My name is Michael J. Morris (they/them/their), and I am a witch, an artist, a writer, and a teacher. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I have been practicing witchcraft for over fifteen years, creating rituals, casting spells, reading cards and astrological charts for myself, loved ones, and local communities. As a queer, genderqueer/nonbinary person, these practices have been integral to my healing, self-care, self-actualization, and growth. In addition to my own ongoing practice, I was previously a member of the Temple of Ara, an earth-based Wiccan community founded by Phyllis Curott. I have studied practices and approaches of the Ara Tradition—including cultivating relationship with more-than-human nature, intuition, divination, and elements of core shamanism—with Elder High Priestess Linda Maglionico.
I have been practicing yoga since 2003, and I began teaching yoga in 2009. I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training at the Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in San Francisco, California, and was honored to teach a weekly Queer Yoga class in Columbus, Ohio, for over four years. I began practicing yoga at the local YMCA in high school in Baton Rouge, then developed my practice at Butterfly Yoga in Jackson, Mississippi, with Scotta Brady and Edy McConnell. I also studied for several years with Laurel Hodory at The Ohio State University. My practice expanded with the faculty of Laughing Lotus—Jasmine Tarkeshi, Alex Crow, Minerva Arias, Brima Jah, Alice Tarkeshi, Robin Wilner, Valerie Starr, and Dia Tschirki-Penning. I am a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance (RYT-200).
I have completed Reiki 1 and 2 trainings and attunements with Alex Crow.
As an artist, my work has been focused on issues of intimacy, connection, belonging, social relations, and agency for many years, and these creative investigations deeply inform my view of healing as a process of connection. I hold a BFA in Dance from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, and a PhD in Dance Studies from The Ohio State University. My dissertation focuses on ecosexualities and performance, examining the ecological entanglements of sex and sexuality, and how those entanglements show up in the work of performing artists. As a choreographer and performer, my work is influenced by minimalist postmodern dance, Japanese Butoh, queer performance art, and queer burlesque. My work as an artist has taught me invaluable lessons about collaboration, the co-creation of meaningful share experiences, and the wisdom to be found in uncertainty, ambiguity, and subtlety. Learning to craft and interpret art as an artist and a scholar are skillsets that are integral to how I practice interpretation of mediums like astrology and tarot.
I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Denison University, where I teach in the Department of Dance, Queer Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Environmental Studies. At Denison, I have facilitated sabbat rituals for students, staff, and faculty at The Open House Center for Religious & Spiritual Life. I have also co-facilitated Spell Rebellion rituals with the Temple of Ara.
For more about my teaching, writing, choreography, and research, visit: https://michaeljmorris.weebly.com
Photo above by Megan Leigh Barnard