In my opinion, the most important thing about is magic is its accessibility. Magic and knowledge that is gated behind subscriptions or that requires an unreasonable amount of purchase of gold chalices isn’t really any sort of magic I’m interested in.
People have been doing magic for a long time, and like our ancestors, our workings shouldn’t really require more than chalk and a pack of cards. Yes, frankincense and water from the Nile is really nice to have to give a spell or ritual some wham, but real magic is all around us.
Jars and candles are a time honored tool in all folk crafts, from Delhi to Denver. Remember, not too long ago, glass was a rare and precious thing and fire is always sacred.
If you’re an American like me, you’re never more than a short trek away from a dollar store, and you would be surprised what an enterprising witch can find there.
One of the sacred things that I feel is missing in modern life is the magic of the market. From fairy market to soukh of wonders, magical trinkets from far lands can be obtained for a kiss or a favorite joke, but like the witch-markets of legend, we must always remember, that those things came at a price. That kiss might have been the last one you were to give before the Fates cut your cord, or that joke may have also been interwoven with the memory of a lost loved one, never to be recalled again.
We are not without our wonders about us, we’ve just forgotten how to see them, or lost them in the hazy of cynicism. Those candles on the shelf, with tired “Summer Breeze” or “Autumn Vanilla” are as blue and white as the candles that have honored the altars of Poseidon and halls of old Babylon.
Our time is already sold, woven into the dollars in our pockets and the ethereal digits of our bank accounts, hard-fought with our tears and the breaths of hourly-wages.
If you’re like me, a candle manufactured in a place as far away as China, that has made it’s way over sea and land to a Dollar General in Pasco County, Florida, can be as magical as anything in the Vatican. It also cost a lot less, which was pretty cool when you’re struggling just to keep the lights on.
I always stock my altar with a candle of every color, all of which are easily found in an American dollar store, or a Euro shoppe, if you’re a Continental cousin. Can’t find what you need? Try another location! There is a magic in the doing the shopping to stock your altar, so make it into a journey.
Make a list and bring a friend. In making a list, you will have to fully think through why and what you need, which will give you a deeper sense of what symbols are important to your craft. A friend (or accomplice) gives you someone to chat and banter with. Tell them why you need that pink candle, or that tin can for gravedirt.
In the end, our true work in this weird age, is bringing magic back to now and here. Remember that any working, no matter how old or new, was at one time just a bunch of weird shit the village witch did. Never forget magic should be something you do, in a way that makes sense for you and your world, not how other people define it.