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.