My Current Strengths as a Witch

I frequent Kelly-Ann Maddox’s YouTube channel, and in a recent video, she mentioned her Solitary Witch reading that she offers on her website. Clumsy segue – I’ve gotten a few readings from Kelly-Ann, and she’s amazing. Check her out!

When she mentioned her Solitary Witch reading, Kelly-Ann mentioned that the spread meanings where also great journaling prompts. The first card in her spread represents your currents strengths as a witch. As a journaling prompt, this got me thinking.

A few years ago, I would have listed my success with magic as my greatest strength. Whenever I work a spell, I usually see immediate results (even if they may be unintended). Due to this success, my spiritual path was dominated by operative magic.

Don’t get me wrong; I think magic is an important part of my spiritual practice. Magic allows you to co-create your reality, which in turn can help build confidence and self-reliance. However, over the past few years, I’ve realized that my spiritual practice has gotten a bit out of whack because it did not include the celebration of life, communion with Divinity, or personal growth and responsibility, all of which are aspects of Witchcraft that attracted me to the practice initially.

For the past year, I’ve tried to direct my spiritual practice to the area of self-development. Rather than try to react to my environment through magic, I’ve begun to use self-reflection and identify what lessons I can learn from the obstacles. I’ve also adopted a daily practice that has helped respond to life through my spirituality rather than my gut instincts. As a result, the survival instinct that caused me to react to pressures from life with resistance has transformed into an instinct that causes me to pause and find the reaction that is best for everyone involved. I’m not great at it, but I’m far from the place I was this time last year.

To support me on this path to self-mastery, I’ve found a teacher of a tradition that aligns with my practice. I begin work with her in June, and I’m excited, though I know it will be a lot of work.

So, what are your strengths as a Witch and how can you capitalize on it to dive deeper into your spiritual work?



Paranormal Activity

After a string of bad roommates, I ultimately decided that I wanted a place of my own. I found a three-bedroom house complete with a two-car garage, full basement, and big backyard. Sure, it was about twenty miles outside of the city, but that meant that friends couldn’t drop in without calling me first. Side note – guys, don’t do this. Call your friends before you show up! I moved in, and everything was great. Try as I might, I started noticing things that I couldn’t explain.

Like any good horror movie, it started with my dog. Sophie is a Lhasa Apso but thinks she’s a Doberman.  When she hears a noise, she goes to investigate. Early one morning, she woke with up growling and immediately headed out of the room. I got up to follow her and found her at the top of the basement steps. That’s when I heard the distinct sound of footsteps coming from the basement. Suspecting a burglar, I grabbed the poker from the fireplace and headed downstairs (like an idiot). I flipped on the lights, ready to attack (or more accurately, ready to scream and surrender) and found that the room was empty. I looked in the laundry room, bathroom, and the closet. Hell, I even looked behind furniture. There was no one else in my house. I repeated this ritual almost nightly until I explained it away as the house settling.

A few months passed with no developments. One Sunday afternoon, I was downstairs doing laundry. Tired of walking up and down the stairs, I decided to hang out on the couch outside the laundry room and watch some TV between loads. I was exhausted from being out too late the previous night and laid down on the couch. A few hours later, I woke up on the couch. I threw the blanket off of me and began to fold the laundry in the dryer. That’s when it hit me. I didn’t have a blanket when I went to sleep. I walked back out the couch and noticed that it was the blanket I keep in my upstairs guest room. I explained it as a sleepwalking episode, even though I’ve never sleepwalked before. Additionally, why would I go into my guest room when I only ever go in there to get it ready for a guest. I decided the rest of the laundry could wait until another time since it was beginning to get dark outside.

The basement continued to be the center of activity. I always leave the laundry room door open. The door is heavy and old, so it naturally stays wide open and is hard to latch. Plus, I’m usually carrying a laundry basket in my hand, so I don’t have a free hand to close it. I would go downstairs to do laundry and routinely find the door closed. I thought maybe I was being absent minded and closing it when I left without a basket in my hand, so I left a post-it reading “DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR” on the washer to remind me not to close the door. Despite this, I kept finding the door closed.

What finally convinced me was a friend having an experience in (you guessed it) my basement. The entrance from my garage opens into my basement. We walked in to pick up a bottle of wine to take to a party, and she came in to check out a painting I was working on. She took off her coat and threw it on the couch. While she was looking at the painting, she heard a voice behind her and turned to find her coat draped over the back of a chair, rather than crumpled on the couch where she left it. When I came back downstairs, she was sitting in my car.  When she recounted her story, I laughed and immediately exclaimed “I knew I wasn’t that crazy!”

When I tell these stories, I usually get asked two questions. The first is “why don’t you move?” The second is “what don’t you do something to get rid of the ghost?” My answer to either question is always the same. I don’t feel unsafe in my home. Based on my experiences, I think that the spirit is that of an older woman who has a motherly energy to her. She has never done anything harmful; she just wants her space to be clean and in order. I can live with that. Even so, I had to set some ground rules.

When I finally admitted that I might have a ghost, I had a conversation with it. I went to the basement with a few cups of tea and sat on the couch. I said “You are free to stay, but there’s a few things I need from you. Please don’t scare my animals or my guests. If any of us walk into a room, please keep your distance. With that being said, if someone else is here alone, do whatever you need to do to protect our home.”

I felt silly when I did this, but a few weeks ago I learned that she is keeping her word. I had to have a new washer installed after mine bit the dust. My work schedule is a bit hectic, so I asked my neighbor to let the delivery driver in and hang out while he installed the new washer. My neighbor texted that she had just let the driver in. A few minutes later she called me. I was in a meeting, so I ignored the call. She called back, so I ignored the call again. When she called a third time, I realized that the driver might have a question. I stepped out and answered her call. She was frantic and explained that door kept slamming when the worker was in the laundry room. When the driver stepped out, the door slammed again the lights turned off. With all this in mind, the driver was refusing to come back in the house and was waiting for his boss to show up. I left work a bit early to meet them back at my house. As luck would have it, my presence caused the activity to stop.

Having a spirit in my home and leaving semi-comfortably with her makes me feel incredibly witchy. I plan on moving in the next few years, and I hope my ghost will follow me. If not, I will do everything to make sure the future owners of my home will be as welcoming to her as I have grown to be.

Self Patience and Trusting the Wobble

The fall was hard enough for everyone else to stop what they were doing. Even though the ice was wetter than usual, I thought that I would be fine. Then, the next thing I know, I was on my back staring at the ceiling. My pride was hurt, but physically, I was fine.

My friend convinced me to join a curling club last year. Although I was skeptical, I’ve enjoyed myself. I’m not exceptionally good at curling, but I’ve been getting better and have met some amazing people. Last week was the first week of league play. The first game went well, and I didn’t play half bad. When we went to our second game on Tuesday, I was little sore, but tried my best. That’s when the fall happened.

I finished the game, but was embarrassed that I took a spill in front of so many people. I was also angry that I had made such a blatant error in judgment. Our team’s skip (the captain) noticed that I was upset and told me “Don’t be too hard on yourself. This is what, the 16th time you’ve curled? It happens. There are two kinds of curlers, those that have fallen and those that will fall.”

My inclination towards impatience with myself is something that I’ve been struggling with lately. At work, I’ve been given a lot of projects that are well outside my comfort zone. Typically, I’m able to give an 80% effort and astound my coworkers with my results. Lately, I have to give 110% even to complete the tasks assigned to me. When I finally shared my feelings of inadequacy with my manager, he was in disbelief. He assured me that my work was great and that he didn’t expect me to be a rockstar with these new projects since it was the first time that I had attempted them.

My impatience has also impacted my spiritual life lately. I’ve practiced witchcraft in one form or another for more than a decade. My practice is pretty eclectic. I do what works for me and remove what doesn’t. Not long ago, I became interested in an established tradition. Before taking the leap of finding a teacher, I decided to study the information that was readily available and see if it truly resonated with me. While the tradition promotes freeform practice, there are practices that are recommended in the tradition. Some of the practices were easy to adopt, and I saw immediate results. Others were a stretch for me. Even when I practiced them, I didn’t see results, and subsequently, I gave up.

As luck would have it, the Universe gave me some encouragement. First, I listened to a podcast from Joanna Devoe on my way home from work on Friday. During the tail end of the podcast, she mentioned watching a newborn animal taking its first steps. She emphasized that we had to be patient with ourselves when trying something new and shared my new mantra: “Trust the wobble.”  Today, while mowing the lawn, I listened to Devin Hunter’s podcast Modern Witch from 2013. He had author T. Thorn Coyle as his guest. During the conversation, they commented on how doing things that you don’t necessarily want to do is sometimes the path of self-development.

With all this being said, my goal is to be more patient with myself as I learn new skills whether it be curling, career, or spiritual. I’m going to trust my wobble and learn how to be resilient when things don’t come to me easily. Here’s to the journey.

Back to the Basics

My practice has always been eclectic. I’ve taken what has resonated with me from various traditions and wove them into a spiritual framework that was uniquely mine. I was never drawn to a specific spiritual tradition in its entirety. Nothing seemed to click for me.

About a year ago, I read a book with a mention to a specific tradition that sparked an interest. Being a mystery tradition, I wasn’t able to get my hands on much information, so I let it go. A few months later, I read another book with mention to this tradition again. This book gave me a few specific beliefs and practices, but it still wasn’t enough. I finally found a book that outlined some basic practices of the tradition and purchased it.

I didn’t read it immediately, because I knew this was an initiatory line and I didn’t know how I would go about finding a teacher. Through a random conversation with a friend late last week, I found that he knew a teacher that came highly recommended. I was also able to get my hands on some foundational training material. So, I began reading the book I purchased last year and reading through the training.

Most of it is very basic magickal training. Several pages are spent explaining how to meditate and ground. Being an experienced witch, I skipped this. Why would I start with something so basic?

The next grouping of information asked me to set up a traditional altar. While I had all the tools required to create the altar setup used in the tradition, I pushed back. Why would I put a wand and athame on my altar, when I seldom use these tools? Why would I replace my white altar candles with a black one? It didn’t make sense to me.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and we discussed my studies. I told her how much the liturgy of the tradition spoke to me. I told her how I loved the fact that there wasn’t such an emphasis on fertility and male-female duality that I found in other branches of witchcraft. I also told her that I was disappointed that I had to change my practice.

“Why are you being so stubborn? Just do it” she said. When I hesitated, she continued.

“Maybe there’s a reason why you should approach things differently. Maybe these practices will prepare you for the “real” work. If you want to test-drive this tradition, you need to take it seriously and do it their way. If you can’t maybe this tradition isn’t for you.”

I thought it about this for the rest of the day. Although I was (and still am) adamant that I don’t need to make these changes to practice within the tradition, I decided that returning to the basics will help me approach any new ritual practices with fresh eyes.

So, today I tore down my altar and set it up based on a picture in a book, including my wand and athame in the mix. I also am writing this after spending 20 minutes practicing grounding and centering. I think that by approaching my new studies as a brand-new student of magick will help open the way for me.

Top 5 Witchy Moments in Pop Culture

If you’ve read more than a handful of posts in this blog, you’ve probably gathered that I’m a bit eclectic. I know that’s a bad word in the witchy community, but there isn’t a better term to categorize my practice. Chaos magick comes close, especially in conjunction with this blog.

I love all things Witch related, especially novels, TV shows, and movie targeted towards young adult audiences. When I read Pop Culture Magick by Taylor Elwood, I knew I would add pop culture to my magickal pursuits. Looking at the shows and movies I loved as a kid through this new lens, I realized that I could adapt the magick used to create real magick in my own life. With that being said, this post will be a list of my top 5 favorite witch moments in TV and film and how I’ve adopted the magick used in my own life with video clips as I can find them.

  1. Willow’s Tabula Rasa Spell in Buffy the Vampire Slayer S6E8


In this episode, Willow casts a spell to make Buffy forget about the afterlife she experienced after she died…Buffy always seems to die in this show. However, the spell makes the entire Scooby Gang forget who they are. To cast the spell, she uses a quartz crystal and a fancy herb. She says the spell below, the crystal turns black, and all memories are erased.


Personally, I use this spell to release negative thoughts or memories, as I tend to overthink/overcomplicate things. I use the same spell, but I use sage instead of the herb she used. I light the sage, place it in a dish with a quartz crystal and say “For me, this I char. Let sage do its chore. Purge my minds of memories grim, of pains from recent slights and sins. When the fire goes out, the crystal turns black, the spell will be cast. Tabula Rasa, Tabula Rasa, Tabula Rasa.” Then, I go outside and throw the quartz crystal as far into the woods behind my house as I can.


  1. Past Life Spell from Charmed S2E14


In the episode, Phoebe is harassed by an entity connected to her past life. She casts the spell to return to her past life to confront the issues that are causing her issues now.



For me, when I want to do past life work, I will settle down in front of my altar, light some incense and a black candle, then use this spell to set the intention for my journey work.


  1. Willow Protection Prayer Against Gnarl Demon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer S7E3


Another Buffy reference! In this episode, Willow returns to Sunnydale, but is in an alternate dimension from the others. In the climax of the episode, she is faced with defending herself against the gnarl demon. Since she is still struggling using magick after she went on a rampage in the previous season, she prays for protection.


This prayer stood out to me because before I saw this, I didn’t think of my conversations with deity as prayer. Not only did this revamp (pun intended!) my practice, but I’ve said this prayer to myself while walking to my car late at night.


Protect me Goddess. In thy name, I supplicate myself. Take the power from my enemy and lay him lower than the lowest field.”


  1. Vivienne Explains the Goddess in Mists of Avalon


I couldn’t embed the video, but you can see the clip here. In the scene, Vivienne explains who the Goddess is. It’s a beautiful explanation. She says “The Goddess is everything in nature and everything in nature is sacred.” She goes on to say “She is in everything that is beautiful and everything that is harrowing as well.”


If you go back to a very early post about Drawing Down the Moon, I include very similar words in my own invocation. Even though I say these words a lot, I still get goosebumps when I hear them.


  1. Esther links her children together in The Vampire Diaries S3E14



Esther is the original witch who created the original vampires – pretty sweet. Since she sees vampires as a corruption of nature, she decides to link them together magickally and kill one to kill them all.


Now, I was fascinated by visuals of the blood spreading out over the page, so that’s the part of adapted to my own needs. As a form of divination, I will pour red wine or sometimes spiced rum on my altar. While I am pouring, I will ask the gods or my ancestors to show me what I need to see and then decipher the images left in the liquid. It’s a mess to clean up, but very fun and enlightening.

National Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation

I used to travel to Northern Ohio for work on a consistent basis. During one trip, I stopped to get lunch in a small town called Carey. I grabbed some food and parked a few blocks over from the restaurant to eat. I noticed a huge church, complete with a cafeteria and gift shop. I did a quick Google search and found out that I was parked across from the National Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation and that the basilica was open 24/7. With this new information, I decided to go inside.

The basilica is beautiful. I walked around, lit candles on the several shrines and sat in the pews. As I’m sure you’ve figured out that I am in no way, Catholic, but I do feel a connection with the Virgin of Guadalupe.  That’s what was most surprising when I felt an intense spiritual connection with this church. There wasn’t a representation of the Virgin of Guadalupe in sight. Despite this confusion, I made it a point to stop into the basilica any time I was in the area and have wanted to go back ever since I stopped working up North.

One of my friends, Dan, is going through a rough time and has expressed the desire to get out more. I always try to invite him out, but since most of my social time is spent at a bar and since he is a recovering alcoholic, I always feel weird about inviting him to the bar. Since we both has Monday off for New Year’s Day, I invited him to go with me to the basilica. I intended to go in the afternoon, but since Dan is also a devout Catholic, he wanted to attend morning mass. Begrudgingly, I agreed.

Mass was interesting and it allowed the opportunity to compare my spiritual practice to Catholicism. I noticed that most of the parishioners knelt in quiet prayer before the service began. I equated this to the foundational ritual of grounding and centering. When the altar candles were lit, I thought to myself “I bring light into this sacred temple. Light to life in everything.” And I couldn’t help but think “May you never hunger. May you never thirst” during communion.

As we were leaving, Dan asked if I wanted to go to the lower basilica where there were other shrines. I didn’t realize there was more to the basilica, so I happily agreed. We walked down the steps and my eyes immediately went to the shrine of none other than the Virgin of Guadalupe. I was floored. This explained my connection to the basilica. I lit a candle and said a prayer of thanks.

The lessons I took away from this experience is that I can find a spiritual experience in a variety of environments and that if you feel called to a certain place, there is usually a reason.

My Word for 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve written here, but I’m happy to report that it wasn’t the result of laziness. Not only was the holiday season busy, but I’ve been balancing my new job, the final few classes for my MBA, and leading an online Pagan study group. Needless to say, time has been a precious commodity in my life and sleep became the priority. Now that life has slowed down a bit, I decided to turn attention back to my blog.

In the past year, I feel like I have been completely overwhelmed by my various commitments. My work-life balance is non-existent. To be honest, my personal-life balance is pretty terrible too. I’m finding myself sacrificing sleep and time at home to honor time with my friends. It’s not that I think my friends would be upset if I took a raincheck, I just have a fear of missing out. Although I try to manage my busy schedule, I often find myself anxious, exhausted, and at time, angry.

A few weeks ago, while on a flight back from Chicago, I listened to Joanna DeVoe’s Hippie Witch podcast called “The Magick and Meaning Behind Words.” I’ll link to it below. To summarize the podcast, Joanna discussed how powerful words can be and discussed her practice of choosing a word to work with for the year. By choosing a word, Joanna says that she is able to better match her actions to reach her spiritual and mundane goals.

I decided to try to this out in the new year and chose the word “boundaries.” I want to be able to comfortably say “no” when I want to. I want to keep all facets of my life in balance and find time to recharge. To supplement this practice, I will use the Two of Pentacles and the Temperance Tarot cards in meditation. With this practice, I hope that I will have more down time to keep up with my spiritual pursuits, including this blog.

Take a listen to Joanna’s podcast here and choose a word for yourself. Have a great new year, everyone.