Monday, May 17, 2010

What I Do

One of my chief interests is: How do we live as Witches in an urban, 21st Century, professional world?

How do the tenents of ancient, Earth-based, religion -- e.g., respect for nature and matter, connection with the cycle of the seasons, manifestation of the Goddess(es), worship of the fleshy, female-body part of life, Moon-based community, and, well, and everything in the Charge of the Goddess -- translate to life in the "capital of the free world," modern office buildings, iPhones, calendars kept on computers, Facebook, commuting in rush hour, conference calls, briefing billion dollar cases? How do we live as a Witch at work, keeping up modern homes, gardening in this ecosystem, having the modern families that we have, being in the circles that we're in, communicating mostly "on the grid," being unable to schedule a dinner with two other Witches on less than a month's notice because one of us travels extensively for business, one of us has a big deadline at work, one of us is juggling theatre subscriptions, belly dance class, several blogs, and work?

I could figure out, I like to imagine, how to live each moment as a Witch in a small cottage in a wood, waking with the birds, gardening, praying with the cycles of the Moon, gathering herbs, spinning wool, dancing the Spiral Dance at established community festivals, and doing divination for village girls. I could determine, I think, how to live each moment as Priestess of Mother Earth, on that mist-shrouded Isle of Avalon, surrounded by sister-Witches, outdoor temples, sacred studies. I could have been, I tell myself, a kick-ass Priestess of Athena or the Eleusian Mysteries, had I lived in a time when society, itself, was organized around those religious lynchpins. I even think that I could live well as a Witch in some dystopian future Bene Gesserit convent (a word so like "coven") or some Honored Matres group. But those are not the challenges that Hecate's set for me. Oddly, she wants me to live as a Witch in this distinctly un-Witchy world.

Yet, I am a Witch, and I need to be a Witch. I need to fully engage that spiritual practice in a big city, commuting twice a day in congested traffic, confronting homeless people, needy young lawyers, frustrated paralegals, a super-hero-obsessed G/Son who already knows how to access YouTubes on my iPhone and needs me to help him connect to nature, and a circle of women who are all more busy than is good for the functioning of any circle (I, myself, being chiefly to blame). I need to invest in the stock market as a Witch. I need to decide which mosquito-repellants (if any) to employ as a Witch who (1) needs to be outside and (2) needs to respect Nature. I need to function as a Witch in the death-match that is modern, high-stakes law and as a woman whose spiritual practice demands integrity from her. I need to be a Witch when I take clients out to dinner at the Palm, to be a Witch when I send e-mails, to be a Witch when I write letters to my Senators, to be a Witch when I do dark Moon magic to impact legislation, elections, the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

It's never been easy: living as a Witch. It's never been, even for those foremothers we envy, clear how, in any given time, one could live the life and be a Witch. And, at least today, it's more often a choice between: living as a Witch and staying employed, as opposed to: living as a Witch and staying, well, alive. I get that. And there's not, on first glance, a lot in the ancient texts to give me guidance. And, yet. And, yet.

What I do is to wake up each morning and re-dedicate myself, wake up each morning and pray. What I do is to take the route to work that takes me past a river, past weeds, past a homeless man with whom I have to interact. What I do is to try, consciously, to interact with young lawyers, paralegals, secretaries, and, yes, even co-counsel as a Witch would interact and not, merely, as another lawyer would interact. I try to pay attention to dreams (oh, look, we'd already cut off that branch w/o realizing it!), tarot, intuition. I try to buy food for me and for my family from local sources and to knit intention into the sweaters that I make for G/Son when I sit on conference calls, to invest with intention, to support with the money I make causes close to my heart. What I do is to garden consciously, after spending hours and hours in meditation with that land. And, what else I do is to sit every day at my altar, currently heaped with sage stems and leaves that I cut away from the living sage that returned from this winter's bad storms and will make into smudge sticks, and to ground, cast a circle, say the Ha Prayer, run the Iron Pentacle, go to my place of power, do magic, and, with gratitude, return.

What do you do?

Are there Witchy uses of email, iPhones, Blackberries, microwaves, lawn care services, investment advisors, YouTube, cars, computers, antidepressants, Facebook, and smart meters in today's world?
Picture found (warning) here.


Briny Deep said...

I use those things (well, except the antidepressants, I quit taking those this year because I got sick of having everything seem beige), and I am a witch, so those things are witchy by default, no? Things are witchy because witches use them. If our foremothers had those things, they would have used them.

City Wiccan said...

Wow, a lot to think about. I just started a blog for that very reason. As a witch who also lives in the city, it isn't always easy to engage in activities befitting a witch . . . but I have to live in the city. I need to for work, I need to for the open-mindedness of the people that live here, etc.

I like the idea of finding new ways to engage with modern technology as a witch. We need a witchy iPhone app!

Teacats said...

Heyyyyyy! Thats a GREAT idea for an I-phone APP -- perhaps one with the magical uses of herbs and spices? One for the explanations of Gods and Goddesses? Maybe one for Tarot cards? Explanations of Sabbats and Esbats or Moon Magic? Might be good courses for some of the Pagan shops too! Of course -- I am still a very Luddite -- and hardly have any tech knowledge in my brain! LOL! Except for searching, shopping, email and blog-reading of course! Even my old old cell phone is hardly ever used! (I can hear the gasps of shock and horror over here!)

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Teacats said...

BTW -- LOVE the artwork -- but the theme could be more updated -- perhaps a savvy dressed witch (with glasses LOL! -- just teasing!) with an I-pad (and a toad? LOL!) and of course several cats lounging about and watching.

Jan at Roseamry Cottage

Miss D said...

I have been working to reconcile this gulf in my being as well. I make myself spend an hour outside everyday and be with my cats, lay on the grass, just BE... But I also have downloaded several witchy-esque apps on my iPhone, of which I will begin to post critiques on soon—hopefully today, if I find time [haha]. I also have my BoS on my computer. I love LOVE it b/c I can search for anything, and it will find all kinds of stuff relating to that keyword. I mean, let's face it. In my career, I spend 80% of my day on the computer.

Double Jointed Fingers said...

This is so thought inspiring that I keep coming back to read it and have posted it on my site as well. I feel like I have hit a brick wall and just keeping doing the same things over and over and haven't really been the best I could be. It is difficult to juggle family, job, and Wicca. I find myself longing for that little house in the woods where I could practice my magic without scaring the neighbors.

Magaly Guerrero said...

I'm a former Marine (although once a Marine always a Marine), a writer, a full time student, a religious scholar wannabe. I live in New York City, my apartment is too small for big pets so I make friends with the brave spider that lives in my bathroom sink. How do I live as an Eclectic Witch in NYC? I wear my pentacle proudly and spread the beauty that is Paganism to anyone who wants to hear it. I write fiction about real Witches (Witches living the horrors of custody battles, discrimination at work, harassment, or just falling in love). I live as a Witch by living and staying happy.

I loved this post and the picture too ;-)

raewytch said...

this is the kind of thing I find interesting too. I have a blog called urban witch and also wrote an article published by witchvox. One of the things I feel is that a lot of the technological things we use, modern building equipment/blocks etc all originally came from some natural material and so still retains a connection to the earth. if you see spirit in all natural inanimate objects then there is also going to be a spirit of the manmade objects that come from those natural materials. A spirit of the tarmac or the breeze block?!

Hecate said...

Thanks to everyone for the amazing comments. I'm planning a post soon on the iPhone apps that I use in my spiritual practice. Love all the ways that people find to live as witches in "this" world!

Morgaine said...

Mosquito repellent -- the best ever and perfectly environmentally friendly; IMO smells better than DEET. Use sage oil. I make my own, but there are plenty of products that are available for purchase. I add catnip and lavender for scent. :-) Love the post.

Anonymous said...

I find myself moving through these same thoughts practically everyday. It's actually quite comforting to know that there are more of us out there, striving to hold true to our 'witchy~ness' in the modern world. I wonder, were we all able to get 'off the grid' and back to our roots, what would become of the city folk, without our magic and inspiration...

Thank you for your beautiful words of wisdom ♥