I recently read a post by Amanda over at The Divine Minimal called Minimalism & Magic and it really struck me, as I return to practice after some six years of absence, how much stuff I accumulated that never saw a touch of use in that downtime and how long it had been since most of that had been used beforehand. As I start down a new path (or set off down an old path with greater clarity), I’m struck by how much stuff people tell me I absolutely, unquestionably need.
I remember being frustrated, back in the day, with books that insisted I needed a Crane Bag, a meditation blanket and/or shawl, separate incense for meditation and journeying, ceremonial robes and jewellery, different robes and jewellery for personal work, a special drum, a rattle, this crystal for protection, that crystal for healing, more crystals for intuition and good dreams and astral travel and all the rest, white and black and silver and red and gold and green and blue candles, and dozens of other things of dubious necessity and some of which would probably no longer pass muster due to being culturally appropriative.
However many years later, and people are still insisting I need a different tarot deck for every occasion, umpteen shiny rocks, a spice rack of herbs, offering bowls and statues for every deity or major spirit I work with – but now it also needs to be Instagram-worthy witchy chic.
And the books(!) I’m a confirmed bibliophile, but don’t get me started on the books.
It’s exhausting; even an altar feels like too much sometimes.
I think Amanda’s got it bang to rights:
You don’t have to have a candle in every color. Keep a few. Or just one. White candles are incredibly versatile. Or don’t keep any. You don’t need candles to practice magic.
You don’t have to have a large herb collection. Keep what you use.
You don’t need to have statuary for your deities on your altar.
You don’t need to spend your money on tons of crystals.
You don’t need to witchy art on your wall. Or witchy jewelry.
You don’t need fancy offering bowls, seven incense burners, and twenty different spells books.
You don’t need anything you don’t use, can’t afford, or don’t want.
I’m aware that I’ve forgotten the most important rule of my first witchcraft teacher, Granny Weatherwax: what people believe is what is real.
Also, that “the common kitchen breadknife [is] better than the most ornate of magical knives. It [can] do all that the magical knife could do, plus you [can] also use it to cut bread.”
I’m going to try cutting it back and moving things that I don’t use on to new homes. The full KonMari.
Yes, even the books.
Maybe, by doing that, I’ll end up using the tools I keep more, instead of being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff. After seventeen years, I think I can finally stop of hanging on to things ‘just in case’.