This week has been a baptism by fire of sorts into the depths of human nature for me. I have always been one of those people who tried to see the best in people. This week, however, I have listened as people outright lied to cover their own derrieres or to get other people in trouble. I have witnessed people so wrapped up in themselves and the stress that surrounded them that they were willing to compromise their own system of ethics. I have also seen people so wrapped up in ‘life’ that they could not take a moment to breathe, smile or fantasize.
As I watch people living daily life here in Atlanta, it scares me sometimes. I remember a time when people actually laughed and didn’t take themselves so seriously. I watch as we become robots of sorts. We have become devoid of any emotions except for anger and fear. We have become a ‘get-even’ society. “Do unto others before they do unto you.”
I called my mother last night. While we were on the phone, I heard my nephew and his cousin playing in the background. They were throwing things and yelling. I asked my mother to put my nephew on the phone. I asked him why they were throwing things and yelling. He said that they were grownups and that they were at ‘work.’ Out of the mouths of babes…
This morning, my roommate and I went out for lunch. While we were perusing the menu, we listened as the woman behind us screamed at the waitress. Her sandwich, from what we and everyone else in the restaurant could hear, was dry. “But you ate the whole sandwich,” the mild-mannered waitress pointed out. “Well, I just kept hoping it would get better at some point.” The waitress comped the meal as the woman continued to loudly protest.
We have become a society of liars, thieves, and generally crabby-assed people. It is our right to be offensive and hurtful and to deliver our opinion whether people want it or not. We have carried that over into every area of our lives including social media. Adults have become worse than children. We don’t know how to play nice anymore.
As we grow older, we are supposed to grow in wisdom, and love, and understanding. I have not so much seen that lately. I look around and see a group of people who have forgotten how to see the magic in the world around them. Sure….life sucks sometimes. Situations and circumstances happen, but we choose how we respond to those circumstances and situations. Now, you notice I said respond, and not react.
One of the definitions I found for the word respond is: To react quickly or positively to a stimulus or treatment. One of the definitions I found for react is: To respond with hostility, opposition, or a contrary course of action to. Both are related, but one is seen as positive and the other more negative.
I have always loved the story of Peter Pan. In the chronicles of Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie, adults are seen as pirates out to squelch the innocence of childhood. Once one reaches adulthood, magic ceases to exist. I dare say that even as witches, we sometimes become so wrapped up in the ritual and following everything to the ‘T’ that we forget to let the magick do what magick does. Magick should flow from us and through us on a daily basis….moment by moment. It isn’t something that should always have to be stirred up or manipulated. The butterfly doesn’t have to be coaxed from the crysalis…it is a part of what it is and does.
Even in my own life, it has become far too easy to react based on the emotions surrounding a situation, than to stop, breathe, and respond with the magick that stirs within my very soul. If I were to reach inside myself and pull from the stores of power that swirl through my veins, I might handle a crisis quite differently.
Normally my Saturday and Sunday mornings are spent in the woods. I come to think that they are more magickal than anywhere else around….but this morning, Friz and I slept in (which we never do). Instead of our morning trip to the woods, we went for a walk just before twilight. We walked a different path…one that we thought would get us to the woods before dark…through the playground of the complex. There we saw two little girls and a little boy who I have gotten to know over the years. “Mr. Gaddy, you and Frisbee come and play with us…Pleeeeeeeeaaasssee!!!” I relented. Friz and I headed to the middle of the playground. “He is the king and she is a knight. I am a beautiful princess. You can be the wizard and Frisbee is a dragon.” I am standing there thinking that it was kind of type-casting but these children have also walked up on me talking to trees and plants and making a bit of magick. Friz play-bowed as if he knew his part. He barked and ran in circles with the kids. “Spell him, Mr. Gaddy! Spell him!” I laughed out loud. Mercy, I had not run around like this and laughed like this in what seemed like forever.
When we finished, we plopped down on the swings and Friz rolled onto his side in the dirt. “You are really good at magick,” one of the kids said. I laughed a bit and under my breath said, “It takes practice.” The smallest girl overheard me and agreed that yes, it must. They all waved goodbye to me and Friz and headed home for their dinners. Friz came over to me and leaned against my leg. We stayed like that for a while realizing that we had both just witnessed magick through the eyes of a child.
It was in this moment that I realized that I don’t want my spirit to grow old and brittle. I am a magickal being. I need to find ways to guard my heart against anger, bitterness, offense, I have noticed when children play…they may get mad, but they are quick to forgive. As adults, we have learned to hold onto that grudge, nurse it, feed it.
We say that we believe in all things magickal, but do we truly? Have we learned to compartmentalize magick? “This doesn’t work for me, so it can’t truly be valid.” I have friends who follow many different paths. None are any less real or valid than my path. Just because I believe in dragons and you don’t, does not mean that dragons aren’t real…same with the fae.
Where have we put all of the wonder that brought us to our path to begin with? I want to be able to see magick the way a child sees it. I remember when my girls were 4 or 5 years old and it was Christmas Eve. We were all sitting in the floor of the family room with wrapping paper and ribbons and tape all around us. My dad had gone out to check on his goats without a flashlight and tripped and fell against the house. Steph’s eyes widened and she said, “Oh my doodness! Santa Cwaus is here alweady! Let’s wun for the bedwoom!!” It didn’t even cross her mind that her grandpa had fallen against the house even though she saw him go outside. Oh to be able to see with our eyes wide open once again.
When I got home today, I decided to create an easy spell to help me with that child-like spirit. It starts with a basic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. As I stirred the ingredients for the cookies together, the spell began to roll off my tongue:
Eyes wide open, breathing deep…
A child-like heart will no more sleep.
Wonder, hope, excitement, thrill…
Now renewed, my heart will feel.
From a brittle spirit, set me free.
All things magickal, now I’ll see.
Flow within me everyday.
Teach my heart and soul to play.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.