Why It’s So Hard To Work Magic Right Now

Why It’s So Hard To Work Magic Right Now September 8, 2020

I work magic every month at the full moon. I started doing that several years ago, because I found that if I wait till I have a pressing need, my magical skills aren’t always up to the task. No matter how much natural talent you have, magic is like any other skill. It improves with practice and it deteriorates with neglect. So I do something magical every full moon. Plus it’s not like there a shortage of needs these days…

But the last few months it’s been hard to do even simple stuff. I’ve had to remind myself that the full moon is coming and put it on my calendar. Then I’ve had to force myself to sit down and draw and charge a handful of sigils.

I laugh when I hear people talking about how magic should never be “work” – it should always be “play” and “fun.” There are times when it’s a lot of fun. But this isn’t one of them, and if I wait for it to become fun again I may not be doing anything for a long time.

Which means my skills would diminish… and I’m not exactly overflowing with innate magical talent. Plus if I stopped doing the work I wouldn’t get the changes I’m trying to manifest with these sigils and spells.

Sometimes working magic is work.

But sometimes work is necessary.

The currents of magic are strong

If magic is creating change in accordance with will, then the energy to manifest those changes has to come from somewhere. We all have our own personal energy, but we can do far more if we tap into other sources.

I often write about the “currents of magic.” It’s a metaphor for a phenomenon I experience but can’t describe directly. It’s like a river or a stream. Sometimes it’s calm on the surface but running swiftly down deep. Sometimes it’s raging almost out of control. Other times it’s barely a trickle. If these currents are running strong and we tap into them, we can accomplish far more than if we try to power everything ourselves.

The currents of magic have been strengthening for several years. Maybe this is what’s bringing the Storm, or maybe the Storm is bringing stronger magic, or maybe something else is bringing both of them. I don’t know.

What I do know is that magic growing stronger. More people are doing more magic than has been done in centuries.

More than that, I can feel the currents. So can a lot of experienced witches and other magicians I know. This should make it easier to work magic, but it doesn’t… at least not at this moment.

These last few months have been like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet (think Caesar’s Palace, not Golden Corral) only to realize you aren’t hungry.

The need for magic is strong

Necessity is the mother of invention. It’s also been the mother of some of my most successful magical workings.

And there is no shortage of needs at the moment.

Protecting ourselves and our loved ones from the pandemic. Staying safe in a time of political unrest, and helping to build a more just world. Building stronger connections with our Gods and ancestors, and with our this-world families. Plus building some magical skills to help us deal with whatever come at us next.

We have a leaking roof, but we also have a good supply of shingles and nails, and a nice assortment of hammers. Why is it so hard to climb the ladder and start making repairs?

But I’m grieving

Let me be honest – I don’t really understand grief. I understand anger, disappointment, and sadness. But grief? It’s an emotion I can’t intuitively grasp.

But I know enough about it intellectually to recognize when I’m experiencing it. And I am.

I’m grieving the Pagan rituals and UU Sunday services I didn’t get to attend… and that I don’t know when I’ll get to attend again. I’m grieving restaurant meals, movies, and concerts. I’m grieving Pagan gatherings (especially Mystic South), and the trip I had planned to Yosemite National Park.

I’m grieving 800,000 Covid-19 deaths, including 190,000 in the United States.

(Do not even think about commenting with “underlying conditions” bullshit. If those people hadn’t contracted Covid-19 the vast majority of them would still be alive.)

I don’t understand grief, but I know enough to recognize that it will slow you, hinder you, even paralyze you.

And that makes responding to a difficult situation more difficult.

Fatigue has set in

In addition to grief, I’m tired. I was tired a long time ago, and while I have good days and bad days, I’m still tired.

Despite pushing myself to get up and move during the day, I still spend too much time in my computer chair. I walk as much as ever, but I haven’t been to the gym in six months – what little upper body strength I had is gone. I’m physically tired.

More than that, I’m emotionally tired. I’m tired of the pandemic and its restrictions. I’m tired of turning on the news and seeing a steady stream of injustices (note to those of you who look like me – the answer for that is to address the injustices, not to stop talking about them, which many want to do).

And I’m so very tired of Donald Trump. I’m tired of his cruelty and capriciousness. I’m tired of him pretending Covid-19 will just go away. I’m tired of everything being about him. Mainly, I’m tired of the constant lies. My mental health can’t take another four years of him. I can only imagine how bad this must be for more vulnerable people.

I’m practicing what I preach. I’m maintaining my spiritual practice. I’m doing the things I can do that bring me happiness and joy. But I’m still tired, and it’s hard to work magic when you’re tired.

The will of the magician must be stronger

It’s necessary to be reasonable and compassionate with others – and with ourselves – during these difficult times. If you’re tired, you need rest. If you’re hurting, you need healing. Expectations have to be reset to match reality. Those who insist we should “just power through” are like those who tell the poor to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

But there’s a fine line between the Calvinist worship of work and the Pagan virtue of perseverance.

Whatever else magic may be, it’s an application of will. It’s a refusal to accept what Fate sends our way. It’s an insistence on choosing our own path and our own destiny. Not in some Trumpish belief that if we refuse to acknowledge reality it will go away, but in the classic magical statement “as I will it, so mote it be!”

Will is not simple stubbornness. Will requires context – understanding why you want to do something and what it means. It requires knowledge – how can you do it? It requires inspiration – something to move us from passivity to activity. It requires sacrifice and perseverance.

Many times success is less about being strong enough to work wonders and more about being persistent enough to do what you can until you get the results you want.

Is your will strong enough to overcome your fatigue and your grief?

Do one thing

Will is like a muscle – it gets stronger with exercise. And as with our physical muscles, we can’t go from the couch to running a marathon right away. We can only start from where we are at this moment.

This is why I harp on spiritual practice so much. My Gods have been quiet but not absent and my practice is sustaining me. If you have a daily practice, maintain it. If you don’t, start one.

But beyond that, just work magic. Do one thing. Draw a sigil, charge a stone, brew a potion.

After that, do something more. Protect you and yours. Draw enough wealth to you to live modestly but comfortably… or more, if that’s what you really want (it probably isn’t, but that’s for you to decide). Explore the depths of magic and the Otherworld and see what you can find… and what maps you can draw for those who come after you.

The currents of magic are strong right now. It’s hard to work magic, but if you do there’s a much better chance of manifesting something truly amazing than there was in previous years.

And then do another

Long time blog readers know I’m obsessive about planning. It’s how I keep my eye on my long-term goals, and it’s one of the primary ways I manage my dislike of risk.

One of the things that’s bothered me so much during the pandemic is the inability to make plans. But while I can’t plan my next big public ritual or a trip to Ireland, I can plan some smaller things. And so I have. Some are solitary, while others involve the small handful of people I’ve been seeing and working magic with this whole time.

These plans include magical workings.

Perhaps you need to make some plans. Or perhaps you’re the kind of person who prefers to take things one step at a time. Either way will work… as long as you keep taking those steps forward.

If you’ve been able to keep up your magical work with no problem, I’m very happy for you. I encourage you to share your success stories (within the proper bounds of “keep silent”) to remind us all that yes, this is possible.

It’s hard for me to do magic right now. But I’ve been able to do it, and I will keep doing it.

Because it’s necessary.

Because I can.

Because I will.


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