What Happens When the Magickal Path Doesn’t Seem Quite So Magickal

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I overheard a conversation in our local ‘witchy’ store late this afternoon.  As I rounded a corner,  I saw a group of twenty-something young women looking through the candles and the statues.  One of the young ladies wrinkled her nose and sneered at the candle in her hand and said, “They don’t have anything in here that looks like what they used to have on ‘Charmed.'”  My roommate grabbed me quickly by the arm and dragged me into the other room as I protested with the need of having a talk with those young ladies about real witchcraft and pointing them toward some useful resources.

I realize that all of us were introduced to magick somewhere.  For me, it was the movie, ‘Bell, Book and Candle’  with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak.  I marveled as she sang over Pyewacket and laughed as she used Jimmy Stewart’s fiance’s fear of thunderstorms against her.  I pondered about a witch not being able to fall in love without losing their powers.  I was doomed….I fell in love at least every other weekend.

I started the research process.  I devoured any book on magick and witchcraft I could find.  When I was a witchling, resources weren’t quite as readily available and to call yourself a witch where I am from was like admitting that you slept with the devil himself….but still I studied.  I spent more time with my grandmother who schooled me in the shamanistic practices of the Cherokee.  She taught me to walk sided by side with Nature and to listen to every word she whispered.  She taught me to draw on the magick that was already inside of me.

Now, I am not going to lie….every day of my life is not full of fireworks and thunder and lightning.  Sparks don’t fly with every wave of my fingers.  I remember the disappointment I felt when I first realized that every moment of every day wasn’t like ‘Bewitched.’  As I sit here, I remember the disappointment I felt when I realized that twitching my nose did nothing but make my nose itch….but I never gave up.

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As I read, I watched a path open up before me.  At first, there seemed to be nothing magickal about it.  It was about visualization, moon phases, elements and intent.  There was nothing about potion making or any of the preconceived ideas that I had about magick swirling around my head.  Whether I realized it or not….I was growing in the Craft.  The path that was ahead of me, didn’t so much sparkle like the gold brick of the yellowbrick road…I couldn’t find that fairy godmother to lead me through…my grandmother was the closest to Endora that I had.  My path in fact seemed to illuminate just every so often as I felt my way through the dark.

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I continued to walk this path that opened before me.  I started to truly understand my relationship with Nature and the elements around me…and then I was introduced to the Gods and Goddesses of this path that was unfolding.  Something inside of me became very much alive.   As I started to relate to the Gods and Goddesses and I began speaking to them and having relationship with them, it was easier to see the magick in my path.  Now, in my own mind and heart, it seemed as if I was being guided…led.  The visualization became easier…the intent became stronger.  It was becoming easier to control myself.  I continued to walk this path….this time keeping  a watchful eye out for anything magickal that might lead me in different directions.2014-11-29 15.48.56

 

I was listening better…hearing things around me and within me.  As I continued to grow in the Craft and learned to rely on my instinct combined with all I had learned and I communed more with the Gods and Goddesses and the elements around me, I realized that magick was not something that we had to work to attain.  It was something already inside of us.  We only had to access it.  It screams out to us on a daily basis…we have become deaf to it.  We have learned to walk through life as robots…pushing down those callings…the yearnings.2014-11-23 12.33.44

 

The quote above is the closest I have come to finding a definition of what magick encompasses to me.  When I started the search for magick, who would have thought that the place it would be found is inside me.  Roald Dahl said it best:

And above all, watch with glittering eyes

The whole world around you,

Because the greatest secrets are always

Hidden in the most unlikely places.

Those who don’t believe in

Magic will never find it.

This morning as I walked to the woods with Friz….with each step, I watched as my breath left my body.  I remembered my Greek classes from college.  With each breath, my mind exhaled the word Pneuma, which means spirit.  I watched as a piece of my spirit danced in front of me.  Magick is more about learning to control ourselves than anything around us.  Our mind can be the one thing that can limit us.  When I am standing in the wind, if I think too much, my mind will tell me, “You can’t do anything with the wind.”  Instead, I have learned to open my mind and dance with that same wind….to call to it and listen to it answer.  Jason Miller said it best.

It is my opinion that a Sorcerer who cannot control his breath is no Sorcerer at all.
There is a reason that in many cultures the word for spirit or energy is also the word for breath.  In Hebrew the word is Ruach, in Tibetan it’s Lung, in Sanskrit it’s Prana, in Greek it’s Pneuma, in Arabic it is Ruh.  Even the word spirit or spiritus means breath in Latin.  The breath is life and is so important that it is treated in some eastern traditions as a mantra in and of itself.  Yet, we pay surprisingly little attention to it.

I sat down among the brown leaves, closed my eyes and listened.  I listened to my own breath. I listened to the heartbeat of the earth mother.  I could feel her calling to me.  “Something new is brewing inside.  Something new is always brewing….it is up to you to heed its call.”   I invoked the Morrigan.  I heard Mama Crow answer.  There is more magick on this path I’m on than anything I could ever see on television.  It isn’t about mastering the nose twitch or throwing potion bottles at other-worldly beings.

What am I to do with it?  Walk this path…this magickal path…and teach.

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Riding Out the Storm

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For some reason, I have never really been afraid of storms.  I can remember, as a child, when a storm would come, my mother would gather us up (kids, dogs, cats, everyone) and run to the middle of the house.  She needed for us to be as far away from windows and doors as possible.  We would all huddle in the hall next to the bathroom and she would sit and rock and cry.  My inclination was quite the opposite.  I wanted to run toward the door, fling it open and be right in the middle of it.  The lightning was fascinating.  My grandma would tell me stories of the Cherokee Thunderers…they were fierce beings, but I was never made to feel afraid of them.  I saw them as something otherworldly and magickal.

Still now, when I feel the electricity that comes with a thunder and lightning storm, I am drawn to it.  I feel the need to be right in the middle of it.  When I hear storms brewing, it brings to mind what I learned in school…”the calmest place is in the eye of the storm.”  Right there in the middle of the storm is the calmest, most still air.  It is funny to think of it this way, but right there in the middle of what may be a hurricane, is the lowest amount of pressure.  That area is where there can be an opening for light to come in and where the breezes are light.

I have been surrounded by people this week enveloped in storms.  It is like I have said before, people are attracted to the magick they see in others.  I have been called on by folks in the midst of breakups, depression, anxiety. My advice?  Learn to ride the storm.  The one thing that I have noticed regarding humans, is that they always want to fist-fight the wind.

Watching people weather the storms in their lives reminds of the rodeo.  It is much like bull riding.  Why in the world would anyone want to climb on the back of a bull and see how long they can stay on? A sense of accomplishment?  Maybe.  To prove that they can? Possibly.  They reason that cowboys will climb onto the back of a bull to see how long they can stay on…the prize at the end of the ride.  So you just climb on the back of that bull, sit down and do nothing but wait for the ride to end, right?  No.  Your body has to follow the motion of the bull.  You must be aware of the movements the bull is making and mirror that to some extent.  You definitely have to be flexible.

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I was walking Friz through the complex this morning.  Again, we were greeted by the sight of green dusty cloak and a familiar mop of dirty brown hair.  He sat in the same spot he was last week.  It tore at my heart to see him sitting alone.  Isn’t that how most of us try to face the challenges and hurts in our lives, though?  Alone. His face lights up when he sees little Friz saunter up to him.  Friz’s whole body shook with joy seeing our friend against the early morning darkness.  The green wizard scooped him up and leaned into the thousands of licks that invaded his cheeks.

We walked and talked as he carried Friz close to his chest.  He talked about how hard the past week has been for him….like a part of his heart had been ripped out.  He said that it felt like walking with one leg and no staff.  Sleeping was hard because he had always fallen asleep listening to Calliope breathing.  I looked in his eyes and noticed that the sparkle that is normally visible was faint. His eyes looked weak.  As we moved closer to the center of the woods, he seemed relieved to see the canape of branches and leaves above us.  He lay down in the midst of the leaves and pine needles.  Friz took the opportunity to crawl up onto his belly and nestle.

I never know how often the green wizard gets to eat, so this morning I had made a cottage cheese carton full of grits and eggs and cheese. I handed it to him with a bottle of juice.  He laughed out loud, “Who would have ever thought that I would have run into another magickal being here in the middle of this condominium complex…much less two?”  I saw him wink at Friz as he said it.  He ate slowly….savoring every bite.  He shared a bite with Friz here and there.  We talked about magick.  We talked about animals.  We talked about friendships.  We laughed about unlikely friendships.  I sat there as he rode the winds of his own storm.  I watched as he released the pain of loss.

It amazes me how much magick is contained in the things that we seem to take for granted.  The Hedge witches of old knew this.  Most of their magick involved the things found in everyday life.  Herbs, animals…the things that were right outside their doors.  Who would know that tears could be such a powerful potion.  It is the magick that stirs inside of us that could very well bring healing, peace of mind, understanding and courage.

I was taken back to my childhood today.  I have written about Crazy Mary…the local homeless person in my hometown.  Everyone was afraid of her…they always went the other way.  I remember her smile as a five year old Weathered Wiseman hugged her.  That memory washed over me today.  As I wrapped my arms around the green wizard, I could feel the magick working.  How many had turned the other way when they saw him?  How many had kept from making eye contact?  He had his own storms to ride out just like everyone else.

In all my years working at a vet, I have seen dogs with storm phobias out the wazoo.  Thankfully, my dogs have never been afraid of thunder or rain.  This afternoon, however, I was sitting on the sofa when a huge boom of thunder rang through the house.  My cat, Merlin, sat straight up on the dining room table….I could see his eyes dilating.  I began talking to him.  “What’s wrong, Merlin?  Everything is fine.  Do you want to come and sit beside daddy?”  With those words, this seventeen pound cat, who most of the time seems fearless, climbed onto the sofa beside me…leaned hard into my side, closed his eyes and purred.  In the midst of his fear, he found that calm place….right there in the middle of the storm.

Blessed Be!

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Find Your Purpose, Find Your Passion, Find Your Place

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I am pretty sure that most of Atlanta thinks I am crazy by now.  Last night, I had gone to dinner with my roommate and as we are standing out in the parking lot of the restaurant, we see dark clouds gathering above us.  The wind picks up and I can feel the beginnings of spritzing coming from the clouds.  I stand there…my face pressing against the wind, begging it to pick me up and carry me.  I put my arms out beside me and feel the electricity of the combination of the clouds, the lightning, and the air speaking volumes to my own spirit.  It is in those moments that the witch in me calls to my besom with hopes of being lifted above the moon.

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My roommate calls out to me to ‘make a run for it.’  He can see sheets of rain coming in the distance….I think it was more because he didn’t want the folks nearby to think I had completely lost my mind.  When I finally walked into the restaurant, he is standing there laughing softly.  He says, “Only you would think that in all that weather, that it would do what you told it to do.”  I had to correct him….there are many more like me out there.

If you think about it, how many times are we told in our lifetimes that something must be done a certain way, or that we aren’t doing something correctly, or that we are foolish for even believing that magick exists?  Who are they to tell us that we aren’t capable of holding lightning in our own fingers?  I have come to find out that it is too easy to accept what others think about us than what we believe about ourselves.

This week, I had a short discussion with an extended family member regarding homophobia.  In short, my partner and I were told to be glad that we live here and not in one of the ‘sand’ countries.  I told her that, yes, we are glad to live here and that things are changing by leaps and bounds, but there is so much more to do.  There are still very vivid memories in my mind of walking into school and being called, “Faggot.”  There are equally strong memories of being beaten in the field behind the school for being a faggot (in their words).  I remember going going home with black eyes and broken noses and many other injuries only to tell my mom and dad that some of us guys were playing football.  I also remember the response that came from someone overhearing me talking to a friend about being a witch.  I can remember watching the woman grip the cross around her neck like she was about to perform an exorcism and moving her children out of reach.

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My life, my magick is all about choices that I make.  I have come to realize that I am deeply contented with who I am.  I love the fact that I count the elementals among my friends.  I enjoy the fact that I can make magick spring from my fingertips. I am overjoyed by the fact that I can, if I so desire, hold lightning in my hands.  What I can do is limited only by myself.

In another conversation with my roommate last night, he said to me, “Sometimes I think you envision yourself as Albus Dumbledore.”  I looked him square in the eyes and said, “Oh no…that would limit me in so many ways.  I am the Weathered Wiseman and I am capable of so much more.”

One area that has always come easily to me is visualization.  I had to learn to do it early in my childhood to mentally take myself out of horrible physical situations.  I guess that it why it is so easy for me to have relationship with my spirit guides….so easy to walk and talk with the fae…so easy to let animals speak to me.  I also think that is why so many times…my dreams hold so much power.  Many times when an issue isn’t coming to an ending in the finite world around me, I will go to sleep and watch as solutions unfold in my dream-life.  I have had loved ones who have passed over come to me in my dreams…just to reassure me, calm me, or to just let me know that they are there.

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What is my passion?  I actually sat out in the rain in the woods this morning pondering that very question.  That little blue chihuahua who has been my companion through so much was right there beside me (well, huddled up inside my cloak).  Rain tends to wash away all the grossness that everyday tries to let cling to us.

What Is My Passion?  My passion is to live a Magickal life.  My passion is to live a life guided by the Sun and the Moon and the Earth and the Wind and Water and Fire.  My passion is to hold close the teachings of those who have come and gone before me.  My passion is to be sun-kissed, wind-burned, drenched and dirty.  My passion is to be covered in hugs and kisses by the humans I love and to have my face and hands licked until it tickles.  My passion is to look down at my shirt and laugh in wonder as to whose hair I just found stuck to me (is it a cat whisker? or dog fur?).  I refuse to worry myself sick over what is right and wrong about what I practice.  I still have something that is more than valuable:  Instinct. The ancients didn’t have star charts and IPhones that told them that the moon was full in Aries.

My passion is to know myself better than anyone else knows me and to embrace every moment of life around me.  It is not always going to be wonderful and beautiful…but it will always be what I choose to make of it.

So, finally, Where is my place?  Wherever I am.  My place is home….no matter where I may be.  Two weeks ago, it was slow dancing with a straight man on a crowded dance floor in Florida.  This morning, it was dancing in the rain and mud with a little blue chihuahua. Tonight, it will be dancing in front of my cauldron under the light of a full moon.

Blessed Be!