Thursday, September 24, 2015

Witches & Magick- Why I Do What I Do

I say I was born a Witch and that's true. But I didn't become a practicing Witch until I was in my twenties. The potential was there, I just didn't know how to use it.

All my life, I never really fit in. I often had very vivid dreams about people I knew and those dreams would come true. I knew who was calling because the phone sounded different with each ring. My mother thought that was ridiculous, the phone's ringer is always the same no matter who calls. But she couldn't explain how I knew who was calling.

I have always loved fantasy stories. I have always been drawn to things that can't be real. I have always liked Witches, even the ugly, evil ones. One year in early October, my mother bought me a very thick activity book. She bought it because it was a Peanuts book and I loved it because it was Halloween related. It had all sorts of puzzles, word searches, cross word puzzles, and page after page of Snoopy waiting to be colored. I had it nearly done on Halloween night, but that didn't stop me from playing with it.

I carried that book everywhere. I became convinced that it was a very magickal book. I thought of it as my personal spell book. Sometimes I would open the book and whisper over it in an attempt to make things happen. Sometimes I saw only good things and I was sure all was right with the world. I pretended I could make things better, create good luck, and grant wishes.

Pages fell out, the cover got torn, and the spine cracked and spit out little bits of thick paper here and there. One day while I was at school my mother threw the book out. This did not stop me from being sure I could create good luck. I kept whispering and wishing.

When I was 21, I was friends with sisters. The oldest was 28 at the time and she had four children. She had left her abusive husband and moved back in with her mother. The middle sister was my age, and the youngest was 17. All 8 of them lived in a single wide trailer in a small trailer park. There was no room and no privacy.

The trailer was jammed packed with boxes because they couldn't afford a storage unit. There was a little shed meant to hold lawn equipment, and it was so full the door could be opened, but no one could actually walk inside. Every day, things got shifted around, broken, lost, or tossed out in anger.

The oldest didn't like living out of suitcases and boxes. She missed her things. Every day, she'd think of something she really wanted, and she'd send one of her younger sisters to the closet or the shed or the corner of the bedroom to find it. During one of these forays, the 17 year old found Scott Cunningham's The Truth About Witchcraft Today.

She just thought it was her sister's book. After all, when she knocked the box over, it was among the spilled contents. Intrigued, she read it. And reread it. Then wanted to try some of the things she had read about. So she took to carrying the book with her. Then she left it on the coffee table. So the oldest found the book and had pretty much the same reaction. And the oldest told the youngest, "I borrowed your book. This is really cool. Where'd you get it?"

She gave her a funny look. "That's your book."

"No, it isn't."

They argued about this for a while. The oldest said she had never seen it. The youngest insisted it had to be hers because it was on the floor with her things when the box got knocked over.

They never did figure out where the book came from.

That doesn't really matter. Maybe it really was magick, what we needed coming to us when we needed it. Maybe it was an accident. Maybe someone else left it in the house, though at first we had a hard time finding other Witches, so we don't know who could have bought it over. For a while it seemed like we were the only Witches in existence.

We tried really hard to do everything just right. We started paying attention to the moon. We searched the occult section of the bookstore and it wasn't long before we had read all the books. We didn't find much in the public library, they mainly had a couple of books on demons and devil worship and that wasn't what we wanted. Then we found Mr. Felix which was an occult shop. We had all the candles we could ever burn in every color. We learned about essential oils. We stared at the dried herbs, especially Devil's Shoe String, and wondered what it was for. The book selection was somewhere between the public library and the bookstore and when we went into the store asking Wiccan questions the owner would hush us and tell us what we should be doing instead. She was very into doing, not reading. She wasn't impressed with our rituals and Wiccan holidays. She didn't see any reason to wait for the 'right' moon phase. But she did sell us a lot of stuff, and she did try to answer our questions even though I'm sure most of what we asked seemed ridiculous to her.

At some point, I began to realize there are all kinds of magick. With my reading materials so lacking, I started exploring other schools of thought. I even considered the magick I saw in movies. Why couldn't it work? I'd ask myself. About this time, I rediscovered John Belairs. He wrote children's books. His main characters are a Witch and a Wizard. But what is most wonderful about those books is the fact that they are based on real magickal systems. I especially loved the one where they go back in time and meet the Pennsylvania  Dutch and Rose Rita almost 'reads herself fast' to a spell book with a demon waiting to chew her up. She gets out of the book by reading backwards. When she reads backwards all the way to the beginning, the demon is banished and the book bursts into flames.

And yes, I did find a warning in the PowWow studies about 'reading yourself fast'. It doesn't mean some evil being is going to eat you, it means that if you continue to read about curses then eventually it is all you will think about and you will become a slave to darkness, unable to enjoy life or function normally.

The more I thought about things, the more lines began to blur. I became less interested in doing rituals exactly right, and more interested in doing things I knew worked. I didn't really care if the thing I tried was Wiccan, HooDoo, PowWow, Celtic Magick, or whatever. I only wanted to know one thing- did it work?

1 comment:

Aine O'Brien said...

Oh, this is great. I am more and more convinced that it's in the blood. My first obsession was a ouja board. It was the ONLY thing on my christmas list.