It’s that time of year, witches. People make resolutions, set intentions, or ignore the lot and keep on doing what they’ve been doing. What I love about The Wheel of the Year is the we have many opportunities to hit the reset button in our lives, not just the calendar date of January 1. As we twirl away in our lives, the planet is shifting, energies are changing, and we feel something is afoot. Many of you remark upon it, and it is a topic of conversation that invariably arises whenever we stop for a moment and have a chat. The energy in January is a bit different, as it is a collective desire to want to change our lives, make it better, improved upon, or completely overhauled and changed.
I recently ran into the Asheville Village Witch Byron Ballard at the local hardware store recently, and we both had a chuckle at an ad placed on a grill: Elevate Your Craft. Without saying much more, we heartily agreed we all need to work on elevating our craft.
Last year, I wrote an exhortation for witches to “Do the Work”. Reading it over, it still holds true. We should always be doing the work. But does it happen? This past year, I noticed some themes that resurfaced over and over again. A few of these I note below for your consideration, as you ponder elevating your craft:
Complaining: For me, there is a huge difference between complaining and venting. Feeling frustrated? Vent away, get the sludge out of your system and work on changes. Complaining is when you ceaselessly bemoan the same thing over and over, without any movement towards change. Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Examine your words, and notice your friendships. Are your friends not around as much anymore? Maybe you complained them out of your orbit. A bit of self examination goes a long way towards making improvements in your life. Begin with that. The things you complain about? Look towards making some changes, however small or incremental.
Gate-keeping: Make it stop. We all have our own paths that resonate within us. Show manners and respect towards your fellow practitioners. Your way is not the only way. I’ve seen so many people’s enthusiasm dampened or withered away by endless gatekeeping. Monitor what you say and how you say it, because who knows? That person in front of you may inspire you to do something different and open up a whole new avenue in your practice.
Hexing: Do I believe in it? Sure I do. At its basic core, it is sending negative energy towards someone. We are human, and experience jealousy, envy and more. If you continually believe you are being hexed however (and I encounter plenty who do) examine yourself closely and see if you are using the idea of hexing as avoidance of your own issues. Please consider therapy, and some really deep introspection on how you present yourself to the world. Take some time to really focus on yourself and your choices, and don’t deflect by focusing on other people and what they are doing.
Authenticity: Are you being authentic or are you doing certain things because you think it makes you a cooler (insert appropriate adjective here) person? Try stripping all your layers away and really consider who you are as a person, how you are living your life, the choices you make and more. It is well worth an examination. Life is incredibly short, so why waste it being someone you are not? Living authentically is an unmatched feeling, so try it, and see how you feel. First steps? Take some time for yourself, and try writing down a description of yourself as if you are introducing yourself to a stranger. How would you describe yourself? If this is a difficult exercise for you, then keep on with the self-examination. Underneath all the layers is the true, authentic, you.
Practice: Really do your practice. Is your altar dusty? Haven’t communicated with your deities in a while? Have you performed ritual, honored your ancestors, done the spellwork? If not, what you are complaining about? Do the work, because that is effective. Is your practice not resonating with you? Then explore and keep searching until you find what does resonate with you. It is so worth the effort.
Learn: You are never too old to learn, and we are in a world filled with videos, books, articles, online schools, and more. Make goals to learn new things this year to enhance your practice. If you think you know it all, I can enthusiastically assure you, you don’t. Buy a book and really read it, explore a new avenue, converse with people outside your circle.
Listen: No, really. Listen. Most of the time, we are so eager to show off our information, that we don’t really listen to the other person. This happens in all walks of our life. I attended a listening training weekend with a group I volunteer for, and it transformed me. I thought I was being helpful, offering advice, being in my mama bear protective mode all the time, but I realized I wasn’t really listening. I still catch myself trying to rush in, trying to help, but I am getting better at the pause, and focus on truly listening to the other person.
I hope some of these ideas help as you navigate this new calendar year. The world is ever changing, very scary, and full of turmoil. If all of us truly tried to elevate our craft, think of what amazing things could happen. So mote it be, and best wishes for the new year!