Pay No Attention To the Witch Behind the Curtain

Pay No Attention To the Witch Behind the Curtain April 5, 2018

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

Schedule: Travel out. Do a big event involving art, Witchcraft, ritual, etc. Travel home. Pet cats, do laundry, beg cats’ forgiveness, turn around and head out again to another event.  This pattern has been my life for the last two months, and the main reason why it’s been quiet here since mid-March.

Everywhere I went, I heard the same thing over and over again from folks: “I don’t know how you do it!” – referring to my busy schedule, while still managing to produce art, books, blogs, etc.

My typical response is, “I try not to think about it.” (Don’t look behind the curtain…)

Which is true while also being a complete lie. (Hello Gemini.)

I suppose the key thing is defining what “it” is.  I’m not focusing on how grueling my schedule can be (which is a waste of time), but my brain is completely absorbed in all of the details required to make everything go as smoothly as possible. I’m thinking about ALL THE THINGS. For events, I’m planning for making stock (ordering, making, etc), travel details (planes, vans, hotels) , scheduling, workshop/ritual prep, what do I need to pack, what bills need to be paid before we go, who’s taking care of the house and cats. Essentially I’m reining in a tornado and directing it accordingly, while desperately trying not to uproot trees or send unsuspecting cows flying.

But that also means other things are put on the metaphorical shelf in waiting or sacrificed in the meantime.  When we are traveling, that means we’re missing out on events at home, not spending time with local friends and family, and not producing new work. Our home becomes messy and in need of a solid cleaning.  The fridge may be harboring “friends” because we didn’t have time to clean it out.

There are things we consciously give up in terms of our household and living situation in order to make our living in the arts.  I’m not stating this fact because I’m looking for sympathy, but rather these are the choices we make and we deal as best we can. The same is true for folks who work 9-5 jobs, have children, mortgages, and hobbies they’re interested in.  We all have to make choices, and hopefully those decisions are also in line with our visions and focus for the future.  There’s little time or energy for regrets, we must accept responsibility for the paths we walk.

Which is true for Witchcraft and magick in general as well.  A successful practitioner is steering their own boat and being conscious of the tides and weather as much as possible. The hapless may jump in a random boat without an oar or direction, so they are completely at the mercy of the moment, taking risks without calculating the possibilities or understanding the situation. Or perhaps that someone is fearful of getting in the boat in the first place, so they never leave the shore, but look longingly at distant lands believing they are out of reach.  But are those distant lands and hopes really out of reach?

Photo by Griffin Keller on Unsplash

Here’s the thing folks: I’m not special. I’m not more powerful, talented, or wiser than the next Witch. Everyone has their talents. All I am doing is focusing on what I want to achieve and putting the necessary physical and metaphysical effort into it, while utilizing what I do best. I’m definitely lucky to have a supportive partner who is co-captaining our boat – which helps A LOT.  But that makes it easier, not more possible.  I pulled off some pretty amazing stuff while navigating an abusive, peerless marriage and at times working a full-time job while struggling hard to make ends meet. There is much busting of ass and often learning things on the fly. I don’t expect anything from anyone else. Mainly, I set my goal, then I get to focusing on the how/why/when of making it happen. If something isn’t working out how I expected, there’s often a better avenue or angle that I didn’t even think of to explore. You get better at it as you go along.

I think a lot of people are afraid to grant themselves the power and permission to focus on what they want. We find ourselves so easily burdened down by excuses, commitments, obligations, ideas that others have of us. Sure that trip seems out of the budget, but how much does it really cost and what would it take to really make it happen?  If you want to write a book or make art, are you devoting even just a little bit of time each week to making that happen? What are the real risks? What patterns can be changed, what sacrifices are necessary?  What can you make happen with what’s in front of you?

I’m not going to say it’s the power of positive thinking either that manifests whatever you put your mind to.  Rather, it’s the power of critical, conscious, and careful thinking.  You need to be mindful of what things do and don’t work, knowing when to navigate around the storm and when to take a risk and go through it. When to take a break and when to bail. And most importantly, don’t set sail down the River of Regret or moor in Cape Comparison.  We work with the choices we have made: investing in our own paths, our own lives.  There’s no comparing our journey to someone else’s successes. You’re not in their boat.

Lastly, all that is happening behind the curtain.  In my artwork and while in the rituals I lead, you’re not seeing the radish that’s taken on a new life in the bottom of our fridge, or the kitten-sized dust bunnies on the stairs, or the dozen other more personal decisions that were made to make that happen.  But behind the scenes, there’s a many-armed Witch focusing on guiding a tornado.

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