Morag, Moon Magick, and Amateur Hour

The background of the picture is a black sky. Across the middle of the picture, diagonally from the bottom left corner to the top right, is a series of moons at various stages of an eclipse. Text above the moons reads in brush script "Moon Magick." Text below the moon in a serif font reads "Witchcraft once a week. Practice makes you better. Learning through success or failure."

Moon phases photo used under a CC0 license. Text by Morag Spinner.

Content warning: emetophobia and profanity


I’ve mentioned Moon Magick in a few of my posts at Everyday Magic, my regular blog. At least, I think I have. The truth is I’m recovering from a flare-up of my spinal injury and recovery requires opiates, unfortunately. I hate them. They fuzzy my brain and make me nauseated. Also, my eyesight is shot. But they are necessary if I want to do things like walk, sit, stand, lie down, shower, pee, etc….

Moon Magick. I want to go into more detail, because I’m not assuming you’ve read my posts at Everyday Magic where I may or may not have actually talked about this. Basically, I need to actually practice magic. On a regular basis. I need to not be afraid to just try new things and make mistakes and get drunk and kiss a stranger — wait, no, that’s the Doctor’s rules for travel. I’ve been afraid for a long time when it comes to magic. Afraid not of it, so much, but afraid I’m not doing it right, or that I’m doing it for the wrong things, or that there are things too small for magic, that I need to save it up for the big stuff, that it’s special and not an everyday thing (despite the name of my blog, I guess)…the long and short of this is that I end up never doing it at all and I don’t get the practice I need to become really good at it.

You don’t become good at anything without practice, after all.

I’m not just talking about various spells and charms to enhance my life in various ways — I’m also talking about hexwork, which could be rightfully be classified as “heavier stuff.” It’s not immune to the law about practice, and I’ll admit, I’ve not done it very often. For much the same reasons outlined above.

But it occurred to me that I can still do magic for “big things” on a regular basis. I don’t need to save up everything for one big huge ritual and expel it all out in one go. I can do multiple small spells to the same goal; I can focus small spells on big targets. Many hands make light work. Or something; my metaphor-retrieval system is on the blink.

My plan for magic needed to be regular and it needed to be doable for me. Once a week seemed doable, but instead of choosing a random day to do it on, I decided on moon phases. This has the added bonus of practicing working with the phases of the moon in my magic; each phase as assigned meanings and things I want to focus on.

Now, full disclosure: I haven’t stuck to this. I did the first three phases, but the last one was during the height of this injury flare up and I just did not have a spare spoon to do anything. That sort of thing will happen. It’s just life. Especially when you’re a cripwitch.

But, ok. Three out of four? Not too shabby. If I can keep up a 75% success rate I’ll honestly be quite happy with myself.

Full moons I’ve decided are for attraction magic, drawing things to me, heart’s desire sort of thing. For the first one (and it’s almost the next full moon, which was the deadline I set, so I think it’s okay to talk about it) I did a spell to increase my mailing list (for my fiction writing name) from 0 to 100 true fans. I didn’t just want random subscribers; I specified true fans. I wanted people who read my books, loved my books, wanted more of my books. I figured 100 in a month was a good number to shoot for.

I overshot, by a lot, but that’s fine. Refine and pivot, pivot and refine. I have 3 subscribers on my mailing list, and I’m pretty sure they’re true fans. So that is definitely better than a complete failure, I think. I think for this upcoming full moon I will refine the same spell down with a more realistic number, and perhaps a spell mechanic that doesn’t end with melting plastic in a ramekin.

(I need to get better about candles and not burning things down.)

The next one was the last quarter moon. I’ve reserved that for things like shadow work, cutting away things from myself that I don’t want — very personal, digging around in parts of myself and ripping out the unwanted type stuff. Surgery on all the dead, rotting bits I carry around with me. So if it’s all the same I don’t really want to talk about what I did for this one. Not yet at least; it’s very personal, and still too raw.

The new moon I reserve for hexwork, banishing, stripping down illusions. Things of that ilk. This is where I’m pretty sure I fucked up hardcore. I decided to do a stripping illusion spell. It’s a pretty simple one, one that I’ve done in a group setting before. You write the target’s name on a piece of paper and freeze it into an ice cube, then take the ice cube out to where it can melt and say “Illusion melts, illusion fades, you are seen as you are.” (I did not write this spell and unfortunately I don’t know/can’t remember who did, or I would give credit.)

I wanted to do this over 7 days, not just the one day, with 2 main targets (who are inter-related). My ice cube tray has 14 slots. Perfect.

Now, this is where I fucked up: I didn’t think to do any protective magic on myself in case of backlash. Mainly because…I don’t know. Fucking noob hour? I think my reasoning was that it wasn’t a hex, and if it came back on me, well, ok, I could probably stand to have my illusions stripped down. I mean, I like to think I’m pretty upfront about being an asshole, and I tend to wear my heart and most other organs on my sleeve and all over my clothing. So it didn’t seem like a concern.

I didn’t consider that maybe one of my illusions was that I’m physically capable.

Let me explain. The targets I selected for this spell are large. Large and political. (No, not USian political, not everything is about you.) Such targets are probably more likely to have magical protections on them than your average Joe.

I think we tend to forget, as witches, that not everyone who practices magic is of the same political leaning as we are. So there’s talk about a big hex on a political figure with absolutely no talk about possible backlash or existing protections, because of course no magic practitioner would protect them! All magic practitioners are left-leaning like us and believe that these people are Wrong!

Yeah, no.

The funny thing is I wasn’t even thinking that in particular with regards to this target, but I was thinking that whatever magical protections they had wouldn’t trigger against my spell — ie, that they were incompetent. So really, I was guilty of this same sort of thinking when I didn’t protect myself, just in a different way than usual. Which is probably why I didn’t identify it right away.

Hilarious, when you consider that a little while ago I was ranting about the ignorance of the people hexing Trump and the complete lack of critical engagement with the super sketchy hex. (Protip: binding your energies to the Tower card AND Trump is spectacularly unwise, and that whole spell was really badly written so, ok, the binding might not even have worked, but if it did, fuck.) The bottom line on that mass hex: AMATEUR HOUR.

And then I turn around and do it myself.

Well, no teacher like experience — and a very hard grader.

The second I started writing the names of my targets onto the pieces of paper I had cut out, I felt uneasy and off. The edge of a headache hit me and my stomach twisted; I felt something run down my spine. I brushed it off as psychosomatic, stupid anxiety messing with my head, and started with my spell. This was the day after the new moon, so I didn’t get really started with the melting until March 29.

I got through a few cubes. March 31st my spinal injury flared up, and I was in agonizing pain all weekend.

I’m still in pain, though it’s gone down quite a bit. But I’m also still on opiates on a regular basis, and my entire life the past week has completely upended and been totally shitty. Goodbye illusion that I was a capable adult. Goodbye illusion that I was doing ok physically. Goodbye, all my illusions.

At least I know the spell works. Even if not on the correct targets.

For first quarter moon, this past Monday, I wanted to do something specific to this problem — it seemed perfect, as first quarter I wanted to reserve for marking boundaries, sovereignty, protective work, shielding, etc. But I was too ill. Even the most basic spell I could think of to do — write intention on bay leaf; burn leaf — I could not muster up the spoons to accomplish. I sat in my chair in agony and tried not to cry or vomit again.

It sucks. I hate it. But it’s a lesson. A few lessons, really. In fact it’s a whole bundle of lessons; an entire course of lessons.

Isn’t that what I set out to do Moon Magick for in the first place? To learn? To practice? To get better, via success or failure?

Pivot and refine, refine and pivot. Make a mistake, fix it and try again. Figure out what works, keep doing that, and stop doing what doesn’t work.

What I really learned this week was this: just because I’ve been a witch for over 20 years doesn’t mean I’m not still a complete amateur when it comes to some of this stuff. Witchcraft isn’t something you can do for 20 years and be like, “Ok, I’m done, I’ve learned All The Witchcraft, there is nothing else to learn, I have Completed Witchcraft.” It is something you are always learning new things in, something you are always refining your technique at. And like everything else it requires regular practice to maintain your skill. (Ask me if I can play the saxophone as well as I could when I first learned it. The answer is no.)

Experience is the hardest, most cruel teacher, but often they’re the most effective. I messed up big time this past new moon, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up with this target.

It just means I’m going to be smarter about it next time, and put on the equivalent of a hex-proof vest. No more amateur hour for this witch.

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