Magickal boundaries have always been a complicated issue for me, one I have often struggled with. Witches are known for our free spirits, for doing the unusual, the mystical. Being a witch or magickal practitioner is all about forging new paths and creating our own realities. So, why do we need any sort of boundaries? What are these magickal boundaries and how do we go about setting and/or breaking them? Are any kind of boundaries a necessary part of our witchcraft? Here are some of my thoughts on this matter.
The definition of boundary is “something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent” or “a limit of a subject or sphere of activity”. Also, I equate boundaries with our personal morality, our inner compass. Magickal boundaries then become those lines, those areas of our practice that we: 1) Don’t cross because we feel a moral obligation not to; and 2) Need to break because what we need to grow as practitioners lies just beyond the line.
Setting Magickal Boundaries
Having defined and identified what magickal boundaries are, how do we know when we need to set them? Personally, I set a boundary when something just doesn’t feel right for me at that moment in time. Let me share an example with you. I recently received a request for an individual to do a spell to get their ex to come back to them. This request bumped right up to my boundary line. First, I do not do spell work to “get someone back” as this violates my personal mandate of messing with free will. Secondly, this individual contacted me off of my Instagram account and I hadn’t the foggiest idea who they were. Another boundary, working a spell for someone I do not know.
Setting boundaries gives me the opportunity to explore who I am, what I feel are those things that are important to my Craft, my life. In that exploration I decide what I feel is right or wrong for me as a person and a witch. The boundaries I then create afford me a great deal of freedom – which seems contrary to their very nature. There is a certain freedom (at least for me) in knowing that something, some act or issue, need not be addressed further.
Did you notice that I added a codicil in my boundaries? Let’s revisit the line “at that moment in time.” Things change, I change, magick changes. What may have felt “wrong” to me at that time may feel perfectly normal a week, a month or a year from now. Your boundaries are going to evolve just as your magick will. The motto “Be flexible” applies not only to our Craft, but to the boundaries we may place on it as well.
Breaking Magickal Boundaries
Now we get to the fun part, breaking magickal boundaries. It is also the most complicated part, at least for me. Virgo by birth, I often lack spontaneity. I love lists, plans, boundaries and goals. In the same breath, I am also the first to run away from crossing that line, breaking that boundary. Why? Because I need time to analyze, to ponder, to meditate on what the implications are of what I am about to do. I may break that boundary – and often do – I just need to think about it for a while.
Magick does not always allow us the luxury of time for contemplation. Case and point, ritual work. You may be deep in the moment of a spectacular ritual and Goddess drops in and taps you forcibly on the shoulder. She then asks you to do something that is out of your comfort zone (though not inherently dangerous or beyond your moral code). What do you do? I can’t speak for you but I take a big gulp, pull up my knickers (if I have them on) and step forward, over the boundary line.
Breaking magickal boundaries is how we grow as practitioners. If we never cross the line, if we always stop ourselves because we feel slightly uncomfortable, then we will never truly know what we are capable of. We, as witches and magicians, cannot allow ourselves to remain complacent, become stagnant in our workings. It is our right, and our duty, to break the boundaries, whether created by man or the Gods.
However, and I can’t stress this enough, if you feel completely out of your element, are in danger of life or limb, or know that crossing a boundary is wrong, don’t. Trust yourself and your instincts. You can always revisit the wall, the boundary, at a later time.
While we want to break those boundaries – or set them- fear can raise its ugly head. As witches and practitioners we must learn to recognize what fear of the unknown and what fear of actual danger feels like. Fear can be a great helper or a terrible burden. It can give us insight or cripple us completely. They say that fear has no place in Witchcraft and I would agree, to an extent. It is in conquering our fears that we grow as a witch, yet ignoring our fear response can lead us towards a path we are ill-equipped to follow.
Always trust your gut instinct but also learn to recognize when the knot you are feeling is actually fear of the unknown, or perhaps an inner knowing of life-threatening danger. Fear of the unknown is a boundary we can cross. A life-threatening situation is something we should strive never to place ourselves in intentionally and one we may not come back from.
Setting your magickal boundaries will guide you on your path, giving you a road map to how you wish to live your life and create your Craft. But don’t let those boundaries limit you. Be bold, be brave, constantly move your boundaries forward, changing them as you change. Remember to break boundaries whenever possible, but trust your instincts, your inner compass when doing so. Do not allow fear of the unknown to put a barrier in your way. Smash through that wall, cross the line, but do so in a way that resonates with your higher good.
Setting and breaking magickal boundaries is an oftentimes difficult but worthwhile endeavor for every practitioner. Perhaps it’s time to start making and breaking some of your own. Blessed Be!