Balance in Witchcraft is a funny thing, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot as a certain date rolls around. This year I am celebrating the 8th anniversary of an event I call “Happy Divorce Day.” It’s not the anniversary of when I filed for divorce or when the great state of Rhode Island declared my divorce legal. Nope. Rather it’s the day that the switch flipped. The day when my heart, mind, and body aligned to say “enough is enough” and I found the courage to basically unfuck my life. But that’s a bit too long to say or write, so Happy Divorce Day (HDD) it is.
It seems fitting that HDD coincides with the Fall Equinox (depending on when that happens astrologically, it’s within the span of days.) The very word “equinox” means “equal night” – referring to an equal amount of day and night – and the word “balance” often comes into play when people talk about equinoxes. The solstices mark the extremes (longest day/shortest night and shortest day/longest night), but they too also represent a sense of balance. Perhaps because our most common idea of balance is “equaling out two or more parts so they’re even.” But holding on to that concept as our only guideline for balance is faulty – especially when it comes to Witchcraft.
In Modern Traditional Witchcraft (as I write about and practice it), we have three keys:
1) Know Thyself
2) Maintain Balance
3) Accept Responsibility
If we mistakenly perceive “maintaining balance” as keeping the status quo, we’re often achieving a state of imbalance. Sometimes we must engage in an extreme manner or upset the table in order to achieve a new sense of equilibrium. Balance requires action and it’s often not for the meek. Which gets us back to HDD.
For a period of 15 years, I largely tried to keep everything copacetic in a toxic relationship. Actual multiple ones, because one toxic relationship tends to foster or attract similar patterns, like blood in the water calling in the sharks. I was trying to make other people happy, gave too much, worried too much about vows, and hurting other people (in no particular order.) All the while my body suffered, my anxiety ran deep, my heart felt like a rock, and I mostly forgot who I was and what I could do.
People will tell you that being in a relationship demands making sacrifices – but I beg to differ. You should never lose yourself or sacrifice your emotional, mental, or spiritual well-being and identity for someone else to the point of self-damage. We may go the extra mile for our friends, partners, children, pets, and other family members when necessary, but that’s not the same as losing and/or damaging yourself deeply. There is nothing sacred in losing yourself like that.
I can summarize it neatly like that, but wasn’t easy – at all. It was very messy, painful, and incredibly scary. Yet it was also incredibly freeing, inspiring, and healing. So when I sit here and examine the last 8 years of my life, I am amazed at the path my life has taken. I have found so much love in my life, art, and spirituality. I don’t regret the time I spent trying to hold on to that false sense of balance, because it taught me a lot about life. But I also wouldn’t exactly recommend going through something like that if you don’t have to.
So as I celebrate my Happy Divorce Day, I invite you to stop for a bit and contemplate what kind of balance is going on in your life. If you are desperately trying to breath life into something rotten – especially if you’re the only one giving it CPR, then it’s time to find a new balance. Life is too short and too amazing to hurt yourself like that. If you know someone in your life who seems to be in that position, then consider what being a good friend might do. We may not feel free to talk to them about it right now (especially if they don’t see it), but as magical practitioners, we can lend metaphysical support to give them strength, courage, and the ability to not only see where they are, but to be able to see a future they have not yet envisioned. Much like opening the barn door for a reluctant horse who may not come out no matter how hard you pull at their lead – they can find their way out with a little unseen help.
As Witches, it’s not about ignoring our fears, but rather embracing them and transforming them into the potential change we can bring into being. We must seek the wisdom in breaking patterns and turning away from outdated traditions and thinking. Shifting that balance provides room for new growth and potential – and makes us all stronger.