I have been a professional witch and psychic for eleven years. In that time, I have developed many beliefs based on hands-on experience. When I came to the Craft, it was for all the right (for me) reasons: to obtain the power and strength to climb out of the confines of the small town I grew up in. It has taken me many years to achieve this goal. Having done so, I began to cultivate a new set of goals: namely obtaining security.

One of the beliefs I have developed in a decade-plus of magickal practice is this: if you have the ability to do better for yourself, you have the spiritual obligation to do so.

As I looked at what I needed to do to increase my personal security, I felt overwhelmed — a bit like a little boy who was told to “go clean his room.” There was so much to do, that I didn’t even know where to start! Many of us get stuck at this stage: it’s tempting to surrender to that feeling of confusion and disempowerment, and simply “pray for help” rather than to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Our community has an unfortunate tendency to externalize our power: we tend to look at our abilities to walk between the worlds as tools we can use to help others, but not ourselves. We tend to glorify our weaknesses rather than acquiring the knowledge to overcome them; to sacrifice our personal energy until we have nothing left to give; and, in dark moments, we turn our power over to an amorphous Other rather than realize that it is up to us to empower ourselves.

I believe that we are living embodiments of the gods. We know the power of our thoughts, our words, and our actions, yet most of us choose to reinforce what’s wrong in our lives rather than make a path for a better one. Why? Because of a fatal flaw in our thinking: we either doubt our ability to make the changes we need, or, worse still, because we are “waiting for a miracle.”

Our culture is dominated by belief systems designed specifically to dis-empower us. We are sold a bill of goods: the idea that if we just surrender our will to a “higher-power” we will be rewarded by miracles. However, don’t we magic-workers believe that we are the living embodiments of gods? If so, is it not our responsibility to make our own miracles?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that simply doing a spell will fix everything. But if it won’t fix anything, then what are we here for? Spellwork isn’t about surrendering our will to another, but rather focusing and expressing our will to find the ways (magickal or mundane) to change our circumstances. Sometimes the magic we experience is the direct result of our magic; at other times it is the result of doing the leg work or the manual labor associated with the spell. In either case, self-empowerment is the goal.

So, the next time you are standing in that place where the mess feels so overwhelming that you couldn’t possibly start to find your way through it, look again. There’s always a first step, a place to begin finding your way out the situation in which you find yourself. Sometimes that way means bargaining with the gods, and at other times it means acting like one. Go ahead: cast that spell, and follow it up with action in the mundane world to reinforce your will. Every time you choose to take action, to persist, to engage your will with the world, you are taking a step towards becoming the embodiment of the god(s) you choose to worship. And that, people, is the best reason for doing magic in the first place.

Originally posted on Pagan Square Thursday, 19 June 2014