Is life passing you by?
Witchcraft can help. (LIVE CHAT IS TODAY!!! Reminder)
Don’t forget, the Live Chat on the Substack APP is today at 12pm PST — scroll down to calendar section for details.
In my 13 years of practice as a professional witch, some common problems/themes that come up for my clients are wanting to be :
engaged with the world (but feeling blocked)
present in life (but feeling disassociated)
inspired and connected (but feeling burnt out and alienated)
First of all, rather than being evidence of pathology on your part, all of these experiences are because of colonialism – or a process witches refer to as “disenchantment.”
Colonialism severs ties: between people and their families; people and their lovers; people and the more-than-human world. It severs the connection between our minds and our bodies. It even severs our relationship to the present moment.
This means you, dude. We ALL are experiencing this.
In other words, the colonial project IS severance. And it’s been going on for thousands of years, and it’s still happening.
If you look at the problems above, the common theme is a feeling of being disconnected, cut off, prevented from accessing or even losing the things that are most important to us.
It’s not surprising that we feel disconnected since we’ve literally been trained since birth not only to disassociated, but to live in such a way that we enforce that sense of alienation on other people throughout the world. #colonialism It’s a contagion indigenous scholar Jack Forbes calls the Wetiko virus.
Feeling blocked, disassociated, and burnt out is a trauma response that most of us are forced to live with. We become used to it, acclimated. It’s a chronic condition that nearly everyone has, so it’s become like wallpaper. It blends in, we stop noticing it.
We don’t realize that our dis-ease is an illness rather than a personal failure or “just the way things are”.
It’s like we’re saying chronic lung disease caused by pollution is “just the way things are” (which IS pretty much what the overculture is saying).
If disenchantment is the disease, then the cure, or at least A cure, is witchcraft.
Witchcraft and Re-Enchantment as Medicine
An enchanted thing is inspirited, numinous. In other words, the thing is no longer an object. The thing becomes a subject, an agent, a being that lives.
Subject and object relationships are not actually RELATIONSHIPS. Because, the subject (we) are isolated individuals acting upon the object, a dead thing that can’t respond to us — the best we can do is extract from it.
Living that way is bad enough, but because the extraction model of relationship is the fundamental basis of our civilization, it’s not just US extracting from OTHERS.
Oftentimes WE are the objects, we are being extracted from, we are treated as things. We’re treated like that so frequently that we come to believe it about ourselves.
We believe we ARE objects.
And we believe we just have to submit to that, and then continue the cycle by treating others as objects as well. Often without even noticing we’re feeling that way.
Witchcraft is an animist tradition. In witchcraft all of existence is already enchanted. It already has spirit in it.
Reality has spirit, and everything in it, is a subject (has agency), BECAUSE it is connected through webs of relationship. Reality comes to life THROUGH RELATIONSHIP.
Relationship IS enchantment.
Therefore, we can heal ourselves from the colonial disease of disenchantment by reforming our webs of sacred relationship.
To enchant is to make sacred.
We chant over a thing, and we form a bond with it. The thing becomes alive, a numinous being with power and agency.
Though the thing may already exist, it is our chanting over it, that forms a web of sacred relationship bringing it to life.
And friends, the same is true for US.
We are just clumps of matter. It’s the singing of our cells, and the exchange between us and the breathing trees, and our loving friends, which brings us to life.
When we enchant, not only do we strengthen our relationship to the “object” of our magic (the candle, the herbs, the poppet), but we strengthen our relationship to ourselves, to the present moment, to our histories and lineages and stories, and to all the other beings throughout the universe who are chanting with us.
When we feel alienated from our lives it’s because the overculture has severed the mycelial webs of connection between us and our world.
But witchcraft enchants. It reweaves those webs.
And the more we reweave the webs… the more engaged, present, and inspired we are every day of our lives.
How To Re-Enchant With Witchcraft
While I wouldn’t say witchcraft is the only possible answer to feelings of disengagement, it is an answer, a possibility that can help us. For instance…
For those feeling blocked: in witchcraft, we identify our obstacles (through divination, for example) and find ways dissolve them, or transform them into allies through ritual (and political action).
For those feeling disassociated: witchcraft is a practice of returning, over and over again, to the present, to the sensory, to the body, to rooting into and partnering with the world in our spells (and in systems of mutual aid).
For those feeling burnt out and alienated: witchcraft, with its chants and herbs and candlelight, is restorative in its beauty. Not only does it rejuvenate us, but it helps us create and FEEL interconnectedness and reciprocity with the world. We all nourish each other (and create a more beautiful world for EVERY BEING).
In witchcraft, all of this happens through the body.
One of my teachers Richard Strozzi-Heckler (who is a Somatic Psychologist, not a witch — as far as I know!) says:
“Working through the body is to return again and again to the energy that is being experienced and lived in the present moment.”
What that looks like it witchcraft is taking time to PRACTICE feeling the flow of awen (the living flowing substance of divine inspiration, which we might also think of as Akasha, dark matter, the Holy Spirit, chi, or life force energy) as it moves through our bodies.
Practicing witchcraft, we notice where the awen gets stuck, we pay attention to how its moving within us, we learn to direct its flow in the world around us. We greet the divinity and celebrate it in other beings. We honor the ways that the substance of inspiration connects us with our ancestors, and the entire living universe.
But we can’t just expect to overcome thousands of years of colonial conditioning overnight. To live this way takes time and practice.
In candle magic for instance, we are infusing the candle with our awen. But if we can’t feel the flow of awen, we’re not going to be able to get very far.
We need to PRACTICE feeling our awen and sending it into the candle.
The good news is… the practice of witchcraft is a pleasure to do… even if you’re just beginning, even if you don’t think you’re “good at it”.
If you’re enjoying striking the match, lighting the incense, and presenting it as an offering to the Spirit of the Moon, you ARE good at it.
Your pleasure is all the validation you need.
If you’re interested in working with witchcraft and becoming more present in your life, that’s what the Mystery Cult moon rituals, New Moon downloads, and all the other group work is for.
During the monthly Full Moon ceremonies we practice getting into our bodies, slowing down enough to notice the magic already at work in our lives, and then practice rituals that help us call in what we desire.
In the New Moon downloads, I create monthly guides to help you work with the awen of the season in self directed study and home practice.
Mystery Cult also offers group chats on the Substack APP to process what we’re learning, share our experiences, and build community. [Next group chat is today, BTW! See below for more details].
We also have a monthly, “Language of the Birds” Essay Reading group, where we read essays that relate to the subjects we’re covering during the moon cycle. [This month we’ll be discussing a text on Shamanism and Witchcraft].
No matter what, if you participate in the Mystery Cult curriculum, you WILL be more present in your life, more inspired, and more engaged with the world.
All of that is just a natural, inevitable result of practicing witchcraft.
Hope you join us in the Mystery Cult!
Mystery Cult with Amanda Yates Garcia is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.*
Mystery Cult Event Calendar
TODAY: Friday, 4/14/23, 12pm PST: Substack Subscribers Live Chat, following up on the Libra Full Moon Ritual, we’ll be discussing how practicing witchcraft helps us access the Venusian in our lives (pleasure, joy, aliveness, creativity, sexuality, etc). Please prepare by thinking about your physical practices of witchcraft, what they are, how they feel, and what you’d like them to be.
Tuesday, 4/19/23: New Moon Solar Eclipse in Aries [Witch Guide Download]
Thursday, 4/27/23, 6pm: Essay Club. Reading – What Happened To Western Shamanism, by Chas Clifton. An essay discussing the history of shamanism and the differences and similarities between shamanism and witchcraft. (Keep in mind it was written in 2009 - if it had been written today it’s very likely that some of the content would’ve been modified). I’ve linked to a scanned PDF here, but if you’re interested in similar topics I highly recommend the book it comes from: The Paganism Reader by Chas S. Clifton and Graham Harvey.
Sunday, 4/31/23 7pm PST: Petitions Due for Beltane Eve Candle Blessing Ritual for Founder’s Level Subscribers. Make sure that you have your 40 word petitions in for your candle blessing. The theme of this blessing is jouissance, which means physical or intellectual pleasure, delight, or ecstasy. I’m going to be doing a honey spell for y’all, so LOOK OUT WORLD.
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