During my morning shower-dream time I realized there is always a wicked witch to every story.
To find evidence of this seemingly arbitrary insight I thought back on a few episodes of my life.
I also began to wonder at my desire to see things through a lens of folklore and magical realism.
As a child I would check out every book I could find in the local library on the topic of witchcraft. Age appropriate as well as those right outside my reading level. I'd sneak those books in the stack hoping they would pass by the librarian. She had, on occasion, denied or questioned my choice if it looked too adult. I appreciated her guidance, as I didn't want to get myself into trouble, if indeed evil was real. I was determined to discover the secrets. I would find out if magic was real and I would then utilize it. I felt up to the task, so with fingers cross, I stood on the other side of the desk anxiously awaiting her verdict.
Upon staring at my hairbrush for hours trying to get it to move with my mind, I determined I was not at that level. I needed some special skill. I did not lose hope, I continued on. Much to my dismay my hairbrush did not move.
As I grew up I lost the idea the world was magical. I did come to understand evil, and that was alive and well. I needed an antidote, a remedy for my vision. How does evil exist, but not magic? It did not seem possible. I must be seeing the world incorrectly.
I studied religions, beginning with the one I grew up with, and after years of study I moved into more exotic (to me) philosophies and ideas. I sat meditation, donated my time, chanted, etc. I saw the corrupt behaviors and could not reconcile those with the outward appearance of what was being peddled.
Years flew by and I was no closer to the truth of magic. I had been exposed to ideas of gurus levitating, manifesting jewels (of all things) out of thin air, to people speaking to the dead. I discovered that all these things could not be grounded in fact-based ideas of today and the veil of illusion was beginning to lift. I clearly could not manifest these parlor tricks in front of my own eyes. Upon asking the scholars I was told, "understanding will come with faith." I abandoned those ideas.
When in deep study of writing (this was a five year daily process) I ran across the term "magical realism" and that sung out to me. There are many examples of magical realism in books from Gabriel Garcia Marquez or, a more well known author and less subtle version, J.K. Rowlings.
I see magical realism like this: when a normal - mundane - object is set in a fact-based world and behaves in inexplicable ways. This is my working definition if magical realism.
How does this tie in with "there is always a wicked witch"?
I'm getting to that.
What I have come to understand about our reality is that mysterious things do happen. We, as a society of materialists (in the ancient Greek idea that things are grounded in the material world first) strive to explain everything. If we cannot explain it we make it up. If someone is simply making it up, I want to participate. I will make it up in my way. I get a say... At least in my own little world. The greater world does not need to agree.
All Stories Have a Witch
Now, the idea that all stories have a good witch or bad witch has been with us for thousands of years of story telling.
If these are our archetypes where does that fit in with my world view; my cosmology; my working definition of the world?
Good Witch / Bad Witch?
I was naive when I entered the soap community. I thought soap makers, craefters - in the truest sense - were honorable people and therefore good witches. I see those who craeft as witches because we make something out of seemingly nothing. We make useful things from our surroundings.
I do see the good witches and many of those I have met. I hold them dearer than anyone. I known their trials and tribulations and this bonds us as sisters. Witches practicing the good craeft.
In early days, I quickly saw those who could not create, those who were in the industry for years, had a process of mining those unsuspecting new soap makers for their original ideas. I had to have it proven to me, as I thought the first time was just a rotten apple, a poison apple. Even though these wicked witches had a large followings - the villagers all spoke well of her - I didn't think it possible to have such wicked witches be lauded.
I carried on. When in private messages some soap makers would cast their anger upon me, I thought, this cannot be right. What might I have done to create such a curse?
I've begun to realize just because I bring delight to this world it does not change the nature of the world, or any world. It changes the nature of MY world. I choose to NOT eat the gingerbread house. I only trade fairly with each witch I cross so as not to owe. I also see the bridge trolls who come to me saying I cannot pass without paying a toll. At which I laugh and tell them boldly to keep their hands in their pockets.
I do, however, entertain the fae and even the darker fae for they, too, hold their own magic.
There are many examples of magical thinking, magical reality in literature and non-fiction. In Caveman to Chemist by Hugh W. Salzberg it is pointed out that our early scientists believed in phlogiston. Phlogiston is not real, but many great thinkers of the time did believe it to be so. This magical substance also lead to greater insights to chemicals and eventually the periodic table. The periodic table came to Dmitri in a dream.
"Trying to arrange the periodic table, Dmitri Mendeleev fell asleep at his desk. “In a dream I saw a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper.”" - The Enchanted Book Of Peculiar Ideas and Soap Potions, Bhakti Iyata
It is worth pointing out that the Bible has magical realism as well. Durning my two year long catechism education, upon reading of a woman riding a red seven-headed beast, I asked my pastor this question. "Is this real or metaphor?"
Revelation 17:3 ...'So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.'
My poor pastor and my even more distressed classmates, (for I was the one who asked too many questions extending our class time) could not answer.
His panacea for me was "you must have faith", which left me far more confused than how I began. I was fully willing to believe in a beast with such a detailed description. If I knew that was what I needed to look out for, I was on board.
To this day I look to the sky.
Dream Time: Eyes Open, Eyes Shut
We have been told countless times dreams are not real.
I believe, as life as shown me, that magical thinking, imagination and the unseen are valuable and worthy of consideration.
Before I allowed others to see me as I am, a soap witch, I knew I had to bring it to the foreground first, as burning at the stake was not an option. I chose to get ahead of the curve. Name myself before others did it in an unbecoming light. I knew I was of the magical world. I have turned bad into good many, many times. My proof? I'm still here.
I asked myself, many times, am I a good witch or bad witch? Well, those who are logical know that creating bad things in life will only get you more of the same.
Dealing with bad witches, however, takes a strength I didn't know I possessed. If I have any say, (and I do have some say) I choose to have more pleasant peaceful things in my life than not. I do not seek happiness, as that is vapid and fleeting. I have not found one thing, magic or not, that can create repeated true happiness, better yet, joy. Moments of joy are fleeting, but it is possible to create them. Joy is a little uncontrollable to how and with whom it lands.
What I have found is creating a state of peace is much more attainable on a daily and regular basis. I have many, many spells for that magic. I have systems in place to create peace in my wold. I have ritual to create inspiration, repeatedly and consistently. I outline and share much of this process in my books because those who are willing to read words are most certainly worthy of that magic.
I share so regularly and often my version of magic is in the world in abundance. My web of magic is clear and free of encumbrances, ready to catch ideas that float by on the winds of the unseen.
Now, we are many! Each one of you contribute to our web, our magical way of soap craefting, and each one creates our value, singing our enchanted song.
Magic exists. It is the whisper in the wind, the song in the leaves of a tree, the eye of the curious bird, in the words of an artful wordsmith, and in the wisdom shared by fellow travelers.