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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Is it magical, or just mundane?

There has been much discussion coming across my awareness, of late, about magical and witchey practices, and I am being prompted to share more of my viewpoint and my practices.

It seems that many, newly come to the path, want to focus on holiday rituals, special tools and what you need to buy to "be a witch." It should not surprise me, I suppose. The culture we live in is built on commerce, big showy events and has been getting more so for years. But then there is this old witch, who pulled herself out of the common culture years before even considering this path consciously. The maxim of "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" caught me hard when I first encountered it, in the 70s, maybe because I have always identified with my peasant ancestors. Even as a youngster and young woman, when my peers dreamed princess dreams and sought twigs of nobility on their family trees, the stories I enjoyed most, from my heritage, were like those of a great grandmother, hitching herself to the plow alongside the draft beast, to help get the job done.

Add to this, the way I came to my path: in an off-grid community, led and instructed for years only by the inspiration of the cycles of the moon, the seasons, and whispered hints from Elementals. There were no "pagan stores" even when I went to town certainly not at my fingertips as I sat at my desk, let alone hiding in my pocket!

It was, as they say, literally a very "chop wood, carry water" existence and that informed my practice from the beginning.

As I raised my family off-grid, heating and cooking with wood and lighting with kerosene and candles, the kids often asked "how did they do it" whatever *it* was "in the old days?" And picking up my spiritual path as I did, I think this same mindset contributed.

In the very far past, I think, my foremothers needed, called on and used the collaboration with the unseen forces -- and likely the Gods as well -- on a daily basis. When you are living a life near the bottom of what we now call the Maslow hierarchy of needs -- when *survival* is the focus of all you do -- I think even the smallest hint that there might be some force beyond the physical existence that could be called on to help you would have been used on a daily basis. And in that mindset, many of my practices were born, informing and augmenting what otherwise were strictly mundane tasks.

Today I am thinking about laundry.

I do not just throw loads in the washer willy nilly through the week and then into the dryer, to be pick at until the next load comes along. I do not just *clean* the laundry, but instead cleanse it, with the power of earth, air, fire and water.

The water is self evident; some of the others less so. Earth comes from my laundry product, which is not a package of store-bought detergent (though I suppose a case could be made for it coming from the earth, as chemicals). Instead I use a product that I make from soap (animal far and lye are both very earthy), baking and washing soda, which come out of the ground in the form of minerals nahcolite and trona, which are refined into soda ash (a.k.a. washing soda or calcium carbonate), then turned into baking soda (a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate), and borax, also a mineral. How much earthier can you get!

The air and fire come into play in the drying cycle, but I do not use a

mechanical drier as you might have gathered from the photo heading this blog post. The fire in my laundry cycle is most often the sun, which provides heat even in winter (especially when combined with a good brisk wind). When we get a snowy week in winter, the hearth fire will suffice, and loads get hung on wooden racks inside.

The most important part of the process, though, is the INTENT. Kept in mind while loading the machine with the clothes and the washing powder, and while transferring them to the line or the rack, my desire to have the elements cleanse -- as well as clean -- the load is foremost in my mind. I picture any residual negative energies picked up along the way, being lifted from the fabric by the earth elements and going down the drain with the water. The nasty look or comment from a fellow shopper, or my own loss of temper at an unsafe driver encountered on a trip to town linger on what one was wearing, even if put out of mind. The "laundry ritual" not only takes care of those sort of things, but can wrap the garments in elemental blessings at the same time. And I do not think we can have too many blessings, too much support from the unseen worlds, certainly not in these times!

Blessings to you all.