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Understanding and dealing with downtime


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#1 Wexler

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 06:39 PM

A very important evolution of my Path was adopting the belief that witchcraft is not what you do, it is who you are. I remember reading many posts on TW that said, "witchcraft is a skill." So I assumed that if you were not practicing daily and casting lots of spells, you were being a 'bad' witch. Yet, as I started doing witchy stuff and taking baby steps on my own Path, I often got strong feelings that I shouldn't be actively practicing at all. I would want to do some spellwork, do divination, or "travel" to certain places, and I would get strong emotions of foreboding or anxiety. This really frustrated me, because I did not see any logical explanation for these feelings. To prove to myself that I was such a super witch, I would sometimes fight through them and do magic anyway, always to my great detriment.

 

When I came to believe that witchcraft is who you are and not what you do, I suddenly came to see the reasoning and value behind downtime. I believe that to a large degree, my power and ability as a witchlet directly corresponds with my personal development as a person. It is fine to develop skills such as spellcrafting, but the real magic lies within myself. To grow as a person (and therefore a witch), sometimes I need to stop focusing on the outside world, and start focusing on who I am on the inside. Often these periods begin when something in the back of my mind tells me, "knock off the magic". Then it is probably time to consider what exactly I should be focusing on instead. So far I have never regretted paying attention and getting to work.

 

Downtime used to make me feel confused and upset, because I associated certain magical actions with being a 'good' witch. Now I respect downtime as being an important part of my development as a person, even if it can still be frustrating.

 

What really helps me deal with downtime is 1) understanding that it has a purpose, and 2) figuring out the purpose and putting my energy towards that instead. Also, I have learned that if a little voice in the back of your head is saying, "this is a bad idea" when you start a spell, then it is a frikkin bad idea and you shouldn't do it.

 

A related thought I have towards downtime is the phenomenon where some new/young practitioners do not seem to turn towards the Craft when the going gets tough. I know that I have sometimes felt guilt about this because I think, "I want to be a witch so I should be using magic to solve this problem." This can lead to a different kind of 'downtime' where I choose to not use spellcrafting to address my mundane issues, but at the same time I feel unreasonably guilty about my choice. Now I am of the belief that for an inexperienced practitioner, maybe magically experimenting on big, unwieldy, delicate, important life events is actually not the best choice to make. I think there will come a time when we feel comfortable using magic in various situations, and I am not sure there is any need to rush it.

 

Does anyone else deal with downtime? Do you think it has a purpose? What do you do about it?


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'Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.'

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#2 hawkwind

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 07:19 PM

I think how you explained it is perfect! Doing magic all the time does not make us a good witch it is know when the appropriate time for magic is. As you stated we have to go by our gut and listen to it. I listen and take the down time to work on things that need attention in my mundane life and that includes taking care of myself emotionally. How good is your magic going to be if you are mentaly and emotionally a mess more than likely the magic will be noneffective or back fire in your face and cause more personal turmoial. As a witch that is who we are so there is no need to do magic all the time but when it is needed. Downtime I feel is very important!


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#3 Michele

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 07:40 PM

In your description (assuming I am reading it correctly) downtime referring to not actively practicing write-and-cast spell work is quite often for me as I can months or longer without actively casting depending on what is going on in life at the time. 

 

Downtime in a form of not communicating or interacting I can't do, especially not after the last 3 or 4 years. I would have to change my worldsview to be able to stop, and I can't do that. If I'm really upset or pissed off I will sometimes communicate that I'm effing pissed off and don't want to discuss it. Which is the equivalent of walking into my mother's house and saying "HI - I'm really upset and don't want to talk about it"  :scared:   Lol - everything sits up and perks up and there's a chorus of "why? What's the scoop? Details! Details!" lol. So now I just discuss everything because I know not to is pointless for me... they're all listening and watching anyway. And if I'm open to it (or at least try to be... sometimes I can have a bit of a hard time hearing/understanding but I'm working on that) they always have helpful input. Even, of all things, in how/where to build an extra closet. That or I'm completely bonkers (which is entirely possible, lol). But I have also come to find it comforting, that never being along thing. And I try to live up to it, and be respectful and worthy of respect... be industrious, not give up, keep a sense of humor, lol. 

 

So downtime in relation to practicing magic, yes, because I don't specifically do magical spells daily. But downtime re relationships and communication, no, that just gets me in trouble, lol. I am surrounded by friends other people can't see, lol, and they're there mundane or magical, every second, day or night, work or home or shower or sleep... I don't think I could get downtime if I tried, unless I completely rejected them. In which case I would be shutting a door I might never again be able to open. I tried doing that once in a fit of frustration, and one of them screamed at me when I was shutting it, and I am forever greatful and in her debt.

 

M


Edited by Michele, 07 December 2014 - 07:46 PM.

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#4 Heks

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 09:50 PM

Hiya Wexler,

First of all, there is no such thing as a good Witch. You make the rules. You value yourself good or bad? Why would you do that? I loved your post, as it resonated with me, in the sense of, yes, Witchcraft comes from within. As for looking for solutions from the Craft to sort out one's life. Normally I always used to do this, but I had like, a year when I was completely under the spell of a man, and I was left alone at sea without any recourse (except a very valuable friend, you know who you are) and then, slowly, I saw magic everywhere. Trees were talking to me, I had visions, I practiced divination through drawing and all this brought me back. I was always who I am, but I was lost. But that doesn't make me a bad Witch. Indeed, who is there to judge me?

Now, when I walk home, the trees around my house welcome me and I "feel" home.

I know I am different cause I "feel" trees. But I am happy cause I reconnected with who I am inside.

Be confident, and be happy to be different. Don't put pressure on yourself to learn about the Craft. Read what you like, what interests you and let the Witchiness in you come out in unexpected ways.

KInd regards

Heks


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#5 Caps

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 10:32 PM

I believe I understand what you are conveying.  I often see people mistaking beliefs for spirituality, and I am no exception to this.  Spiritual growth for me comes from within, determining what is blocking me from progressing into the type of person I would ideally like to be.  When I spend too much time focusing on the mundane world and how it effects me--my job, my vehicle, my earthly parents, in essence, my search for control in a world where there seems almost to be none...that is when I become spiritually sick.  Magic does not solve everything, neither does praying, doing ceremonial rituals, or simple belief or faith.  Sometimes heading face first into the world of the mundane and tackling things that are within my mundane control of things without using magic helps me discover the magic within.  I have found that being impatient about changing the world can be one of the most frustrating things I can come across.  I liken it to being stuck at a train crossing when I'm driving and trying to spell the train to move faster so I can get where I'm going because I'm gonna be late.  No matter what I think might happen, there is a likeliness that if I try to misuse magic in a situation like that it will likely backfire on me...something will compound and make me even more late than I would have been.  The simple solution for this isn't in the present, but the inner realization/change that must be made in the future...If I don't want to be tardy when I'm going places I need to appropriate enough time to get there.  I can accept accountability for my own decisions rather than projecting the present problem on the train itself.  The change is simple and powerful and can greatly affect my entire life if I simply leave to get to places earlier than I normally would.  The rewards of being prompt and on time in life outweighs my impatience (and procrastination) by a long mile.

 

I am not a person who sees things in terms of "bad and good" but more in terms of "sick and well" ...this mindset has provided me much relief for things I once perceived as evil, bad, or misdeeds in the world.  There is a lot of spiritual sickness caused by lack of personal accountability and I really only have control over how I am treating myself on the inside.

 

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves" -C. Jung


Edited by Caps, 07 December 2014 - 10:34 PM.

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#6 Wexler

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 01:02 AM

Magic does not solve everything, neither does praying, doing ceremonial rituals, or simple belief or faith.  Sometimes heading face first into the world of the mundane and tackling things that are within my mundane control of things without using magic helps me discover the magic within.  

 

I liken it to being stuck at a train crossing when I'm driving and trying to spell the train to move faster so I can get where I'm going because I'm gonna be late.  No matter what I think might happen, there is a likeliness that if I try to misuse magic in a situation like that it will likely backfire on me...something will compound and make me even more late than I would have been.  The simple solution for this isn't in the present, but the inner realization/change that must be made in the future...If I don't want to be tardy when I'm going places I need to appropriate enough time to get there.  I can accept accountability for my own decisions rather than projecting the present problem on the train itself.  The change is simple and powerful and can greatly affect my entire life if I simply leave to get to places earlier than I normally would.  The rewards of being prompt and on time in life outweighs my impatience (and procrastination) by a long mile.

 

I am not a person who sees things in terms of "bad and good" but more in terms of "sick and well" ...this mindset has provided me much relief for things I once perceived as evil, bad, or misdeeds in the world.  There is a lot of spiritual sickness caused by lack of personal accountability and I really only have control over how I am treating myself on the inside.

 

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves" -C. Jung

 

After some thought I feel I very much agree with your post, Caps.

 

I would bet this can of frosting I'm eating that every witch here would describe magic as being empowering. Yet at the same time, I find a special sort of empowerment from solving problems in mundane ways. Like you, I find that exerting myself in mundane ways does help me find the magic within. Lately I want to interact with the world around me in new ways, because every new thing I do mundanely not only expands myself, but expands my understanding of magic and how it flows through the world. 

 

I think your train analogy is really apt. Sure, you could take out your frustrations on the train, or you could just leave home earlier. Perhaps the personal development from learning how to manage time, and putting the responsibility for being late on yourself, could be more valuable than being really really great at getting trains out of the way. Or rather, in the spirit of this thread, it's okay to get up earlier instead of thinking you are supposed to use magic to move the train.


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'Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.'

'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.'

 

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#7 ArcticWitch

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 01:43 AM

Sometimes heading face first into the world of the mundane and tackling things that are within my mundane control of things without using magic helps me discover the magic within.

---

 

When I first joined this site, I took a bit of heat because of the confusion I expressed for witches who turn to their Talents first when resolving issues or manifesting desires.

 

I still maintain that confusion, and would like to extend your train analogy to a different, non-magical metaphor.  The best comparison of mainly mundane versus mostly-magical approach to problem-solving I have is of an overweight man who takes up bodybuilding.  He has essentially two options: either  lose weight and build muscle the "old-fashioned" ("mundane") way, or take steroids and other supplements as a short-cut ("magical") way.  However, it's his body, and therefore only he has the right to label whichever method he chooses as bad/harmful or good/beneficial.  Either approach comes with its own lessons.  Consistent weight training and transitioning to a healthy diet will teach him the reward of perseverance, illustrating to him what he is capable of in the rest of his life if he's persistent; conversely, it also exposes him to sacrifice of time, which he may later resent when he realizes, for example, how much time could have been instead spent with his kids.  On the other end of the spectrum, consuming muscle-building hormones and blitzing the gym effectively produces the results he wants, which is the precise gratification he was seeking; however, the excess hormones cause permanent damage to his body.  Both approaches have their pros and cons, period.

 

Some witches began their Path to find a power to utilize in day-to-day life.  Others embraced their Path to understand- and hone- the power they already possessed.  For the latter, mundane resolution of challenges can indeed be like a bread-crumb trail to personal Truths that, one by one, reveal the mysteries of one's life...and with those revelations, the fuzzier the line gets between what is labelled as the 'mundane' and the 'magical'.

 

[Edited for typo]


Edited by ArcticWitch, 09 December 2014 - 06:46 PM.

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#8 hawkwind

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 03:26 PM

Nicely Put AW! :thumbsup:


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#9 Kayt

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 12:43 PM

This is a great topic and not one that gets discussed a lot.

 

I'll go a bit further and suggest that being a newbie to this community and reading about/talking to so many talented people on this forum, may lead one to believe (me) that there should be no downtime. It's like a game of catch up! Every moment should be used! However I rarely cast spells myself, rarely use "active" magic, and therefore wasn't feeling very witchy at all.

 

It wasn't until I started down my own spiritual path that I realized all of the work we do is active magic. Communing with spirts/plants, growing herbs and making potions, studying and researching, contacting ancestors, etc. All of it leads up to the growth of the person and the witch!


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#10 Aurelian

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 01:19 PM

Too much magic is overkill.  It isn't always appropriate to blast away at things with magic...you need to look at where the problems are coming from.  Have you fed your spirits lately?  No?  Okay, well do it because they control more than a lot of witches realize.  In some cases like this it demonstrates that magic isn't the appropriate remedy, but being a witch is about a lot more than spellcasting.  

Downtime got you down?  Time for a spiritual cleanse.  We can cross ourselves up with self-doubt, and this is something that should be paid attention to.  Take care of yourself....

Clean your house.  Spiffy it up with things to bring success to yourself.  Start up a money altar.  Get some pine sol and chuck some cinnamon and cloves in there and give the place a wash!

Make magical talismans.  Depending on your method, you need to pay attention to when they need to be done.

Create your needed oils and other supplies.  

Scry.  Twenty minutes a day.  I'm convinced this is the easiest way to develop spiritual senses and enables your communication with spirits.

All these things are 'witchcraft,' or witchcraft related, but not necessarily magic.  But they help to develop a magical lifestyle.

You'd have less downtime for sure!

Then enjoy all your hard work, go get drunk, have sex, and have a laugh!

-2c


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"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning." - Cormac McCarthy

#11 Barnstock

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 06:29 PM

There have been a couple of times when I also felt I had to be doing some sort of magic on a daily basis, and I had let myself get out of tune with my own natural rythms and stopped listening to my own intuition. I can't say for sure where this notion came from, possibly from something that I was reading, or an external ideal I was superfluously identifying with, mistakenly allowing myself to be moved from my own center. I think that early on it stemmed from the belief that I had to conciously maintain connections before I learned they were already in place naturally, as a facet of who and what I am.

 

For me, I also know that this went hand in hand with the mistaken belief that magic had to be done a certain way, which is an erroneous externalization of the craft, rather than knowing that it comes from oneself, and the technique is an expression of that inner ability. Yes, methods, rituals, and structure have to come from somewhere, but they have to be integrated, internalized, or "owned" so to speak before they can be effective.

 

That being said, I think downtime is just as important as actively working. It's the time you need to recharge, receive, listen, look forward, process, and analyze, not on an intellectual level, but on a gut level. It's a time for growth and renewal, to do maintainence and "sharpen the saw".


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