Magick can be an enormously helpful tool in our lives, it can even help us overcome addiction. But, when we need to be careful of developing an addiction to magick. Signs of magick addiction include believing magick can solve our problems, lacking curiosity and being a magickal shopaholic. In this article, these and other symptoms are discussed as well as ways to escape from the self-created stone prison of magick addiction.
Developing my Magickal Identity
There was a time when I was new to practicing witchcraft when I didn’t know what was right – or wrong – for me. Back then (I’m talking about twenty five years ago), I was attracted to just about anything magickal. I tried lots of things. Over time, I figured out what worked for me and what didn’t. I developed a witchcraft identity.
Contrary to this identity being a stagnant construct, it’s the place from which I explore new ideas and methods. It’s my core – a sort of magickal filter through which new concepts are strained. Rather than being encased in stone because of my identity, it’s given me the strength to break out of a self-created prison of magick addiction.
A Strong Magickal Identity can Diversify
I’m always on the lookout for new ways of practicing witchcraft. While this may appear a contraction to being settled in my magickal identity, it’s not at all. My identify gives me a secure base from which to explore magickal approaches that are different to mine. Sometimes I find something that augments my practice. For example, right now I’m into sacred sounds as a means of communicating with Hekate in addition to repetitions of epithets. This is a way to strengthen my magick because it diversifies it, but doesn’t dilute it.
Learning from Others
Another thing I do is observe other people, looking for evidence that their magick is working for them. I ask myself if they seem to be happy and healthy or if they seem trapped in a perpetual circle of drama and pain. If their magick appears to be effective, then I ask myself if what they are doing is right for me. Again, this goes back to having a core magickal identity.
Because I developed this core identity, I was confident enough to take a huge financial risk. It’s been almost a year since I came home from the university, called a family meeting and announced to my two sons that I was giving up my academic career so I could focus on writing about Hekate, witchcraft and life. I’ve very fortunate because they were immediately supportive even after I explained that things would get very lean financially.
Since I made that decision, we managed to come up with the big pile of cash necessary to not only buy, but extensively renovate our little dream cottage. My witchy friends took this all in stride because, not to brag, but I’ve got a reputation for being great at manifestation. While this may or may not be true, what I know for sure is that my witchcraft became much more effective when I stopped looking for external answers to both my problems and my magick.
Recovery from Magick Addiction
In the past though, I certainly had a different mindset. There were times when I didn’t know who I was, thought magick would solve all my problems and shopped around for a magickal cure-all. Part of this was healthy identity development, but most of it wasn’t. I believed that the next spell, newest herb or the latest book would give me the powers I craved.
Through the harsh light of retrospection, I can now see that this was an addiction. Like all addictions, I was using magick as a very misguided way to heal my brokenness. While witchcraft can be an excellent way to heal our wounds, jumping around from one “hit” to the next like a junkie in search of their next fix is not the way to do it.
Somewhere along the way, I realized this. I stopped looking to magick as a cure-all and began to use my witchcraft as a tool for healing. The switch in emphasis from an external cure to an internal one was when I not only found healing, but I found my core identity as a witch. As if these weren’t enough benefits, I also got a lot better at witchcraft.
For me, the only rule in witchcraft that matters is “know yourself.” I gain more insight into who I am by reflecting on my past, including my earlier magick addiction. Based on my introspection about my own addiction, and through observing others, I’ve come up with a list of signs for magick addiction.
An addiction is the perceived need for a substance in order to function, or a belief that the thing has the ability to solve your problems. Magick addiction is when we overly rely on witchcraft that doesn’t come from our core identity, among other things.
Signs of Magick Addiction
Below are some symptoms of magick addiction that I’ve noticed in myself and others. This list is by no means comprehensive.
Thinking Magick Can Solve Your Problems
This is the big one. Magick is a tool to be used when solving problems, it can’t solve your problems for you. Doing a spell and then doing SFA to actually make the thing happen is a complete waste of time. This also applies to thinking that a deity or entity will do your dirty work for you. These powerful beings can’t do for us what they can’t do through us.
Believing Magick is External
Let me be clear here, deities and all types of energy can be exclusively external, but magick isn’t. Our spells must be internally driven in order to be efficacious. Magick works from the inside out most of the time.
Looking for A Quick (and Easy) Fix
Connected to the idea that we can find magick from an external source is often the desire for a quick (and easy) fix. Spells take a lot of work, requiring research, contemplation, development and follow-up. This is why I usually write my own.
I have had my times of complete desperation, from being flat-broke with two children to support to feeling that I needed a romantic relationship to complete me. What caused a shift in my own magick was when I decided that although I wanted certain things, I would be fine without them. This removed the desperation from my magick, as well as the search for external solutions.
Not Having a Stable Magickal IdentityAbout the time that I realized that desperately seeking a magickal solution to my problems was a waste of time, I probably started to develop a stable magickal identity. There was a shift in my curiosity. No longer was a looking for an external cure-all. I began to see myself as a very specific type of witch, albeit an outlaw sort. When my friends would be doing something different magickally, I no longer questioned my own practices.
Lack of Confidence
Having a stable magickal identity fostered confidence in my abilities. I’ve heard others call themselves “weirdos” because of their magickal identity. Stop that! If you are comfortable with your identity, be confident in it. All witchery depends on confidence. If you’re not feeling particularly confident, work on building your self-esteem rather than looking to others for solutions. If you have to, fake it til you make it. Acting confident is a great way to actually become self-assured.
Avoiding Deep Work
You know those people who flit from one sort of magick to another, but never seem to improve their lives? I think I was one of them, at least for a few years. When we go from one type of witchcraft to another willy-nilly we manage to avoid doing deep work. But, here’s the thing – deep work is exactly what’s required to advance in our witchcraft.
Not Being Mindful
Having a regular – daily – meditation practice is absolutely essential to effective witchcraft. This is how we become open to doing deep work, such as learning how to tame our shadow self.
My Way or the Highway
One of the sure signs of magickal addiction is being dogmatic. I think this is a symptom that the shadow self is in control of a person. When we are confident, living as our true selves and mindful we open up to the possibility that other ways of thinking are equally valid to our own.
Closely connected to being dogmatic is blind acceptance. If we accept a magickal approach without questioning how it fits into our core identity as witches, we run the risk of engaging in something that simply isn’t right for us. While it’s great fun to learn about different perspectives, we need to always be critical when acquiring knowledge.
Lack of Curiosity
Critically evaluating information implies that we are actively being curious. I think that when we stop wondering about how magick works and how we can get better at it, then we are truly magickally addicted. We’ve found our “drug” of choice and don’t want to even think about the nature of our magick or about learning new things.
Being curious doesn’t imply that we’re indiscriminate or that we accumulate a lot of things. It means that we are interested in learning and growing in our magick. One way that we do this is through buying things, from books to statues of our favorite deities. We also take courses that we hope will help us become better witches. However, chronically taking courses or always buying witchy things can be a sign of magick addiction. Here’s a quick way to self-check if you’re a magickal shopaholic: look at your bank accounts. If you’re spending more on witchy things than saving for a rainy day, you might have a problem.
Spending more money on magickal things than saving money is one type of interference. Others symptoms include relationship issues, work problems and poor self-care. If too much attention is being given to magick than to the mundane necessities of life, you may have a magick addiction.
The Perils of Fandom
One specific type of magickal interference is when we get so caught up with one author or teacher that we become fans rather than students or supporters. While I certainly admire many pagans, I try not to become a fan. The cult of celebrity has no place in magick.
All Aboard the Magickal Bandwagon
This is closely connected to getting caught up in the cult of celebrity. We see that one of our favorites is teaching something new or endorsing a product and we automatically think we should take the course of buy the thing. While there’s nothing wrong with doing this, we need to consider if the purchase fits with our core identity or if we merely jumping on the magickal bandwagon.
Are You a Magick Addict?
Like any checklist, this one about magick addict is merely intended as a guide for self-evaluation. If you went through the list and then thought that most of the items applied to you, I recommend that you take some time to think about your approach to witchcraft. Only you can decide if you need to detox in order to break out of your own self-created stony prison of magick addiction.
Detoxing from Magick Addiction
Like with an addiction, recovery from being hooked on magick takes time and effort. I’d suggest that the best way to beat the addiction is to develop a regular meditation practice. You might also want to ban spending money on magickal things for a period of time. But, I truly feel that meditation will guide you forward towards your own inner truth and away from thinking that magick can solve all your problems.
There are many different ways to practice meditation, I recommend using your curiosity and critical thinking skills to search for a type that fits with your core magickal identity. If you’re at the stage of developing this identity, use those same skills to filter through different approaches and techniques. Yes, this is loads of work, but all magick is. You’ll know you’ve recovered from magick addiction when you realize this.
Breaking out of that self-created stony prison of magick addiction is like being reborn. We become free of self-imposed restrictions, gain confidence and much more effective witches.
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