You'd figure that being magic would be a cakewalk kind of a life. You could cast spells here and there - get the world to do your bidding. The problem with being magic is that you're, also, susceptible to magic.
See: nothing - not magic, not fate, not bad luck - nothing has power until you give it power, until someone believes in it. Countless tales have taught us that - hell, even the movie the Skeleton Key teaches us that. But honestly, it makes sense. Anything - or anyone - that has power over you? You've given that power.
So it's a wonder, that after my years on this planet, I still get mad when power isn't mine. I still get surprised that being a complete and utter romantic makes me delusional sometimes - and that it makes my heart way more susceptible than the average heart to things like attraction and love. You'd think I'd get it by now. You'd think I could combat it, stop it at its source: ME. Instead, my head is forever taken over by crazy, extremist romanticism-type thoughts - that sound quite crazy when articulated, but sound perfectly rational bouncing around in my head.
The Halloween-based/folklore depiction of a witch is a dark-arts practicing woman that uses magic to hurt or harm others. She might wear all black, she might have a broom, and she might have a cat. We have tons of legends to reference - and thanks to Salem, we even have history to reference.
People know me as the girl who likes fairies, but I've been into witches since a young age, too. See - I'm attracted to lore, to magic. Yes, in general I'm attracted to things that are inherently good, but I make exceptions.
And who's to say that witches are evil? Couldn't one make the case that how you use magic - or power for that matter - is what defines anyone as good or evil? My mother makes believes that the Salem witch-hunts were purely targeting strong women who believed in the healing powers of nature, who bucked against the norm. She believes that if she were alive at that time, she would absolutely have been burned at the stake. I don't doubt it - though it's more her feisty personality that comes to mind as I smile and agree... but tongue-in-cheek aside, I do believe my mother is more in tune to the power of nature than the average person. Her power is in the medical field - believing that our bodies are capable of more than what we give them credit for, that we should avoid medicating our pain whenever possible because we should feel what is happening to our bodies at all times, believing that moms and babies are at their best when they follow suit to nature - whether it be in the way a birth happens or in the power and magic of breast-feeding. (Who knew a witch-titled writing piece might reference breast-feeding? :) ) My mom believes that the women who were accused of witchcraft were strong, powerful women - who could have done a lot of good for the communities they were in, IF those communities had allowed it and not reacted out of fear of the unknown.
My own opinion of witches? Like any good tale, it's still formulating all the time. Not sure if they're real, if they're fictional - not sure if they're good, bad, or both - not sure if Wicca is a real thing... All I can say is I've been drawn to witch-y things my whole life. Growing up, I read fictional books on witches, loved the movie The Craft, and even bought a spell-book once. (And I mean, let's not even get INTO Harry Potter). Mostly, though, I don't believe witches exist, I think I just wish they did.
I do believe in magic, though - and I think magic incarnates in many forms all the time. Some people see it as religion, some see it as spirituality. Some believe in love. Some in fate. Some in a mixture of all the above. Some people believe in music - and worship it accordingly. Some people believe in art. Some people find magic in dark, dark things. Some people live in a world completely void of magic or imagination - and those people, those people I pity.
I believe in many things. Many of the above mentioned things, in fact. But above all - I believe that I am magic. And not in a way that ever worked with a spell book from my girlhood. I believe enough love and positivity can create change. I believe it can melt the iciest of hearts, brighten the darkest of rooms. I believe that if I put myself out there, in the rawest, most honest form possible - I can create change. I believe that I am unique enough, and powerful enough - that my directed love and energy can do more, can travel farther - than the average person's love/energy.
I will be the first to admit the many cons of having this sort of mentality about oneself. Disappointment abounds. Many things that are out of my hands feel like a personal failure - or a personal reflection of my worth/value. For people like me, hindsight is a bitch. And lord, the reverse effects of putting so much power into love: this crazy girl falls hard and falls often. But then again, if you're one of my readers, you know that :) You also know I don't regret it.
Life is just plain prettier with rose-colored glasses. You know those old-fashioned photo apps that everyone's using nowadays? (Yours truly included, clearly.) That make everything look all nostalgic? That's how I see life - every day. And life is beautiful. And dramatic - tragic, painful - but overall beautiful. What people don't realize about me as a smiley and bubbly girl is that I know beauty can be found in very dark places. I mean, I adore Phantom of the Opera and not just because the music sounds nice and there are pretty costumes. I love it for its dark and tragic love story. Anyone who sees me as naive - as just sunshine and daisies - they don't know me. And that's okay. If I project pure happiness and positivity, that's a fine superficial takeaway of me... but there's a lot of twisty, turny depth in me. But then again, my readers know that, too :) And I don't wish to preach to the choir.
Beyond witches, there's a lore I've always been fascinated with and never got any mainstream literature or information on - and that's the concept of the Witch's Familiar. My guess is that many of my readers don't know much about the lore of Familiars, either. The concept of witches having a cat - a black cat even - comes from somewhere. Legend has it that all witches have a magical animal sidekick to do their evil bidding. This animal has most famously been a cat, but really could be any animal. (A few mainstream examples of this are shown in the movie the Golden Compass, and - yes it's back again - the Harry Potter books, with the concept of the Animagus). From there, a quick Wikipedia search will tell you many versions of what a Familiar could be or could mean or could do... but the only mainstream answer is that it is the evil accomplice to a witch, and witches are, of course, evil.
Since we've already picked apart the idea of a witch and the term "evil" - why not take it just as far with Familiars? If we have magic in our modern-day world, are there any Familiars hiding in tow? Whether you guessed I was headed here or not, I ask you: what about our pets?
Any pet owner can tell you about the intense relationship that develops between pet and owner. Dog-lovers swear up and down about how awesome dogs are... (I saw a magnet in a store once that will forever stay in my mind "Lord, please make me the kind of person my dog thinks I am.") But cat people - and yes, I'm on Team Cats - will happily talk to you about how wonderful and endearing cats are, when the world's not looking. And plenty of people have non-cat/dog pets - birds, guinea pigs, rabbits - the list goes on. A pet might not officially be a child or a family member - but they go through a LOT with us, they comfort us, they brighten our spirits... And if you have ever lost your pet, you have known a very real kind of heartbreak and loss.
My life has had a million points of sadness to it. Of fear, of loss, of grief. And in becoming a woman, I have had my heartbroken so many times. My cat might seem fickle or hissy to you... but my cat has been there for me in each and every one of my darkest hours as an adult. Just her presence on my lap has calmed me at times when no other person was around to calm me. In fact, I'm told that medical research shows that when pets have been brought into hospitals, patients recover faster or better, due to their presence. I have no statistics to give you - but I've heard it, and I believe it.
As I was doing my research on Familiars, I ran across a sentence that struck me. "The main purpose of familiars is to serve the witch or young witch, providing protection for him/her as they come into their new powers."
The last decade of my life has been about raw, painful growth and healing. They say that the hard times in your life are when you're growing the most... If you figure I'm in constant battle with my heart, with heartbreak, with magical spells of love flying back and forth around me - some thrown by me, some thrown at me - some sticking, some mutating differently that I could ever imagine... If you figure I've literally been trying to cut the ugly parts out of me - and if you figure that I am magical - if I've always been magical - but only now really coming into my powers... Then, it makes sense that I've needed, and appreciated, having my furry little friend Luna by my side.
No clear life lessons to be found in my musings tonight - maybe just a magical tip of the hat to the Familiars in all our lives - whether they be animal, music, or a person - that have helped protect us as we come into our power. Because well, I believe we all are magical - you just have to be brave enough to see it, and wield it, and own it.