Author: Morgana Shades
The first thing I have to say is that I am not a traditional ‘pagan’ as the term is used today. I celebrate the Sabbaths and Esbats along with the moon cycles, yet I cast no spells. I respect nature and do not wish to interfere with it, or the gods. I believe in the gods more than most things and my faith in them has helped me through hard times. I have cried into the bosom of the Shining One and been comforted more times than I can count.
Yet, in my journey, I have often wondered as to whether I am a true “neo-pagan” because I do not attempt magick. So many people ask me if I cast spells once they find out my beliefs, and are immensely disappointed when I say no. I own books of spells, such as Scott Cunningham’s Book of Shadows, yet I do not use them. I have not even put a protection spell on my house and family… I suppose I believe the love we have is strong enough to protect us.
Recently I realized that I do have my own form of magic: cooking. I am by no means a wonderful chef, however I am known to wake up in the morning and make scones or pancakes for breakfast. It is nothing much, but it is healing. I put on music- usually Irish pub songs or show tunes- and bake to my heart’s desire. While I bake, I feel the energy sparking around me and going into whatever I make. If I am sad or upset, I feel better as whatever I make progresses (especially if I can knead it etc.) . If I am in a good mood, the room nearly sizzles with good energy. No matter what my mood is whoever, the energy and magick that comes from the simple task of binding ingredients together into something nourishing is always good. I mean no ill will and my creations have never harmed anyone.
When we think about magick today, we tend to associate it with great works… the occult if you will. Even household protection spells have to be done with exact precision: walking around the circle umpteen times during the moon’s waning period. Although there is meaning to the time of the day and moon cycle, and I do not deny this for I base many of my grounding and remembering rituals around the moon’s cycles, simple acts can have great power in them: A kind word can make somebody’s day; the smell of baking bread can sooth the aching heart; a cup of chamomile tea can help the aching head; the sound of someone you love laughing and singing or a hike in the woods can make the soul rise and fly. We do not need to follow the phases of the moon to do these things or perform rites at certain times… the magick is within us and all around us.
Many though tend to forget it, as the lure of the occult draws them into what is almost an organized religion with specific rituals for specific times. Yet, as followers of the Earth, we should not be limited; we should use the resources around us to their full potential. We can still have our rituals to celebrate the moon and the changing seasons, but we need to remember that our ancestors would have performed simple everyday tasks with what they had at hand, which may not have included a cauldron or athame. They remembered the greatest magick of all- life and the forces that drive it- and used that, rather than a silly spell book.
To me, that is the greatest magick of all: those simple everyday tasks that we transform with our energy and good feelings. It is not using athames, crystals, and cauldrons to perform great feats, but rather living and cherishing life and taking those little moments which the gods give us all the time and using the magick within us to transform them into something special: when you’re checking out your groceries and smile at the tired cashier; when you hug the ones you love; when you control your temper; when you make a home cooked meal; when you recycle rather than throw away that slip of paper; when you walk down the road to the shop to pick up milk rather than take your car; when you stop and smell a rose; when you smile at a stranger; when you sit beside that person in the cafeteria who is alone and looks upset. That is the true magick: the true spirit of the pagan- to take the everyday and make it something wonderful. Yes, we all need our rituals- it’s part of being human- but we need to remember the everyday magick around us.
Of all the everyday magick, love is the strongest. To me, I don’t need to place protection spells around my house to protect my family because love does that already. I feel the energy around my home, protecting us. The only jewelry I wear, I consider charms because they were gifts given to me by those who love me and I feel that I can do anything knowing the love is there. The charms are just there to remind me of it. This magick won’t solve everything and won’t keep the inevitable from happening, but it is strong enough to keep us going every day. And, to be honest, my dog coming up and curling up to me when I’m sad does me more good than any spell ever would.
In the end, we only need the gifts given to us by the gods to make the world a better place. We just need to remember that, and not get caught up in our rituals. By remembering who we are and using the energy all around us, we can tap into deeper forms of energy that take us beyond this world (through mediation etc.) But we need to get back to our roots first and use the magick around us.