How did I get here?
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
Thank you for checking out the website and for taking an added interest in me and how Tirakuna Collective came to be.
As you know my name is Crystal and I am the creator and owner of Tirakuna Collective. If you’re mostly interested in my “credentials” you can see that on my About page...it is short and sweet. This is more of a “short” (a little long) story on my life and how it shaped Tirakuna Collective into being.
Full disclosure: My story is very raw and honest; it’s not for the faint of heart.
Here we go.
From a very young age, I knew I wasn’t like everyone else. I mostly thought I was just weird and out of place in the world. I would feel emotions that weren’t my own, I’d hear thoughts in my head that didn’t make any sense until someone next to me would say it out loud. However the worst for me was when night came. That’s when the shadows would appear of things that weren’t there and the whispers would start (I still get spooked in the dark). Of course, now I know all of those things were part of my gift but as a kid it’s terrifying and lonely if you don’t have someone guiding you.
My childhood was a mess.
I experienced a lot.
Fat shaming (from adults...in my family...supposedly it’s a culture thing? I call bullshit).
Found out the man I loved the most in the world, wasn’t my biological father. (This one I should’ve maybe figured out before I was told. He is Irish. I am not haha)
A disordered relationship with food (that only got worse as i got older).
I think those are the highlights.
The odd thing was, as these bad things were going on the shadows/spirits went away.
My teen years were a mixed bag. It was typical high school. Nothing to report there except these are the years where my gifts went crazy. I was a wreck but I was also old enough to venture out on my own and do research. I found myself in a world of tarot cards, candles and spell books. It was the one thing that I didn’t have to fake in my life. Reading those books and holding those cards made me feel complete but my grandma was super religious and I pretty much heard her screaming in my head “BRUJERIA!!!!” translation:“WITCHCRAFT!!!”. So I threw them away, closed the door and i changed myself to fit in(as much as i could).
Let me just paint a picture: I grew up in an Italian neighborhood where a majority of girls looked like Hollister and Abercrombie models with highlights. I’m a Peruvian mix with the darkest features in the world. I could wear the clothes but the rest was going to take some work. My disorder really took hold of me at this point and I spent way too many years with blue contacts and bleached hair.
Unfortunately this phase of hiding who I was went on for many years.
In that time I conformed, went to school for fashion, worked shows with models, partied, and dated one too many abusive guys.
That would’ve been my life now if it wasn’t for that one guy. The guy I loved more than anything (at the time) who treated me the absolute worst.
I wish I could say after years of pain that I ended it.
After years together he told me I wasn’t a priority to him; that I didn’t matter.
In that moment my heart shattered and I believed what he told me. After all it’s what I had feared my entire life. My life was changed forever.
One of the greatest friends in my life then and now was with me through the healing process. One day she told me about this little shop she wanted to check out and thought that it might take my mind off things.
It was a metaphysical store.
I remember walking in and feeling like I was home.
Feeling all those parts of me that I shut away as a teenager.
That moment was a about decade ago, and I never looked back.
The world got brighter and I had a friend to go on this journey with.
I didn’t feel weird.
I wasn’t alone.
There was an entire store filled with people just like me.
After that, things naturally fell in to place. I studied absolutely everything. Gemstones and their healing properties, Herbs, Divination tools, Holistic healing modalities, the list goes on and on.
You name it, I learned it.
I learned the names of all the things that plagued me as a kid and most importantly that they were gifts.
The deeper I got, the more I realized the life I created was all wrong. I was in a relationship and in love with someone who knew this was a part of me but not that it was all of me.
Soooo, it was only a matter of time before I flipped it all upside down.
I became a Reiki Master.
I learned Crystal Healing.
I quit school and my job in Manhattan in one fell swoop; right before I walked down the aisle to marry the real love of my life and the one person who has accepted and loved me in all my forms.
When all of the unauthentic parts of me were shattered, I was finally able to heal. I started the road to recovery from a 15 year eating disorder, and actually started to work at that little shop that started it all. I helped people there everyday who were like me. Some felt lost, others broken and there I was, tables turned helping them find their way.
I found my purpose there.
I opened my wellness office, saw clients every week, counseled and practiced Reiki and thought to myself this is it.
It was only the beginning.
I started to get disconnected from Reiki and I didn’t know why. I started seeing people less and less because I wasn’t comfortable practicing anymore.
Then, one morning I woke out of a deep sleep and said “Shaman?”
Just like that.
I didn’t know who or what it meant. My only experience of hearing that word was in my Reiki training. One of the guys kept referring to himself as “shaman *%#*|¥” (I won’t say his name) in a very elitist way. On that alone, I thought well that’s not for me.
I didn’t understand why I was all of a sudden filled with this desire to know more.
Sure enough the store I worked in carried a line of amazing sprays and candles called Shamans Dawn.
I started to use the products and felt connected but not in my whimsical tingly way I felt everything else. I felt pain in my heart and longing. I still don’t know how or why but I decided to look in to the company and just see what their story was (I never did that).
I went on their website and thought to myself how wonderful they seemed and how much I loved their stories. Not only were they practitioners but teachers who ran a Two Year Apprenticeship. As if that wasn’t enough, I stumbled on to all of this just as the closing date for applications were near. I got my shit together, filled it out thinking I wouldn’t get picked because spots were so limited and there were 2 interviews and a divination that followed. I never believed I would get in...I suck in interviews...but I did.
Somehow, the spirits spoke and I was ready. I will never forget the moment I found out that i was chosen. This was a real turning point in my life on so many levels.
Our first session, I met the group I was a part of for the next 2 years and shared things with them I barely ever shared with anyone and cried! I never talked about myself to people (unless I was paying them for therapy). Throughout the day he was talking about the different types of Indigenous Shamanism we were going to learn and practice...one of them being Peruvian. As he spoke, flashes of my childhood popped up. Certain smells (Florida water specifically) brought my grandmother and mother in to focus. I grew up with all of this and I didn’t know it. The way I hid my tarot cards from them they also hid from me. Memories came flooding in of grandma bathing herself in Florida water to do healing work, sending us to the movies so they could sage and clear the house, doing egg clearing and readings to get rid of the evil eye. I never saw it because I was too busy hiding my own gifts.
I was happy but felt so much grief for the years I wasted not embracing who I am or knowing where I come from. It still pops in from time to time.
The years in that apprenticeship really forced me out of my shell and comfort zone. I have severe anxiety in general but doing something alone in front of everyone makes me black out. I had to practice in front of people, had to sing and lead prayer with all eyes on me (basically my nightmare) and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I healed so many parts of me that I never knew were broken.
A few months before the apprenticeship was over I was ready. Ready to create my new healing room for clients, ready to make my website and start seeing people.
I started training to become an Eating Disorder counselor.
It was all happening.
I thought about how far I had come and all the dreams I made come true.
I was celebrating my 3rd year living upstate in a house that we owned, finishing my apprenticeship, and getting ready to help people on an entirely new level.
I was exactly where I was meant to be.
Our final class was here which was also the start of the pandemic.
I had no idea what was coming. Not only was there an illness to be scared of but the world was going in to lock down. I shut down. It wasn’t a time for me to promote myself and this new venture. I needed to just hold space for those around me. My heart sank and broke for the amount people suffering and all the lives that were lost. That being enough to really screw up a year, the tragedy with George Floyd happened and that chipped away another layer of myself. I couldn’t/don’t see how anyone could be divided at a time like that. We should’ve ALL been together against what happened. Sadly it’s not the case. This was really hard for me to witness. I was naive because I never saw it happen first hand. Growing up our house was open to everyone, we were taught to love people for who they are and to always speak up and stick up for people who need it. I didn’t realize until that moment how many people weren’t taught that.
This is what Tirakuna Collective was created from. I have always stood against animal abuse and worked to give back and heal the environment because it’s what I love and what's needed but now with the world we’re living in we need that for everyone and everything. I wanted a place where I could highlight small businesses, healers, witches, artists, creatives and just wonderful people who are like minded. A place where you can buy your Spiritual tools that was sourced ethically and mostly a place to heal and lift each other up. We don’t need anymore people being torn down. There is space for everyone.
I spent a lot of time putting together what my healing practice “should” look like; it was surface pretty, it was a therapist type office but also felt like a lie.
So I trashed it all and started from the beginning.
This is it.
It is honest, it is raw, it is going to give back to the community and it is me.
This is my story.
Did I need to share all of this with strangers? Nope!!
Is it “business like”? Nope!!
but I sure did and this is mine.
I believe in order to heal we have to be able to let our guard down, so I did and I hope you can too if you book a session with me.
Welcome to Tirakuna Collective!!
I hope you’ll subscribe for some magic that is still to come, stick around or check in from time to time.
You’re always welcome here❤️