can can we live in a good enough way that stays connected to our wholeness to our sacredness to the web of life that is still nurturing us, you know, and we're still a part of even through the contraction that we're going through. So yeah, I mean, I'm hoping to cover as as was described, I have lots of interests. So we'll talk about practical spirituality. Like I try to keep things pretty down to earth, even though I also love ideation and kind of the intellectual side. eroticism, Christianity, seasonal living. And kind of whatever other topics are my guests want to bring. So I'll be excited to have more of those conversations.
And it's I really, for me, I'm an I've been a listener and found of some podcasts for much longer than I've had this one. And I think it's just as a listener, it's so nice to have something like that to be able to, I don't know flow into almost and Get some understanding and maybe learn some variations of some practices or try some new practices. And it almost reminds me of like going to the hat store and like you just get to try on bits of things or meet new people and you through, you know, whoever you're going to just what I love about this, because it's, you know, people might that might not have crossed paths, either, you know, different ways. And it's, I do think it's such a, it's gonna be such an exciting journey for you know, you and for the listeners, I'm excited. For the launch of that, do we have a hard and fast launch date?
Yeah, I am aiming for May 31. And now that that's in recording, I guess I'm gonna do it.
Well, everyone can tune in with your social media points and get on your email list so that they can just be an advanced note of all the dates and everything that's coming up. Actually, there's one more thing I want to touch on. Before we jump into what I like to call the spirit speed round. You have a really cool, free gift available right now. I would love for you to talk a little bit about that. Thank you. Yeah.
So my free gift is called Earth magic, three simple celebrations of spiritual nourishment. And you can get that on my website, Kate fontana.com. It's a series of videos that really illustrates what it's like to work with me and also shares some of the kind of foundational practices, simple rituals, simple meditation practices and visualizations that yeah, just as we were describing through the podcast really form the foundation of these simple attendings to the sacred in our in our daily life and in our own homes. So, yeah, I'd love for folks to go grab that if you'd like. And
yeah, it sounds like the coolest like starter kit. To me. Yeah.
It's funny, as I was putting it together, I was like, Oh, I guess this is what I do with basically every client like basically every group by Ron, we do these things. So that's it is a starter kit. Well, and
it's such a nice way, like you said, for people to get an understanding of what it you know, what it's like to work with you that your way of explaining things because all teachers communicate differently. And so it's a nice point of entry to your work. And of course, I'll link that in the show notes. So don't feel like you have to, I mean, Kate fontana.com, so easy to remember. But if you're driving or can't remember, you could just visit the show notes, wherever you're listening or viewing to this. And I'll have all of the contact points. There. I actually was reading on your website about that. And I was like, I want to get this. Very excited. Yeah, I want to see what it is. Okay, so we do this at the end of our guest episodes. It is called the Spirit speed round. It's four questions. They're not hard, but they produce interesting answers. So I'm excited to share with you. The first question is share one thing that really shocked you or was unexpected about your spiritual gifts as you came to understand them? Oh,
okay. The thing that comes to mind is that that my spiritual gifts, were things that I did all the time that I didn't realize was my spiritual gift, you know what I mean? So, yeah, so it's like, the normal thing. It's just like part of your, your normal existence, but it took having a teacher to having some outside in input to be like, No, not everyone does that, you know, like, one of mine was not all the time, but often I can, I'll know what song is going to come on the radio next, I'll just start having will already start singing it and clear audience. So like, clear hearing is one of my gifts. So that's kind of that was one of the cues, or like getting an ear worm, I'd sing a song all the time. Just be stuck in my head for a while. And then what I learned was okay, to just ask like, what's the message? Why is that song coming? Like that's a way that my guides communicate. So that was surprising and, and really enlivening to me to learn, like, whatever your gift is, you're probably already doing it. You just don't know that everyone else doesn't do that.
It's so true. And it's funny because I describe this more with like, being able to see people's auras and color inside my eyes and I have a good amount of clairaudience but I would say clairvoyance is probably the strongest for me naturally. And it's funny because when I explain it to people, like no, I just always had it but I didn't know it was weird. Like, we don't we don't ask people like oh, do you also know what songs come? Yeah, so just think like, I don't know most people just kind of miss guess. So. I love that. That's a great answer. Okay, I got an asset. Okay, question. Yeah, Speedy, if you could spend a day in the spirit world, you got the full tour, you got to spend time with everyone you've ever known who's crossed over, it's almost time for you to return to your life. And your guide tells you you have one hour left, and you can spend it with anyone who's on the other side that you would like, Who do you choose? And why?
Yeah, my immediate sense is with my grandmother, my paternal grandmother, Evelyn trabajar. Fontana. And it's funny as you were saying it, I was like, Okay, I know who I know, the people I would tour around to see, you know, St. John of the Cross and probably Jesus. Yeah. Okay. Like famous people or whatever. But the, my grandmother died, probably. I was in college, I think. And when I knew her, she, she was not very well. In her final years. She was she aged kind of a little, somewhat prematurely. And my grandfather had died years before I was young. And I don't I don't know this for sure. But my sense is kind of the life went out when my grandfather died. And and my grandmother had pretty extreme mental health challenges. She was manic depressive, bipolar, she spent time in institutions. She also had seven boys. Wow. I don't know if that contributes. But But I, I've, again, so I didn't know her that well. She was always a little scary. Honestly. This is very, a little bit kind of sassy, Cajun woman. And didn't didn't really take shit from people and. But I, I would want to, I feel a lot of relatedness to her through having my own mental health struggles and, and just want to know what that was, like, I want to know what that was like for her. And I've felt her presence through a couple of periods of my hard times. And I just, I guess, I just want to know that how that she's okay, on the other side, you know, and, and then what that was like, for her and what, what she would have needed or wanted differently, and kind of what her senses of our, like, ancestral experience of that because there's, there's additional, like, mental health struggles throughout my particularly the women of that side of my family. And yeah, I just want to know, like, from the matriarch.
Yeah, yeah. And what a what a beautiful idea. I'm so sorry for your loss. Yeah, yeah. Okay, even though we have spiritual gifts, we have very human lives. As we've chatted. What's one quirky thing about you that people might be surprised to learn?
Oh, I guess the confessional that comes to mind is like, I I'm, I'm very irritable, when my house isn't how I want it to be. And my partner will attest to this, like, we have, as you said, in my bio, we have a little zoo of animals. I'm more of like the animal step parent. And actually, maybe this is more specifically the thing. I feel like a very bad, like, Pacific Northwest, lesbian for this, but I'm not really an animal person. Like, I love the idea of animals. And appreciate that people have them, but I've never really gotten the bond that people have with their animals. And so like, if there's so I have instituted daily vacuuming that sometimes happens sometimes doesn't but like the fur situation in our house,
I can understand that
I get very crowded.
So I think that's my Tuesday. But yeah, we probably wouldn't expect that about you don't lose any cards. I haven't. Leave us with one pearl of wisdom. What's one piece of advice you wish that you'd had early on in your understanding of your gifts or your journey?
Okay, this is coming. Okay, I'm just gonna share the thing that came up, which is like I guess is in line with what things that we were sharing that to not neglect the practical at the, in the pursuit of the mystical. And I guess what where that's coming from is like I, I do I do feel myself like having a really big spiritual calling spiritual inclination nature pursuit. And what I've struggled with is having enough of a, I guess material or practical foundation that gives me freedom, it actual freedom in like, the expression of that my kind of spiritual gifts or mystical gifts and and what that looks like it, you know, could be different for everyone, but like, I didn't live in it in my own home, like I changed homes every six months for like, since I graduated from college, you know, there was yeah, I experienced a lot of just sort of practical instability. That I think, you know, some people can manage that. And I could manage that for a little while. And I think I have had kind of a romanticized view of like the wandering Saudi or, you know, the kind of the mystics of old or whatever, and I am coming into more of a UN Yeah, I think some people may be able to, that may be part of their calling, I think I'm coming more into like, what does what, like kind of the gift of stability, the a lot of the monastic traditions hold that as a, one of their vows or values like, yeah, stability. Which, for me, what I'm living into that now is just in more of the practical places, like being grounded in place, being grounded in my relationships, having a consistent income, like that is, has been so not the thing that I pursued, right? Because I was really engaged in my spiritual path. So I don't know if that's like to
know, I think it's really profound just because there are actual actions or things that feel a little more on the mundane side of the spectrum that we can anchor into, or focus into, that doesn't make the journey any less spiritual. And it is, there is such a value in that where I think are like we were talking about our inclination sometimes is to chase that mystical experience or that elusive feeling of that spirit world or the energy or the other side, or whatever it is, but really, there there's I mean, it's profound. There's so much value in the day to day. Yeah, you know, and what we can create there.
I'll just add one more thing. Maybe we have sort of related. I think the thing, I mean, I don't know if it would make a difference for me having heard it before, or if it makes a difference for people. But as I've been preparing, priestess school, I have gone through these periods where I'm like, I don't think I would recommend this path. Like, I don't think I can, in good faith be like, come do this thing. Because there's a cost, you know, and you'll you know, this too, like, there, it doesn't come at no cost. And yeah. And you can't know what that's going to be before you do it. So yeah, again, maybe the warning wouldn't work, but it truly is not for the faint of heart. Yeah, there's no guarantees. And probably the this is something I again, have to keep relearning. Like, the thing you think you're gonna get. It may be motivating early on, and we need those motivations like, I need a carrot sometimes. But the Met the maturation of like that spiritual path is going to have is going to require finding that there's no carrot.
Yeah. Well, yeah, and that might like you were kind of saying it might it might end up looking totally different than what you thought, you know what we thought we were chasing after it might it often I mean, I found just in talking to a lot of people often is very different in life and what we thought yes, at the beginning it was that we were signing up for.
I mean, life is like that, I guess. Yeah.
Yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of your wisdom and your light with us. I appreciate your time and being here, and we are excited to see what you continue to share with the world. Again, I'm gonna link all of Kate's contact points and social media, at names and all of that, so you can find her connect with her and don't sleep on that free gift guy. I'm not going to Thanks for being
here, so much joy.
What a great conversation with a beautiful soul, certainly a spiritual luminary of our time. I wasn't kidding, when I was saying that I'm gonna get on that free gift her. It's called Earth magic, three simple celebrations of spiritual nourishment. I'm going to put the link for that in the show notes as well. It's Kate fontana.com/earth-magic. But like I said, don't worry about memorizing it, I'll put it in the show notes. I really love when we can take advantage of these free mini courses, I think there's so much to learn and glean. I'm curious to know how you experienced this conversation if it was thought provoking for you. I know so many of us have either experiences with religious backgrounds or families with religious backgrounds. And certainly it affects us in a cultural way, in a personal way. And just finding our own rhythm with it. I also really love what she was saying about the peaks and valleys or the expansion and contraction. That was really profound actually want some more time to sit with that. And to think about that. It's something that I think a lot about in my own personal work just because it is that ebb and flow right? We none of us are exempt from the highs and lows, the the successes and challenges of life and the spectrum of emotions, like we talked about pretty frequently here. So I really just think there's a lot of profound delicious tidbits and and we could have gone deep into so many different areas. I feel like these conversations go so fast. So let me know how this resonated with you. Let me know, if you check out Kate's free program, the earth magic program, let me know how you like it, I am gonna check it out myself, like I said. And again, if you are liking these episodes, be sure to subscribe and share. And if there are topics that you're wanting to hear about or curious about, I do know or have access to a lot of other spiritual practitioners who are gifted in their own ways, just like Kate. And I'm more than more than excited to share all of them. As you know, I always have questions. There's always more for us to learn. So I really love sharing these conversations with you. So if you want to suggest topics or if you want to share feedback, you definitely can do it in the review section of wherever you're watching this, whether it's the comments or the feedback section, but you can also email admin at joyful medium.com. And remember, I also have a free three day mini course sign magnet for those wanting to get signs in the world, from the universe to answer questions, or just to check in about something that you're pondering or or deciding about how to use numbers as signs for seeing recurring numbers, whether you are or whether you'd like to. This course shares all the meanings of those numbers. And also, since I'm a medium, I couldn't leave out the spirit world how to get a specific sign from loved ones in the spirit world. So that course is available on the homepage of my website joyful medium.com It's called sign magnet. It's also a three day mini course and I will also link that in the show notes. So you guys will have a basket full of free tools and things to play with this week. Big hugs, lots of love. Thanks for joining me today as always from inside the spirits easy