About Me

Self-portrait of Rachel Anne Williams


My name is Rachel Anne Williams; welcome to my blog! I am an author, writer, blogger, philosopher, Tarot nerd, and eclectic Christian weirdo interested in the more esoteric side of Christianity. I have a strong interest in Christian contemplation, mysticism, occultism, with plenty of sympathy for doctrinal heresy and metaphysical speculation outside the orthodox tradition.

I am inspired by many different systems, worldviews, traditions, and methodologies but broadly operate within the tradition of Western Civilization and the Western Esoteric Tradition, including and especially the many traditions and varieties of Christian experience.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not acknowledge the deep impact Eastern philosophy had on me in my early twenties, when I was at that time a strong atheist exploring psychedelics, the nature of consciousness, and yearning for a sense of meaning within the materialist worldview, stretching its limits to my fullest capacity while drowning in the darkest hours of my mental health.

I was especially impacted by the traditions of Taoism and Zen Buddhism. It is thanks to my study of Zen that I was able to spend a year in daily meditation after a particularly bad mental health episode. That experience of meditative healing laid a psychic foundation that has ever since been a source of strength.

Nevertheless, being a Westerner, I have spent most of my adult life studying the Western traditions of knowledge, which has led me to a deep fascination with the philosophical, religious, and mystical traditions of the West.

In my early thirties, I was drinking a beer at a local bar called the Fortune Teller that hosted Tarot readers. I didn’t believe in any of it, but as a student of psychology, I was interested in experiencing a Tarot reading to try to analyze how someone might rely on “cold reading” and other tricks to fool gullible people.

To my great surprise, however, the reading was quite meaningful to me, and I suddenly realized that the meaning and profundity of the Tarot comes, not from any sort of psychological trickery, but from containing a deep web of archetypal symbolism and imagery drawn from the fundamental constituents of the Western narrative.

I immediately went and bought a Tarot deck: the Rider-Waite-Smith. I was captivated. And the more regularly I used the Tarot, I began to experience a kind of strangeness in the sorts of coincidences becoming manifest in my random shuffling of the Tarot cards. 

One day I experienced a synchronicity with the Tarot that was so sharp in its archetypal profundity that I immediately felt a sudden crack in the hard shell of my materialist/physicalist worldview.

To this day, that shell has remained cracked, and into it streams a subtle, ineffable Light that I can but gesture at but never pin down conclusively to my restless, agnostic mind. But still, I occasionally catch glimpses of the Light and this sensation of unknowable mystery has sustained my interest in the esoteric and mystical traditions of history ever since.

Eventually, however, my exploration of occultism led me to esoteric Christianity, which, in turn, led me to the tradition of contemplative and mystical Christianity, especially contemplative prayer practices like the Jesus Prayer or Centering Prayer. This fairly recent discovery of the mystical tradition of Christianity has completely swallowed me within its depths and has radically reoriented my spiritual orientation such that I am now comfortable calling myself a Christian again for the first time in over 15 years.

When I was in grad school for philosophy my academic specialty was consciousness studies, phenomenology, and the philosophy of cognitive science and that informs my approach to religion and spirituality.

Although my focus is within the Western tradition of Christianity and esotericism, I still try my best to ground my approach in methods and knowledge unique to comparative religion, which looks at cross-cultural differences and similarities of religious experience to better understand the totality of human experience.

My undergraduate degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies and that’s essentially how I still see myself: an interdisciplinary, independent scholar who aims to synthesize diverse areas of thought and experience and render them into plain English.

One might say it’s impossible to make all these different systems I find interesting cohere into a single, logical system. And that’s true. But here I can only quote Walt Whitman’s poem, Song of Myself:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Other facts about me:

  • I currently work in the tech industry as a product manager to pay my bills
  • I live in St. Louis City, USA
  • I am a published author (Transgressive)
  • I am nonbinary and my pronouns are she/her
  • I am an INTJ (and yes, I’m aware that MBTI is not “valid” as a personality metric; I still like it and find INTJ to be fairly accurate)
  • I am an Aquarius Sun, Gemini Rising, and Leo Moon (I fit the “Aquarius” stereotype to a T)
  • Some of my hobbies include music (I am learning piano and ukulele), chess, reading, permaculture, and photography
  • I am a bibliophile
  • I am queer, poly and have a wonderful nesting partner
  • I have a Master’s Degree in Philosophy and dropped out of a philosophy PhD program in my sixth year to pursue other interests.

 

Contact Me

rachelannewilliams13 [at] gmail [dot] com

My Twitter page: @rach_a_williams