Monthly Archives: March 2006

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Desire and Dilemma

As a witch I sometimes get put into precarious positions. I often have to consider the ethics of casting a spell for something that I know could fall under the heading of “morally bankrupt”. To whit, lately I’ve had an over-abundance of people contacting me about cheating on their husbands and wives (or being the ‘other” in such an arrangement.

Here is one such situation and the consequent dilemma: A married woman comes to me, still involved in a marriage that she out-grew a decade ago. She tells me that she is barely civil with her husband and they have not behaved as a married couple in three years. They do however have a young child together.

This client is involved with a man, also married, who claims to be in a similar situation, not in love with his wife (who is supposedly not in love with him) and they also have children.

These two people have found a measure of solace and intimacy with each other but each cannot see the ending of their marriages since there are children involved. Or perhaps it is fear? How often do we fear that something will change – not breaking out of a loveless marriage makes sense then – no changes. Keep these plates spinning even as you start spinning another but hope that you don’t drop them.

The married woman asked me to do a spell to help them in their illicit affair. Thus, this witch has a huge factor to consider according to the Wiccan Law of Three (which states that whatever you put out there comes back to you, three times good or three times bad, depending on your intention.) and of course has some inherent difficulties with the Wiccan Rede – “An’ it harm ye none, do what thou wilt.”

Times like these I depend on my sources of divination. Tarot cards have guided me through more situations like this than any other medium. I take out my deck, meditate on the question and then pull cards that will tell me what is happening and what my course of action should be.

The Tarot is true neutrality. Often my own feelings and judgments can get caught up in client’s issues. I remind myself that I am Buddhist and do not judge, that I always take the side of neutrality. And yet, how often in the back of my mind I just weep for these people who let their egos run amuck and start wheels into motion that can possibly roll over all the good they have in their lives. People get hurt when lies are involved. Lying is a rationale. You lie because you desire, because you want and then you let that desire control you and then the lie becomes a rationalization, that you deserve this because you have suffered, even as you risk potential suffering for all involved. It’s a dead end.

I asked this married woman what she wanted to see happen. She didn’t know. I’ve had other clients say the same thing. They were at a loss, only knowing that what they wanted right now today was to have everything continue as it was even though in the deepest part of themselves they already saw it changing. That is why they came to me.

My personal opinion and the morals that I live by do not include cheating on my husband. That is not to say that this is the right course of action for everyone. There could be extenuating circumstances. But I would not encourage anyone to lie and cheat on someone they had made a commitment like marriage with, no matter how much of a mistake it might seem. Better to end the marriage and see the truth of the other relationship from a position where you can view it clearly. Caught up in the emotion and drama of carrying on an affair is not the time to consider life-changes. Change your life first. If the relationship is still viable it will wait. If it is real it will be there strong as ever.

By that same token to several clients I have (both male and female) who serve as the “other” in a relationship with someone who is married; to know that you are second automatically reduces the respect you have for yourself. To know that your lover goes back to the person she has a commitment with and leaves you alone with your suffering self-esteem is not a positive position to put yourself in.

I believe everyone already knows these things. I believe everyone knows that you shouldn’t fool around with a married woman and that everyone knows that when you are married you shouldn’t cheat on your partner.

Yet that doesn’t assuage someone who needs what they need. Someone who needs a spell to help them to feel better, to keep what they have, to bring someone closer or to just feel that they will ultimately be ok, no matter what the outcome.

I can tell them the truth but the truth won’t soothe their embattled heart.

My judgments subdued I focused only on what the Tarot revealed. In one case the lovers were clearly soulmates who had been held apart by much negative influences in both their lives. They were soon to realize that their lives could not continue with the wrong people any longer. For another client, the cards suggested that his married lover had some kind of important lesson to learn and he must remain to learn it.

I accepted the spellwork. I remain neutral. I am here to help.

Happiness

I was talking with my husband yesterday about happiness. He said that he’d recently read an article in “The New Yorker” about a study that was done on happiness. What the scientists discovered was that everything that people normally think would bring them happiness or make them happy – like love, money, success etc., does NOT in fact make people truly happy!

As a Buddhist who practices detachment from “outcomes” that have to do with desire & craving (the sanskrit word for desire is dukkha, though this is not the literal translation as we do not have a word that corresponds directly); the notion that happiness can be appropriated by having the right lover, house, purse or sparkling white teeth is anathema. Still, I find myself often thinking about what makes me happy and if what makes me happy is tangible or ephemeral or merely a misconception of reality.

I used to sell a happiness spell  in my early days of being a working witch. I was encouraged to see that spell have great success; it gave me hope. I used to imagine what kind of person would buy a spell for “Joy & Happiness”. Often people would purchase this spell for someone else, a friend, a an intimate they hoped would see better days. It warmed my heart to see that. It’s one thing to look for happiness for yourself but how wonderful to be concerned about happiness for others and be willing to put a couple of bucks behind it.

I offer a version of the spell on my site, though most castees that purchase spells there are looking for more serious work. I wish I could bottle that spell and sell it – a bottle of happiness for everyone and they could just uncork it and let it out whenever they needed to.

For my own happiness I don’t actually do much spellwork. I’ve often been asked why I am not constantly casting spells for myself.

The short answer is: casting spells takes a great deal of energy and wasting it on myself when others have more important concerns is not exactly the best way to run my business.

The long answer is: I know the Goddess has lessons for me to learn and I believe I could avoid the consequences of certain issues by casting spells but ultimately these may be things that I really need to experience and know.

For instance, recently I extended credit to some castees in need. They told me what they were looking for and time was of the essence. Normally I do not extend credit to my clients. However in several cases, I felt that I could trust the individuals and did the work for them, believing them when they said they would pay me shortly.

I’m sure you already know what I am going to say: I didn’t get paid. I did the work and contacted the clients and contacted and contacted them, got a few emails of sob stories and then – nothing. No payments. No emails. Not a word. And not just from one person – but from THREE.

How stupid do I feel?

A witch sister of mine suggested a very strong spell to get back the money owed to me. But this spell is not “white” magick, and it comes with negative circumstances for those that I would cast upon. Do I take the knowledge that I have and use it for my own benefit? Or do I just let it go? Be Buddhist about it – not attached to the outcome? There was always the chance that they would not pay me for the work I did for them. I knew this going in. Is this a way of letting me know that I am back in school and there are lessons to be learned?

I can certainly use magick for my own selfish ends. I can use it to help alleviate suffering but at what cost? Perhaps the suffering of someone else?

Anyway, back to happiness. I went to Ruby Tuesday tonight for dinner and had a veggie burger. While it was pleasant and I enjoyed myself, I would not say that the veggie burger elicited a moment of blissful happiness for me. I was not uncomfortable and I was certainly hungry and yet having a veggie burger at Ruby Tuesday’s did not make me happy.

Yet later I was doing some spellwork for a few clients who had placed orders for magickal oils. As I sat in my sacred space being the Alchemist, mixing and brewing my potions and elixirs; I was suddenly aware that I was happy. Very happy. Doing this thing that I do made me happy. All of the swirling scents, the candles, the glow of the altar, the beauty of my world between the worlds was a place where I did not have to seek happiness, for I already dwelled within it.