I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance.” At its core, the essay asks the question, “How do we stay true to ourselves in a world full of noise and distractions?” How do we find a sense of self in a world that’s constantly bombarding us with messages about who we are, who we should be, and what we should think?
“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who, in the midst of the crowd, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. “~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
There’s something almost prescient about Emerson’s words, as though he’d pulled back the veil to a future in which there’s endless noise. Between social media, TV shows, and the endless distractions and demands of 21st-century living, how do we even begin to lead magical lives?
Emerson, of course, wasn’t a witch or a pagan. He was, however, a transcendentalist, and I can’t help see the influence of 19th-century transcendentalism in modern-day paganism.
“Transcendentalists advocated the idea of a personal knowledge of God, believing that no intermediary was needed for spiritual insight. They embraced idealism, focusing on nature and opposing materialism.”~ History.com
I can’t help but see the overlap between transcendentalists’ ideas and those of modern-day witches. We, too, emphasize a personal relationship with the divine. As an eclectic witch, I don’t believe I need anyone to act as a go-between. I am directly connected to the divine energy of the universe. I firmly believe everyone single one of us can be a conduit for magic.
But we often lose sight of our own inherent magic. Children innately know that they are magical, without needing to be told. But so many aspects of our society have the power to distance us from our magical selves, our divine selves.
So, how do we reconnect?
I think it’s important to note that I see magic in all things. I don’t believe that we’re “disconnected” from nature, only that we’re not aware of how interconnected our lives are with the world around us. The magic isn’t in the reconnection. The magic is in the remembering.
So, if magic is all around us—inside us, in all things—how do we make space to celebrate it? How do we, as witches and magical folks, make space to honor the magic of the everyday?
Here are 6 ways I’m celebrating the magic in my everyday life:
1: Find tranquility in a teacup.
I call this “making a quietude ritual.” 10 minutes of silence. No TV. No smartphone. Not even my Kindle. Just 10 minutes with a cup of tea and the whisperings of my soul. If I’m listening to the rain or the birdsong or the wind, so much the better. Sometimes, all we need is a small, sacred space within a teacup to remind ourselves that we each hold within us a sacred space.
2: Dance the daily divine.
My grandmother’s happy place was her kitchen. She listened to music or hummed almost constantly while she worked. I’ve realized I picked up her habit of humming or singing a few lines of a song while I’m in my kitchen. Recently, I’ve learned that I enjoy chopping vegetables, scrubbing pots and pans, unloading the dishwasher, and doing other simple tasks that much more when I’m listening to music that stirs my soul. I’ve even created a Keep It Magical playlist on Spotify to honor celebrating the magic of the everyday. Whether I’m cooking a vegetable stir-fry or whipping up a body-scrub recipe, songs such as S.J. Tucker’s “Witch’s Rune” and Wendy Rule’s “Hecate” remind me that all things are sacred and magical, no matter how ordinary they may seem.
3: Sage away stagnation.
Stagnant energy is like a spiritual dust bunny. We can’t see it, but we can feel it. We might feel distracted, unfocused, agitated, restless, or simply stressed or fatigued. Creating a simple ritual to get the energy flowing in our living space is a great way to prevent stagnation and remind our spirit that our home isn’t just a place to eat, sleep, and binge-watch Netflix. It’s a sacred space filled with magic.
A simple way to get energy moving is to open the windows, light some sage, and imagine the smoke is dislodging all that stagnation and sweeping it away, out into the universe to move and be free once more. Add a mantra such as, “I honor the magic of my home. I bless the divinity of this space. Thank you, home, for keeping me safe and warm, for sheltering my body, mind, and soul. Let magical energy flow here. With love and light, I sweep away the old to make space for the new. Blessed be.”
4: Honor the magic of the “mundane.”
The extraordinary is inherent in the ordinary. A broom that sweeps the leaves off our back porch can also be a sacred object. The stockpot we use to simmer chicken soup when a loved one has a cold is a modern-day cauldron. A dress we wear during our full-moon ritual has a special magic, but other clothing items have magic, too. Our favorite shade of lip gloss is a magical glamour. A piece of jewelry we wear everyday symbolizes our own gifts. Don’t neglect these everyday objects. Remember that even a simple dishrag is its own kind of cleansing spell.
5: Create simple altars in special spots.
Try this: Arrange a few beloved crystals on a small metal tray. Add a single flower in a bud vase, a treasured object or two—perhaps, a seashell from a favorite beach. Place this in a corner of your workspace or bedroom, and you have a beautiful reminder of the divine. On your kitchen counter, place your favorite teapot or teacup and a canister of your best tea on a beautiful tray. Add some rainbow fluorite. You have a minimalist kitchen altar that reminds you to stop and savor the magic in each moment. Your minimalist altar will, of course, reflect your own interests, but let your imagination run wild. Chocolate bars and rose petals, a special jar of bath salts and an amethyst crystal. You don’t need to rush out and buy a single item. Just artfully arrange the items you already own.
6: Read a book.
Stephen King calls books “a uniquely portable magic.” J.K. Rowling wrote that words are “our most inexhaustible source of magic.” All good storytelling weaves a spell of enchantment around us, transporting us. What better way to carve out a thoughtful space for magic than to curl up with a good book? Whether it’s fantasy or thriller, cozy mystery or steamy romance, fiction or nonfiction, let an author’s words wrap around you like a magical cloak. A sprinkle of stardust. A sliver of shadow. A whisper of magic. In every word. On every page.
As Emerson reminds us, it takes a lot of hard work to find ourselves, our spirit, our authenticity in a world full of noise. These are some ways I’ve found to cup an ear and listen for the magic of my everyday life—the magic of coming back to myself and to the part of me that’s connected to the sacred energy of all things.