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Everything in Moderation

Having listened to the ongoing lamentations during our harsh and protracted winter – not least my own! – I have to admit to slight bafflement that, having got the gloriously bedazzling hot summer everyone said they wanted, just about every other person is sick of it and begging for a little rain, a bit of cloud and a good stiff breeze.
I say slightly baffled, because I can’t pretend any kind of surprise. For one thing, complaining about the weather is pretty much a national pastime. For another, if I – with my below-standard circulation – am overheating a bit everyone else must be pretty much melting. And most importantly, well, we’re just not equipped for it! Melting tarmac aside, most places have never really had need of hardcore air-conditioning, we rarely allocate litres of freezer space to ice cream and cubes and as for summer clothing, well, I have to assume a substantial number of people have been unable to keep up with the wear’n’wash of their meagre shorts and t-shirt selections given the horrifying escalation in ‘taps aff’ encounters.
There’s the novelty element too – having what you wished for (even [especially?] when you don’t know you wished for it) is exciting. You throw yourself into appreciating it unreservedly (as increased sales in aloe vera products will no doubt attest to), you find yourself changing plans to accommodate, making decisions based on that one, limited factor, to the exclusion of all others. This happens a lot with magic, or even with a different path or practice in magic. When it’s new and exciting it’s easy to throw yourself in, to be governed by and immersed in it. Then the novelty wears off, sometimes with a side dish of disillusionment and discontent – the thing that had once brought joy is now an inconvenience, a hardship or a chore; something to complain about, or avoid, or disengage from.

I would be a complete hypocrite to even suggest not getting completely carried away with something (even if objectively I know it’s the wise course!) but if you can pull yourself back from complete saturation you’ll generally find it works out better in the long term. On the other hand, if like me you find that difficult, use the experience differently instead – commit to memory the way you feel, the happiness, the wonder, the contentment, the thrill of discovery. Build up a mental, emotional and sensory record of all the ‘good stuff’, so that you have something to latch onto when the novelty has started to wane – turning your initial fervour into technique for long term sustainability after all!

*And if you’re particularly interested in understanding and channelling all the crazy solar energies in play, this month’s Sunshine State workshop is aimed at just that!

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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!