But I still find happiness, solace, peace, and astonishment nearly every day. Much of that is because of the Craft I practice. I find joy from the Craft in my home, my backyard, the vistas just outside my front door, and in my gods. The best part is that they are all things I can, and generally do, experience everyday.
The Wonders of My Backyard
Due to living in the overly full Bay Area most of my rituals take place indoors. There’s just no privacy in our backyard, making it a bad place for ritual, but that doesn’t mean the space outside my backdoor is lacking in magick. My backyard is nearly a second ritual space and is full of things that inspire me and bring me closer to my Craft.
Watching life spring from a seed and then nurturing that seedling side by side with Mother Earth brings me a sense of joy I have trouble putting into words. I give them water, but She’s given them the Earth and Sky they need to thrive. I think of the pumpkins that have taken over my yard as my children and look in on them two or three times a day. (Four of them are actually pumpkin sized at this point, it’s going to be a good Halloween!)
I’ve never been much of a meditator but my garden is a form of meditation unto its self. It relaxes and centers me, it also inspires me. When I’m having a rough day I spend a few minutes starting up at the multi-faced sunflower towering over everything in the garden.
The fey live in our backyard behind our lemon tree and watch over our little piece of green-space. Since we’ve begun honoring them with libations and gifts our backyard has blossomed as a magickal space. I’m grateful for their presence.
My backyard also connects me to the Wheel of the Year and brings the sabbats home for me. Lammas was the start of tomato season and by Yule the kumquats, grapefruit, and mandarin oranges should be ready to eat. I’m not a great gardner, but I’m a joyful one.
The Gods Are Here
Why do I do what I do? Because I believe in the gods and magick. Both are fundamental to my Craft and it’s reassuring to know that my gods are close to me. When I need that little extra something all I have to do is visit our shrines to Brigit and Cernunnos or perhaps give Pan a chance to wink to me on the wall in our ritual space (our deities speak with Laura Tempest Zakroff).
I’m sure that those who don’t believe in the gods wonder just why I worship the gods and what they or I get out of it. I honor them because it brings me joy, and I get so many things from them. I get reassurances, energy, power, blessings, inspiration, and a sense of purpose. They make the writing easier, and one of them even helped to give my wife and I a place to live.
When someone enters my house I don’t think there’s any question about the gods being present here. They charge our home and help to shape our lives. And by honoring them I think I give them power and influence. Our relationship is reciprocal. As Gerald Gardner wrote of the gods of Witchcraft:
“. . . . while the gods wished them well, they were not all-powerful,that they needed man’s help; that by performing certain rites men gave them power; also that the gods wished men to be happy and that acts which gave men pleasure also gave the gods joy and power, which they could apply to their own uses as well as to the benefit of man.”
The Natural World
I live in a valley nestled between two small mountain ranges with the San Francisco Bay just a few miles from my house and the Pacific Ocean just twenty-five miles away. Silicon Valley is often filled with smog and it’s loud and full of people, but it’s also magickal in a way that makes my heart soar. Looking at those hills is still awe inspiring and gods help me if I ever find myself jaded when they are in my field of vision.
There are soaring pine trees across the street from me that I know are there simply to hide the ground of defense contractor Northrop Grumman, but I still find myself appreciating their majesty. The trees outside my home scrape the sky with the arms and speak to the possibilities that lie within nature.
The natural world is a constant reminder of the power and beauty of the Great Rite, which many people erroneously think is only about heterosexual sex. To me the Great Rite has always been about joining in its many forms. The mountains I see daily were formed when two tectonic plates collided and a whole host of factors when into creating those trees (pollination, soil, sun, water). When things join worlds and universes (not to mention mountains and trees) are born.
My Chosen Family
My Witchcraft is responsible for many of the most important relationships in my life. The love I receive from my coven is beyond compare. Those people are my chosen family and I can’t imagine living my life without them. But the Craft has given me even more than that.
If success in life is measured by friendships I am a very rich man. When the stupid hits the fan it’s gratifying to know that I’m loved and cared about. No matter what is written or said about me I know that I’ll be all right because of the relationships I’ve cultivated through Witchcraft.
Many of those friends are people I’ve never met fact to face, but the respect we have for one another is still a very real thing. Paganism today is full of squabbles, spats, and lots of other ignorance, but there’s far more good out there than bad. It can be tough to remember sometimes, but it’s the truth.
If you are reading this and have ever said a kind word or shared a post, thanks for being a part of that chosen family.
Source: Patheos blog Raise the Horns