Gwion Raven of The Witches Next Door has an interesting post titled Magic In The Office – 3 Sneaky Things I Really Do At Work. One of his jobs is serving as a business consultant – he describes how he uses magic to get the results his clients need, which keeps him gainfully employed.
I’m in a somewhat different situation in my paying job. I’m an engineer and a mid-level manager for a large manufacturing company. Gwion is an independent consultant – I’m a traditional employee. Gwion comes in for a short-term intervention – I’m part of the long-term continuity. We both have an obligation to produce results for those who are paying us (reciprocity applies in business too… especially in business), but we have different roles to play.
I often write about how my life started coming together when I realized my true calling wasn’t to become a corporate executive. But I didn’t quit my job and become a full-time Druid. To state the obvious, working a regular job pays a lot better. And because my income isn’t tied to my religion, I’m never tempted to water something down – or to sensationalize it – just to attract readers or other paying customers. My job is my job and my religion is my religion.
That said, I take my job seriously. I’m a professional and I want to feel like I’m doing well. As someone who’s had to relocate because of layoffs, I have a vested interest in making sure this job stays secure. A fair amount of my retirement savings is tied up in company stock (which is a financial no-no, but it’s worked out well for me) so I want to make sure the company does well for years to come. And I genuinely like most of the people I work with – I want to see them do well too.
I don’t work magic to get results for my employer. I work magic to keep me safe and in the proper frame of mind. If I can do what I need to do without unnecessary stress, the company will get what it needs from me in an honest exchange of labor for money.
1. Cleansing and Warding
I moved offices late last year for the first time in 16 years – that’s rare anywhere, much less where I work. Before I moved into the new space, I physically cleaned the whole space. I threw out all the previous occupant’s leftovers and wiped down all the surfaces. I cleaned my own stuff as I moved it in. And I threw out a lot of stuff I no longer needed.
Then I performed an energetic cleansing, moving all the energies widdershins around the space, out the door, down the hall, and out of the building. I used my hand to direct the energies, though if they had been particularly dense I might have brought in a wand.
Drawing power up from the Earth and down from the Sky, I projected a protective barrier around the space. Then I drew a flaming pentagram over the door and charged it to keep out negative and harmful energies. I concluded with a prayer asking for protection from the deities to whom I am pledged.
There weren’t many people in that part of the building at the time, so it was easy to do without being noticed. Usually I come in very early and do this before everyone gets in. Things get dirty and wards need to be recharged from time to time.
This works well in any space that’s yours. I have an office, but it works just as well with a cubicle or a workstation. I haven’t tried to cleanse and ward a truly open workspace before, though I imagine it can be done.
It works. Not perfectly, but after 21 years with this employer including 17 at this location, I am confident it works.
Perhaps it’s a stretch to call this picture a portal. It’s not like I use it to travel between this world and the Otherworld… except I kinda do.
People decorate their workspaces to make a statement: family pictures, diplomas, service awards, industry mementos, motivational quotes. They’re saying “this is who I am” or “this is who I want to be” or sometimes “this is who I want you to think I am.” I like to keep a fairly simple office – I have a few professional items, but mainly I have four 8×10 pictures from my last four big trips. Right now that’s Lake Tahoe from 2015, the Ring of Brodgar from 2016, St. Kitts from 2017, and Bryn Celli Ddu from 2018.
The image itself is soothing – natural green in a building of steel and brick and modular walls. The rocks wall provides stability. The path provides a way out. I know exactly where those steps lead, because I climbed them when I was there. But when I go into that picture, they lead to many places, sometimes in this world and sometimes not.
A brief journey on that path is usually enough to remind me of what’s most important, of why I’m working, and that while I want to do the best job I can, my value as a person is not tied to any particular outcome. With that foundation re-established, I can use my mundane skills to do what I need to do and be confident that even if it’s not perfect, it will be enough.
We Pagans like to romanticize agriculture, but farming is a lot of work – a lot of hard, hot, dirty, sweaty work. But if we want to have reliable food supplies, someone has to do it. Someone has to take out the trash, build the roads, and keep the electric grid in working order.
I know people who like construction work. I’ve known multiple people with college degrees who worked in factories because they preferred working with their hands to sitting behind a desk. There are farmers who would do nothing else.
I like what I do. If I hit the lottery (which isn’t likely, since I haven’t bought a ticket in years) I’d turn in my notice the next morning, but until I can safely retire, this is a good place to be. It’s a good match with my abilities, the expectations are reasonable (or at least, not unreasonable), and the pay is fair. Perhaps most importantly, it’s indoors in air conditioned space.
I’ve had bad jobs before. My first job out of college was easy but boring beyond belief. My time in Indiana was 2 years 4 months and 9 days of living hell, working a bad job with some genuinely bad people. This job has its moments – as do all jobs – but on the whole it’s a decent place to be.
And so as part of my daily prayers, I give thanks for a good job, and express my desire to stay there until I freely choose to leave.
If you’re in a good job, be thankful for it. If you can’t be thankful, go look for something better.
What I’m really doing
One of the things I learned very early in life is the old saying “use the right tool for the right job.” Yes, you can drive nails with a screwdriver, but it’s much easier and more effective if you use a hammer.
I don’t need divination to get the information I need, I don’t need witchcraft to complete my projects, and I don’t need sorcery to produce my reports. Mundane methods are far more reliable.
But I need magic to give me the space I need to work effectively, and to energize me when I get caught up in the crisis of the moment and forget why I’m working in the first place.