This post is the episode transcript to season one episode six on The Divination Channel (our podcast). You can listen to the episode on our website, or subscribe to Otherworldly Giants on Apple or Spotify.
Greetings Good Listeners,
I’m your host, Storyteller and Spellweaver, Shaunga Tagore. You are tuning into my Divination Channel. Welcome to Otherworldly Giants!
[Theme Song: Electronica Punch]
We are truckin’ along on Season One on the channel, called Grief, Love and Buffy: A True-Life Multiverse Podcast Drama about a queer witch and her two black cats.
In this episode we will be talking about the ins and outs of casting a love spell! What is a love spell really, and how do you do it responsibly? I got all your insight on love spells right here, considering that I’m in the middle of one.
And I thought, what better Buffyverse character to teach us about ethical love spells other than our very own Xander Harris. Just kidding, he’s going to teach us how NOT to cast a love spell.
That’s right, we’ll be studying the love spell that goes haywire in the Buffy season 2 episode, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, what it tells us about the dynamics in Xander and Cordelia’s relationship, and how we see this spell come to life throughout the rest of their journeys, including Cordelia’s character arc in the Buffy spin-off series, Angel. That means there will be spoilers: We’ll mostly be talking about this season 2 episode of Buffy but we’ll also touch on Cordelia’s entire arc up until the end of Angel.
And of course throughout this whole episode I will be sharing more of my True-Life Multiverse stories as they relate to queer love rituals, cross-dimension animal communication, psychic communication, grieving animal companion loss, and what it means to make space in one’s life for the love that we really and want and need.
[theme song fades out]
It’s interesting, too, that as I studied the dynamics in Xander and Cordelia’s love spell, I saw a lot of links to patterns I’ve experienced in the queer community, specifically in some relationships with Queer Mentors and Queer Elders.
So buckle in folks, this is episode six, and this one’s for the Good Listeners: How Not to Cast Love Spell.
[sounds of water]
Okay, before we get into everything, we need to talk about the title of this episode. You may have noticed that I start each episode by saying: Greetings Good Listeners. I’ve started to say this more often on my email lists and social media. This has become the official greeting of Otherworldly Giants.
And I want to tell you why.
For people who are content creators, or who have podcasts, youtube channels, or who run some kind of entrepreneurship, you’ve noticed that a lot of people greet their audience with their own kinda cute catch phrase, right? My friend Natoya Hall always “Hey Starseeds” because her work is about awakening and supporting Starseeds. Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast greets their Buffy community with – “Hey Scoobies” for obvious reasons.
When you’re creating and generating community around your work or a creative project, it’s nice to have a greeting that is fresh and fun, unique to you and your audience, cuz you know, it’s you know, it’s like your thing!
[Xander: “It’s my thing! You know, the thing that makes me cool and unique. It’s my thing. My thing!”
Buffy: “Is this a penis metaphor?”]
But your greeting can be very important in terms of the magic and spell work that you build in to your project.
It’s wise to take the time to cultivate clarity around what kind of audience you want around your work, and know who exactly you’re speaking to.
You do this by sitting with your heart and soul and tuning into the community of your dreams. You attune to them. You name the kinds of people you want around you. You feel their energy, you learn their qualities. You claim how you want to be received.
Then when you find the words for your special “greeting”, you can infuse all of that energy into your words. So every time you say your greeting, you are acting out your spell – you are actively calling the ones you want toward you.
If we don’t do this step of clarifying and feeling into the energy of who we want around us, especially when we are writers, channelers, or people open to spirit, we can end up unconsciously speaking to who we don’t want around us — a wounded family dynamic, or the ghosts of old relationships – because we’re used to speaking in those dynamics, it’s familiar and easy to fall back on. So when we’re not intentional about who we are speaking to, it not only impacts the kinds of people who are drawn to our work, it shapes the way that we write and what we choose to say.
There are layers and layers of meaning behind why I chose to greet my desired community as “Good Listeners.”
[sounds of water fade out]
To get to the origin point of this story, we go back to 2019. It’s May or June of that year, and I had just finished writing my Astrological Ancestral play, PLUTO.
I wrote this play with the question in my mind: What if Pluto and Jupiter came to life as queer, racialized time travelers and shape shifters? What if they were teenage best friends in one timeline, and then in another, they leaders of an ancient land in the midst of a witch hunt in, and then in another they are young adult queer lovers in the middle of a break-up, and the whole queer community is involved in their break-up…and on and on like that.
The real question about my play called PLUTO, may perhaps be this:
Do Pluto and Jupiter in fact live in a corner of the Multiverse where they go to high school with Buffy and Cordelia, but actually in THIS universe, how come all the Slayers just happen to be queer non-binary Black Indigenous people of colour?
[Faith: “I don’t know. Better at it I guess.”]
So, it’s spring 2019 and I had just written this play. At the time I was part of a creative spiritual community space where we’d often share about our entrepreneurships or creative projects and how things were going.
We met one day and I was telling the group that I was really missing having a creative partner or a business partner. I had a creative partner that I worked closely with for a big chunk of time in the last decade. We had a pretty tough break up. I think a lot of people don’t realize how deep a creative partnership can go – even if it doesn’t reach those levels romantic, sexual or even friendship intimacy…the intimacy you create via creative collaboration especially when your ancestors involved – I mean, those break-ups hurt, and it takes a lot out of you. And also, I look back on that partnership and I’m like – when it was good, that was the most fun I ever had in my career. I love having a partner to work with.
I’m a writer, so there’s a part of my work that will be about my solitude with my writing.
But at the end of the day I do really want an aligned and compatible partner in business, to combine our magic and create things we could never have created alone.
So I was saying all of this to my community group back in 2019, and one of my mentors was listening to me speak. Worthy to note this mentor has gifts of of clairvoyance, channeling, psychic talents, so they weren’t just listening to my words, they were engaging the conversation on an oracular level.
I finished speaking. My mentor took a beat, and then they said:
“Hmm. Shaunga. When you call a new business partner into your life. Whoever you choose, make sure that person is a Good Listener.”
The moment my mentor said those words, my face got hot. I felt a charge through my body. I got this dumb, goofy smile on my face, like okay: you know when you have a crush on someone, but you’re trying to hide it. And then someone says their name in passing. And you can’t help it, just by hearing their name, you start to blush, you smile that goofy smile which looks even more goofy because you’re trying to hide it…anyway, it was just like that!
I was immediately flustered, like: “Oh cool, good listener, yeah” and then I turned my zoom microphone off so nobody could hear me giggle.
Then my mentor got that that weird, goofy smile on their face too – remember I told you they were of the psychic variety – I could tell that they were feeling what I was feeling.
My mentor continued speaking: “I don’t know Shaunga, I’m feeling this energy, and I think this business partner is someone special…It feels…I’m just gonna say it…it feels like Love.”
Okay. So if you’ve been following along this podcast, you know that I’ve mentioned a few times, I cast a love spell in 2015. That year, I did a huge ritual to call into my life the aligned, beautiful, joyful life partner of my dreams.
I cast the spell in 2015. But that moment in 2019, was the first time that I felt the personhood of my future partner’s energy. Right after the words: “Good Listener” were spoken, undeniably the person who I had been praying for, their energy undeniably entered the room.
I’m trying to find the right word to describe the quality of how my partner’s energy entered the room. It wasn’t a slam. It wasn’t quite a boom.
It was like: okay, hear me out. My cat Estha, who transitioned this past January. For the last year of his life, we had this little night time routine. I’d go to bed. Then two seconds after I put my head on my pillow, Estha jumps on the bed. I lift my head, freeing up the pillow space, Estha circles around a couple times and then he goes: GAJOOM. Which can only be described as a PER-PLOPPING onto the pillow.
A per-plop is like a plop, but way more graceful. It’s like a mix of a Taurus bull, or a Buffalo, with a Duck…a Mighty Duck!
[Dwyane (from Mighty Ducks 2): “Where I come from, we treat ladies with respect!
Connie: “Thank you Dwyane, but I’m no lady. I’m a duck! HMMPH!”]
So Estha’s per-plops on the pillow, then I’d cuddle up up to him, we’d share the pillow and sleep like that all night. He did that every single night for the last year of his life.
And every night, I would make this sound effect out loud. Estha would circle around, preparing to per-plop, we’d both take a breath together, and then…[breath] GAJOOM! Sometimes I’d say GAROOM. GAGOOM. Or just GHOOM.
I know – this is very, very, VERY Bengali of me.
But that’s the best way I can explain how my partner’s energy came into the space that day in 2019.
“Make sure you choose a partner who is a Good Listener.”
My partner’s energy PER-PLOPPED right in front of my face. It was so strong, so powerful, enough to elicit the dreaded uncontrollable goofy crush smile. As big as my partner’s energy was, it was also so soft, kind, open and gentle.
You guys, this love story of mine, which is truly turning out to be the queer witch’s version of Love is Blind…God help me!…it’s one of our unfolding real life dramas on this podcast that believe me, I’m just as interested to know what the fuck happens next as you are!
But this is actually a really good time for us to break down the concept of a love spell.
Cuz I keep telling you that I cast this spell, I called in a life partner, I prayed for my person – but what does that actually mean? What are the practices of an ethical love spell? What do you or should you have control over, where are the boundaries between your and someone else’s autonomy, and how do you do this responsibly?
Funny enough, how to be ethical with love spells is actually not that different than being ethical with love when magic isn’t involved. It’s complicated.
And the stakes – pun intended – are much higher when you’re engaging magic because you’re wielding otherworldly energies. So everything has a higher impact.
As we all learned from Willow Rosenberg in 2002 when she tried to kill all her friends and end the world stop the epidemic of human suffering – a noble effort I say, ableit a tad misguided – all witches really do need to learn how to be responsible with our magic, I think so anyway, especially with love spells because they are so powerful and they are so vulnerable.
So let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about Xander Harris.
In case you need a refresher, here’s what you need to know about Buffy for the rest of this conversation.
[Xander’s Spell theme song: Carbon (indie pop version)]
Xander is a main character in the ensemble of Buffy, he’s Buffy and Willow’s best friend, a core member of the scooby gang. The series starts of course when they’re all in high school and Xander is introduced as the archetypal dork, he’s not cool or popular, he’s the funny, quippy guy, he gets picked on by popular people like Cordelia. Then somewhere in season 2, Xander and Cordelia realize they may have the hots for each other after making out with each other several times in basements and broom closets. Eventually, they actually start dating, but in this season 2 episode, Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, Cordelia as mega popular Queen of Sunnydale cannot handle the pressure of dating a dorkus like Xander.
[Cordelia: “Xander? What does he have to do with this?
Harmony: “Well a girl wants to look good for her geek.”
Cordelia: “Xander’s just…”
Harmony: “When are you planning wearing cute little matching outfits? Because I’m planning to vomit.”]
So she breaks up with him…on Valentine’s Day…not the best timing…but Xander has a plan. He recruits Amy, Sunnydale’s resident witch, at least before Willow realizes she’s gay and magical and powerful, to perform a love spell on Cordelia. Xander takes back the necklace he gifted Cordelia and uses it for this love spell that is supposed to make her fall in love with him again. Of course the spell goes horribly wrong, the necklace protects Cordelia from the spell, and every woman in sight falls in love with him except Cordelia. You’d think that everyone you meet falling in love with you would be a cute thing — but it’s really, really not — and it ends with a whole mob of scorned women chasing Xander with axes and weapons, determined to kill him for not loving them back.
Finally, they break the spell, everything goes back to normal and Cordelia truly reclaims her queen status when she says fuck all you mean girls, I’m gonna date whoever I wanna date, even if he’s a total loser!
[Xander’s Love spell music ends]
Okay let’s get into the nerdy gritty. Take a look at the details of the spell love in this episode.
The most important part of any spell or ritual are your intentions. The emotions and spiritual energy behind your intentions, as well as how you word and name your intentions, all determine the quality of your spell, how it then flows and moves and how it embodies itself through your life.
Listen to what Xander says here:
[Xander: “The point is, I want her to want me, desperately. So I can break up with her and subject her to the same hell she’s been putting me through.”
Amy: “Oh I don’t know Xander. Intent has to be pure with love spells.”
Xander: “Right. I intend revenge. Pure as the driven snow.”]
Xander clearly states his intentions with this spell. He intends revenge. He wants Cordelia to love him again, just so he can break up with her and hurt her like she hurt him.
Except this isn’t actually revenge. Revenge would be if Cordelia actively attacked Xander, and Xander attacked her back. That’s not what happened here. Cordelia exercised her sovereign right to decide for herself who she does and doesn’t want to date, who she does and doesn’t want to share her intimacy with. Xander retaliated against her sovereignty.
That’s not revenge, that’s just war.
It’s complicated because Cordelia’s reasons for breaking up with him temporarily in this episode really kind of suck. There are classist power dynamics in their relationship that informed the reasons why she broke up with him. Xander is unpopular, he’s not cool, probably for a few reasons, but one of them certainly because he’s poor, his family doesn’t have a lot of money, and Cordelia is rich.
It sucks to be broken up with you because you’re “not cool.” There’s systemic injustice here that requires collective intervention, where everyone in the community needs to be responsible for their part of that healing.
And also: Cordelia is allowed to date whoever the fuck she wants. She’s allowed to say no, she’s allowed to break up with him. She isn’t taking something away from him that he is automatically entitled to.
There wasn’t a lot of conversation about Xander’s problematic nature in the Buffy community when it was first airing back in the late 90s and early aughts. But as more commentary and thoughtful critique has emerged in the last several years, more and more people in the fandom are recognizing that Xander is really sexist in a lot of ways, and he does reflect this kind “I’m a nice guy” violence that is so pervasive in our society.
It’s a juncture where a lot of men or young dudes may have legitimate grievances and experiences of injustice, but they also carry this entitlement over women, and assumption of ownership the people who they date or who they want to date. They retaliate against women who say no or don’t express interest, because they feel like they deserve that intimacy almost as reparations for all the injustice that they’ve endured. When they don’t get what they want from women, they feel like the victim and act out accordingly.
[Xander: “I guess a guy’s gotta be undead to make time with you.”
Buffy: “That’s really harsh.”]
So let’s keep looking at this spell. When Amy’s doing the spell there’s all this intense fiery scary energy around her and it sounds like this:
[Amy: “Diana! Bring about this love and bless it! Blow out the candle now!”]
And I just want to say that if that’s what your love spell looks and sounds like – you’re doing it wrong!
But let’s back up: Which Otherworldly guide does Amy call upon for this love spell? Diana. Goddess of the Hunt.
GODDESS OF THE HUNT.
Here is where I’m like: okay hold up. Did Amy genuinely botch up this spell, does she really not know what she’s doing – that’s what the narrative of the episode presents – but is she actually intentionally trying to protect Cordelia, but she ends up kind of messing up the spell anyway? That’s what it looks like to me.
[sounds of water]
Diana, the Huntress. Goddess of the wild. Goddess of the Natural World. Someone who is un-tameable. Someone who belongs to herself, who is at one and at home with the animal kingdom.
In my relationship with Diana and her connections to different mythologies, I read her as Asexual. She devotes herself entirely to the natural world, to the non human world. She is wild and also at peace with being a warrior.
We know from the episode that Cordelia’s necklace protected her from Xander’s spell. But did it? Did the spell actually work on Cordelia, but it was actually the spell of a warrior?
In Cordelia’s story that plays out for the rest of Buffy and then during her time as a leading character on the spin-off Angel, Cordelia ends up going broke. Her rich family loses everything because of tax fraud. Everything Cordelia thought her life would become: rich husband, wealthy socialite life, famous actress, none of it comes to pass, and instead she becomes a warrior – fighting demons alongside Angel and other champions, fully and completely becoming a champion herself.
[Cordelia: “You think you’re bad? All mean and haunty. Picking on poor pathetic Cordy. But get ready to haul your wrinkly translucent ass out of this space. Cuz lady, the bitch is back.”]
What if, this was the love spell, with the help of Diana, that actually AWAKENED Cordelia to her true purpose.
…Complete with the non-glamorous parts of regularly washing demon sludge out of her hair. (I wonder if they make a shampoo for that?)
But it’s the path that she chooses again and again. It’s one of my favourite character arcs in the whole Buffyverse. How Cordelia grows and changes from a shallow high school mean girl, to a Lion Hearted Champion. A Warrior on a mission, fighting the good fight.
[Cordelia: “The point is, I haven’t even broken a sweat. See, in the end, Buffy’s just the runner up. I’m the Queen. You get me mad? What do you think I’m gonna do to you?”]
And it starts here in this episode, way back in Buffy season 2 after Xander casts the love spell. She rejects her old popular social circle, and she chooses Xander instead. I think she chooses him because she does genuinely like him. But I think also because, she wants to be with someone who fights demons. Who isn’t just oblivious to things that are worth fighting for. She wants to be with someone where this part of her can emerge.
When we look at the aspect of Diana that is Asexual, or that belongs to herself, or that is so devoted to the mission, the wild, the relationship with the non human world – is this perhaps part of why Cordelia could never figure out how to reconcile and integrate human love and partnership with her mission?
[Angel: “Maybe people like us just…don’t get to…have that.”
Cordelia: “Angel. There are no people like us.”]
Here’s where I want to relate Xander and Cordelia’s dynamics to the queer community. I think it’s important to look at what we see here play out here, because we deal with it too, in the queer community. This doesn’t just happen between cis straight men and women.
It actually made me think about my relationship with queer mentors and elders, especially when I was a young person, a teenager.
When I was around 14-18 years old, I experienced a particular kind of escalating antagonizing entitlement from a queer mentor who was an adult. It was hard for me to understand what was happening because in this relationship, because there was so much mentorship: advice giving, desire expressed to share care and support, listening to my stories and my teenage relationship stuff, answering my questions.
I should say too, that I did not understand myself as queer at this age. To me it was just like, I had a normal mentorship relationship with someone who happened to be queer, and who came out while I knew her. I was queer at the time, always have been, I just didn’t have the language to understand my specific and unique queerness.
The antagonizing from this mentor came in the form of consistently and chaotically expressing frustration, anger, resentment and complaints against me. She would talk to other adults in my life about my “bad behaviour”, I would get in trouble. She even started complaining to my teenage friends about me, essentially using them as a sounding board for all the problems she had with me (which I know is a huge red flag).
Her narrative was that I was harbouring inner feelings of homophobia toward her, ever since she came out to me, and that I wasn’t “supportive enough” of her queerness.
She felt this way because I didn’t ask her a lot of questions about her love life. I didn’t express interest in who she was dating, or how she felt in her queer relationships. I didn’t have an enthusiastic curiosity for what was going on in her life, the way I had enthusiasm for my own social life. I didn’t give her queerness a lot of attention.
I internalized her narrative about myself for a long time. If I don’t care that much about her queer love life, I must have internalized homophobia. I have to work on that. I have to work on being more supportive to queer people in my life
The truth is: as a teenager, it was never my responsibility to fulfill that mentor’s need for adult queer relationships, friendship, support, company, community or attention.
This was a power dynamic of age and experience. I was a child, and she was an adult. She was in her late 20s and early 30s at this time, which is actually still pretty young in the life of an adult.
As a young adult queer person, she was obviously struggling like so many of us do, in finding queer community, friendship, genuine intimacy, belonging. She was dealing with legitimate systemic oppression, micro-aggressions, dealing with her own family stuff with regard to her queerness.
She carries a legitimate wound, linked to systemic injustice, just like Xander does. And just like Xander, it was easy and available for her to retaliate against me, abuse the power dynamic between us, which all rests upon a belief that she is entitled to my intimacy, my time, my attention – just like Xander felt toward Cordelia.
As queer adults, we need to be able to look honestly at our wounds and desires for connection and attention. We often engage mentorship relationships to feel that sense of intergenerational community that we’re missing. But we also have to remember it is not the job of a young person to fill our voids or needs for adult relationships.
When I look back on who I was in those teenage years, and the part of me that was emerging around my time of high school graduation…
This was one of the first times in my life that I suddenly had a huge goup of friends, and I was so genuinely happy in my friend group.
Through most of my grade school life, I was not a cool kid, I experienced a lot of loneliness and bullying and depression. Somehow toward the end of high school I landed in a friend group where I truly felt I belonged. Here I could express myself freely, I could relax and be wild, silly, weird, laugh all the time, be super creative and musical – this friend group did revolve around being band geeks so yeah!
I’m 39 now, and it’s only this summer 2023, Venus Retrograde that it’s clicking for me – the part of me that emerged was truly an expression and awakening of my queerness. I didn’t fully understand that until now.
Because I wasn’t interested in anyone sexually or romantically, other than maybe a little crush here or there.
But in my sensual body, I felt an immense amount of platonic pleasure, platonic romance, and platonic partnership.
I felt interdependence. I felt what it was like for a large friend group to share ourselves on equal levels and it was just so easy.
For the first time in my life I did not feel any sort of lack around my relationships. There was an abundance of different unique connections all around me.
Queerness is about so much more than who we are attracted to on a romantic or sexual level. A huge part of queerness is a celebration of all kinds of different layers of friendship and a kind of community building that has room for everyone’s unique desires.
There’s an aspect of my queer sexuality that lives in a world of Asexuality. It’s complicated for me, as it is for many Ace folks, and it’s not just one thing. My Asexuality doesn’t mean that I don’t have desire for certain kinds of sexual relationships in my adult life, but it’s definitely there, it’s definitely a part of me. It’s definitely an expression of my queerness, and it’s definitely ancestral.
My Asexuality lives in the same spirit of Diana. It’s a wild energy in me that is not at all chaotic. It’s very peaceful. It’s protected by nature. A part of me that isn’t interested in sexual relationships with others, because my relationship with nature, with the non human world, with my own wild, joyful sensuality is so damn fulfilling.
I experience this sensual wild nature most intensely through collective platonic intimacy, whether that’s with human friends, or my friends in the non human world.
It’s unbreakably joyful. It is the embodiment of my Queer Happiness.
My queer mentor attacked this part of me because the expression of my queerness didn’t serve the needs of her queerness. It didn’t revolve around healing her wounds or her need for adult queer friendship that I was never responsible for.
It was such a head trip, and an experience of psychological fuckery, that being named as homophobic was directly linked to the ways my sovereign queer expression and identity was emerging.
A Love spell is magic that you first and foremost cast upon yourself.
A love spell is about becoming the partner that YOU want to be. It is about conjuring a life and world around you that you can fall in love with, again and again.
And from that state of love you are truly free to choose who you want on your path. You choose which relationships to say yes and no to. You choose who to commit to and who to break up with. You allow coming and going, giving and receiving with ease. You root and anchor in your sovereignty. From that place you have the spaciousness to respect the autonomy and autonomous choices of others.
Calling in a life partner, a business partner, for me, is about becoming so fully myself that I develop the clarity, the spaciousness, and the freedom to see who that person is, to feel their energy, to welcome them, to welcome the wild adventure of building something together.
In this episode, Giles describes a love spell as a complete loss of autonomy:
[Giles: “People under a love spell, Xander, are deadly. They lose all capacity for reason!”]
Love without autonomy is a recipe for heartache and a mob chasing you around your small town, at least in Xander’s case.
When we feel entitled to someone’s intimacy, we lose the ability to truly LISTEN to our partner or partners. We get obsessed with who we want them to be, and what void we want them to fill, we stop listening to who they are really are.
[“Good Listener” musical theme fades in: “Just Another Romance”]
The moment I heard the words, “Good Listener” is the first time I felt the autonomous spirit of my future partner who exists somewhere in the world, living their own life. In that moment I knew that being a good listener is a foundational quality of who they are. I knew that I would fall in love with this part of them again and again, and it would become a core tenant of our relationship.
In that moment of goofy giggly blushing, I felt how healing it will be to talk to someone who listens the way that they do.
Their listening is gorgeous. They listen without judgement. Without wanting to interrupt, or fix or save or control. They don’t just listen to my words, they listen to my energy, to my Ancestors, my body. They take the time to take everything in. And often it takes them a longer time to form words. I love the silence between us. I love the space that we take up.
This play that I wrote, PLUTO. In 2020, I did a full reading of this script and I performed it in ceremony with my spiritual community at a solstice retreat.
My friend David, and beloved birthday twin, who was present at this ceremony, shared a beautiful reflection of my play afterward. He said: “Shaunga, your play wasn’t just written. It was HEARD.”
“As a writer, and a storyteller, you can hear the planets speaking. You can hear the giants in the ocean. You can hear the elements. This is your gift and your power. To listen and connect, across worlds, across veils, across species, across time.”
This is what it means to me to cast a spell to call in a community around my work with the words “Greetings Good Listeners.”
I want a community where an interdependence is shared by how we listen – to the earth, to the planets, to our ancestors, to the animals, to the stars.
[“Good Listener” musical theme fades out]
Some of my biggest relationship conflict has come through trying to communicate with people who don’t listen to their ancestors. Who don’t make a practise of listening to the Earth and giving back. It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with people who are not purposed to listen or communicate in this way, not everyone is meant to be on this path, but I’ve come to realize it is impossible for me to share close relationships with people when we don’t have this in common.
In the last year I worked closely with an animal communicator named Julie who greatly supported myself and Estha through the last stage of his life and his transition.
Julie has the ability to talk to any animal in spirit or alive. When you sign up for a reading, even if they’re alive, the animal doesn’t have to be in the room. It’s like she opens a phone line to the animal’s energy, and the animal consents to pick up the phone and share a conversation. In the first reading, Julie will ask you to share absolutely no information at all about your animal except for their name, gender and if they’re alive or in spirit. Because she wants the opportunity to just listen to how the animal shows who they are, without any external influence.
The first time Julie met Estha, he was still alive. Julie said: “Oh wow. His energy just came and plopped down right in front of my face.”
That’s right, Estha’s energy entered the room with a PER-PLOP, with a GAJOOM, just the way my human partner did with me in 2019.
Julie went on to listen to what Estha had to say, and described him with a kind of sassy gay man energy. “Yeah,” Julie said: “He’s saying, You want to know about Shaunga – Oh, I’ll tell you everything!”
A few months later, this was October of 2022, there was a week where I had two dreams of Estha where I literally heard for the first time Estha’s voice, as if it were a human voice.
Like okay, as an oracle, when an animal or any species communicates with me, I don’t ever really hear their voice. I pick up their energy and I see visuals, and I get the translation in English. This time in my dream, I actually heard a human voice in English coming out of Estha’s mouth. It was totally that sassy gay man vibe.
In the dream, I was on one side of the room. My future partner was on the other side (I couldn’t really see their face but I knew who it was). Estha was acting like a bridge in the middle.
Estha said: “You both are being shy. But you like each other. I’m just gonna say it!”
Remember what my old mentor said to me way back in 2019? “Shaunga, this business partner of yours? It feels…I’m just gonna say it. It feels like love.”
I told my birthday twin about the dream that I had about Estha, who is also an animal communicator. And he said: “Ah, I heard the message. Estha showed you a human voice in your dream, to let you know that you have moved up in your relationship, to another level of communication. Estha is showing you that your ability to communicate with each other is now solidified. It can never be broken.”
On the surface, I was like: “AWW MY BABY.”
But, underneath. I was shook by what my birthday twin just said. It hit me like GAJOOM. I immediately turned away from the truth and was like LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.
Solidifying our ability to communicate across worlds, across species, across veils, in a way that can never be broken. I’m going to pretend that I don’t know what that means.
A month later, it’s eclipse season, and I’m getting a reading with my friend Natoya who is a powerful channeler and has the ability to listen to pretty much anything and everything.
During this reading, I knew that I had to face the truth. And Natoya knew, too. She says:
“I think you know what I’m going to say. He’s ready to go. And you have to let him. Estha, is joining the reading the right now. He’s saying that…okay now he’s making me want to cry…he’s saying that he’s been telling you that it’s time…but you haven’t really been listening…because you don’t want him to leave.”
I didn’t tell you about the second dream I had about Estha that week in October.
He was lying next to me in our bed, just like he always did, sharing my pillow. We were asleep in my dream and I could barely tell the difference between the dream and our physical reality, because they were basically the same. In the dream my eyes opened, just as his closed. We took a breath together, and he let it all go. Then I burst into tears and I woke up. To Estha lying next to me.
I was like: “What the heck kid, why would you show that to me?” I’m just going to decide that this is a far away into the future thing that may happen one day eventually but not for a long, long time.” And I put it away.
[“Good Listener” musical theme fades in]
I want to tell you something about the connection between my human partner and Estha, my cat partner. They both share something that I call energetic lineage.
It’s clear to me that Estha and my partner share an ancestry with one another, and if you go far back enough into the primordial forces of the Universe, they are the same energy.
They both go GHOOM when they enter the room. They are both incredible strong protectors. Grandmother Tree energy. Loyal, full of conviction.
Estha and my partner are both wise, kind, self-possessed, they know how to be regal and bold and also how to rest and embrace softness.
That is actually a description of Estha that my friend Zena wrote about him, just by seeing his photos. It applies to both Estha and my partner.
Sometimes an energy is so large, so overflowing with magic, it takes up so much gorgeous, hydrating, generous, plentiful space in your life, that you can only share it with one body at a time. Because Estha and my partner both share energetic lineage, that’s why I couldn’t meet my partner in their their human embodiment back in 2019 when I first felt their energy. Because Estha was still alive, although he was in his eldership and transition years. It was a liminal space where one of them was coming and the other was going.
I know that part of why Estha chose this time to leave is because he wanted to move out of the way, for himself, and also for me, for us, so that I could receive the next phase of my human love. So my love spell could fully come into fruition.
That’s really what he meant when he said, “I’m just gonna say it! You two like each other, and you’re being shy. It’s time you came together already. You know you have to let me go. I know you won’t say it first. So I’m just gonna say it.”
When you’re a good listener, the Universe will sometimes tell you things that you’re not supposed to know. When you’re gifted with sight, the Ancestors will show you and trust you with things you’re not supposed to see.
I haven’t met my human partner yet, but I know everything works out with my love spell because…I’ve seen my death.
[sounds of water]
I know that I’m going to have a good death.
I’m going to meet my partner, and we’ll spend the rest of our lives together. When my time comes, I’m gonna be old. I’m going to be surrounded by friends and family and generations of love. In my sensual body, I feel an immense amount of pleasure in a multitude of relationships. Here, I am held and relaxed and free to be myself. It’s interdependence. It’s unbreakable joy.
Not everyone can handle the power and responsibility of seeing your own death.
But I know that I was shown this future, this queer happy ending, not just because I’m good listener, but because I’ll do something good with what I hear. When I see how good my death will be, I also know how much grief I’ll feel when it’s time for me to leave a body and a life that I fucking cherish. What a big, bright, bold, beautiful life all of it is, all of it, absolutely all of it.
That makes me want to live every precious day I have here to its fullest. It makes me want to approach every day and night, shadow and light, giant and small thing with an immense amount of gratitude and celebration. It makes me want to make the most out of every moment I am gifted, and never take anything for granted.
I know what it’s like to live a good life and die a good death because it’s exactly what Estha was feeling, and he shared that with me, because our communication is unbreakable.
[sounds of water fade out]
I also know that between me and my human partner, I’m going first. My partner will out live me.
Estha told me that this is what he wants, I want it too, and my partner agrees. Estha says: I want to give you the gift that you gave me. I want to give it back. I want to do for you what you did for me.
In those final moments, we’ll be lying together in our bed, and for a few special moments, as two beings who share energetic lineage, Estha will merge his spirit with my partner, and they will both be holding me. The three of us will take a deep breath in together. [Breathe] I’ll close my eyes and I’ll let it all go.
For a few moments, the Universe will allow the impossible, just to honour my life, and give me something really good at the end of it. That these two Otherworldly Giants could exist in one place, one time, one body, and both be here with me.
[Breathe in. Long Breath out.]
[Cymbal roll…main theme song drops: Electronica Punch]
Thank you Good Listeners! For being here with me on this journey. Believe it or not I have even more nerdy shit – and like seriously mind blowing nerdy shit – about Xander’s love spell that I didn’t even have time to add into this episode, so I created a bonus episode just for that. There’s actually an interpretation here that illuminates some kind of magical throuple energy baked into the love spell between Xander, Cordelia and Anya. I’m serious people, it’s there, if you want to check that out, listen to the bonus episode.
I mentioned so many amazing friends, animal communicators and magical people in this episode: Natoya Hall, Maestro David, Julie Hirt, Zena Sharman – check out their work and info in the show notes.
The next portal and offering I’m working on is called Queer and Trans Happy Endings, I’m still conjuring and forming what exactly I want it to look like, there will likely be a mix of writing classes, story time listening, magical practices to build and free our ancestral artistry, in our creative projects and in life, breaking curses in our lineage and in community that prevent us from being consistently happy and joyful and purposeful in our work, in our relationships.
Check out my website, sign up for the mailing list, follow me on socials to stay tuned and get all the updates.
shaungatagore.com is me, we are @otherworldlygiants on instagram, Otherworldly Giants Storytelling School on facebook. If you love this podcast please rate, review, give us 5 stars, subscribe, do all the things, tell your friends, pay it forward. Join our patreon if you want to pay it back and support the continuation of this work.
And for the love of goddess, if you’re gonna cast a love spell, please do not accidentally intentionally call forth revenge.
Until next time, Be Brave! Be a Giant!