green witches, and tarot and Qoya, oh, my!

working with plants (the one in the middle is a Baby Oak gifted to me by my herbalist teacher)

Some time ago, I got the opportunity to study with Sierra Bender, whose book Goddess to the Core I had read and re-read over the last few years. Thinking about it now, this book was definitely one of the road signs I received when years ago, I asked myself, what does it mean to be a modern-day Goddess? 

Back in 2009, I enrolled in the School of Womanly Arts. One of the most brilliant investments I have ever made. The dividends continue to pay off, and curiously more so over time. Anyhow, one of the first things we are encouraged to do is call ourselves and each other Sister Goddess. Sister Goddess.

When I started La Dea Vita back in 2011, I really sat with those two words. Sister Goddess. You see, La Dea Vita translates from italian to The Goddess Life(style). I had just begun to tap into the world of magic and the divine feminine, and the word Goddess deeply resonated. 

Funny enough, at the time a quick Google search of the word “Goddess” yielded either one of two things: porn and references to mystical, divine characters. Obviously I was attracted to the latter, and that was my gateway to the world that i now thrive in. Yet, though I began to quench my curiosity, the word “Goddess” remained something archaic based on what I was encountering. So how then can I truly understand and fully embody being “sister goddess?” I mean, sister yeah i get that part. It’s a term deeply grounded in community and oneness, we need our sisters (and our brothers). But goddess, what, how, what… what does it even mean to be a goddess?

Thus, bringing me to the beginning of my post: what does it mean to be a modern-day Goddess? 

Doing a temporary immersion with Sierra, whom in my eyes seemed to walk the talk, really helped me answer that question. She’s a woman fully empowered and out to teach other women how to claim their space, heal and protect themselves. How to be fully and completely in their power. 

Here is the distillation of what her work is all about: In order to heal yourself, you must heal all FOUR of your bodies. Yup, all four, and in a particular order.

You must address and heal your:

1. Spiritual Body

2. Mental Body

3. Emotional Body

and finally

4. Physical Body

Most of us, god bless us, are out there running ourselves down doing everything we can to heal our physical bodies, while we unknowingly neglect other parts of ourselves that also need directed energy and healing. The idea goes that in order to tap into that Goddess within, you gotta start from inside and make your way out. Goddess from the core and to the core.

This spring, I have dedicated myself to working on my spiritual body. I have been doing so more and more over the years, but this season, it’s truly become a point of focus. 

*I have been working on strengthening my connection to my intuition by spending the majority of my time outdoors, in nature. I’ve been studying with an amazing herbalist, Robin Rose Bennett, who’s teaching me how to use plants for this purpose as well.

*I’ve been meditating more. This took a long time to finally do. I finally found my groove: my ideal time to sit in stillness is right before bed. It works every time (though now and again i netflix myself to bed instead, but hey, its cool).

*I’ve been doing many prayer rituals and ceremonies, both alone and with other lovely beings.

*I finally launched my Qoya classes, my way of creating and holding safe and sacred space for other women

mark your calendars <3

mark your calendars <3

*I’ve been working more with my Goddess card deck, and have recently picked up the Tarot. Completely blowing my mind.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.28.26 PM

my beautiful Tarot de Marseille

*I’ve also been mindful to sage and purify the energy in the space before I teach a Bikram class. It helps me get out of my way and be fully present for my students.

That’s quite a tasty menu for the Spiritual Body. Given that most of my life, it’s been malnourished, it most certainly is enjoying all this love and attention.




My name is Mishel Ixchel. I’m Ecuadorian-born &
NYC-bred. Western Mass is currently home, and it's also where I practice + teach the art of
Sacred Self Care.