As my thoughts turn from Spring to the coming of Summer, I am reminded of my mother's herb garden when I was a child. It was there that I learned a love for Nature and for the Old Ways. My mother was born and raised in Naples, Italy. She came to the United States in 1946, having married an American soldier at the close of World War II. In my mother's garden I learned a great deal about folk magic and folklore, for she brought with her to America a rich tradition of these things.
Opportunity to Learn
When working in the garden my mother would often call me to her side when I was a child. She would point to a certain herb and say: "Did I ever tell you what we do with this plant?" This always meant that a teaching was about to begin. If I appeared distracted for any reason, or if I did anything other than show full attention, my mother would smile and say: "Well, maybe some other time I can tell you." This always meant that the teaching was not going to take place today. It did not matter how much I complained and protested. The opportunity to be taught something had now vanished as quickly as it had come. Of all the important lessons I believed I have learned in this lifetime, none were more important than this single lesson: "Be fully present in all that you do, and appreciate each opportunity that comes your way."
The Old Ways
Looking back across the years, I realize now that my mother taught me self-discipline and focus. Without this foundation, I do not believe that I would ever have become a published author. In my books, I try to convey to the reader a sense of the Old Ways that can enrich one's life and the experience of life itself. The Old Ways teach us that we are connected to the seasons, rhythms, and cycles of Nature. In understanding this, comes the knowledge that the events in our lives have reason and purpose. For nothing in Nature is a random, unrelated occurrence. When we understand that we do not master Nature, then we begin to live in "common cause" with Nature. Only by participating with Nature as one of its dependent components can we ensure our own survival as a race.
The Divine Spark
I believe that one of the reasons why people are attracted to Witchcraft is the promise of learning magick. Today we live in a world that seems controlled by everyone and everything outside of ourselves. The art of Magick suggests that you and I have the tools to change this verdict, and indeed we do. Magick is the art of attracting energy, focusing it upon one's desire, and then directing both into manifesting within one's life. Every human being possesses this ability because we all possess within us the divine spark of that which created us. Think about that for a moment, and you will realize that you are the offspring of what created the Universe! Therefore, at the very center of your being resides a core that is part you and part of that which created you. This connects you directly with the divine source of all things.
When we look at a painting or a sculpture, we can discern something about the artist that created it. The use of imagination, color, design, boldness, or gentleness suggests the heart and soul of the artist. The same is true when we look at Nature, for in the ways of Nature resides something of the artist as well. This particular artist is the divine source of all things. This is one of the many reasons why witches venerate Nature, and celebrate the seasons of the year.
In my mother's garden I observed the changing seasons, and in this I beheld the changing seasons of my own existence. I learned that magick was enhanced by merging with the forces of Nature. Just as in Nature, the cycle of Spring leads to Summer, so too did the energy of desire lead to the fruit of that desire, if planted and cared for properly. As a witch, I soon discovered that planting my desires at the time of the Spring Equinox led to harvesting them in the Fall Equinox. Whatever I wish to remove from my life, I ritually release at the Fall Equinox. Winter decays it and turns its essence into raw renewed energy for the next Spring planting.
The purpose for writing my books is to share what I have learned with others. My book titled Wiccan Magick explores many of these concepts and provides the reader with practical methods to employ this type of magick. I wrote Wiccan Mysteries for those readers who desire to understand the deeper meaning within magick and Witchcraft. My books Italian Witchcraft and Hereditary Witchcraft present an older cultural view of Witchcraft and its beliefs and practices originating from southern Europe. I wrote the Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft to provide beginners, writers, researchers, and seasoned witches with a complete resource book to explore the customs, beliefs, and practices of this timeless religion. In closing this article, I wish you abundance and beauty in your own seasons to come.