The Struggle is Real
I started writing this whole piece for Self-love September. It’s this thing trending in a few circles I run in. I wrote 1300 words but none of it rang true. So, I tossed it.
Here’s the truth. When I look at a lot of things in my life, I’m not sure I’m feeling the self-love. I have a ton of reasons to be happy, don’t get me wrong. But I’m in a storm right now, and I don’t know how things will turn out.
That piece I was writing had everything to do with an outcome. I did, and still do, think I will achieve said outcome. It would be false of me though, to assume the outcome before it reaches fruition. Also—and this is where self-love comes in—the outcome, good or bad, does not define me or my feelings about myself. That said, I’m struggling.
It is easy to look in the mirror, and tell myself all the things I am not. It takes zero effort to enumerate my failures, flaws, and fallacies. But if I try, even just a little bit, I can ramble off a short list of successes which nullify all of those f-words. It is in those successes that I find love for myself. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the short list.
But The Truth Never Got in My Way Before Now
My position at the construction company was eliminated on August 27th. I was given the option to see if our Project Manager had a position on one of the teams for me. Long story short, the answer was no. So as of August 29th, the last night of the moon cycle, it was official that I didn’t have a job.
This, bizarrely enough, is a little too common an experience in my life. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have had more jobs than years I’ve been alive. I tend to find new jobs pretty well. This is likely because I have 20 years’ experience in the food service industry and also I’m more than mildly charming.
I’ve never accepted a job and thought, “This is exactly what I want to be doing!” That’s because I take what I can get, and make the most of it while it lasts. Honestly, every job I’ve had is just a volatile situation waiting to blow up in my face.
Self-Love is Not Settling For Less Than You Deserve
There is power in the moon. The power can be harnessed in different ways, at different points in the moon cycle. A waning moon is an excellent time to release things from your life. And a waxing moon is perfect for drawing things into your life. So a new moon, like the full moon, can be used to do work for both.
Being a resourceful witch, I knew what was needed. I’ve been stringing myself along with poor work decisions my entire life. Not only that but I’ve never really tried to reach my true potential. I decided I would use the new moon to rectify both situations.
Because the first night of a new moon is technically still a waning moon, it seemed to me to be a great time to let go. And since the last night of a new moon is a waxing moon, it would be cool to then draw things in. I’m going to be honest: I didn’t know self-love September was coming before I did this work. I just knew I needed to do something because I love myself.
Here’s What I Did
I have this shack where my laundry room lives. It’s horribly built but it functions, so I haven’t done any work on it since I built it. Inside the laundry room is this old metal hamper. It’s blue with flowers painted on it. This is where I keep the magick things I don’t leave on display. I have candles, herbs, my stick, a goat skull, and several bits of earth from around the world stashed in there. I grabbed candles, herbs, and my stick.
Recently, I’ve grown rather fond of making my own candles. I shave the wax off of tiny taper candles. I then melt the wax down into an old glass candle container. You know the type; you buy them at Walmart with a candle in them. You burn the candle out and you’re left with this glass; it becomes trash, or an ashtray, or whatever. In my case it becomes a fixed candle and presto, I’m reducing, reusing, and recycling.
I like to mix my herbs into my candles with my intentions in mind; this is what I use my stick for. I might say a few words or invoke an epithet or 20. And then I let the wax harden. I made two candles that day. One was black for Hekate, the other was orange for Hermes.
New Moon: Waning
That night I went to my outdoor altar. Using the power of the last night of the moon cycle, I burnt my work shirt from the job that laid me off. I set the intention that I would no longer take jobs that were beneath my education level, that I wouldn’t accept jobs I don’t really want, and that I would not tolerate a toxic work environment. Because self-love is about not accepting what does not serve you.
The intention of this aspect of my ritual is that, if I’m going to live my best life, I need to acknowledge the things that aren’t working. I need to cut off the dead weight. In burning the shirt not only was I shedding off the experience of the job and the layoff, but also I’m saying no more. No more jobs that aren’t what I want. No more taking what I can get. No more being okay with less-than-mediocre positions that will lead me right back to where I’ve always been.
New Moon: Deipnon
The next night/day the dark moon hit its apex during midday. I took advantage of being a sun witch, and drew the dark moon energy through the sun. I set out my talismans, tarot cards, some altar tools and the Hermes candle I made, all on my outdoor altar.
The Deipnon is an important practice in my magick. It allows me to take the time to offer up gratitude to the Goddess Hekate. I believe when doing any magickal workings, it is important to give thanks as well. I pretty much do all my work through Hekate, even if another deity is involved, I’m working with that deity through Hekate.
I had put coins into the Hermes candle. I wanted to infuse it with a little money luck magick. It gets hot here in South Carolina and the loose change really infused into the candle because the wax melted and encompassed all of the coins! I had to use this moment to adapt. I made a little space in the center of the candle and put a tiny taper candle in there. I let the wax harden, and it sat on my indoor altar until the next evening.
New Moon: Waxing
Where I live there is a lot of quartz. You can walk anywhere on my land and look down to find random little pieces of quartz everywhere. I have taken the time to collect a few larger pieces of this quartz. I use these in crystal grids on my altar.
On the final night of the new moon, I reset my crystal grid so that my rocks pointed in an arrow to the north. For me this is symbolic of an endeavor to reach for my True North. North, in my opinion, is the direction my energy needs to flow. True North is where I find the work I want to be doing. True North is where the fruition of my goals lay.
I used Hermes for this portion of my ritual because I’m a writer. Hermes is the god of communication, commerce, luck, and messages. I’ve known my whole life I was a writer. I never really endeavored to do anything with this talent and skill. But self-love is about acknowledging who we really are and striving to be exactly that.
I created a witch jar. The jar contained an idea for entrepreneurial endeavors. As a writer I don’t want to work for anyone but myself if I can help it. I dug a hole in the ground at the south point of the tree stump I use as an altar. I lit Hermes’ candle and spoke my intentions to Hermes and Hekate.
So, coinage in a candle really messes up the way the candle burns. I needed to give this candle constant attention and it soon became clear that adaptation would be necessary once again. As the candle melted I poured the wax and change into the jar I created. Eventually all the wax and change ended up in the jar.
The herbs at the bottom of the candle container continued to burn. This ultimately caused the glass to break so that just the herbs and the bottom of the glass remained. As the fire continued to burn I closed the witch jar and set the flaming base of the glass on the lid. With the jar and the fire inside the hole I dug, I started to push dirt around everything.
Once the witch jar was completely submerged in the dirt, I pushed dirt onto the flame. This allowed me to seal the flame in with the jar. And with that the spell was done. Now the energy of my intentions in the jar could flow through the roots of the tree stump. The energy could climb up to the altar and into my crystal grid. From there it would follow the flow to the north, leading me to my true path in life.
I really wanted this very specific job. I haven’t received news on the position yet. My husband always says, “No news is good news.” But I’m not so sure. I spent days after my ritual worrying. I need to work in order to care for my family. I have to have a job of some sort. I applied at several places and I was hired more than once. But none of those jobs would have been what I wanted to be doing, so I turned them down.
I talked to my friend Jade of Strophalos Rising. I told her I wasn’t so sure of my magick and I expressed concerns about maybe mucking it up. She reminded me that magick takes time, that I needed to release the magick and let it work. So that’s where I am at.
During my conversation with Jade, she asked me if I have a fear of success. The answer is yes. I don’t know why but I guess it’s some shadow work I will have to do eventually, hopefully sooner than later. Jade and I spoke about my true goal in life, which is to just write. The problem with writing is that, while it’s great to publish in places like The Agora, it doesn’t pay my bills. Jade said to me, “Maybe it’s time for you to just go all in as a professional writer.”
My True North
Jade wasn’t wrong. Here I am living this less than fulfilling life, hopping from job to job and never being happy with myself. I have not been loving myself, because I keep denying myself my own truth. For whatever reason I decided that writing couldn’t be a career for me. I set in my mind that I could write as a hobby but that I’d never really take it very far.
That’s not fair to me. In my perfect picture of a life, I spend eight hours writing five days a week. In my perfect picture I get paid to write. And in my perfect picture this is enough to support my family. So what do I do to reach this goal, this True North, this thing that will help me live my best life, and honestly love myself?
As of Friday I started reaching out to publications that pay freelance writers. I’ve joined two websites so far that help freelance writers find work. And I’ve been revamping my LinkedIn profile. If I’m going to love myself, if I’m going to be true to who I want to be in this world; I have to start somewhere.
Yeah, sure, being paid to write does not make me a writer. You’re reading my words so clearly I am a writer already. But in the spirit of self-love I know that the only job I want is a writing job. The only way to do this is to find actual work that pays me to do so. Because if I want to write all day and pay my bills, the answer is clear.
If self-love is about not accepting less than I think I deserve, then my only option is to find work where I can write eight hours a day and support my family at the same time. And yeah, it’s scary to step into the world and say, “This is all I will accept.” But if I don’t do exactly that, then I’m just falling back into not truly loving myself.