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Community Spotlight: Yara from Aray Tarot on spirituality and mental health

Updated: Jan 8, 2021


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Tell me about Aray Tarot.

I am Yara Celaya and proud owner of Aray Tarot. Aray Tarot is a safe space for LGBTQ+

individuals, women of color and anyone who wishes to step into their most authentic self. My work is non-denominational. It is important for me to impart that I am consistently working on Decolonization practices as it is very layered through centuries of oppression. Decolonization work is debunking, dismantling, and shutting down capitalist patriarchal systems of thinking and living.

Through guidance of Spirit and my Ancestors I work with anyone and everyone who is working towards becoming more whole and welcoming to a new generation of free thinkers. My Yaqui roots and Mexican culture are alive in my work. I’m a girl from the south side of Phoenix who has a message to share with my people. I use my intuition, divination tools and energy healing to help others achieve wellness in all the forms of abundance we choose. My connection with the Universe allows me to help my community rise above the obstacles we face and remember our strength.

Mystics, Oracles, Witches and Fortune Tellers, Healers, are not exactly revered in today’s society. I refute it! I confidently share that it’s my profession and a homage to my culture as I step fully into my power to promote healing, wellness, connection, and safe space for my people. We have seen a dramatic change in thinking with the recent changes in the planets. We are seeing more and more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People Of Color) and white allies have a curiosity to better understand their true rights connected to spirituality and oneness. I have been doing spirit work all of my life.

Our Goddess of Guadalupe has definitely been a paramount source of connection to me and Her ever presence in my life allows me to live fully and wholeheartedly to enjoy life. I am a behavioral health professional and with that comes a big role. All my skill sets combined and life experience are very alive here and I can’t wait to continue to share my gift.

How do you see spirituality and mental health connect?

Through human connection, understanding, and support people find healing. Period. Most people who heal from traumas, addictions, and an array of issues find resolution when they find people in their own likeness and heart. Mental health, emotional health, and physical health are all connected.

Why would we leave out spiritual health?

In its simplest terms, it can be deemed as controversial. Deemed “too much” for those who can’t tolerate that people have the capacity to heal themselves and become more and more resilient with time. In subsequent truth, it was torn from us by colonization. Historically, BIPOC’s have gone through a lot of generational trauma. Even if one is a fully functioning healthy adult, the impact of years of oppression affect BIPOC people today. The connection to Spirit allows BIPOC’s to look into themselves in a nonconventional way but with profound impact.

Mental health symptoms can be regulated and managed through medication, therapy, and other clinically proven methods of course, but I also believe that we can tap into something big and inexplicable like Spirit to guide us as well. A Spiritual journey in this example is learning how to regulate through a controlled stimulus such as breathing techniques, and eventually conditions us to be calm. If we redefine breathing techniques as Life Force (breath) we are now inhaling something quite exquisite. In admittance, it does take an open mind and lots of practice.

A lot of people talk about using “crystals” as a tool in spirituality today. Can you explain a little bit about what crystals are, and how they help people?

Crystals are pretty, precious rocks physically. I think this is a controversial subject if you lean into logic alone. The idea of crystals is really rooted in understanding that Mother Earth was here before us and supplied us with tools that will generate healing energy through these stones. Some say they are from a distant alternate Universe sent here to help (that may be a bit far fetched to some). I digress, crystals have healing benefits based on the type of stones and its healing properties.

A story: I was at a shop getting some retail therapy. I was going through a pretty dark patch in my life and was trying to distract myself . I was attracted to a purple stone. I believed at the time that it was likely an amethyst (most commonly used stone for psychic abilities). As I was being checked out, the cashier said “oh, you grabbed such a beautiful lepidolite.” I instantly went straight to my phone and looked up its healing properties. Turned out it was for depression. Call it fate, luck, coincidence but I still had no idea this one moment would turn into the healing journey I would allow myself to experience.

While there are definitely other modalities that I used to heal, I do feel that I was connected to this process and it was a bit miraculous. I do think there is a level of faith and perhaps an incessant belief that I know there is something definitely bigger, wiser, humorous and way more patient than me in this Universe.

What is reiki and how can it be helpful if someone has depression, trauma or anxiety?

Here we go! Energy is everywhere. I believe that we are all energy. Science itself has proven that. I believe we can change our lives with every thought, every emotion and every body function we take in the direction we want to see results. You do have to allow for healing to happen, though.

Practitioners of Reiki are a bit different from one another, but the principles are the same. A series of mantras are said aloud or silently, hand coordinated motions for transference of healing energy in alignment with the Chakra System and finally a waiting process.

Results vary. I have heard my clients say “I feel lighter already,” “I feel tired like after a massage,” or “well, that was different to say the least”. For others, it is a methodical step-by-step process where we can dismantle faulty thinking patterns to achieve better outcomes with a well thought out plan including therapy and psychiatric work (if needed) along with the healing practice.

I, at times, include tarot readings to help decipher what Spirit wants this person to do proactively. Since energy is connected to our thoughts, emotions and how we move, spirituality is the electrical current we can’t see with our eyes, but we know to understand through faith.

Our mind is capable of a lot. Spirituality can help a person understand how to tolerate stress, define a purpose in life, and generate forgiveness for ourselves and others to lead a life with more grace. Benefits of seeking treatment through psychiatry, therapy and spirituality vary but I feel all can really impact a person deeply to strengthen the person as a whole individual.

How is life coaching different than therapy?

Both can change your life dramatically. Alone they work on different parts of your mental, emotional, physical or spiritual health. Life coaching is a professional trained in helping people achieve goals in their personal lives. A life coach can have a myriad of experience ranging from physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.

It’s best I use an example: Jane feels lost, she hasn’t found her niche in life and feels that she is getting behind in life. She often compares herself to her peers and successful friends. While this has taken a toll on her self esteem and perhaps her self worth, she is still functioning emotionally and mentally but seriously wants to make some changes to her life to have more drive and passion. At this point, a life coach can help Jane come up with a series of goals and take Jane to her next phase in life.

A therapist is a licensed individual who works on symptoms and behaviors related to mental health issues or disorders. They also work with people who don’t have mental health issues or disorders who experience life in all facets who want a supportive objective point of view or an ear to listen. They monitor health barriers and traumas that affect the person and find clinical based solutions to aid the individual in achieving wellness.

NOTE: A therapist and a life coach can be the same person, but typically they practice the standards differently and ethically displace boundaries to their work based on the needs of the client.

If someone decides to move forward with medications and therapy for their mental health concerns without any focus on spirituality, do you think can they still achieve wellness?

Yes, of course. I think it’s completely achievable with the right support. I just happen to be a bit biased and know that it helps to have a bigger support system and if it’s available why not? A lot of our wellness is based on our ability to believe we can heal. A team of healers should be around you to support you through all the phases.

A psychiatrist can see you once a month for approximately 15-30 minutes if you’re lucky. Their support comes from helping reduce or minimize symptoms. The underlying cause would still be there. But it can be so useful alongside therapy; where an individual dives into the processes of trauma, coping skills, and resilience.

I would say it is beneficial to consider the uplifting of the Spirit as well. Often our essence (soul) needs relief. Until you have experienced that type of healing it’s relatively hard to describe with words. Our essence is at stake when we are subjected to the sometimes

harsh reality of depression, anxiety, angst, hurt, trauma, etc. Spirit work is the understanding that we are multifaceted and we require all parts of us to be free and healed. While the work is ongoing we also understand we have a brigade of Angels (or a Divinity of choice) ready to work with us at every turn.

How do you feel that COVID has affected spirituality and mental health?

Mental health issues and suicide rates increased due to the unpredictableness and losses due to the pandemic. People in lower income communities are most affected by this and alternately are subjected to the limited and honestly broken-up help provided by the State.

Culturally we are seeing so many movements and political stances that may bring about real change and hopefully reform on all the issues we are facing as Americans. I believe that with all of these changes, many spiritual healers are coming out for New Age to offer support. More and more people are opening up to different ideologies to help them as well.

Tic Tok has opened a vault of Spirituality in many forms. I see Witches, Storytellers, Energy Healers, Therapists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists and many helpers coming out to aid in the information era. I think it’s definitely a time to tune inward and see how all of this is leading people to come closer together in a world seemingly pushing us apart.

My hope and desire is for the U.S. to provide a home for everyone, a place that offers true sanctuary, a place that allows different faiths to collaborate for the People. A true honor of treaty amongst the nations that were already here. A collective healing, if you will.

For now, I offer my services and do my best to help those that I can.

For more information or to contact me, please visit:

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