Moving, Materialism, and Finding My Feet Again

Moving, Materialism, and Finding My Feet Again September 7, 2019

Moving teaches you a lot about yourself.

I don’t know if this is real, or what sort of metric you could even scientifically apply here, but I’ve read several times that in terms of stress moving is on par with a death in the family. I suppose that depends on who’s dead and on how far you’re going. In any case, it’s fucking stressful.

I’m feeling very unmoored, for many reasons.

Seeing all of your stuff boxed up and laying in piles really makes you consider how much it’s possible to acquire being stationary so long. I’m not even talking about the books, because, sure they’re heavy, but they’re at least relatively uniform and easy to explain. The giant pile of old program flyers from Pagan festivals collected in the last twenty years? That’s trickier. Magical tokens gifted from friends over the years, spells remnants, magicked objects that felt very necessary five years ago but aren’t so much now, and an ungodly amount of snake shed collected from outdoors and my own pet corn snake…that’s a lot harder to justify keeping. I have floppy disks containing old book of shadows information, and no way to access their content. What do I do with such things? Not only moving, but downsizing, means that some of it simply has to be let go. Along with furniture and dishes and art and hobby supplies and things that fall into more normal categories.

I’ve written before that witches tend to like stuff, and to see value in the sort of stuff that other people would just discard (old jars! string! random scraps of leather and weirdly textured paper!). I’m a particularly tactile person, and I’ve long tied my affections for other people into objects (“I can’t throw that away—my mom gave that to me when I was eight and someday she’ll be dead and throwing it away would be like throwing my mom away and hey maybe I should call my therapist”). This makes moving a very emotional process. I’m not just boxing my stuff, I’m boxing my feelings and my relationships and my insecurities. Seeing those things handled by other people, dropped, sweltering in a U-Haul, and then left in a pile in a strange place in a strange city is genuinely traumatic. Not having immediate access to them as I get settled is leaving me with a level of anxiety I haven’t experienced since grad school applications.

But, most importantly, it’s also left me with questions about where my witchcraft lives. I mean, we’re always saying it’s-not-about-tools and the-gods-are-within-us and nature-is-my-church and whatever, but just look at all the stuff we produce and consume. We call it art and we talk about things being imbued with spirits and we find ways to justify having, but it ends up being weight on the moving truck just like everything else.

When I finally got to the new rental, the first thing I did was unpack my temple space, freshly relocated to the bizarre third-floor bonus room, which—I’m pretty sure—is just a DIY-finished attic that somehow violates building codes. And, friends, the relief I felt was immeasurable. When I moved, I did a working to bring the spirits of my covenstead with me. I invited the “awakeness” of the house to come with me and settle in our new space, and I can still feel them. That energy came in the boxes with all of my things. It’s like I have one part of the house that I can still breathe in, and it’s slowly spreading downward as I unpack other rooms. I did not expect to be so distressed at leaving my tiny suburban garden, and I can’t describe the relief I felt at discovering that some of the black-eyed Susans and the catnip had planted themselves in the weather-scarred pots tossed on the moving truck at the last minute. They could just as easily have been trashed or left behind.

I got rid of a lot of things, but probably a lot less than I should have. The desire to acquire has definitely been dampened considerably, and I foresee carrying that forward (books, again, seem to have continued immunity here). I’m also more conscious of how we imbue objects with emotional value, and how that can help or hinder.

The chipped cookie jar from childhood is not my mother, even though my feelings-drenched child-brain isn’t so sure. The collection of tarot cards is not my ability to divine. The books are not the knowledge I’ve accumulated. The journals are not the experiences I’ve had. The sword is not my power as a covenleader. The trinkets and greeting cards are not my friends and family. The altar is not my power as a witch.

I mean, duh, right? But my instinctive, emotional self doesn’t understand this most of the time. You can’t explain to your anxiety that it is unreasonable.

Finding my Craft again—in a new space, surrounded by new people, with new spirits to meet—is the task in the coming season. How do you move a covenstead? How does that impact its egregore? I expect to learn a lot this year.

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