Deborah J. "DJ" Martin

A Witch and a Bitch with an Herbal Itch - and an overactive imagination

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Month: January 2012

Sharing Magic

A Facebook post by a friend got me to thinking …

She was asking if we (her friends) think magic should continue to be kept secret or if all the sharing of spells, rituals, etc., on the Internet and in books is a good thing. To my way of thinking, it both is and isn’t. It is because those who don’t have access to a teacher can learn on their own. It isn’t because this path isn’t for everyone; and performing a spell that almost but doesn’t quite fit your need; or when you’re not really sure of what you’re doing can have disastrous results.

I replied that I never share specifics. Not that I think magic is or should be “secret” but that part of the mystery is finding one’s own path. I don’t mind making suggestions and often do, but my way of working may not work for anyone else. Let me elaborate in more than 140 or 500 characters:

If you belong to a tradition, certain methods have been handed down, shared and work for those within that tradition and generally when working as a group. I know a couple of hereditary witches who were taught the basics by their elders and then left to figure out on their own what works best for them. They only used prescribed methods when working as a group. (I doubt those that pray to a deity use the exact same prayer as everyone else when they’re alone. When in a group, yes, to keep everyone focused on the same outcome. Do you see a difference? I don’t.)

I’m solitary so I don’t have to worry about focusing a group but if I were to work with others, a set ritual would be preferable to ensure we’re all on the same page. That said, the ritual would have to be very eclectic since I don’t subscribe to any particular tradition.

What herbs go into a particular spell? So-and-so says to use X, Y, and perhaps Z or G. Now, if one of those herbs happened to be Patchouli, you can bet your bippy I’m not going to use it. I really dislike the smell of Patchouli (weird, I know). If something causes you to frown, wrinkle your nose and nearly vomit, you’re not going to have a lot of focus – the main requirement of any spell. (Unless, of course, that sort of physical reaction is necessary to the work. Wouldn’t ever be for me.) Or what if you don’t have Y on hand and can’t wait for UPS to arrive? Thankfully, there are a bunch of herbal substitutes, depending on the need, so I don’t have to use the exact things so-and-so says I need to.

Verbiage? I prefer to write my own. I personalize every spell to the need at hand, so something written by someone else for a not-quite-exactly-the-same situation ain’t gonna work.  Because they’re all so specific, I don’t bother writing anything down for posterity so I wouldn’t be able to share, anyway.

I’ll admit that when I was younger, having an experienced teacher (if not in person then in a book) to guide me would have been a good thing. However, experimentation taught me what worked and what didn’t … and how to clean up and/or avoid both physical and metaphysical messes. Walking a path smoothly-paved by others would have led to stagnation, not growth on my part. And personal growth is a part of the magic.

So what do you think? Should magic come even further out of the broom closet or should some things still stay hidden?

 

Old Year, New Year … and Thank You!

I spent a very quiet New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, trying to distract myself with munchable novels but not quite succeeding. I was more ruminating on the last year and thinking ahead to what 2012 would bring.

As you get older, the years sort of become a blur and also with age, shit just happens:

My mother’s health is declining rapidly and has become very worrisome. Because I’m an only child, I have had to change or even cancel plans to accommodate her illness. (This is why you haven’t seen me out doing lectures or book signings.) Things won’t get any easier this year as her doctors and I move toward putting her in a place where she can get 24/7 care. We know this won’t be an easy thing to do (I got my stubborn streak from her), but it is the best thing to do.

Her brother, my one-and-only uncle, passed away Thanksgiving night, after a mercifully brief illness. Fortunately, I was able to sneak off for a whirlwind 2-day trip to California to see him before he left us while my husband stayed behind in case something happened with Mom.

We lost three of four cats in a four month span. You’d think after all the cats who have owned me over the years that I would become accustomed to losing a beloved pet but it never gets any easier.

Those were the downers. On the very bright side:

Thanks to my husband’s stellar performance at work, we had an opportunity to visit Maui in March on the company’s dime. Although Hawai’i was on our list of places to visit, it was pretty far down on the list due to the cost. The brief 3 days only made me want to stay longer and definitely return. (It’s moved up the bucket list a few notches.)

We adopted twin Russian Blue/Gray Tabby mix boys in April. I’d forgotten what it was like to have kittens in the house. They are terrors! But they also very goofy and provide a lot of smiles around here.

My second book, A Green Witch’s Formulary came out in late August. Sales have been wonderful! I know I said I was going to turn my attention to fiction writing but it’s difficult for this stereotypical Virgo to get into a creative mood when Mom is in such bad shape. (I’ve put my “great American novel” on the back burner for now.) Writing about herbs I can do with my logical hat on and thanks to ideas put up by some friends, I’m in the research phase of book #3: it’ll be on baneful herbs. No idea when I’ll finish it, much less get it out but you, dear reader, will be the first to know!

I not only had fun but met some online friends in person for the first time at the New Orleans Witches’ Ball. It was also my first (and definitely not last) visit to that wonderful city.

My grandsons and granddaughter turned 2 and 1, respectively. They are growing so fast!

And then there are all my online friends. My life has been enriched by people I’ve yet to meet in person. Say what you will about social networking … without it I’d never have met so many wonderful people, both witchy and not; some of whom I know would be sitting next to me in the proverbial jail cell saying, “Damn! That was fun!”

Another calendar year gone, another year started. Thank you all for your support during 2011. Maybe I can get out of north Georgia to meet some of you soon. Here’s to a great 2012 and may all your wishes come true!