Re-imagining Growth: Structure and Freedom in Magic, a.k.a. how I’m navigating a changing magical practice as a professional witch

I have a confession:

My magical practice is changing. I haven’t celebrated a Wheel of the Year holiday since Samhain. New and full moons have largely faded from my magical work. I’m moving away from my folk Catholic practice. And at the same time, I’m deepening my relationship to the Swamp in which I live; my ancestor work has continued past it’s usual ending point at Imbolc; I’m taking up an herbalism practice in earnest; I’m starting up a new devotional practice; I’m starting to learn more about astrology, of all things. (I always thought astrology was a part of spiritual spaces that just wasn’t for me.)

And wooooo, that’s a lot, isn’t it? Nearly everything about my practice is shifting. Is it absolute chaos? Do I feel like I’ve been cut adrift? Do I feel abandoned or bereft without these practices which were the foundation of my magic for years?

And the answer is…that I don’t. I feel excited, curious, exploratory. In many ways, I feel much like I did when I was first starting out on this path. It feels like starting again. That’s not to say that it isn’t messy. Which is part of why I haven’t been talking much about it. So much is shifting so fast that it’s hard for me to make sense of it, let alone distill it into words that would make sense to someone else!

And, of course there’s also the pressure of perfectionism. We live in a goal-oriented society. We value the thing at the end, the achievement, at the expense of the journey, the process. First of all, I don’t want to perpetuate this harmful tendency. Second, it is quite literally contrary to the ESSENCE of the work that I do! So I’m here. Showing up and sharing my messy process.

I’ll be honest. For a while, I felt like a fraud. Showing up and teaching and advising others on their magical practices while mine is so amorphous, so messy, so ill-defined.

But then, I realized: process is the point. Changing is growing is living. My magical practice is an extension of me. I change and grow, so of course it’s going to change and grow.

Some of you may be familiar with one of my favorite ways the interpret reversals in tarot: goal-orientation vs. process-orientation. Are you so focused on just achieving the goal, getting to the finish line, doing the thing (goal-orientation) that you aren’t in the moment, present with the action of doing the thing, enjoying the work (process-orientation)? (Shout out to Lexa of Blind Oracle from whom I learned this way of interpreting reversals!)

I have shifted from a goal-oriented way of looking at my practice to a process-oriented way. I have moved from wishing I had the perfect, lush Beltane to being present with the thrill and exploration of imagining what might replace Beltane in my practice. And this sort of exploration, experimentation and curiosity is at the heart of what I do and what I hope to teach you how to do. It’s at the heart of it because EXPERIMENTING was what brought me to magic in the first place!

I might have left academia and STEM behind 3 years ago when I dropped out of my PhD program, but I spent a total of 8 years steeped in the structure, order, process of science while getting a B.S. in physics, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and then dropping out of my PhD. The process of try, test, experiment, iterate is maybe just in my bones at this point. In some ways I am still a scientist at heart. And it was my scientist’s interest in experimentation that actually started me down the path of magic to begin with: I saw this thing that was helping people in a way that I wanted to be helped. And I let myself try it, test it out, see if it got me results. And OH DID IT GET ME RESULTS. And as I was getting those results I was trying, testing, experimenting, iterating, and creating a STRUCTURE for connecting to magic and claiming the power to create the change you wanna see in the world.

For a while, my practice was stable. I didn’t need that structure any more. But now, in this period of change I am working my way back through that structure for development and growth. And that structure is the reason I don’t feel totally lost and adrift in this moment. It provides a structure, a container to hold the chaos. It is a map that helps me navigate this new, unrecognizable terrain.

So often, perhaps especially in the spiritual realm, there is a tendency to think that what you need to grow is absolute freedom. Freedom to expand in any way or direction your soul and spirit takes you. And the only problem with that is that absolute freedom is overwhelming, it is indiscrimate. We need a structure to navigate it, to sort process and actions that support us from those that don’t.

In other words, channelers need a channel. Mediums need a medium. Our practices have cosmologies and containers that hold them. And when your containers or cosmologies are forming, as it is in the beginning of a practice, or shifting, as you change and grow, you need another structure to hold you while things reform.

And that’s why this structure does. It is a flexible framework for orienting, focusing, dreaming, and then taking action so that you can connect with the magic that makes change and makes your dreams a reality. I call it the Re-imagine Framework. Re-imagining is not daydreaming: to re-imagine is to pair dreaming with action. And that’s exactly what you do when you’re experimenting with making your dreams a reality – taking tentative steps towards your dream, seeing if that action brought you closer, then either course-correcting or dreaming up your next action towards what you’re dreaming of! It’s a method that’ll get you to stop fucking around and start getting serious about your magic and your dreams so that you can start seeing real results.

It’s the framework that got me where I am today and it’s the framework that is helping me grow into the next stage of my adventure! If you’re like me and needing a channel to channel through, a container to experiment within, let me introduce you to the 5 parts of the Re-Imagine Framework:

Confront

First, get to the root of what has you feeling powerless or stuck. It’s time to get clear on what is pissing you off, making you feel powerless, or stuck. You gotta get to the root to uproot it and make room for new growth.

Calm

Then, make a plan to calm yourself down when your magic-making freaks you the fuck out. Pulling up the weeds that crowd out your growth can be challenging. You might feel anxiety. You might feel like you can’t do it. When your brain is freaking the fuck out, how are you gonna calm down and stay the course? We’ll work together to craft a strategy that weave together both the practical and mundane, so that you can keep growing and keep making your magic, even when your brain wants you to stop.

Imagine

Identify the new possibility you’re ready to bring into reality. How are you going to re-imagine what is possible in this realm? What are you going to re-imagine? Before you can bring new realities into being, you must first know what you desire.

Act

Remake reality. One tiny, small, itty bitty action at a time. It’s time to take it, do it, make it. Because, after all, magic is made. So if you want to see your magic making change in the world, you gotta make it.

Ground

This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time! You’re gonna get distracted; you’re gonna stray from the path. But, if you know that there will be distractions and wanderings, then you can anticipate that. Make a plan to come back to your magic so that you can keep growing and keep developing.

I’m gonna be doing a FREE live workshop soon all about how you can experiment your way to YOUR magic, make magic that makes change, and make your dreams a reality! The date is TBD so make sure your on my mailing list to be notified when registration for the workshop is announced! Sign up HERE!

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