When I first tell people that I’m a witch, their eyes inevitably drift to the lotus pendant around my neck, and I can see them squinting, trying to figure out if it’s a strange form of pentacle that they’ve never seen before. If they ask, I’ll explain that I usually only wear my star during rituals, which sometimes leads to other questions about my practice. It’s getting easier for me to speak openly about these tangible reminders of my spiritual practice after spending much of the last decade within the safe confines of the broom closet, but there’s one place I still find it difficult to put thoughts into words:
It’s hard to express the sense of wonder that is part of my path.
I can talk about nuts and bolts, myths and archetypes, festivals and full moons to anyone who will listen, but I’ve found that it’s harder to put into words the deep, child-like wonder that infuses so much of my daily life. The more I’ve worked with magic, the more I’ve come to appreciate the most mundane things.
For me, magical practice isn’t just about the spells and rituals (although I love those aspects, too). It’s in the sound of wind chimes dancing outside my window; the brush of the wind through my hair, reminding me to be present; the warmth of the sun on my shoulders or the rough earth beneath my feet. The magic of mindfulness is something I’m still learning to listen to, but that sense of paying attention to the world with wonder and delight have become more and more vital to my spirituality over the years, and I hope I continue to look on both the mundane and the highly ritualistic as sacred, magical acts.
Every breath is a spell, and every step part of the dance.Starhawk wrote of the importance of “child self” in her transformative work The Spiral Dance, and over the years, that childlike sense of belief, anticipation, and wonder have become more and more central to my own practice. It can be hard to explain “child self” to a non-Pagan, however; when I try, I often find myself searching for words, before I finally smile and point outside to a beautiful patch of sunshine.
I think it’s so hard to explain wonderment because we all express it in different ways; for me, it’s a very sensory experience, taking in the scents and sounds and feelings associated with each place and each moment. For others, wonder comes from internal conviction, or reading of signs in the world, or from works of man-made art. There are countless ways to feel wonder, just as there are countless ways children play and learn to make sense of the world around them, and for me, that sense of awe is the crux of my faith. I don’t need to wear my pentacle every day to know I’m deeply bound to the elements; all I must do is open my eyes and remember to breathe.
photo courtesy of shutterstock: shutterstock.com