The first time I met Thorn was in 2000 at a Black Heart of Innocence workshop she led deep in the heart of Texas. I knew then that she was a teacher with deep intellect matched only by her very real compassion and dedication to her craft and path. I have really enjoyed watching her continue to grow and teach others how to do the same thing. Thorn has written three books, teaches her spiritual path all over the world, and produces some of the most lucid writings in the Pagan community today. I respect her work deeply and am delighted to share some of her fantastic insights with Milagro Roots readers!
In her own words:
T. Thorn Coyle is a magic worker. Author of the “Make Magic of Your Life: Passion, Purpose, and the Power of Desire,” “Kissing the Limitless,” and other books, she blogs on spirituality and politics for Patheos and Huffington Post and at her own blog: Know Thyself. Her work reaches people all over the world through her spiritual direction, vibrant workshops, webcasts, and online classes. Pagan, mystic, minister, and social justice activist, she lives by the San Francisco Bay.
1.) You work with the saying of the Delphic Oracle, Know Thyself. How does magic help us know ourselves?
Magic is the marriage of breath, will, and desire. When we shift our relationship to breath, to life force – the vitality that flows through everything – we shift our relationship with ourselves. When we allow ourselves to open to desire and find the places where want meets a need, and follow that thread, we are confronted with our deeper selves. We come to a place where we face fear, insecurity, hope, anger, deep longing, and love. That work helps us to set our intentions and put them into action because we have more clarity about who we are. Working magic helps birth our desires into the world. To step into the flow of magic, we have to know ourselves. To know ourselves brings us more deeply into magic.
2.) You are a well-respected voice in Paganism today and I know you have studied with Sufis and Catholic Workers as well. One of the topics that I am hearing more and more about is the relationship between Paganism and/or Earth-based religious systems and other religious traditions. What kind of relationship would you like to see develop between them? What should we be putting our energy towards?
A relationship that cultivates both a sense of Nature as sacred and self as part of Nature is a healthy and fruitful one. Nature as sacred means that the cosmos is alive; Divinity flows through the stars, the trees, the rivers, the insects, the black holes, and every human being. Coming to recognize that, we can learn to better love ourselves, one another, and the world. We enter the flow where healing is possible. Recognizing the sacred helps us toward a deeper sense of service, which is very important: we have to help one another or we are lost. Helping one another includes honoring this gorgeous planet. The mystics of all religious traditions had a deep sense of connection. They loved humanity. They loved animals. They loved holy Nature. They drank wine and gazed at the stars. We can foster this mystical connection by starting at our core and moving out from there.
3.) Your latest book is Make Magic of Your Life–which I read and enjoyed. Why this book and why now? What was driving you to write it and share it with the world?
In working with spiritual direction clients and students, I noticed that people were hesitant to manifest what they wanted and felt very conflicted about desire. They felt unworthy, or selfish, or confused. There was a strong sense of disconnection from what their heart and soul wanted and needed. That drove me to write and teach more deeply about the power of desire and how passion can lead us toward our purpose.
Our purpose is often simple: it is the thing we gravitate toward or just the thing we find ourselves doing. It often feels quite ordinary to us! It is easy to make desire and purpose into something that feels overwhelmingly huge. This stops us in our tracks. Make Magic of Your Life walks us into desire and purpose one step at a time. It provides entry points for the tentative and deepening for those who feel well on their path. Sometimes we get stuck. My hope is that this book will help activate us once again.
4.) You write and you speak but you also teach. Tell us about your teaching programs: Who are they for? What do they teach? How can those interested learn more?
In my teaching, I attempt to pass along techniques to know ourselves better, to integrate all the parts of self and soul – even those that feel unacceptable – so we can come into greater internal alignment. The better aligned we are within ourselves, the easier it is to be in alignment with the sacred around us. When we align with the sacred around us, we grow in beauty, strength, and service. We open up the world and help create something new.
I welcome sincere seekers from many paths.
5.) If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?
Don’t forget to listen. Drop into your center – over and over – and find the silence there. Listen to your soul. Listen to the cosmos. Then speak. We need your voice.