Some of you may remember that I used to make charms that I sold in my Etsy shop. Usually I made charms by request, but every once in a while I would feel compelled to make something without knowing the identity of the recipient.
This happened during the last month I lived with my ex. The rosehips were extraordinarily bright, the teasel was especially abundant, and the Hawthorn tree dropped a branch–or rather, flung it, if its location several feet from the tree was any indication.
I took these signs to mean the garden was on a mission, and I set about making some charms, though I didn’t know who they were for. I made two–a love charm, and a protection charm.
Normally when I start a creative project, I have some idea of what I want it to look like in the end. But when it comes to charms, I always feel the objects have their own agendas. I usually end up feeling my way through the process. Basically, it begins with the components. I spread the pieces out on my workspace and stare at them. I drink tea. I move things around. I stare at them some more. And then somehow, something clicks, and the object comes together into a harmonious whole. The process is usually time consuming. In the case of the love and protection charms, it took hours. But they were happy, focused, magical hours.
I charged the love charm and the protection charm under the full moon. The love charm was so intense and potent it made me nervous. I put it in a box and waited to learn who it was for.
Two weeks later my life fell apart. (Or should I say, finished falling apart. The process had been underway for months, whether I was willing to admit it or not.) Those two charms were the last magical objects I would make in my old home: most of my herbal supplies had to be left behind, but the love charm and the protection charm came with me to the city. They hid in a box in my altar cabinet for several months while I got my feet under me.
The protection charm came out first, when feelings of vulnerability and dismay overwhelmed me.
Then, several months after my new start, I set up an altar and asked for love. I was drained and miserable, and I couldn’t summon up the reserves for a proper spell. So I retrieved the love charm from its box and placed it on my tiny altar, atop a pile of carnelian, amethyst, and rose quartz. I added two hand-knit, hand-embroidered hearts I made with a friend years ago, and some beeswax candles.
Less than two months later I fell head over heels in love. It was love at first sight–or I should say, first conversation. Last summer we adopted kittens together. Last fall, we moved in together. We’re getting married next year.
Sometimes I don’t know I’m doing magic for myself. I didn’t need the love charm when I made it. Maybe a part of me knew a time would come, several months in my future, when I would need that magic, and wouldn’t have the resources or presence of mind to do a working of that magnitude for myself. Or maybe the guides who show me what I need to know when I’m doing reiki or giving a reading directed my hands.
I know magic is largely about intention and focus, but I also know there’s a strong component of mystery to it–at least for me. When I do magic, I’m setting things in motion with my will; but I’m also joining forces with energies outside myself, whose methods might be different from my own. I think this element of surprise, the entrance of external forces into my plans, is what makes magic work when my so-called mundane efforts have failed.
It’s also why I tend to use magic as a last resort, after I’ve tried every other thing I can think of. Maybe other witches are smart enough to control all the variables of their spells, to determine the outcomes, but I’ve always had to allow a lot of room for synchronicity in my life. Yes, my spells almost always work. But they never, ever work the way I expect.
Sometimes, as in the case of the love charm, I’m really glad they don’t.