Every so often, I get a little too attached to magic. In Buddhist terms, I cling. When that happens, I get yanked back.
I’ll try to describe what happened to me the other night while adhering to the fourth pillar of the Witch’s Pyramid: To Keep Silent. Basically, I’m making a pretty important career move. I’ve worked hard on this for years. I’ve honed my materials. I’ve practiced and practiced and practiced. But this career move is infinitely difficult to accomplish, and there are so few available spots that it doesn’t really matter how skilled or talented you are. In the end, a lot of it comes down to dumb luck. Last time I attempted this move, luck wasn’t on my side. In fact, I had the stupidest, most hair-pullingly bad luck you could imagine. I depended on a third party who wasn’t good at their job and they let me down. I did my best, but it didn’t matter–this person had too many things on their plate, and I’m the one whose hopes were dashed.
So this time, I decided to turn luck in my favor.
A few months ago, I started planning a spell. I was as thoughtful about the magic I planned to work as I was about the materials themselves. I thought through the procedure. I thought through the ethics. I planned it out in detail. I decided to use a sigil in the spell, and oh reader, I designed the most beautiful sigil.
Finally, when my materials were ready to submit, I queued up the emails I needed to send and prepared to go work the spell. My plan was to send them as soon as the spell was complete. But then, just as I was about to go up to my ritual space, I realized there was one teensy little change I needed to make in a document.
I opened up Word. It froze. I rolled my eyes and force quit it. Then I opened the document–this very large document is the lynchpin of my entire application, by the way–and Word froze again.
My heart sped up. I tried a previous version of the document. Word froze again. I downloaded the document onto my husband’s computer. His Word froze, too.
The file itself was corrupt. Both versions were corrupt.
There was never any chance that I’d lose the document completely–I had it printed out. But I had to send it soon. I couldn’t retype the whole thing. My husband and I tried everything we could think of to recover it, but nothing worked. Every time we opened any version of the file, Word would freeze.
I finally went to bed strung out on fear. I could barely sleep. I had one last hope: that the version on my computer at work would be safe. But by now I was convinced that there was a bug in some early version of the file, and that every version I’d saved since then was now corrupt. Was it a time-sensitive virus? I had no idea. Needless to say, I didn’t do the spell. All the ingredients were ready and waiting, but I knew I was too frazzled to work any good magic.
The next morning I got to work and had to do breathing exercises before I could bring myself to open the file.
It worked fine.
I laughed to myself. I think I almost fainted. It worked fine!
The file was okay!
Now that I could think more clearly, I searched the Internet for the problems I’d been having and found out that Word for Mac has a tendency to freeze when opening large documents. The fix is simple: turn off spelling and grammar checks, and then open a new blank document. Close the new document without making any changes. This triggers a routine that frees up memory.
I thought, briefly, about performing the spell after all. But I didn’t. I just sent those emails off, with no ceremony and no second-guesses. By then, the message was clear: Someone Big didn’t want me mucking up fate with magic.
Because Word had never done that to me before. And what are the odds that it would do it for the first time on two computers at once? Right before I was about to do the spell?
I’m so happy with the sigil I created that I may still do a version of the spell, just to give myself a little boost. But I learned my lesson. When I formally studied magic for the first time, my teacher told the class that we need to keep spells light. We shouldn’t get too attached to the exact results we want. We shouldn’t get dogmatic or superstitious.
Keep it light, Someone Big was telling me. Don’t go pinning all your hopes on a drawing and some herbs.
I sent the materials a couple of days ago and already I’ve gotten a couple of positive signs. The chances that I’ll accomplish this career move are still exceedingly slim. And oh, Gods and Goddesses, I want it so much. I’ve wanted it for almost twenty years.
But I have to keep my grip on my desire light. If I don’t get this thing, I’ll be crushed. My career may not recover. I know this. Better to deal with the possibility now, though, than be blindsided by it later.
At the very least, I created a lovely little sigil. And that sigil, at least, will always be mine.