Back to Basics or Basic Witch?

Photo by Lawrence Green on Unsplash

Tarot decks, crystals, herbs, essential oils, witch culture, and intuition are having a moment right now. I see it everywhere; Soccer Moms on Facebook casting spells, novice tarot card enthusiasts giving incorrect card interpretations and low rent love advice on YouTube videos, and gals returning from weekend retreats and festivals, (having spent a lot of coin on stones, potions and apparel) dubbing themselves witches and healers. Let’s face it, being a basic witch is hot right now.

Don’t get me wrong. I encourage everyone to get in touch with in their gut, and to take their personal power back. I do however, worry that that the purpose of the endeavor is entirely missed. We are all psychic, we are all born empaths, we just stopped listening to that sense because modern life has drowned it out. If you call yourself a healer, a witch, or an empath as a means to differentiate yourself as “special” – it’s more about your ego than actually doing the work of being a guide or a healer.

As someone who grew up immersed in the metaphysical life, I have learned that the real magic of this path lies in finding the mystic in the mundane. This work gives the bulk of it’s gifts while you drive your kid to school, not while meditating on a rock outcropping in Sedona. It’s a way of being, not cosplay.

If you’re excited and enthusiastic about discovering a new way of being that makes sense and means something to you, fantastic! Soak it all up. Explore all of the ways that you can learn and deepen your knowledge about how we interact with the things we can’t see. Metaphysical phenomena are common, if you’re discerning. Intuition is always with you, if you listen. Spells are just ritualizing intention and giving reverence to the ways that the seen and unseen intersect, and how we interact with them.

Many of the things that have come back into vogue of late have been practiced by humans for centuries as a natural part of life, until society told us it was unacceptable. Essential oils are not new, herbs are not new – their use goes back millennia. Modern medicine has told us they are quackery, and yet their efficacy is known by those who aren’t afraid to blend the best of the old and the new. I am in no way espousing the idea that we should abandon modern medicine; science is valid. I am simply saying that we can have both and use both in tandem. One doesn’t have to negate the other. (I’ll talk about patriarchal oppression and capitalism another day).

I come from a long line of witchy women, who never called themselves witches. They were connected to the magic of the world in everything they did as a way of life. In their cooking, their gardens, in knowing that across town, one of their children had just gotten hurt. They calmed babies, took care of their families, and dispensed cures, healing and advice to the neighborhood because they possessed a deep understanding about what was needed to remedy any ill.

This innate “knowing” that all human beings possess has been devalued, stigmatized as “naïve” or “squishy”, and sucked out of us by a society that demands participation in a life that is a constant onslaught of mental, psychic and emotional input, which leaves very little time to get quiet enough to hear our inner voice guiding us. It never fully vanishes though; we just need to do the work to make it more clear and audible.

Instead of slowing down and listening to what our minds, souls and bodies need most in the form of food, exercise, emotional connection, psychological and physical health, we get sick chasing the dream of a better life as prescribed by a society saturated with a Kardashianized model of what happiness is supposed to look like.

Let’s not forget the ample supply of retail opportunities to assist you on your mystical path. On the internet , and here in Los Angeles there is no shortage of opportunity to trade your money for a jar of dust or a bag of crystals to send you on your etheric way, but as practitioner Gregory Barnett said so well: “Hate to break it to you, you’re buyers, not brujas.”

If your goal is to connect to and harmonize with universal energies, and understand life in a world that’s become incomprehensible, welcome aboard. If you want to learn how to use your intuition consciously to more effectively navigate love, interpersonal and business relationships, welcome aboard. There are things to know and learn. Some are as natural as breathing. Some are more difficult to access because we got trained away from our nature. Find the flavor you love and dive in.

The most important (and rewarding) part of becoming attuned is doing the everyday work to take care of yourself. Sleep well, meditate for 10 minutes, exercise, fuel your body with good food. I’m talking about hearty, unprocessed food, like fruits and veggies, not “deeply satiating seaweed tacos with probiotic pea paste”. There is magic in cooking and food prep, magic in taking a walk in nature and connecting with someone you love. Watching a comedy that makes you belly laugh is far more healing than any overpriced juice detox will ever be.