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.
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.
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.
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.
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.