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Deep & Meaningful

When you start exploring the world of magic you find that you have to make some pretty heavy choices and decisions fairly early on. It can sound and seem daunting, but is in fact very empowering, and while it’s essential to take them seriously it’s worth bearing in mind that they will develop, evolve and change as your own knowledge and experience does. In the meantime it will help to define your path, your practice and your journey since there’s a whole wealth of options and opportunities out there and it can be difficult finding a meaningful starting point.

One of the key things will be ‘deciding’ on your own understanding of the nature of magical energy or power. I put this in inverted commas because this is unlikely to be a wholly conscious or rational decision, although I would advise trying to use objective thought and analysis in coordination with instinct and intuition – things tend to go a lot easier when all the bits of yourself are in consensus! For some this power is generated from an external source, whether it is deity, ethereal beings or other mystical entities. For others it is woven into the fabric of the universe, the earth, the elements and in a sense neither comes from or goes to anywhere. And then again it might be entirely internal, with the self as the source and conduit of all power. As you have probably noted, none of these are necessarily mutually exclusive.

You will also need to decide on the scope of magic – if you believe that magic is governed by deity, or even by destiny, then how much influence can your magic actually have? Can you have harmful consequences if the gods do not will it? And if they do will it, is there anything you can do about it anyway? Is magic appropriate for daily mundanities, or should it be ‘saved up’ for big things and special occasions? Where do you draw the lines around what is and is not an acceptable use of magic for you personally?

These are not trick questions; they are not designed to deter you, or cause doubt, and the only truly relevant answers are the ones you find for yourself. Revisit them often, continue to challenge yourself and your journey will always be an adventure.

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Life Choices

It’s a scary notion, when you think about it. From a relatively early point we take decisions (and even earlier, decisions are taken for us) that have the potential to influence and impact the rest of our lives.

Some are taken in conformity with what is expected, some in rebellion. Some decisions are forced on us in response to circumstances outside of our control, and many may not feel like ‘choices’ at all. Some are seemingly insignificant and some seemingly life-changing, though a great many will not work out as anticipated. Some manifest as a slim margin of discretion between two apparent evils.

Information, insight, intuition and intervention all play a role in the choices we make, consciously or otherwise. Our experiences in particular are subjective and unique, and can easily make the choices of others seem baffling, ineffective, inappropriate or downright wrong.

Heavy stuff, right?

And yet not entirely. For the most part we are able to challenge or own choices, to revise them, to make new ones. To pursue new opportunities that we are presented with. Or not. To try something different. Or not. To make entirely new experiences, new adventures, new lives. Or not.

Good, bad or indifferent it is largely our choices that ultimately define us so make yours wisely, cautiously and joyfully…

… or not!

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The Power of Books

So in the last post I talked a bit about how I settled upon Book Witch Blog as the name for the, er, blog, and I plan to go into the ‘witch’ presumption element another time as promised, but there was an astounding snippet from a conversation the other week which has stuck with me that I think is absurdly relevant and ridiculously important.

There are many people who wander in out of vague curiosity as much as anything else, looking for an overview or explanation of ‘what it’s all about’. I’m fine with that (and of course happy to point out books in that vein too!) But having done the quick intro with someone the other week (very charming spiritual seeker) his observation was “but you have to be special to get drawn into this stuff in the first place”. I was flummoxed, genuinely. I must have been at a loss for at least a whole ten seconds (which for those of you know me is something in itself). So I had to clarify – “what do you mean, ‘special’?” “Well, you have to have some sort of pre-existing talent, or have been brought up to it or something. Someone couldn’t just walk in off the street and learn all this stuff.”

I was astounded once again – for me, the whole point of books, and the bookshop, is so that you CAN just walk in and learn stuff. After all, that’s how I came to it all in the first place. My family certainly didn’t have any mystical or magical leanings, I’ve never felt myself to be particularly psychic or gifted in spiritual disciplines and I’ve never been part of any sort of formal or informal learning or practical group. Pretty much everything I learned, I learned from books (and then practised as much or as little as I needed). Now, admittedly I’m a bit of an academic type at heart, but my view is in most cases it just comes down to finding the ‘right’ book that suits your style, approach and current level.

No Such Thing as Can’t
What I don’t accept is the idea of ‘can’t’. There will be plenty of things that I don’t take to, or might never be particularly good at (don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of circumstances where natural ability helps!), or want to pursue very far but as long as there’s a book out there (and there almost always is) then it’s within my capabilities to have a go at, well, whatever I want to have a go at.  I don’t have to be ‘gifted’ or ‘hereditary’ or ‘special’ or ‘talented’.  I don’t need a mentor or a guru or a circle or a coven. I can select, design, create and inform my own education, my own path, my own practice by something as simple as deciding what I want to read next.

And that, to me, is the power of books, and of bookshops.

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Otherworld Needs YOU!

This isn’t my usual sort of post, so please bear with me.

I’ve had absolutely amazing support from so many people over the last year or so – I can’t even start to say how grateful I’ve been for it, and I need to continue to ask for your help and assistance. In part that means buying stuff and coming to events – I’d be lying if I said otherwise!

But even more important is helping me to continue to get the word out about Otherworld as far and wide as possible. Please, please, please tell friends, family, sympathetic strangers. Share posts, write posts, leave reviews and comments, link people into the website and FB page, Instagram or Twitter. Let me know your thoughts, ideas suggestions, I’m always delighted to hear them (even if I’m not in a position to do much with them right away). If you hear of anyone looking for talk or event space, or with an interest in rare occult titles, or an addiction to incense – point them this way!

The online shop is fully functional so location isn’t an obstacle and I’m happy to post outwith the UK, or sort delivery on items not currently in the online shop (scarves, plaques, runes etc) by individual arrangement. I’m also happy to do customer orders on ‘normal’ books and DVDs, or you can order through the Hive bookstore and if Otherworld is nominated as your local shop (which you can do regardless of where you actually live) we get a little reward.

Everyone has been genuinely wonderful in helping me on this adventure and, as much as I might like to think otherwise sometimes, I can’t do it all by myself so your ongoing support is massively appreciated and free hugs and excellent book craic will always be available as a token of my thanks!