In episode 13 of Living Tarot, I speak with Amanda Midkiff about her journey into teaching plant magic. Amanda is the herbalist and plant witch of Locust Light Farm in New Jersey. Through classes both on her farm and online, she helps folks experience the magic and medicine of the plant world and the transformative power of plant magic. She also hosts rituals for the seasonal holidays. Amanda delights in mosses, loves delicious bevs, and heartily believes in gnomes. We discuss how hard it can be to gracefully let go of career plans even when you know it’s right.
- We chat about how Amanda’s training in herbalism has brought even deeper meaning and understanding to her plant magic practice
- Amanda and I discuss what plant medicine is and how to work magically with plants.
- We discuss how intuition led Amanda on a very spiraled career journey from wanting to be an agricultural lawyer to a veggie farmer to a plant witch and teacher.
- We also discuss how Amanda said her business up to move her closer and closer towards the perfect job for her.
- Amanda also speaks to how to start to develop your own plant magic and how to accept what speaks to you and what doesn’t without being appropriative.
Connect with Sheila:
To book a tarot reading, virtual tarot party, or distance Reiki session with Sheila click here – https://www.starsagespirit.com/services/
To read more about Sheila’s offerings click here – https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=18090641
Or on Instagram www.instagram.com/starsagespirit
Get access to Amanda’s Plant Magic for beginners here – https://www.locustlightfarm.com/plant-magic-for-beginners
Take Amanda’s Which Plant Ally do You Need Right Now Quiz here – https://quiz.tryinteract.com/#/5e23321102200100148554b4
Find Amanda Online at locustlightfarm.com or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/locustlightfarm
Sheila M 0:05
Welcome to Living Tarot. I’m your host Sheila Masterson. I’m a tarot reader and teacher, an energy healer and medium, and creator of Practical Tarot for Everyday Intuitives. Each week on this podcast, I’ll share my own experience of embracing and growing intuition, and interview guests about how they heard the call of intuition, embraced the adventure, and embodied the tarot along the way. Join us and learn how you can stop second guessing and power yourself through intuition and live intentionally with the Tarot.
Welcome back to Living Tarot. This week, I am joined by the lovely and talented Amanda Midkiff. Amanda is the herbalist and plant witch of Locust Light Farm in New Jersey. Through classes both on her farm and online, she helps folks experience the magic and medicine of the plant world and the transformative power of plant magic. She also hosts rituals for the seasonal holidays. Amanda delights in mosses, loves delicious bevs, and hardily believes in gnomes. Amanda and I are friends from a business program that we did together. And we really bonded over magic and intuition and really learning to believe in your own personal power. We also had a really great conversation in this episode about how Amanda really embodies the Pentacles in and patience in a lot of ways lousing things to grow allowing things to thrive really learning the answers. importance of getting to know plants in order to work with their magic, and having the patience to learn to do something well. So I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. Let’s dive right in.
Welcome, Amanda. I’m so excited to have you here today. And again, another one of my internet friends turned real life friends who I had the good fortune to actually be able to see socially distant and in person a week or so ago, which was really nice because we live relatively close to each other. So welcome to the show. Can you tell us a little bit aboutwho you are and what you do?
Amanda Midkiff 2:45
Thanks, Sheila. I’m so happy to be here and it was great to meet you in person the other week. And I’m Amanda. I’m an herbalist in plant which and I run a small teaching garden called Locust Light Farm. And I, at Locust Light, I teach herbalism classes, I teach plant magic classes, I lead rituals for the seasonal holidays. And I also teach online plant magic classes. So my business takes place both on the farm in Central New Jersey, and also online.
Sheila M 3:20
So cool. I love I love what you do, because it’s, it’s told it’s something that’s been totally new to me since like getting to know you and your work. Like, I have never heard of plant magic or anything like that before. I started reading, reading about all of your offerings and everything, and we were in a business program together. And that’s when I kind of started to learn about all of this. So for anybody who’s not familiar with plant magic, can you tell us like a little bit more about what that is?
Amanda Midkiff 3:51
Yeah, definitely. I would describe plant magic as working with the spiritual aspect of plants to make shit happen in your life. You know, I do come I’m first an herbalist. And so, you know, for a number of years now I’ve worked with plants to make medicine. And to me working with plants to make magic is like linking arms with them as a friend and ally and joining your efforts toward a specific project or a specific goal or a specific change that you would like to make. And so, I think that plant magic is, it’s great if you are someone who’s already an herbalist or already a plant person, and you’re interested in magic, then plant like working with plants. And when you play with that magic makes a lot of sense. And if you’re someone who already is interested in magic, like you’re already doing spells, and personal ritual and things like that, then bringing plants in can make your magic more potent because plants themselves are so powerful.
Sheila M 4:58
I love that. I think that’s really beautiful and I, I love plants. I’ve got a couple in the background here. But I didn’t like grow up in a household where we had a lot of definitely not a lot of indoor plants. Now my parents have like, pretty substantial garden for how big their hous is and everything and they, they enjoy, you know, kind of changing it up a little bit every year and stuff, which I think is cool. But did you have an upbringing where you were kind of introduced to plants young? How did that kind of come about to you or did you just always connect with that?
Amanda Midkiff 5:33
I, I would say mostly Yes. But not – well this is what I would say. We grew up so my mom’s family were dairy farmers. And so my sister and I were younger, we just spent, like, what I felt like all our free time on the dairy farm, which meant a lot of time in the forest. And there were a few herbs that my mom says to me were young like Empty leaf for healing wounds which is not the relative of banana it’s like a plant that grows in lawns and grassy areas. And my sister and I definitely like played around with planting leaf and dandelion leaf and we spent a lot of time in the forest playing with moss and, you know, we had a willow tree we really liked and we did have a garden for like, one or two years when I was very young. But I didn’t grow up vegetable gardening or like working with herbs in any, like broad or, you know, varied type of way. And it wasn’t until I was in college, that I started working on a vegetable farm that I really began working- like into what I feel like interacting with plants in a really meaningful way. You know, I’m as I said, My mom’s family were dairy farmers when I was growing up, we always had like, a little farm it so like I grew up with so many animals like indoor pets outdoor farm hobby animals into it just never. I think plants weren’t on my horizon like the reason I started veggie farming was not because I wanted. Like I had any interest in veggie farming it was because I was planning on going to law school to work with agricultural trade issues. And I wanted to advocate for Mexican and Central American growers rights. And so I thought, Oh, well, I know what it feels like to be dependent on animals for your livelihood, but I don’t know what it feels like to be dependent on veggies. So I should learn what it feels like because the people for whom I want to advocate will be people whose lives are dependent on veggies. But then once I started farming, I was hooked in. I would say I didn’t stop but right now, I’m not really farming anymore. I’ve got like a large garden. Yeah. So I have stopped, but I still I’m just like very addicted to that feeling of working outside.
Sheila M 7:56
Yeah, yeah, I can I can see that. Kind of in, you know in following your work and everything like how much that is rejuvenating for you as well. So that was kind of your introduction. How did you make the transition into herbalism and plant magic? Like what kind of made you decide to go from wanting to be a lawyer to wanting to be an herbalist and then a plant which?
Amanda Midkiff 8:28
Well, it’s a spiral path. Yes. Okay. The first major decision I made was to not be a lawyer but instead to become a farmer. So, so I ended up working on veggie farms throughout college and then after college and I decided, Okay, no law school, clearly I want to be a veggie farmer. But while I was a veggie farmer at the first farm I worked at someone taught me to work with nettles and how to harvest nettles and how to like, offer gratitude to a plant and all And I at the time had a lot of indoor allergies. And I was like, always disgusting like I was like always blowing my nose and you know, when you’re like in school, you’re just in the moldy buildings with cleaning products and so I was just like always so sneezy and nettle made me remarkably less sneezy. And so I became like this metal evangelist and, and I started just reading everything I could about herbs and getting my hands on old herb books. I started making tinctures and I started making body oils and actual, like medicinal infusions. And I was doing that for years. And then at some point, as I was a veggie farmer, I knew that it wasn’t quite the right path for me, but I was had a lot of angst. Like I didn’t know what the right path was. And I had this revelation that I care so much about local food, but when I go to make my herbal products, I’m going online to buy them and they Come there little plastic bag from the internet. And so I decided to start an herb farm. And I started Locust Light as a farm. And so for the first two years I was growing herbs for wholesale. didn’t quite make it to that level. But I in theory was growing herbs for wholesale, but an herbal products CSA. So I was making products. I was really like Locust Light was a farm that was producing herbs for sale.
Sheila M 10:24
Amanda Midkiff 10:25
And then two years into that I realized that not only did I like teaching more, but it was easier for me to make money doing that, which was important because I was really struggling in that department. And so I moved the farm to a different property that could be accessed by the public and changed my business to focus on teaching. Last year I started incorporating online classes. I guess I’d like eased into the plant magic. It began with honoring the seasonal holidays the the eight holidays around the Wheel of the Year. And then it just developed from there. I found a book, there was one point I was at like the depths of existential environmental despair. And I found two books actually one was about it was like rituals for each of the seasonal holidays. And then another one was a book about making magic with plants and they really, you know, blew my world open and, and also for me like working with plants to make magic has helped soothe a lot of existential despair. Definitely, it’s not gone. For me, like working with plants magically helps them a lot.
Sheila M 11:48
Yeah, you’re speaking us something that I think is really interesting to how you described shifting away from the veggie farming and to the herbal farming and it’s kind of like allowing all of these, like you were saying this kind of spiralic journey where we kind of have a death of something and then it’s reborn as something new. And then that dies off in like, every time even though it is the right thing it can feel so uncomfortable and so painful and like you were saying, like an existential crisis of – well if I’m not that now Then what am I?
Amanda Midkiff 12:22
Yeah, it was very hard for me to let go the identity of being a farmer, not just the identity, but also the lifestyle. I mean, obviously, being a farmer is grueling. It is an endurance marathon, it’s very difficult. So it wasn’t like, well, you get so used to those specific rhythms and your life becomes seasonal, truly seasonal. And my life is still able to be quite seasonal, but not in the same way. You know, and when you stop working with those same types of crops, you lose that like, Oh, this is the like, you know, This is June and we are snapping garlic scapes and picking sugar snap peas. And so the My whole body understands that it’s June and because of that, but also just like the identity like, I, I have this little axe to grind, which is like, I feel like you are not a farmer unless your livelihood is dependent on what you’re growing. Right? A lot of people like to call themselves farmers, even if they have a garden, you know, and that that always bothered me and still does because I feel like, you know, to get credit for being a farmer, you should actually be fully invested. Um, and so to acknowledge to myself that I am just going to be someone who has a garden, which was never something I was interested in. And even even just to like, last year, as I was reevaluating my business in a big way I realized, like even a big garden is something that can take all of your spare energy and causes a lot of guilt and a lot of stress. You know, it’s like a whole living ecosystem. Yeah. And but I realized it wasn’t making me money. And it has essentially become like the elaborate backdrop for everything else that I do. So I realized two things. One, I needed to find ways to make the garden more of a source of income in a way or like leverage the existence of the garden. And to I need to find ways to make the garden remarkably less stressful. And I have done both those things this year, which I’m very proud of in the garden is now a source of joy and play for me and it’s not a source of guilt and stress.
Sheila M 14:38
Yeah, and I think that’s one of the things that’s really hard and I’m glad you’re speaking about that as well. Because I think when we do work that is spiritual or healing or however you like to identify, there is this idea that like there somehow needs to be suffering involvedor something. Do You know what I mean? Like some some like puritanical, patriarchal stuff wrapped up in that. But I also think that what you’re talking about is really interesting because I think sometimes when people hear it needed to be a source of income for me, because it’s your job like some people are like, I think have like a response to that where they feel very like put off about people charging and finding ways to economize what they’re already doing. But I think it’s important to speak to that too, because I think it’s our, our mentor, Sarah, who says, like, if you’re not making money with your business, then you just have an expensive hobby. Like, you’re not
Amanda Midkiff 15:45
Yeah, a very expensive hobby and like, yeah, I think especially in the healing professions, and maybe I’ll just speak to herbalism or even food farming. If there’s just this level where people just think that it’s everything should just be free. You know, like, no matter how many Your CSA share costs, it’s too much money or no matter how much that bunch of kale costs, it’s too much money. Because like all food should just be free. And like, I get that people need access, but like, it can’t be free if the people who are growing it are not even making a living wage. You know, that’s not what is that’s not food justice. And with any of the healing professions, there’s this idea that it should just be free and it’s like, Okay, well, like it costs me money to lease this land. Thankfully, my landlords aren’t charging me rent right now to do COVID. But like, cost money to lease the land, it costs money to buy the seeds, it costs money to plant the stuff, it costs money to have the tools it costs money to have the baskets, the insurance, like all of those things cost money and so money just is part of this situation, you know, it’s not and even if people are able to get land donated for a garden, okay, you know, those people are paying a mortgage or they’re paying taxes or they’re paying, you know, it’s like it’s all being supported by the entity. That is money. And so, you know, money needs to be flowing into that vessel too. It can’t just be flowing out.
Sheila M 17:06
Exactly, exactly. And I think that’s really important. And also that your energy and your time and your training like the the time, the energy, the wisdom, the learning that it takes to be able to do something like cultivate land and grow plants and be able to sustainably do that over time, not just like once is also something that you’ve invested heavily in, either through training or experience or both. Mm hmm. Yeah. Which I think is really important. And one of the things I run into a lot too and even in my own mental ability to be able to like charge for my work and stuff is like to move away from just being like an hour of my time is worth this because also I’ve spent money on my own training and A lot of experience now at this point and, and continue to learn entering and and everything. And I think it’s really important that people recognize that and especially with what you do, because there is such like an incubation period between when you we put something in into action and when it actually pays off or for lack of a better term.
Amanda Midkiff 18:25
Oh yeah. Especially with perennial plants. Something that helped me was a few years ago, I was talking to another at time local herbalist , who said that she was starting like a tea line and figuring out how much money to charge. And she pointed out that the things that we feel like we shouldn’t spend money on like, vegetables or herbs or healing services, like are things that typically like historically fell in the hands of women. And it’s just like another aspect of the devaluing of like women’s labor in a way and that made me angry, which Which has helped me to be feel good about charging money because I’m like, that’s shit like it is especially like, healing or nurturing or even just like doing emotional labor for other people that is labor that traditionally women doing and so, so people don’t value it. So yeah, I’m gonna charge money.
Sheila M 19:18
Yeah, yeah. And I think I think it’s really important. It’s so funny because I’m like, everything kind of takes its own its own turn in these interviews, but I’m like, it’s so funny that we’re talking about this because it also goes with the card that I that I had in mind for you as well, which we’ll talk a little bit but yeah, no. But, um, but I do think this is really cool. So, so you found you found those two books that kind of helped you get introduced to all of this, but how much of what you have learned has been through that and through training and through like your traditional herbalist training and how much of it has been your personal journey of really learning that stuff on your own? Like how has that grown over time?
Amanda Midkiff 20:09
Definitely a combination. So I absolutely have studied herbalism with a variety of teachers like that I feel is very important. And in terms of magic and spirituality, like I worked with one shamanic teacher I’ve studied with and that I have another shamanic teacher I should be studied with like, less but still have also studied with you know, and then I, I certainly like read a lot. Something that I something that I like about working with magic and calling it magical witchcraft is that to me, it is like the least appropriative way to work spiritually with herbs, because the traditions that I draw from European traditions and so in that like is very important to me.
But the another way to make Not being appropriative is to like, again, like you were saying have your own personal experiences. And so for me, the plants I work with magically are plants almost exclusively that grow in my garden or in a wild way near my garden. And it’s very important to me that I have my own personal relationship magically with those plants before I teach them. So they’re plants that I’ve maybe grown for a number of years harvested had their tea have my own little you know, inside it, and some plants like of course, like rose, everyone has a sense of roses, energetic aspects, I mean, they overlap really with the medicinal aspects are some plants like you know, like Tulsi is a plant that is sacred in Hinduism, and there’s like a body of spiritual knowledge about Tulsi that has been around for thousands of years. But then there’s other plants where I feel like I You know, bring my own unique insight to them. And actually, one of my Shamanic teachers, Rocio Alarcon and I studied with her in Ecuador for a few weeks this winter. And she talked about how, in this I love, she talked about how it’s our job to create new data, like create new spiritual data surrounding. She was speaking generally, but in my imagination, like surrounding art, our interaction with the land and the plants and the spiritual, the natural, you know, spiritual forces, you know, it’s not just like dependent on some sort of cannon, but like, we are living in a new time that is unique to us. We have unique needs, and so we can interact with these plants based on what’s going on in this time. And, you know, we can also develop our own personal experiences. And that is how we do not steal them from others.
Sheila M 22:51
Yeah, yeah. And I, I think you’re speaking to something really important as well, which is to also like blind accepts things, even if it’s what you’ve been taught that it might not always be in alignment with how you’re feeling or what you want to work with, or what you feel called to. And that that’s okay. Like, it’s okay to take what not to appropriate but like to take what calls to you and to not feel a need to use the stuff that does not as well, which is really interesting.
Amanda Midkiff 23:28
Yeah, there’s a phrase I learned, like early on in my herbal education, which is, um, “that’s not my medicine.” I think that’s great. I think probably the person is talking about marijuana or something, which I think is great because it’s just nice to think like, okay, that herb isn’t my medicine. Like for me skullcap is not my medicine. It’s just not people love skullcap and I’m happy for them it’s not my thing. Yeah. And you know, magically and but distantly like plants are living complex beings. Individual plants can vary also from each other depending on what they’re growing conditions have been. And so plants are going to we know as herbalist that medicinal plants are going to interact with each individual’s body in a different way. It’s the same deal magically, you know, plants are beings with personalities and quirks and preferences. And so just like with humans, like the chemistry doesn’t always match and so that’s extremely important and even like for instance, so Tansy is a plant that I work with extensively magically I teach Tansy and one of my classes ritual potion, and there’s like a certain way that I teach Tansy in a way that I primarily think of working with Tansy which is like as an herb that is expelling of pests and protective and things like that. But, and Tansy this year is my plant ally for the year. And the way that I’m working with Tansy in this year has nothing to do with, with like, expelling or protecting from pests or like clearing irritants for my environments, a completely completely different set of lessons and energy that I’m working with and You know, like if, if you and I, you know, say our friends for a decade, like what we’re talking about in 2030 is going to be different than what we’re talking about in 2020. And we can accept these things as natural with with humans, but we are not as quick to understand them with plants.
Sheila M 25:17
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me, actually. So, when you, for example, when you kind of cultivate your relationship with a plan, and you kind of connect in this intuitive way, and you figure out that it’s different than like, maybe the traditional use of it, or however you want to talk about it. How does that come across to you? So kind of, how does that intuitive conversation come across to you? Do you hear? Do you see do you feel? Do you meditate on it? How does it work for you?
Amanda Midkiff 25:54
I would say all of the above. Um, I think I think for me, the biggest the most important aspect of intuition, like so say if our intuition lives in our heart center, right? our confidence from our solar plexus, like supports our intuition. And I think the most important part of connecting with your intuition in that way is having the confidence to believe that what you are receiving is real. And the more you practice and believe that in little ways, the more you can believe it in big ways. And so with plants, sometimes I just get like a knowing and and maybe the knowing is a bit of information. Or maybe it’s more vague than that. Sometimes I go on shamanic journeys to directly communicate with the spirit of the plant. Usually, it’s one or the other. I mean, sometimes I’ll just like, close my eyes and pose a question, you know, where I might pose a question like, see if I’m teaching a class, I might ask, okay, who wants to participate in this? You know, and then I know when I go along with that, um, and I think the more you practice, like, honoring those knowings, the stronger in the morning clearer they become. Yeah,
Sheila M 27:02
yeah, I, I totally agree. And my experience with intuition has been very much about, it’s like a muscle and the more you work it, the easier it gets to recognize it. And in that also, there are times where, like right now, where things are very externally stressful, where it can be a little bit harder to connect in the same way and you need to, like you said, Have that faith that what you’re experiencing is real and having that confidence in yourself, which I think can be a huge challenge for people to build over time. And especially for me, it was a lot of like validating to myself, and especially with working with my relationship personally with the cards for example, or just with intuition in general. It’s very different, and a different level of faith that you have to have to work with it personally. Then you do have to To work with it with other people. So like me, giving a reading to myself is a different experience and a different level of trust than I have to have in order to give like a reading to you. Because I would have to listen in a different way. And I don’t have the context of knowing all the things that I know about myself personally. Which on one hand makes it easier. But on the other hand, when I refer myself, I have a lot more emotional buy in to everything that’s going on. So that can bring its own level of challenge.
Amanda Midkiff 28:30
Yeah, that’s very true. That’s very true. I haven’t like gotten to the place where I’m doing any sort of readings for other people in that way. I do get like kind of download, some people call them or insights. I think I love I think the phrase download is so apt. It’s also funny to me how quickly we’re able to like adopt technology terms.
Sheila M 28:55
I know I know. It’s It is really funny to me, because I have had the same experience and sometimes I’m like, I understand why it’s translated to that because there is like that similar like loading bar type feeling. Like, this is, this is coming online, you know, it’s something is happening right now. And sometimes it’s like so much that I feel like it’s gonna, like knock me over and I’m like, Alright, slow it down a little bit. Too much. Um, but I do think it’s interesting that you have some some aspects of that as well.
Amanda Midkiff 29:30
Sheila M 29:36
With the work that you do, and I understand from from some of your background and everything that you did learn about, you know, some herbs and stuff through your family of origin growing up, how, how have they dealt with kind of the shift in in your work over time and do they approve? Do they think you’re Are you the weirdo? How does it work in your family?
Amanda Midkiff 30:04
My family is very supportive Also, I’m sure I’m the weirdo
Sheila M 30:11
Both can be true. Yeah.
Amanda Midkiff 30:12
Yeah, I especially both of my parents like they when locust Light was functioning more as a farm like they both came frequently to help me make products, bottle tinctures, plant, things like that. I think my father was like a little surprised when I decided to not go to law school. I was like, such a school kid. You know, like, I I love school. I thought I’d be in school forever. So that was like, an interesting departure. Definitely, like I would say the most like a dramatic decision on my part. Um, yeah, I mean, I say they’re pretty supportive. Um, I think I think for a lot of people like I’ve noticed like, you know, for I don’t know in a lot of stuff I’m just the person where like, no one asks me about my job. You know, like I can hang out with like, it’s just certain like social groups that I’m in and like just never comes up. I think it’s like, I think do a lot of people it’s like so far out there that like, what do you even ask? You know, obviously with other people they’re very interested about leukocyte. Mostly I think in my my broader family of origin. What I want is to one day for people to be like, how does Amanda make so much money with her weird small business? Like That is my goal to have people gossip about me and wonder like where all this money is coming from because they do not understand what my business does.
Sheila M 31:46
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I love that so much. I love it. I and I like I like what you said too, about, like that kind of switch in identity because I think as hard as it can be on us personally. It can also be a challenge to people who have a relationship with us and have seen us in a certain light and I think when I was you know, coming out of the broom closet so to speak, I was so afraid that people were going to think I was different. Like I was, I heard after I got off the initial I’m afraid people are gonna think I’m crazy and try to commit me. I moved on to well I don’t want people to think I’m like, somehow, I am different now. But I don’t want them to think that I’m like, somehow, like a different person. Like, I’m still myself.
Amanda Midkiff 34:09
I think part of it. So I’m Sagittarius rising Sagittarius and also, I think like Mercury’s is in Sagittarius are gonna have a lot of, I’m on a complete winter baby in my whole chart. And I think part of that for me is like, I know, my ideas are crazy. I know they make no sense. And so I don’t spend time trying to convince anyone around me that it’ll work. Like I don’t even I don’t care about that. Like, I just plow ahead and I’m like, I’m gonna figure it out. And of course, like it’s a little different now that I’m in a relationship in my finances are tied with someone else’s. So like, even though my partner’s not involved in my business, like it’s not just, you know, my own self on the line. Yeah, that way. But still, I just like it. I know that the things I’m doing, like in some ways are new things. Or maybe if you’re in this niche, world of herbalism, you know, there’s obviously other people who are working with plants magically and spiritually. But if you’re not part of that world, then the thing I’m doing looks like it’s coming out of left field, it makes no sense. And so I just like I don’t expect people to understand and I don’t need them to understand. I don’t, yeah, I need I need people who are going to become my students to understand and that’s it.
Sheila M 35:30
I love that. I love that so much. So, when you look back now on how much has changed in like a relatively short period of time? Does it feel does it still feel as aligned? Like what has shifted or what feelings Do you have around that that transition point where you were kind of like, Okay, I know I need to do this and then away from being a veggie farmer. Which was like, you know, again, like the decision that you made after being like, Well, I’m not going to go to law school and now I’m going to be a veggie farmer. And now I’m shifting away to this and also to teaching more because it is more in alignment for you. And how does it feel when you look back? Do you feel like you do feel like you did? I’m gonna say a good job, but that’s not quite the right word. Do you feel like you did a good job of like listening to that intuition? Or has it been like a struggle for you to trust it? Or was it just kind of like yeah, okay.
Amanda Midkiff 36:33
I I do feel like I’ve done a good job of listening to my intuition. Another part of my personality is like when something’s not working, I feel the need to change it very fast. And which is why things have changed change so fast. And like, I think just what I’ve been doing for the past, like six, seven years is just creating the perfect job for me. So it has become more perfect. Just the longer I’ve done it for me for in terms of my skill sets, my daily rhythms, you know, the things I’m bad at. And like I can, obviously, we see more and more room for improvement. And I feel like it’s just this refinement process of creating, like, the exact right work in the world. And there’s some things like when I started Locust Light, I had been a veggie farmer, but I’ve never worked on an herb farm. And so at the time I made, I made that decision to start the farm that year instead of going and moving to work on an herb farm for a series of reasons. And when I made the decision, I wrote this down because I found out later I journal a lot. I knew that I was starting something that was going to be very bumpy because I didn’t have any experience doing it. And I had written down like Okay, the first two years are going to be shitty. But then, you know, I’m learning trial by fire. And then when I when of course when you’re in it, you’re just like, why am I so bad at this? And so it was, um, like a few years later I found that I was like, Oh, I knew it was gonna be bad when I started it. I knew it was gonna suck. And then I did it anyway. And so now I don’t have to beat myself up for the fact that it was really hard and definitely way more difficult than it could have been. So I think it’s also helpful so often like if I make a big decision I write down when I’m thinking when I make it so that when you look back later, you can have clarity and hopefully more gentleness with yourself.
Sheila M 38:41
Oh my gosh, that’s so wise. So wise, I’m, I really feel like I need to do that now because I I do that all the time. And even though even though I know that something is the right thing, I still have a hard time with like second guessing my Sometimes because I am not a person, like, Oh yeah, let me just go be bad at this thing. Like, that’s how my brain works. I want to be good at everything right away. And, and I think, you know a lot of ways I’ve been spoiled in my life because I, I learned very quickly and like, again, like not only to toot my own horn but like, there’s a lot of things I’ve been good at without having to work super hard. And so now making that transition and really having to learn this stuff has been humbling in a in a whole different way that I think I’m giving myself the grace to not be perfect and to not need that perfection as like a definition of it being the right thing, if that makes sense.
Amanda Midkiff 39:49
And I think also like if you win, you -when you go through life, right? We’re in school, there’s a way to be good at school. We know what that when you want. We know what it means to be good at school. And if you’re competitive and you’re good at you’re naturally good at school, then you got it. And if you enter into a certain type of job or you do additional school, again, the ways to be good at it are clearly laid out. And you know, if you’re succeeding or not, you’ve got a boss, you’ve got systems in place to review you. When you run a business, it’s a complex, intuitive and never perfect, and there’s nothing that’s going to tell you you’re good at it. Eventually, hopefully your income does but it’s like this living messy being that’s flopping all over the place and like your job is to kind of continue to give it structure and parameters and and you also really come up against every, every single one of your own edges. Which it does not it just doesn’t happen in that same way if you are existing within an environment where you have an authority structure in place. That is telling you what to do how to do it if you’re good enough if you’re not good enough and that is a lot of ego death that happens.
Sheila M 41:10
Yeah. Oh my gosh, that’s such a beautiful way to put it and, and I feel that feel bad like so deeply that it is because as soon as I, as soon as I kind of took the departure and I had this experience in my career really early on, like really early on, I think I was like my first year and a half where I was working I was working a job and event planning and I I already knew that it wasn’t the right thing. Because I was exhausted and I was just working basically constantly I had no life at all didn’t date didn’t really have a whole lot of time to see friends or saw like my roommate no one else like for like a year and a half and then I had this moment where I just really big event night I came out of school and I was Like really ambitious I’m, I’m a Leo in the Sagittarius rising and I’m like, full speed ahead of time, like, ready to climb and like you said, was good at school and knew how to do that and new people like always new people, and how to communicate well and how to get how to influence and stuff like that. So, so I always knew that piece. And I had this experience of I had worked on this meeting, week long meeting, it was really big deals for huge pharmaceutical company. And it was out in Arizona, and just a long way for us. And it was really important and I was kind of like, running the show. I was like 23-24 years old and like, doing all of this stuff. And it was like a really, really big event even for for like our company and I was like, how did I get put in charge of this? As the new person but I think everybody else was just too busy and so on. I ended up taking this thing on and then my supervisor who had kind of worked on on it with me, ended up having to settle on her house that week. So I was going to have to kind of do at least the first part of it myself. And then, very unexpectedly, my uncle and godfather passed away. And I was kind of faced with and go do this thing that like, truly like nobody, somebody else could have done it. But it would have been really difficult for somebody because it’s literally the last minute it was like a couple days before and be there for the funeral and like processing that and I made the wrong choice, which was I’m going to go and do this event and like, regretted it immediately. It Like It was probably the right choice because I probably had to learn that lesson. And if I had learned it early in my career, I would have you know, followed this whole path that I didn’t need to follow, but it really reset things for me because I was like, You know what, as much as I can blindly and ambitiously kind of follow this path and this structure and everything and I get it. I never want to ever be in the position again, where I have to choose my work over my family or over something that’s important to me. It kind of reset things for me and like it sounds dramatic. I’m very much like at peace with it now, like I I realized that it needed to happen, but at the time, you know, I was like, 24 years old. And just like, I totally fucked up like, I you know what I mean? And so I think that’s what initially kind of snapped me out of being on that like path like, because it is like you learn your whole life. Okay, you do this and in my family, and neither both of my parents came from like, larger Families and so neither of them really had the opportunity financially to go to college. So I was the first one that was going to be able to go to college. So it was like a really big deal that I kind of follow this path. And my parents never put a lot of pressure on us. But I think when you come from that kind of environment, that there doesn’t really have to be a whole lot of pressure for you to understand, like what’s on the line. And so I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to kind of follow a traditional path. And so after that, I kind of floundered a little bit and shifted to different types of event planning that would give me like a little bit more freedom. And then I kind of eventually switched over to project management. But when I made the shift to leaving my job, I never want it. I never wanted to work for myself, like I didn’t want to be responsible for it. I didn’t. I didn’t want to have to change all the time. I hate change saying your life I can just kind of adapt and like allow these things to come on and like, adjust and not that it’s all like a peaceful, beautiful process, I’m sure but like, that’s not something that I, I’m getting better, but like, it’s not something I tend to meet with grace, if you know what I mean. So it’s been a big adjustment for me to kind of make peace in that way that it’s constantly adapting. And it’s, it’s kind of a living growing thing when you get out of a corporate environment where they’re structure and you’re just kind of stepping up or stepping sideways. It’s kind of like a constant evolution. And tomorrow, you’re doing this other thing and you just kind of have to go with it.
Amanda Midkiff 46:38
Sheila M 46:40
So, really interesting. All of that, a long tangent, but, but I do think really interesting kind of the way that you described how that that progress was for you and and the way that we kind of get used to functioning within a structure and lose our sense of what we need. You know? So I do want to talk about what I really see you embodying because it was really funny because even as you’ve talked about this, I’m like, Oh, it’s so funny. So I really see you in the Pentacles, which, kind of from like, day one, when we first started talking about everything, I kind of saw it because first of all, I was like, definitely the seven of pentacles. Because Oh, my God, if there isn’t somebody who’s patient, it’s a farmer who can like really put in the work to like, literally make something grow. And that’s taking the card like a little seriously. But I think also, in even what you described now, in terms of your patience with the progress of how your work has evolved, and the fact that you’re constantly willing to be like, okay, like, let me do this training and let me you know, go to Ecuador and study with a shaman and let me allow the things that We’re not really functioning in in my highest good in terms of, you know, the way I’m using my energy and the way I’m making money. And, and the seven of pentacles is really about like, putting the work in and knowing that what, like the growth is coming. Like it’s, it’s kind of like that all is coming if it will work, it’s just in the moment it can feel a little bit like is this ever gonna happen? Come on today. Does that make sense for you?
Amanda Midkiff 48:32
Yeah definitely does is interesting like I am you know, like we tend to see ourselves in certain ways and then criticize ourselves in other ways. And that is one of my biggest self criticism is feeling like in my day, in the immediate moment, I don’t focus and like use my time as well as I could, which is it’s probably objectively true. But I like almost as if I like crave Capricorn energy more. And then I don’t know if I was like talking with someone or it just occurred to me like because I started, like a few months ago, I looked at my chart in a more meaningful way. I have five planets in Capricorn more than any other. All my everything is in first in Capricorn, a few in Sagittarius, one in Scorpio, one in cancer. So like, most of them are in Capricorn, and I kind of realized I was like, Oh, I do have Capricorn energy. I actually have done a lot of shit. And I’m really critical of how much shit I can do because of the Capricorn and so like, I guess I just didn’t like I wasn’t really recognizing my own Earth. Signs and I guess I don’t know, like who Capricorns officially associated with but like, I think it’s similar like I never would have like, associated myself with the Pentacles in that way because I see myself as like a lazy piece of shit who just wants to be on the couch doing crossword puzzles. Um, but, but I think you’re right. And I think from an outside perspective, or not, or like a more objective, not the perspective. That makes a lot of sense.
Sheila M 50:16
Yeah, yeah. And I know you need to because I’ve had that experience where, like, my one friend sent me the one day he was like, Oh, you’ve got a lot of energy. And I’m like, I don’t feel like I have a lot of energy. I feel tired all the time. But I realized, like, up until I quit my corporate job and started doing this. I was basically working like three jobs my whole life, like,
Amanda Midkiff 50:37
Oh, yeah, me too.
Sheila M 50:38
And I was like, that’s not that. Oh, that’s crazy.
Amanda Midkiff 50:41
I know, so I use it like so now my life. I get plenty of sleep these days. Trust me. I do. But like, yeah, you always do working multiple jobs. And so then on my one free day off a week, if that like all I want to do is rest. And so I used to just think of myself as being so lazy and then it occurred to me that I was like, oh, there’s people who only work 40 hours a week. And they’re just like watching Netflix all the time. People who talk about binge watching shows, or people who somehow are watching all these shows they’ve like seen every show will come with it when the fuck are you doing that? And I realized I was like, Oh, I’m just tired, because I’m working all the time, which is not the same as being lazy.
Sheila M 51:25
Yes, exactly. And I like it’s so funny what you’re saying because like, I would be critical of myself for like the same thing. So I’m like, I feel like I have no motivation. I feel like, like you said, like, I could focus much better, I think. I think it does dependent I think especially I’m also a Sagittarius rising. So I will say that I think part of the Sagittarius rising energy can be a little bit of trouble focusing sometimes where I’m like, I want to do this and I want to do this and I want to do this and I have all these ideas all the time. And it can be hard to follow through but I think That’s where that Capricorn energy probably helps you a little bit to it’s like on like the back end of things, which is really cool. But yeah, I really see, it’s funny because I kind of see you from like the seven of pentacles through the nine of pentacles. Because I think like, that’s part of the journey that you’re you’re working towards, because I really consider that like, the waiting game of like planting something, taking tending to it, like making sure that it grows. And I think both in a literal sense, and also in the sense of the way that you’ve been really intentional about your business and started to kind of grow it into something that is more sustainable for you over time. And that speaks to the way that your energy is so that you’re not depleted all the time and not feeling exhausted. And with the eight of pentacles we kind of see that going about the business so kind of, okay, I’ve already planted that thing and now these are the the systems are This is what I need to have in place in order to be ready. Like when, when that stuff grows, and when it’s time to harvest and when it’s time to, like take care of everything. And with the nine of pentacles, it’s kind of like, like you described your end state of like, I really want to be, you know, the one that everybody’s like, how does Amanda make all that money with the weird shit that she does. Yeah. Because with nine of pentacles, it’s really like this, like, I’m established, I’m comfortable where I am. And like, I made this thing, like I’ve done all the work to be in this place where I can comfortably make choices that work for me without them having to revolve around just the financial side of things. Because that’s already been taken care of, and you’re really resourced in a different way. When, even though it’s still your livelihood, you’re not like dependent on a product or a thing making money because it allows a different level of creativity and freedom, I think then then you get when you’re like, need this thing to work?You know? Yeah. Really interesting. Yeah.
So I do, I do think it’s interesting because I’m like, I it’s funny because when people talk about situations, sometimes I’ll like have card will pop in for me and I’m like, Oh, that’s like the energy of this car. It’s like, and sometimes like people, I’m like, Ooh, yeah, I’m like, this person really embodies this thing. But I think, in in both the physical work that you do, the way you teach, and also the way that you’ve tried to grow and structure your business around yourself and what, what you really need to have things be sustainable, long term. Just so cool. Yeah. And so from that, can you talk to us a little bit about what you have coming up because I know you have some really cool And kind of entry point stuff for people who might be interested in becoming a fellow plant which of some sort. So can you tell us kind of how to work with you?
Amanda Midkiff 55:11
Yeah. So as I said, I teach online courses, which is the only way to work with me right now. And so in mid September and this podcast will be coming out imagine late September, I will be launching my first evergreen product which will be a part of that will be always available on the website, which is called plant magic for beginners, which is a very short very accessible course to get people started on plant magic path. So cover the basics of plant magic in general. And some specifics. You work with one plant ally and learn a spell. So that will be available on my website all the time. And then my next big like seven week Mongo course is I’m ritual and smoke Which will be opening for registration in early October. And that is about working with smoke magic, which is not just smoking herbs we do cover how to smoke herbs every single way that we could possibly talk about how to smoke herbs we talked about, and you do make your own smoking blends. But we also work with herbs for like burning herbs in different capacities. We work with herbal powders and what I call the bones of plants. And I feel like there’s something I’m forgetting but we work with. We work with smoke magic and a lot of ways and because it’s October, we also work with themes of seeing beyond the veil and how smoke can part the veil. And we learn how to do shamanic journeying, and we dip our toes into working with ancestors.
Sheila M 56:57
Alright, cool. Oh my gosh, that sounds awesome. And I know you’ve kind of you have a couple of different courses that you open over time. And so I know you did a couple months ago you did Ritual and Spell. So are these courses that you do? Do they kind of build on each other? Or do you have to take one for the other one to make sense? How do they work?
Amanda Midkiff 57:20
You can take them individually, they do not build on each other in any sort of like practical way. In my imagination. They do a little bit because for instance, like if you take ritual and potion, so there it’s ritual and potion. We work with things we take internally. Ritual and smoke where we work with smoke, Ritual and Bath in which we work with things we apply to the skin we work with different types of bathing, and then Ritual and Spell, which is like truly like classic spellcraft. If you take any of the other three, you have more to pull from for Ritual and Spell. And if you take Ritual and Potion you have more to pull from for Ritual and Bath. But they don’t like literally build on each other.
Sheila M 58:08
Yeah, it’s just like more tools for your toolkit so they can kind of enter at any point and it will still all make sense.
Amanda Midkiff 58:14
Very cool, very cool. Well, I love I kind of love the way that you have worked with all of these different things because I think one of the things that I have learned over time is and how different intuition comes across for different people. And I think the fact that you kind of have these four different entry points and even the beginners plant magic course really offers a variety of ways for people to connect and to start to work with that their own magic and in different ways. So I’m glad that you that you offer like such a variety because I think I think it’s really important and one of the things that was hard for When I was starting out with learning that there’s not like a guidebook, like, that’s part of the whole reason I wanted to do this podcast too is like, I’ve read wonderful books that have helped me so much. But like, I want somebody to give me the instructions, like give me an instruction manual for my gifts, please think that what I’ve learned over time is how much it is personal and how much you have to kind of make your own guidebook so to speak.
Well, I would, I would say the instruction manual. It is it is your intuition and it’s your desire. You know, like we we have such a weird relationship with desire, but like really, like, follow the thing you actually want. That’s your guidebook. Like it’s right there. You know what you want? And but we’re just taught to ignore that to hate it to shame it to blame it. Yeah.
Sheila M 59:57
It is. It’s It’s It’s so funny to me, but I think That’s really important because I learned so much from, from learning from other people and even from like, as a reader, especially when I was like first learning mediumship It was very interesting to me because when I went to class medium school, so to speak, which I will talk about an episode
Amanda Midkiff 1:00:20
Yeah, I wannahear about that…
Sheila M 1:00:21
Which is very interesting. But even though I didn’t read in the way that other people read, I could tell what they were doing, which I thought was so fascinating. So because it is so individual and and I think everybody has it in their head that it’s like, like, I’m looking at you I’m looking at a spirit and like, that’s not really how it works for me it is how it works for some people. And also that things choose an entry point that is comfortable for you. So which is also one of the things that I think is really lovely about the way that you work because, quite frankly, if I had just started seeing things right away I would have absolutely shut that down, I would have been scared out of my mind. And I would have been like, Nope, not happening, not today. So, um, so I do think it’s really cool because I think the way in which you teach is such a lovely way for people to cultivate that relationship and to grow it over time into something that truly is personal and works for them and gives them a starting point. So really cool.
I love that and you kind of like answered my last question in in that too, and saying that like following your desire because I also think that’s really important. And one of the things that I’ve learned, I think the hard way and that a lot of people learn the hard way is an even what I learned the hard way from, like my corporate career, what’s like there’s a difference between being good at something and liking it. And it can be really hard to recognize because we got accolades and we got attention and we get validation from being good at things.
Amanda Midkiff 1:02:00
Sheila M 1:02:01
And so I love that you said that kind of following your desire and what you really want to do because it can be hard. And especially, I think you kind of lead from such an individual way of being like, well, I’m just going to be the weird one. I don’t really care if people ask. Because I think it’s not it doesn’t come terribly natural to a lot of people. But I also think that that’s where the most learning is. So I think that’s really cool.
Amanda Midkiff 1:02:27
Sheila M 1:02:28
And so I will put everything in our show notes for this episode so that everybody can find you but just offhand, for anybody who wants to look you up right now. Where can they find you online and how can they follow you or follow along with what you’re working on?
Amanda Midkiff 1:02:46
My business is Locust Light Farm that’s locust like the tree. And so my website is locustlightfarm.com. My Instagram is at Locust Light Farm. If you look up Lucas a farm. We have a private Facebook group. So if you’re not like, if you’re not on Instagram, you can do stuff in the Facebook group. I also do some live things in there. And you know, if you live close to the central jersey area I’m on right, almost right on the Delaware you know, typically there’s in person classes and, and also through a lot of the the growing season the farm is open on a number of Saturdays for medicinal, pick your own so if you live closely there are ways to visit and you can find more info about that on my website. And of course I also have a newsletter you can sign up for to get you know, updates and I’ve started I’ve started doing something which I’m enjoying which is like a choose your own adventure series. Which is like bringing fiction writing into my newsletter. So if you’re on the newsletter, there’s one that’s current right now so you’re too late for that one. But um, I’ll start another one again at some point. So if you’d like to choose Hearing adventure style fiction. Keep an eye out for that.
Sheila M 1:04:05
I love that so much. Because when you started talking about it in our business group, I was like, Oh my god, this is taking me back to my childhood and like, choose your own adventure books. And I think there’s like a whole generation of kids that are not even, like familiar with them now, but I feel like it really speaks to my millennial soul. and stuff like that. So I love it. And so thank you so much for being here today. And I do I highly recommend following Amanda on Instagram in particular, because you always have such cool stuff in your stories I love following along with with your, your lives and your stories. I’m always interesting and always something like really, really different and outside of my personal wheelhouse. So like, I learned so much from from following along. So thank you so much for taking the time and being here today. And hopefully at some point, we’ll have you back to talk about something else that you’re working on.
Amanda Midkiff 1:04:56
Yeah, and I’d love to hear more about medium school.
Sheila M 1:04:59
Yeah. Yeah, it’s coming. It’s coming. There is an episode on that coming up soon. So, thank you so much!
Amanda Midkiff 1:05:05
Thanks for having me.
Sheila M 1:05:08
Thank you so much for listening to Living Tarot. If you loved today’s episode, please leave us a review and subscribe so that you never miss an episode. This helps us reach even more budding intuitives. Feel free to share on Instagram and tag me @StarSageSpirit and let me know what you learned, what surprised you, and what you’d like to hear even more of. As always, if you want to hear more about my courses, or book a reading with me, or for full episode shownotes you can head over to starsagespirit.com