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.

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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.

St. Expedite

A few weeks ago, I was browsing at The Magical Druid, an occult shop in Columbus, Ohio.  While browsing their candle selection, I found a candle with the image of St. Expedite and became curious. I bought the candle and placed it on my dresser. It sat there for several weeks before I gave it much thought.

After a while, I began my research into St. Expedite. There seem to be two main legends associated with the saint. The first describes Expeditus as a Roman centurion who was martyred shortly after his conversion to Christianity. The other depicts the story of a church in New Orleans (or France) that received a shipment of relics without any indication of which saint to which the relics belonged. Since the box was marked “expedite,” the church assumed this was his name.

Regardless of which legend you believe, the saint’s name accurately describes the saint’s attributes. St. Expedite is invoked to bring about speedy resolutions to problems. He is depicted as a Roman centurion holding a cross emblazed with the word “hodie,” Latin for “today.” Under his foot is a crow who screeches “cras,” which is Latin for “tomorrow.”

When praying to St. Expedite, the supplicant should be very clear as to what they want, as St. Expedite acts quickly, which prevents him from thoroughly thinking through any unclear meaning to your request.

Once St. Expedite answers your request, it is important to give him an offering, as he can just as quickly take back the gifts he has given you. His usually offers are pound cake with Sara Lee being his preferred brand. His also enjoys receiving red flowers and coins as an offering.  While it is important to give St. Expedite an offering, you must wait until he has provided you with your request. If you give him an offering before he has delivered upon your request, he might feel as though is work is done and will stop working on your behalf. Additionally, once you have received your reward from the saint, you must tell at least one person about him. Many people take out a personal ad in a newspaper, but a blog or Facebook works just as well.

To petition St. Expedite, create an altar for the saint in your ritual space. I tend to keep him separate from my devotional altar, but that is simply my preference. Do what feels natural. I write down my request on a piece of paper making sure to keep my request specific. I include any timeframe and parameters for my request. After eliminating any vague requests, I read the request to St. Expedite and place the paper under his candle. I then light the candle each day for as long as possible until the request has manifested. Finally, I leave him the agreed upon offering, usually a pound cake and several dollars in quarters (more for a loftier request) on the altar next to his candle. After a few days, I then scatter the cake in nature and donate the coins to charity before telling a friend about what St. Expedite did for me.

For many magickal practitioners, working with a Catholic saint might be a little outside of their comfort zones. I felt this way too. However, after experiencing some great results with the help of the saint, I recommend that everyone give it a shot and reap the benefits of creating a relationship with this amazing saint.

Daily Practice

One of my best friends is a Buddhist. He and I spend a lot of time discussing spirituality. Last week, he mentioned his daily meditation and mindfulness practices. Afterwards, I began to discuss my practice and he was surprised. In his mind, magickal practices are only done when there is a need. “Like, you’d cast a money spell when you’re short on cash for something” he said when I asked him when he meant. He was surprised when I detailed my daily spiritual practice.

Through further conversations with magickal practitioners, I found that several of them were at a loss as to how a daily practice would benefit them. With this in mind, I decided that I would share my daily practice here.

My first stop when I wake up in the morning is my shower. I know witches are supposed to take magickal baths, but my shower works just fine. I don’t use any fancy products, just the normal stuff you buy at your local supermarket. However, I use them with intent. While I wash my hair, I focus on clearing my thoughts for the day. When I ask my face, I ask my eyes to be open to new possibilities and hidden dangers. When I brush my teeth, I focus on making my words pure. When I wash my body, I ask that I remain protected throughout the day.

After I dress, I make my way to my altar. I light my ancestor candle and speak a short prayer. If I have a special need, I may call upon a specific ancestor, but otherwise, I say,

Beloved dead, I call to you from across the veil. Be with me this blessed day, light my path through the sacred darkness.  Be my voice when I am lost for words. Be my strength, in times of weakness. Be my eyes in the places I cannot see. Be my knees, hold me up strong and proud. Intercede for me and guide me, until the day that we meet again.”

I then light a white candle on my altar that is dedicated to Elegua and say,

            “Elegua, remove the barrier, so that I may pass through.”

I then light my Orisha candle and pray,

I ask Elegua to remove all boundaries, Chango to make me victorious over my enemies, Obatala to make me peaceful, Ogun to bring me purpose, Oya to help me accept change, Orula to show me the unseen, Oshun to bring me love, and Yemaya to keep me protected”

At this point, I set intentions for the day and leave offerings as necessary. Before I leave, I sit in silence for a few moments, snuff the candles, and give thanks.

My daily practice has evolved over the years. I adopt new practices as I learn them to see how they impact my day and continue to use them if they make a positive difference. I also suggest trying new things until you find what works for you.