When I was young my father had a little room in the back of our home. It was small, perhaps 9 feet or so square and without windows. It was one of only three rooms in the house with a door (the other two being my parents bedroom and the bathroom.) It was crammed tight with model airplanes and other things he loved, but most of all it sticks in my memory for what it represented in our home:
A man’s private quarters.
Any other room in the house was open doors. Except for it.
Any other room could be accessed without permission. Except for it.
Any other room was just that…..any other room. Except for it.
This room was something else entirely. It was a sort of ‘magic place’ where only father went when he felt the need. Most often the door was locked. Even when it wasn’t the room was strictly off limits. Seen through the eyes of a little boy it was the ‘king’s quarters’ where only the king could go….unless he allowed another. On occasion I worked up the courage to knock and ask if I may come in, often finding myself greeted with a nod and a smile and a puff of smoke. I would enter, always somewhat nervous as he helped me up to his workbench (for my old man had quite the temper). Without fail he would keep puffing on his cigarette while I sat, enjoying my luck and awed by the things around me.
Now finding myself an adult I understand the value of such a place in a man’s life. A private space where he may go away from everything else….a place of solitude and silence breached by the outside world only on his terms. Many men today have neglected this aspect of their home, giving emotion, chaos, and family free reign throughout. They have no place of solitude, no shrine in which they reign supreme and without fail their mind, spirit, and emotions suffer for it. A man’s home is his castle, but his study is his shrine. It is a place where one can sit. A place to think, to read, to learn and reflect, and a place to practice one’s craft.
The power of solitude and separation is undeniable.
So without further ado I welcome you into the Gentleman’s Study: a place of thought, reflection, and practice. Pour a glass of whiskey, light your pipe and sit back for a while. Enjoy your time, speak your thoughts and let each minute be lived with intention.
As a young child I always had a strong belief in magic and the wildest of imaginations. I would pick different grasses and flowers to make believe I was making food or medicine for my friends. I would even pretend I was a magical witch casting spells. Every costume as a child I was a witch… in fact there were only two years I wasn’t. (Those two years I was a cowgirl and a desert princess). Looking back, it seems I was destined to follow down the path of becoming entangled in the magical, a practitioner of real magic.
Attending church as a young girl I grew up first attending a baptist church. Being young I only recalled that it was mostly a set routine on how things were done. Later on my mother and grandmother started back into the church, this time a Pentecostal organization. Having originally gone to a quieter and more reserved church such a change was understandably different. The belief was the same; they both believed Jesus Christ was their lord and savior, only their style of worship was different.
For some time I felt that I was on the right path, yet I questioned things that were done and discussed. I openly asked my mom about the craft. She was always honest with me and would tell me what she knew on the topic but her experience was limited. She mentioned that at one point in her life that she hung around that crowd of people, in fact even a close family friend (who was like another grandma to me) was very much into it, but in the same breath she warned me about the potential danger of practicing without knowledge of what I could be doing. Between her warnings and those of the church I was hesitant to pursue it further.
Despite it all though I could feel things….things the church just couldn’t explain to me. I was afraid to ask in fear that it was something of the “Devil”.
It was just before I started dating my husband when I accepted that I wanted to learn The Craft. Coincidentally his mom had some history within those circles and I jumped at the opportunity to I ask her a million questions and try to absorb all the knowledge I could.
I still remember one of the first questions that she asked me (which I think you should always ask yourself before any great undertaking)
“Why do you want to learn The Craft?”
My response was simple:
“I want to find out who I am.”
Fast forward to the present…
I have learned more that I give myself credit for in the past three years. I am mainly self-taught as I patiently/impatiently await the universe to connect me to the right mentor/teacher. There are times that I call myself a lazy pagan. I don’t do a full ritual every full moon, new moon or on the Sabbats like I would like to. Hell sometimes I feel like I still have no idea what I’m doing. But alas I am here, striving to be what some would call an “Everyday Witch.” I want to walk my magical path within every step that I take.
That brings me to the title of this section of the blog: Muggles and Magic. As soon as the words sprouted from my mouth I knew that it was destined to come to life. I felt like it was symbolic of my own journey, trying to live in a Muggle world while still walking a magical path. And so here you will read my ponderings, my experiences, things I have learned so far and those things I will continue to learn.
What are things that you would like to learn, see, and gain from Muggles and Magic? Let me know in the comments!
“Tradition is a guide, not a jailer.” – W. Somerset Maugham.
One Saturday a few weeks ago my lovely wife and I sat together to enjoy a relaxing evening of reading, reflection and one another’s company. We both enjoyed a couple drinks and I set my pipe aglow to revel in the taste of good tobacco and whiskey while she read beside me. We held hands. We smiled. We chuckled together at little things and it was a wonderful evening that ended with warm and loving affection and a restful night’s sleep. It was in every way a welcome reprieve to the endless hustle we live throughout the week. As we sat there enjoying the evening I couldn’t help but smile to myself….realizing in the moment how many traditions we have already set in place for ourselves and our future family.
This of course got me thinking about that word….tradition, as well as what it represents. You see Jess and I are kindred spirits in that we are admirers of the older ways and students of the past. Practices and secrets, little tricks and habits handed down through generations intrigue us both not only for what they are, but for why they are. In a world where the only thing people pay attention to is the new, it is easy to get so caught up we forget about the old. As the saying goes, “those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.”
Unfortunately the modern man or woman has little time to engage in archaic rituals and ancient traditions seemingly irrelevant to their lives. The world has changed. Technology has moved forward to replace the roles of men and women in many aspects of society. Gender roles are being entirely turned on their heads. Children are being thoroughly confused in an ego-fueled attempt at social justice. History is being unwritten, devalued, demonized, and forgotten with masses endlessly crying for all to ‘get with the times’ and accept the new and insensible lest be labeled bigots, racists, sexists and all manner of other things.
The traditions of the past are being erased and trampled on as old ideas emerge with new names and forgotten failed experiments of history are flaunted as the answer to the new societal woes. Yet we still have two eyes, two ears, two hands. We still look to the sky in wonder, no less amazed by the galaxies we see than our ancestors were, despite knowing infinitely more than they. We shiver in the cold. We sweat in the heat. We love and cry and laugh and yell and dance. Here we stand on two feet; an ancient design from millennia ago amongst the steel towers and horses of today….it is truly a different world we live in……but are we so different?
Deep down a man is a man, a woman is a woman born today or a thousand years ago. We are in every way save for the circumstances of our birth, the same as our ancestors. Mortal. Curious. Intelligent with a knack for thinking a bit more highly of ourselves than we ought to. This is the nature of humanity, it is who we are.
We have changed so little….perhaps then we should not be so eager to abandon the traditions we know. After all, they were likely established for good reason, whether you can see it…..
What do you think?
When you live in a little house you are forced to make some crucial decisions that otherwise you may never have considered. You might really like having the desk or the couch there, but if it doesn’t make maximum use of minimal space…well too bad. While not the smallest, our home is still under 900 square feet and is an open-concept style home. With two humans, two dogs, two cats, and two parakeets space is sometimes in short supply. As such we have found ourselves in such a position more than a few times in our first year of living here. In order to have couches in our living room we were forced to downsize, giving away my favorite chair. And if we wanted to be able to stand in our bedroom wifey’s dresser had to move to the laundry room.
With everything else that comes in the first year of new-homeownership, we overlooked these minor aches and pains and kept plugging away until a time came when we could do something about it. However with Indiana Winter now taking a bit of a break (unless I am speaking too soon) we decided this past weekend that the time had officially come to begin the renovations we have so dreamed of.
And it all starts here; with the master bedroom of course! We figured what better way to get this blog started than to really enjoy and share the process of renovation. (Pardon the weirdly-angled pictures!)
Before we began the tear-down, the bedroom(left-room) was 11’X11′ and was adjacent to a smaller 5.5’X9′ room(right) the previous owner used as a nursery. An additional 5.5’X2′ or so was taken up by the doors of both rooms. As you can see in the pictures the angles were not exactly the easiest to live with. The bedroom door didn’t open past 70 degrees or so, and one vent in the tiny ‘nursery’ made the room unbearably hot anytime the furnace kicked on.
The initial tear down was the easy part, though not without a few surprises! Turns out the entire ceiling in the nursery had been held up only by a bit of trim, and a few boards in the bedroom ceiling were held up the same way(I found out the hard way when trying to take the trim down!)
Once the ceiling boards were down we began unscrewing the drywall from the wall separating the two rooms. We removed as much as possible the right way so we could reuse it but eventually we stopped hunting for endless screws and just smashed our way through the last two sheets.
Next came the frame of the wall itself. Being a non-load bearing wall we knew we’d be able to remove it without too much issue, however the angled bit was a bit more difficult than we originally expected. Eventually though we found all of the nails and screws holding it together and managed to rip it out. Then with a few taps to the top and bottom of the long-wall we were able to easily remove it for later use.
The entire point of this project was to increase our living space and make a tiny home feel markedly less tiny. Our new layout is set to do just that, expanding the bedroom by the entirety of the old ‘nursery’, plus taking advantage of the negative space that was being taken up by the doors and walls. We had to trim away a bit of the living room ceiling in order to reuse our old wall-frame, as well as cutting the old frame down to fit a bit more snugly. Once the trimming was done it was time to tap and secure the frame into place, install the noise-cancelling material we salvaged from the old wall, and put up drywall!
With the wall up and drywall in place we moved into the room itself to begin making it more than four walls. After cleaning up a bit we moved everything out of the soon-to-be bedroom and began surveying the situation. The old ceiling drywall was ruined in several places so we began by removing the boards below it and the ceiling itself.
This turned out to be a treat. The previous owner had used beautiful lumber for a ceiling so while taking down was a chore, we were thrilled to find such wonderful leftovers for future projects. The drywall came down without too much issue, other than a few surprises smashing through on top of our heads as we worked. When it was all said and done though the tear-down phase was complete!
Now the REAL fun begins! We’ll make sure to post more when we are done with the build, for now here’s a ‘sneak peak’. Thanks for reading!
In summer of 2016, after three years of city living my (then)-fiance and I decided we’d had enough of the crowds, enough of the endless noise, and enough of the straight-up-unnaturalness that is a life in the city. Myself having grown up on a farm and she having grown up in small towns, we were both ready for change. So we set about getting back to the basics and taking the next step forward in our journey together. Of course it all began by scraping and scrounging every penny we could while looking around for that little patch of heaven we both could love and call home for the rest of our lives. We searched for months, looking for something that fit not just our budget, but us as well. After more than a few disappointing trips and considerations we happened across a the place we have come to know as home.
It was love at first sight. While modest and perhaps unassuming to the eye, we both fell in love with the property and the home immediately. Six acres with everything our hearts could ask for. While small, it held in it a little bit of everything we wanted, from thickets to pasture to marshy forest. The house was small and simple; a wonderful blank-slate for us to call home and mold to us. It was perfect. Fast forward three months or so and we were moving in, beginning a new journey together and getting back in touch with the nature so many people tend to take for granted.
Since then we have taken time to get to patiently know our property. We’ve cleaned it where it needed cleaned and trimmed back those things that occasionally need trimmed back. We added chickens and ducks to our small patch of heaven, and in autumn of 2017 we got married in the backyard in a circle of maple trees overlooking the south field. While our lives may appear simple and boring at first glance it is within that simplicity which we have come to find happiness and love.