My office is my sanctuary. It’s a place few other mortals are allowed into, and for good reason: it’s usually a mess. There are days I pick it up just enough to allow people in to peruse my Witchcraft library, and the coven uses it on occasion when ritual requires an extra room, but mostly it has an occupant of one: me (plus a cat or two).
But today I spent four hours cleaning it up, from desktop to closet to altars to bookshelves and back again no corners were left untouched! And cleaning up my office isn’t like cleaning the bathroom, there’s all kinds of magickal bric a brac hidden around my space. That means “cleaning” requires some extra steps.
Releasing Past Magickal Work
Two years ago my coven was involved in a magickal operation for a very dear friend of ours involving some quite complicated origami. The physical part of that work has occupied a few different spaces in our house the last twenty or so months. It spent some time on our coven altar, and was then moved to a personal altar in our living room. After Samhain last year I realized I needed to “let the power go” so to speak and began planning just how to do that.
There are several ways to dispose of magickal items that can’t be repurposed. The most common one in my own practice generally involves me burying small items in the back yard. I do this a lot with candle stubs and other inorganic materials. Since my wife and I visit the ocean with some frequency, giving things to the ocean is another way we like to deal with things we need to part with. The final method of getting rid of things is by burning them, which is what I did during today’s house cleaning.
In the middle of cleaning up around my office printer I spotted our project from all those months ago and decided that today would be the day I would give them to the person they were made for. Since she’s no longer here on this plane burning them seemed like the best option, so I grabbed an iron cauldron and some charcoal from our ritual room, lit a small fire and got to work. My parents never started fires when they cleaned house.
Repurposing Magickal Stuff (Or Not Being Able to Let Go Of It)
For nearly 13 years I’ve been the somewhat proud owner of seven jar candles purchased from a dollar store. Four of those candles represented the quarters, two the Goddess and God (or more specifically Dionysus and Aphrodite), one “the center.” Over the last five years they’ve mostly just been used to provide some light in our ritual room instead of representing specific somethings, but when I look at them I remember what they were originally purchased for. And those silly candles have been to several different Pagan festivals, Canada, and came with with us from Michigan to California.
After 13 years most of those old candles are just about dead but I just can’t give up the jars. I think there’s a lot of energy in them, and they’ve probably seen several hundred rituals over the years. That’s a lot of my history as a Witch and just putting them in the recycling bin feels wrong to me.
Several years ago I began using an empty jar candle as a stick incense burner. You just stick the end of the incense into what’s left of the wax no the bottom and you’ve got a “holder” for stick incense that actually catches the ashes! It’s much more effective than anything one can buy at the Metaphysical store. So instead of getting rid of what’s left of my old jar candles I hid them on top of a bookshelf in the hopes that I can convince a coven mate to use one for incense or something else. (What’s more likely is that Ari will bury me with those damned candles!)
Away from my desk (where the writing magick happens, or doesn’t) my library is probably the centerpiece of my office and there are always books being added to it. I could probably organize it by author, but instead I choose to organize it by subject, ensuring that only I have any idea where anything is. But I don’t just organize it by subject, I like it to also look aesthetically pleasing to my eye. That means large books are sometimes in weird places only because they look nice there.
The last few years have seen some new additions to the “categories” section of the library, but that can also be tough. Does the Anderson Feri Tradition get its own category, or does it sit next to the Gemma Gary books in “Traditional Witchcraft.” Also, what exactly is Traditional Witchcraft? Does that include stuff with a slightly Lucferian-tinge? Is Lady Sheba’s Book of Shadows a grimoire? I used it a lot when writing my little book on grimoires, so that counts right?
Also, what do I do with books I really disliked? Some of the ones I hate are worth keeping in the off chance that they might be useful in twenty years, but should I put them on a shun-shelf or keep them close to their category? These are the dumb things I wrestle with.
Where Do the Little Sachets and Other Weird Things Go?
When our coven does spell work for success with jobs and stuff, we usually do so with small sachets that we fill with various things. I think such things are meant to be kept on one’s person, or perhaps in the car that takes one to and from their job or job searches. In my case, most of my work takes place around my computer so I tape them to my computer. Two weeks after I put my first one on the old desktop I signed a book contract so I guess they work!
Many years ago Teo Bishop gave me a small hand-knit thing in honor of me having one of the “Top 10 Pagan Quotes of 2013” (Teo was also on the list!). I thought it was a fine gift but never had any idea what to do with it. Teo leaving Paganism made the question even weirder, but I always want the best for people on their individual journeys and Teo (now again Matt) is no different. He seems happy, and I still thought it was a cool little thing so onto the wall it went. I put it under the “God loves Jason” banner I made in first grade Sunday School, seemed right.