Why I'm Falling in Love with Modern Witchcraft

Why I’m Falling In Love with Modern Witchcraft

I find having a spiritual practice of some kind is extremely important to keeping me grounded and compassionate. Today I want to share why I’m falling in love with modern witchcraft. It’s helped me to see the world from a different angle, and I’m tremendously grateful for that.

Why I'm Falling in Love with Modern Witchcraft | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve dabbled in a lot of spiritual practices and communities in my life. Raised by free thinkers, religion and spirituality was something that I came to on my own. I’m so grateful to my parents who taught me to read and study everything I could get my hands on and make up my own mind.

For a time in my mid-20s, I actually worked as a youth leader at a liberal Christian church in Oklahoma. It was a hugely rewarding experience. I connected with the Baha’i community in Nashville, and again met some of the most gracious and compassionate people I’ve ever known. But mostly I’ve been figuring things out on my own.

What is modern witchcraft?

If you’re wondering “What the heck even is modern witchcraft?” don’t panic. I didn’t even realize this was a thing until I heard about it on NPR. Obviously. I remember my husband overhearing the podcast and saying “You want to become a witch now, don’t you?” I was all, “Sorta, yeah.” At that moment it still seemed a little bit crazy and weird.

That was in October of 2018. It wasn’t until August of the following year that I really started to dig in. The idea had continued to float to the surface of my brain, but I didn’t allow myself to take it seriously until then.

Witchcraft is not about flying on a broom and communing with the devil. For me, witchcraft is about connecting with nature, tuning into my own intuition, and most importantly, focusing my energy on my explicit intentions. If you had to distill it down to it’s simplest definition, I think it would simply be about using your energy to manifest an intention. That’s really all there is to it. Except that there’s so much more.

There are so many things you can learn about in the world of modern witchcraft. Tarot, crystals, astrology, mythology. You could study the rest of your life. Naturally, this is another thing I love about it. There’s always more to learn.

Do I need to buy a bunch of stuff to be a witch?

Maybe you’ve seen some #witchesofinstagram and thought, “that looks expensive,” let me tell you that you need absolutely nothing to practice witchcraft other than your own mind.The tools are just physical symbols to help you bring your intention out of your head and into the real world. You can spend a ton of money on pretty rocks and exotic herbs, or you can use what you already have. Quite often, I just go to my kitchen and see what’s in the pantry, then create my spell from there.

One of the things I love about modern witchcraft is that it is so individual. One witch’s practice doesn’t have to look anything like another’s. You follow your intuition and do what’s most meaningful for you. It’s given me permission to focus on myself and what I want and allowed me to cleanse myself of the guilt that I carried around for so long.

I also like to use candles quite a bit in my practice. There’s is nothing supernatural about magick, but I’m here to tell you that there is immense power in writing down all your fears and worries, setting it on fire, and flushing the ashes down the toilet. It makes my soul feel lighter, and that changes everything.

Where do I start with witchcraft?

As with most things, I think any new witch’s best friend is Pinterest. Of course, you have to wade through some nonsense to find what’s right for you, but whatever you’re drawn to will be there.

Through Pinterest, I discovered Mumbles & Things. I joined the mailing list and signed up for the free e-course Witchcraft 101. If you can get over the multiple typos, I found this to be a simple, systematic, easy to understand introduction. If you’re like me, and you like things to be presented in an orderly fashion, I’d recommend this e-course.

I was also lurking in the spiritual section of the bookstore one day and found the book Waking the Witch by Pam Grossman. I haven’t had the chance to read her book yet, but it’s on my list. What I discovered in the bookstore that day was that she also has a fantastic podcast called The Witch Wave. I absolutely recommend listening to this if you’re at all interested in anything even witchcraft adjacent. It’s the perfect balance of scholarly and entertaining. She gets incredible guests. I also went back to check that original NPR story, and of course, Pam Grossman was one of the guests. Synchronicity.

There are lots of entry points into magick and witchcraft. Start reading and find what your drawn to. For me, it was working with the phases of the moon that first drew my attention. I now have a Moon Phase app on my phone, and I keep a lunar journal, modified from this one, again from Mumbles and Things.

Naturally, I’m also drawn to kitchen witchcraft, as that’s where I spend most of my time. I have loved learning about the magical properties of the ingredients I use in my kitchen all the time. I can infuse my food with a positive intentention and share that with my friends and family. Can’t hurt. Might help. Makes me happy. Why not?

You can also make your own bath and beauty products and infuse them with magick. Homemade Brown Sugar Body Scrub is perfect for a little new moon cleansing magick in the bath or shower.

You can use magick and witchcraft to help you achieve whatever you want. All you need to do is set an intention, focus your energy on that intention, and take action to manifest it. Want a car or a big fat mansion? There’s a spell for that. What I want is peace in my soul and to own my own business. Witchcraft is unquestionably helping me to achieve that.

What I didn’t realize is that I was already on the path to becoming a witch before I even knew you could actually be one without a letter from Hogwarts. I was already doing mindfulness meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy. I have been a long-time lover of Joseph Campbell and mythology. I’ve always been fascinated by the stories we’ve told ourselves to try to figure out our purpose in this world. It’s hardly a wonder that witchcraft was awaiting me on my path.

If you’ve been wondering if this whole witchcraft thing might be for you, I definitely encourage you to dig in and do your research. I’m no expert. I’ve only been doing this a few months. But I do know it’s made a difference in my life. I’m more confident and more determined then I’ve been for most of my adult life.

If you’re hesitating to learn more about witchcraft because you think it’s a bit too woo woo or you’re worried what other people will think, just give it a try. Pick up a book from the library, or dive into a witchcraft website. It may feel silly or strange at first, but I think you’ll know pretty quickly if it’s right for you. And if it’s not, that’s cool, too. Anything that makes us more connect to each other can only be a good thing. Find what makes you feel most connected and embrace it. For me right now, it’s witchcraft, without a doubt. I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.

Almond Pastry Puff | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Almond Pastry Puff

This Almond Pastry Puff comes together easily with just five ingredients. Filled with a sweet, creamy almond paste, this pastry is truly indulgent. Elegant yet simple, you can make it any day of the week.

Almond Pastry Puff | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

As an aspiring food blogger, intermittent fasting is a real barrier to my budding business. At the moment, there are two days a week where I don’t allow myself to eat more than about 500 calories. The best way to do this is to take your mind off of eating as much as possible. Keep busy with non-food tasks and information. While I’m at work, it’s quite easy to keep busy and just skip lunch. When I get home, everything changes.

My at-home work has food in the title. I post about food. I write about food. My social media feeds are almost nothing but food. Food blogging is possibly my dream job because nearly every aspect of it points back to food. All I can think about right now, as I struggle through these last few hours of the day before I can go to bed and dream about food, is how desperately I wish I was eating this Almond Pastry Puff.

Almond Pastry Puff | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Guys, it’s so good. I’m such a dummy, though. Until I saw people posting it on Instagram earlier in the month, I had no idea this was a take on the galette des rois. If you don’t know what that is, don’t sweat it. I didn’t know what it was, either, obviously. Not being churchy anymore, I’m not up on my liturgical calendar and their corresponding desserts. Epiphany is long since gone. Don’t let that stop you from making this gorgeous little pastry.

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients. I’m so lazy, though. I managed to make an already simple recipe even easier. I used already ground almonds and puff pastry sheets rather than a block. You can easily throw this together on a week night. If you’re having people over for dinner on a random Tuesday, make this for dessert. People will think you’re a wizard.

Almond Pastry Puff | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Flaky puff pastry is always heavenly. When it’s filled with a sweet almond paste, it’s practically irresistible. I was really surprised by how much I liked this. I’m not really a nut person. I wanted to cry when this was gone. I wanted it to go on and on forever.

Almond Pastry Puff | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Eating is awesome, friends. Let’s do a lot of it. Let’s make absolutely magical food in our very own kitchens and high five ourselves for making something so damn good. Start with this Almond Pastry Puff. It’s gonna be awesome.

If you love this Almond Pastry Puff, you might also love my Bakewell Tart.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole turns a steak house classic into a delicious side dish for the whole family. We’re mixing in all the good stuff like cheese and bacon and leaving out those gross potato skins. You’ll want to make this way too often.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

My darling husband has a cold. Bless him. This means he’s going to spend the entire weekend on the couch playing video games surrounded by an ever-growing pile of used tissues and half empty cups of team and orange juice. It’s fine. Being sick is the worst. You should get to do whatever you want. I’ve brought him a bag for his tissues, so at least that problem is contained. Now I just have to find a way to keep him from breathing on me.

Luckily for my husband, my dinner plans were thwarted last night. That means he got to order a takeaway. In his opinion, the ultimate comfort food is Chicken Tikka Masala. He simply had to have it. So that’s what he got.

This highlights yet another perfect example of the difference between Brits and Americans. I only eat Indian food under the most dire of circumstances. I’m a very boring, very picky eater with the palate of a 12-year-old. This is no secret. Just leave me alone with my PB&J. He, on the other hand, could eat curry every day.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

As far as I’m concerned, this Loaded Baked Potato Casserole ticks all the comfort food boxes. There’s fluffy mashed potatoes with all their carby goodness, obviously. There’s also plenty of cheese because what’s life without it. And of course, there’s lots of crispy bacon. It’s the source of all our power.

Regular baked potatoes are great, and yes the skin is good for you, but it’s practically impossible to get all the different elements together in the right amount. That’s why Loaded Baked Potato Casserole is superior. Everything is pre-mixed, so you get the perfect bite every time. You don’t have to make a mess trying to do batle with your baked potato. It’s genius. Take this to your next potluck and watch people line up for the recipe.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Next time you need a comforting side dish, make this Loaded Baked Potato Casserole. Eat it every day. Bring it to parties. Share it with friends. The more the awesomer.

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff.

If you like this recipe, you might also dig my Twice Baked Potatoes.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Salted Caramel White Russian

Add a sweet twist to a classic cocktail with a Salted Caramel White Russian. Is it dessert? Is it a drink? Who cares. Just make one and be cool.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

What kind of comedy do you like? I can’t do cringey comedy. Watching people struggle through awkward and embarrassing situations is like torture for me. I found the first season of Fleabag intensely uncomfortable. And remember Meet the Parents? I’d rather go to the dentist than watch that movie.

I’m also not that interested in gross out humor. My husband loves Anchorman and other Will Ferrel-type movies where a lot of the comedy is physical. He’s very pro-fart joke. It bores me.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m sure you’ve figured out by the fact that I’m posting a White Russian today, that I’m much more into eccentric, witty, verbal comedy. Coen Brothers? I’m all in. Does anyone remember Homestar Runner? This is 100% my wheelhouse. Make it weird. Make it witty. I’ll watch it over and over again. In fact, I might have to watch The Big Lebowski right now. For the hundredth time.

We actually have a bar/restaurant here in Glasgow called Lebowski’s. They have two pages of White Russians on their menu themed around various characters and moments from the movie. Naturally, my husband ordered the Salted Caramel White Russian and instantly proclaimed it the best drink he’d ever had. When I got home and looked at recreating it, I suddenly understood why they charged so much for this cocktail.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Rather than using specialty spirits, I’ve simply added some caramel coffee syrup which you can probably find at a well-stocked grocery store. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s still super awesome. My store was out of squirty cream, but that would be a brilliant addition here. I did keep the crumble of tablet from the Lebowski’s version. If you’re Scottish, you know this is awesome. If you’ve never heard of tablet, just skip it.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

We all need a little more laughter in our lives, no matter how we get there. I suggest you fix yourself a Salted Caramel White Russian and laugh ’til you cry.

If you’re looking for more White Russian variations, why not try a Pumpkin Spice White Russian, or a White Russian Milkshake.

Be Awesome: Keep Working | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Be Awesome: Keep Working

There’s only one thing you can do to reach your goals, and that’s to keep working toward them. And don’t forget to be awesome.

Be Awesome: Keep Working | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

If there’s one thing I’m really good at, it’s quitting. I’ve lost track of the of how many times I almost quit writing this silly little food blog. I’d put in a bunch of time and energy for a few weeks, then life would get stressful, and it was an easy thing to eliminate. “Nobody reads it anyway, so what’s the point,” I’d tell myself. I’d throw a little pity party in my mind and justify not putting in the effort.

I completely erased the possibility of making blogging a job. I sucked, so what was the point? No, I wouldn’t even let myself think about it. I should just learn to be satisfied with what I have. It’s not a terrible life. So what if I wasn’t completely in love with my job? Most people aren’t. I’m just being selfish wanting something that I will clearly never be able to achieve. Just quit.

But for some reason, I always came back. Sometimes I’d disappear for weeks, but I’d always find my way back somehow. Why? Why couldn’t I just make a clean break and walk away?

I think it’s because I still really wanted it. I still had a spark of belief that I could do what other people had done and support myself with a food blog. Look, I don’t need six figures. I just want to have some control over my life. I want to have my success measured by my own work, and not by the whims of a teenager. Mostly, I just really want to bake cookies in my yoga pants instead of going to the office.

But when I feel overwhelmed and discouraged, quitting is so easy. So tempting. Nobody else is depending on me. I can just walk away, and it won’t matter. It won’t matter to anyone but me. I’ll know that I failed at yet another thing. I gave up because I’m a loser.

One of the things I’ve been doing the past few months is really putting a lot of intentional effort into changing the way I talk to myself. I was extremely hard on myself, and maybe you are, too. How many times a day do we allow the voice in our head to criticize and belittle us? Probably too many to count. You would never, for a minute, considering talking that way to a friend, but when it’s just you alone in your head, you suddenly turn into a complete monster.

Despite all these good intentions, there are have been times in the past few weeks where, yet again, that voice in my head has told me to quit. I’m wasting my time. It will never work. I’m awful, and I should just give up now. Take a nap or watch a movie instead. I suck. Get used to it.

But this time, I’m not listening.

I’m trying to change a lot about myself and the way I approach my blog right now. I’m never going to turn it into a business if I just keep quitting. The only way to get ahead is to keep moving forward. Maybe it’s true that I’m just not good enough. That’s one version of the story I could tell myself. Or maybe I just need to work harder, get better, become so good they can’t ignore me.

I choose to keep working. To keep learning, to keep growing, to keep trying, right here in front of your eyes. And I sincerely hope that if there’s something you’ve been turning away from because it was easier not to try, that you give it one more go. Put your whole soul into it this time, and just see what happens. And then when it seems like it’s not going to work, just try a little harder this time.

Trust me. There are enough people in this world who want to tell us that we suck. We don’t need to do it to ourselves. So let me tell you right now that you are brilliant. You deserve to have your dreams come true. Whatever you do, don’t quit. Don’t let that negative voice boss you around. Get up in the morning, take a shower, put on your favorite shirt, remind yourself that you are awesome, and go out there and kick some ass, friends. It’s gonna be the best year yet. We’ll get there together.

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