A witch’s job

A serious post today, shocking I know. I was all geared up to write a manifesto involving feminism, princess-ification of women, disney movies, storytelling, and reclaiming the Queen. I will get back to that no doubt. But something else entirely was thrown into my path and well damnit it’s important.

It involves being a witch, it involves being a priestess, it involves being a pagan in the world. There are several witchcraft blogs that I follow, that if you read any substantial amount of their post you get a feeling of the duty they prescribe to being a witch. Ms. Dirty, and the dedication she has for tending the dead wildlife of her territory. The rites she yearly goes out to perform with offerings. There is dedication, there is stewardship. The Witch of Forest Grove, is not only a site with scholarship and information, but is teeming with the devotion she has for her Forest Grove. Scylla over at Root and Rock posts are filled with subtle and not so subtle implications of her duty to her community and lands, even when it’s explaining when it’s not a witch’s business to fuck with stuff. Ivy on the Path, is a blog filled with dedications, offerings, walking the land and stewardship. I’m sure there are many many more blogs out there that have this same feeling of duty, seeing their craft not as a hobby. But these women were some of the first that I had ever come across who had the similar feelings of obligation to lend what little strength and craft I might have towards the land, spirits, and community that I found myself in. In a sea of websites, blogs, and people whose whole bent on “witchcraft” and “magic” were prosperity and love spells for themselves and friends, these internet islands are a welcome oasis.

Entry to The Lodge

They all have something else in common, they are all located in areas where wildlife and organic nature is in abundance and at their finger tips. I admit that my mindset and soul is set up more along those lines than the circumstances I currently find myself in. When I lived out at the Lodge behind the big Devil Mountain, oh how easily I fell into the ebb and flow of the land. I knew without thinking when things needed to be tended to, when offerings need to be made, what plant was begging for attention. It was hard work, but the instincts came easily and my cerebral mind didn’t have to think on it too much. The complexities of nature are well worn and change but not in the same dramatic and erratic way that the complexities of humanity does.

That’s where I find myself now, in the sea of humanity. A rural witch living in Urban-ia. For the most part I manage fairly well I think, I do actually have a fairly good understanding of humans and the condition of being mortal (many thanks to my father for those lessons, they have served me well) . I understand and can see what motivates individuals, and have a fairly keen idea of people’s character without needing much close interaction. Where things fall apart is understand the land here, the non-organic nature that has twined with the organic nature is a different beast entirely. Man made lakes aren’t quite the same as natural ones, but the entities that live off them (the birds, the fish, the critters) they are as they have been. Where does the line curve where is it straight? What is the ebb and flow of a cement world? When and to whom should offerings be made? These are all questions I’ve yet to figure out, but I’m working on it. I did however have a bit of an epiphany yesterday. Urban nature is dominated by people, community, neighborhood.  On surface that seems fairly obvious but lets delve deeper.

Living on the Lodge, I walked the land, spiritually and physically. I knew the boundaries of the territory and knew the major players therein. If someone decided to come into that 5 acre of land and cause trouble, there would be repercussions.  I lived there and it was part of my duty to help protect it. In the Urban here with so many people, many of which of complete strangers, and even more of which are crazy and filled with gunk, 5 acres immediately shrunk to just inside the walls of my cozy little apartment. That was improper thinking on my part. In fact living in this Urban nature of bustling people, working in this place, and serving as a public priestess here. My domain is much bigger than that, and thinking on such a small scale is in fact skirting my responsibilities of stewardship.

Yesterday, I witnessed a mugging of a harmless middle aged lady. In board daylight, not a block or two from the Store that I work at. This was not some dark alleyway, not some poorly kept neighborhood, this was right smack in the middle of gardened residential. Right at the epicenter of civility in this city. Where the sidewalks are never empty, restaurants have lines out the door, and coffee is at ever corner. This is where the organic nature and non-organic twine around the Lake to represent what society and culture is now. Here in this place, that I frequent, live, walk, work, craft, a petty crime. Frequently, apparently. The Police said this is a regular occurrence, they target women with fancy designer hand bags, or talking on cell phones. Grab and jump in the car waiting for them.

Obviously the perpetrators of this crime didn’t know what they had stumbled into. They targeted a helpless lady, unknowning that walking down the street was a witch, and a knight. Though I am grateful that the Lumberjack was too far away and the get away car too close for him to actually catch him,  he’s far too reckless with his safety for my taste. The crime happened on my watch, the woman, Ms. Eleanor, immediately fell under my protection. I’m not just a priestess at my coven’s circles, I’m not just a witch at my altar. More importantly I’m not a priestess or a witch who will let this shit pass. There will be nothing but poisoned fruit from this easy pluck.  Justice will come swiftly.

Protection for Eleanor

 

 

The spells and work that are going to go into this particular case are natural, without thought or question. It is literally the least I can do. But is that all I do? The least?

What about the fact that I live in this neighborhood. It maybe  bigger than my five acre plot of land, and have far more energetic pushes and pulls on it. But it’s my neighborhood, the people who I love walk and live here. Moreover there is more than one of me that live here. Doesn’t it go to reason that part of our duty, our witchy job goes towards making this a safe place?

I’m not all-powerful, I don’t think I or even a group of us can wipe out crime in even this small neighborhood of a bigger city. But that doesn’t mean that I’m off the hook to do what I can, help who I can. Especially in those areas where I have more energetic push, the area around the store I work, my street. Witchcraft isn’t just about rolling hills and wild crafting. In the stories the people of the village would go to the wise woman, the hag, the witch, with their problems.  But why would she help them? Payment (maybe, it happens)? Respect (unlikely)? Or maybe it was her job because they were in her territory.

Things to ponder. But it looks like my to do list just got a little bit longer.

 

 

 

 

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8 comments

  1. Very well said. I remember the first teacher I ever had often told me “To be a Witch is to live a life of service. It’s your job to discover who or what you wish to serve.” It’s a good point, even if it sounds like it comes out of modern fiction. There are so many flavours of Witches, and so few that share enough common ground to really unite. I often find that lamentable. However, I often climb up on a high, high horse when I hear someone preaching that to be a Witch you must honor X or worship Y or, the worst of all, believe in Z. The most inspirational aspect of these blogs that we read is that every single author is different, has a different priority, and serves something different. Hmm.. lots and lots to think about now. 😉

    1. That is a great quote and lesson. Because of the vast expanse of paths, traditions, and just perspectives in witchcraft and on the world, it is very hard to unite. But sometimes we can find common ground enough to do a few things, as long as no preaching is involved lol. I think the idea of tending to people’s home and neighborhood is one that can unite folk, without having to disavow our individual beliefs. Amoungst my coven now we are discussing whether or not a warding spell for the neighborhood would be better served on the Dark/New Moon (we can’t even agree on terminology lol) or the Full Moon. The important part is others have seen the need and something is going to get done. At least I’ll make sure it does 😉

  2. Thought provoking and powerful.

    When I lived in a big city I found it hard, at first, to feel part of what was happening around me. Everything about me as a witch just didn’t seem to fit; In a sea of concrete it is hard to feel the tides. Sadly in my case it took not a mugging but the death of a young man, almost on my doorstep, to make me realise that I could not contain my magic and my responsibility in the tiny box I called home. Our connections to the people around us are there, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. Our front doors do not shield us from the complexity of living among others no matter how much we may like them to. We cannot enjoy the advantages of city life and turn our backs on the problems.

    1. It’s so true and so interesting. I mean I know there must be a rhythm and a flow to urban witchcraft, but it’s not really something often talked about. Witchcraft and most flavors of paganism hinge on connectivity to your surroundings, yet there is this massive disconnect trying to apply that to the city. I’m sure there are witches out there that have tapped into the urban life organism, I just haven’t found any that are talking about it. It is heartening to see that this awareness past the front door has happened to others. Thank you for your lovely comment 🙂

  3. All that you CAN do is so much more than most ever dream to do. That’s what makes a human spirit so strong, makes a person so powerful, is the actual desire to do better, rather than the listless apathy that haunts most of our species. That’s why you are bound to make a difference, you care.

    -Angelina

    1. Well thank you. I do hope I can mange to do some small part to aide my neighborhood. It is funny I was having a conversation with one of my coven mates and he was pondering the motivations or morality of the people that do these things. I realized in that conversation that some folk might assume that I am intending or wanting to change the people who commit crimes, to show them what’s right, and wipe out all crime. The truth of the matter is I have no desire for that at all. I believe in the entire spectrum of humanity, which includes these folks who don’t care about right and wrong. I don’t want to wipe them off the face of the earth, what I want is for the people on the spectrum who know what’s right and care to stand up and take ownership of that.. Thank you for your kind comment 🙂

  4. I have lived in the same town for most of my life – its a burb about 45 minutes from NYC. The reason for me being here is that both my parents were murdered when I was 5. My Grandmother raised my brother and I.
    To say the loss of my parents was hard is an understatement – I went to therapy for about 10 years. But out of that loss came a great goodness. I discovered there were a lot of things that I just knew. Growing up with access to 3 local parks and a wooded area. I still go to the city and enjoy the diversity. There was a time when I also though the city was a “dead” place. But I learned that there is spirit there. The little grass that grows between the cracks. There is a lot of religions that are sharing the same space and doing what they can to take back the emptyness and planting a new seed.
    I read a blog post where someone was talkng about making offerings to the local spirit of the place. I thought this was interesting. Where I live the name is a translation of an Indian word – “Where the salt water meets the fresh”. Those spirits I have talked to. The trees I talk to (especially 4 that were very happy to have someone to chat with). When I walk down the street I pick up trash. I leave offerings in little places. I’ve stuck post-it notes in bathrooms with funny messages.
    What needs to be remembered is that under the man made is the earth (sorry if that sounds hippy fluffy bunny).
    But things take time, I would suggest getting a map of your local town, then looking and seeing what is there. Maybe a river or a waterfall (which I found about 3 miles from my job – which for me is walkable).
    Its funny I read the same blogs as you and they have taught me a lot about myself and how I worship. What I feel is sacred. Its helped me to streamline what I do. Granted I’m still working on it too.
    There’s abook called Urban Primative (I used to own it but seemed to have lost it). Its full of suggestions about things.
    But there are things that can be done and you can do, just smiling at people and saying hello to a face you see often picks up a persons day. 🙂

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