21st Century Witchcraft: Magic in the Everyday

To understand my perspective and my background, see the earlier piece (part 1): 21st Century Witchcraft: Why I’m no longer “Christian”

My definition of witchcraft is neither the practices of spells nor the following of Wicca, though both of those may qualify as witches.

My definition of magic isn’t based on hocus pocus or ritual, though both of those may qualify.

In my view, and what I wish to discuss here, there are many practices in everyday life that, again in my view, equate to everyday magic.My views may run counter to your views. please remember, the universe has space for all of us.

Respect, first and foremost.

  • Prayer. The basic concept of prayer has a person preparing a sincere conversation with God. Thinking that our words with influence a higher power or change the outcome of events certainly feels like magic to me.
  • Aromatherapy, essential oils, herbal medicine. Witchcraft may be seen as finding the best use for items in the natural world and understanding how these items influence our mind, body, health and behavior.
  • Good luck charms. Lucky penny? Only take a test with certain color pens? Not only is this about superstition but it’s also a case of using an object to focus and strengthen our own will.
  • Candles. If you choice your candles or scented wax products based on color or smell, I consider that trying to change the atmosphere of your home with subtle magic.
  • Traditional foods. Eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day? Certain desserts on certain occasions? Our food habits and what we chose to eat alters our frame of mind. Those mental states can certainly impact us. And in other cases, the ingredients and preparation procedures gives us singular focus.
  • Pets. The animals we bring into our homes may bring an intense bond. Some may be so attuned to us, they may provide protection, strength and reassurance. In other cases, the animal may bring beauty or joy just in its presence.

Coming soon:

Witchcraft in the 21st Century (part 3): Books and personal space

21st Century Witchcraft: Why I’m no longer “Christian”

I proposed a topic of discussion with my daughter the other day, the manifestation of witchcraft in contemporary culture.

“Witchcraft” is all around us.

Now I’m not old enough to say anything about the 1960s, but it seems that’s when American spirituality tried to break from religion in the form of rote brainwashing.

Now, don’t read me wrong.

I merely mean that traditionally, religion begins in the family and people typically follow the same spiritual tenets their parents did.

That’s how the system works and how religion and patriarchy go hand-in-hand. But that’s not my point for today nor a conversation I’m willing to have with the internet-at-large. At least not today or anytime soon.

My mother drove me to a local United Methodist Church on Sundays. Even though religion was not a core of my home life, that experience of attending a church shaped my mind.

And for a long time I was strongly Christian.

Attending a liberal arts college (Moravian College), exposed me to other religions for the first time. Maybe I was ignorant and/or blind, but my small town, rural upbringing did not expose me to anything beyond Christian. This was pre-9/11 so concepts like Jewish and Muslim were foreign to me.

And then I had to take my three religion courses for my requirements. I took Old Testament, Religions of China and Japan and maybe something else I can’t recall right now.

Studying the Old Testament’s origins shook my faith in new ways. Yet, my experiences reassured me that the universe has an order and inherent creative power.

Around this time, one of my mother’s friends gave me a Ryder-Waite tarot deck and I really fell in love with Taoism.

So now, I’m a college student dabbling in other religions convinced I’m going to hell for divination.

Present day me might be going to hell for a lot of reasons. Tarot is merely one. But I don’t believe in hell. I can’t believe a god that loves us enough to sacrifice for us would condemn us to hell. I can’t believe a God that promotes forgiveness would condemn us.

I’m no longer “Christian.” My lack of faith in Christianity has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. I just believe that Christianity is a system of bribery and reward. Institutionalized Christianity focuses too much on a Biblically-mandated moral code that prescribes what we need to do to receive eternal life in Heaven.

I want to do what’s right because I’m a good person, not because of repercussion or reward.

That’s not to say I feel Christians, church or religion is bad.

A genuine faith community is a powerful source of support and good, for individuals, families and neighborhoods.

I have met and interacted with deeply beautiful Christians who improve the lives of others through their generosity and faith. I have worshipped with many faith groups that move me to tears.

I believe in my own spiritual concepts and my own higher power. Those are personal to me and they impact how I live my life.

In my next post:

21st Century Witchcraft: Magic in the everyday

An average day

This will be a walk through my day today, a tad random, a tad sporadic.

This will include lots of silly animal posts.

But let’s start with my alarm at 6 a.m. I let myself sleep in because my rest has been irregular. I’ve had mild bouts of insomnia brought on by stress and hormones so it was hard to get out of bed.

A French Dream

I woke from a dream I don’t quite fully remember but I remember when the alarm sounded, I was dreaming that I had reached the end of some sort of tour, while on a trip, and was ordering alcoholic beverages for everyone in my party in French. I think I was the only person who spoke French. And I really was speaking French. I don’t usually speak French in dreams.

Perhaps this stems from my executive director eating a vegetable sandwich on a croissant at the networking event we attended last night.

Speaking of work, today started better and I feel a little less discombobulated about my job. I have an important report due Friday and three grants I need to have ready by Valentine’s Day.

Then the high school called.

An automated message informed me that my child was not in school. Text to teenager, who left at 7:15 with a heavy backpack. “You in school?”

No response.

(A sign that she is in school and not on her phone.)

“The school just called. They don’t think you’re there.”

She responds. “Sh*t. I must have forgotten to sign in.”

I tell her to fix that and to text me a photo from the school office holding today’s newspaper. She didn’t respond to my comment, though she did tell me she talked to the attendance office.

I had lunch with a friend who always lightens my spirit and has intelligent conversation. I’ve worked so many hours this week, I need to remember to make these connections.

And you always need those friends who give good hugs. A friend who bakes brownies is also good.

The afternoon went quickly and I decided my teenager and I would have a picnic. I took the leftover pizza from last night and a big old salad and we ate it on my bed with all the animals out, normally (to my chagrin) the kittens are locked in my teenager’s room.

Menagerie tales

So the kittens ran through the whole house, up and down the stairs, up and down the hall.

And, of course, Nala, the cockatoo, refused to eat salad in favor of pizza. Video of Nala eating pizza

Then I hung laundry and watched Opie, our 3-legged cat, play with the kittens.

Videos:

Misty attacks Opie

Opie and the kittens

My sore arm and the gym

I opted not to go to the gym as I’m still not sure I’ve recovered my strength. That fall scared me. A lot.

(See Grit and getting published on The Mighty.)

I have noticed my right arm has that vaguely sore feeling like after you get an inoculation. I couldn’t figure out why. Then I remembered, I fell on that arm. And I also noticed a bruise on my elbow. And a new bruise and scratch on my leg.

Finally

After teenager and I gathered the trash, I hopped in the shower. I found the teen “trapped” on my bed with an Oz on her back.

And now I’m drinking a double stiff mug of Traditional Medicinals Nighty Nite Valerian tea.

Cuddly kittens and a fresh cup of iced tea

I can’t stand the cuteness in my house today!

I’m sitting here with Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, and Oz, my teenager’s big, dumb 9-year-old cat who thinks he’s a teddy bear. I just had some ring bologna for breakfast and made myself the best glass of iced tea:

This particular glass is two parts Tazo Organic Earl Grey Noir and one part Tazo Vanilla Bean Macaroon black tea.

In the crock pot, dinner is bubbling. Crockpots are the perfect cooking tools for witches. It’s a cauldron with a plug!

I made a marinade of organic apple juice, brown sugar, Briggs liquid aminos, Chinese cooking wine, fresh ginger and garlic and dropped a pork loin and some potatoes into the mix.

But wow! I totally digress. We’re hear to talk about kittens and cuteness!

Kittens and cuteness

So the teenager is with her dad and I’ve been taken care of the kittens. Fog, the last trapped member of the brood, followed Opie out of the teenager’s room. Opie is our 9-year-old cancer survivor 3-legged cat.

Fog apparently adores him.

Oz tried to join, but he was afraid of the kitten. Opie heard Oz hiss and served as bodyguard for little Fog.

Video here: Opie protecting Fog.

Now I waited as long as I could but I needed to vacuum the dining room. Even though it was in another room, Fog heard the noise and hid behind the cat tube.

Opie stayed on the ottoman as if standing guard. When I finished vacuuming, they got back on the couch together.

I was worried that Misty (short for Mistofelees) might think something happened to Fog. So I brought Misty to the porch.

Misty wasn’t as enthused. But Fog stayed with Opie.

You can’t really see it, but they are touching.

Memories of South Carolina

So I have several more posts in me about our road trip, but those must be posted now from the comfort of home.

Once I returned, I ended up working six days straight and the vacation must have done me good because I wasn’t breathing fire and irritable by the end of that stretch.

Today my husband and I will be taking our daughter to Girl Scout camp at Camp Wood Haven, in a rental/loaner car (a 2017 Nissan Sentra) since our Altima started idling super low on Friday and the next appointment the dealer has is Tuesday.

I also discovered that my iPhone takes high res photos which has made the storage on my web site jump from 50% full to 75% full in a week. So that means I will have to take the time to shrink some of my photos.

So I will take a moment to reminisce about South Carolina.

Summerville, South Carolina

We arrived in Summerville, South Carolina, Thursday night. We discovered the town had a sculpture garden so we decided to check it out.

We quickly discovered that Summerville is the birthplace of Southern Sweet Tea. And the following day we learned that a French guy had gotten a grant to cultivate tea in Summerville around the turn of the (20th) century. He not only became successful but according to the tour guide, he won for the best tea in the world (an Earl Grey variety) at the World Fair.

The Day We Went Backwards

It was someone’s 16th birthday (not mine) and we had planned to head to Magnolia Plantation for a volkssport walk and then North Carolina to the bird sanctuary and another volkssport walk at Fort Bragg the following morning.

But since we had the recommendation to go see the Angel Oak, a tree more than 500 years old, we went backwards. And also found the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only commercial tea operation in North America.

So the tea plantation was a 40 minute tour around fields that all looked the same. It was really a fun time, with lots of tea to drink.

Turns out the tea plantation was started with cuttings from the Summerville tea operation after it had been neglected for 50 years. Lipton needed an American presence in case relations with China went bad during the Cold War.

It’s no longer a Lipton property. One man owns it and employs four people to run the plantation, six tour guides, and the gift shop staff.

The Tea Harvester

According to the staff, the only reason tea harvesting can be profitable in the United States is because of their tea harvester, which is cobbled together from pieces of other farm equipment and painted green to look like a John Deere.

The girls at the Angel Oak

Our last stop of the day was at Magnolia Plantation, where we got to see up close how slavery worked and almost stepped on an alligator.

The South Carolina swamps look like something out of a Jim Henson movie.