2019: A Year of Change

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This morning, I woke up late, drank a cup of coffee, and prepared my 2020 journal. Admittedly, I’d cracked into it a few days early after running out of space in my previous notebook. A post from a friend made me return to my intentions and aspirations for my 34th year (2019) and hours later, I’m at the head of our dining room table with my scrawlings laid out in front of me, reflecting on the past year. My husband is in the living room, reading old articles he wrote for our college town’s hockey team and undoubtedly marveling at the progress he’s made in the area of sports journalism since the beginning of the decade.

2019 brought a lot of personal change. I quit my office job to pursue my passions. Thanks to a supportive life partner who earns enough to float us during this stage of experimentation, I began to reorient my life toward creative, artistic work. I took a big leap professionally, and so far, it’s working out (albeit slowly). I grappled with imposter syndrome, self-doubt, and the necessity of personal discipline and practice. I made new friends and chosen family, and we welcomed our first family member to visit us in Korea.

In 2019, I rediscovered witchcraft and spellwork, things I hadn’t considered much since I first read The Spiral Dance as a college freshman in 2003, sitting outside with my pagan roommate as she cast a spell to let go of an ex. In truth, I’ve been a hedge witch for some time, slowly opening my heart to plant medicine, to my inner voice, and to my lineage. I come from a line of gardeners and artists (painters, woodcrafters, potters), from the Irish and the pre-Christian Celts of Cisalpine Gaul. This year, I opened to my lineage, though I’ve barely dipped a toe into that great river of time.

I discovered the Strange Magic podcast and a number of beautiful books on spellwork and herbs. I hosted a Mabon celebration for some friends and we made magical teas and fire cider. We practiced divination and radical sharing with tarot cards. I was nervous; it was my first time sharing these practices with others. I started writing my own incantations and spells and gave two tarot readings to others, something I was terrified to do. I’ve begun to carve out a magical life.

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Incantation for the Hierophant: I Am Enough

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Whenever I feel unbalanced or stressed, I try to make more time for my cards. There is wisdom and healing in my decks, and they form the foundation of my spiritual practice. The tarot is a well I can draw upon again and again when my cup needs filling. Well, today my cup felt pretty depleted. In fact, my cup has been feeling rather depleted over the past few months of busyness and activity. Can you relate?

I had a dream this morning. In the dream, there were so many starving kittens and I saved them all, stuffing them in boxes and blankets in my already crowded home. It began to rain, and I had to leave my home once more to compete in a challenge, in a place I’ve been before, an open hall containing two thick cloth ropes that formed a treacherously high course. I was up first, and I fell. I failed the test, and my team continued without me. The team was made up of three women in my life whom I admire and criticize for different reasons, representing the sides of myself I am afraid to examine or (perhaps?) of which I am overly judgmental. I cowered and weeped at their competency and talents as I slinked off to a corner, to awaken with a pounding headache in bed.

I went to my living room floor, lit some incense, gathered up my tarot cards, and welcomed well and healed spirits and guides into my magical space. As I did, lush orange sunlight beamed through the window. I laid out a Celtic Cross spread for the state of my life and spirit, and what I’m failing to see. The Hierophant has been visiting me lately, and that makes sense; it’s my card for this month. You’ll see that raven perching in the corner of this spread, too. Working through the messages of the cards, a word came to mind: “enough.” My mind races with this word. “Nothing is ever enough.” “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not disciplined enough.” “I don’t practice enough.” “I’m not talented enough, so maybe I should give up.” Raised in a capitalist society, I grew up believing that productivity and success determine my worth. No matter how many kittens you save, so my dream logic goes, you’re still a failure. This is the kind of absurd self-talk my subconscious self seemed to be highlighting.

And it is absurd, how hard many of us push ourselves. Some of us have no choice but to. Despite that, I am trying to learn that I am already what I’m meant to be: a living, breathing part of the divine web of existence. I do enough. I work enough. I have enough. There are many in the world who truly lack, who don’t have enough food, clean water, safety. But I am incredibly privileged and that is not me. Indeed, I have much more than enough. And yet, it can be so hard to see that. I am clouded by mental events, by my brain and its doing mode, which shouts at me, “You must, you should, you need…” This is a part of my Shadow, which the Hierophant waits to reveal to me in my dreams, in the cards, and in the flicker of the candles on my altar.

The cards laid out on the table, my body tired and drained, I walked away from the spread to eat some food and shower. I applied a homemade herbal oil – sweet almond stained bright yellow from dried chamomile and calendula blossoms – to my entire body and came back to the cards. Cleansed and ready to receive, this incantation came to me. It did not start with rhymes but developed them over time, as stream of consciousness transformed to spell. Should it speak to you, feel free to use it. Repeat it daily as an affirmation, read it lovingly aloud with a cup of tea or standing before your own altar, read it while holding The Emperor card close to your heart, or whisper it softly to yourself as you welcome the wisdom of your dreams.

I am a conduit of divinity and strength.
I fill my cup so my magic may shine.
I honor the abundance around and within me
and love the Shadow that binds.

I am an active agent of change,
tending myself as well as the world.

I do enough. I am good enough.
I see myself blossom and unfold.

The future holds that which my heart desires most.
I do as I will, harming none.
My hard work is an unfolding, not an undoing.
I embody the strength of the Sun.

I examine and embrace the dark parts of me,
for these hold the key to my glory.

I hope generously and freely, I believe in what will be.
I am enough, I am free, so mote it be.