Today I finally got a little corner of my house dedicated to my own magical work. Half of my tiny Cape Cod is dedicated to the business, which of course has to do with magic–from supplying herbs (and the seeds to grow them), incense, oils, and now essences for practitioners of ritual magic and witchcraft as well as making talismans for customers who don’t usually practice magic themselves. I have the living room and eat-in kitchen for my living space, but although I planned to have a section of my office for ritual, I usually ended up using the patio or a particular south-facing spot by the silver maple instead. Why south-facing? I don’t know; it just feels right. The problem is that the patio is generally visible to the neighbors, and they can certainly hear anything said out there if they’re outside. The spot by the silver maple is better, but at night it’s difficult to escape the light from people who are scared of burglars and so light up their backyards like it’s an airport, and it’s darn cold in winter. So neither area is exactly perfect. For a long time I told myself that I didn’t really NEED a dedicated ritual space, since so much of my regular work is magic. But you know how it is: there is what you need and there is what you WANT. I’ve been meaning to carve out a little section of the work part of the house for quite a while to dedicate just to the practice of magic. I pitied myself as I recalled how in my first place up here I had four bedrooms and just shut off the upstairs in winter; oh how I wished for that space back, cold as it was! I even thought about somehow sectioning off a part of the basement. Thing is the basement is not a pleasant space. It’s musty and cold. As for the attic, I found at the beginning of Abramelin that although it might fit the bill in terms of its description, the actuality of being in the attic was another matter. I just don’t like it up there. It’s claustrophobic and smells funny. Not bad, just odd and distracting.
I’ve been having a dickens of a time lately finding the books I own precisely to look things up in. My house is crammed with books, and they have long past overflowed the bookshelves, covering the dresser, the floor, tables, etc. Over the weekend I went through all my books and shifted those I really use on a regular basis for magic into the office area, where I have a couple standing bookshelves and some built-ins. I haven’t used the built-ins efficiently. In fact, I haven’t used most of the space in the house efficiently, and since I am working on hugely expanding Alchemy Works, I must be more efficient in my use of my small space. I figured out how to do that in the stock room, gradually putting together labeled bins for all my herbs and drawers for all the incenses and oils (and essences and the coming powders, waters, mists, etc.). But the office, where I have the computer and the essential oils and all the paperwork as well as my art desk, as I think of it, where I do hand drawing for the talismans and so forth, was still in a state of chaos. That can be good for creativity or it can get in its way. And it was getting in its way. But it seemed I never had time to devote to bringing order to this space. Over the weekend, I finally took that time.
That was partly because I have now gotten in the habit of getting orders out in a timely manner. I know, hallelujah! I asked Saturn and Hermes both for help, as I often do when it comes to pretty much any problem, and they gave it. Hermes gave me the energy and clarity of mind to visualize a way to make the place more efficient, and Saturn made me recognize my limits and gave me the discipline to put them in place firmly. At any rate, once I caught up, I found I had gobs more time because I wasn’t wasting a lot of it worrying and fretting and spinning my wheels.
So after getting all my useful books located and cleaning and sweeping and everything, I created a ritual space on a little chest of drawers I’ve been using to store old tax stuff (after boxing up and moving the old tax stuff to the basement). It’s just a battered little pine chest of drawers I bought for $25, I think, years ago. It fits perfectly in a part of the pine built-in cabinets and shelves in here. My cat Sam used to love to sharpen his claws on it, and it still bears the marks of much happy scratching. I have to say that I love pine as a wood. It’s just beautiful to me, especially when it is clearly used.
Once I had the space carved out, I took the time to consecrate the tools I’ve been gathering for the past year–a black amethyst chalice, a blackthorn wand, and other stuff–and to raise a ritual glass to the spirits. It was great to have a special spot to honor those who have so helped me over the years and to hail other spirits with whom I hope to build a stronger relationship (Mandragora, I’m looking at you). I also felt like today, the last day of the old tattered year, was the perfect day to do this. So Saturnian in its nature, and Saturn has given me so, so much, been a kindly, protective, guiding spirit to me, not the old mean sourpuss he is reputed to be.
My plain little ritual space is not all that much to look at. It’s not altar porn or a candidate for a spread in Better Gnomes & Gardens.:) But I feel so happy about it. Now I have a place for my daily practice, which I can write into my Book.
Thanks to all of you, my customers and my friends, who have made it possible for me to live a life where my magical practice can occur in my office, no problemo.:) May your secular New Year be healthy, happy, and prosperous for you and yours!