How a Witch Works Energy

How a Witch Works Energy

Working energy before a street performance

My version of witchcraft is deeply experiential. I don’t read about it, or think about it, or talk about it, as much as I experience it. I live it. Of course, I have read and thought and talked about witchcraft and magic a whole lot throughout my life, and that has been interesting, useful, and fun. But it has not been the experience of BEING a witch and WORKING magic.

There are as many practices, tools, and rituals as there are witches. Because there is no doctrine, no guidebook, no rules, a curious newcomer to the Craft can get easily overwhelmed. Astrology, Tarot, colors, days of the week, numbers, plants, animals, goddesses and gods, metals, stones, crystals, angels…there is so much to choose from! So many things can aid our work. These things are extremely helpful, and really fun as well – at least I think so.

But my foundational approach to magic, and to being a Witch, is my relationship with energy. The mysterious life force that keeps me breathing without me having to consciously will it. The “capacity for doing work”, as they say in physics. The quality of someone’s being. I start with my own energy. Being as self-aware as possible is a critical piece of working powerful magic. I need to know how much energy I’m running, what’s the quality of it, if it is being projected to others in unconscious ways, how I’m using it every waking (and even sleeping) moment. As I become more conscious of how the Life Force is embodied in me, I can also become a loving observer of how energy is manifesting in all the things in the Universe: other people, plants, animals, ideas, relationships…all of the things!

Here is a quick exercise for you to start noticing energy. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.  Notice how you are feeling in your body: are you cold, warm, too hot, just right? Are you joyful, bored, excited, sad? Are you worried, or at ease? Are you aware of the you that is not you? Are you feeling a part of you that is not your body, maybe not even in your body? Breathe through this exercise for a few minutes, and see if you can connect with images, sounds, smells, textures, or flavors that seem to you to capture the whole essence of how your energy is today. Remember that this exercise is more like poetry than empirical observation, so the important thing is for you to get a clear sense of your own whole energetic body, not how “accurately” you’d be able to describe it to someone else. One you get a hit of your energy, come back to it throughout the day and see if it’s still the same or if it’s shifting, and start to pay attention to how the awareness of your energy affects your interactions and behaviors.

Over time, you will be able to connect very quickly to how your energy is, and also to will it into being different, which is what I call energy work. Then, you can start sensing others’ energies, and even working into shifting those energy patterns as well. Witches are deeply skilled at the dance of perpetual interaction and deep interdependence. The beauty of this is that while energy is the “capacity for doing work” and power is “the rate at which work is performed”, you can only imagine what knowing how to work energy can do for someone’s power. And power is also the ability to do, act, or have influence. You can see how energy work cannot be fully described or captured in a short few paragraphs, but I’m sure you begin to get an idea of why working with energy is an important skill: it will allow you to shift your shape to your own liking first, and then expand that reach to help shapeshift the world into one that welcomes and supports all.

How I Use My Altar

How I Use My Altar

My current set up

I have had an altar in my home for most of my adult life. The most recent incarnation of my altar is about 15 years old, it’s an Ikea coffee table that is totally beaten up and has lived in my bedroom, living room, or spare bedroom when I’ve been lucky enough to have one. An altar is to a witch like a desk is to a business person. I am both, and I can’t imagine trying to write proposals, facilitate meetings over Zoom, and deliver projects without my desk. I could, but I’d rather not.  

My altar is the same thing: a workspace. I’ve talked about why I like the turn of phrase “working magic” because it is actually work, and having a dedicated workspace is such a luxury. When it comes to energy work, it matters even more because coming back to the same place over and over for all things witchy creates a certain habit and energetic pathway in my being that is quite helpful. My deep spiritual knowing, my ego, my Highest Self, the Goddess, all Spirits I may be working with, my subconscious mind, my personality, even my boyfriend, they all know that when I go to sit at the altar, something special is about to happen. 

My daily routine at my altar is super straight forward: I do a few simple basic offerings, as a show of gratitude to the Universe for having me be a human at this time (and what a time it is!). I pull a card, which is a focal point for the day: something I need to develop, something that will be salient, something that I need to be aware of. I’ve used different decks over the years for my daily card. For about 11 years I used the Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue (whom I just found out is now a born again Christian!! And I think it’s awesome, that’s for another time), but I gave them to my Melboourne bestie Rainbow Brownz when I left Australia, and now I’ve been using the trusty Rider Waite Tarot deck for a few years.

After I pull the card, I journal for a while. I usually record noteworthy events (because my memory is shit and if I want to remember something, I have to write it down or take a picture of it), write about how I’m feeling, what magic I’m working, and how I want to be a channel of love and transformation and courage and faith and truth and action and joy. And other things along those lines. Sometimes it’s about gratitude. Sometimes it’s about the people I wish were getting ready to leave this earth ASAP. Sometimes it’s about what I want, my deepest desires and most horrifying fears. It’s always about revealing the truth to myself and embracing the paradox of life.

Finally, I meditate for 20 minutes. How I meditate changes depending on what I’m working on and what I want to accomplish, but the main point of it is that it’s a practice that I’m committed to and will do every day for 20 minutes and I haven’t missed a day in many many years. Which is super shocking to me, I can’t believe I’ve stuck to it for so long. E-v-e-r-y day. Damn. But I do it because it helps me enormously and I’m committed to the practice and knowing how to see a commitment through makes me a more powerful Witch #protip.

Another layer of activity is added if I’m doing spellwork, or healings, or energy work, or other stuff. But this is just my basic daily practice. So yes, it takes at least 30 minutes, and sometimes longer if I need it, want it, or have the luxury of extra time. But half an hour a day is really not that much when you think that it allows me to show up for my life present, clear, grounded, powerful, and filled with visions for a better life for myself and a better world for everybody.

You may wanna try it!

The Time for Magic

The Time for Magic

The Time For Magic

It’s time for me to teach magic. As in, formally, to aspiring witches that need guidance in bridging Earth and Fire.To those that sense Spirit, that even know it well, but realize that they can’t go much further alone. Because while magic is a solitary practice to a large degree, it is also true that no witch has ever explored the vast realms of the astral completely on her own. Even those that didn’t have the benefit of human support, they still had the guidance of the ancestors, the loud whispers of dreams, the pathshowing of visitations, and so many other channels of connection.

Connection is a big part of magic, and connection with other humans is one of my favorite kinds of connection. So I’m gonna put together a few folks that wanna learn the Craft and go for it. Super exciting! I’m doing this for two reasons, and they both relate to different ideas of time. My own personal Witch Time is a whole nother deep and dense story, but for practicality’s sake, I’ll be borrowing concepts of time from the Greeks: Chronos, Kairos, and Aion.

Chronos is linear, chronological time with a past, present, and future, the only time most of the industrialized west acknowledges. We measure it in seconds and centuries. In contrast, Kairos is about a qualitative kind of time, measured in moments, the right moment, a special moment, an opportunity. A time that is not happening because of what time it is, but because it is time.

I’ve been thinking about teaching magic for many many years. Decades, really. But there are a few things that are different now that make it the right time. The first one has to do with Chronos: I’m freaking old. Not like old as dirt, but old enough to teach the Craft. I’m 45 years old, and back in the day, I would probably have been considered Crone, more than Mother, and my Maiden days are long gone for certain. I know that when I was new in having Teachers and Mentors in the Craft, it really mattered that they knew what they were doing. And while I relate with Kairos and Aion, I also know that as long as we are incarnated in these human bodies, we do have a certain kind of relationship with Chronos, and so having a teacher have chronological experience matters. So I think it matters that I’ve been practicing the Craft my whole life which means that I don’t have a decade or two of experience, but s-e-v-e-r-a-l. Damn. 

The second reason for choosing to teach now has to do with Kairos. Kairos is calling me, because this time is indeed special. Simply, because it’s time. It’s time for anyone who is inclined to get in touch with their power, and work it in a good way for the benefit of us all. It’s time to learn to use our voices powerfully, to speak the truth and find liberation in the process, to stand up against oppression and fascism (magic is basically the opposite of fascism, and so witches are antifa by definition), to create the world anew. Right now, the intensity of our environmental, political, social, and economic challenges being exacerbated by The Plague of Covid makes this the perfect time for magic to unleash its power. And that is not a small thing and that is not to be taken lightly and that is not something that I can feel shy about any longer. 

Finally, Aion is not just a concept of time, as in Generation, Age, Eternity, but it’s also Vital Force, the Source of All, Life. So that’s why it’s the time for magic. Because Aion cannot wait.

What Magic Is and Isn’t

What Magic Is and Isn’t

My trusty 11 year old wand

I live a very magical life and I am so deeply grateful for it. A magical life is a wonderful and wonder-filled existence. It’s a life of delight, of gratitude, of beauty and of power. A magical life is a life of growth and joy, of surprise and rhyme. Of rhythm.

What it is not is an easy life. A painless life. A secure life. A smooth life. A magical life is not a small life, or a predictable life, or an acceptable life. And as I already said, it is not an easy life.

I say this because when people think of “magic”, sometimes they think of it as an instant, process-less, lazy path. As in, you snap your fingers and boom! There you have it. Which is actually true, but do you have any idea of how much work is going on unseen, beyond the veil, underneath the surface in order to make the snapping of the fingers a powerful spell that makes shit happen? Unless you are a seasoned witch, no you don’t, so let me tell you.

Our human meatsuits need polarity to make sense of the universe and life. Day and night, male and female, good and evil, these are all helpful constructs to navigate life. They are also illusions, as we are all one, and the unity of everything is the ultimate reality – but this truth is not helpful when we’re trying to get the grocery shopping done, raise the children or run the businesses, because our human brains would be in a constant state of awe and implosion at the beauty of infinite love and that is not a very functional state from a meatsuit perspective. So, we use polarity as markers for navigating our human existence.

And to be a powerful witch, you need to surf paradox on the daily: get to know, accept, and inhabit all the polarities within you: your “good” and your “evil”, your “male” and your “female”, your “analytical” and your “creative”, your “conscious” and “unconscious”, your “victim” and your “perpetrator” – and these are all in quotes because the boundaries between them are not and have never been all that clear. In fact, I would argue that a whole lot of our current disease as a species stems from trying to hold these false dichotomies. So integrating them in your whole system – your body, your mind, your soul, your spirit, your emotions, your thoughts, etc. is what will give you access to magic that is transformative and a snap.

Again, do you have any idea how much work that is? First of all, the tools, methods, and practices that help us do that have been ridiculed, banned, persecuted and shamed for a few thousand years (because they work and if we all have access to Deep Power it makes it harder for a few to hoard other kinds of power). So this wisdom is not super easy to access. Second of all, once you have an in to the knowledge and wisdom of the Old Ways, you need to actually walk the fucking Path. Do you have any idea what it will take for you to face your deepest fears, to accept the most disgusting and shameful aspects of yourself, to release your closest held traumas, to truly understand that your pain is the world’s pain and that the Earth’s healing is also your own? 

Let me give you a taste, at least from my experience: a shitton of crying, of dancing in the rain, of writing, of hugging my friends, of feeling uncomfortable so much and so often as I speak the truth that no one wanted to hear but had to be spoken, days of loneliness, weeks of loneliness, months of loneliness, years of loneliness until they transmuted into solitude, physical pain, fear, fear, fear – and doing it anyway, fasting, spending several nights in the woods alone not talking to anyone, journaling, hours upon hours of meditation, trance work, energy healing…and that’s just what’s at the top of my head.

So when folks are like “OMG!!! You are so lucky!!! Your life is so amazing!!! You do all the fun things!!! You get the parking spot in front of the venue every time!!!!” and so on, they have no idea the kind of work it takes to clearly and righteously own your power.

And also: I don’t believe I would be as powerful a witch as I am if I wasn’t also an activist. Because like I mentioned, the power comes from integrating the poles, the extremes. And I can’t claim my own power without looking at the context. My own focused attention and agency and practice can only go so far if I don’t address the system that wants to exploit me until it disposes of me. I am not immune to all of the isms just because I “think positive”, or cast spells. So when some folks out there tell you that you “create your own reality” and can “think your way into the life of your dreams”, (while I 100% believe that they are correct), if they are not also telling you that the system is rotten and toxic and needs to be transformed you can tell them to shove their crystal and green smoothie because these are not witches that are walking their own path of integration. And as such are not in a position to tell you shit.

So, when I say I WORK magic, it’s because it’s work. The most joyful, fulfilling, beautiful, powerful and enjoyable work humans get to do, but work nonetheless. I strongly suggest you consider working magic if you don’t already, because as humans, work is unavoidable. Please don’t buy the story that work is a bad thing. It’s been a bad thing for many of us because we work in exploitative and abusive systems, but actual magical work is the path of liberation. May you find it and walk it in grace. So mote it be.

 

50 Reasons Why I Work Magic

50 Reasons Why I Work Magic

With my card of the day and some tools of the trade.

Why do I work magic? Well, there are literally countless reasons, but let’s start with 50, off the top of my head, in no particular order:

  1. I work magic because the world doesn’t make sense.
  2. I work magic because it helps me make sense of the world.
  3. I work magic because it is a balm for my soul.
  4. I work magic because it makes me happy.
  5. I work magic because I find laughter in it.
  6. I work magic because it’s more real than reality.
  7. I work magic because it helps me heal.
  8. I work magic because it gets me laid. 🙂
  9. I work magic because it makes me money.
  10. I work magic because it opens my heart.
  11. I work magic because it transforms my life.
  12. I work magic because it finds a way out of no way.
  13. I work magic because it keeps me safe.
  14. I work magic because it makes me powerful.
  15. I work magic because it changes things.
  16. I work magic because it’s all we have.
  17. I work magic because it’s the best thing ever.
  18. I work magic because it relaxes my muscles.
  19. I work magic because it makes me creative.
  20. I work magic because I want to forgive.
  21. I work magic because I want to grow.
  22. I work magic because I want to learn.
  23. I work magic because I want to be a good leader.
  24. I work magic because I need compassion.
  25. I work magic because I crave connection.
  26. I work magic because I live for meaning.
  27. I work magic because it keeps me healthy.
  28. I work magic because it keeps me hopeful.
  29. I work magic because it helps my loved ones.
  30. I work magic because that’s how I remember the Goddess is on my side.
  31. I work magic because it’s how we’re gonna change the world.
  32. I work magic because it works like magic.
  33. I work magic because it’s how we heal.
  34. I work magic because it’s one of the highlights of being alive.
  35. I work magic because I like making shit happen.
  36. I work magic because I wanna get on the side of Divinity.
  37. I work magic because my Ancestors demand it.
  38. I work magic because my Descendants expect it.
  39. I work magic because I can’t afford not to.
  40. I work magic because I like the feeling of it.
  41. I work magic because I like the results of it.
  42. I work magic because I like the ritual of it.
  43. I work magic because life is too hard without it.
  44. I work magic because it’s the fun way.
  45. I work magic because I trust it.
  46. I work magic because it is my duty.
  47. I work magic because it is my privilege.
  48. I work magic because it is my path.
  49. I work magic because I’m a Witch!
  50. I work magic because it works.

Why do you work magic? Or, how do you do it if you don’t?

The Liberation in Discomfort

The Liberation in Discomfort

Gentrifiers for social justice – one of life’s many paradoxes

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be uncomfortable and why folks are so terrified of the idea. The illusion of certainty (even if the certainty is not of something appealing) is reassuring, while the reality of how messy we are as humans can make us very uncomfortable.

For the last couple of thousand years we’ve done a phenomenal job of denying our nature, exiling parts of ourselves that would have made it impossible to develop an extremely patriarchal, misogynistic, racist, neoliberal capitalist system that has us struggling for liberation. We’ve bolstered a system that favors some kinds of ideas over others: the idea of being male, straight, able bodied, wealthy, being somehow superior. That system only works if we embrace the idea that some humans are better than others, and that we are all too different.

But no humans are better than others, and we are all the same. This is not about gender, race, sexual orientation, class, income, wealth, or any other category we put each other in. This is about the fact that putting each other in categories to the extreme that we have is toxic for our souls, and destructive to communities and societies. Only when we box each other as an “other” can we abuse and exploit the shit out of each other (which is how all “isms” operate).

And yet, of course we are all different, and those differences make life amazing.  Those differences also have made some of our lives a living hell for generations, simply because we are in the wrong box. My point is that we are not so different that some of us “deserve” better or more than others. Both things are true: we are all unique and we are all the same, we are all different and yet we are all one. Life is a paradox. Paradox is uncomfortable.

I’m deeply fascinated by the intersection of spirituality and activism, because we have got to embrace the paradox that I’m describing to make any real change. We have got to consider that we all have different visions, wants, and needs, and yet we are the same in that we all want a way to fulfill those visions and wants and needs. As I’ve mentioned before, I believe paradox to be Life’s organizing principle, and the only way I know to come to terms with paradox is spiritual practice.

My brain can’t easily accept paradox, not in the way my heart and my spirit can. The truth is, every single category that we use to alienate and abuse one another is present in all of us. Some people might look perfectly healthy and be struggling with disease or disability. I am a woman and yet have many of the characteristics that are traditionally associated with men. Men are also suffering from not being able to express their full selves in a system that discourages them from owning every aspect of their being. And all other genders under the sun are fighting to even be acknowledged and seen. What is wrong with us?!? I am horrified by what overconsumption is doing to our bodies and souls and the planet, yet I definitely have a greedy streak in my being. You do too. We all do.

So as long as we don’t get comfortable with paradox, we’re gonna continue to put ourselves and each other in tiny little constraining boxes of good vs. bad and us vs. them, forgetting that we are all victims and we are all perpetrators, that we are all divine and also evil at the same time. All of us. These boxes are not moving us towards liberation. At all. They are keeping us imprisoned. 

And yet, our identities are critical and sacred and we can’t lose them, and we shouldn’t lose them. But we really need to stop weaponizing them. We can’t hold who we are against each other. We need to keep the boxes in the way they elevate who we are and we must dismantle them in the ways we use them to abuse each other. Both are true. This is a paradox, and it can be uncomfortable. It’s more comfortable to hang on to the illusion of certainty than it is to accept the reality of paradox. Paradox is uncomfortable. But it is in that discomfort that we walk the path of liberation. I’m not suggesting you enjoy it, I just encourage you to get comfortable enough with it so that we stop self sabotaging our liberation. In this way, we truly are all in it together.

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