It’s a good question, isn’t it? Why Wicca and not Buddhism, or literally any other religion? Well, while Wicca may be a religion, it is also a faith you can tailor to your own beliefs and it’s that kind of fluidity that I need in my life. Read More
Something I learnt during my first Wicca course – I did a beginners diploma and am two thirds through the advanced – was about The 5 Love Languages. Basically, and I’m interpreting it myself here – there are five different types of giving and receiving love, and we all mostly veer towards one or two of them.
For instance, I respond most positively to acts of service and love being taken care of with cups of tea and someone cooking dinner for me. My husband, it turns out after making him do a quiz, is all about quality time. Something that is both surprising and completely heartwarming. I honestly would have put him firmly in the physical touch category.
I think about the love languages a lot and I think about love a lot, too. Before I’d really experienced it romantically, properly, it was all I ever thought about. I knew the love of a mother and best friends, perhaps but not true, undiluted passionate love. What I didn’t realise is that it’s not like the movies and it isn’t all angsty rain-drenched emotion either.
Somewhere along the line – and I’m not sure where – I got it into my head that pain and anguish was all part of being in love and the harder you worked, the bigger the pay off would be. While this may be true of career and aspiration, now I’m in a healthy relationship I know I was completely insane to be thinking it should apply to relationships.
My last relationship left me scarred in ways I could never have expected. Even now when I find myself over-apologising or doubting myself, I know these are hangovers from being gaslit for six years (I was going to type ‘from allowing myself to be gaslit’ – and that, my friends, is a direct result of GASLIGHTING). While I’ve left it all behind me now and I don’t think about it much anymore, when I display those negative qualities, I have to stop and listen to my inner voice, which tells me that it’s not me speaking.
The above experience has not defined me but the way I’ve recovered and the way I’ve forgiven myself is a massive part of who I am now. I’m proud of how I’ve moved on, how I’ve learnt to accept love and I’m pleased I can now examine this topic without the rose-tinted heart-shaped glasses.
I know now that all the pain I felt, all the despair – it wasn’t all part of a bigger picture. Loving something that gives you nothing back, that makes you walk on eggshells and emotionally abuses you to the point you can’t take anymore of this life – there’s nothing romantic about that – and a ‘thing’ that can treat you like that doesn’t love you, let alone understand love.
Love – loving and being loved – is important to me. It’s the most important thing of all but now I’m older and wiser, I feel like I can see the strings. It isn’t about anguish and it isn’t one sided – it’s about mutual support, kindness, intimacy – and romance isn’t all massive public displays (though it can be). Having a bath run for me or a hot water bottle made up when I have period pains is my idea of sweet loving.
It’s still hard work but there’s more to this whole thing than what we’ve read in books and seen Gwyneth Paltrow experience on the big screen. It’s not always easy but it shouldn’t be that hard either. I love the life I share with my husband and sometimes it’s all so simple. Other times we take each other for granted and we need to be reminded why we’re here together. It’s like anything you love, you need to keep taking care of it.
And I guess this is where understanding the love languages comes in. Being more aware of your partner’s wants and needs just means you can throw them a bone every now and again. While I’m an acts of service kind of girl, Glynn has different needs – and I could always be more conscious of the things that make him happy. To realise all he wants is time together is lovely but of course I knew it already, I just thought he’d choose sex over everything. It’s good to be continually surprised and impressed by your partner in crime.
So, the love languages, what are they exactly? You can read about them yourself via the links below but I’ve padded them out in my own words, as I understand them.
Words of Affirmation
Encouragement, verbal appreciation, active listening, affirmations and positive reinforcement.
The Words of Affirmation language is spoken through texts, little notes and cheer-leading. Empathy is key and so is taking the time to actually listen (sounds like bliss!), while non-constructive criticism and failure to acknowledge and appreciate effort is a big no no.
Uninterrupted and focused conversation. Critical one-on-one time.
Creating special moments, taking walks and doing the small things, this is the way forward with a QT cutie while long stints without time together does not wash.
A few words on QT since this is my love’s love language:
In (sloppily) researching this topic and learning Glynn’s LL, I feel a little shitty about being on my phone when we watch films together and not always taking proper time to actually catch up – AKA. living together and over the last five months, through a pandemic in which we’ve been 95% just the two of us. It’s not an excuse but it is easy to let things slip.
It’s nice to know there are some very practical and real things I can do to remedy this. I’ve got Monday off work so I might take him on a little jaunt through the fields across the road. There’s an operational camera obscura a few minutes from our house that we’ve been meaning to check out.
Thoughtfulness, making your spouse a priority, speaking purposefully.
Thoughtful gifts and gestures, small things that speak volumes and expressing gratitude when giving gifts, these are the ways of the Gifts lover.
I mean, everyone loves gifts, right? But it’s nice to learn that it’s not all about material possessions with this language, it runs a little deeper than you’d think. And the way to piss them off? Oh, just forget special occasions (me) and be unenthusiastic in your present receiving (never).
Acts of Service
Use action phrases like “I’ll help…”. Act like a partner and on their side.
Doing chores together (or for…), bringing breakfast in bed – basically going out of your way to make daily life easier for Acts of Service is it. What isn’t is putting others needs above theirs (travesty) and lacking follow-through on tasks big and small.
This is me:
I knew this was me even before I did the quiz and Glynn knew this was me before I confirmed it. I think the fact we both know this is incredibly telling and I have mixed feelings about it. The plus is that I know myself so well, the minus: well, surely this makes me a selfish, lazy bitch? In fairness, that is accurate.
I give generously emotionally but I like to be taken care of by my man servant, what can I say? It doesn’t mean I can’t take care of myself or that I don’t take care of him – it’s just – what says I love you like a hot bubble bath run just for me? Nothing!
Non-verbal communication, using body language and touch to empthasise love.
This isn’t even about sex, it’s about intimacy: hugs, kisses, showing physical affection on the regs. It’s about making time to be intimate together and it makes perfect sense. Physical neglect, coldness and long stints without intimacy is not the one.
A few words on Physical Touch:
I’m ashamed to admit that I got 0% on the love languages quiz in this category. I think this is quite terrifying. It is NOT that I don’t enjoy physicality, affection or intimacy, it’s very important to me – it’s just that the questions frame it so you chose what you prefer – and I’ll always prefer dinner being made for me. LOL.
Joking aside, I think I need to work on this area because I would not like to be thought of as cold and un-affectionate. I love spooning, I love hugs and falling asleep together. I guess I just need to show it more.
How do the love languages relate to Wicca? Well, alongside love spells – which I haven’t tried yet – understanding and practicing them are another way of keeping your relationship alive and well. I’m not an expert by any stretch, in witchcraft or relationships but I guess anything that focuses you on the one you love is a good thing. I’m going to do more reading on the subject because I find it very interesting.
So, what’s your love language?
While all this global pandemic shit has been going on, I’ve found myself slipping further away from my Wiccan lessons. I guess I just haven’t had the head for reading more about the faith or practicing spells. Looking back, I think the ritual side of things could have been a great comfort during all this uncertainty, but I’ve turned to the familiar instead – and that’s okay.
The thing about faith is that it’s still there even if you don’t practice it because it ingrains itself into your core. That’s how I feel about this anyway – I don’t have to be dancing naked under a full moon to be a true witch, I still believe and live the values of Wicca and I am a witch, regardless.
However, there is so much I don’t know, and much I need to learn so I’m looking forward to shifting focus and getting back into the practical. I never did get around to putting my own Book of Shadows together and that’s what I want to start doing this week. From what I gather this book can be anything you want it to be but will contain everything magical, from the properties of certain plants to what all the moon phases are good for.
I see mine as part journal, part notes on witchery, and I’m going to try and keep it organic. That’s all I know at the moment. Putting together your own, very personal Book of Shadows – or grimoire – looks like a big job and there are some really beautiful ones out there.
While I was looking for images for this post, I actually stumbled across a lovely looking blog called The Traveling Witch which has a Grimoire 101 series of posts. I don’t want to read too much of this in case it starts to influence what I do with mine, but it is good to have resources to turn to if you need guidance.
That said, one of the posts – How to Create Your Own Grimoire as a Beginner – is quite helpful as it asks questions about how you’ll be using your book. Here’s what I think so far – and a few questions I’ve pulled out to ask myself.
What the heck is a grimoire? Is it the same as a Book of Shadows?
Well, from what I have learnt, a Book of Shadows is a grimoire specific to Wiccan practice – and its name was originally coined to describe the ritual texts of Wicca.
From Tetraktys (which is another good resource):
“Initially, a Book of Shadows is a document containing religious texts, rituals and spells from a specific Wiccan tradition. The name itself comes from Gerard Gardner, who founded Wicca during the 1940’s. The traditional custom was that each coven had its own book in a single copy, which was kept by the High Priestess.
Fortunately, things have changed a lot since the beginnings of Wicca. Nowadays, the term “Book of Shadows” has a much broader sense. In fact, it now has two meanings. In addition to being a document that contains information, it is now also a journal of your magickal and ritual practices.
I consider my own book as a tool that I use to document my own spiritual journey… and much more. I use my book of shadows to organise my whole life, even if it’s not always magick-related. I chose to do so because I do have a holistic approach to spirituality. Thus, I believe that to attain spiritual enlightenment (in the broad sense, not the Buddhist one), I must work on every aspect of my life. That is why I use my witchy journal for literally everything that matters to me.”
Meanwhile, the definition of a grimoire:
grimoire (noun) · grimoires (plural noun)
~ a book of magic spells and invocations.
~ mid-19th century: French, alteration of grammaire ‘grammar’.
So, there you have it.
What kind of book should I use?
This depends on a lot of things – do I want it to be beautiful (obviously), will I carry it around wherever I go and how much do I want to spend? Will I illustrate that bad boy, will there be inserts – will I stick photos/pressed flowers inside?
Personally, I’d like a mixture of all these things, though I probably won’t do much drawing because I’m terrible at it. The odd doodle maybe but I do like to use fine liners and they tend to bleed through paper that isn’t thick enough. I’ve been buying these really nice journals from a shop on Amazon for a while and they have a nice selection of designs – and the quality of the pages is really nice – so I’ve gone for one of those.
I’ll probably leave mine beside my bed but if I ever want to take it out to be at one with nature then I can easily do that, it’s only an A5 size and should slip into my bag. It cost about a tenner and that’s enough for me.
I have to say I did consider having a mini version just for my handbag and that’s still a possibility. I think I should probably get this one in line first though.
Some modern witches take their Book of Shadows completely digital and for a second there I did also consider starting a second blog purely for this purpose – but there’s a real satisfaction in having something tangible to hold in your hands so I’m sticking with this medium.
I’d really like to use my Instax camera a bit more so I’ve just bought a new roll of film for it – it would be nice to break up blocks of text with pretty things. Polaroids, leaves and pressed flowers to illustrate certain recipes and spells – sounds delicious!
I also envisage using mine as a magical journal. Definitely not full on diary entries but little snippets. I really want it to be personal and true to who I am, not just fluffy and perfect. I’m fully aware that Wicca has its trendy moments and it’s not a fad for me, I will live it for the rest of my life, unless something drastic happens.
Here’s what The Traveling Witch says about the Journal style entry:
“This is one type of grimoire I recommend everyone keep, especially while they’re just beginning. The journal style grimoire is exactly what it sounds like. It’s written chronologically, rather than being split into subject-based sections, and each entry is typically dated. This sort of grimoire serves as a sort of catch-all. You can capture anything from spells to herbal notes to dreams, tarot readings, and your personal thoughts and feelings about magic and your experiences in the craft.
This can be an invaluable resource for beginners. Not only does it allow you chronicle your learning journey so that you have a real record of how much you’ve progressed, it allows you to learn and collect information without the start-up hurdles. Often new witches will refrain from recording information because they’re not sure of what they’re doing. They don’t know how they should organise a book, whether or not certain information will be pertinent later, etc. A journal grimoire streamlines that process and ensures you’re capturing information regardless. You can always transfer the info to a more structured book later!”
And there it is, exactly what I had in mind.
How much use will my book get?
I’m planning on focusing on this heavily for the foreseeable. I’m just a little bit overwhelmed about where to start and how to organise it, which is where the above guide might come in handy.
I’m quite happy for it to flow naturally though, with no real structure. Whatever I decide, I’ll probably start with the Wiccan Reade and work outwards. I digress a little here, but the short answer is: I plan to use it a lot and get good use out of my first Book of Shadows. It will likely end up being a series – I might need to get them their own little bookcase!
OMG imagine a whole room dedicated to my altar and Wiccan paraphernalia! Now that is the dream.
How will I organise my book? It seems like A LOT
I’ve touched upon that above and the answer I think is: I’m going to go for the journal style. I’m not much of a structured thinker and I know myself, if I make one mistake, it will ruin the whole book for me and I’m not having that.
This book is going to be a piece of me and my magical side – and I want it to evolve and flow naturally. So, no organisation, just thoughts, feelings, spells, recipes and a record of how the magic is working (or not working) for me.
Here are just a few things it will probably include:
- Magick Theory & Exercises
- Sacred Texts
- Magickal Recipes
- Crystal Healing
- Wheel of the Year
- Moon Cycles / Esbats
- Symbols and their meanings
I have so many books about crystals, horoscopes, magic, spells and Wicca – it’s quite overwhelming. I guess I’ll just work through them one by one and pull out the parts that I feel will be useful to me.
This is another really good resource and here are the author Tsona’s starting tips, which I think are handy:
Write page numbers on each page
I don’t do them all at once but in small batches of twenty pages or so – this makes it easy to then work into the contents page
Create a Cover Sheet, an Index, and a Key
At the beginning of your book, keep four blank pages. On the first page, you can write a spell to consecrate and protect your book.
On the second page, write down every symbol you’ll use in your book for a quick access. Use the two other pages to make an index on which you’ll list everything as you’re adding it, with the corresponding pages.
I’m so looking forward to getting stuck in.
Is there anything I shouldn’t share in my book?
To be honest it’s my book and I believe I should be free to write whatever the fuck I want within its pages. Typically though there are a few rules that make sense:
Anything that has nothing to do with Wicca or Magick
I mean, it’s a Book of Shadows, not a shopping list so this is kind of a given.
I just really love the idea of having a tome for just musings on magic, there’s something so pure and powerful about it.
I’m not interested in negativity and I never really have been so I’m good with this. It works itself organically into the next point too.
Curses and Hexes are not part of white magic so will never see the inside of my book, naturally.
We, as witches, always have to remember the Wiccan Rede: “An Ye Harm None, Do As Ye Will” and the threefold law, which is scary as shit: do harm and it will come back to you, threefold.
Engaging in black magick will put you on the bad side of the Divine – and nobody’s go time for that!
Someone else’s entries
This is my account of my spiritual quest so nobody else gets to write in my book, or touch it if I don’t give express permission.
Incidentally, I’ve read somewhere that nobody else is allowed to touch your book, is it true?
Funnily enough I can’t find a straight answer to this. I’ve told Glynn it’s bad luck to touch it without my permission, which has put the fear of God into him and I think I’ll stick to that.
I guess it’s okay if I say so but I probably won’t let anybody because it’s so private. Well, unless someone really shows an interest and wants to see.
So that’s me and my thoughts on my Book of Shadows. There’s a lot here to digest I know, and it’s not your job to do that – unless you’re a fellow witch or looking to get into it.
I just wanted to let you guys in on my new focus and plans for the future. I am honestly so excited!
What are you up to?
It seems like absolutely everybody is having a shit time of it right now. I don’t think I’ve known a period like it in a long while.
It’s hardly surprising as we witness the world literally implode under the stress of a pandemic… and every ache and pain feels like the beginning of the end. It’s scary and tiring, and if we can just stop the world, I’d like to get off please. Who’s with me?
There have been a lot of conversations at work about the sickness we won’t name and as a mental health first aider it’s my responsibility to flag any extra anxiety about the virus. There’s a lot of it, buzzing all over the floor.
What I don’t get is the lucky ones who don’t have anxiety about it. How do they remain calm when you can’t move for horror stories and open mouthed coughs on the bus? Genuinely asking for me.
I already worry about everything – dying alone, ageing, the giant golden-crowned flying fox (Google pictures and never sleep again) – this is something else entirely. And I think I need to calm down.
(Pictured candles are helping a bit, these are for luck and protection for everyone I love).
It is hard though when Tesco has been plundered of all its pasta and loo roll, and you long wistfully to go back to the days of Brexit dominating the front page.
In other news, so many of my love ones are dealing with life shit and I wish I could fix it. Life is generally wonderful, it really is but those trials and tribulations, man.
Still, and I can’t stress this enough, something wonderful has happened today. Weinstein got jailed for a cool 23 years and will probably die behind bars. A great result and I admire the incredible women who brought him down so much – so it really isn’t all bad.
Although, Google those flying foxes and you might change your mind.
(Ps. I’m obsessed with them) 🦇❤️
I haven’t planned anything breathtaking for The Fall Witch‘s debut blog post. There’s nothing particularly pressing on my mind today.
I called in sick to work and slept for most of the day. I feel like warm garbage and look worse. I watched The Knight Before Christmas and half-cleaned the bathroom. It’s a glamorous life for this Wiccan let me assure you.
What I can promise you however, is more magical content in the future. More movie and book reviews – and a lot of guff about mental health and feminism. I promise not to bring up religion or politics, except in the loosest of terms (Fuck you, Tories!).
Mostly I would like to share my life as a new witch. There are some things you just don’t tell but in general terms it’s such a beautiful philosophy (I’m wary about calling it a religion, even though it is one) and it’s really enhancing my life.
If you have followed me over from my old blog then you’ll already know a bit about how I came to start this but I’m planning to go from the beginning for posterity. I hope you enjoy the new vibe, I think I’m going to.
Until then, have a lovely evening/day!
The Fall Witch
I hate writing bios so I guess you could add ‘Shit bio writer’ to my About Me page and be done with it.
I’m not new to blogging, I’ve been doing this almost religiously since the year 2000, which next year will be 20 years (almost half my life). That makes this my longest term relationship. Trust me when I say it is definitely one of my most satisfying.
I’ve decided to start a new blog because I could feel myself getting restless on the old one, and sometimes a change is as good as a rest. The deal will be pretty much the same around the new gaff, only I want to share more of my Wicca journey so I’ll be cultivating more of a witchy vibe.
That’s about it.
If you’ve followed me over then thank you. If you’re new, hello and I hope you like bad horror movies and witches.
The Fall Witch