The Lessons of 2020 and the Emperor Year

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a difficult year. I have already watched, read, and listened to multiple videos, articles, and podcasts that have outlined some of the more life-changing events that happened during the past year. 2020 brought death, destruction, separation, and violence in many different aspects. From other perspectives, however, it brought awareness and reflection. It was definitely a complex year.

I’ve spent some time during the past couple of weeks reflecting on the year and the lessons that it brought to me. I remember how excited I was about 2020 being an Emperor year, from the perspective of the Tarot: when you add the digits of 2020 together, they equal 4, and Emperor is the fourth card of the Major Arcana. I don’t prescribe to the interpretation of the Emperor as the imperialistic, patriarchal male figure, which is a common interpretation of the card. Because the Emperor card is associated with Aries, I interpret it as having to do with assertiveness, being okay with taking up your space in the world, and movement associated with your life calling. On the zodiacal wheel, Aries is the first sign and has to do with the essence of who we are on a soul level. The Emperor asks us to step into the truth of our identity as soul beings. Stepping into my truth has been hard for me for most of my life, so I was excited about the lessons that this year would bring.

Fours are all about structures. In the case of 2020, with all of the changes that we have faced and the disruption those changes have caused to existing structures, the Emperor seems to have signaled that disruption or destruction of existing societal structures and the beginnings of the building of new structures in our society. As a collective, we have experienced more awareness of systemic oppression in multiple facets of our society, including racial inequalities, police brutality, and marginalization of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC folx. This awareness has led to a rising up of voices in the form of protests and other forms of activism. We have also seen more awareness around the effects related to capitalism. We have seen people changing the way they live and work related to that awareness. There has been dialogue about how the structures that were put into place when this country was founded caused real harm and trauma and continues to cause harm and trauma to this day.

Emperor themes arise on a personal level as well. I was recently gifted an experience that summed up Emperor energy for me. A friend of mine was leaving a job that she liked for a better opportunity. When she told me about the environment of the place she was going, I thought about how awesome it would be to work in a place like that. If I had indulged in the fantasy that my mind created, my whole job would have been different than it is now. It would have been the same as the job I was doing before I ended up where I am now. It would have been the same as the job that landed me in burnout. But I have often fantasized about going back into that aspect of my field because it was fun and I was good at it. The temptation to send in my resume for another opening that was available was strong, but then I thought about everything that my current job offers me. It allows me the opportunity to build on the skills I have already acquired. It has allowed me the opportunity to heal from my burnout. It is a place of support and growth, and the skills that I am learning will help me as I move forward with what my guides are calling me to do. If I had indulged in my brain fantasy, I would have been taking a huge step backward, a step that could have potentially taken years to right. In the moment that I came to the conclusion that I was in the right place doing what I was meant to be doing, I gained a newfound confidence in my current position. True to my Emperor interpretation, I had found the confidence to step into my place and take up space. It also gave me more confidence in my candle magick abilities as I work to build a future for myself in this completely new field (new for me, anyway). It seems that completely letting go of the past and embracing the present really does lead to more confidence in one’s abilities.

Social media did not help me in this personal journey. Constantly seeing what other people are doing on their journeys brings forward a lot of anxiety and stress about what I am doing, whether or not I am doing it right, if I should be doing it differently. Stepping away from social media has given me the presence of mind to realize that my journey is my own and that it doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. My brain and nervous system have been a lot healthier without social media in my life, and my confidence in my own journey has grown the longer I have been without it.

However, when social awareness exploded over police brutality of BIPOC folx, social media help me see, hear, and understand the points of view of marginalized people and voice my support. It also helped me find ways to financially support organizations committed to change.

Emperor energy also helped me to examine my relationship with the capitalistic structures in our society, from the way our society weight-shames to the way the structure instills an unhealthy work ethic in the bottom tier of the workforce. Rest and grounding became constant themes of the year for me as I worked to heal from the damage that years in a burnout state had caused. I developed many self-care rituals to help me in this process and to help me manage every day stress (which is much different since the pandemic hit), from herbal teas to essential oil blends.

2020 was definitely a difficult year, but it did build a foundation for the work that 2021 will bring. The job now is to take the knowledge and skills that we gained and build a new, brighter future with them.

Samhain: The Last Harvest

Over the years, my Samhain rituals have morphed and evolved over time. Usually I have celebrated with some witchy friends and we’ve done activities like make and share harvest-based foods and make ritual brooms. COVID has put a damper on those activities for us, but it has allowed me to become a lot clearer about what this holiday means to me and how I want to celebrate it.

Last year I felt Persephone calling to me. It really didn’t happen until closer to Yule though, probably because Samhain was less about contemplating the underworld and more about sharing time with friends. This year I am focusing more on Persephone and a couple of other Goddesses during my rituals.

The Story of Persephone

Persephone is part of the Greek pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, although she has counterparts in other cultures. She is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Hades, the God of the underworld, decided that he wanted to get married, and asked Zeus for suggestions on who would make a suitable bride. Zeus suggested that Hades wed Persephone, but also knew that Demeter would never agree. So (in some tellings) Zeus suggested that Hades abduct Persephone. Hades followed the suggestion, abducting her from the forest as she was picking flowers and carrying her off to the underworld.

Once Demeter found out what had happened, she was heartbroken. She searched everywhere on earth for her daughter, aided by Hecate and her torches. Some stories say that she was so consumed by her search that she neglected her duties as queen of agriculture. Others say that she was so enraged at Zeus’ role in her daughter’s abduction that she refused to do her job, leaving the world barren and causing the first winter. Zeus finally relented and ordered Hades to release Persephone. Before he did, he offered her a pomegranate, knowing that if she ate anything from the underworld, she would be obligated to stay with him. Persephone ate six pomegranate seeds. Rather than saying that Persephone had to stay in the underworld forever, Zeus compromised with Hades and said that she only had to stay for half of the year (some stories say one third or one forth of the year). When she returned from the underworld, the land became fertile again and she became the queen of springtime. And when it was time for her to return to the underworld the world became barren again.

Looking Deeper into the Persephone Story

I became fascinated with this story once it hit my radar. I’ve had some weird abduction fantasy since I was a kid (Scorpio rising, remember?) and so I had no trouble imagining the scenario. But I had a hard time with some of the elements of the story. In this version of the story, Persephone is a very passive character in her own story. The active characters are her abductor and her mother, which is hard to come to terms with in a story about the Queen of the Underworld who holds the power of the seasons of earth in her hands. And the more I looked into the story, the more information I found about a movement to rethink the story of Persephone and to give her some agency in her own life.

According to this website (which is chock full of pop culture tie-ins that make me want to do further research) there is a movement to re-examine the Persephone story, in part because of the roots of Persephone’s name. According to the article, Persephone’s name was only Persephone after her abduction. Before that, her name was Kore, which means “maiden.” Demeter was obsessed with keeping Kore’s purity intact, as that was what her name implied. She had even rejected Hermès and Apollo as suitors before the abduction, which puts her in the category as an overprotective mother who does not give Kore a voice. But once Kore is in the underworld, her name becomes Persephone, which means “bringer of destruction” according to the article. She becomes Queen of the Underworld and has power that she never had before when she was being sheltered by her mother. Perhaps she ate the seeds of her own free will rather than being tricked or forced to as some stories tell it. She needs that time away from her overbearing mother. And she comes into her own as Queen of the Underworld, doing what she is meant to do with her life.

Persephone and Samhain

For me, Samhain is a time for contemplating the earth’s place on the Wheel of the Year. There is less daylight in each day that passes, and the earth is turning inward with the approach of cold weather. The leaves are falling off of the trees and life on earth looks as if it is dying. It is a time to contemplate the life/death cycle that all things go through.

But it is also more than that. It is a time to reflect on the cycle of the last year and what had been sown during the year. Agriculturally, it is the time of the last harvest, before the plant life dies with the coming winter. Life is very different now than it was when agriculture and harvest were such a huge piece of everyone’s lives and livelihoods (although a conversation about how this change has affected our connection with the earth could be had, but is not in the scope of this blog post).

Instead of contemplating what we are harvesting agriculturally, we can look at what we are harvesting in our careers or our creative lives. What did we plant during the prior year that is now coming to fruition? What is being harvested now that was sown the year before? What will you prepare to sow in the year to come? This is why Samhain is considered the beginning of the New Year to some witches.

The Cycle of the Year

Honoring Persephone and the Wheel of the Year

This year I have made my Samhain ritual all about Persephone and honoring the processes that I have been through this year.

Samhain Candle

I always make a Samhain candle. It’s herbs and stones correspond to dying, transformation, and introspection.

Persephone’s Journey Candle

This year I made a candle honoring Persephone’s journey into the underworld. It’s herbs and stones correspond to purity, transformation, wisdom, and shadow work.

I also made a raven candle, which is symbolic of the journey to the underworld, as well as wisdom and rebirth and renewal.

I also made a goddess candle to honor the cycle that the earth is going through, and to respect Persephone’s place as the Goddess that symbolizes the death and rebirth cycle of the earth.

I hope that everyone has a Happy Samhain.

The Blue Moon of Halloween Night – Full Moon in Taurus

The almost full moon traveling through Aries with Mars

October 31st is going to be a busy night for me and most witches as rituals are prepared not just for Halloween night, but also for the Blue Moon that is going to grace the skies tonight.

The new moon in Libra that we had earlier this month asked us to take a look at our energy, how it is balanced, and how our energy usage is affecting our relationship with ourselves. With the full moon in Taurus, we are being asked to revisit these questions and let go of anything that is no longer serving us in these goals. Taurus may be able to give us a clue as to how to do that.

Taurus asks us to reconnect with our Mother Earth. By the astrological calendar, Taurus season is in the middle of spring, when the earth is being reborn after a winter of internal workings, during which the life of the earth is not visible to the people that are on the earth. Currently we are in Scorpio season, where we witness the beginning of the process of the earth turning inward. Taurus energy reminds us that life on earth is full of cycles, and that we should pause and connect with those cycles.

The Linear Nature of Modern Life on Earth

Due to the incredibly busy nature of our lives, we are living life in a very linear fashion. Our clocks tell us what time to be at work or school every day, with every day filled with the same routines over and over again. Our lives look similar from day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year. In some cases people are unable to honor the cycle of the day due to their work schedule (although some people prefer being awake during the night when others are asleep).

When our lives look the same from day to day we run the risk of becoming disconnected from our true nature. This is exacerbated by living in a capitalistic society where the drive for profitability and the fear of losing income means that we have to override our own inner cycles to follow directions from a boss who does not care about those cycles. Our nature as beings of this earth is to live in tune with the cycles of the earth. Taurus energy calls on us to pause and pay attention to the cycles of life around us: the cycles of the day, the cycles of the seasons, and even the lunar cycles.

Paying attention to all of these cycles can be overwhelming, especially when trying to connect with them on top of an already stressful linear life. My advice is to pick one cycle to focus on and try to find ways to incorporate the energies of that cycle into your life. The easiest to incorporate may be the cycle of the seasons, and since this Taurus full moon asks us to pause and reflect on the flow of life on earth turning inward during the fall season, now is a good time to start observing and meditating on this cycle.

The Blue Moon – Second Full Moon of October

This full moon is special in that it is the second full moon of October and therefore is classified as a blue moon. This amplifies the full moon energy that asks us to examine what we need to let go of in order to reach our goals. This is potent magick to work with to empower yourself, What are you going to carry forward with you as you continue through this cycle, and what needs to be left behind?

Liminal Spaces and the Thinning of the Veil

Blue moons also signify a time where the veil between the worlds is thin. This blue moon falls on Halloween, the day before Samhain, when the veil is already incredibly thin. This means that this full moon is an incredibly powerful time for ancestor work or working with spirit guides.

Candle Magick for Full Moon Rituals

Candle magic has quickly become my go-to method for rituals and spells. I have found that making my own candles allows me to infuse them with power and intention, and adding specific herbs and stones to them helps to magnify that intention even further. As the energy from the flame carries the intention out to the universe, I know that my petition has been heard, and results seem to happen fairly quickly.

Full Moon Ritual Candle by Wyndsong Magical Arts

I make a full moon ritual candle that I light to help me meditate and become clear on what I need to release for the rest of the moon cycle. Sometimes I will add other candles depending on what I am trying to manifest. The candle usually includes the herbs blue vervain, motherwort, mullein, and jasmine; and the stones moonstone and bloodstone. All of these work to magnify the intention of the candle and are helpful for releasing and accepting that these things need to be released.

Focus on your intention and let the flame carry it out into the universe.

Journey Into Candle Magick

I’m actually not sure why I haven’t written a post on candle magick before this. I have been making candles to use in candle magick for about a year now, but just in the last few months have I really started wrapping my head around what candle magick actually is and how it is actually done. I’ve done a little bit here and there and I’ve had good results from my spells so far. But something happened a few weeks ago that really made me stop and think about candle magick more from the magick aspect of it and less from the candle aspect. You know, instead of it being an emphasis on pretty things I am making in order to help someone reach a goal, the emphasis being on the magick behind why I am making those pretty things to help people reach goals.

I have a friend who came to me one day and talked to me about a personal journey she is on. She was frustrated because she has a goal but she is having a hard time finding the motivation to reach the goal. She likes dealing with things face-to-face, and the pandemic has made it harder for her because everything is online and virtual now. She wanted to know how I keep my motivation when I am doing things online and virtual. I thought that was funny, actually, because lately I have been the worst at procrastination or finding anything to do but working toward the goal I have set for myself.

I know that this is a problem for me, and it is one that I really want to fix because I do have goals. I want to leave my current line of work to do magickal things full time. I want to sell the candles I have been making, and make more magickal things. I want to learn astrology. I want to do tarot readings. But procrastination has made it hard for me to do any of that. So I decided to do a manifestation spell. I know what I want. I know what I need to do to get there. So lighting a manifestation spell candle with the intent to cut through the procrastination and get some work done seemed like a good idea.

As I was lighting the candles, spirit called to me to send pictures of the candles and the spell to my friend. So I did:

“This candle represents you. The light is the light of your soul that shines for everyone in the world to see.”
“This candle represents your goals that you want to achieve. As you look at the flame, say your goals to yourself. Imagine the smoke and heat from the candle sending your goals and desires up to heaven. There is nothing that can keep you from realizing your goals because your Father hears them and is working with you to help you realize them.”

It was very powerful. I could feel the energy as I sent the words to her. I’m not Christian but I felt the power in relating the spell to her using her own belief system.

She came up to me the next time we saw each other at work and thanked me. She said that she had done what the text said and it really helped her. And then she said that after she completed the spell she received a phone call that she had been hoping for but had not been expecting. She was very excited that she had received the call.

I had not expected so much from the simple spell I sent her. All I had been trying to do was motivate her toward her goals, but a very concrete thing happened afterward that she related to the spell. For me, it was the first time something besides a change of mindset had happened after a spell I did. A concrete thing happened – the universe had answered the call of the spell. Actually, this is not the first time energy I have sent out has been manifested in a concrete powerful way. It is the first time I could relate it to a candle spell and the first time it happened to someone else that I did a spell for. It was amazing.

I imagine that I will be writing more posts about candle magick in the near future. I am learning more about candle magick and looking at different candles that I can make and use for magick. This is an exciting time in my journey.

Have you ever used candle magick? Tell me about your experience in the comments. I would love to hear about it.

Full Moon in Scorpio: May 7th, 2020 – And a Ritual!

Tomorrow morning (EST) brings us the full moon in Scorpio. Full moon energy typically asks us to reflect on where we have been and look at what we need to let go of in order to move forward. Scorpio energy is similar in that it is about death and rebirth, looking at what needs to be shed in order to move forward, but Scorpio energy is much deeper. It says to us, “I know you are saying that you need to let go of this thing, but do you truly understand why letting go of it will help you be your most authentic self? Do you understand the truth of who you are on a soul level, and why that thing is not in alignment with that person?”

Scorpio energy is deep. I live with a Scorpio sun and I am a Scorpio rising, so I understand first hand how deep Scorpios are willing to go to get to the truth. They embrace the shadow because that is where the truth lies, and the full moon brings light to the shadow so that it can be fully examined to determine where the truth resides. The full moon in Scorpio is a time to really examine what is true for us in our authenticity and let go of those things that don’t fit the bill.

Candle Ritual for Full Moon in Scorpio

For this ritual, you will need a candle. If you want to get down to the truth of a situation, a dark blue candle would be best. You can use a brown or magenta candle to connect with Scorpio energy. Black candles are used for ending a situation or closing a door, which is a type of letting go. Of course, white candles are universal and can be used for any type of energy.

If you wish, you can anoint your candle with essential oils. Make sure that you only anoint the sides of the candle, no where close to the wick. If the flame from the wick comes into contact with any oil, the oil will catch on fire and you run the risk of burning your house down. Safety first! Frankincense is a good oil for getting to the truth of the matter, bergamot is a good oil for gaining self-acceptance, perhaps for accepting what needs to be let go of. Kumquat oil is good for authenticity and connecting with your authentic self. Concentrate on your intention while applying the oil to the candle.

You can also dress your candle in herbs. You could use hawthorn or peppermint, which are ruled by Mars – Scorpio’s planetary ruler. Sage or valerian work well for getting to the truth of a matter; Solomon’s Seal is good for supporting you in deciding what things need to be let go; clover, comfrey, lavender, marjoram, or rue are good for releasing and letting go. To dress the candle, use a mortar and pestle to crush the herbs you choose to use until they are in very small pieces, or even powder. Roll the candle in the herbs, which should stick to the oil that you applied to the candle. While you are applying the herbs to the candle, concentrate on your intention.

Make sure that you place your candle on a non-flammable surface, and that it cannot tip over. Before you light the candle, call on your spirit guides to be with you. Set your intention to be an open vessel to receiving messages around the deep truth of what needs to be let go of in order for you to be your most authentic self. Light the candle, then sit in meditation, gazing at the flame, as you listen for messages from within and from your spirit guides. It might be helpful to keep a journal or a piece of paper nearby to write down the messages that you receive. You could then journal about how letting these things go can help you on your path forward.

You can end the ritual there by ending the meditation when you stop receiving messages, or you can continue the ritual by writing down the specific items that you need to let go of on bay leaves and then burning the leaves in the candle flame. As you burn the leaves, feel the things that you are letting go of leave you and dissipate just as the smoke from the burning bay leaves dissipates into the air.

I hope that this ritual serves you. If you try it, or do a different ritual for the Full Moon in Scorpio, comment below and let us know how it went!

A New Normal

On Monday I got laid off from my job. It wasn’t entirely unexpected. A few other employees got laid off before me. I actually welcomed it because just being at work and hearing all of the stories of what was going on, being around people that may or may not be social distancing when they aren’t at work, and being hyper-focused on the daily tally of Covid-19 cases in the state and county was fraying my nerves. I welcomed the opportunity to be able to take on my astrology and herbal education more fully, to have ample time to devote to my candle formulations, and to pack up the apartment for our move at the end of the month.

This week I have done all of those things. Packing, not so much, but I’ve done enough that I can say that I’ve packed something. I’ve made a lot of progress on my education, which is awesome. But I haven’t made any candles yet, which is a shame since I know how grounding that process is. I’m trying to settle into this new normal, the one where I don’t have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night because I can sleep longer in the morning. I still hate it – waking up in the middle of the night. There has not been one night this week that I have not had trouble falling back to sleep when I have woken up. It sucks. But it is really becoming part of this new normal. So much so that I should probably just get up during that time and do something with it instead of laying in the bed fighting whatever it is that my body is doing.

I haven’t spent the entire time working. I watched The Office in its entirety, something that I thought that I had not done, but apparently I have seen every episode. Maybe not in order. I’m starting on a new series, something light-hearted so that when I step away from all of the studying I am doing it will really be a break. I have yet to watch any of the movies I have been wanting to see – and believe me, there is a list. I should probably do that at some point. This time shouldn’t necessarily be just about working. It is a break, but one that I recognize could be useful for manifesting the future that I want. I don’t want to stay in the field that I’m in. I recognize that it is causing me to be stressed all the time, which is not good for me and which (I hypothesize) is leading to the heart problems that my urgent care physician totally freaked out about in January. It is a time to work toward a future that will not be so stressful to me. That is my goal.

So I study to educate myself for this new normal that I want for myself. Perhaps tomorrow I will make candles to help move me toward that new normal as well. Every day I ask myself the question: You only have today. What are you going to do with it? Especially during these uncertain times, it is a question that needs to be answered. My most fulfilling days are the ones where I make a list of all of the things I want to accomplish during the day and then do those things. Sometimes I find things on the list that I don’t want to do and so I don’t do them. But I have gotten a lot done toward manifesting the future I want. And to me, that is the message of this time.

The Foundation of Magick

Honeysuckle Jasmine Candles

I had planned on making a couple of different types of candles yesterday – a love spell candle focused on connection and communication, and a calming candle. That’s been my new hobby – making spell candles charged with intention, hopefully for people who want or need a candle to further an intention. I have really been enjoying it and learning about different magickal properties of herbs and stones.

Samhain Ancestor Ritual Candle

I had made a candle a few weeks ago for Samhain, one geared toward connecting with ancestors, something that I like to do during the holiday. It is even more of a goal of mine this year after I went through the process of finding out where my ancestry originates from.

So I was really excited to make the love spell candle and the calming candle, because I really love how the ancestral candle turned out. I definitely plan on making more of those. As I gathered all of my materials together, I really took the time to pause and set my intention. It helped that the house was quiet – my Capricorn daughter and I were the only ones home. As I melted the wax, I focused on the intention, stirring clockwise to infuse that intention into the wax. As the wax hardened and I added the herbs and stones, I focused on the intent of each herb and each stone. I could feel the energy of the intention flowing through me, into the candles. It was a truly amazing experience.

I wasn’t able to make the calming candle right after that; I had to go pick up my Pisces daughter from school. But soon after I got home, I gathered the materials to make the calming candles. But this time, the energy was different. My Capricorn daughter was cooking and kept looking over my shoulder at what I was doing. My Pisces daughter was sitting at the table with her knees up and her feet on her chair; every time she moved the table would shake. I was unable to focus on my intention and I certainly wasn’t even calm. I felt no magick, no energy (except for my increasingly frustrated energy), and I knew that the energy that was infused into those candles was not the calming energy I was looking for. I was kind of upset about the loss of some good candles to some bad energy, but I learned some very valuable lessons about magick and magickal spells that I felt the need to pass on to others. And by the way, if this outs me as the newbie witch that I am, its okay! We live and we learn, and we help others do the same.

  • Do spell work when you are by yourself (if you are a solitary witch like me) or with your coven. The reason for this is that not everyone’s energy is the same, and if you are around someone who has no interest or idea what you are doing, their energy can throw yours off. Such was the case with my Pisces and Capricorn. This is especially true for those witches who are very sensitive to the energies around them, like me.
  • Make sure that you are clear about your intention, and your energy reflects that. If your energy and intention are not in alignment, it might be best to do the spell work another time.
  • Keep your focus. The moment that you lose focus on your intent, the energy will not be the same. Make sure that when you are doing spell work, you have the time and energy to keep your focus the entire time.
  • Don’t try to do too much at one time. I am convinced that not only did I not have the focus or intent on point, but I had tried to do too much by putting together calming spell candles only a few hours after doing love spell candles. That was probably too much. The intentions behind each set of candles is different, and if I had been using the candles for a spell it would have been hard to switch from one intention to the other that quickly. Why did I think I could switch intentions so quickly when creating spell candles?

I’m sure there are more lessons to be learned from this little experience, but those are my main take-aways from it. I’ll have to post pictures of my love spell candles sometime. Right now I don’t have one, which is unusual because I usually take pictures of my candles after I make them. I will post pictures of them in my next post.

Until then!

Aries Full Moon

Red like the fiery nature of Aries?

This Aries full moon energy has been nothing to joke about. It has definitely thrown me for a loop. Luckily I have been on vacation from my day job, so I have had plenty of time to travel down into the rabbit hole that it has created for me, in order to sort out what is what.

Full moon energy is the energy of letting go of what is no longer serving you, and that is definitely what this full moon is serving to me. I feel the power of Lilith involved too. She is the one who has been trying to get me to stop playing small, but for whatever reason I have not been able to stop letting fear and doubt get in the way of the path that the universe has shown me. If you saw my last post, you know that I have been trying to use some methods to release the fear and doubt (and by the way, I have never been a fan of poetry or have even written any poetry by choice until recently).

One of my favorite tarot teachers, Lindsay Mack, has a monthly tarot challenge that is taking place right now. She issues weekly challenges to her newsletter subscribers, and the one that came through at the end of last week has resonated a lot with me as I go through the process of dealing with the full moon energy. I do have a project that I am working on, and it has a lot of pieces that I am super excited about. The problem is that I have felt the fear and doubt that have accumulated from past projects that have not turned out that well. They have been rearing their ugly heads as I try to move forward with this work, telling me that I’m not good enough and that I don’t have what it takes to make a success of this venture.

So I did the tarot spread from the challenge, and what I found was that I am experiencing a lot of fear and doubt around realizing the vision that was handed to me, but I still have a lot of study and work to do before that vision will be realized. I am forgetting about the journey. I am trying to fight my way forward to the top, and while enthusiasm and ambition are necessary in order to make all of this happens, I don’t need to be fighting for it. It is going to happen in its own time, and my job right now is to play with what I have been given. Any time we learn something new, we have to apply it in order to assimilate the information into what we are already familiar with. I have been trying to cram all of the information into my head and then use it to do something big. But that is not how most journeys work. I seem to have forgotten that. I have forgotten that the best way to assimilate knowledge is to play with it, to apply it in many different areas in order to make it come alive. I used to know that and do it regularly, but when I went through my burnout it seems that I have forgotten that part of learning.

The road through the burnout and all of the fallout from that has been long and rough, and it seems that it is not going to get easier very quickly. But this idea keeps popping up in all of the work I do: the idea that this should be a playful thing, that it is not to be taken too seriously, and yet it is a very serious thing. It is something that I need to somehow internalize, that it is okay to play with these ideas, and to make them mine in the process. I think that is something that is actually getting easier for me, because I have enjoyed using candle making to make some of these ideas concrete.

Practical Magic

Something interesting has been happening to me on this path, and I thought I would share it so that if anyone else was experiencing this, they would know that they were not alone.

I’m not sure at this point how long I have been identifying as a Pagan. Perhaps three years, if I really stop to think about it. Not long, in the grand scheme of things. I’ve identified as a witch for an even shorter time than that. A little over a year ago a friend introduced me to essential oils, and shortly after that I began studying herbalism. My thought process was that I wanted to be the witch that used herbs for practical things. I wanted to heal people. I was not going to get sucked into all that metaphysical Magick stuff.

The more I study, though, the more I believe that the two are not mutually exclusive. Herbs, stones, and essential oils work on many levels, not just on the “take a tea and tincture and be healed” level.

For me it comes back to something that I feel I have lost somewhere along the way. Life became too serious. I don’t know when it happened. Maybe it was when I went back to school. Maybe when it was when I set a path for myself and pursued that to the detriment of a lot of other things in my life. In any case, I forgot how to play. I forgot that somewhere in there, life was supposed to be fun. Everything became about research and proving things and doing it right no matter what. And for me, a light went out. It was no longer fun.

When I began studying herbalism, I pursued it with the same no-nonsense mindset that I had in my work life. Facts, figures, and doing all of the things became the name of the game. Learn it fast, learn it well, and use it to do some good. And while that is still the goal at the end of the day, the universe has other ideas about how I am going to get there. Because the way I was doing it was not doing me any good. I wasn’t necessarily enjoying myself.

Somehow I became interested in candle magic. I don’t even know how that happened. Perhaps the plants communicated with me on a heart level (they can do that, you know) and let me know that it is time to loosen up a little bit. I became interested in studying the metaphysical properties of herbs and using them in candle magic. And the more candles I make, the more relaxed about life I am becoming. Not just about herbs and candles, but in my work life and home life too. What I am doing with the candles is art. It is play, and through it I am finding that child in me that loves to create and make, and not just spout back something that was learned in a book or a classroom. It is incredibly healing, and I am glad that the universe brought me to this point.

The best part of it is, I am understanding what all that metaphysical Magick stuff is all about. Obviously it is incredibly healing, because I feel like when I put a ritual candle together, I am experiencing the same benefits that the recipient of the candle gets when they use it. And these types of candles are healing. They help us get on track and move our lives in the direction we want it to go. They help us on a psychological level to get past blocks that we are experiencing and move forward in new and amazing ways.

The Magickal path has been a sacred path to me since I began on it. But the more I learn and do, it is completely changing my life for the better. I’m so grateful that the universe is not leaving me to my own devices, because I would still be plugging away unhappily, not remembering how to play or learning that all Magick is truly practical.