Thirteen Things I Know For Sure

Thirteen Things I Know For Sure July 26, 2019

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.

One thing I know for sure: sometimes walking away is necessary.

The Magic Of Ambiguity

I’m comfortable with a high degree of ambiguity. In fact, if you ask people who know me well, they’ll tell you of my deep affection for complexity. When the path ahead, or the decision at hand, is less than obvious, I am at my best. The straight, paved road is not mine to walk. The crooked path of the witch who’s lived long enough to know that very little in this life is for certain is where my dirty bare feet can be found.

Being A “Baby” Witch And The Burning Need For Answers

Way back when I was actively starting to practice witchcraft, I had a burning need for answers. Even now, the fire of anxiety associated with these early times is easily rekindled when I think about that earlier version of me. She wanted to know how to fix everything that was wrong with her, everyone around her and the entire world.

All these years later, I am happy to report that I have discovered how to fix everything. Unfortunately, insta-spells, rocks in my bra and elaborate rituals weren’t the answer. In general, witchcraft as action – by this I mean doing workings – is often focused on egoic things like manifesting a new job or finding true love. None of these things is the answer, at least not for me. Instead, what I’ve learned is that the way to fix anything is to contemplate, plan and do the work. Sometimes, the only thing possible is to accept what’s happening. We can still contemplate, plan and do the work, but it’s all about acceptance. I’ve been grumpy lately about the plethora of posts on social media begging for help with spells, interpreting tarot cards, identifying the spirits in photographs and other similar acts by those desperate for answers. I get that, even if it does annoy me at times.

Seeking Spiritual Maturity

The search for answers is at the heart of the witch’s journey. However, the answers we find when we truly seek the mysteries are often of a decidedly immaterial nature. We reach a place of spiritual maturity where we can do the work necessary to solve our everyday problems, whether with witchery or otherwise, without being immersed in it. We can grow into being in the world, without being of the world. We achieve this by breaking down the illusion of separation, a requirement for doing so is dancing with ambiguity. As above, so below can only be truly understood when we stand in the in-between.

Canstock photo.

Ambiguity: A Trusted Ally

Fundamentally, for those of us seeking the deeper world, we’ll never be satisfied with material abundance. Relationships, cars, houses, designer handbags and such things won’t bring satisfaction. Even the objects we acquire in the pursuit of metaphysical prowess can leave us feeling empty. That’s because the energy signature of most things, excepting the ones that speak to our truth, are reflections of our shadow self, the desperate, fearful side of us who just wants someone or something to give us all the answers. When we reach the place of living our truth, ambiguity becomes a trusted ally.

Ambiguity is a spirit to me, like all the others emotions and states of beingness. It has a personality, an appearance and it’s own free will. She wears flowing grey skirts and hides her face. She dines on veggie patties smothered in bacon. Cigarette in one hand, super-green juice in the other. Ambiguity is not lazy, but she can appear frozen because there are so many forces pulling on her at any given moment. I am ambiguity and she is me.

Learning to dance with ambiguity can be frightening. This I know for sure.

The liminal space between choices is where I dance with ambiguity until I discern the best course of action. I’ve had a week that’s been so full of epic choices that it seems like too much for seven days to contain. In the end, I decided to take a huge risk because if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s than fortune favors the bold. Read on for my list of thirteen other things I know for sure. I’m offering this up for discussion, and perhaps to inspire you to create your own list.

#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.

Hekate and the Deeper World

#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.

The Witches’ Journey: Working With Spirits, Shadows and Shades

#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.

Stuck in the Liminal with Her: Hekate and the Unwanted In-Between

#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.

The 13 Symptoms of Shadow Syndrome And Ways To Recover From 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.

Reasons Why Spells Fail And Remedies For Avoiding Magickal Disasters

#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.

Witch Bottle Spell for Protection, Growth, and Success

#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.

Witchcraft for the Darkest Month & The Promise of Rebirth

#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.

 The Underworld, Crossroads, Death Walking & Initiation

#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.

Honoring Hekate of the Underworld and Ourselves: A Death Walking Ritual of Transformation

#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.

The True Costs Of Being A Witch

#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.

Opening Up Your Personal Magic Circle: The Power of Vulnerability

#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.

Banishing Shame From Our Witchcraft And Our Lives

#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.

You Call Yourself a Witch? Then Own It

That’s my list of thirteen things I know for sure, I’d love to hear your personal truths.

Related Articles

Coming Home to Witchcraft

The Witch Who Serves No One

Witches Are Soul Collectors

The Dangers Of Shielding And Ways To Practice Healthy Self-Protection

Boundaries Are Your Personal Magic Circle: Ways to Know and Strengthen Them



The Keeping Her Keys Mystery School teaches The Sacred Seven Laws of Witchcraft and Modern Hekatean Witchcraft. Learn more at

True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch explores vulnerability in life and witchery.



About Cyndi Brannen
Cyndi Brannen, PhD, is a teacher and writer focusing on personal development, spirituality and true magic. She is an energetic healer, psychic, herbalist, spiritual coach and mentor. Founder of the Keeping Her Keys Mystery School, she teaches and writes about the true magic of healing and personal power. The bestselling Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft explores Hekate from her ancient origins to our modern understanding through magic and personal development. True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch, based on the sacred seven principles, will be available this October. You can read more about the author here.
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  • Some of my personal truths are (these are things not up for debate):

    My reincarnation experience (that I reincarnated by replacement reincarnation) and as a result, the body I came into has a new lease on life and a happier and healthier life. I should not have to hunt down two of the natal soul’s close friends, and exhume the third, only to have a statement from each on a notorized document stating that I am not the person/soul they knew.

    That as a result of the aforementioned, I run my life accordingly to the dictates of my own inner self. The old has died with the natal soul having left. A complete physical overhaul has been made along with healing long standing medical issues. In addition to healing Fibromyalgia and Sciatica, I have been able to get the necessary surgeries to help bring my body into alignment with my Inner Self (and the brain’s wiring, which is male and masculine). Although I am still working on the CFS, I have been making progress as far as understanding what can help (adaptogens and increased Testosterone rx are two of the main things).

    Another truth of mine is that I am not going to hate myself for having been a U Boat Commander in WWII, like some people want me to, or would have me to. That (self hate) is not conducive to the healing process, either for myself or in relation to my body. I don’t cut myself up into bits and pieces just so others can feel comfortable.

    My being an oceanic water spirit is not up for debate either. It is something that I am still working on integrating and much of my life and “belief system” changed as a result of reconnecting to my “core self”. People can think it’s too new agey froo froo, but again, I am not cutting up myself to make others comfortable with me, and that includes this.

    My soul map/path (I tried to put the image in but it did not show).

  • Mistress Of The Shadows33

    Your 13 keys of absolute truth for you, hold so true to my Spirit as well. As a Witch who actually started at the Shadows versus at the light and “fluffy” stuff like most baby Witches, I am learning now to have a balance with the light as well. One other Key truth for myself is this: I must have balance in all things. I must embrace my light and dark to be whole unto myself. This is the key I am working on now with Hekate, as She has always been my Dark Mother and Goddess of the Underworld to me. Now I am reclaiming her as Torchbearer, the one who shines her light through the Shadows to illuminate the way. Thank you so much for your work and classes. I am starting your Hekatean Witchcraft school in Oct and just receiced my acceptance letter! I have been searching for many many years for the right “formal” education for my Hekatean Craft and I know it was Hekate herself that led me to find you.

    In Dark and Light,
    Mistress of the Shadows

  • Balance is so important, yet so tricky. I’m so happy that you are joining The Mystai.

  • One thing I know for sure (that wasn’t on the list above) is that what other people think of us is not our concern. If your truth is that you are an oceanic spirit, then live it fully.

  • Emily

    I needed so much of this today. And it lead me to so much more. Thank you for all that you do and the information you provide.

  • Elizabeth Doxtator-Morenberg

    Thank you. Exactly what I needed to read today. Blessings!

  • Blessings to you!

  • You are most welcome.

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