I break the dry, brittle pine branches and carefully place them into the fire pit my sons built this morning. Blowing gently on the embers, I soon coax flames back to life. They lick greedily at the fresh fuel and I smile, and then place a few larger sticks next to the flames and around the large cast iron cauldron –a 7 quart dutch oven. I stand up, remove the top from the pot, and fill it with snow from a white 5 gallon pail. A second pail stands next to the snow filled one, only it is half filled with water. This water we would use for washing clothes, dishes, and ourselves.
Whether you’re new to witchcraft or a seasoned practitioner, every witch encounters a time when they feel they’re not doing enough, that their practice has stagnated, or that they simply want to do witchcraft every day and are at a loss for starting points. The common suggestion is often to work on your Book of Shadows, but what if your witchcraft doesn’t swing that way or your record of practice is up to date?
Here are 13 productive and effective ideas for when you want to do witchcraft but find yourself stuck.
In earlier blog posts, I’ve hinted at a massive change happening for my family and me. In truth, it’s something that I’ve vaguely mentioned for a few years now, actually. But, somehow, hope and intention have given way to reality, and the dream is finally poised to manifest, albeit in ways that I could have never imagined.
In the four years I’ve been keeping this blog, I realize that I’ve never really discussed my personal practice too often, and certainly never done the obligatory “how I came to witchcraft and/or Paganism” post. So, grab a cup of tea, I’m going to ramble on for a bit and tell you a story. I hope you find it interesting.
There is a disturbing idea touted about within the witchcraft (and Pagan, by extension) community and by those who neither practice witchcraft nor have any interest in understanding the practice from the perspective of people who not only live and breathe this path, but have been doing so for quite some time. This idea is that belief is all you need to carry you through a religion and/or magickal practice, that magick works simply on the basis of belief. This is a bit larger a topic than merits the scope of this blog, so let’s just focus on the idea that belief is all you need to be a witch and why this is utter bullshit.
Apologies in advance that this is little more of a rant, and, as such, is going to be arranged in tidy little lists, rather than paragraphs. There have been too many statements I’ve come across lately regarding what makes a “real Pagan” and an absolutely awful blog post today about “Part-time Pagans” that basically came down to that if you’re not a vegetarian, don’t meditate, don’t worship your ancestors, smoke cigarettes, or drink alcohol then you’re a fake Pagan.
So many, many statements of what “all Pagans” do… and not a single one of them acknowledging that Paganism is not a religion and is little more than an alliance of various religions. I’m just going to toss in a link here to a previous post on What is Paganism to speed things up. tl:dr –most Pagan religions are more different than they are similar.
Now, ranty list time….
Wicca is a Witchcraft Religion that was created in the 1940’s by a man named Gerald Gardner. In the 1930’s, he had been initiated into a local group of witches, whose practice was much what one would historically expect: folkloric, regional, and influenced by the Grimoire Traditions. In that same spirit, Gardner (with the help of his early High Priestess Doreen Valiente) added to the waning tradition, adding further from Ceremonial Magic, folklore, and infusing it with Valiente’s poetic spirit. At this point (and even more so today) it looked considerably different from the Witchcraft it was born from, yet it still maintains that same spirit and behavior. This new religion, Gardner called it Wica –keeping the name as he had been told by his initiators- came to the US in the 1960’s from England, and quickly grew in popularity and numbers.
That these last few years have been marked by an Ordeal has been on my mind a lot lately, especially as it seems that I may be nearing the end of my Ordeal. This is something that I am grateful for, as it has affected my entire family –I am not the only one who has struggled, suffered, and changed as a result of a promise I made. That promise has been on my mind lately, too.
Backtrack six years….
Most of my life has been spent in the forest where I live now, spent wandering through the nearby meadows, playing in the seasonal streams, delighting in a world that continuously held me in awe and was so much larger than I could wrap my head around. So many times I have moved away and so many times I found myself returning to this land, returning home.
The Sun crested the horizon and it quickly became apparent that it was going to be one of the last warm days of the year. My husband and I whispered, keeping the children unaware, and chugged coffee and tea, respectfully, in preparation for our hurriedly thrown together plan.
We loaded up the truck with baskets, hiking gear, pellet guns, multiple cans of bug spray, and the small army that is our family. The forest beckoned: today was a day of harvest and hunting, today was Epic Root Harvest Day.