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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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Pulling the Weeds from Your Path

Pulling the Weeds From Your Path

Softly she walks, her feet skimming the cobbles along the path. She knows where she is going, guided by a combination of intuition and sheer will. Walking quickly she notices that the path has changed from pristine and clear to overgrown and broken. Undaunted, she stoops and begins pulling the weeds from the path. While this may slow down her progress. in the end, it will allow her to think, to contemplate on where she needs to go next. Looking to her left she sees another at work. You are there as well, pulling the weeds from your path. She smiles, waves, and continues on her way, leaving you with a hand full of weeds and a head full of questions.

This was the vision I had during a meditation this morning. I’d been contemplating whether I should continue down the life’s path I had chosen for myself, continue the work I have been doing. To say it has been a bit challenging lately would be an understatement. My creativity seems to be waning, my energy and enthusiasm levels are at a definite low, and I need a bit of direction. I cleared my mind, asked my questions and She appeared, along with the weeds.

Apparently even my visions have garden metaphors. No grandiose visions for me. No Goddess on a golden throne, no trumpets blasting or unicorns dancing. Nope. I get pathways and weeds. Gardens are kind of my thing so its no wonder it’s where my inner thoughts hang out. I get it. But I don’t have to like it.

Weeds from your Path as Questions – and Answers

Pulling Weeds from Our Path - garden path with weeds between the stones
My garden path

Back to my original question about continuing along the path I’ve chosen for myself. What does it all mean, this pulling the weeds from your path? I can’t answer for everyone but for me it means that unexpected things are going to pop up now and again. Like the dandelion or stinging nettle that seems to always find its way through the cracks, so too do problems and incidents that at first seem to be a deterrent, a nuisance. You try yanking them out but they just return, stronger than ever. Toiling and sweating you just keep working away at ridding your path of anything you had not intentionally planted, yet the weeds remain, resilient and plentiful.

What would happen if we stopped fighting the “weeds” and instead looked deeper into the “whys” and “what ifs” behind their presence. Take Stinging Nettle for example. A tough little weed that stings and burns if you touch it. Yet treat it gently, pulling it up carefully from the stem or using gloves, and you can capture its benefits. Not just a nuisance, nettle is a powerful natural antihistamine, is chock full of potassium, calcium and vitamin C. Cooked it loses its sting and is a tasty addition to soups and stews. Nettle has changed from just a weed into a helper, something that could benefit us.

If I take a look at some of the weeds popping up along my path I begin to discern patterns and hidden advantages. The lack of energy is telling me that I need to rest, to regroup and take care of myself. The weed labeled “lack of creativity” is instead a dandelion of new ideas, waiting to flower. Don’t pull your weeds before taking the time to study them, contemplate and meditate on them. These weeds may be just what you need.

Clearing our Path

Pulling Weeds - a weed in the crack of the sidewalk
A weed springing forth from a crack

Not every weed is going to be beneficial. Some of them choke out the path – our ideas and purpose. These weeds need to go so we can move forward, continue our work. Weeding our path clears the way so we may walk swiftly, unhindered, towards the goals we set for ourselves. However, weed carefully. Don’t become so caught up in weeding your path that you forget to walk it. Sometimes it’s better to just to step over and around the weeds than to stoop to pull them. Keep your eye on your goals, your path, not just the weeds.

Take a few moments today to look at your own personal path. Do you have weeds to pull? Will these weeds help or hinder? Can you turn your weeds from pest to asset and make them work for you? Or will you ignore them and leave them to grow where they may?

As for me, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and I have a path of my own that needs tending. Who knows, maybe we’ll pass each other along our paths, garden trowels in hand, pulling the weeds along the way.

Blessed Be!

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Turning our Resolutions into Goals

It’s the second of January and many of you may be reading the resolutions you wrote for the New Year. Are you wondering how you are going to accomplish these resolutions? Do they sound unattainable, or more of a wish list than anything else? How do we go about turning our resolutions into goals?

What is a Resolution?

Any resolution, in the context of a New Year’s resolution, is defined as a firm decision to do, or not to do, something. Did you write a resolution to stop overeating? Perhaps your resolution was to spend more time with your family. Loftier resolutions may involve learning a new language, securing better employment or writing your first novel. Maybe you’ve decided to resolve a bad situation or habit and perhaps replace it with a new and better one. No matter what your resolution, nine out of ten times these resolutions are started, then abandoned or forgotten altogether. Why? Because at this point they are just thoughts written upon paper. There is no concrete plan on how to accomplish them. We need to understand how to make our ideas work by turning our resolutions into goals.

Creating Goals

The difference between a resolution and a goal seems simple enough. Goals, as defined, are an idea of the future or desired result in which a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve them. As you can see, where a resolution was a decision, a goal is how we accomplish getting there. Turning your resolutions into your goals is not quite as difficult as you may think. Below are few steps to get you started on turning your resolutions into goals.

  • Take your written resolutions and reword them into goal form. – For example, if you wrote you wanted to stop overeating you would state in your goal “I will reduce my food intake by half.”
  • Establish a timeline. – Using our example of overeating we could say – Week 1: Eat only 4 ounces of meat. Week 2: Remove starchy foods and replace with vegetables.
  • Give an end date to your goal. – Be firm but realistic. Set it for three, six months or even a year. Give yourself time but don’t be so generous as to forget where you were going with your goals.
  • Re-read your goals. – Are your goals realistic? How about your end dates? If the goals seem unattainable – chop them into smaller, bite size pieces. Instead of just the one goal of reducing your food intake by half your first goal would be to stop snacking. Your next goal would be to reduce breakfast by half. The next goal, lunch amounts reduced, etc.

Don’t be afraid to create and plan for large goals, just keep them manageable by dividing the tasks into chunks, By doing so you are more likely to hit each goal on target and keep yourself motivated.

Achieving your Goals

Now that you have changed your resolutions into goals and given yourself a timeline for each, it’s time to achieve those goals. Starting now, right this moment! Don’t hesitate in beginning to move forward, momentum is key here. The faster you begin the more likely you are to succeed. It’s a proven fact that most of us procrastinate, a lot. The longer we tell ourselves that we will “get to it tomorrow” the less likely you are to ever start.

In the list below are some proven ideas to get yourself started and to stay on track to achieving your goals.

  • Rewrite your goals and timeline in fancy script or type them and print on colored paper. This cements the goals into your mind as well as making them easy and pleasant to read and reread.
  • Hang the goals where they are likely to be seen every day. Tape them to a mirror, the front door, the refrigerator, any highly visible place.
  • Make the goals into a “to do” list on your phone, iPad, Kindle or laptop.
  • Add your goal dates to your calendar.
  • Cross your goals off of your written/typed list as you complete them. Use a vivid red or brightly colored pen to mark them off, giving yourself a visual reminder as to how much you’ve already accomplished.
  • Give yourself a treat for each item accomplished. Have a spa day, buy a little something special for yourself, take a day off to just play. Rewarding yourself for a job well done helps to keep you motivated and happy to move onto the next task. You may even want to add the reward to your goals list so you know what you have to look forward to next.

Accomplishment is its own reward.

Turning our resolutions into goals will increase our success rate in keeping our yearly resolutions. Having goals helps you to progress a bit each day towards what you want to bring into (or out of) your life. So next December 31st, instead of having unrealized resolutions you will have reached your goals, giving you a wonderful sense of accomplishment, peace and pride in the fabulous year you have lived.

May you accomplish all your goals with ease, joy and great success.

Blessed Be!