Jessica Shepherd is a healer, artist, astrologer and author. She reveals to MysticMag her views on spirituality and Inner Guidance and divulges her passion for her Intuitive Energy Divination Deck.
Where did your spiritual journey begin?
It began at age seventeen when I became very ill with a condition that defied explanation or diagnosis from the medical community. I began seeking alternatives; thus began the journey. The years spent in isolation, the confusion and discomfort I experienced, introduced me to many interesting things, including astrology –which eventually became my writing muse, and I came to practice professionally for several decades. I was fortunate to encounter exceptionally brilliant healers and teachers who have been drawn to explore unusual modalities, quite different from mainstream thinking. The theme of exploring answers to perplexing questions proved lifelong.
Why do you think people struggle so much to trust in themselves?
This is an excellent question, which you have also just answered! In a nutshell, conditioning – cultural, social, familial. From an early age, we are taught to question, doubt and therefore to struggle and act against ourselves. If we learn to not trust our authentic responses – that how we really feel, like and desire, is not okay with the people, or culture, around us – we are essentially conditioned to make choices that at best resist, or at worst act against, the Truth of who we are.
You can see how problematic this becomes. As an example, imagine being told in verbal and nonverbal ways from caretakers that your way of perceiving, essentially, your way of being in the world, is different and therefore, wrong or bad. Maybe you are more: sensitive, intelligent, aware, developed, than average, and that is not allowed or honored in your environment. Maybe you are more inward, creative, intuitive, psychic… whatever it is. Then, it comes time to make a key decision in adulthood, like taking a leap into your true calling, and your conditioning tells you to not do it. Or your conditioning judges it, says you are not enough this or too much that. Or your conditioning tells you it is wrong to feel what you feel, think what you think, be who you are. Shame is crippling and so insidious. It can entirely change your relationship to your Self.
The healing then is coming back into a good relationship with the authentic self, the Self who is, on an ultimate level, unaffected by the conditioning; the Self you are and have always been. Once you do this, a spontaneous sort of self-trust, and trust in life, naturally arises. You discover that you do have the ability to know exactly what you want and what you’re all about. You discover that you have the answers to the questions that bother and cause you stress.
How does one reconnect to ‘Inner Guidance’?
It’s funny, I recently received a message from Spirit about this. Spirit said: Guidance. We’re past that word now, aren’t we? Let’s use Awareness instead. Ha! How I interpret this is: language is heavily laden with conditioning, too. The word “guidance” is often associated with seeking something outside of one’s Self, or an external role (guidance counselor, for instance). And people seek psychics and fortune tellers for all sorts of reasons, but primarily they are looking for guidance which they perceive is located somewhere outside of their own knowing.
I’m going with Spirit on this and suggest we think about guidance as awareness, because that’s all it really is. We all have it; awareness is available to any and all of us. It is ordinary and not magical, which is how we often think of people who have access to expanded awareness. It certainly can expand or contract, depending on various factors, but in those moments we most enjoy, awareness is vast and blissful, and connects us to our Self-Source of All-Knowing.
Our ability to “know” is never denied us, but as I said earlier, conditioning can interfere with reconnecting. If we think we can’t receive guidance, we won’t. If we have a sensitive awareness, due to conditioning we may interpret uncomfortable bodily symptoms, for instance, as proof we are flawed or broken. That conditioning prevents us from accessing knowing. In Truth, the body is an amazing vessel for intuitive guidance… as the saying goes “the body doesn’t lie.”
It’s vital to understand how we block our ‘Self’. It also helps to have a practice, a container for reconnecting. For me, awareness begins with slowing down, reconnecting inwardly. I do a practice called ground-root-center at least several times a day. This helps me to become present, to be here in my body. Once I’m really here, inwardly connected, I can sense into areas of congestion, tension and ask to release any external energy from my field. Since I’m empathic, much of what “I feel” is not mine, so a big part of reconnection, for me, is coming back into my own energy field. Then, I progressively become more aware of other aspects of myself: maybe something bothering me that I’d been ignoring, or something I’ve been wanting to do, or something my Soul wants me to know, surfaces in my awareness. After doing ground-root-center, if it hasn’t already been addressed at this point I might ask a question like: “What would help me with (X)?” or similar. This is a reconnection and energy management practice that has a cumulative effect. The net result is increased embodiment and expanded awareness.
By the way, all guidance professionals – at least the good ones – have simply learned how to release their conditioning and be in a receptive state of Presence, without agenda or need to solve anything. Simple, but not easy — this is not to say it is easy to do, it usually takes great dedication. This is how true knowing, or awareness, or guidance if you will, arises from within.
What can you tell us about your Intuitive Energy Divination Deck?
Well, I love this deck! I really have fallen in love with it, throughout its creation, and that love continues to deepen and expand as I continue to use it on a daily basis.
I created this deck primarily for myself. I was ready for more independence from my energy teacher of four years; I was ready to become my own Guide, but since my journey with her was very beautiful, but also harrowing and shattering in many ways, I was worried about my ability to offer myself everything that I would need going forward. One day around then, while walking the beach here in Oahu, Hawaii (where I live), I noticed I was symbolically interpreting what I was seeing. Debris and broken glass represented shame, the feeling of wrong-ness; a shell represented intuition, listening inward to Source. Symbolism has always inspired me. So, I decided to organize the energy practices and teachings I had been working with for these years, into cards. Once I decided to run with it, the words and their symbolic images quickly arrived. The physical production of it- the art and self-publishing it- was a bit more of a challenge.
It’s still in its preorder stage but those who have gotten to play with it have given me positive feedback. I had thought healers, intuitives, empaths, artists would most resonate with it, and I still do. However, I’ve realized it truly is for anyone who wants to have a relationship with their authenticity and Divinity, the Truth. My sister recently visited, and one morning, simply wanting to know what she might be aware of that coming day, she pulled the Commitment card. She said she didn’t understand what it meant for her at first, but because she had pulled that card, she noticed that for several days she’d been thinking about an obligation to fulfill upon returning and it cast a dark cloud over her sunny vacation. Working with the card, she said simply “I’d like for this obligation to work out in a way that is better for me” -which is the principle of invite and allow, when you truly invite Spirit to help, you allow magic to happen on your behalf… and it often does. Within hours she received a text message: Through no effort on her part this commitment had been rearranged so that it no longer negatively impacted her. The only thing she had actually “done” was open her self-awareness and invite Spirit in.
This encapsulates what I think is so unique about this deck. I think this deck is different from others because unlike tarot or other divination systems that can be a bit ambiguous or even silent about how to create more self-awareness on an ongoing basis. These cards are all about your relationship to your True Divine Self – how you’re relating to your awareness, how you can align with self-knowing & how to nurture this so you have the best possible experience in life.
When did you first start writing and how did the experience unravel for you?
As a teen and throughout young adulthood I was an avid diarist, journaling. I was never encouraged to write; it was a private affair for me. Then, when I began seriously falling for astrology around my Saturn return (age 28), and feeling it was part of my calling, I was so passionate about it I wanted to shout my knowledge from the rooftops. So, I boldly sent out my first lunation writings from my 9-5 job email, to unsuspecting friends and acquaintances who definitely had not opted-in! Luckily, people liked my voice, finding it lyrical, soulful, poetic… and that encouragement, and astrology, truly helped me find my more public voice. As one rebellious act begat another, around 2003 I began a blog website at www.moonkissd.com (which I’ve continued to this day). Eventually, I was hired to write astrology for various online and print publications which gave me the skills, support and ultimately the experience and confidence to write books. My writing has evolved so much over the years; as I’ve changed my writing has changed with me. For me, personally, writing is a joy and pleasure. I can lose hours, days… months to composing, editing, re-writing. At this point, I cannot imagine not writing.
How does (can) writing serve us?
There is one essential act that any of us can do to further our relationship to our own Knowing – listen inward. Writing is an awesome medium for inner listening to Truth.
You still need to sort out the mental conditioning, to understand who it is you’re having a conversation with, i.e., are you writing from guilt, shame, habit, judgment or Truth? Are you writing from your mind, and its biases and unclear perceptions? But at day’s end, writing is so good at even helping you see that in yourself… because you’re getting it out of your mind, and out of your unconscious mind, which is often hard to pinpoint, and onto a page you can look at, even touch. You can’t work with what you can’t “see” so in a very practical way writing helps us see invisible inner workings often difficult to catch. You get to see the contents of your mind, how it works, and as your most unconscious assumptions come forth you get to address them.
Writing can help you to resolve misperceptions in yourself. Writing can help you see that the story that we keep telling yourself about yourself, your life, is just a story that has no real identity beyond what you bring to it. Then, once that’s out of the way, you can write from these very beautiful places of Light and Truth. That’s what I’ve been experimenting with in my writing lately…just free falling into the Light inside myself and seeing what arises. It’s been deliciously freeing. I’m writing in ways that I don’t recall ever writing – at least not in this current incarnation! I share this on www.moonkissd.com and my newest website www.butterfliesandcoffee.com. I’ve also begun teaching how I do this, to others, so we will see where this leads as well.
Which healing modalities best resonate with you?
I manage my health mostly through a holistic lifestyle and practices; managing my energy with the practices like those above is key. I am an empath, and I’m very energy sensitive – to everything from environment to food to my relationships. I recenter and check-in continuously with myself about diet, supplementation, how the people I spend time with are affecting me energetically, as well as the small decisions I make throughout my day. I find it’s the small “ahhhh, it’s no big deal” decisions I make that most affect my wellness (actually they are a huge deal!) and most of these habits have to do with right timing, or noticing energetic boundaries. For instance, having that second cup of coffee in the right time. Or being honest with myself around whether I really want to be on a computer, go to this particular restaurant, watch that Netflix series, or talk to that friend, right now. Oh, I just got worried that if you’re reading this, and you’re my friend (!)…know it’s not personal, and it changes all the time. What doesn’t work today may (and often does) work tomorrow and vice versa. Since this affects my energetic field/health, it’s a serious wellness practice for me, lately, getting aligned with Divine Timing! Divine Timing, I’ve learned, is a reflection of where your Soul really wants to be doing and when your Soul doesn’t want to be doing something, if you’re a more aware being, you will feel badly.
With lifelong healthy practices in place, nowadays I often find that what I used to think of as a health problem, like a symptom, is actually an energetic one that can be cleared, or the result of a perception I am holding that something is a problem or issue. Sensitives, healers, empaths, we can get really worked up over our health… and my more mature perspective on health problems is that it’s normal for us humans to experience fluctuations in our bodies. There is so much change occurring in the environment, and energetically, all the time. Most often the remedy is offering our self the practical and compassionate support we need to work through it comfortably, like adjusting our diet or getting rest, excellent self-care, practices…and most of all noticing and refraining from conditioned thinking that “something must be wrong with me”.
When I have a pesky ailment that persistently bothers me, I take the question to Spirit and get an answer either immediately, or within days. I am my own Guide in this regard, too, as I haven’t visited a holistic practitioner in over seven years now, which is saying a lot since I have been actively managing several chronic health conditions since my late teens!
Please tell us about your books and where you found your inspiration?
Oh, all of my books have arisen from a deep question inside of me. A Love Alchemist’s Notebook: Magical Secrets for Drawing Your True Love Into Your Life was the result of thinking I was doomed to never have a soul mate relationship, and then figuring out how to prove that wrong (which I did!). Venus Signs: Discover Your Erotic Gifts and Secret Desires Through Astrology arose from the recognition that joy/pleasure is the template for everything good, and our relationship to our pleasure-loving self exponentially enhances our lives. Karmic Dates & Momentary Mates helped me to understand how short-term relationships, relationships of the kind that we want to continue but cannot, are actually part of our Soul’s plan for us.
Follow the Moonlit Path: Come Home to Yourself in the Astrological Fourth House was a bit different from the others. For years, the questions I had been asking became less about relating to others, and more about how I relate to myself, how at home I am inside me, how I foster a good relationship with my more inward, sensitive, self, which is reflected in the personal nature of the book. The publication timing of it was interesting. I published it a few months before this pandemic began. In hindsight, how prophetic this was! Humanity is certainly getting a crash course on being “at home”, physically and psychically — in our emotions, inner worlds, spiritually – at home within one’s self. This book offers perspective; to positively regard and embrace the inward, private, solitary nature, within, so I’m really happy it came through for this strange time.