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Transitioning in to a magical life


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#1 Wexler

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 04:41 AM

Just because someone has magical potential, has decided to be a witch, or even casts spells, does not mean they lead a magical life.

 

It is my humble opinion that most people are planted firmly in the physical plane. Overlaid on this physical plane is a magical world which perhaps many people can see but most choose to ignore. At this time, I am of a mind that many people can access and tap in to these unseen energies with both feet in the physical realm.

 

It is also my belief that some people (I do not know if everyone has the ability to do so, but it seems to be common amongst witches) are able to shift their realities from being totally physical to being at least partially magical. I believe this is not done simply by cognitively believing that there is magic in the world, but by making an actual shift in mind and spirit from the physical realm to the magical one.

 

For example: When I joined TW I had both feet firmly planted in the physical realm. I really super wanted to be a witch, but I did not feel like a witch. Working with magic was fun but ultimately felt like a chore to me, because it did not "click". As my understanding grew I felt more and more unsatisfied because it was becoming more and more obvious to me that I did not possess that special "something" that made a real witch. When I was given Green membership I took a break from TW and did not intend to come back - even though I knew magic was real, I consciously decided that I just couldn't hack it and I resigned myself to quit trying to be a witch and just live a mundane life. (Fortunately, it was not so easy for me to ignore the call back in to the fold).

 

I believe my issue was that I was so stuck in the physical world that I could not grasp the awareness that all the other witches seem to have. Even though I truly cognitively believed in the magical world, I was not a part of the magical world, and this left me feeling estranged to the point where I gave up. I believe recently I have finally started to dip my toes in to the magical world, which gives me both an incredible sense of relief and the sense that things are Right within myself.

 

My situation has made me think of the Stepping Back from the Craft thread. It makes me wonder if some people who have the ability to communicate with spirits and cast spells never made the transition in to a magical life, and therefore find their path to inevitably be an obligation or a chore (like I did). My post in that thread reflects my thoughts here.

 

I also think that for someone who has the potential or calling to be a part of the magical world, being stuck in the mundane one might be very distressing or damaging - the same way that a magical child could find the unseen world to be distressing if they do not understand what they are going through.

 

How can a neophyte witch make the change? I was able to begin the shift on my own, but can anybody do that? Is it fair to say a witch should always be able to do it on their own?

 

Once a witch initially begins to see the world through magical eyes, can the connection be lost? Can a witch step in and out of the magical world as they please, or is it out of their control?

 

I hypothesize that a key difference between a mundane person who casts spells, and a witch, is that a witch has the ability or potential to walk with one foot in the unseen world, while a mundane person cannot. Likewise, surrounding yourself with potions, spells, and spirits means you have a lot of magic in your life, but you do not necessarily see the world through magical eyes. I would be very interested to hear people's thoughts on this! I also think it would be very interesting to hear from people who have been magical from childhood, who never needed to make a transition.

 

I think that if I had encountered a discussion on magical awareness when I was a Blue member, it would have made it easier for me to understand why I felt such a disconnect and it may have emboldened me to continue on my path without so much self-doubt (even though things seemed to have worked out okay for me in the end).


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#2 RoseRed

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:37 PM

I think you were looking in the wrong places before.  You were looking at the external trappings of what living a magical life looks like from the outside.  Looking from the inside out - after you get turned inside out - is a very different view. 

 

I also think that you were looking at very specific ideas of 'what makes a witch' instead of looking within to see what gifts and inherent abilities you as a witch already has.  Sometimes, the gifts that we have surprise us.  Sometimes, we wish we had other or different inherent Talents.  Witch, know thyself, is one of the most important things you can do.

 

That shift happens when you accept yourself and your abilities.
 

has decided to be a witch

 

I am of the opinion that one is either born a witch or they're not.  (We have enough threads arguing the validity of that point.  I don't want to argue it here and veer off topic).  Whether one chooses (or has chosen for them) not to develop their gifts - they're still a witch.  It's a spark - a fire - that burns inside of us.  Whether that spark is fanned to a flame or smothered like last night's campfire - the core still glows with the burning embers.

 

A person can decide if they want to be a 'practicing witch' but they cannot decide that they are or aren't if they have that spark inside.  A witch can choose to not practice magic and still live a magical lifestyle.  We see the world differently than others.  Not knowing or understand that difference can be very difficult.  We don't 'fit in'.  We can - but we're different.

 

I took a long hiatus from actively practicing magic and spellcraft.  What I learned during that time was that I didn't need most of the tools and 'acsessories'.  The ability to wield magic, to interact with the different realms, to manipulate the Web lies inside of us - whether we choose to actively practice or not. 

 

It is my humble opinion that most people are planted firmly in the physical plane. Overlaid on this physical plane is a magical world which perhaps many people can see but most choose to ignore. At this time, I am of a mind that many people can access and tap in to these unseen energies with both feet in the physical realm.

 

 

Somewhat.  Most people have some form of a 6th sense.  A lot of times they don't know what they hell they're doing or even that they are tapping into that side.

 

Those that walk with a foot in both worlds - we're just different.
 

 

Working with magic was fun but ultimately felt like a chore to me, because it did not "click". As my understanding grew I felt more and more unsatisfied because it was becoming more and more obvious to me that I did not possess that special "something" that made a real witch. When I was given Green membership I took a break from TW and did not intend to come back - even though I knew magic was real, I consciously decided that I just couldn't hack it and I resigned myself to quit trying to be a witch and just live a mundane life.

 

 

 

You were trying to hard and looking in all the wrong places.  (That sounds like a bad country song :blush: ).  You most definitely have that 'special something'.  I fully believe that you are going to be one hell of a Hedge Witch someday.  We all have different gifts/curses, abilities and talents.  Sometimes, it's just a matter of realizing in which direction they lie.

 

I also think that for someone who has the potential or calling to be a part of the magical world, being stuck in the mundane one might be very distressing or damaging - the same way that a magical child could find the unseen world to be distressing if they do not understand what they are going through.

 

 

 

most definitely

 

 

How can a neophyte witch make the change? I was able to begin the shift on my own, but can anybody do that? Is it fair to say a witch should always be able to do it on their own?

 

 

 

No, I don't think it's fair to say that.  A lot of people need to overcome what they were taught in childhood.  It's part of our make-up.  Baggage - it sux.  Even a solitary witch can benefit from the company of and or mentorship of another witch.  Especially in the beginning when there are so many questions and we blindly try to find some light so that we can make sense of what's happening within us when our latent or dormant Talents decide it's time to wake up and rear up.

 

That is when it's nice to have people to talk to that understand.  It makes that transition a hell of a lot easier than trying to figure it out with anything that Llewellyn prints.

 

Once a witch initially begins to see the world through magical eyes, can the connection be lost? Can a witch step in and out of the magical world as they please, or is it out of their control?

 

That's a multi-layered answer.

 

There are some doors that can NEVER be completely closed again once they're opened.  Especially, when there wasn't a door there to begin with but a wall.  If a witchlet decides to break open that wall and create a doorway - no, that'll never close all the way again.  You can fill it in, you can cover it up, you can try to hide it but once those doors are opened - forget it.  With some thingts in the Craft - it can be good to give deep consideration - not to how you're going to do something - but if you should in the first place.

 

I'm not able to step out of the magical world around me but I can turn it down so that I don't sense it.  Think of a radio reciever.  That's you.  As long as you're plugged into the wall and have the energy flowing through you (alive) it's there.  You can crank up the volume to full blast and blow out your speakers or you could do like I do when I'm at the nursing home or hospital.  I crank the volume all the way down.  I don't see, I don't hear, I don't want to be bothered by the spirits that are still trapped there.  Did I turn it off?  No.  I turned it down and tossed up a 'don't fucking bother me shield' cuz I'm not there for them.  I'm not able to turn it off but after years of practice and working with it I am able to control it to the point where it would appear, from the outside, that I can turn it off.

 

and it may have emboldened me to continue on my path without so much self-doubt (even though things seemed to have worked out okay for me in the end).

 

 

I get that BUT it's that self doubt and the working through it that makes the difference.  Things happen when they're supposed to.  Sometimes we're ready for them.  Other times it feels like getting hit with a sledge hammer.  It is what it is.  Working through that self doubt is the beginning of the self work that's required on these paths.
 

 

Likewise, surrounding yourself with potions, spells, and spirits means you have a lot of magic in your life, but you do not necessarily see the world through magical eyes.

 

 

 

Not everyone has the ability to.  Being able to see the world through magical eyes is an inherent Talent.  You either got it or you don't.  If you don't - I don't you can learn it.  If you do - you have the option of ignoring it.

 

----------------------------

 

I had a conversation recently that covers this very thing.  The person I was speaking to believed.  Someone had to make those cave drawings in the first place, ya know.  He had minor experiences and believed had not experienced it for himself.  In trying to explain the way I see both worlds overlap I said that I could've been the person drawing the story on the cave wall.  You came along later and believed it but I SAW it and recorded what I saw.  It kinda freaked him out.

 

This person that I was talking to also has that inherent Talent - to see the worlds overlap.  It was just never nurtured and as a child was told to 'knock it off.'  Latent abilities abound.  He can see, even with the blinders that are on, but he just didn't know what it was he was looking at.

 

---------------------------------

 

Instead of saying I need to be able to do this, that and the other thing to consider myself a witch - look within and say 'holy shit - I can do THAT?!?!?!?'


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#3 travsha

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 03:23 PM

To me, I think how you treat yourself and others is the biggest sign of how spiritual you are.  I dont think of it as how many hours you meditate, or how often you do ritual, or how often you see spirits.  If you treat other people well, follow your dreams, and live with conscious awareness, then I think you are a spiritual person.  

 

Ont he other hand, if you treat people badly, always cast curses and talk to spirits, and are obsessed with magic ect.....  I wouldnt consider you spiritual as much as maybe greedy or afraid....

 

That's how I look at it at least.  


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#4 Ravenshaw

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 06:27 PM

I grew up in a very Xtian home, and even though I never felt like I fit into that mold, I gave it a sincere try...until about 12. Then, I started dabbling. I noticed that practicing the little bits of highly inexperienced witchcraft that I new and felt were really draining as a practice and even more draining as a person, living in my bullheaded Xtian household. So, I did things in secret, and some things worked but I never had the privacy or freedom to explore them more. I chocked a lot of it up to coincidence and after a while, I presumed it was pointless superstition and perhaps I had some bolts loose also.

 

But, things popped up over the years and finally I started getting enough freedom in my teens to practice. I also found a kindred soul to practice with. My parents thought he was my boyfriend, but he was not - merely a close friend that I practiced with often. We'd go take a walk, and explore the spiritual side of ourselves in the wooded areas around my town. It was a very important part of my experience as a witch, and I developed tremendously just from having the freedom to do so, and a little support. In front of just one person, I didn't have to hide, and more importantly...I wasn't weird. I wasn't special. I didn't have to hush up, repent, or feel guilty. I could just be myself, and do what I felt compelled every single day to do, which was explore this side of myself that not many others in my life seems to relate to or understand. I wasn't bad, I wasn't "going to hell," I didnt have to ask for forgiveness from any messiahs or gods. I was beautiful, and my talent was beautiful, and for the first time in my life, someone else thought my development was important, too. This period in my life is crucial to who i am today, in body, spirit, and mind, and it is the reason I am no longer afraid to explore the unknown and follow my gut (which, I've come to the opinion, is most of what being a "witch" is).

 

The word witch is twisted - by media, culture, religion, language, everything. If someone were to tell me to draw a witch, I would assume they mean drawing the old hag with a wart on her nose in a pointy hay and buckled shoes. stirring something soupy in a cauldron. I would not draw myself, nor would I draw my witchy friends. This image of a witch has been condensed down from a lot incorrect influences pinpointing certain aspects of witch lifestyle, and has morphed into something incorrect.

 

For a time after developing a bit with my companion, I settled into hardcore science. Certainly, magic cannot exist in a world where science dominates, right? Wrong. Science explains the universe, but it is a work in progress and always will be. Science has not explained everything in the universe. I realized this after spending days upon days keeping my roots in hardcore science, trying to ignore the plants and animals and people I could feel and the whispers in buildings, and having my attention drawn to spirits or items or places. When I stopped trying to label myself as "atheist," "agnostic," "spiritual," "just someone who likes tarot and rocks and incense and staring into space and using herbs for my flu and REALLY staying away from that guy whose energy feels dreadfully sick," and just let myself be....that was when I truly began to flourish. And, once the flourishing began, I realized what I was all along. One of many words for it is witch.

 

I cannot speak for others on their path, but I feel that all witchfolk  have a hard time ignoring their identity. I have a great aunt who is very clearly psychic to some measure (not sure if witch or not, but at least psychic) and she tries to keep it down. Still, she tells people things she cannot know from mundane clues or knowledge. She's tried to stay quiet for the 80+ years she's been on this planet, and it has made her reclusive and unhappy and she seems quite relieved when she finally lets the beans spill. It's like watching 5-10 years come off of her face, and her mood lightens considerably. I think that identity is the largest obstacle of anyone's life, witch or no, and that struggle strengthens us as people, not as witches, but merely as people. And, like all identity struggles, searching is the healthiest, most enlightening thing you can do. If you don't search, you will remain a stick in the mud, emotionally, physically, and spiritually (magically also, if it applies). It seems many witches can experience a greater sense of isolation from the rest of the world than some other people do: not only are we a person, which in and of itself holds an entirely unique identity, but we're also capable of manipulating and sensing realms upon realms of things we may not even be able to find words to describe to other people, let alone fully share our experiences.  Witches are just people, like everyone else, and enlightenment comes from within. Support from loved ones and having a community greatly helps, and exposure certainly can speed up the process, but self reflection is the most important part.

 

I don't think you ever lose the "connection". You may weaken over time, like a muscle not being used, but it's still there. It may never be as strong as it could have been if you were using it all along, or if you went out of your way to exercise it a buttload and drink protein shakes and devote your life to it. But, it's there, and there's always a chance to "rehabilitate" it. You might never lift a truck with that muscle...but you can use the remote and open doors again :smile:

 

I always liked the concept of X-Men as a child.... Having a haven where people with special abilities aren't torn down, but can flourish together and learn from one another. It seems like a very lovely thought.


Edited by Ravenshaw, 17 April 2014 - 06:42 PM.

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#5 ArcticWitch

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 07:07 PM

The transition process is, of course, different for everyone.  I'm still in the transition, so my perspective is probably incomplete.

 

For me, the most difficult aspect of reconciling the magical and mundane worlds, as well as managing my connection to both, was the emotional aspect.  Like Wexler, I intellectually "got" and recognized the magical world: its attributes, rhythms, languages, etc.  On a spiritual level, I had the capacity to identify and hone specific inherent talents.  But, as RoseRed mentioned, there's the element of baggage, and mine was emotional.  Until very recently, I was constantly fighting with negative emotions that caused a seemingly insurmountable mountain of self-doubt during castings.  (It should be of interest to note that I never had any doubt about the workings themselves, just doubted the fact that it was me who was carrying them out.)  Again, I identify with Wexler's comment about concerns that I couldn't "hack it" as a witch, despite knowing to my core the validity and power of the talents I was born with.  That being said, I never felt that my witchy studies and activities were a chore, although controlling the negative emotional reaction was an enormous burden that I could anticipate like clockwork.

 

The baggage that acted as a block for me was two-fold: 1) growing up in a fundamental Christian household that proudly upheld a harsh philosophical and disciplinary system called 'Legalism', and 2) being absolutely terrified of the countless Traveling and precog experiences I'd had.  

- 1) One positive aspect of being a socially-isolated, homeschooled, only child in a Legalistic home with two parents obsessed with authority/control is that I got really, really good at hiding in plain site: needless to say, a handy skill for a witch!  The downside is that when one or both Legalist parents' lives revolve around every single element of their only child's life, they feel divinely obligated to break the child's natural spirit in order to program a person who meets their religion's definition of what is most perfect/holy/"godly".  Instinct, intuition, and self-trust is viewed as sin, and it's paramount in the parents' eyes that these healthy elements be removed by any means necessary.  What I didn't expect when my 10+ years of casual studies of belief systems led me to recognize that the experiences I'd had all along where the signs of inherent witchy abilities, is that getting on the Path would mean healing the Legalism-inflicted damage and learning to trust my gut again.  Who knew that embracing the craft could be therapeutic?  I sure didn't!  I would surmise that this particular baggage was the more powerful (and more difficult to overcome) of the two, and dealing with it (both magically and mundanely) has freed the vast majority of the blocks that prevented me from re-engaging into the mundane and magical inner worlds I'd been in throughout childhood.

- 2) Fear of astral experiences was an enormous theme throughout my entire life, from age 3 through 30, which can be accurately described by one of Wexler's descriptions: "damaging".  I felt victimized by unwanted connections with other realms.  A traumatic precog event in 2002 prompted me to attempt to smother my magical side for over a decade.  I didn't understand until I began my Path that I could actually control these aspects and had very little reason to be fearful.  Actively engaging in Travels, as well as having the maturity to gracefully accept precog information, was the first big step in emotional reconciliation with my inherent gifts and subsequently permitting myself to partially exist in the magical realm.

 

As far as losing the "connection"- I tried my damnedest to lose it.  It (the "spark" as RoseRed put it) felt like it had a life energy of its own sometimes, and I occasionally became physically ill from the energy required in trying to ignore it.  That being said, I do believe certain talents (the more delicate ones) can become dormant after long periods of neglect, and can be challenging to revive.  As far as being able to step in and out of the magical realm at will, I can say it doesn't quite work that way for me.  To use a mundane example, it's a bit like listening to music on a stereo.  I can willfully "turn down the volume" on my connection with the magical, but I can't completely silence it.

 

I personally don't think there's any one-size-fits-all approach for a new and/or inexperienced witch to make the transition.  Everyone has different blocks, baggage, etc. so their transition is going to be a unique process.  Regarding if they should be able to do it on their own- good question!  I suppose that with focus and determination, any new witch can make the transition if they're patient.  It took me seven months to do it; who knows, for others doing it solo it may only take a week, while others toil away for years before it happens.  


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#6 Wexler

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 09:05 PM

In reply to RoseRed:

 

 

I think you were looking in the wrong places before.  You were looking at the external trappings of what living a magical life looks like from the outside.  Looking from the inside out - after you get turned inside out - is a very different view. 

 

I also think that you were looking at very specific ideas of 'what makes a witch' instead of looking within to see what gifts and inherent abilities you as a witch already has.  Sometimes, the gifts that we have surprise us.  Sometimes, we wish we had other or different inherent Talents.  Witch, know thyself, is one of the most important things you can do.

 

That shift happens when you accept yourself and your abilities.

 

I agree!

 

Before, I did not even know what it meant to have a true 'magical perspective'. It was like my physical realm was a rainbow, and the magical realm was a whole new spectrum of colors I had never seen. It was impossible for me to comprehend the other spectrum, so it was only possible for me to look for answers in my own rainbow.

 

I also agree that the shift began to happen for me when I began to accept myself. I don't think I was ever horribly out of touch with who I was, I just never sat down and said, "Wexler, this is you, and all of this is okay." Starting around January I would get nightmares and terrors, and the only way to calm them down was to say to myself, "it's okay to be afraid of that." After a lifetime of trying to fight away fear, wearing it like a blanket and then inviting your demons to sleep on the bed next to you is a crazy experience. Tough, and still frightening, but a hell of a lot better than denying those parts of yourself.

 

 

Instead of saying I need to be able to do this, that and the other thing to consider myself a witch - look within and say 'holy shit - I can do THAT?!?!?!?'

 

I have to admit that I originally saw whatever was going on inside of me to be pretty boring. Everything that was interesting was external, like spells or astral travel. The concept that anything at all interesting was inside of me I felt to be silly (after all, I was 21, obviously I knew everything about myself :P). This may or may not be related, but only since I started this change have I been able to feel energy inside of my body. Before then I could only ever feel it on my skin and I could never draw it in to myself, no matter how hard I tried. Food for thought, perhaps?

 

In reply to Travsha:

 

 

Ont he other hand, if you treat people badly, always cast curses and talk to spirits, and are obsessed with magic ect.....  I wouldnt consider you spiritual as much as maybe greedy or afraid....

I've never heard it said before that talking to spirits could be a negative thing. I think I may be misunderstanding you because from what I have read your practices are shamanistic and you communicate with spirits a lot. Would you be interested in expanding on these thoughts?

 

In reply to Ravenshaw:

 

 

I cannot speak for others on their path, but I feel that all witchfolk  have a hard time ignoring their identity.

 

I also believe this is true. I have trouble saying I was "called" to my path, but internally I kept coming back, over and over again. Even when I was determined to wash my hands of this confounding witch business, I couldn't stay away. I wonder what state I would be in psychologically if I had an upbringing or an environment that blocked my ability to respond to my identity.

 

In reply to ArcticWitch:

 

I feel like you and I - and Ravenshaw - all had similar experiences of cutting through the red tape and becoming more true to who we are. It seems that a common way to find that 'inner witch' is to actually look within, find all the gunk that is blocking the passageways, and sort it out so that what is inside can manifest.

 

I find your timeline to be interesting AW. I feel the process for me took between 9 months or a year, depending on whether or not you count all my 'breaks'. But I did not actively start looking within until the start of this year; before that was the build-up that prepared me for the experience.

 

All this being said, and everything that I am aware of now, I probably would not be interested in following my own advice if I could send this thread to myself a year ago. I think that all that time spent feeling empty and frustrated was necessary for me to realize that actually going inwards was not only necessary but desirable. I guess an analogy would be letting a bullheaded student do it the wrong way until they finally have to admit that their way isn't working, and it's time to do something else.


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#7 Ravenshaw

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 10:28 PM

 I guess an analogy would be letting a bullheaded student do it the wrong way until they finally have to admit that their way isn't working, and it's time to do something else.

 

This may sound stupid...but I think this is one of the best ways to truly learn some things. This way is hard, as you have to chisel at it until you realize it's futile, then you realize the "why". Sure, someone else could tell you, or you could go on your gut instinct. But, I think that failing on one attempted path is valuable in and of itself - your path is always changing and you never know what you're going to go, but you do know THAT path is useless and you failed on it before...so long as you don't take that path, you're closer to success. Nothing wrong with trial and error, I think, and failing now can save you tons of grief later. So.... I think it's still a wonderful lesson that everyone needs to experience at some point.


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