Bitter But Necessary Truths

I’ve been reading tons of witchy books. While there are some exceptions, I felt I was reading the same book time and time again. Or maybe it didn’t get to the good stuff until halfway through once it’s covered the basics. 

I received an advanced copy of The Witch’s Path by Thorn Mooney from the publisher, Llewelyn. I gave the author a follow on social media. Her posts smacked of ‘ If you’re just reading about witchcraft, are you even a witch?’ This of course made me clutch my pearls and spit on the ground. But maybe she had a point? After watching more of her videos, it was clear that Thorn had an academic background and was no joke when it came to magical practices. 

I began her book a bit dismissive. ‘Let’s see what Miss Thorn has to say.’ Boy, was it the book I needed! This book is not just for beginners and not just for experienced practitioners, it’s for any path you may be on. Where do we get our information and where does it come from? She speaks of the “armchair witch” who has themselves surrounded with books, but just reading from them and not actually taking anything into practice is an issue. We may have an altar full of nice and interesting things, but does that mean we’re in tune and actually know what we’re doing. Those sparkly things that we see on social media and maybe things we have because the aesthetic is nice isn’t necessary.

I attended an online ritual, which was like a guided mediation. After other people were talking about how it was such a spiritually uplifting experience and how they saw a sparrow and even a dragon. Did we just sit through the same thing? Mind you, I’m not sitting there with the mind of a skeptic waiting for something to be proven to me, but yearning for a similar experience. Was I doing something wrong? If I’m not able to connect in the way these other people do, am I even meant to be on this path? Thorn speaks to this by saying, “No longer do I believe that every person standing in the ritual space with their eyes closed, looking intense and breathing dramatically is every time having some transformative experience. Some are, yes, but most are doing what we’re all doing: trying. And that’s not nothing.”

This book really spoke to me on a number of my doubts or personal insecurities, helping me understand where those may be coming from and how to overcome them. A big takeaway was that sure I can read and research all I want, but if I’m not actually getting a little out of my comfort zone and taking action, what am I doing? I’m not going to grow that way. The advice may be a little bitter to swallow, but Thorn has a point. 

The book is written with activities at the end of each chapter to help you implement some of the things that were just discussed based on your comfort level. These she ingeniously refers to as the cornerstones of most practices: Air, the element of beginnings; Water for those looking to go deeper; Fire for those looking for easy ways to incorporate Witchcraft into their personal lives; and Earth for those who are maybe dealing with burnout. She even later calls me out for just reading the challenges and thinking I’ll go back to them if I want to later on. For the full experience, actually do the journal prompt that the author placed in the book and often even left space for on the page for your response. It’s there for a reason, not engaging is how I found myself feeling this burnout to begin with. 

After reading this book, I have a profound respect for Thorn and what she offers and challenges of our community. I’ve learned a lot about myself through this book. I feel it’s a book I’ll revisit periodically just to touch-in and ensure I’m still practicing how I hope to be practicing. 

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