We have something special to share with you from author Briana Saussy, whose new tome Making Magic focuses on making magic in the most lovely, everyday ways, using things you already have in your home, like candles, tea, salt, and string … and gets us in the mood for our upcoming autumn witch issue, which will be full of magical delights!
What is magic?
I’d be as successful at defining what magic looks like for you as I would be in defining your perfect job or just right romantic relationship (in other words, not very!) In my book I never define what magic is and that is because quite simply, we can’t. There is not magic just by itself, there is YOUR magic. Magic is above all things relational and so you have to discover what that relationship looks like for you and in your own life right here and right now.
However, with that said, there are three sign posts that help us identify the magic that often hides in plain sight in our own lives. In order to begin finding, living, and making your own magic remember that:
Magic is bigger than we think. A lot of the every day experiences that we have (and take for granted) are actually doorways into the extraordinary and filled with magic.
Magic is closer than we think. We are often told that in order to find magic we have to go off somewhere exotic or commit to a long journey. And while going off to amazing locales or embarking on journeys – either physical or spiritual – can be thrilling, the really interesting question is what happens when we return home to our everyday life, to familiar surroundings and people. When we look at magical traditions around the world we find that they consistently constellate around events that we are ALL familiar with – cooking, gathering, eating, celebrating important passages like marriages, birthdays, and births – all events that daily life is made of.
Magic is simpler than we think. When we talk about magic, we often think that it’s got to involve complicated and arcane rituals. And there are some beautiful rituals and ceremonies that can be layered and complicated like a symphony orchestra. But so much of the magic we find around the world is actually really simple – every day acts that are made magical because those performing them are present, conscious, and connected.
What inspired this book?
Making Magic was actually inspired by a class that I taught to my community. The day after the US presidential election in 2016 I woke up to an inbox filled with queries asking if I would teach magic, the kind of magic I grew up with, that could help people connect deeply and find meaning in their daily lives. It was odd because at the time I was not teaching any classes on magic and I was not even really advertising magical services but people were seeking me out specifically for that! I created a course that distilled over 30 years of magical teaching and information and taught it to around 60 people. From that, the concept of the book was formed. Before I started writing the book, I knew I wanted to find a guiding story that would illuminate the teachings I wanted to share. I kept hearing the phrase “just right”, as in you know your magic because it is “just right” for you. So I turned to a version of the Three Bears that had been passed down to me from my grandfather.
Did you have an epiphany at any point, when the world became more magical to you?
I have epiphanies about magic every single day! The exercises of journaling, prayer, ritual, and cultivating calmness really help me see connections that I would otherwise miss. One of the epiphanies brought home to me again and again is that most of the time whatever I have been seeking out or yearning for is delivered — but often not in the way that I would expect!
What are some of the ways you suggest to bring more magic into one’s daily life?
Pick one ritual that has a lot of meaning or potential in your life. It can be the lighting of a candle or brushing your teeth or tending your garden or giving your mom a daily call – doesn’t matter what the ritual is. Commit to it and commit to doing it regularly. And then start to notice how its energy and effects ripple out and touch other parts of your life. I call this a North Star ritual. It is a ritual that orients you not only to the rest of your day, but to the things that matter most to you.
Do you have some favorite rituals?
I have so many favorite rituals. One that I really love deals with negative self-talk or the inner critic or resistance (whatever name you want to call it). I work with a lot of clients and students who are deeply creative (as I believe we all are) and they have found that whenever they want to begin a new project there is a lot of negative self-talk that can show up pretty quickly. This ritual can also work for anything that you are really concerned/worried/anxious about that you cannot do anything for at the moment. It works like this:
Whatever the negative/critical talk is, just write it down on a piece of paper.
You can write down single words that show up or you can write whole paragraphs.
For instance, if I am starting a new project and I experience some negative self-talk I might write down something like: “this is stupid, no one is going to like it, and I don’t have time to do it anyway!”
Then, take that piece of paper, and in a fire-safe container (like your kitchen sink or a stock pot) burn it.
Collect the ashes and take them to a four way crossroads (a place where two roads intersect) and then scatter the ashes with the intention that this negative and unhelpful energy is transformed as something good and useful for others.
Another favorite ritual? When I brush my teeth I bless my mouth, teeth, and the words that come out of them so that those words are honest, helpful, and kind.
How do you yourself stay enchanted?
I spend as much time as I can outside and with my family. I read good books, take every chance I can to learn and I give myself time to write on a daily basis. I also show up everyday to do my own rituals. One of my favorite ways to stay enchanted is to do hard things (like exercising) and dedicate the merits of those practices to those in need. I pray, make offerings, and saturate myself in story. And, in the mornings our family shares their dreams from the previous night. Dream-sharing is a wonderful way to build intimacy and keep yourself rooted in the enchanted.
Can you tell us about some of the classes you teach?
The primary class that I teach is called Spinning Gold, and Enchanted Living readers would love it! Spinning Gold is a year long class that calls on the power of fairy tales and folklore as well as ritual and ceremony to support people in exploring the Sacred Arts – which is the name I have given to a number of magical subjects including: astrology, divination, magic, ceremony, ritual, dream work, alchemy, spiritual cleansing, prayer, and blessing work. You can learn more about Spinning Gold here.
Is there any other message you have for our readers?
I would like to leave your readers with a very short blessing if I may:
Be blessed and a blessing in turn.
And of course I would encourage everyone to remember that whatever you are doing, wherever you are in life, whatever challenges you are facing or successes you are celebrating, there is always, always that opportunity for making magic!!!
Another question your readers might be interested in is…do you have to have a specific spiritual background or affinity to make magic…and the answer is NO. Magic is found throughout the world and in every major religious and spiritual tradition. Sometimes magic is more overtly in sight and visible, other times it is more hidden but it is always there. I work with clients and students from all over the world and who come from very different backgrounds and life experiences and what I find again and again is that magic truly is a common language we all speak. As proof I offer this: my witchiest friends love this book, but so does my (very devout) Baptist grandmother!
And here are two really beautiful rituals from Making Magic that Briana has shared with us: