On Hold

Much as I enjoy the lead up to the day itself (and I mean like, the week before), I always sort of resent Christmas. I’m no Scrooge but it puts a spanner in a lot of things, don’t you think? Finances for one, normal life for another.

Rather than grumble about all that though I’m choosing to look at it from a more positive POV. On the flip side of how inconvenient it is, there’s also the fact nobody can have a go at you for taking the rest of the year for yourself and putting big plans on hold ‘until the new year.’

This is exactly what I’m going to do with the rest of 2019. I’m going to potter, do some more drawing (which I’m terrible at but LOVE)*. I’m going to concentrate on my Wicca and my spells, beef up my Book of Shadows and just generally be all about that modern witch life.

I will turn 42 on the 25th quietly and efficiently and apart from a tiny bucket list I’ve been working on I will not be making any serious moves until 2020, beyond voting in the general election on the 12th December.

It’s all going to shit in 2020 anyway so I may as well surround myself with the people I adore and the things I like doing until then. After that I can take each day as it comes and get a new job/move/finally buy a decent duvet one step at a time.

So yeah, plans are officially ON HOLD. You can catch me tending to myself for the next two months.

I’m not even going to moan about Christmas, I swear. I’m just going to roll with it.

*I’ve found a 30 day drawing prompt for November that has you reimagining a whole deck of tarot cards. I can’t wait to get stuck in and I might even share them if they’re not truly horrible.

Elixir

A little real talk today because what’s scarier honestly than the human psyche? Amirite?

I want to talk medication because it’s a topic on my mind a lot lately. Years and years ago, while I was still a sixth form student, I had a job in an old people’s home. I worked for The Chans who were hard but ultimately kind bosses, and they taught me an awful lot.

A little while after I started work there our clientele started to change and they came with (sometimes serious) mental health issues. I had no training at all beyond the domestic and it could be a very tough place to be at times. Many of our residents suffered from schizophrenia and other severe disorders, and as far as I could see apart from the medicine, they weren’t getting a lot of support.

They were for the most part lovely people and I still think about some of them. I never felt uncomfortable except around one disgusting man who used to grab the girls’ around their waists and pull them onto his lap. I always refused to go into his room alone.

Photo by The Tonik on Unsplash

Anyway, there was always talk about how, when the residents started to feel better, they would sometimes stop taking their medication. You could see evidence of this and it came in cycles but I never really thought about it in much depth. I was a teenager then, only concerned with boys and going out, mental health wasn’t really on my mind despite me being surrounded by it.

I think about that experience much more now and the feeling better conundrum is a huge part of it because now I do it myself.

I can be very bad about keeping up with my meds. During a good period it’s easy to forget to take your pills because you don’t feel like you need them anymore. Lately I’ve been so focused on the Wicca stuff that I’ve slipped again.

I’ve been feeling much more grounded and sure of myself – and deep down I guess I’m still not over the feeling I’ve failed at being a ‘normal person’ who doesn’t need to be medicated. Rationally I know this view is bullshit, it’s internalised shame and when I’m thinking straight that thought would never occur to me. About myself and certainly not others.

There’s no real point to this post other than to be frank. Of course the groundedness hasn’t lasted, I had a panic attack and now I feel like I’m right back to square one. Balance is difficult.

But it’s something I need to get right. Life is wonderful in many ways and I want to enjoy it as much as I can without fear and paranoia so I need to work it out. Wicca and medication might end up being the perfect elixir, we’ll have to see.

All I know is that this condition is part of me and it won’t just go away like a headache.

A Witching Hour Update

A witchy update for you today because I’m (almost) all horror filmed out. I’ve finished my first diploma in basic Wicca (distinction, baby!) and I’ve decided to move on to the advanced course next.

I’m planning to take a few weeks break to do a bit of solo reading and work on my Book of Shadows before I start that though. I want to try out a few basic spells and add a few things to my armoury; I need candles, crystals and an athame (a ceremonial blade used for spells).

Last week my lovely husband drove me around the woodland areas of Brighton so I could collect nature bits for my altar. I was bit of a brat at the first stop because it didn’t look how I’d pictured it in my mind but once we moved on it was fine. I got lots of lovely conkers and learned that there is a surprisingly lack of oak trees in the places I would expect to find them.

Things are coming along nicely on the witch front, slowly but surely. I’m just enjoying getting my head around the history of Wicca and working out how I can make it work for me in an everyday setting. I’m trying to be a good witch from the foundations up, to be mindful of karma and bad energy – which is hard when your arch nemesis at work keeps talking to you in the kitchen and trying to give you advice on how to dye your hair without ruining it (which, admittedly is very useful but still). I guess I am going to have to accept that I can’t love everybody and not everybody can love me – and then let it go. I will not actively seek conflict or drama – even if it is fun to bitch about over a vodka & ginger ale after work.

I feel very much better all-round honestly and I am sure it’s because of the Wicca. It works well in tandem with my anxiety issues and gives me somewhere to concentrate my energy and I swear I can feel a marked difference in my outlook. There are still sad days but they seem more manageable and hopeful – like even just opening yourself up to the possibility of magic is enough to make life seem more beautiful.

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I was speaking to my mum about it last night and the core of white witchcraft isn’t that different to her Buddhism. Meditation is a strong grounding tool within both religions – and both are heavily driven by karma – Wicca has the Three-Fold Law, the notion that anything you do, good or bad, will come back on you three-fold. I like the thought that we both have our own ‘thing’ and that our things share similarities – it make me feel more comforted and close to her.

So things are still exciting and they make sense – and I am thoroughly enjoying my journey to becoming the baddest witch I can be.

What have you been up to?

Gratitude

One of the teachings of witch school is to find everyday rituals that strengthen the mind, body and soul. There are many suggestions but the bottom line is there are no solid rules. One of the reasons I’m falling in love with Wicca is that it all seems to be open to your own interpretation. You find what works for you and run with it, there are no wrong answers, as long as you’re abiding by the basics: e.g. intent is everything and the things you do will come back on you threefold, good or bad.

I know I’m just doing a basic course but I’m committed to the whole shebang, the real learning starts here and now – and I’m really doing it. I might do the next course up and continue with the interesting diplomas but the work (and the proof) is in the pudding.

Today’s post, however, is brought to you by the letter ‘G’ – for gratitude. One of the practices suggested to strength your spirit is the gratitude journal. This sounds easy enough, just slap down all the things you’re thankful for and go. But I actually think it requires more thinking than that. Life moves really fast and we take so much of it for granted – I think the purpose of this exercise is to slow us down a bit, make us really see all the things we have.

I thought I’d start today with a cheeky bit of the good stuff. I’ve broken it down into three sections.

Today I am thankful for:

10 things big or small

  1. My husband and a hot cup of tea waiting for me every morning except weekends, when it’s my turn
  2. This morning’s walk to work – the perfect Autumn morning: crisp, bright, delicious
  3. Dogs
  4. Taking the perfect selfie because Fall light is so much more flattering to an Autumn girl
  5. My colouring app
  6. My altar – I’m only just building it up and making it mine but it is so pretty and I can’t stop stroking it when I walk past
  7. The gerbils – so damn cute!
  8. My gravity defying butt – I walked past my reflection in an office window this morning and BOOM! It’s a lot but it’s mine
  9. Being cosy – it’s blanket season, yo!
  10. Starting a new book – I haven’t decided what to read next but it’s exciting all the same

People I’m thankful for

  • Glynn is genuinely the best person I’ve ever met – a total dufus but kind, thoughtful and almost unswervingly patient
  • My mother – it doesn’t matter where we are, I always feel as though we are in tune somehow
  • My friend Helen – she just gets it and me – and I never feel I have to play my moods down for her
  • Matt – horror movie buds are rare and precious
  • Jillian – you know it, giiiiirl. I’m so blessed to have you and I’m grateful every day that this blog has brought us together
  • You! If you read this and take the time to comment or like my posts, then I’m thankful for you

The Best Part of my Day

The best part of my day is always taking my clothes off and getting into bed. That moment of just about falling asleep is gorgeous, especially with the window open a smidge and a cool breeze gently tickling my naked behind. Being nude is the best. Oh, and having Glynn’s hand on me.

So know I want to know – what are you grateful for today?

Altar Ego

One of the four pillars of Witchcraft is To Keep Silent. This means that just because we know things, we don’t have to go on about them. As I learn more about the Wiccan religion and let its magic into my life, I need to learn that silence is golden. Which is really hard! I’m an open book trying to be more honest with myself and others – and my natural inclination is share.

However, one of the things I’m starting to work out is that there is no right way to be a modern witch. What works for one may not work for another – and if I choose to be open about my journey, where’s the harm? It’s not like I’m giving away sacred and ancient secrets. I won’t go into detail. But sharing this adventure is part of the fun. I’m excited in ways I haven’t been for a long time and I want to talk about it.

This week I took two days off to get ahead on my diploma. Obviously I wasted the first day off watching back to back episodes of Glee and going out for lunch, but on Tuesday I knuckled down and got two of ten modules submitted to my invisible tutor. Module 3 is about the tools of the trade – first stop stocking up your altar.

This sent me down a YouTube rabbit hole. What do they mean by altar? Am I expected to build one out of just MDF and a PMA? It turns out – according to my favourite new Wiccan YouTuber – that an altar can be anything you want it to be. It’s just a safe space in which to pray, ruminate, cast spells, keep it real and keep your tools. It’s open to interpretation and that’s beautiful, I think.

I chose an old wooden chest my mum gave me when I was a teenager. It’s lovely (and dusty) and now it’s just waiting for the perfect spot for its rebirth as my altar. When I opened it it was full of old birthday cards, love notes from Glynn and my once-prized signed photo of Tim Burton. I can already imagine it bathed in candle light, offering sanctuary after a particularly hard day.

I am enjoying everything I’d reading and learning about Wicca but I’m fully aware that anything I really glean from it will come from within. I can read about the history and theory behind it until the cows come home but if I don’t believe in it and can’t hone it, it means nothing. This makes me even more enthusiastic about the future.

What have you been up to?

Study Buddy

I’ve started my Wicca diploma and let me tell you, I am not a natural academic. I find studying super hard, not least because it is so easy to get distracted.

I often thank my lucky stars I grew up and went to school when I did. Had I had to contend with my phone and the pressures of social media, I’d never have got the handful of GCSEs that I did. Even then it was hard enough, I’m not a good exam taker and my ability to retain information has never been brilliant. That’s only gotten worse over the years.

And yet, this is why I want to do the course in the first place. In addition to learning to be a good, strong witch obviously. It’s about challenging myself. I think I’ve worked hard to believe myself that not all intellect can be measured by a piece of paper. Some of the brightest and most interesting people I know didn’t go to uni and that includes me. I might not be the sharpest tool but I know I have emotional intelligence and that counts in life. Sometimes more than anything.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to achieve academic things though and this online course might not even class as academia itself – but it matters to me.

So here I am. Even the first section of this diploma has not been easy. I’ve read it over several times and have still had to dip back in to answer the questions in my first assessment. I don’t want to do it by halves and it’s okay that it doesn’t come naturally or easily. Nothing worth having ever really does.

I think I’ll be okay once I set aside some proper study time. Plus, cute stationery. I’ve already got a witchy notebook and some nice pens, and the note-taking is coming along swimmingly. That’s the main thing, right? I’ll keep it up because it is very interesting and something I’ve always wanted to learn more about.

I’ll be my own best study buddy, you’ll see. I got this.

Academics, what’s your creative/study process?

Witches Brew

I’ve recently signed up to do a diploma course in Wiccan Magic. It’s something I’ve really wanted to explore for a while so when the course popped up on my radar, I decided to go for it. This probably sounds trite but every so often I get the idea that I need more, without really knowing what that means. I could be mistaken but this feels right to me. When I told my mother she agreed it sounded like something I need right now.

I’m only at the beginning of this journey so my understanding of Wicca is still mostly based on what I’ve read in books and The Craft – and I know we’re supposed to wear black on Wednesdays, which is fine by me. Most of what I know has negative (yet badass) connotations and I’m sure once I start getting to the crux of it, it won’t be like that at all. What I am expecting is to learn more about what it all means and personalising it to fit me.

In the bits and pieces I’ve read about Wicca, there’s mention again and again about intent – and about tapping into the power within. I think this means that I have the power to make certain rituals and spells work for me, if I truly believe in them. Wicca typically worships two deities, the Goddess and the God – and promotes a very harmonious and balanced way of life. It’s a practice that helps you appreciate the energy of the earth and the energy of the divine. No, I’m not sure if I can elaborate on that yet but ask me in a few weeks.

I’m really excited about what I’m about to learn and who knows where it will take me?

I’m going to keep the blog up to date on how I go and have added a Wicca category to populate in the future. I’d really like to record my progress for posterity and keep a record of how this evolves. What excites me most is the thought of making my own shrine, a space where I can be at one with myself, practice rituals and attune to the God and Goddess.

There’s also a section on the original Book of Shadows and I believe we’ll be putting one of our own together – as well as choosing our own personal talismans. I like the idea of having something tangible to ground me and the rest, well we’ll see how it all comes together. I won’t start dressing like Stevie Nicks yet but it’s only a matter of time.

What are you up to?