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Navigating Diversity with Aley Salas - “We’ll Always Take You Into Our Little Coven” 2020

In this 1 hour special, host Krystoff Kissoon sits down with guest Aley Salas, “Pagan Witch” and 2020 Idaho State University Graduate with a Master’s in Counseling.

In the first half of the interview, Krystoff and Aley navigate her story growing up as a Latina from a Mexican-immigrant family in Shelley, Idaho. They discuss Aley’s experiences as a “pandemic graduate” and being drawn to the psychology profession, and some of the challenges faced by people of color in graduate school. Krystoff and Aley then delve into some serious topics, such as the importance of changing the language of “committed suicide” to “completed suicide” because “it’s not a crime to lose a battle within yourself.” This episode was recorded at the end of September, and Krystoff and Aley were both unaware at the time that September was Suicide Awareness Month. They also explore the value of being a “safe space” for individuals who are dealing with mental disorders, the unique barriers to mental health in communities of color, how we deal with grief as a society, and how organized religion and stereotypes in media can be harmful to mental health outcomes.

In the second half of the interview, Krystoff switches gears “in good Navigating Diversity fashion” to some of the Big Questions. Aley unpacks her identity as a “Pagan Witch” and beliefs as a member of the Wicca “lifestyle”. They discuss death and reincarnation, prophetic dreams, and the sacredness of animals and supernatural abilities of cats that can sometimes show up in our lives as our “familiars”. Aley walks us through her relationship with tarot cards, how decks can be passed along in service through the spiritual community, or a deck “might just choose you”. The conversation rounds out with a discussion about the power of crystals as reservoirs of energy, and the magic of creating an altar in your own home, a place where everything that is sacred to you is represented, a “dollhouse” of your own control and creation where you can connect with the higher self.

Krystoff Kissoon began his academic career at Idaho State University in Spring 2014. He is an