Witchy Things: Battling The Slump

The Slump is an irritating phenomenon that affects many practitioners. You wake up one day and your interest and enthusiasm for witchcraft is just…gone. No idea where it went, or why it went, all you know is that your books and crystals and herbs just don’t hold the same appeal that they used to.

I hear about this a lot. More than you’d expect, really. I ran into a similar problem five or six years into my own practice, and I’ve gotten similar messages from other witches at around the same general period in their own journeys. (I think The Fifth-Year Slump might be a thing, but really it can happen anytime.)

We all get to a point where we feel like we’ve stalled somehow. We’ve learnt the basics, we’ve run out of Witchcraft 101 books to read, we’re looking for the next step and not finding it, we haven’t had a reason to cast a spell in a while…it could be any number of things. And it’s very frustrating. Makes a witch want to hang up their boots.

For those of us with mentors or a local witchy community to offer guidance, it’s a little easier. There are extra resources and knowledgeable people to turn to, and that can help buoy things along until the slump passes.

For solitary practitioners, even with an online support system, we can be left feeling like, “Well….now what?”

What I’ve found to be helpful is getting back to my roots. By this I don’t necessarily mean starting over, but instead, going back to the things that made me want to be a witch in the first place, the things that made me turn my face to the autumn wind and wonder if I could fly.

Here’s a short list of suggestions to help you work through your slump:

Try something new. If your current line of study isn’t doing anything for you, branch out! Curious about the history of magical practices? Always wanted to try divination? Go for it! There are lots of places like Sacred Texts and Project Gutenberg were you can read books for free. See if something new grabs your interest. Nothing revitalizes a practice like having something new to explore.

Play in the dirt. For witches whose practice revolves around plants, getting into the garden and working the soil can make a world of difference. Go out and pull weeds for a bit, or plant something new, or just sit and soak up the sun with your plants. Pick up a potted plant or some kitchen herbs that are easy to grow. Tend them and harvest them. Seeing little bundles of drying herbs and flowers hanging about always makes me feel better.

Get out of the house (if you can). Stir things up with a little fresh air and a mini road trip. Go visit a local park. Take a stroll through the woods. Visit a sacred site. Is there a particular spot within easy travel distance that makes you feel witchy and powerful? Go pay it a visit and see how you feel.

Attend a gathering. If time and energy and finances allow, see if there’s a pagan (or at least pagan-friendly) festival in your area. The largest concentration of gatherings usually happens in spring and fall, so these might be the best times to go looking. It doesn’t have to be a full-on rite or anything elaborate; it can be as simple as a local street fair. Sometimes just seeing and interacting with other practitioners, even on a momentary basis, can give us a helpful and refreshing boost.

Curl up with an old favorite. This one is going to sound silly to some folks, but I swear to you, this is probably the most effective method on the list. If you’ve hit a slump and nothing else is helping, pull out the books and movies and music that make you feel witchy.

Doesn’t matter what month it is, it’s always a good time for The Worst Witch or Halloweentown. Loved Practical Magic or The Craft? Watch them again. (Don’t be ashamed, I love them too.) Reread that book that made you want to cackle over a cauldron. Harry Potter? The Abhorsen Series? The Enchanted Forest Chronicles? The Discworld Witches? The Black Jewels? Do it. Put on a playlist with a witchy feel while you’re running errands or cleaning or chilling on the computer. Anything that floats your broomstick. There are plenty of them to be found on Spotify.

Whether it was hearing “Seven Wonders” at just the right time, or a poignant remark from Granny Weatherwax that really hit home, or that one episode of AHS: Coven, these things affected you in a profound way for a reason. Revisit them. Say hello. Don’t be surprised if the magic is still there. Because it’s still in you too.

You just need to find it again. 🙂

Magical Powders & Why I Love Them

The nice thing about making magical powders is that once you’ve got a jar of something ready, it’s very easy to toss a pinch or two where it’ll do the most good, even on your low-spoon days.

Case in point – House-cleansing needed on a day when you have no energy to spare for gathering jars and blending herbs? No problem! Toss some dried sage or cedar chips into a burning bowl, light it up, and add a few pinches of Clean House Powder along with your intent. Easy peasy.

Granted, there’s some effort involved in making the powder in the first place, but it’ll save you a lot of time and energy later on.

(Incidentally, this recipe along with dozens of others will be available in my forthcoming book, Pestlework. Look for it this August!)

Book Sales

By the by, if anyone has any pagan festivals coming up, I do offer my books to faire vendors at 60% of MSRP with low-rate shipping anywhere in the U.S. or Canada.

If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact me via email at Bree NicGarran@outlook.com. I need to make at least three more direct sales in order to keep the lights on this month.

Thank you for your support!

Making A Writer’s Day

Let me tell you guys something real quick.

The best possible thing you can do for a writer, apart from buying their work (if they’re selling it), is give them feedback.

Whether it’s a posted review or just a note saying, “Hey I read the thing and enjoyed it,” we thrive on that. Constructive criticism is great too – “Hey you missed a typo on page 43. Thought you’d like to know! Really liked A, B, & C. For the next one, do you think you might consider X, Y, or Z?”

Not only does this help spread the word about our projects, it lets us know how we’re doing. Half the time, writing feels a lot like screaming into the void. The fics gets hits, the book sells copies, but nobody says anything. So we cherish those bits of commentary. And believe me, there is no such thing as a review being too long. The longer and more in-depth the better.

I should take a moment to note that the practice of “flaming” still seems to be alive and well, and the only thing writers hate more than the hellscape that is extended editing sessions is a mindless troll cluttering up the review listings. So if you’re going to review, try to be constructive or at least polite. (You’d think this would be common courtesy. It’s not.)

All this being said, trust me when I tell you that seeing the hits and the sales go up makes us smile, but reviews make us cheer.

Thank you, readers, for all your support! 🙂

Sincerely,

A Writer

Updates – May 19, 2017

With The Sisters Grimmoire once more on digital shelves, it’s on to my next big project!

Pestlework, as some of you may have seen, is due out this August to replace The Witches’ Cupboard. (The copyright for that is reverting to co-author Anna effective September 1st.) I’ve already compiled all of my recipes from the Cupboard and from Grovedaughter Witchery, and now I’m in the process of creating a few dozen entirely new recipes to give the book a bit more heft.

The goal right now is 200+ recipes (nearly there) and 150+ pages (sitting around 110 at the moment). I also have to spruce up the instructions for making magical powders and oils, suss out the safety information, and expand the descriptions of some of my older recipes. It’s going fairly well thus far, and I’m on target to meet my expected release date.

My method right now involves flipping through the Heldstab, diGregorio, and Cunningham books on oils and powders and jotting down concept ideas as they come to me, then going back and fleshing out formulas and descriptions later on. This both keeps the creative juices flowing and keeps me from accidentally plagiarizing established works.

As it turns out, a fair amount of pop culture magic is finding its’ way into this piece. To give a prime example, there is a formula that helps the caster achieve their goals by removing the competition. I call it Blue Shell Success Oil. (I can hear you groaning. That’s okay. My husband did too.)

I’ve been at this all afternoon, so I think I’ll take a quick break to grab some food and re-up my drink, then I’ll be back at it until the wee hours.

Thank You, Silver Stars!

Silver Stars has just purchased my books for inclusion in their Fayetteville, NC store!

From the website:

Merry Meet ,
We are a family owned Pagan Shop and have many things to help with your ritual and spiritual needs . We enjoy meeting new people and visiting with old friends . If you just have questions we can help you find the answers.

We have the supplies you need for all your ritual and spell work.
Herbs, Candles, Cauldrons, Spell Kits, Books, Jewelry, Incense, Stones …etc
We also offer Tarot readings and Dream Interpretations every Tuesday thru Sunday.
We look forward to seeing you !
Blessed Be

Please help me say Thank You to the wonderful staff of Silver Stars by giving them your business! 🙂

Thank You, It’s Your Journey!

It’s Your Journey has purchased my books for inclusion in their Huron, OH store!

From the website:

It’s Your Journey, Huron, OH, is a premier  shop for all of your metaphysical and new age needs. In addition to products including tumbled stones, raw specimens, candles, incense, jewelry, herbs, essential oils, tarot cards, books, and Wiccan supplies, we also offer a variety of classes and healing services.

Services include Reiki and Energy Work, Massage, Emotional Freedom Technique, Past Life Regression, Soul Retrieval, Spirit Releasement, Psych-K, Ionic Foot Detox, and Readings! Readings range from psychics, mediums, Angel Cards, Tea Leaf, Tarot, Astrology and Numerology. It’s Your Journey’s Mission is about SUPPORTING YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY.

Please join me in saying Thank You to the wonderful staff of It’s Your Journey by giving them your business. 🙂