Sep 7, 2014

Making a (Magical) Effort

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.  I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”   
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Sara wrote a post over at Candlesmoke Chapel this past week about her difficulty connecting to the deity/spirit that she feels has been calling to her, and I'm thankful that she chose to share her frustration - and here's why:  Sara does the work.  And the work isn't always easy.

Sometimes our practice seems more accessible.  After you've put in the time.  The meditations, the journeying, the crafting, the circle casting, the dirt digging, the ecstasy - the roads open faster.  You don't have to wait at the gate anymore.  You've done the work and the door is wide for you. And those on the other side are expecting you. They know you. You've lit the candles and whispered the prayers or shouted the chants, and you've left the offerings.  And they've been accepted. You have been accepted.

It's convenient to stay in that place, where everything is safe, and you create the same charms and speak the same words, and the door always seems to be open.  

But I don't think this path is supposed to be easy.

Sometimes new spirits approach, and you aren't sure how to connect.  Or you end up on a new land base and are left with the task of introducing yourself.  You may seek to learn new work (or likely old work), and feel defeated when it isn't so effortless.  Your divinatory tools or skills may wane or fall flat.  Your full, fiery, never-tiring heart may just burn the hell out.

At times, it's going to be ridiculously, agonizingly, difficult.  And struggle isn't reserved for the newbies.  The old hands, the hereditary lines, the ones who found a book at ten years old and never looked back - they don't get a free pass.  Experience doesn't mean it will never get challenging.

I am still new.  I've been actively working at this strange, enchanted path for a little less than seven years.  And most days, I feel like I know nothing.  

Two weeks ago, during the dark moon, I was planning a particular working where I felt that a circle would be beneficial.  I don't always use a circle - it often isn't practical for the work I do. But in this case, it seemed like a good idea.  As I was getting ready, I felt a very real fear.

What if they don't come?  What if no one shows?  What if I'm just standing here while the spirits are off partying somewhere and they don't want to lend a hand or sing backup?

I didn't forget how to throw up a circle.  I had left my offerings and done my due diligence, and practiced my little witcheries.  But I'd been ignoring some things too.  I'd been holding up the "I can't see you" hand, trying not to look through my fingers at the messages coming my way all summer. 

The spirits are not your dogs.  You don't get to kick them and then expect them to show.  You can't ignore them and then throw a lasso up in the hopes of catching one to work with you.

In the end, my circle was perfect and those I invited, came through.  But it was a great reminder that the work is never done.  There is no resting on your laurels or wearing a "Hecate Is My Homegirl" t-shirt and expecting the spirits to be constantly riding shotgun.

Do the work, culitivate patience (as Sara says), and don't be surprised if it sometimes feels a bit like swimming upstream.  The effort is worth it.

picture courtesy of wiki commons
"A Visit to the Witch" by Edward Frederick Brewtnall (1846-1902)


The Country Witch said...

I love this. I think it is accurate and sometimes you can find yourself not doing the work and losing faith. It's always good to get a little reminder that it's not meant to be a cakewalk.

greekwitch said...

Hahaha! I am so making that t-shirt!!!
Have a blessed week!

Aidan Wachter said...

Oh hell yes!

It can be tricky for folks to remember this in the online age. Part of it may be that some (like me!) get quiet & intensely focused when the road is hard to follow. And the folks who DO verbalize their difficulties, well, some times that's the only song they know. So on the one side all that is heard tends to be read as 'things are easy' while the other side is 'things are so hard'. Neither are of course true.

For me, when the road gets hard it's time to dig deep.

There are lessons in the silence, fear, doubt. And the message is nearly always "bring your best to the table if you expect the same in return".

"what was hard to do is sweet to remember"
- Seneca

Debra She Who Seeks said...

My experience of the spiritual journey is that it is never static. Oh, the Divine may let you rest a bit occasionally, but then the new challenges will come again.

mrsduncanmahogany said...

This is a great post. I have been having these "feelings" that I am trying to connect but try as hard as I may - nothing. Then, a few years ago I had a blinding flash of the obvious that I need to connect with Hecate - and did. And boy, did she hand me my a** on a platter. Some days its easier, some not so much. I will keep on trying - you just never know.

sarah said...

Such wise words.

Rue said...

Yes to every word you left here!

Tilda said...

So beautifully said, Rue :) Life is about constant change and our practices are no exception. The heart does not live in static mode and neither do the spirits.

greekwitch said...

I have the same problem around the time of the Full Moon. I can not sleep well and many times at all. But i am so wired even after all the insomnia and i have so much energy i do not mind. The exact opposite happens to me around New Moon. I am constantly tired but i sleep for many hours.