There’s a special comfort in knowing things for certain, but all too often in life, ambiguity is our closest companion. We can choose to walk with uncertainty or run away out of fear. While I love dancing in the in-between with my dear friend uncertainty, there are a few things I know for sure.
#1 Magic, as in a general force, is real
I recently attempted to summarize my complex views of Hekate and the deeper world because I feel it’s important that we discuss the ways we perceive the general force that infuses all the world, even if we don’t believe in it. For me, the Anima Mundi is very real. How I choose to perceive it is up to me, perhaps based on some sort of divine communication or personal preference. I have immense respect for those who take the time to contemplate what magic means to them.
For me, this force is both creation and destruction, life and death, fear and love. This force requires friction, from human conflict to wildfires.
#2 Magick, as in specific energies/spirits, is real
The force that fuels the world presents itself in ways that we are able to perceive, from ghosts to faces in trees. For those of us who practice witchcraft, magick, or another form of energy work, we connect to these forces, petitioning and bending them to our will. The difference between magic and magick is crystal clear to me: one is the general operating principle of the world and the other is what we do with it. Miracles are magical; witchcraft is magickal.
#3 Where focus goes, energy flows
This is true, and it is tricky, and it is a pain in my ass. More accurately, it’s a pain for my authentic self because my shadow side thinks it hurts so good. Indulging in all manner of harmful behaviors from self-defeating thoughts to gossip distracts us from living our truth. But, sometimes, I really need to vent. Awareness of the thoughts and behaviors that keep us from being all we are meant to be is the first step. Then we have to refrain from doing it. One of my favorite practices is, “just for now,” as in “just for now I am not going to let myself think I am fat,” or “just for now, I will not talk about so-and-so’s outrageous behavior.” I’ll end up mired in the spiritual muck if I’m into super-shadowy actions, feelings and behaviors.
#4 To those who choose to see it, life is both magical and magickal
Shifting away from shadow energy opens up the space within us to see just how absolutely amazing this life is. There is magic all around us, from singing birds to the sleepy smile on our lover’s face. When I reach a state of blissful calm in meditation, I am in the magic. As a practitioner of witchcraft, my chosen form of energy work, magick is real when I choose a tarot card that perfectly reflects the guidance I need or when my spell is successful. There is no separation between magic and magick: they are one and the same. The difference is in how we interact with it.
#5 Focusing on the magic and working the magick yields real growth
There are times when I am frustrated with witchcraft because too many practitioners remain in the shallow end of the magical pool. Emphasizing quick-fix spells and elaborate rituals rather than diving into the more meaningful depths of the deeper world. Witchcraft, and other forms of energy work, can yield real spiritual growth or it can be entirely egoic. I’m not judging what anyone else does, but, for me, I need to hold my breath and go deeper. The more we focus on true magic, the stronger our connection to the unseen forces becomes, thereby strengthening our ability to use magick to resolve problems and manifest things. Spiritual and/or magical bypassing occurs when we focus on the results rather than the process.
#6 This is because the law of the universe is growth
Every year, the landscape around me falls to ruin, and, then, almost miraculously, each spring the verdant world returns to life, growing greener, taller and stronger. Spiritually speaking, each incarnation of ours is an opportunity for our soul’s to progress further. When we resist, stagnation occurs. We get stuck. Distress, despair and fear become our allies because we refuse to accept the primal force of the universe always bends towards growth. It can be exceptionally slow at times, but it’s there. Resisting this growth is futile.
#7 Growth only occurs after destruction
Growth doesn’t occur without destruction and friction. We can’t evolve without conflict and pain. This is all necessary to correct unbridled growth. However, when I was first starting out on my quest to understand the unseen world and my place within it, I just wanted the good stuff. Only focusing on growth gets us into real spiritual trouble. Not understanding that magick/energy work requires both destruction and creation leads to a sort of “fluffy” mentality, wherein unresolved shadow energy reigns supreme.
#8 The crossroads is where we can choose to grow or turn back in fear
The crossroads is the spiritual space where we can choose to dance with ambiguity, face our fears, and choose to grow. Or not. When we are on a sincere quest to understand ourselves and the deeper world, we’ll often end up at yet another crossroads. This is because we are aware of the potential changes within our embodied selves and how our choices impact our soul’s progression. We aren’t alone at this junctures, spirits and corporeal friends can be a valuable source of support and wisdom. Reaching out to them is truly magic(k)al. Ultimately, we stand in the crossroads on our own.
#9 This is not meant to be easy
If there was one thing I would tell my younger self and anyone who is desperate for a quick improvement it is this: all things worth having come with a price. The quest for understanding ourselves and the deeper world always involves spending plenty of time in our personal hell. The only way out of hell is through. Sometimes our choice at the crossroads is to walk straight into it. When we are in hell, we can choose to handle it with acceptance, grace and tenacity, or wallow in self-pity and shame. Choose wisely.
#10 Self-evaluation is a requirement
It’s often said, including by yours truly, that the only rule that matters in witchcraft is to know yourself. I’ll take this a step further to say it’s the whole point of this journey we’re on. If we could only all get to the place where reflection replaced desperation, then the world would be a much kinder place. However, friction is necessary. So on we go, learning from our mistakes, making new ones ,and then learning some more.
#11 Witchcraft, to me, is a practice that leads to deepening spirituality
I’m sometimes asked, “why witchcraft?” True that I could choose a more acceptable label, but that wouldn’t be speaking my truth. I’ve come too far on this path to reject what feels authentic to me. By casting spells and performing rituals, I become more immersed in the unseen world of plant spirits, imagination and source. Witchcraft, to me, is breaking down the illusion of separation. It’s not about getting a new car, although I’ve certainly worked the magick to manifest one.
#12 The shadow is our greatest teacher
Often when we are in the in-between, dancing with ambiguity, it’s a threesome with our shadow selves. That shadow reminds us of the past, of our weaknesses and our hurts. The shadow is not to be destroyed, but calmed. This is accomplished by listening to what she has to say without letting her run our lives. The more we deny the shadow’s wisdom, the more we are in her grip.
#13 At the end of it all, I have to be true to myself. This means admitting failure, saying no, and risking being unpopular
This is a hard boundary for me right now since I’ve just rejected certainty in order to pursue my purpose. Part of this process has been to admit to myself that I’ve failed in some areas. This hits me the worst when I realize that I’ve betrayed myself, which can happen when we are too nice rather than choosing kindness. Kindness begins by treating ourselves well, being authentic and sovereign. Niceness is letting people violate our boundaries because that shadow of ours fears rejection. The only thing that matters is being proud of the person we see in the mirror. That’s magical.