Sometimes it feels that if you’ve read one witchcraft book, you’ve read them all. This is not the case with Witch by Lisa Lister. And thank the Goddess for that. … Continue reading Book Review- Witch by Lisa Lister
But with the shift in the seasons, I’ve felt a shift in me.
Picture this Dear Readers,
I am standing in my front yard. The light from the full moon shines down upon me. Coupled with the warm glow from a light deep within my home, my face is illuminated as I call the corners and cast a circle in the grass below me.
In the circle, a small collection of crystals glitter in the moonlight. A pitcher of collected rainwater reflects the broken sky above, with glimpses of stars and the Moon herself peeking through.
The late October night around me swells. The crisp air, finally fulfilling Autumn’s definition causes goosebumps on my exposed flesh. I raise my arms in total awe and thankfulness. It is late and the neighbors have long turned off the lights in their windows. The street has been asleep for hours, no one is out but me.
The wind rattles the old rosemary bush near my front door and the smell fills the air. And in that, lost in the smell, the cold, and the connection to the moon, I am home.
Now let me tell you how it really happened.
While all of that is true, and all of that did happen, it probably looked nothing like how you just imagined it did.
We tend to think of any working of witchcraft as this ultra-feminine well maintain beautiful artform. Basically, we either all look like a young perfectly made up Stevie Nicks with our flowing layers of hair and fabric twirling in the breeze or like the cast of some CW show. I can assure you Dear Readers, that ain’t me.
As I stood there under the moon, in all my glory, I was anything but well maintained. My hair, which is dyed black, except for the bleached part around my face, was tied on the top of my head in a messy loose ponytail. It’s only bleached in that area to hide the gray that is coming with a vengeance at my temples. I can’t wear it in a bun because it the tightness gives me headaches. So I have like this messy valley girl 80s vibe constantly just to keep it out of my way.
I wasn’t wearing one of those cool witchy flowy outfits for my ritual either. I had on a pair of Halloween theme leggings I got from Wal-Mart because they were cheap and super comfy. Plus I’m a sucker for anything with a pumpkin and a bat on it.
I was also wearing an oversized Golden Girls t-shirt with the collar cut out. I had borrowed my husband’s slide on sandals because I’m a baby and my feet are really tender. Walking outside in the dark barefoot seemed like trouble waiting to happen so the grass, which was a little longer than it should have been for this time of year, tickled my toes.
The sounds of the night that surrounded me? Most of them were dog barks and police sirens. And someone who really needs a new muffler.
The romanticization of witchcraft in modern culture has given everyone, on both sides of the broom, the wrong idea about what is and isn’t witchcraft.
While witchcraft can be long black dresses and All Black Everything, it can also be burning sage while listening to Johnny Cash and wearing your ratty sweatpants. It can be all rituals and rites but it can also be drawing sigils with mustard on your kid’s sandwiches on while packing their lunches.
It can be lighting candles and sprinkling Flordia water or it can be noticing that certain bird landed on your car on a certain day. I think the amount of normal that is actually in witchcraft gets painfully underrepresented.
We are not all fairy tale creatures or lead characters in a story. We just normal people who have normal people lives. Yes, we use magick and talk with spirits and some of us have gods and goddesses. But we have bills and jobs, some of us have kids and cats and laundry to do too.
We are our magick and our magick is us.
It’s as wonderful and really at times as boring as we are. If we are going to let it be part of us, it’s got to be all of us.
The good parts and the waiting in line at the grocery story parts.
The helping the kids with homework parts and the whistling for the rain parts.
The being mad in traffic parts and manifesting change parts.
The praying that there is enough gas in the tank to get home parts and the making shit happen parts.
It’s not quite shadow work. These are not hidden parts of ourselves we have forgotten. These are parts of ourselves we overlook because they are so mundane.
This is everyday work. It’s part of who we are and what we do. As much as it’s ingrained in us, it is in our Magick.
So never feel bad if your practice doesn’t look anything like what you’ve read or seen before. Don’t feel like you’re a failure because your altar isn’t Tumblr or Instagram perfect. And never, ever feel you aren’t witchy enough. What you see other’s presenting is not the standard you should measure yourself or your Craft by. Other people and their path, whether real or for just for show, has diddly squat to do with yours.
You and your magick are just fine the way you are. You’re normal. It’s normal. It doesn’t have to be flashy. It just has to work for you.
It’s time for another book review Dear Readers! But before I review this book, I want to tell you how I even came to read it. I was doing that … Continue reading Book Review: Working Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic
If you are part of the IWC (Internet Witchcraft Community), you’ve been seeing some drama lately. Not ever being a group that could be called boring, the latest drama circles … Continue reading My Take on Starter Witch Kits
As of the date of this writing, the Mid Atlantic states are preparing for what could be a catastrophic hurricane. Florence is scheduled to hit later this week with winds … Continue reading Magickal in the Practical: Storm Water
Heraclitus of Ephesus once said, “You could not step twice into the same river.”
Angela of Conjure and Coffee is saying now “You can not meet the same witch twice.”
One of my favorite things about Witchcraft is how individual our paths are. There are no two witches who are alike. Even though you and I might believe in the same concepts, we will not have the same journey within them. There is no “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” here. Because we are all different, our practices are all different as well.
But the one thing that is similar all across the board, is how it’s damn easy to get unplugged from your Craft. There are many reasons for this. Location, work, family demands, monetary demands, health. The list is endless. For as many desires to practice there are that many things standing in our way. My personal struggle involves caregiving and family obligation. I am currently a stay at home mom. You’d think that would allow me plenty of time and chances to incorporate my practice into my everyday life. But honestly, it doesn’t. Finding time for myself in the hustle and bustle of this life is very hard. And I’m sure for so many others, maybe even you reading this right now, it’s the same.
How can we change that? How can we throw back the layers of the mundane to find the magick in every day?
Here’s a handful of ideas for reconnecting to the magick you are missing.
Fuck “Chill Out”.
Fuck “Keep Calm and Carry On”.
Double fuck “Calm down. Everything is okay”.
Stop letting someone else tell you that your fire is not appropriate. It’s that fire that connects you to the Universe. That burning in your soul fuels you to live the authentic life you deserve. When we are told to sit down and be quiet, that is the lesson we feed our soul. We dampen it until it becomes nothing more than an ember.
And why? Why are we so ready to diminish ourselves to fall into line with what someone else thinks is okay? It’s important to remember that “okay” and “normal” are social constructs. They are ideas we’ve all accepted because it makes life easier for those who are in power. They want to you to be separated from your flame. It’s easier to rule the pacified.
Stop living your life for the ease of others. Find the things that ignite you and douse yourself in them. For some, this may happen with meditation. For some, it might be shadow work. For others, it might be blowing everyone off for a few days and playing hermit. Introspection is one of the most powerful ways to replenish.
The fire that sparks inside you will fuel your journey. Once you allow it to burn out all the expectation and obligations you hold for others, your magick will be in clear view.
Up, Up, Down, Down
It is common knowledge that the moon controls the tide. It’s also common knowledge that humans are over 50% water.
So what makes people think the moon doesn’t influence human behavior? Ask any EMT, police officer, ER nurses, or mother and they will tell you that the full moon totally affects human behavior. Our connection to the moon is much more than it just being a satellite. Hell, even the term “lunatic” comes from the Latin word “luna”! There’s no doubt that the moon is a heavy influence.
For us witch folk, the moon is so important. It’s a constant agent of change that we use to chart our cycles, cleanse our crystals and even power us. The phases of the moon and the phases of our lives often fall in step with each other. In the midst of the chaos of our lives, the moon is there.
So if it’s good for empowering and charging our crystals, it has to be good for us too right?
But it doesn’t end with the moon. The elements around us are the elements IN us.
We are Air.
We are Water.
We are Earth.
We are Fire.
We are Spirit.
When we connect to the elements around us, we connect with the elements that make the magick in us. And when we awaken them, the magick they produce is outstanding. We can not be whole with ourselves and deny the elements.
A trip outside can do wonders to help center yourself. Whether it’s among the trees, or in the dirt, or sitting by the crashing to sea, any place where you can let the earth restore you is the right place. It doesn’t have to be a great mythical journey either, even a quick sit outside with an open heart will count. The intention to bond with Mother Earth will be noticed, no matter where or how.
Talk To The Past
Here’s something you may not know about me. My paternal grandmother’s name is Jerushia. We often talk when I am driving around town. She’s stubborn and has some extremely outdated opinions. She also thinks I’m a bad driver. (To her credit, I totally am.)
The kicker? Jerushia died in 1978.
Her and my maternal great-grandmother, Katie, are the two main connections I have with my ancestors. When I’m driving or cooking, or about to make a mistake, it’s usually their voice I hear. They aren’t fairy tale guardian angels, but what we have works.
For better or worst, the family we are from influences who and what we are. We all have our fair (or unfair) share of influential ancestors. Some of them act as an inspiration to be a better person, to reach our full potential. Some of them show us exactly what not to be.
The connection to your ancestors can be a great way to open up the avenue to magick in your life. I have a big deficit in maternal figures. So being able to connect to the ones I can means a lot to me. Most of our talks are through meditation and random pop ups. Like sometimes they will just pop up and into my daily life. The car being Jerushia’s favorite place to make an appearance.
For as many different relationships there are, there are ways to communicate with the ones beyond. Spirit boards have long been the way to breach the divide. If that doesn’t work for you, there are so many different ways. All you need to do is find the one that works best for you.
Sidenote: Please don’t think I am advocating for everyone to reach out to every member of their family and take them in. Yes, we are all related to some bastards. We all have people we’d rather not have under our umbrella whether it be in this world or the beyond. I am not saying open the door to the people who have wronged, hurt, or abused you. All I am saying is that the people of our past can hold the key to so many things we don’t understand. They can be a reference for us to learn and experience more. They can even just be figures of guidance and love to help us in the moments we need someone.
Don’t Be A Drag, Just Be A Queen (or King)
Ever have a really bad argument with someone one day and then still feel it the next? Even though you resolved the problem and made amends, you wake up the next morning feeling like you are neck deep in hangover mode? You drag your feet through the day, spreading that nasty hungover feeling around like a virus? You act short with someone and get a rude reply. You get pissy about that person being rude and end up being rude to someone else in return. The circle goes on and on, drowning you and all those around you in negativity.
When you are negative, the things and people around you become negative too. While I am NOT a follower of the rule of three, I do think the nastiness you send out, you get returned to you somehow. It feeds on itself and multiplies. When you drag it out, when you’re a drag, it builds and builds and pollutes everything.
The longer you hold onto it, the longer it will stay with you. The pains of our past, the bruises of our egos, the unravelling of our threads, are all things we have to eventually let go of. Those feelings will dampen any chance at magick inside you. They are the mortar that holds the bricks together in the wall between you and your magick.
Breaking free of that, breaking apart that wall comes at a cost. You have to be ready to put yourself in a leadership role and take control. You gotta put on that crown and rule over your kingdom. Owning up to your own negativity is a big job. But heavy is the head that wears the crown. Being strong enough to acknowledge that you might be the thing holding yourself back is worthy of a storybook legacy.
Once you clear away the comfortable but problematic skin of being negative, magick will be much easier to find. The restrains will fall away.
Another side note: I am in no way diminishing the struggle that is depression. I understand, very very well, the struggles of battling depression. I know how it drains the color from everyday life and highlights the negative. It filters everything you see and do through its monochrome lens. Living with depression isn’t what I’m talked about in this section. That’s a whole different demon to battle.
Blessed Be All The Things
Our surroundings influence us away more than we admit. That’s why we decorate our homes with colors that feel right, keep photographs of those we love, trophies from our accomplishments. That’s why stuffed animals keep their place in our beds way past childhood and why our favorite hoodie just makes us feel so safe.
If you follow the belief that magick is everywhere and in everything then the things around us are open conduits for it to move through. Why not make sure we are surrounded by magickal things and they are clean, charged, and blessed?
Your favored aesthetic can lead directly to inspiration. Being surrounded by things that make you feel magickal will lead you back to being magickal. Wanna wear black on Wednesdays? Do it. Want your living room to look like a Victorian seance? Do it! Having the area you reside in feel magickal to you will allow you to connect with your inner magickal.
There are so many magick tools that have a perfect fit for everyday life. These items can be special occasion pieces or just mundane things you’ve designated just for magick.
Let’s say you surround yourself with candles, incense, besoms, and/or crystals. At a glance, these are just items. But you and I both know they are full of potential energy when it comes to practicing your Craft.
From your atheme to your tablet, the contents of your altar to your phone, any and everything that you use throughout your day can benefit from being cleaned and repowered. So every time you touch or use the item, you’re getting an extra boost of magick.
Take A Look, It’s In A Book
I’m going to be a little bit pompous and say we are living in one of the greatest time for obtaining knowledge. Yes, we here in America may be teetering on the edge of an Orwellian ultra-pasteurized world. It’s scary and confusing. But honestly, never before has so much information about witchcraft, magick, history and women’s mysteries been so easily available.
Books about magick, witchcraft, and all sorts of Pagan ideas are everywhere these days. There’s no more secret meetings or newsletters. You can walk into any bookstore and find hundreds of titles. If you let your fingers do the work, Amazon has more books on these subjects than Carter’s has little liver pills. There are some amazing authors who are putting out some outstanding work.
Personally, Lisa Lister’s Witch was(and still is) a huge inspiration to me. It’s the book that, without doubt, kicks me in the ass and pushes me back to where I want to be. It’s inspirational in a way that works for me.
Books aren’t the only place you can expand your knowledge.
The internet is full of resources that we may never be able to visit them all. There are so many personal blogs and websites that are amazing!! It’s a brilliant time to be alive and Pagan online. I’ve learned so much about myself and my personal Craft by reading the knowledge others have decided to share. As with anything, there’s bullshit. Just like publishing and face to face interacting, not everything is going to be a fit for you. The great thing about having all this information is that you are always able to move on and find something else.
The magick in you is only a few clicks away.
You Do You
Connecting to your craft is in essence, reconnecting to yourself. There’s a part of us that just is magick. It’s the part that tingles your fingers when you touch a deck of tarot cards or the voice in your head that tells you not to take the shortcut home. We are the magick that has flowed through our ancestors’ veins. We are the magick that fills the air and causes the leaves to fall.
Like I said earlier, WE. ARE. MAGICK.
But here’s the problem. We live in a society where even though we can be different, it’s not always easy or safe. And while it would be easy to say “Fuck ‘em”, sometimes that’s just not the answer.
So what do we do? Like Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” Your life has to be YOURS. It has to be painted with your brush and in the colors you chose. It’s not going to always be easy. The world will constantly stand in your way because you’re going against the grain. You’re trying to be something outside the conventionally accepted normal.
Let me tell you this. Normality is simply a cultural construct. And you don’t have to play by their rules. Your magick is what makes you whole. Live your magick out loud. Take action each day to make sure you are living the most authentic life you can. Once you allow yourself to fully and truly live out loud, your magick will be bursting at the seams.
Let go of the restrictions you think you have to abide. Let go of the stress from the obligations you take on. Whether that be through meditation or medication. YOU DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU.
And fuck ‘em if they try to tell you different.
Being in touch with our inner magick is important. But trust me, I know it’s not easy. Life gets in the way. Obligations get in the way. We get in our own way. Breaking all those walls down and reigniting our inner pilot light is the only way we can heal the wound the emptiness causes.
Reconnect to your magick, dear reader, any way you can.
It’s all we really have.
Fun Fact Time: Like many uncertain baby witches, I spent a block of my youth getting my wand wet in Wicca. Let’s face it, there’s not a world where an … Continue reading Bless Their Hearts, But Take No Shit
Gather round friends. It’s time to talk some Conjure. Here’s my quick rundown on Smudging. image source It’s said that the average adult washes their hands about 8 times a … Continue reading A Smudging Primer
I remember sitting cross legged on the floor of the bookstore, running my fingers over the spines of the books on the bottom shelf. Tucked in the back corner of the small store, no one noticed the monumental moment that was about to happen. My pre teen brain was a storm of anxiousness and contentment. Slowly I zeroed in on a purple covered book written by an author with a perfectly picked New Age-y pseudonym. I pulled the book from the shelf and my life was changed. A magical moment had just occurred.
I was in a mall in North Carolina and I was just about to purchase my first book on witchcraft.
That book would not be the first time younger me had been pulled towards the nonconventional. I think I was born with one foot in and one foot out of this world. My dad would tell stories about how once I began to talk, I would tell him and my mother about the “Old Timey Days”, or my life before. I have no clear memory of these stories. Just a faint haze like a billboard passed at night. According to my dad though, they were yarns that a preschool kid shouldn’t be able to think up. What I do remember, even back in those pre school days, is feeling like there was more to the world than what everyone else saw.
Religion was an odd thing in my home growing up. We didn’t go to church or practice anything really, but the idea of God was the ultimate rule. Like when I was 8 and wanted to get my ears pierced, the answer was “If God had wanted you to have holes in your ears, you’d been born with them.” This line of reasoning continued until I finally bit the bullet and got them done at 17.
I never could accept that idea. Christianity never sat right with me. Who was God and why was he the only one? Why did we have to perform by these certain rules to please him? What about all these stories in mythology and lore? Why can’t they be as true as the stories from the Bible? No matter who I asked, no one had answers for me. Most people told me I was wrong to even ask. So that’s when I turned to literature.
I was always checking out horror novels and collections of ghost stories. I read a lot as a kid. I had some physical ailments that, at least in my mother’s eyes, limited what I could do. So that kept my nose in a book. It was in those worlds that I found things to believe in. The gray ghost of the Carolina coast, the poor women who were burned at the stake in Salem, the shamans and medicine men that were here before us white folk landed. Those were things I had faith in. The supernatural became something I found, well, natural.
That belief never left. I grew up as the weird kid. Now I’m the weird mom. But lately, this weird mom has been feeling dimmed, forgotten, and overworked. It’s the classic caregiver’s problem. You give so much of yourself, you don’t have any left over. I let my interest in the supernatural and paranormal wane so I could focus on dinners and school, milestones, and laundry. I gave up my magic. And I’ve been struggling without it.
I want to capture some of that feeling from the bookstore again. After getting my wake up call from the Universe, I’m ready to go explore. I’m ready to re-embrace what for so long has made who I really and truly am.
It’s time to ascend. And that’s just what I’m going to do.