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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Push Vs. Pull

Magick primarily works in two forms. You can perform magick to attract a certain influence towards you (invoking), or you can work magick to repel an influence away from you (banishing). I consider both forms of magick two sides of the same coin, but recently I’ve discovered something about my personal brand of magick.

If you’ve read previous entries of this blog, it should come as no surprise that I am not averse to banishing work. In fact, I might be more proficient at banishing work. However, when I try to banish something with magick, I meet the same resistance I would if I tried to constrict something in my mundane life. Try it yourself. Find someone you know and tell them not to do something. I’ll wait…

Are you back with me? Great. Let me guess, as soon as you told them not to something, the person probably had a nagging urge to do exactly what you told them not to do. If you didn’t get that response, that person is a saint!

Another obstacle to banishing magick is that it limits potential. When I banish something from my life, all I am really  saying  is “You can’t sit with us” in my best Mean Girls voice. I don’t tell them where they can sit, just that they aren’t welcome in my presence.

Before this analogy gets belabored, let me give you an example. My manager at work recently put in his two-week notice. This, of course, introduced a lot of ambiguity to our work environment. Personally, I was scared shitless because the shoe-in candidate to replace him is a coworker that I’ve never really connected with. The tension between my coworker and I is rooted in the fact that we’re both control freaks who are passionate about our work. Even with that realization, I’m still not sure that I could work for her.

My first instinct was to work magick to separate her from the possibility of getting the position, but that didn’t feel right. Even with my flexible ethics (flexiths?), I didn’t feel comfortable working magick to prevent someone from reaching their personal career goals. I also didn’t feel comfortable that the magick would get me the desired results I wanted. What if my coworker was the lesser of two evils? I’m sure I could use magick to successfully prevent her from getting the position, but what if the person they hired was even worse? So, I took another route.

I set my altar with components that would traditionally be used for a love spell; a red candle, rose and lavender incense, red ribbon, a piece of parchment, and a red pen. On the paper I wrote down all of the qualities I wanted in a boss; they need to be flexible, they need to be a strong leader, they had to be open to me keeping my autonomy at work, they had to be compassionate, etc. I rolled the parchment and tied it with the ribbon. I lit the candle and asked the Universe to bring me the right boss.

Not only does this increase my odds of getting the best boss possible, but it also creates possibility. Maybe a tyrant will get hired, but that means that a new opportunity will be made available to me. Maybe a tyrant will get hired, but there’s a lesson for me to learn in that situation. Whatever happens, good or bad, will provide me with what I need without limiting the Universe from answering my request.

So, next time you reach for a black candle to push something away, take a moment to see what you can pull towards you instead. I’m sure you’ll be surprised.

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Bless and Release

I’m sitting at the table sipping my cocktail as a quiet observer. The other six men at the table are absorbed in their cell phones, as they pick their favorite athletes. My friend is hosting the annual draft for his fantasy football league and asked me to come hang out. Despite the lack of conversation, I’m enjoying myself. It surprises me to see how eerily similar fantasy football is to Dungeons and Dragons. This realization makes me giggle to myself.

During a break from the draft, I joined my friend outside for a quick smoke.

“Oh, I’ll be late for board game night on Wednesday,” he said.

“I work until six, so that works out perfectly” I agreed.

“Yeah, I ran into Jon at work today, and he said he wanted to catch up. I’m going to have a few drinks with him before I come out” my friend continued.

This revelation caused time to stop for a minute. Allow me to interrupt this story to share some of the back story.

For almost a decade, I’ve had two constant friends in my life; Jon and Kelly.  I met each of them at work, but met them at different times. I met Jon through a mutual friend. He and I were both well read, had a penchant for craft beer, and were insanely sarcastic. We were instant friends.

I met Kelly a few years later. She and I shared the same tastes in music and literature and had a knack for closing down a bar. She and I were inseparable.

A few years ago, I had a stream of bad luck. The team I was on at work was dismantled, and I found myself without a job. I found a new one almost immediately. Then, a year later, that position was eliminated due to a merger. To compound this stress, I was dealing with the pressures of pursuing my Master’s degree, dealing with several severe illnesses in my family, and ended up just feeling lost.

While in a terrible bout of depression, I turned to my friends. Most of my friends were supportive. Jon and Kelly were not. Jon, who has trouble making friends on his own, tried relentlessly to push me out of my friend group. Kelly began to create needless drama and tried to pull me into the eye of her storm. While trying to deal with their issues while trying to keep balance in my own life, I began to see that their presence was unhealthy for me.

Things came to a head one night when Jon and Kelly accompanied me to the bar for a few cocktails. I left early, while they planned to close down the bar.

When I next talked to Kelly, several days later, she explained that she spent the night with Jon. Although she didn’t accuse Jon outright, she made it clear that she felt she was too drunk to have offered consent. I confronted Jon immediately, and in his version of the story, Kelly initiated everything.

I found myself in the middle of their turmoil and couldn’t fully align myself with either of them. In my experience with Jon, I had witnessed him being aggressive with women he was attracted to, but I never saw him cross the line with any of them. At the same time, I had witnessed Kelly use the excuse “I was too drunk” to distance herself from poor decisions, but have never experienced her fabricating something as heinous as her current accusations.

After several weeks of trying to navigate the tension between these two, I realized the beauty of this situation. This wasn’t my problem. This was a blatant sign from the Universe that I needed to release these two people from my life.

I sat down in front my altar and lit a single black candle. I asked the Goddess to bless my work. Sitting in meditation, I visualized my heart chakra spinning big and green. Attached to this chakra were two silver threads connecting me to Jon and Kelly. I sent good wishes to each of them. I prayed that they would be protected, find balance, and have the best life they could ask for. Then, carefully, I cut the cords and released them from my life. As I extinguished the candle, I felt a calm come over me. I never heard from Jon again. As for Kelly, she has sent me a few texts but then fizzled out. My magick had worked on the situation, but as I would find out at the bar during the fantasy draft, had changed me.

“Do you think it’s weird for me to hang out with Jon?” my friend asked. I paused before responding. Then I gave the most honest answer I could have offered.

“I don’t think about Jon at all” I started. “Jon isn’t a bad person; he’s just not a person I want in my life. If he’s reaching out to you, he probably needs a friend. So, I hope you two have a good time, and I will see you afterward.

My friend tilted his head in confusion and headed back inside. I was confused too. A year ago, I would have been pissed if any of my friends would have associated with Kelly or Jon. Now, it didn’t bother me at all. Once I released the negativity and chose not allow it impact my life, I released its hold over me, and that’s real magick.

 

Turn Me On

I stir my cocktail with my straw to mix the vodka and Red Bull a bit more than the bartender did. “Well the Feri creation story says that the Goddess was alone, but complete within Herself. She was floating through space when she noticed her reflection in the curve of the Universe. She fell instantly in love with Herself, made love to Herself, and Her orgasm created everything in the Universe[1]I said before taking a sip of my drink. My friend blinked hard.

“Isn’t that a little, narcissistic? I mean, She was turned on by Her reflection” he asked. I paused and shook my head,

“No, not at all. It wasn’t just Her beauty that she fell in love with. It was Her power. Her potential” I explained. As soon as the words left my lips, something clicked inside my head. It was like a mystery being revealed to me.

“Did I lose you?” my friend asked? He stared at me and slowly sipped his beer.

“Dude, I think I made a breakthrough” I blurted out excitedly.

“The Star Goddess was able to create everything we know because She loved Herself, trusted in Her potential, and gave Herself the permission to create reality. That’s the recipe for real, transformation magick!”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” he asked, this time lighting a cigarette. I sighed, but decided to continue.

“My magick works, but it doesn’t always feel organic. I think this is what I am missing. Before I work magick, I must honor myself and honor the power of potential that lives within every choice that I make, magickally or mundanely. I literally need to look at my actions, work under the guidance of my own divine authority, and be turned on by my own capabilities. That’s the path of true magick”

“Did you want another drink?” he asks, still not following. He got up before I could say anything, but that was fine with me. I leaned back in my chair and enjoyed the afterglow of my spiritual insight.

 

 

[1] This creation story was taken from The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.

Things to Expect When You Dedicate Yourself to Magickal Training

At its basic level, magick is based on the principle of cause and effect. Although most practitioners of magick understand this basic concept, some overlook the effect magickal training will have in other aspects of their lives. In my personal experience, there are several things you can expect when you begin to study magick.

  1. Relationships may change or dissolve

The goal of any magickal tradition is to help the adherent discover their true will. The practice of magick will lead the practitioner to self-possession, the state of knowing and accepting exactly who you are with the strength to follow your true will. When this happens, the relationships you have with people whose intentions may be crossed with your own, will naturally change or fall away.

The same is true for toxic relationships. Once you begin to see that the relationship is holding you back from achieving your highest good, you will be more than happy to part ways with toxic people.

The reverse is also true. You will begin to notice traits in others that resonate with your most authentic self and these relationships will flourish.

 

  1. Your emotions might be all over the place

Magickal practice, spiritual development, and psychic expansion will open up your chakras and other energy centers in ways you may not have experienced before. This may result in some mood swings at first.

For example, one moment someone may disrespect you, and the fight or flight instinct of your root chakra coupled with the communication center in your throat may cause you to defend yourself vehemently. The next moment you may happen by the final moments of  Undercover Boss where the CEO of a company gives an employee a scholarship, and you’ll burst into tears. (Hypothetically of course – Okay, yeah this happened me).

To counteract this, try chakra balancing techniques and breathing through any knee-jerk emotional reactions.

  1. Your intuition will be on point 

The more you practice magick, the better your sense of intuition will become. That small voice inside your head gets a bit louder, and that gut feeling gets a bit stronger. There have been times since I’ve rededicated myself to spiritual practice that I’ve wanted to consult my Tarot cards or doing some scrying, but found that my inner voice would lead me down the right path.

This can be a double-edged sword though. For me, my intuition has become a precise bullshit detector. Any time someone lies to me or omits information, I get a little tap on my psychic shoulder. Sometimes it has led to me getting into an argument with a friend, but overall it has allowed me to open the door to and long overdue conversation with a loved one.

  1. Your magickal proficiency will increase

You know what they say, practice makes perfect. The same goes for magick. As cited by my few “No Frills-Magick” posts, I’ve lost the need to full blown magickal practice. In fact, I have found that when I step to my altar for ritual, I can ground and center, cast a circle, and align my energies with a few breaths, rather than with the intense visualization, words of power, or ritual actions.

You may experience times in which the very act of planning a magickal working will be enough to manifest your goal.

  1. You’ll experience a mind-body-spirit alignment

The more time you dedicate to spirituality, the lines between your different parts will blur. You’ll start to understand how your mind and body are as magickal as your spirit.

For me, this manifested in a few ways. First, I’ve become more regimented in taking care of my body. I’ve been better about eating clean food, spending more time being active, and have started the process to quit smoking. In regards to strengthening my mind, I’ve started spending more time painting and reading than I have in the past.

By honoring all parts of my being, I am becoming more connected with life as a whole.

  1. Those in need will seek you out

I believe that as you grow spiritually, you become a beacon. People will recognize your connectedness and come to you for help. These may be people you know or even complete strangers. They may need advice or simply need someone to listen. The important thing here is to listen to your intuition and allow yourself to be open to their needs.

  1. You’ll require more alone time

Until recently, I’ve needed to be surrounded by people constantly. There were times I would go out every night. Sometimes, I’d even invite friends out to the bar, but not really talk to them. I just needed someone there.

Alone time has become a huge priority for me. I attribute this to self-discovery that comes with magickal practice. The more time you spend growing spiritually, the more you understand yourself. This understanding ultimately leads to you enjoying your own company. This alone time lets you recharge and take care of yourself. It reminds me of an old Wiccan adage I read (I think in Marion Weinstein’s Earth Magick), “You cannot draw from an empty well.”

  1. Your priorities will change

 

This is related to #7. As you get closer to understanding your true will, you will start to prioritize things differently. You’ll begin to see what’s truly important and arrange your life around these things.

For me, this presented itself as a need to say no to things that I hated. It seems simple enough, but I felt that there were things that I had to do. By looking at what I really wanted from life, I could see that some of these things could be easily overlooked. For example, if a friend is having a party, I don’t feel obligated to go. If I’d rather stay home and veg out on the couch, I simply say no. No guilt. No regrets. Just focusing on what I need and want to do.

  1. You might experience a dark night of the soul

A great philosopher (okay, a video game Kingdom Hearts) once said: “the closer you get to the light, the bigger your shadow becomes.” This is totally true. When you look at your life through the lens of spiritual development, you shine the proverbial light on the things you usually hide from everyone (yourself included).

Once these things come to light, you might experience some hardships. You may even feel disconnected from your deities. This is normal. Keep the faith and keep up with your daily practice. The purpose of spiritual practice is to become a more complete person, and these hardships are part of that process.

  1. You will understand that this is just the first step of your journey

Spiritual development and magickal practice are  lifelong commitments. When you begin your practice, you want to learn it all at once. You want to become Dumbledore, but that’s not how it works. You have to start slow and build upon your practice slowly. In fact, you might get far along your path, but realize that the path doesn’t suit you. Even if you start and restart several times throughout your life, you will get closer to your destination each time.

Remember, it’s okay to be Ron Weasley.

No-Frills Magick – Banishing

Since my last post was super sad, I thought I’d go back to the No Frills Magick topic. This one has more “frills” than the previous post, but not by much.

I previously posted about the Kala rite as a way to remove a self-inflicted barrier. This spell is something that can be done to remove either a self-inflicted or outside influence, although I tend to use it for the latter.

First, identify what influence you want to remove. Then create a symbol for this influence. You may choose to create a sigil. To do this, write out the influence you want to remove in as much detail as possible. Then remove any repeating letters. Next, remove the vowels. Finally, take the remaining letters and arrange them into a witchy-looking symbol.

Next, ground and center. When you feel connected to the Universe/Deity/Higher Self/Whatever, take a deep breath. Using a skin-safe marker or pen, draw the symbol on the bottom of your foot. Then, go about your day.

As you continue through your mundane life, your subconscious will know that you are literally walking on the issue. By keeping the issue “under foot,” you will lessen its influence.

Repeat as needed.

No Frills Magick – Finding Lost Items

In my last post, I spoke about the practical, no-frills way I approach magick. This week presented me with the opportunity to “practice what I preach.” My friend Jamie has an amazing job that affords her the opportunity to work remotely. She has taken full advantage of this by spending the last several months travelling to the Czech Republic and South Africa. Jamie was home for three months, but left to continue her adventures on Sunday.  Sadly, Jamie posted that her luggage, pretty much everything she owns in the world, was lost during her flight to Prague. Nothing a little magick can’t handle.

I asked Jamie to describe something that was in her suitcase and she mentioned her travel altar, a small box carved with the image of Nuit on the front. She posted a picture of it in our study group when we were discussing altar creation. I studied the picture until I could visualize the box easily.

I sat at my altar, lit a single black candle, and asked the Goddess to guide me on my journey. I visualized the box in my hands. I felt the smoothness of the wood, the rough edges of the etching, and the power of her ritual items pulsating through the wood like a heartbeat. Once I knew I had the visualization “solid,” I looked around me and saw that I was standing in an airport in a small office just a few feet away from a row of luggage carousels.

I allowed the visualization of the airport to fade away, but kept my mental grip on the box firm. I then visualized my friend Jamie. I saw her standing before me. The relief of getting her belongings back washing over here. I handed her the box and allowed the vision of her and the box to fade from my mind.

I brought my awareness back to my room. I grounded the excess energy into a piece of hematite, thanked the Goddess for her help, and extinguished the candle.

Yesterday, Jamie posted that her suitcase was found and would be delivered to her. Sure, it’s extremely plausible that this would have happened without magickal intervention, but I’d like to think I helped clear the path for it to happen.