I’m Bridget Owens and you're listening to the Waxing Soul podcast. Join me on an exploration of mindful modern magic, a journey towards deeper understanding of self and transformative individual spirituality. It's May 13, 2021, and today's episode is number two of a special seven-episode series on the Basics of Magic, all about how our magic not only comes from within us, but exists to help us thrive. Are you ready to grow your soul?
Last week we talked about the first foundational concept in magic, which is that you are the magic. It comes from within, it’s personal, it’s natural to humanity, and it’s unique to each of us.
If you’ve listened to the podcast prior to this, you know one of the topics I come back to again and again and again is this concept of authenticity, that your spirituality, your magic, really your whole life, if you’re going to grow and evolve as a person has to be shaped around your authentic self. And that’s kind of where we’re going on this journey through the basics of magic today. Because when we talk about magic being personal and flowing from inside us, that kind of changes the discussion, changes the way we think about the question of what the purpose of magic is.
Why does it even exist?
Which is, for the benefit of those who are new to the podcast, one of the things I spend a lot of time researching and contemplating and writing about as part of my own spiritual path is, well, it started as an attempt to figure out why I was drawn to things like spirituality and magic as a technical atheist. And it’s turned into more of a dig into the very most basic roots of spirituality in human beings. Not as a search for truth.
I think a lot of people want to dig into the roots of spirituality and magic in order to find justification for their beliefs, to find reassurance that their path makes sense or comes from somewhere or is backed up by something. But what I want to know, the thing I’m digging up as I go through books and scientific papers and all that is where all this comes from and why we’ve evolved to have it. We are a form of life which has evolved over the eras of earth history to be the magical beings we are today, which means that somewhere along the line this ability to understand and practice magic and the way all humans, regardless of belief, do bits of magic just by virtue of our human nature, those things evolved to be part of human existence for some reason.
And I’m not going to claim some kind of definitive answer here, but it’s worth doing some thinking about that basic idea, that anything inherent to humanity evolved for a reason. It serves a purpose.
And that’s where we’re at today in this little exploratory journey.
Bottom line, we evolve things because they benefit us, because they give us some kind of advantage in our environment. And the crucial part of that in what we’re exploring is that we evolve to have certain characteristics and abilities and whatever to benefit our own position, our own ability to thrive. So this second basic concept of magic is that our magic is for us.
Your magic is for you.
And by that I mean it’s not something most effectively used for others, to try and change other people’s realities. It’s for us. And listen, I know there are probably lots of people listening who do the thing of reaching out to other practitioners to have spells or workings done for them or to them, maybe who even offer their magical workings to others. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever do that. I’ve asked witchy friends for favors. But guys, let’s be real here. The workings we do for other people, the workings we have others do for us, they just don’t work the way our own workings do, done for our own selves via the methodologies which resonate with us and align with our own unique magical energy.
Humans possess magic because magic allows us to accomplish things and handle things and change things and do things that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to, and those things help us. Sure, there are people with specific skills, specific expertise that we can benefit from. But the ways we use magic, the effectiveness of magic, if it’s about trying to change other people, manipulate other people, do what other people want you to do with it, it’s not going to be effective.
It’s like any other thing a life form evolves: it can work to attract things, to repel things, to protect, to increase our likelihood of success, of survival, but living things don’t evolve abilities that don’t benefit them first of all. What benefit other organisms get from a living thing’s evolutionary advantages are incidental, not causal. Like, predators don’t evolve all the things that make them good hunters in order to produce more food for vultures, right? They evolve to be good hunters so they can survive, so they can thrive.
So our magic is the same way. It’s for us because it helps us thrive. And when it comes to the practical implications of that, well, as we’re starting to explore our magic, it’s really important to keep in mind that your magic is going to work best on yourself. It’s that idea of, you know, change starts with you. It’s more effective to increase your ability to protect yourself than it is to try to change someone else to make them less threatening. It’s more effective to work on your own ability to attract and earn and manage money than it is to try to engineer some external source of money to come to you.
Anyone I’ve ever seen start their magic journey trying to learn magic to make someone else do something or be something or to change their reality from the outside, those pursuits have always ended up in frustration and regret because it skips right over the fundamental nature of why we have magic in the first place.
If you're enjoying this episode of Waxing Soul, subscribe to the show! Each week we will dive into a different part of the world of spirituality, magic, and self-evolution. Check out last week's episode where we kicked off this series with a discussion of how magic is intrinsic to humankind and how learning magic means tapping into our authentic and unique magical tendencies. And come back next week when we will continue the series and talk about how magic and spirituality come down to energy and what that really means.
We’re about to get into one of the really amazing parts of magic. Because this whole thing about magic being for us, to be used on ourselves, I don’t mean that this is a rule to follow or an ethical thing. There is totally a limit in what we can do to shape what happens in the world around us.
I talked about this some in Episode 8 about numerology and year cycles. There’s absolutely external patterns and phenomena that we don’t control and can’t control. And we can exert influence on some things but influence isn’t the same as control.
I mean, think of what the world would be like if anyone, magically or otherwise, actually had the power to control any other human at will?
The reality is that we can and sometimes do choose to give ourselves over to someone else’s will, but no one can force that on us. And we can’t force it on anyone else. But that doesn’t mean that magic isn’t real or isn’t powerful. This idea that our magic works through us and on us doesn’t even mean that magic doesn’t have an impact beyond ourselves.
The truth is, with or without magic, the changes we make in our own thoughts and attitudes and actions… Those things do have ripple effects into the world around us.
We know this is true, right, because stuff like leadership skills and communication skills and advertising or marketing methodologies, consultants who help people sell stuff and land better jobs and be better negotiators and attract their ideal mate, all of that stuff is rooted in the knowledge that changes in what we do and how we do it can shape how people behave and act around us, which has all kinds of further effects on the environment we’re part of. It’s, that’s no surprise.
And magic is really, at its most powerful, it’s a way to hack our own subconscious and shape how we interact with the world around us, the energy we’re putting out and the way we react to the energies we encounter, so that without us having to consciously think about how to shape our own way of being we can shift things to shape the world around us to fit our intentions. It’s a way of hacking our subconscious so we see things differently, carry ourselves differently, have a different type of influence, attract and repel different things.
And so if you think about it, this whole thing about magic being an evolutionary ability which allows us to more successfully shape our path forward in human society, this isn’t disempowering, it’s exactly the opposite. Learning magic is learning our ability to impact the world around us. It’s not an ability we don’t have without magic, it’s an ability we’re better able to use with magic. It’s part of us.
Magic is personal empowerment. Literally. It’s building personal power. It’s learning to wield your personal power. Magic itself, a belief in our own magic, is a recognition that we have an innate ability to influence and shape and change and lead and attract that we just have to tap into on an instinctual level.
So it’s not that we only do spells on ourselves. I want to make that clear. Like, that’s a great place to start. Doing workings like I alluded to in the first portion of this episode, workings specifically meant to change things about ourselves and our actions, habits, qualities, whatever. But eventually that ability to shift and change and boost our habits or qualities or whatever, all of that becomes instinctual and habitual. We don’t have to work up a formal bit of spellwork to boost our confidence to help our job search, we get to where we can call up that confidence without the extra hassle of doing a specific working, where we just are more confident and empowered. And then we start focusing our magical efforts further down the chain of impact. To really get better at shaping the results we get, the intentions we manifest.
And you don’t have to get very far down that chain before it really does feel like our magic directly causes external things to happen. But it’s really all keyed to our instinctual influential abilities.
So, okay, let’s go back to this idea of getting other magical practitioners to do workings on our behalf. If they for us, when they work, it’s because of that practitioner’s ability to call up those changes and shifts in us. And that’s why it’s always more powerful for us to be the initiator, to deal directly with our own abilities and intentions to get results. Those who we turn to to do magic for us, it’s not that they are so much more powerful than us, but they’ve connected more deeply with their own ability to influence things around them, including us.
Which, if you’re really thinking all this through, you’ll realize is something we can change about ourselves: the extent to which we respond to the influence of what and who is around us.
So yeah, there’s a limit to our ability to control what’s around us, but our ability to influence and shape what’s around us is so much less limited, so much greater than we know, and learning magic is all about grasping and mastering and being empowered by that ability.
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Let’s go one level deeper in this. Learning magic is an act of empowerment. But there’s kind of a flip side to that, which is that as you’re using this power that comes from within to shape the world around you, that practice, getting the outcome you truly, deeply want out of that practice demands that you get really clear on your intentions and draw some boundaries around it.
Because your magic is for you, it’s for building your life, shaping your environment, and it’s just like any other skill or ability or resource you use in life. If you lack boundaries, if you lack a clear sense of what your goals and vision and intention really are, you end up using all this really great, really potent personal power to essentially build the world that other people want for you.
So in a lot of ways, learning magic is a radical act of self love. Self care. Which is a type of empowerment, too, but it’s the kind that needs to happen in order to enable the mastery of magic, which then results in the other kind of empowerment that we just talked about. Like so many things in the universe, it’s a cycle that feeds into itself.
I think there’s two main situations where a person finds themselves not doing very much magic even thought they deeply believe in it. One is when we’re starting out, when we’re not comfortable yet in our power, not comfortable yet with our authentic personal magic. And the other is when we get to that point where it doesn’t take a full on magical working with tools and incantations and deep intention work beforehand, when we have mastered our magical practice to the point where we’ve already built up the environment we envisioned and we’re intuitively effective in manifesting our intentions.
So when we’re starting out, when we’re establishing the foundations of our understanding of magic, first of all it’s really crucial to recognize those bits of yourself that aren’t fully empowered, the places you have trouble setting boundaries or defying the expectations of other people. There’s definitely something to be said for starting your exploration and experimentation with magic with workings and techniques and intentions which already align with the things you feel confident and comfortable and empowered in. So if you feel most empowered and confident in your career, then begin with workings that enhance and leverage your work skills, maybe to move ahead or get a promotion or a raise, that sort of thing. Or maybe if you feel a distinct lack of comfort and confidence at work, but you’ve got a hobby you’re a master at, let’s say gardening, then dive into plant magic, herbal medicine, something like that. And then use that, leverage that to help you build your power and magical mastery and confidence in other areas of your life.
Some ideas for how to do that, how to ride this whole cyclical thing of self-love and self-empowerment, you can find that in the expanded six-page download that corresponds to today’s show. You can download that below.
So that’s this second episode done, and I’m excited to have you all back next week for an exploration of energy and its role in our magic.
Thank you so much for listening. New episodes of the Waxing Soul drop every Thursday. All materials and resources except the music are copyright Bridget Owens. Many thanks to my readers, listeners, friends, mentors, inspirations, and my framily for riding with me into season two. Until next week, blessed be and be good to yourself.