More on Austerities

posted in: austerities | 2

Jennifer comments,
I think I need to figure out what happens when I don’t have a burning desire for something that I will absolutely go through hell and high water and a whole lotta sacrifice for….but the idea will never quite 100% go away either, even if it is mostly dead. I know I don’t want such-and-such so much that I’ll do ANYTHING, FOREVER, INDEFINITELY to get it–then again, I learned at an early age that such things weren’t under my control and if you go for years and years wanting something you can’t have and cannot ever figure out how to get, the burning desire will eventually die. I don’t know if it’s a case of “I just never want anything all that much, how do I know if it’s going to be so fucking great after years of struggle,” or “I learned that I’ll lose so what’s the point,” but I dunno, just because I don’t have the hellburning passion to see me through years of struggle to the goal doesn’t mean I’ve managed to 100% give up either.DSC_1677
Ugh. Undecidedness/ambivalence/meh helps nothing.

So, okay.  Let’s say you’re not a Margaret Beauforte House on Fire.  (I feel like Beth and I are in some kind of secret cult where if we say her name enough, we’ll invoke her powers, btdubs.  Here’s to hoping!)  Let’s say you’re a normal person who wants normal things who happens to practice magic.

I’m going to tell you exactly what I tell people when they want to talk about polyamory with me.  If monogamy works for you, awesome!  Go with that!  Monogamy is culturally accepted, it requires so much less talking about feels, less people = less issues and it makes things really tidy.  If you can be happy with one person for the rest of your life, by all means, do you booboo.  That is hands down the easier, less awkward, less difficult path.  Rock out.  I mean that with utter sincerity.  If I could do it, I’d be doing it.  You don’t know an uncomfortable conversation until your sister forces you to talk about the elephant in the room because she’s genuinely concerned about your OSO.  More difficult?  Explaining that in many poly relationships, everyone has the same rules to follow with everything and it’s not nearly as fun as having a hall pass.

What I’m trying to get at here is that it’s okay to not have a burning fire within you.  A burning fire makes you act crazy.  It takes a toll on your relationship.  It often ends messily.  You don’t need to pretend to be something you’re not!  Be you.  And if the you that you are isn’t an obsessed maniac, awesome.  You are one step closer to leading a happy, productive life.

So, what if you kind-of want something but don’t want it with a psycho single minded passion?  Does that mean you’re doomed to never have That Thing?  Of course not.  Less work will (almost always) guarantee less results, but if you aren’t being kept awake at night burning up with desperate desire for That Thing, you should be okay that it may not happen.  After all, magic is a crap shootnon?

How to Make Things Happen for Yourself When You’re Not a Psycho:

1. Figure out what you want.  Let’s say you want to be a published writer.

2. Start breaking it down into small steps.  With the writer example, you would first write.  Maybe take some creative writing classes.  Get beta readers to read what you write and help figure out what you’re good at and what you suck at, especially structurally.  I am the current reigning queen of run on sentences, for example.  Like, past the stylistic point and into problems.  So I work at it.  Maybe start a blog.  Start researching markets.  Figure out what you need to get your foot through the door.  Short stories?  Articles?  Networking?  Put together a really polished proposal.  Send it to the appropriate parties.  Except to be told to go die a lot (or worse, not hear anything at all).  Except to have to start over.  Expect to have to redefine what success means to you often.  Expect success to look unrecognizable.

3. Do the work you outlined for yourself in Step 2.

4. While doing Steps 2 & 3, figure out a daily or weekly practice that works for you so you can add magic to it.  A honey jar?  Water and light offerings to your goddess(es)? Puja work?  Meditation?  Visualization?  Sigil work?

5. Do the magical work you’ve outlined in Step 5.

Keep doing steps 1-5 until you get That Thing That You Want.  If you’ve been doing it for a wile, obviously part of what you’re doing isn’t working so you need to re-evaluate and try again.  If you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, ask a few people you trust why they think you haven’t succeeded yet.  Be prepared to take that constructive criticism.  You can have your ego and feel justified or you can get That Thing You Want.  Just remember, once you get That Thing That You Want, it’s not going to stop you for wanting new other things a la the Broadway version of Into the Woods which actually ends with Cinderella’s trilling, I wish . . .

To be happy, and forever,
You must see your wish come true.
Don’t be careful, don’t be clever.
When you see your wish, pursue.
It’s a dangerous endeavor,
But the only thing to do-

Though it’s fearful,
Though it’s deep, though it’s dark,
And though you may lose your path,
Though you may encounter wolves,
You mustn’t stop,
You mustn’t swerve,
You mustn’t ponder,
You have to act!
When you know your wish,
If you want your wish,
You can have your wish,-
No, to get your wish

You go into the woods,
Where nothing’s clear,
Where witches, ghosts
And wolves appear.
Into the woods
And through the fear,
You have to take the journey.

Into the woods
And down the dell,
In vain, perhaps,
But who can tell?
Into the woods to lift the spell,
Into the woods to lose the longing,
Into the woods to have the child,
To wed the prince,
To get the money,
To save the house,
To kill the wolf,
To find the father,
To conquer the kingdom,
To have, to wed,
To get, to save,
To kill, to keep,
To go to the festival!

– “Ever After”, Into the Woods


Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  


2 Responses

  1. “How to Make Things Happen for Yourself When You’re Not a Psycho” has got to be one of the most hilarious headers I’ve ever seen. Couldn’t stop grinning for several minutes. By the way, this is my new web identity: still very woo, but more socially acceptable. Your man in Hungary.
    Theo recently posted..Do we all have to be David Bowie now?My Profile

  2. Ann Bauer has just written this article, called “Sponsored” ( about how her husband’s work, with its benefits and side perks, is one of the things that’s enabled her to be successful as a writer; and she provides two (unnamed) examples of writers who have achieved great success in part to inheritances and connection, although that’s not what they say at their readings and book launches — where it’s more likely to be attributed to a magazine article or two, or a lack of children, than a host of other advantages.

    It’s worth noting that the upper classes urge austerities on you and me, but rarely pinch pennies for themselves. Sometimes this ends in disaster — my father knows one couple in their nineties, incredibly frail, where he worked in banking and made several fortunes, and now they live in the one house they paid off the mortgage on completely, and live on food stamps. My dad knows another guy, used to wear bespoke suits and give out $20 bills to twenty homeless people a week — and now he couch surfs and does odd manual labor; his wife divorced him, and his children are gone, and he’s wrecked.

    But there’s a powerful magic in living within your means, and within the level of wealth that one’s labor provides. There are lower limits to this, of course — it’s hard to cut more when you’re on financial assistance from the state and it’s still not enough (and I know a magician or two at this end of the financial scale who struggles with basic needs) — but learning to be satisfied and gratified by what you have is an important step in learning how to reach for more. There are many, many people who reach for more and more, and more, and more… but, like Dad’s two friends, never learn to truly own what they currently have… and as a result, it can vanish. Include as one of your steps, gratitude for what you have, and owning the potential glamour of the present.
    Andrew Watt recently posted..Tai Chi Y3D313: Digging OutMy Profile

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