Welcome to Seven Minutes in Heaven, GO Magazine’s interview series that profiles a different queer babe each day, by asking them seven unique (and sometimes random) questions. Get to know the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the groundbreaking, fierce forces-of-nature in the queer community.
Anna Joy is a queer witch who I found through Instagram. I started following them for their insights and affirming posts. The more I delved into their digital presence, the more I wanted to know about them. They provide reiki, tarot card readings and spiritual coaching—however, it’s the way they envision this work that is so transformational. They see the ways in which trauma and oppression intersect and they ensure that is at the forefront of their work.
This Seven Minutes in Heaven is filled with incredible worldly and witchy insights. Enjoy!
GO Magazine: Who are you and what do you do?
Anna Joy: I am Anna Joy, a queer, millennial witch. My witchcraft goes beyond applications such as manifesting abundance, developing self-love and worshipping the earth (although those are all important to me). In my worldview, being gender nonconforming and intentionally healing the trauma created by systemic oppression is the ultimate, most distilled form of witchcraft, which I practice passionately.
On a practical level, this means that I am a healer by trade. I help people with issues both mundane and deeply personal through a combination of herbalism, tarot/divination, reiki, astrology, energy work, crystals and simply holding space and performing emotional labor for my clients. I have always been a natural psychic and empath (I’m a Cancer sun) and once I began developing my abilities, I found I had a real gift that I could share with other people.
GO: What is the driving force behind your career/activism?
AJ: The primary driving force behind my career is the notion that we all have trauma, whether it’s pronounced, “capital T” trauma or more subtle, “lowercase t” difficult-to-gauge trauma. Furthermore, we all have a responsibility and opportunity to confront, validate and heal our trauma. When individuals work to heal their trauma, they contribute to a more healed world. For me, working on an individual level with folks who recognize and want to take control of their trauma-responses is one of the most pure and obvious forms of activism because the less unresolved trauma there is in the bodies of individuals, the less abuse, violence and greed there is in the world.
On a secondary, slightly more mundane level, healing traumas such as sexual, social and physical often leads to an increase in an individual’s ability to create wealth. What I have found is that as people recognize and heal the trauma they’ve been faced with, they regain a level of autonomy and, often, start to become more financially stable and then abundant. It happened to me when I started facing my sexual trauma head on, and it happens to my clients all the time. So, I am actually really passionate about coaching my clients into a place where they no longer experience a reality in which their bodies are owned by society, and into a reality where they feel they can be safe and supported while doing activities that feed their soul on a daily basis.
GO: Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling discouraged or depleted?
AJ: My number one source of inspiration and guidance when I feel down is Mother Mary. I was actually raised Christian which was, as you can imagine, very traumatic for me as a queer individual. I’m talking Jesus camps in the summer, a congregation that disapproved of LGBTQ identities, and a notion of being unclean and ashamed as core to my identity as human. I left Christianity when I was 11 and wandered around spiritually for years until I found paganism about three years ago.
Really interestingly, Mother Mary was one of the major spirit guides that came through for me when I started meditating and asking for help from spirits. I experience her as an extremely bawdy character. She never judges me, she loves to talk about sex, and she mothers me in the most nurturing way possible. I like to sit with an image of her while I eat and just chat with her, or pray more formally at my altar. I am clairaudient (meaning I “hear” things in my head psychically) so I have conversations with Mother Mary. However, even if you don’t have developed psychic gifts, Mother Mary has given me permission to tell anyone reading this who feels called to just ask her for help. She will show up for you as a nurturing presence, one in which you don’t feel judged and where you feel you can ask for your needs to be met. Mother Mary is especially helpful for survivors of sexual assault.
GO: How would you describe yourself in three words?
AJ: Nurturing, Honest, Driven.
GO: How do you hope to create more dialogue around healing practices in the LGBTQ community?
AJ: I want to continue to emphasize my developing notion that having a queer identity in and of itself is very similar to witchcraft (my healing modality). To me, healing includes working with your triggers, moving traumatic memories out of the energetic system, and coming to believe that we have power over our lived experiences and our boundaries. To me, as a nonbinary femme, my queer identity is the same thing as my witch identity, and I invite anyone out there who identifies in any way as queer to go ahead and adopt the identity of a witch too if it calls to you.
I always say the only thing you need to do to become a witch is to decide you’re a witch. I think there’s a notion, especially in the millennial generation, that you need to join some coven or go through some sort of elder-approved initiation to become a “real” witch. While those things are helpful, there really is no gate between the “muggle” world and the witch world. Just the same, there is no initiation or coven you need to join to become “queer”. Queerness, like witchiness, is an identity, not a paid program.
GO: Who are your queer role models?
AJ: Honestly, some of my most amazing queer role models are my own friends who have shared their journeys with me. I am only “out” as nonbinary in the last year, and watching the coming-out journeys of some of my close friends was really impactful for me. Most of the celeb queer role models I have happen to be musicians (Hi! I also make music under the moniker Ego Death) such as Lady Gaga, Tommy Genesis, and Mykki Blanco.
GO: Where can people find you?
AJ: www.annajoyhealing.com is my website, which is going to go through a lot of cool changes in the next few months. I also have a blog on my website called The Queer Witch Blog. You can also follow my business Instagram @annajoyhealing for a more intimate view into my spiritual life. I also have Facebook page using the same handle.