What is it that witches do?

I did a reading the other night and found the meanings particularly relevant.  I’ll post more on that later.  Yet I’ve noted that I’ve not been centered lately.  It isn’t that I’ve given in to the demands of everyone else over my own concerns to a large degree.  If a person is to be considerate and open there is in his thoughts and actions a consideration and at times altering of his self to fit the needs and demands of others.  Yet it is better, I know, for a person to do such from a position of understanding of their Self (capital S) and their own compass.  It isn’t that I’ve lost sight of such, but that I wasn’t mindful at the time.  I’ve not betayed anything important to me, have done no wrongs, but it is as when you are walking in a wonderful forest and realize after a mile that you have not noticed anything along the way.  What, then, was the point in the walk?

And so it is that I’ve dusted off one of my most cherished books… Nancy B. Watson’s “Practical Solitary Magic”.  I’ve loaned this book out and have given it away.  The most important books on my shelf do not belong to me… they are awaiting opportunities to touch the lives of others.  Some of my favorite books have been given out to strangers in the past.  I do not wish to become a person that could never release a book out into the world, cherish them as I do.  Soriah would shudder in horror at the treatment I gave some of the books, and this is funny to me, though in the past I was just as careful in the treatment of my books.

So I went to a coffee shop today and read a little from Watson’s book.  I’ve read it several times and each time I do it is like a re-awakening of things that I’ve known but have let slide out of my daily awareness.  But they are there still, lurking under my thoughts and actions.  Never the less, it does good to bring to light that which we believe and hold to be true to see if it offers us new guidance or if perhaps we’ve outgrown the thought or if it offers us something new.

It is no secret to anyone that knows me at all that I am a fan of Analytical Psychology, that is to say, Jung’s model of the mind and the archetypes and the collective unconscious.  It is one of many ways to look at the mind, at this thing we call existence and our quest to find meaning in our lives.  It all boils down to meaning… that is the existentialist’s problem and motivation… the quest for meaning.  Behind science and relgion is the quest for meaning.  As one goes beyond the basics of math there then crops up the quest for meaning.  In art and music and poetry and dance and relations and so on… meaning.  In chaos theory there is an underlying meaning.  Discordians play with meaning to show the absurdity of it all, but they too have their meaning.

Over the past two months I’ve neglected my own self.  Any person of any maturity seeks to improve those areas they are lacking in.  If they are emotional they seek to gain control, if they are shallow they seek to connect more with the needs of others, and so forth.  Witches are no different in this.  There are many flavors of witches out there and many concerns and paths and views and so on.  Yet for me a central importance of makes a witch a witch the notion of harmony.  The witch is said to walk between the worlds and this means many things to many people.  The witch knows the realms of logic, of insanity, of love, of hatred… all things human.  The witch is between the world of civilization and rules of behavior and the world of raw nature where such rules do not apply.  Both are needed to understand the other, yet the wise one knows that you can not bring courtesy among the bears (I am speaking here of Treadwell who was killed by a bear) no can you bring the wild into society (pure violence and so forth) as they are antitheitic to the other.  Yet one needs to know of cooperation in civilization to see the cooperation between roosting ravens, a pack of wolves, and even the amazing interconnectedness in an ecosystem, just as the mindless (in the true sense of the word) violence, sex, and so forth, in human interactions.  There are two worlds, yet this is an abstract concept in the reality of everything.

In the book Watson writes that Dion Fortune insisted that those practicing magic would be sorted by temperament.  I took the quiz in the back of the book and was not surprised by my results… at least not initially.  What I found was that I was heavy on Thinking and Intuition and weak on Sensing and Emotion.  Thinking had a slight edge over Intuition, 14 to 11 with Sensing and Intuition also close 7 to 5.

The interesting thing to note here is that I am pretty emotional in some respects.  Especially in trying to deal with a particular firefight in Iraq (the memories of which bring up great amounts of emotion) as well as relationship issues.  Yet as I wrote this out, I note that I am more trusting of my thinking and intuition than I am of emotions and sensing (just the facts maam).  I asked myself the question if I trusted my own emotions.  The answer, no.  I asked myself if I trusted the emotions of others.  Again the answer was no.  This is nothing new to me… it is plain to see by my past behaviors, relationships, and attitudes towards others, and yet in asking myself these things I had the feeling as though a piece fell into place in the puzzle.

What is it that a witch does?  I would seek to work with the elements of water and earth, to bring out these skills to balance my air and fire.  Thining of my recent tarot card spread, the predominance of wands, fire, intuition, makes great sense as I am withdrawing away from thinking (gods know I’ve over analyzed every thing recently in terms of relationships) and that I am raw and sore emotionally… that I am simply moving to get things done (fire, passion, action) and to let those images within me come out (again, intuition, fire, wands) and my desire to go to the mountains on Friday for a long day’s hike (seeking inspiration and an intuitive response from the environment, wands, fire, intuition).

Something else to remember… in jumping around the book I came to page 10 where she writes of a guy who tried to save the world.  His concern was a bit misguided and he was sick all the time, his relationships faltered, etc…  Watson reiterated the Law of the Rebound and concluded by saying that saviors usually ended up as martyrs.  These words rang out for me and it would behoove me to keep these in mind.  What havoc have I played in relationships, in my work, in my school?

It should be noted also, on a positive note, that aspects of my memory and attention have slowly been getting better.  My performance at work, heavily dependant on LTM and Working Memory as well as a fast recall and multi-tasking of seperate actions in a chaotic environment, has improved.  My irritation with others has diminished, though I am a bit disheartened at a lapse in a relationship and question my own ability to engage in a meaningful relationship.  Having said this, the best thing I can do is to seek out those areas within myself that are the most underdeveloped and to develop them.  I am reminded of the quote that Watson leads off her chapter on magic with…

We do not affect fate by our magical operations, we affect ourselves; we reinforce those aspects of our nature which are in sympathy with the powers we invoke.
~ Dion Fortune

Yes, and again I feel the pullings to continue along my path.  Tonight I plan on going out to a cross-roads, a hiking path, under the Full Moon (almost) and simply giving thanks.  I still wish to create a ritual for the upcomming New Moon to connect with my Shadow, that aspect that has caused me and my relationships so much havoc in the past, so that I might continue to grow.

It is, to me, what a witch does.

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