We're Made of Mud and Magic

Pagan rituals for groups


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The secular spell, poorly cast

Picture of Mark TwainYesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. – Mark Twain


Every day is a chance to be better, but there’s something about a fresh year to inspire a desire to become your best self. On December 31st, there’s an energy in the secular world a witch can only yearn for from a full moon, as people everywhere simultaneously vow to drop their bad habits and their extra pounds. As midnight nears, everyone promises themselves that the next year is going to be the one where they stop smoking and eating sugar, get to the gym and out of debt, give up alcohol and caffeine, and start volunteering. They yell “happy new year!” with great intention and energy. “So mote it be” should have so much power.


The typical new year’s spell has tons of energy and the best magical timing and often has physical spell components (nicotine gum, stevia, FitBit, nicotine gum, or herbal tea), but fails anyway. We wake up on January 1st and we’re the same people and we rediscover that good intentions aren’t enough. Magic alone is insufficient; change needs real, physical, daily actions. Instead of yearly resolutions, try daily choices. If a promise on a calendar flip or a burning candle on the full moon helps you get started, use it, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that desire is enough. If it was, the world would get healthier, wealthier, and happier on every January 1st.

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