I’m usually pretty amiable about doing meeting people for coffee, if I can make my schedule work out for it. I’m especially when it’s someone like this, who is an initiate in a different line of witchcraft from mine, but interested in some of the same things.
I didn’t do my Pagan training in the Boston area (and my trad doesn’t exist outside the Upper Midwest, to the best of my knowledge, except for me), so I also really like meeting people who have some group experience and initiatory training. Sometimes it’s really handy to have someone you can vent to, talk over specific kinds of teaching and group problems with, or just generally not feel so entirely on your own.
This was a pleasure from the beginning. People who’ve done this for a while probably know there’s a sort of protocol here: you make contact through some connection, you arrange a place to meet, you swap ‘here’s how to recognise me’ descriptions. You show up at the place and peer at everyone who shows up who might plausibly be the right person.
We had the sort of chat that you do – doing the brief versions of our backgrounds, the not so brief digressions, talking about various topics. There’s a way that people who’ve been in the Pagan community, interacting with other people for a while, feel each other out. Because our communities are so diverse, and so spread out, it can be important to figure out ‘does this person actually know what they’re talking about’.
Most experienced witches I know have their own markers for some of this. Some of it is how you respond to different topics as they come up naturally.
A lot of us have a few specific cues, too.
For example, if someone talks about “Calling the corners”, or “working solitaire” – both of those terms tend to be a lot more common among people who don’t have much experience in the larger community. (The more usual terms would be “calling the quarters” and “being a solitary practitioner” or :”working solitary”. You can see how that small difference can indicate someone’s not using quite the same terms or context as other people doing similar things.)
That doesn’t mean they’re not a competent witch – but they may not be a great source if you want to learn more about widespread practices, approaches, or get more introductions. And sometimes, it does indicate someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing – they’ve read one or two books, done their own thing, and don’t know there’s a lot else out there.
Anyway, we had a good discussion, and as we got on to when he had to leave, he noted that my etheric body was really weird. I wasn’t at all surprised – I have a number of long-term chronic health issues, and my asthma is particular bad right now due to some heat issues. He noted that my etheric body was almost entirely from the chest up, (Which tends to be particularly true when I have asthma issues, because deep breaths are a problem.)
I’m taking the appropriate medical steps, I’m hoping the triggering issues (a problem in my apartment) will be solved early next week, but it did get me thinking.
I have said before, I optimise for brain. I know my body (and taking care of it) is critical for having a brain that works, but I care most, and my sense of identity is most heavily anchored in my ability to think (and create and experience the world with my brain) rather than my body. This is a not unreasonable approach to having a body that hasn’t done what I want it to do (about some pretty basic stuff, like breathing) reliably for a long time.
Now, I think that imbalance is also not great for me, so as I can, I do my best to include things that work better. I swim, usually twice a week (the gym is a bit pricier than I’d like, but swimming is one of the only exercise forms I will do reliably week in and week out, and I enjoy it.) I just talked to my nutritionist about building in some dance and related movement work (though that’s on hold until my lungs recover a bit.) And I continue to work on figuring out cooking (of less-processed foods that work for my body) that fits my life and needs.
The conversation, though, reminded me that I should poke at some of these things magically a bit more, and I’ll be doing that.
Just as soon as I can take a deep breath without a massive coughing fit again.
Some housekeeping notes:
1) I managed to recreate the page about my athame from saved copies from when I dismantled the previous blog. You can now see it in all its glory again.
2) I am going to be spending December through March working on a significant amount of content for Seeking, with the goal of turning some of it into ebooks
(I’ve had a few requests, and I’m going to be set up with the more technical tools to make all of it happen by the end of this month due to another project.)
Don’t worry! This site will continue to be here and freely accessible, but the ebooks will have a somewhat more linear structure, and be able to follow a bit more direct approach to the content. I expect I’ll be needing to write a fair amount of bridging and additional material to fill in some gaps, so you should be seeing a lot more content here in for a bit.
As always, feel free to let me know if there’s a topic you’d like to see more (there are topics I won’t tackle here – either because I can’t figure out how to write about them in a way that works for this site,, or they’re not things I do). I never mind being asked, though!