Posted in Depression, Everyday Life, Paganism, Uncategorized, witchcraft

Wellness & Witchcraft Life

mind-body-spiritThis is a companion piece to my last post, with a plan of action to bring more joy and happiness into my life. Hope it helps others too!

Depression and anxiety are unfortunate companions to a lot of us. The causes are many, and often the causes can’t be pinpointed at all. Nonetheless, anyone who suffers from these, and other similar mental health issues knows the pain and exhaustion that results from the struggles.

Frankly, I’ve surprised myself as to how open I’ve been about my personal struggles with depression and anxiety. There is no doubt that they have changed the course of my life, generally not in a good way. I can’t help thinking that if the internet had existed when I first experienced life altering anxiety, I might have found the strength to overcome it, or at least control it better than I did. When we write about it and chat about it online, it gives us a certain degree of empowerment to battle the disease.

Becoming a Wiccan helped me with my depression by giving me that aforementioned empowerment in my life. While it taught me that I could have a degree of control over my life through ritual and magick, it also gave me the God and Goddess. Through high school, I followed my parents’ Judea/Christian religion. It was fine, but in the end, I never could really connect with that God. But becoming a Wiccan in my early 40’s gave me deities that seemed alive. They offered guidance with love, joy, sorrow, life, death, enjoyment of the home and hearth. I was guided through them to learn about herbs, essential oils, gardening, and loving myself. These deities didn’t require me to obey them, nor did judge those who didn’t believe in them. They were simply there, and offered hope.

Unfortunately, I’ve managed to find a downside of being a witch in regard to depression and anxiety. Those who practice Wicca or witchcraft know that these paths take up a good deal of our time. Most mainstream religious folk tend to go to church once a week at the most, and that’s about it. We witches have altars to attend and rituals to prepare and perform. We perform magick through spells, which requires finding or writing the spell, obtaining or gathering all the needed elements of the spell, then taking the time to do the actual spell work.

Because we don’t have a house of worship, witches tend to spend a lot of time reading the writings of other witches, and communicating through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and many other social media outlets. Because we don’t have a central religious text, we also spend a lot of time educating ourselves by reading books, websites, and blog posts.

All of this takes time away from other aspects of life. Activities such as socializing, spending time with family and friends, exercising, and even just being outside suffer. Additionally, there is the work of keeping your witchcraft path under wraps, if you feel that is necessary or imperative. That, in itself, is hard work.

The result is that we insulate ourselves to a degree, and that can ignite depression and other mental difficulties. I’ve come to realize that the scales have tipped too far toward spending time on witchcraft activities, compared to taking care of my mundane needs. I’ve spent a lot of summers over the past 13 years behind my desktop, or doing rituals and spells, rather than being outside. And we all know the psychological benefits of getting outside in nature, exercising, and freeing up our minds.

So I’ve decided to work at balancing that scale. My first step has been running and cycling. We have had some ridiculously warm February weather, and I’ve been able to get out and cycle and run quite a bit. This, in itself, has improved my mental health.

My wife and I are starting to look for activities that take us out and about. Spring and summer offer lots of outdoor opportunities, all of which we’ve basically ignored. There are activities that can be part of a magickal experience, such as visiting botanical gardens, exploring cemeteries, and spending time in wooded areas. I hope to devote more time to gardening, which has been often left in my wife’s hands. I’m sure she would appreciate the help.

I guess I’m just realizing that living a magickal life doesn’t have to mean sitting behind a screen, in front of an altar, or doing spells or meditating in a darkened room. Of course this has always been the case, as many witches would be quick to tell me, but sometimes I just need to be hit over the head with a ton of bricks…

Life is all about balance. My balance has been off for some time, and I hope taking this advice to myself will help restore that balance.

Thank you for reading! I’m sure many of you have thoughts on this, and have been able to find your balance. I’d love to hear from you!

Blessed Be!

Posted in magick, Wicca

Letting Witchcraft Win the Mental War

f0b62a5cd2749c91fc6c4acbaf57841cThere has been a constant war going on in my head for quite some time. It pits the agnostic, logical me against the Pagan, Wiccan, witch me. This battle is fought daily, many times a day, and it is relentless. It has caused me to assemble, disassemble, and reassemble my altar many, many times. I have deleted entire databases of witchcraft photos, spells, rituals and other Craft information, only to spend days, and weeks trying to restore it. I’ve deleted substantial Pagan blogs, only to regret it the next day. I’ve established more than a handful of internet witchcraft personas, only to move on and dismiss them. It has been an exhausting war.

Lately, I’ve written some blog posts about zeroing in on Wicca or witchcraft, forsaking other interests such as politics. I realize that those posts were writing on the wall, clues to myself about the direction of my life. Clearly, this witchcraft aspect of my life is important to me. Every time I’ve thrown it away, I’ve gone out an recaptured it. It is obviously vitally important to me. So a decision had to be made.

A truce is not enough. The war in my head has to end, as I fear for my mental well being. One of those mental armies has to be victorious, overcome and conquer the other. I’ve decided to let the Wiccan warriors be victorious.

In doing so, I realize I have to accept some ideas, practices, and beliefs that the logical me has dismissed, or at least held at bay. I’ve done much of the heavy lifting on that already. The fact that I have faith in spells, magick, and witchcraft in general is testimony to my acceptance of the possibilities that not all see.

However, there has been some holdover skepticism. Some aspects of the paranormal, of the occult, the psychic realm, and its’ connection to Wiccan spirituality, spiritualism, and the preternatural, have often been casualties of my logical mind, despite the fact that many of these beliefs and practices are aspects of a witch’s life. I’ve been selective in my beliefs, seemingly choosing what I’ve considered fairly logical over what seemed to be outside my realm of acceptance.

I’ve become increasingly aware of these holdovers since I’ve spent more times in some great witchcraft groups on Facebook. I see a lot of those subjects that were outside my belief standards, and spent a lot of time mentally dismissing them. But now I see I need to be more open to most all levels of witchcraft belief.

I don’t think it’s healthy to completely shut off my disbelief. There are delusional beliefs. I think about a quote from Philip Carr-Gomm:

The risks involved in the pursuit of magic are–put simply–either getting frightened by unpleasant perceptions or becoming deluded. Unfortunately it is possible to suffer from both symptoms at the same time.

I interpret that to mean that magic can conjure up things that one might not be so happy or well-equipped to handle or believe, yet one does not dismiss the possibility that it is possible to shape your beliefs to fit a desired outcome.

But I think you have to give into the possibilities, and I haven’t quite gotten all the way there. So I aim to change that. The scales will now tip toward openness of belief, the idea that there are many things within a witch’s life that the logical mind can not easily accept.

I’ll be honest, this relatively short post was difficult to put into words. This is day 3 of shaping it. I want the reader to understand that I am diving far deeper down the rabbit hole than I ever imagined, while keeping delusions at bay. I’m dismissing mental spiritual roadblocks, with a desire, a need, to immerse myself deeper into my spiritual path of 13 years. I’m letting witchcraft win the mental war.

Thank you so much for reading. I’d be happy to hear about your experiences or thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment!

Blessed Be!