This week we finally signed and sealed the deal on our new home. It’s taken a little over 7 months in total to get to this stage and it’s been stressful (actually stressful is a gross understatement). House buying in the UK is complicated and long-winded at best but with added problems and delays, it’s been, shall we say, a challenging time. Throughout this process I have touched insanity, come close to estate agent genocide and lost a great deal of time, a lot of myself and my life with ‘A’… it’s not been fun and I for one am pleased that the worst is over.
During times of immense change and upheaval it’s very easy to move on and draw a quick line, human instinct naturally drives us to forget and move on from painful and distressing situations as soon as we can, I’ve been told by many mothers how quickly they forget the pain of labour! Yet, for all the tears, the anxiety, the sleepless nights, the expense and uncertainty, last night (with a glass of wine or two in the system) I had chance to sit and reflect on the last seven months. What’s the use of enduring lifes challenges if we aren’t going to seek the golden nugget amongst the shit? No matter how small or seemingly trivial there is always a lesson, always wisdom and an opportunity to develop and evolve.
In this particular case I learned a huge amount about myself and my character, too much to list (but i did discover just how formidable a man on the edge can be). The lesson I want to share concerns the art of magic. Why do we call it an art? We hear it all the time, see it all the time …the phrase “the magical arts” or “[tool] of art” etc.
Working magic, any magic, takes a toll. With magical work comes an investment of emotional energy. Like invention, magic is born of need, energy is raised and charged by pure desire and a real emotional ‘want’, a lust for something to happen, its raw and naked, its fundamental but it is also a commitment. This is why cursing and so on can (and quite rightly should) leave a very unpleasant after taste. When we invest that heavily in something we naturally expect to obtain our desired outcome (we don’t get up for work every day for nothing, we don’t feed and nurture our children for nothing). However if that doesn’t happen, doubt in our abilities creeps in and, like a parasite, it latches on, sinks its hooks deep into our skin and before we know it our self-confidence is depleted. Without self-confidence there can be no Witch… “To Know, to Will, to Dare”…confidence and conviction is the foundation of these pillars. For magic to work we much have absolute faith and belief in magic, and to have that we need the same absolute faith in ourselves and our own power.
What good was there in exerting and aiming all my energy at the lady selling her house, if there are conversations going on with solicitors I am unaware of? What good would come from me targeting my magical work at solicitors if there are laws and regulations staying their hand? What then? Do I go for the government? Do I work magic to bring a country to its knees until property laws are changed? Seems a little excessive and this is an extreme example but hopefully it illustrates my point…Prudence is key. Furthermore we must understand the truth of the situation, we must analyse our motives, is this a genuine need or simple impatience? In life we can’t always get what we want, when we want it.
There seem to be two extremes in the community (and I’m generalising based on what I see on social media) those who with any given problem, hindrance or the slightest perceived inconvenience, whip out bell, book and candle without a second thought and like a packet of digestive biscuits, it fulfils a need (to feel in control presumably) but is rather bland and ineffective! Then there are those who refuse to intervene magically at all, to them every problem, every major or minor situation is a ‘test’, something which they must endure because this is their lot in life and, tantamount to martyrdom, they constantly decline even the tasteless digestive biscuit and would rather suffer the pangs of hunger.
Magic is a gift to humanity from The Old One, and the true art of magic is, as He shows us, in finding the middle road, the light betwixt the Horns. The digestive biscuit is far more palatable with a bottle of red wine and a massive chunk of Stilton, but still, a pleasure meant for the right and proper occasion.
It’s knowing when to act and when to step aside, when to push, and when to pull, when to fight and when to flee. Ask yourself firstly, is a situation worth the investment of my time and energy? Is this something a quick call to the authorities or other simple mundane act might resolve more satisfactorily?
If the answer to the latter is no, then we must then ask ourselves where best to exert and spend our precious energy. Over these past several months the most successful target or any magical work has been me and / or my attitudes. When some faceless, nameless solicitor somewhere isn’t doing what I want them to do, I realised magic is far more likely to be successful if I work on my patience and my ability to persuade, a chance to practise my skill at casting glamour and the art of fascination. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I tried everything, sometimes successfully, but those occasions when magic didn’t work as per my expectations were situations which were, in hindsight, too complex and multifaceted for me to deal with effectively. Energy was wasted, confidence was bruised. I felt powerless…a self-perpetuating and destructive state of mind for the Witch and one which, once set in motion, is a very hard cycle to break, made even harder when the circumstances you seek to change are already taking an emotional toll. I was told, rather wisely, to “step aside and let it wash over you”. Only then could I have detached myself from the situation just enough to build the emotional strength needed to work any magic worth a dime, instead of just fighting desperately in the darkness of blind panic, devouring bland digestive after bland, solitary digestive…Another lesson learned!
When we look back through historical records it’s true to say that Witches and Cunning-folk were sought after for help with the most basic of neeofds…love, luck, health, wealth, cursing and curing. The reason these guys were probably so successful is because they knew when to aim their wands and when to simply put the kettle on.
This is the art of magic…