The old spell was wedged between dried corsages and yet another envelope of prom photos; its vehicle a crumpled old lunch bag containing four torn slips of paper. On the papers, the words being judgmental, insecurities, gossiping, and Being impatient with my sister were written in my early teenaged scrawl.
Catholic school had taught me my first Magick spell.
I vaguely remember the exercise. Something to do with sin, I think. “Write down what you’d like God to remove…” I could imagine the teacher saying. It had inspired a similar exercise I would have my old Coven do, ten years later. Write down what no longer serves you, so that we can return to the earth when we bury these papers under the tree. A simple, but meaningful, spell particularly good for Magick newcomers and one that works, if the caster is truly active in letting that thing go.
Something must have been nagging at me whenever I did that spell, enough for me to keep the bag among my most treasured memorabilia pieces for twenty years. I thought of me at the time, trying furtively to be a good Catholic, a good Christian, a good person. It was so hard. In reading that old spell that I hadn’t known at the time was a spell, I wanted to reach through the folds of time and hug myself. Don’t try so hard, I’d say. You’ll still be working on these things in twenty years…
As I continued to sort through the box, I started composing a letter to the girl who’d unwittingly just cast her first spell.
Dear Younger Courtney,
I found your old spell in a giant box your parents will have dropped off at your house. Future you will keep the box in your future office behind a closed door so your future cats don’t jump in it and shred stuff you’d like to keep. But one cat will accidentally sneak into the office when you go to the bathroom and you’ll accidentally lock her in there for eight hours. Your future husband will then ask you to please do something with the giant box so you can leave the office door open and reduce chances of cats being locked in there for whole days.
It’s me–you at 36. You don’t realize it, yet, but you’re a big Witch. Also, I appreciate the attempt to rid yourself of judgement, gossiping, and insecurities, while trying to be more patient with your sister. But I have thoughts about all of the above. Please see below!
How are you supposed to “not judge” when you are bombarded with a religion that is completely comprised of judging everyone? You’ll learn through Witchcraft that what you now call “sinful” is just a part of being human. Plus, being sixteen, you’re naturally judgmental because you haven’t made nearly enough mistakes, yet. Don’t worry. Your twenties will be about 90% mistake and by thirty, you’ll find yourself more often shrugging and saying, “I’ve done worse,” than judging people.
Wait. Was it a sin to be insecure? I can’t remember. Or were you just hoping to take that to the spiritual curb while you’re working on the rest of it? Practicing Magick will actually help you get over that as it increases the sense of personal power, which naturally minimizes insecurities. So, keep doing these kinds of spells and watch them manifest. You’ll still battle insecurities periodically. Like when you write a blog about finding an old spell in your old things and wonder if anyone will actually care or click to something else by this point in the piece.
Eh. That one is going to shift. Facebook and MySpace will be along in a few years and everyone will be essentially gossiping about themselves. Because of that, you’ll find yourself generally less interested in what other people are doing. Maybe it did work. Good job, Catholic Spell.
Being Patient With Your Sister
As an adult, you and your sister will help keep one another sane, so the patience is a given. But at your age, it’s hard. You’re a walking web of hormones who is annoyed by everything and everyone. Wicca will help you honor the body, its needs and rhythms, so you’ll have an easier time knowing when it’s time.
If you’d found this spell a few years after you cast it, you might have thought it hadn’t worked. The truth is that the kind of intention you cast (these deep, personal changes) don’t blink away just because you put them in a bag. They take a daily commitment. Most of the time, you’ll be so busy doing the things you love and being with the people that you love that you won’t have time to judge or gossip or worry that you’re not good enough. And age brings patience.
Also, Witchcraft won’t be perfect, either. You’ll struggle with it in many of the ways you struggled with Catholicism. But you’ll be more comfortable with that struggle than the one you had when you cast your first spell.
Keep casting, self.