The first tool a Witch has is their will.
The second tool a Witch has is what they do.
Any physical tool, spell or ritual is crafted to help focus the mind, properly direct action to bring the practitioner’s will to bare on the situation in order to create a real change on the physical plane.
Last night I was peer counseling a woman and was listening to her talk about herself. Her speech over all was extremely negative and when talking about herself it was dismissive and self-effacing. I turned to her and said, “That is not how witches think.”
The look on her face spoke volumes. The very idea that there was an actual thought process for witches was missing from her understanding of magick.
I have spent the past twenty-four hours contemplating this exchange. I talked with community sisters and my husband about it. I tried to force the words out of my mouth that would explain my own perplexity and her confusion. I told my coven sister, Pilosa, “I literally don’t understand.”
When I went to the battered woman’s shelter, I can remember the intake process clearly. The older woman in modest clothing getting me to talk and eventually coming around to what my name was and how I knew to come to that location. I was sitting across from her desk and I recounted the last beating I had received to the tacky eighties faux carving on the front of her desk. After telling her what I remember of the past three days and showing off my latest battle wounds, I took a deep breath and waited for her to tell me to go back home or that I was lying or any number of things I had been told before.
“Well!” she said matter-a-factly, “You can’t go back there and live.”
My eyes shot up to look her in the face for the first time since I had been aware of where I was.
“Really? I don’t have to live there?”
I watched confusion, surprise, compassion, and resignation flit across her face in rapid succession.
“No. You aren’t safe there. You do not have live anywhere if you aren’t safe. You do not have to do anything you do not want to do. You just do not have to do anything.”
Eventually, she would talk about the plan to get me away from my biological deputy sheriff father and complicit biological mother. First, though, she laid out a world for me that was counter to everything I had experienced up until that day. What she taught me stuck and has driven and guided me ever since, in my Craft and in my life.
Not Everyone Makes It
I can remember her rattling off the statistics for children who have been raised in abusive homes from birth. They are staggering and sobering.
1 woman is beaten every 9 seconds in the US
Battering is the single major cause of injury to women, exceeding rapes, muggings and auto accidents combined
40-45% of woman in physically abusive relationships are raped and/or assaulted during the relationship
4, 774, 000 women in the US will experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year
20 people are victims of intimate partner violence every 60 seconds
80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder
2/3 of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children.
There are 1,500 battered women shelters in the United States and 3,800 animal shelters.
On average, a woman will leave an abusive relationships 7 times before she leaves for good.
Then she said, “96% of the women I see through this shelter, will return to the abuse and not make it to what I call thriving: living a life happily beyond abuse and in safety. Only 4% ever thrive. Some leave and find new people to abuse them. Woman right now in this shelter will be murdered by the abuser they are with or a new abuser they will find later. Not everyone makes it.” 
I can remember that she paused.
She stopped talking.
The silence lingered in the air and I sat there thinking that living with my biological parents was something I would never do again, but I knew she was right. I knew that there was some cycle being played out by my biological family that had remained hidden and disguised and secret. I also knew, I didn’t know how to not fall into all that again.
“It is all about what you decide.”
“You aren’t a child anymore. No one can make you do or say or believe anything ever again, if you decide that is how it is going to be. You have to decide though. You have to live a life where what you want is absolutely more important than anything else and you have to live a life where you just won’t take no for answer.”
See, my biological father was the deputy sheriff of the small town I had spent the last four to five years of my violent childhood. The intake officer had realized she couldn’t keep me on the books without notifying a man with a gun that his years of beatings and rapes had been exposed. She was about to turn me loose in my 1984 VW Rabbit, with all my worldly possessions in it, my broken and abused body, and instructions to find a place to live for less than $400 a month in one of three counties. She was about to hand me $100 cash out of her own pocket to keep me off the books and was working with other county agencies to keep it that way while ensuring I got the medical and mental assistance I was going to need. She knew that my own determination to leave my biological family might be the only thing that would keep me alive, safe, and with any hope of life beyond the abuse I had lived in.
I had to decide. I had to adopted a life of determination, a state of being in my very will that my entire life would change.
Little did I know that is the first mindset every witch must adopt.
Since that day, if I wanted something, there is no acceptable answer other than it will absolutely happen.
I wanted to go to North Georgia College. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be accepted or that I couldn’t find funding. I was going to go to North Georgia College.
I did. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in 1994.
I met my current husband after doing a spell for him. It never crossed my mind the spell wouldn’t work. I just knew the spell would work. When I met him I clearly heard the goddess tell me, “Marry him.”
Not very long after meeting him, I was sitting on his lap and said, “I love you.”
“I don’t think I love you,” he said. “I am in love with someone in Chicago.”
“Okay?” he said, a bit shocked.
“Yea! Okay! Let’s go get you packed up so you co go get her.”
“Wait, you are going to help me pack and encourage me to go back to Chicago to be with another woman when you just told me you loved me?”
“Absolutely,” I said, “The sooner you go and get back with her, the sooner you will return to me when you realize you love me.”
Within the week, he professed his love for me and we married very shortly after that.
I went to the doctor once for a blurry eye. I was told there was a hold in my cornea and no cure. My contact had caused an eye infection and that infection had created a hole in my cornea. He gave me antibiotic drops and prepared me for the idea that I will eventually be blind in that eye.
On the way out of his office, I decided I didn’t want to be blind in one eye. I stood outside his office door in the sunshine and pictured the hole in my cornea closing. For the next twenty-four hours, I put drops in my eye every hour as prescribed and every time, saw the hole in my cornea closing. I went back to the doctor the next day. He spent a long time looking in my eye and consulting pictures and chart notes from the day before. Finally, he sighed really big and said, “So this is weird, but there isn’t a hole anymore.”
“I know,” I said, “I really can’t afford to be blind right now.”
He checked me every day for a week, the hole never returned and I never wore contacts again.
Since that day at the battered woman’s intake center, I have lived a life of deciding what I wanted. I surrendered the idea that the universe is against me and embraced the idea that there is no way the Universe would stand against me. My will and the will of the universe were one in all things and every decision I made.
This is not to say that all the outcomes in my life have been good. It is to say that there is a place in me where when a decision is made, in my heart, in my will, in my mind… it is a done deal. For me, this is why I do not do spells a lot. Because I have to have a will for that spell that is extraordinary because I know that what I will – happens.
“It is all about what YOU do.”
After waxing about deciding to live a different life, the intake officer quieted for a bit and then said, “Because of your dad being a deputy, I can’t keep you on the books. I can’t do a lot of things I would do otherwise. I can’t even keep you at the safe house, any safe house in any adjoining county is compromised and not safe for you. Unfortunately, it is all about what YOU do.”
It was an almost reverent whisper that seemed to spiritually call to all the woman whom she had ever seen abused that rose above that start to find something else.
“It is all about what YOU do,” she said a little louder seeming to come out of some temporary trance. She then detailed a plan to get me help, get me to safety, get me to see a psychiatrist and get me into weekly therapy all off the books and all contingent on my physically leaving and finding a place to live.
She was unconsciously teaching me the second lesson of being a witch. Once your will has been decided, then your actions must support the decision of your will.
I left that office knowing I had at least two nights in a hotel covered and a desperate need to find a place to live for under $400 per month. I needed a job in a town I had never been to and I needed to get into a college. I decided to go to Dahlonega, GA because there was a college there. I drove to Dahlonega and picked up a local newspaper. Under “Rooms for Rent” there was a blurb about an efficiency apartment for $150 per month at a Bed and Breakfast. I borrowed a phone in one of the shops on the square in Dahlonega and made the call. The room hadn’t been rented and it wasn’t much, but it was furnished. I got an addressed, bought a map, and drove to the place.
I can’t imagine what the owners of the Bed and Breakfast thought of this scraggly young adult with bruises all over. They showed me the place. I pulled out the $100 the intake officer had given me and said, “All I have is this, but here is the card of the woman who is helping me and she will guarantee my rent for the next six months. Also I am a hard worker, I could clean for you in the mornings and I am going to get a job in town. I just had to make sure I had a place to sleep first.”
I can remember knowing that they could scoff and run me off. My will, however, had already decided this was perfect. I could disappear into this small town at a bed and breakfast. Because I had decided I would never live with my bio family again I was not going to.
They took the card and money and gave me the key without saying too much. I was so afraid they would change their minds, I unloaded everything I owned up four flights of stairs to the attic efficiency in the hopes that would discourage any mind changing. Later, an envelope was slide under my door in the night while I slept. The owners gave me back the $100 and told me to go buy some pots, pans, dishes and food.
I was digesting that in a sort of sleep fog when the door rattled with another knock. I cautiously open the door to find a tray full of morning foods for me and a hand drawn map to the nearest home goods and grocery store. When I came back the owners verified the make and model of my bio family cars and told me they were friends with a local deputy who I might see parked outside sometimes but not to worry he was a good cop and he wouldn’t tell.
I was safe. I was housed. I was fed.
It seems a bit like magic.
“Fortune favors the bold,” however, no truer statement in magick and life could be made. I could easily have curled up and been overwhelmed by the idea that I was a battered woman with no place to live. It isn’t enough to have a will, I had to do the work.
You have to take the chance. You have to walk confidently toward your goal with an unwavering belief that the Universe is going to open up doors when you get to them. Even when that closed door is just inches from your face, you have to keep walking with a confident knowledge that it is going to open for you…as if by magick.
Looking back on that incident, I am grateful for all the good people who stepped up and took up my cause when I needed it most. I also know, that I was a powerful force that by my will and doing I wasn’t asking for handouts, I was just asking for doors to open. There was never any doubt in me that any door I needed would open.
Every thought and action was congruent with the idea that the Universe was going to make things happen because I was going to do what needed to be done to get it done.
The lessons that intake officer taught me have never left. I have fallen back on the habits cultivated by that intake officer time and again and they have never failed me.
There is never any question that life would happen any other way.
This is the first problem most Craft Seekers have. They have to decide. For me that first decision was really easy. I didn’t want to be raped and beaten, so I had to make a life without my biological family.
I find, however, that things aren’t as easy now. I meet Seekers who really aren’t clear what they want. They can’t settle on a clearly defined decision to set their will to.
I have also learned over time, that a vague will is as bad as no will at all. I have learned it isn’t good enough to say, “I need a new job.” That type of vague decisions leaves a lot up to the Universe and the Universe has a very sick sense of humor.
My husband did a spell to create self-confidence in his life. The next day he lost his job. The next job was working for the most racists, bigoted, ass hole, he or I had ever met in a professional setting. Stone took nearly a year and half of verbal and emotional abuse from this guy before he quit and sought other employment.
Here is the thing. Stone gained all kinds of self-confidence in his work and his ability to do his job. The spell absolutely worked and in hindsight, it is not the kind of spell he would recommend anyone ever doing.
When you decide, you have to be specific. This requires the Seeker to spend time with themselves. “Know thyself,” is a common craft theme for a reason. Only those who really know themselves can make decisions that really benefit themselves in the long run. Too many practitioners rush here and there, from decision to decision, without the benefit of real thought or the balance of real investigation.
When I came to the craft and wanted to learn, I did not ask a bunch of people their opinions about what to learn. I went to a book store and decided what to read. I looked in the back at the reference notes and read those books. I didn’t believe that there was ever going to be some teacher who gave me the knowledge I was seeking. As a Seeker, knowledge was out there and it was my job to find it, read it and assimilate it. I decided to learn and didn’t worry or wait around for someone to teach me.
This is where deciding and doing intersect. It isn’t enough to decide what you want, you also have to follow through and do what you personally are able to manifest that in your life. You want to belong to a community and never visit or do research to find one, then you can’t complain you can’t find a community.
If you consistently live hours from where you know communities exist and are unwilling to drive to those events or move closer to those locations, then you can’t complain that you don’t have support and learning available to you.
Doing means so much more than doing just enough to get by. It means creating a life that allows for manifestation of all the things you know you want and need.
Doing requires bold action drive by decisive will. This means that your thoughts, what you say, everything you do is congruent with the decision you have already made. If something counter to your decision creeps in, you address that immediately and correct your thoughts, actions and emotions.
Yes! Emotions! Part of most Craft Seeker’s issues is an erroneous belief that emotions are beyond their personal control. Recovery from my childhood trauma has made me very aware of the fact that my emotions are as much in my control as my bladder is. Even with diagnosed PTSD, ultimately I can control and manage my emotions. It is a discipline as surely as physical fitness is.
I have read a lot about Emotional Intelligence (EI) that examines emotional control in individuals and how to gain it. What my study of EI has given me as a witch is an understanding that when my will is made up my thoughts, verbal communications and MY EMOTIONS must be congruent with my decision for the magick to be powerful and successful. I find I am not successful when my emotions aren’t as clear and concise as my decision is. Typically, this notifies me that maybe my decision should be modified or abandoned.
For a witch, doing is about a complete self-possession of spirit, will, emotion, mind and communication that ultimately embodies a foundational tenant of the Craft: “As within, so without.”
As I am self-possessed and disciplined so the world I create around me is. Where I am not, my outward world will reflect this back to me so that I can make adjustments and corrections.
I must know myself, having clear and concise knowledge about the decisions I am making so that I can do exactly what needs to be done and have an economy of action that signifies a successful witch.
When these two things join, I can be a witch and everything is possible.
As I so will it,
So mote it be!