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I have a long history with magic… as a child I was always wandering off with the fairies, I prayed and I learnt stage magic (and bored/enchanted my family at the tender age of 6 with a full magic show). As I hit puberty I stumbled across Paganism, Witchcraft specifically (the books on UFOs and ghosts held little interest, but the ones which spoke of connecting with the natural world, and learning to affect change in your life, those I devoured!), and I found my feet on a map, one with many paths all roughly leading in the same direction.

And I’ve continued, honing my approach, finding my way, wandering along the edge of paths and trying to find people who think like I do.

The important question here, though, is why? Why do I keep on this path? Why do I hold seemingly-irrational beliefs? Why do I keep a space for the Gods in my home and my heart? Why do I spend time, energy and money tracking down events which speak of these things?

What, in short, are the benefits?!

Well, aside from the rare spellwork I do having rather literal outcomes (which could be coincidence but my pattern-making mind likes to think of as related), its had an effect on me as a peron.

I was blessed with loving parents who brought me up to believe in myself and have confidence to go with the intelligence I inherited. And a touch of arrogance. Thanks Dad 🙂

I’m also naturally fragile, shy, quiet, and suffer horrendously from stage-fright even when not on stage. Or I used to. The magical work I’ve done – reflection, meditation, energy work, self-examination and subsequent development of relationships between all my parts, constant attempts at self-awareness, ritual-work… all these things and more – helped me to feel sure in myself around others. I might not know what to say in daily social situations, but I do know that I’m a person in my own right who doesn’t need to make small talk to be accepted. My friends accept that I’m weird, and I accept that they are too.

Its helped me to recognise when arrogance or insecurity threatens, and to know that that is whats going on. I can then use that information to act in a way of my choosing (at least, I can sometimes, life-long processes here, you know?).

My magical work has helped me to map out the locations I want to pass on my journey through life, and has taught me that I want to experience each step.

It also taught me that I’m not perfect. Important for a Leo to know. And, it taught me that thats ok. I have the confidence to speak out when I think something is wrong at least some of the time, and I have the humility to know that sometimes the other person has a point, even if I still disagree with them!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have greater self-awareness than I used to, and I value that. I also have tools to deal with situations where I notice I’m behaving in ways that don’t feel right to me. I’m gaining integrity, and I’m stronger. Still soft, and yet more able to cope with knocks. I cry less, am happier in myself, and can ignore people who are simply being mean without taking their words personally.

Magic has also encouraged me to challenge myself, so, for example, I took drama A-level to face my stage-fright, and it worked.

In all the ways magic has touched my life, it has helped me to grow, to become more whole, to engage with the world and my own life. It has helped me relax my need for control over my life (somewhat, I still panic when I’m feeling powerless) and has helped me to find more power in myself in my life.

The map is not the territory, many magicians say. Well, no, but a good map helps when you set out on an unexplored path, and each life is exactly that… and magic is a tool kit for navigating the terrain, a tool kit with many maps…

Not only that, but it has a phone which you can use to call for help, or guidance with, or that you can be called on when you need a good kick up the arse.  At the other end are the Gods and guides and Guardians. For which I am grateful, even though I’m not quite sure what they want from me yet!