Last week, my psychiatrist and I talked about how the hardest thing I am having to learn as an adult is moderation. It seems so wrong to take the longer path, to not superstar excel as quickly as possible, even though I know that the point of so many things is the journey. Pushing and striving has its place, and that place is not in everyday circumstances. In this, being a witch is so good for me. So very good. No book hands down what my spirits need me to know. I must be quiet and listen, and before that, prepare for them, invite them, prepare myself. I must be slow, deliberate, and discerning about who I speak to and how much to trust their words. There are an awful lot of tricksters out there, which is a painful lesson brought entirely by haste.
Magic demands patience for the most part. It doesn't take too many times spending a year living the fallout of raising a lot of energy and throwing it it a poorly thought out working. (Pro tip: Don't ask Brigid for more money at work, a new job, and to finally, truly learn patience all in the same Imbolc ritual. You will get what you asked for, and it will be excruciating.) Books are good for a lot of things, but there come points that there isn't one out there that is for you and your path. Like the Moon card in Tarot, you step into the boat and go where it takes you in the deep, dark night. That takes faith. The faith takes good experiences and bad, so that you know you can handle either and come out alive. The gods and the ancestors are faithful to speak. I am learning to be faithful to arrive and to listen.
My practice teaches such good lessons. Unfortunately, the rest of my life hasn't necessarily started learning them yet. And so when the rest of that outside chaos pushes things off in my practice, it feels like a great, sad failure to myself and to the gods. The problem of never feeling like you're doing enough is a personal one with a high cost. I messed up for the last moon. I made homemade cornbread in the spirit flame's cast iron vessel. I made the harvest altar and decorated it. And then there were a couple of blips in my personal life, and I forgot to actually do anything. The cornbread for Grandmother still got offered, but not in the right way, and not to her so much as to the land. Nothing got done for the God of the Forest. I fail in the small things and fear that I'll never be faithful enough, get the offerings and rituals and secret messages right. Just as much, I fear being enslaved to the whole thing to the exclusion of the rest of my waking life. I fear losing the thin line between present, past, future, and whatever forces operate in the Otherworlds. I've always had dreams and visions, heard and seen things. I can choose not to obey, but I can't not be aware of what they want.
I think of taking off till the new moon, to regroup. But the day is overcast, heavy, and grey as rain (rain!) looms all around. I pray and ask for a break to the drought, for a generous watering for the land and the animals and the fires. If the rain comes, the harvest will surely come with it. If the rain comes, we will be saved. Instead of taking a break, Grandmother tells me to scrub the porch, clean up, quit worrying myself and be domestic. The porch is cleaned of a summer's worth of dust and ashes and schmutz. I will start the bread dough when I finish this, then take a ritual bath in the summer's spicy sweet harvest of sunflower petals, roses, and juniper. I will be forgiven, make amends, and not keep apologizing after everything is smoothed over. I am glad Grandmother is here to guide me, to lead me.