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I've been dabbling in magic for about five years now--learning astrology, reading tarot, studying herbalism, stones, candles, etc. For the most part, it's not something I live my life by, like I don't cast spells the way Christians build churches in Mexico. Mostly, I just make soaps and my own potpourri or incense. Every once in a while, I'll do a cleansing spell on my room or my aura after something particularly stressful has occurred. It's just a way of compartmentalizing the world. If your day goes wrong, it's possibly because there's a bad angle between mercury and venus etc rather than people conspiring to bring you down or your own fallibility. Magic makes for excellent excuses and excellent rituals. Both of which, I'm very fond.

The Meat:

When I was freshly 23, I hosted a Halloween party at my house in Somerville. I was dating Eli and we were living together with their three roommates. Times were a little stressful, as Eli and I couldn't quite figure out our dynamic and probably shouldn't have been living together yet. So, every now and again, I let my eyes wander. Didn't act on anything, but I allowed myself a few escapist crushes here and there to cope with my failing relationship.

On Halloween, I dressed as a "fall goddess" basically because I didn't have time to put together a decent costume, and day of, I went to Michael's and saw that all the fall decorations were on sale. As my habits would dictate, I spent much of the night on the front porch chatting and smoking and drinking with friends, greeting incoming guests. Then I saw L for the first time and nearly swallowed a lit cig. She was something from a novelist's fever dream: lanky, white over-sized button-up shirt hanging crookedly, off by one button, swirling black hair that seemed alive.

When I saw her the second time, it was standing in the moonlight pouring through our third floor skylights, reflecting off the tile. There wasn't a breeze that I remember, but every part of her that could swirl or tremble, seemed to do so. I was obsessed.

Later, for some reason, maybe she saw me too, I'm not sure, but L added me on Facebook and I started creeping. When I saw her again in December, at another party, the infatuation had skyrocketed.

After going away for Christmas break, back home to Indiana, things with Eli became more and more dysfunctional and we mutually decided to call it quits. They moved into my office and I took over the bedroom as we tried to live out the lease we'd shackled ourselves to. L and I ran into each other again, this time while I was on a date with someone else. I invited her to another party and sure enough she showed up, glowing, bringing like six strangers in tow. We ended up talking for a brief spell, electricity humming above our heads the whole time. The night after our first date, I pulled out my magic books and really dove in.

Up until that point, magic had been transient, serving only when I needed to blow of steam, or convincingly psychoanalyze a friend. When I cast the love spell, little did I know how it wouldn't affect everything.

To put it plainly, we were chemically bound to each other. Even when things were really terrible, there was this invisible string connecting our empathetic selves. I could always feel L's moods and she felt mine. We'd trip up in each other's vibes, fight all the time, and there was a lot of suspicion simply because it was so hard to trust our feelings being constantly filtered through the other.

I don't claim to know if this strange imprint happened because I cast a spell or because L and I just don't compute well. But, I will say this. When you engage in ritual, essentially spell casting, there's a level of desire that must exist for the spell to feel like it's got weight. It's kinda like how some people dress very fancy and do their hair special when they wake up feeling bad. If you believe something enough and say it to yourself maybe you can change your situation--the power of positive thinking. All that stuff is proven to a certain extent and magic is the same way. You put the energy of positive thoughts, intent, and desire into the herbs, fire, water, salt etc, you use.

Now, when you've invested this way, confusion can be stimulated. Think of projects or dreams you had that you put time and energy into that just didn't pan out. Why is that? How do you know when to let go? I feel that's what happened in this situation. I knew that L and I didn't quite jive, even though some of our interactions were so unique and special that I doubt I'll recapture those moments with anyone else. Yet, I couldn't let go because I believed so hard in us as a unit, in the vision I had when I cast the spell.

It's kooky. I know. I am a kook. When I offhandedly comment to friends or acquaintances that I've been known to practice magic, that I identify as a hedge witch, etc, they think I'm kidding. And while I might be a kidder, I also am a dreamer. And right now I'm puzzling out my dreams. The place I am in life right now--the astrological cycle I smack talked a few posts ago--is demanding that I investigate this stuff. How much do drive, desire, positive thinking, etc affect the outcomes of our goals? This example of the love spell shows to me that understanding and finding value in trade offs might be more crucial than purely believing in something uncomplicated. Things aren't uncomplicated and no one has a key. One step forward, two steps back, right?

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