Posts Tagged ‘magical practice’

I never knew 19 years ago that someday having a stockpile of herbal tinctures would make me feel witchy.

I never knew 19 years ago that someday having a stockpile of herbal tinctures would make me feel witchy.

I’ve become one of them.

Them. The older Pagans and Witches that I remember from my early days on the Pagan path. Those that would nod encouragingly but with a smile hiding at the corners of their mouths as I relayed my early endeavors with the elements, meditation, and such. They were always supportive, but now I understand the smile tugging at the corners.

Meeting folks new (or old) to the path is always a pleasure – we are always eager to share what we’ve learned with others and trade suggestions. But after almost 20 years, I’ve heard those same early experiences so many times that I can’t help but smile a little now too. But like the elders I looked up to, I wouldn’t dare act like it’s not a big deal because it is a big deal.

Some recent experiences like this made me think of the evolution of witchy-ness that I and many folks that I know have experienced. Anybody else remember when they were a bright and shiny witch or pagan? That giddy feeling from buying the first few books or magazines? That so-anxious-you-might-puke sensation at your first ritual?

I remember when getting a subscription to Sagewoman magazine felt like a big deal, and being given a tarot deck was HUGE (yet kept hidden in case my mother saw it during a visit). Over time, things became more elaborate and my above-average memory came in handy to remember the order of a ritual as well as the chants, the correspondences of herbs and stones, and folklore and mythology.

As the years went by and ritual participation moved into ritual writing and leading classes, what also made me feel witchy changed quite a bit. As experiences became more richly woven, they often became more complicated as well. After a few years, I found myself wanting to focus more on building my own knowledge of applicable skills like herbalism and sustainable living. To strip away the excessive elements of the practice and be creative in a different way. I made a few teas, soaps, infused oils, and bee’s wax lotion bars as I started to experiment.

A year and a half ago, I started taking herbal classes, most of them lead by an herbalist from The Golden Light Center in Missouri, and this expanded my knowledge and confidence in using herbs more than traditional spell work ever did.

Harvesting my own herbs – like this chickweed – for herbal tinctures and tonics has proven rewarding.

Harvesting my own herbs – like this chickweed – for herbal tinctures and tonics has proven rewarding.

Last summer and fall, I concocted more than a dozen different tinctures and glycerites, a few of them even from carefully wildcrafted plant materials. There was lemon verbena and mint glycerites for upset tummies, Japanese knot weed tincture for Lyme’s disease prevention and treatment, horny goat weed tincture for those certain performance problems, and even mimosa tincture for dealing with mild depression. And as I started to share and trade these with friends, I found myself feeling more witchy than I ever had before. I felt a connection to those who came before me and used their knowledge – whether it was knowing the magic of herbal healing or using herbs magically (or other items and skills).

Looking back at this, I think it is similar to learning how to draw realistically before going into abstract art – learning to use herbs for physical health feels like a foundation for magical use of herbs, if that makes any sense at all.

Even months later, when I look into my magic cabinet where I now keep the herbal medicine along with my assortment of candles, crystals, and other items, I feel a creative spark and a power I’ve never known before. Of course, I’ve felt connected to the Irish fae/goddess Airmid for years, but now that connection is forged by action and not just an ideal. Now, reading the charm, “bone to bone, vein to vein, balm to balm” takes on yet another layer of meaning – the passing on of knowledge from one person to another. To heal using nature’s divine bounty, just like that dutiful goddess tried to even when her father’s ego got in the way.

Usually, I have a good idea of where a post is going when I start it. Not so with this one. Perhaps it’s to see if others out there have had their own evolution of witchy-ness. Maybe it’s just to give beginners an idea of why the elders sometimes look amused  – or just to remind the elders not to feel superior just because their beginning lessons were 20, 30, or more years ago. We all must break down and analyze our practices now and again, starting anew to some degree. Any well-lived life is an evolution of sorts, so why should a magical practice be any different when it affects our lives so much?

OK, enough rambling for the night – please post your own ideas about changes of magical practice if you wish.

Until next time, blessings to you all!

Thistle

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