Genuine Exploration

Mundane Magic

There is a word that I have been thinking about a lot lately. It pops up in the articles I read, message boards where I post and the conversations I have. The word is authenticity.

As a member of multiple spiritual communities, it seems that there is something to be read every single day on this topic. These articles are often titled “How to be Happy in Life” and end with a go-get ’em message that states some variation of, “be authentic: and everything in life will be awesome!” A lovely ideal, but my personal Work as of late has plummeted me into what it means to be truly authentic.

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IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

For me, what seems to be missing in these conversations is the full dimension of what authenticity really looks like. Of course this can mean (as stated in this rhetoric) quitting a day job to pursue a dream or getting the tattoo that expresses who we feel that we are.

“Oh, this bird flying out of it’s cage on my arm? It symbolizes how I refuse to be held back in life. Don’t like it? Take it or leave it! It’s who I am.”

I see it described as what we aspire to be: our best Selves. However, that’s only one part of owning our realness as human beings. As I Work the magic of The Unflinching Gaze, I have realized that the act of being authentic (or genuine) can be messy, ugly and downright nasty. It might mean screaming at a loved one who has upset me, crying during a work meeting or telling someone how their actions are impacting me… knowing that they probably aren’t going to like what I have to say.

Authenticity is about being true to oneself and owning one’s narrative. I have found this practice to be vital in honing intuition: doubting or numbing the signals of the body only causes them to become distorted and less prevalent. It is also one of the most important ways I can express love for my Self: it proves to my Soul that I value what is happening within me and I am willing to let it be seen by the outside world.

This can be an excruciating practice, especially since (by nature) we are all completely unique beings and our variations of Truth collide all the time. To be real here: I find authenticity to be one of the most terrifying parts of being a witch. I sometimes fail at showing up truthfully when it will hurt other people or when it could lead to me not being liked by others. It’s a very human thing to do, but it’s frustrating to know that I could just say what I’m really feeling while witnessing myself choosing not to.

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IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

This poem by Nayyirah Waheed from the book “Salt” really sums it up. (Find more of her amazing work here)

Pack-mentality is strong in our species and it’s very normal to cling to the desire to be accepted. But I was recently reminded by my mentors that not being liked is a common price to pay for being authentic. Historically speaking: “the witch doesn’t live in town with everyone else,” they say. This statement reflects the heavy Duty of the witch, which leads to power and great responsibility: We must reveal Truth, even if it is difficult and the way that we do that is by being our most-authentic selves. Our unique flavor is needed in the world today and this act is the only way that necessary change is going to be created.

Now I write this post with the caveat that it’s probably worth considering the delivery of this Truth. Taking a minute to experience genuine feeling and embracing it exactly as it is can sometimes be enough. Especially if (in the moment) authenticity is the desire to walk up to a stranger and tell them their haircut is the worst or punch someone in the face for being a jerk.

WARNING: pleading a case of “authenticity” will not hold up in a court of law.

We can still be real, while also considering the consequences of our actions. Figuring out when and how to do this is an undertaking and I can’t say that I have a universal failure-proof technique for such a task. The best I can do is a quote from the late, great Kurt Vonnegut:

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IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-
God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

A witch leads by example, and this one is committed to bumbling through it for my community as well as myself…. Striving to be real, but kind. How do you express your authentic self?

 

Taking Care

Mundane Magic

It’s about that time for a post. My life continues on and the magic of the mundane weaves it’s way through my experience. Things are happening. There are shifts. I witness my experience and have many things that I could share with my community of witches…

But here’s the thing: I honestly just don’t feel up to it.

I’m a multi-tasker with a to-do list fetish. The feeling of accomplishment feeds me and I enjoy hard work. I’m a Capricorn; I really do. However, this month has been a tough one for me and the thing that makes it feel worse is that it isn’t stemming from anything specific. I just don’t feel engaged with the things that I usually enjoy doing.

This happens to me sometimes. It might have something to do with the energy that declared itself through my monthly reading:

 

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IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

 

Probably not the energy that I would have chosen for this time of year. Alas, it is here. I’m being pierced by those swords in my mind… they pin me down from my own vitality. And so it is.

Believe it or not though, there is mundane magic that can be shared to the world from this place of pain and despair that strikes from absolutely nowhere. Perhaps even one of the most potent messages of magic that I have shared thus far:

If you feel like shit, take care of yourself.

Self-care varies from person to person. For me right now, it is sleeping “more than I need to.” It is allowing some of my tasks to slide off to the side for a while without guilt. It’s making the choice to honor what I’m feeling and adjusting my life accordingly.

There is a saying in my community: you are your own greatest magical tool. If that is the case, then it makes sense that “it” (the Self) needs to be tended to when it isn’t working as desired. How do you care for your Self?

Cast Yourself

Background, Mundane Magic

My name is Vasalisa and I am a Witch.

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More specifically, I’m a polytheist fusion of Reclaiming and Feri beliefs. I primarily work with Aphrodite, Loki, and Baba Yaga but often call upon (and celebrate) the deities of other pantheons. Many more pockets exist within the word that likely sticks out on this page; a whole collection of worlds with names, descriptions and categories alive within this title that was once kept quiet… but this isn’t a poetic tour through our diversity as a whole. A solid intention serves as the core of this space, just as our Earth’s iron center pulls everything toward it’s molten heat.

In order to paint the full picture of what this blog is about, it seems appropriate to tell the story of how my perception of magic changed with one simple question.

Three years ago, I found my people and my practice. As my Work evolved, so did my mystical toolbox of supplies. I weaved wands out of branches and called in Inspiration. I set up an altar where all of my beautiful gems, images and soul-bits could be on display. I invested in my first Book of Shadows that I *knew* would encapsulate my spirit between those pages.

 

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IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

 

I remember the day that I brought it home. I could barely wait to fill that book with poems, spells, artifacts and artwork… but it all had to be just right. Clean. Perfect. Just like all the mysterious ones I admired when I was younger. These two were the steel rods that held up my massive expectations:

 

This handmade, living record of the Sanderson Sisters

 

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This gorgeous “how-to” scrapbook of the Owens Women

 

I put a great deal of effort into those first fifteen pages. So many snips of paper were placed neatly around archetypes and explanations in such elegant cursive! Then it came time to record the heavy stuff… My addiction Work. My abandoned child Work. All of the pain and darkness that I desperately wanted to purge from my heart and burn after scrawling. I knew this Work was necessary, but I convinced myself that it needed to be done in a separate spot. How could I possibly follow poetry about connecting to a new deity with my reoccurring dream of defecating in public?

“I have a new journal for my Witch Work, a journal for my 12-Step Work and a journal for my dream Work,” I explained to one of my mentors as we were about to sit down for breakfast. “My new book is for magic only.” She stopped what she was doing in the kitchen and shot me a gaze that I knew meant she was about to slice right through my bullshit.

“Isn’t your whole life magic?” she asked.

And with that one sentence, I was knocked down off of my high-horse. Of course my whole life is magic. If the act of magic is defined as “the art of changing consciousness at will” and I use my will to make choices in my life, then it is the consequences of those choices that shift my perspective (ie: consciousness) so that I can continue to manifest the life that I want for myself and make the world a better place.  It is how I do my part to create change in the living Universe around me. Boom. Magic.

Writing a chant about courage helps me carry out the bold choices I need to make when I feel anxiety. Doing addiction Work helps me recover from destructive habits, which allows me to participate in healthy relationships. Witnessing a friend tenderly reading stories to a sick family member that was cruel to her as a child opens my heart to compassion for others. All of this is magic, and it definitely deserves to be included in that fancy book.

It can be easy to whittle magic down to “what I do in my coven” or “how I feel when I’m at a public ritual,” as if something *special* needs to happen in order for that magical spark to show up. Don’t get me wrong, these formal happenings are special, but truth be told: magic is how we choose to participate in life every single day. It’s how we show up in community as well as how we treat ourselves. Which brings me to the intention of this blog:

VasalisaTheWitch is here in cyber space to reveal how she experiences magic in daily life to her community.

There will be artwork. There will be poetry. There will be stories of synchronicity  realized through everything from divination to conversation. And there will certainly be a full spectrum of emotion unveiled as she travels down the road that cackles and shakes for your reading pleasure.

“Cast yourself. You are the spell.” – T. Thorn Coyle

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IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch