Those who know Sarah Faith Gottesdiener’s workbooks and planners know: To get to know the moon is to open yourself up to a new way of seeing the world. Sarah has been helping others develop a relationship with the moon – and changing lives, via her self-published Many Moons workbooks, as well as working as a psychic tarot reader, art director, writer, artist, and designer for over 10 years.
Now, Sarah is entering a new phase of her career with her first book, The Moon Book, Lunar Magic to Change Your Life. It’s essentially a crash course in lunar living from the woman who has guided over 50,000 readers in finding a deeper connection with the moon, and subsequently, themselves. If you want to understand what the moon’s cycle means for you, find out how to ‘work’ with each phase and create your own moon map so you can really feel confident in your moon-related workings, this book is for you.
I interviewed Sarah about what compelled her to start writing about the moon (she never set out to write self-help / magic books), how she suggests to look for to avoid cultural appropriation in our magic practices, and what ‘moon mapping’ is.
SDTC: You share in The Moon Book that you didn’t necessarily consider yourself a writer, but you were moved to create 6 Many Moons workbooks over the last 3 years, even when you were busy with running a business. How would you describe the initial push to bring these books into being? What motivated you to keep doing it?
Sarah Faith Gottesdiener: When my intuition speaks, I listen. The workbooks came out of many years practicing and teaching the subjects that I wrote about. Nothing like it had really existed previously, so I was really following a clear vision and a clear order.
Conceiving of and writing the Many Moons workbooks was easy because they were channelled. I just got out of the way and the information poured forth. But writing them as someone with not many resources, not a writer, with ADHD / dyslexia, not knowing about copy editors or like, really anything about running a small press, was really hard.
I am grateful that the workbooks helped so many, as that was their intent.
SDTC: What was your relationship to the moon and the stars before you received this calling to write about the moon? Did you grow up with an awareness of astrology or magic, in any way?
SFG: My mother was a tarot reader, so there was always a deck around when I was a child. When I was a young adult I was lucky enough to become friends with queer witches who taught me, and from there I continued studying and practicing. I am a sensitive person and psychic, so I always had an awareness of energy. Magic and tarot helped me find a container to use those aspects of myself.
SDTC: You write that lunar-associated traditions can be a way to get to know our ancestors better, because many cultures named full moons after the land, season, what was growing, etc. What does your personal research around the moon look like, in your work? I can imagine a lot of information has gone unwritten, unpublished.
SFG: When you start researching this subject, you are researching human history, who writes history, human culture, human beliefs, colonization, religions and spiritual beliefs, portrayals and translations of femininity, and the nature of oppression. The moon is really the great reflector!
SDTC: You use the term humanifestation, as opposed to ‘manifestation.’ How is humanfestation different from manifestation?
SFG: Well, “humanifestation” actually started out as a feminist joke. But then it became something to differentiate the process that I teach from popular “law of attraction” theories that overuse the term manifest, and also simplify and flatten the process. Manifestation also references “manifest destiny”, which basically posits that white men can steal land and murder people, because God told them so. I have found that popular manifestation theory can follow a similarly entitled thread.
Humanifestion is a lunar way, which is to say it is a holistic way. Rest, surrender, internal excavation, shadow work, embodiment, and energetic alignment is as important as pushing or taking action. Humanifestation wants your whole self involved, wants you to take yourintuition, your heart, and all the other various aspects of self into account, so that a spectrum of your needs are getting met.
This creates a healing ripple from the process that isn’t always found in traditional outwardly facing “manifestation” processes that mimic the “American Dream.” Like, getting the new job is cool, but if you still hate yourself and are forcing yourself to work 18 hours a day, is it that great?
SDTC: You talk about the importance of questioning if we are appropriating or stealing terms or practices from other cultures, in our magical practices. How do you recommend people incorporate self-awareness into their practices? Are there any practices you rely on to question yourself, for example? What does a ‘red flag’ feel like for you?
SFG: Questioning where we get our magical tools from is important; not buying endangered items, or items that were sacred to oppressed cultures, or items that were farmed or extracted unethically. The crystal market, for example, has few sources that are mined ethically. The other aspect that goes along with this sourcing is the sourcing of our teachers and/or our beliefs.
Are our teachers espousing white supremacist, gender essentialist, spiritual bypassing rhetoric, a la The Secret? Are they acknowledging systemic oppression, are they trauma informed, or equipped to have nuanced, inclusive discussions? Do THEY cite and discuss THEIR teachers, THEIR sources, THEIR lineages? What are their ethics? Are those ethics made clear?
I teach non-denominational witchcraft, which uses the elements as well as practices that are found globally, such as prayer, energy work, art, ritual, the planets, etc. There is also the magic of place: that is, the plants, earth, air and energy of the place one calls home / lives currently. And also, there are practices that are open culture. Two examples of this are acupuncture and Reiki. We can work with these practices ethically, with a lineage informed practice.
This topic obviously could be a book, I don’t have the space to get into it here. Most days, it feels like there are red flags in the popular New Age realm! Lately, if I hear any person using the word ‘lightworker,’ or talking about ‘Q,’ I run!
SDTC: I love that you write about how a magical practice requires discipline, and that ‘a spiritual practice is a life practice’. What are some ways you keep yourself accountable to your magical and spiritual practices?
SFG: It is good to be both focused and compassionate, both clear on what you are going to do, and aware that every day is truly a winding road. Metrics of success are important to have, always, and it is good to have some kind of record.
Witches use a detailed book called a grimoire, but I am a bit more casual and use a journal. Even if you are working on an interior goal, like less negative self-talk, keeping track is key. The main thing for me is staying in alignment with my values, and embodying my beliefs. That generally keeps me busy most days.
SDTC: You use a technique called moon mapping with your clients, which is such an intriguing term. What is a moon map, and how can people start thinking about how they might make their own moon map?
SFG: The way that I teach was developed over collaborating with the moon and its phases for over five years. It is a completely unique process that was created through much trial and error! It combines the exploration of the different levels of our consciousness, as well as changing specific habits, beliefs, energy, and actions. We work in tandem with an entire lunation (that is when the moon is new to new, or full to full, or waxing to waxing, etc.) in order to transform from the inside out and witness phenomenal change.
Each participant has to ‘moon map’: write down the 360 degree spectrum of their goal, including their fears. All of the facets of our goals and desires are lined up with the energy of each phase accordingly, so the participant has a magical map for their goals. Suggested spells, rituals, journaling prompts, and meditations are included as well, in order to harness the specific lunar energy at the time, and support the participant on the magical, energetic, and consciousness level they need.
I have taught hundreds of people this method, and they’ve received really beautiful results from this process: everything to gaining more self-love, to abundance, to starting their own businesses, and more. I go more in-depth about moon mapping in my upcoming book.
SDTC: What do you tell people when they ask you what you do for a living?
SFG: Generally, I tell people that I run an online business, which I do. If they ask more questions, I’ll answer depending on how I feel. Because I run my own business, I am an art director, a writer, an artist, a designer, a marketer, a product concepter and a podcaster as much as I am a tarot reader, a psychic, a witch, or a contributor to the modern day feminist & queer spiritual world.
I am not ashamed by what I do, I’m just not interested in navigating the reactions or projections of others. Or, I do not want to answer their magical questions or prompts for a reading. Like, I’ll help you solve some problems if you purchase my books or classes, or book a tarot reading, but right now I’m at a dinner party and want to chill out!
The Moon Book comes out November 25th. Order it here.