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Discovering Your Magickal Niche

When we are fledgling witches and magicians we tend to start out on our path trying everything. Kitchen Witchery, Spellcasting, Elemental work, Alchemy, Herbalism. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some of these paths never resonate and others make our soul sing. In time we may decide that we want to specialize, gain mastery (comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment), or become an adept (skilled, expert, highly proficient), at one facet of our magickal repertoire. You feel you have grown as far as you can with your old approach to magick. Now you are being called towards discovering your magickal niche.

Before we move on, let me say that not everyone wants or needs to find a magickal niche, a magickal specialty. You may not want to become an adept or master just one style, and that’s okay. We all need to do what works best for us. I love being an Eclectic Witch, but I am also adept at Energy work and Spellcasting. Do you have to be to be an Adept or Master to feel validated as a Witch or magickal practitioner? Hell no! In witchcraft we do what feels right to us – period. There is no need for fancy titles or labels. However, some of us yearn to push ourselves further, hone and mold our craft to a fine point. This is the call to mastery, to adeptness. But first, we need to decide what part of our craft we wish to focus our time and work on.

The Search for Your Magickal Niche

Let’s face it, discovering your magickal niche, your specialty, isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. There are so many fascinating practices out there to delve into. So how do we look for “the one”, the practice that calls us to go deeper, further into its core? Where do we begin our search for our magickal niche?

For me it started with a tingle, a knowing. Many, many, moons ago when I began my Craft, I was like the majority of you. I read, researched, and experimented with many different forms. Yet two things kept pulling me deeper in. Two things which felt good, right, and dang it, I was good at them. Energy work – directing, molding and transforming it in ritual, spells and healing work- and Spellcasting. No matter what other type of magick or work I went on to learn, they kept calling me back.

How about you? Do you have a part of your practice or Craft that keeps calling to you? Perhaps it is stones and crystals that you are consistently working with. Or perhaps herbs and plants tend to have your focus. Are you always casting spells with kitchen tools and stirring your food with specific intentions in mind? Then perhaps Kitchen Witchery is your niche.

Take a few moments, right now, to write down what you mostly work on and with when you are doing magick. What is always on your mind when you begin to formulate a ritual, a spell, or casting? Allow your hand to just write. Let the words flow. Then look at what you’ve written. Was it one thing? Two or more? If more than one, meditate on them for a few moments. Which dominates your thoughts? This path, this thought, is your niche, your focus, your one “thing”.

Finding Your Magickal Niche  - the Magician from the Rider Waite Tarot Deck
The epitome of Mastery and Adeptness – The Magician card.

Working With Your Niche

Now comes the fun part, working with your new-found niche. Okay, it is also the hard part. Mastery and adeptness is work – lots of it. It is study, research, and practice, practice, practice. You will find yourself learning and re-learning your Craft, adding and subtracting techniques and changing how you’ve always done things. In a sense, mastery and adeptness is about reinventing yourself, your Craft, and your life. You will be seeing everything with a new set of eyes, the eyes of the knowing, of the Master.

Each and every day you will be doing something to strengthen your skills, even if it is just a few minutes at a time. You will flex your magickal muscles, grab your notebooks and the latest volume filled with words of wisdom, and break out the magickal tools. Spells, castings, and rituals- oh, my. Your life becomes magick, YOU become the magick.

Then comes the day when you feel that you’ve finally reached “it”. Mastery of your given path. But no resting on your laurels when there is Adepthood waiting in the wings. So you work some more, maybe for years until not only you, but your peers, realize that you have indeed become adept at your magick, your work. Pop the cork, get out the balloons and celebrate your accomplishments.

Adept Witch Conjuring
Picture from Public Domain records

When the Witch becomes the Adept

Once the party is over, guess what? The learning and re-learning begins. Yep, Adepthood comes with a “forever” stamp. You buy it at one price but the actual cost keeps going up over the years. The price of being an adept (or a Master on the way to Adepthood) is that the worth, the end point of your goal keeps changing. New discoveries, new mysteries appear that want to charge us more in time and knowledge. Your goalpost keeps moving, shifting with the times. The work never ends. But do we really want it to?

As I noted earlier, this wasn’t going to be easy. Nor is it a “one and done” operation. Adepthood is a life of purpose, of constant revelations, and a call to duty. Like the college student who has finally received their PhD, there are certain obligations that the Adept must fulfill. The Adept is often called to write, to teach, to share what they have learned with future generations of practitioners. Whether one-on-one or when leading a public ritual, the Adept shares their knowledge willingly, leads by example and helps pave the way for the next new Master or Adept.

The true Adept has wisdom, not just knowledge, for they know they will always have more to learn. They have learned that “truths” are fluid. They understand that what is unseen and unknowable teaches us more than any book can. An Adept wears their new mantle with confidence while striving to not be boastful or act like a “know-it-all.” But, we are all human so don’t expect perfection from them. Just because they’ve reached a level of knowledge that you do not currently possess does not mean they are infallible. Learn from them, grow with them, but always trust your inner light to guide you.

Becoming a Master or an Adept is not for everyone, but as a magickal practitioner it is a goal worth pursuing. With time, perseverance, practice and knowledge, you too can gain Mastery in your Craft, become the next generation of Adepts. May your quest towards Adepthood be fulfilling and brimming with purpose and joy!

Blessed Be!

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There Is No Such Thing As “Safe” Witchcraft

Not long ago I had a new student ask me if witchcraft and magick were “safe”. My first impulse was to launch into a long diatribe regarding intent, precautions, yada yada. Instead, I giggled, or maybe more accurately cackled, (not entirely certain if it was out loud or in my head). After I’d composed myself, I sat her down, took her hand, and proceeded to explain that there is no such thing as “safe” witchcraft. Ever.

Merely by using the words witchcraft, witch and magick, you’ve launched yourself completely out of any and all “safe” zones. These words are loaded with mystery, superstition and fear. Hell, just giving yourself the moniker “witch” is dangerous enough. But telling someone you are a witch or studying the Craft? Danger, danger, Will Robinson! Be prepared to answer questions, defend yourself, or beat feet out of a sticky, and perhaps volatile, situation.

As for the practice itself – safe has never been a word I’ve used for it. Face it. We didn’t start practicing Witchcraft to be safe. It called to us, grabbed us and held on. That in itself was a scary prospect, answering a call into the unknown, into the mysteries that are the Craft. Do you recall your first ritual? Your first spell? Can you still feel the apprehension, the suspense, the fear and the anticipation? I recall the chills that ran down my spine, the sweat on my brow and the utter joy to finally connect with the magick, the whole, everything. Cue the goosebumps. No, safe has never been a part of the Craft and it never will be.

"Safe" Witchcraft - A picture of an altar during a ritual

Magick Isn’t “Safe”

Then there is the magick itself. Magick isn’t safe. It is messy, explosive, emotional, powerful, and many times, freaking scary. To be a witch is to push and break boundaries – not at all a safe prospect. We work with the dead, the Gods, and the “Others” of this dimension and the next, and the next. By its very nature, magick is dangerous. So many things can go wrong if our hearts, mind, and intentions are not in sync. Even when everything is aligned and our spells manifest exactly the way we desired them to, there is always a cost. Magick costs us personal energy, time and often, a piece of ourselves. Nothing is free so we must always cast wisely.

Should we be scared of doing magick? No, but we do need to give it the respect and caution it deserves. Magick is not for the faint of heart, the dabbler, the skeptic, the weak of mind and spirit. Well-trained practitioners understand this and treat magick and its energies with reverence, and act in consideration for all of its actions. They are mindful in their castings, always heeding the laws of magick and that of their guides and chosen deities. In contrast, those that do the most harm, who are the most dangerous, are those that treat magick as a “thing”. They treat it as a toy, a plaything, abusing its energy without understanding it. When there is no consideration of possible harm, no cognizance of where magick comes from, how to channel it, then magickal backlash and chaos can, and does, occur.

Witches and Wiccans and Wizards, Oh My

Another seemingly harmless yet inherently dangerous part of our craft is what the “muggles”, the “regulars”, think of it all. Others may perceive our Craft, our magick, our work, even ourselves, as frightening, creepy, otherworldly, and “evil”. A lack of understanding about what we do can lead to threats, animosity and, at times, violence. Our neighbors hear us chanting in the back yard, talking to plants and animals, and drumming in the Full Moon. They see our pentacles, brooms, and protection sigils and become alarmed. Out of fear they label us “weirdos”,# scary” and “delusional”. Perhaps they hang an extra crucifix or two around their property, cross themselves when they see us or just shake their heads as if we were wayward children. If we are lucky, that’s as far as it goes. It’s when they decide to “cleanse” or “protect” the neighborhood that things get scary and dicey.

Opening dialogues with the neighbors can ease some of this tension, but don’t count on it. I’m lucky that one of my neighbors is cool with it, may not fully understand, but remains open to what I may share with her. The others? They are more of the “cross themselves” variety. But it’s all good. Just keep doing what you’re doing, bang that drum, stir that cauldron, and cackle maniacally any chance you get. A tiny bit of fear will keep them from asking you to their next boring Tupperware party.

“Safe” is a Four-Letter Word

Is Witchcraft Safe? No. Is it scary? Yep. But it is worth every shiver, every goosebump, every daunting and disquieting moment. “Safe” is a four-letter word, an expletive, one to be uttered only in company of the “regulars”. Leave the magickless, the “muggles” and the uninspired to the likes of “safe”. Remember, we ARE the magick and we will not hesitate to cast, stir, and conjure, safe or not. Because it is who we are. It is our life, our blood, bones, and being. We will not be quieted. We will not be stopped and we will not be frightened back into a “normal” life. Safe is for the uninspired, the non-magickal, the muggle. Practice your magick with prudence coupled with fearlessness, knowledge mingled with power, and strength joined with daring. Together, we are the Witches, the Wiccans, the Wizards, Sorcerers, and Magicians, the future, the magick and the danger.

Blessed Be!

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Finding My Petals of Purpose

Finding My Petals of Purpose

I’ve been on a bit of a break lately, trying to regroup and reexamine quite a few things. One of these was to look at what I feel is my purpose, my life goal at this very moment in time. Hard as I tried I couldn’t distinguish a singular purpose. My interests are varied. I have a great deal of experience in many areas but with the exception of Reiki, I couldn’t say that I have the title of “master” of any of them. My mind bounced ideas back and forth, trying to make sense of it all. Then it struck me as I was cutting some flowers from the garden. My purpose wasn’t singular – and it didn’t need to be. Like the zinnia in my hand, it had layers, was multi-faceted and winding. I was holding the guide to my goals. I was finding my petals of purpose.

Examining the petals of the zinnia, I started comparing each one to the things I love to do, the things I want to do, and those things that I can teach others. Standing there with the flower in my grasp, I began to touch each petal. This single petal with the wavy edge became my love of research. The one partially eaten by insects was my kitchen witchery. I continued to touch the velvety petals, ticking off a list in my head of who I am, what I aspire to, and what I wish to do for others. The list kept growing and growing, winding around with the petals.

Naming My Petals of Purpose

In finding my petals of purpose it became obvious that there was much that I am already doing that was both purposeful and fulfilling. I am an herbalist, healer, writer, blogger, and Reiki Master. I am a teacher of Witchcraft, tarot reader, psychic, grandma, gardener, kitchen witch, wife, priestess of Hekate, mother. These are all amazing things in their own right. Each one can hold a lifetime of purpose and joy. And if these things weren’t enough I began counting off those things I wish to learn, to do, and become.

In the next year I aspire to take the Master Gardener’s course, teach myself to knit socks, become an adept at herbal magicks and finish my book on the four elements. I am exploring shamanism, both the ancient beginnings and its modern meanings. I will be teaching new classes and creating and facilitating workshops. In 2020 I will be visiting new places – places I’ve always wanted to visit and places I’d never imagined I’d get to. My flower keeps blooming with new challenges, new ideas, and an endless thirst for knowledge.

Allowing our Purpose to Grow

And now, at the end of this examination, with each petal named and honored, I realize that purpose changes. We may think we came into this world with a set “thing” we have to do or accomplish but I now disagree. Our purpose, like our lives and the world we live in, are in a constant state of flux. Like our zinnia, it grows, buds, flowers and then fades. This is the nature of all things, to live, grow, evolve and to die. Ideas, purpose, knowledge, they come in subtly, then bloom vibrant. Over time, as we change, they fade and wither. Yet they leave seeds behind so we can replant and watch new ones grow again.

The next time you or I worry about our “true purpose” in life, meditate on the zinnia. See the possibilities and the many and varied purposes each of us can realize. Give yourself a break – know that purpose can be found in the smallest of flowers as well as the largest. Allow your life to freely flower, bloom and grow. Soon you will be recognizing your own petals of purpose.

Blessed Be!

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Staying Productive Amidst the Chaos

Chaos is not something that most of us appreciate. Being a Virgo I relish my peace and quiet. I thrive on schedules, lists, routine, and more lists. But every once in a while the Universe chucks a curve ball at me and I have to figure out how I will be staying productive amidst the chaos.

As I am sitting in my office, tapping away at the keyboard, there is chaos all around me. Roofers have descended upon my little house and are currently ripping the crap out of the old roof. Shingles are flying and crashing, dust and debris is everywhere. And the noise! Between the crashes and bangs, the dog whining and the clanging of the metal ladders, I’m already spent and they’ve not been here two hours. My anxiety is through the now non-existent roof. So how am I staying productive amidst the chaos? Sheer will my friends, sheer will.

Staying Productive Amidst the Chaos - wooden shingle debris oin a front porch
Just a taste of the chaos and debris surrounding my house today.

I’m staying productive amidst the chaos by flexing my will. Our will is what pushes us, reminds us of our purpose, our goals. The will is our stick-to-it-ivness, our tenacity and our drive. By flexing my will, making it work for and not against me, I am writing this article instead of binge watching Netflix with the volume at full blast. Even though I may be continually distracted by the debris falling past my window, I keep typing. Is it easy? Hell no. But it is happening because of my Will.

Flexing your Will to Stay Productive

How can you flex your will to stay, or increase your productivity even amidst a chaotic day? Always keep your end game, your goal, in the forefront of your thoughts. Perhaps your goal for the day is to paint the bedroom. You’ve got your tools in hand, the furniture has been moved and the tarps are down. Then bam! The cat throws up on the recliner, you forgot to turn off the coffee maker and now burnt coffee smell permeates the air. The school nurse calls and asks you to pick up your child because he threw up in the classroom (I sense a theme here). Down goes the paintbrush and out you go (after turning off that dang coffee maker).

This could be the end of your grand plan to paint. But remember, we are flexing our will here. We are staying productive amidst the chaos. Our game plan may have changed but we can get back on track. So, pick up your child and set them up on the couch with some saltines and ginger ale and a bucket, just in case. Clean up the cat barf off the recliner and put some vinegar in the crusty, burnt coffee pot. Then march right back in and pick up where you left off. Flex that will!

Sometimes the Chaos Wins

Okay, I will admit it. The above scenario would make most people throw in the towel. Re-scheduling and flexing our will takes practice and, quite frankly, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes the chaos wins, but that’s all right. The key in these instances is not to beat yourself up because things didn’t get done. Allow yourself to regroup, then reschedule. Maybe you are only able to complete a portion of what you had planned. If things are crumbling and chaotic around you but you were able to tape off the trim in preparation of painting, then you were staying productive amidst the chaos. Yes, it wasn’t everything you’d envisioned, but it was something. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting anything done amidst a barf-a-palooza.

Above all, just keep trying, keep your focus, and remember that this too shall pass. Tomorrow is another day and another chance to flex our wills. Staying productive amidst the chaos isn’t easy and sometimes it’s downright impossible. If chaos wins today, we can kick its butt tomorrow.

What’s this? Blessed quiet, for the moment. The chaos has diminished, a welcome breather for which I am most grateful. When lunch break is over, the chaos will again commence. But I will keep focused, flex my will, and keep staying productive amidst the chaos. After all, I need to keep my little Virgo soul happy and check something off my list. Today, chaos does not win!

Blessed Be!