I was recently talking with one of my students about magic and the spells we cast. I explained that I was not a literal believer of the threefold law as it is written but that I believe magic follows the laws of ‘cause & effect’ and ‘attraction’. Along with that, there could be consequences to be had from any given spell if you have not planned well. When working alone we are all responsible for making our own choices. Magic can be finicky, and the path of magic isn’t easy. There are lessons to be learned but as Witches we carefully choose what we are willing to deal with and what we are not. This reminded me of a personal lesson I had to learn about magic a few years before I ever found teachers in the Craft. It is the story of me and my cauldron.
When I was in my very early 20s (late 90s) my obsession with Witchcraft had remanifested in my life. I was living in Key West and working in the night club that stood where the famous Copa once was. I was not exactly living the most spiritual life, but I was young and having fun. I worked as a club kid/go-go dancer/shooter boy/cocktail slinger and occasionally delved out bumps to the drag queens (yes that is a lot of slashes but I am multifaceted, what can I say?). Although the money was good, it was expensive to live there so most of my money went to rent and other necessities.
I had been in a cute little Witch shop down one of the side streets of Duval St. and had spied a beautiful cauldron. It called to me at the low low cost of $60. Well, at that point in my life that was a lot of money to spend on something that wasn’t essential to my survival. This was my chance to do a spell to get the funds to buy that tri-legged beauty and call forth the inspiration of Cerridwen! So I did a spell to get the money to buy that cauldron. The following week after all the fully imbibed tourists had left the club for the evening I was cleaning up before heading home and saw something on one of the comfy chairs in the lounge. What was that? It looks like a wallet. It was, a wallet full of money, like almost a thousand dollars!! “Wow” I said to myself “my lucky day,” right? No, this wallet also had the driver’s license, credit cards and everything men carry around with them. There was no way I could claim anything here as I could identify who it belonged to. I begrudgingly walked it over to the club owner’s office and explained what I had found. He took it, gave me my pay for the night and I went home.
The next night when I got to work to start boozing up all the tourists again, the owner told me that a local guest house had called the club asking if anyone had returned a wallet and he was able to return it to its rightful owner. The man was grateful as he was leaving town that morning and needed his ID and credit cards to get back home. He was also shocked that every dollar was still in his wallet. I was happy that I had done the right thing.
A few days later there was a write up in some Key West rag written by this grateful tourist praising the owner of the club for being his hero and returning his wallet and money. What a stand up guy he was!! Nowhere was a mention of the weirdo club kid cocktail server that had actually found and returned his wallet. My good deed would go unnoticed.
After stewing about this all night through my shift, the club emptied and I found myself once again cleaning up and low & behold I saw a crumbled-up bill on the floor. I found various bills all the time. Sometimes for an extra surprise they were folded up with cocaine or ecstasy, I mean it was Key West! I picked it up, unfolded it and low and behold, a $100 dollar bill had been left on the empty litter filled dance floor.
I figured I’d hold onto it and see if the next day anyone came in and asked about it but they did not so.... you got it. That was the money I needed for my cauldron. Ideally, I would have gotten that money from a generous tipper but it wasn’t the way it happened. I waited a week, and no one ever tried to claim it so off I went to that cute little Witch store and bought that potbellied beauty. I would never get the recognition I felt I deserved for being a good human being by returning that money filled wallet, but that wasn’t the spell I did was it? I did a spell to get the money to buy a $60 cauldron. You see, magic happens in weird ways. It takes the path of least resistance. Someone’s loss was another’s gain. Magic isn’t black and white; it is somewhere in-between. I feel like my moral compass was tested in this particular spell I had done. I think I passed that test but I do realize that some unfortunate soul was $100 dollars lighter. Did they have some cosmic debt they needed to pay? Or had they just been negligent with their money? What if I had emptied the wallet and just gave it back without the cash? I will never know; all I know is ultimately my goal was achieved and the cauldron was mine. That same cauldron has been with me now for close to 25 years. It has been through countless circles, held spells, manifested my hopes and desires, hung over bonfires and more. For me it will always be a symbol of the power of magic and even the lessons that we sometimes endure as Witches that walk the path traveled by few. I learned from that one simple spell to be mindful, that magic should be well thought out and taken seriously, it isn’t something frivolous as each act of magic isn’t without consequence. As a Witch you carve your path, choose what is important and what spells you are willing to do and possibly learn from. Be well Witches!