I wish… that there is a glade in the middle of old, thick forest that is covered in heather and flowers, with a stream running through it and a sun-warmed rock right in the middle of the stream that is large enough to sit on and that it is filled with magic and that I one day find it by accident and I can put my bare feet in the cold water and be warm on the rock and read all day or sing or whatever I want and listen to the water and be home.
I feel like an idiot. I mean, now. Right now. Because twenty-three years have passed since I stared at the clock and waited for those magical numbers to line up: 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, 5:55, 11:11, and 12:12. Twenty-three years of missed opportunities, twisting paths through surreal and difficult landscapes, and broken promises.
That wish was my mantra. I had it down to an art; 59 seconds flat, before the minute ticked by. I was positive it resided in Scotland somewhere (because Scotland, amirite?), and promised myself I’d find it. At one point, I almost moved there… or thought I would. Another broken promise.
Even so, I kept wishing. Was there actual space like this somewhere? Would I find it?
I could—and still can—picture every detail: the glint of sunlight on the water, the dappled shadows on the fields, the warmth of the rock under me. The darkest shadows in the surrounding wood seem both empty and full all at once; safe but dangerous, welcoming but warning. Heavy with a thousand promises waiting to be made. And maybe, just maybe, none of them broken.
Wishes and faerie dust, right? Both are hard to maintain when the harsh realities of the world love to congregate where least wanted. Books could only fuel so much. Eventually, somewhere between North Carolina and Virginia, that liminal space between World and Otherworld vanished. The doors shut; Narnia was closed. Fillory no longer let me in.
Magic only worked in books. And home…? Home was books, too.
Hello, Gods? It’s Me, Kace…
…with apologies to the inimitable Maya Angelou
The search for Something Out There, gods or spirits or energies or the Force, hasn’t exactly filled me with delight. Christian churches put me to sleep. Hymns bore me. Bible school? Impossible. I had too many questions and once I’d read the New Testament straight through, I was done.
Then I went with a few friends to their churches. It was… I mean, I wouldn’t say painful? But fucking hell, man. With less of the former and more of the latter.
All in all, my experiences with religion goes like this (with all opinions flippantly my own):
Catholicism?I’m smart, fierce, present female while identify nonbinary, and queer. I don’t like wafers and hate red wine. I don’t need any more guilt.
Do I really need another man telling me what to do? A man that was written by men, for men? Am I meant to follow meekly along with some great plan that does not include me at the forefront of my own life?
No. Fuck no.
Maybe it’s the denomination…?
- Baptism: too fires of hell.
- Russian Orthodoxy: mmm, that art and music, tho. But no, too… orthodox.
- Lutheran? Still a big white dude. It’s creepy.
- Mary the Virgin: That whole non-consent-for-the-glory-of-the-patriarchy thing is not great. So… no.
- Methodist: Great people. But… it’s not the people I’m looking for.
No. No, there’s something there, I can feel it…
Don’t be lazy, Kace; you want more than that.
Maybe I can… be a witch…?
You are or you aren’t a witch. Magic isn’t real. Everybody will think you’re goth. You can’t even do magic. You don’t really believe, anyway. What are you going to do, go join a coven and wear enough silver to drown in a swimming pool? Please. Everyone will only look down on you. Don’t be just another fad. Seriously.
This… this is good. This is a step in the right direction. Moment by moment. Roll with the punches; everything will change. Good will go bad. Bad will go good. This is solid. …But the rituals feel weird. Like, really, really weird. Meditate? Yes. Chant? Sure. But to names and presences and concepts that feel off? Like a bad-fitting bathing suit. Maybe… maybe not. Not fully. What’s the spiritual equivalent to a wedgie?
What am I missing? What had I missed? Why couldn’t I find it? Or, as time and age and a divorce and a Type II bipolar and C-PTSD diagnosis and a brutally honest look at myself came to pass, the question became:
What the hell am I trying so hard to ignore?
Next—Part II of Introductions: Magic, Magick, and Making Changes
K. C. Alexander is an SF/F author and very proud of smearing her bloody fingers all over the lines. She writes aggressive transhumanist sci-fi, co-wrote Mass Effect: Andromeda: Nexus Uprising, and may or may not be a witch. Like what she does? Consider checking out her tarot reads and behind the scenes glimpses of her work.