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Casting a Spell for a Broom Closet

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March 2010
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The Daily “it popped into my head” is that one could design and cast a spell for a broom closet.  I have wanted one next to our fridge for years, yet have done nothing.  Do you have projects around the house like that?  Do you suffer from lack of motivation, or procrastination?  Or is it lack of pecuniary resources?

Well, I have about fifty projects like that.  Little things I need to paint or fix. Bigger remodeling ideas regarding the improvement or installation of cabinets, drawers, the linen closet, my daughter’s closet.  And even Bigger remodeling projects like adding a sun room, or a second floor to the house.  Having spent the last week looking at houses in Paris, I am painfully aware of living in a one-story house!  Think of the possibilities!  Why stop at one more floor?  Why not two more!  And a garret!  True European style.

But, of course these are pipe dreams.

Yet, aren’t pipe dreams the very stuff that one needs magic to realize?  Why not, I said to myself as I wrestled the brooms and mops I had upset, why not a spell to manifest a broom closet?  Most spell books on the market, being aimed at young people, focus on spells to find true love, to find a better job, attract money, or curses to get back at the girl that stole your boyfriend.  A spell book for older wizards would focus exactly on not such beginning of adulthood problem-solving, but such problems as remodeling the house, moving, improving the lawn, protecting the house from burglars and axe murderers, and rendering it invisible to door-to-door salesmen.  How about a spell to prevent your property tax from going up. Or — even more daring — to make it go down?

Thinning hair is an obvious one, or grey hair, but that’s one of those things you have to spell before it starts.  Otherwise you have a devil of a time manipulating the probability.  Rekindling romance, defusing explosive teenagers, protecting teenagers — finding teenagers who have gone off without telling you where and aren’t answering their phones.

Averting or controlling  a mid-life crisis or menopause.  Yes, there are a lot of possibilities.

But from where I sit, it is procrastination and wherewithal that are most attractive as objects of spelling.  A spell for a broom closet would affect several things.  First, your time.  You would find that you had the time to install the thing after all.  Second, skill.  It wouldn’t take hours and three or four painful mistakes before the job got done.  Third, money.  You would have the money to pay for the project.  Fourth, your attitude.  Instead of forgetting about the project, you would remember and find yourself strangely excited, motivated, and organized.  It might also affect your circumstances in a different way.  You have the money and you find the perfect contractor to do the work on budget and on time.

Indeed, the Contractor Perfectionis spell is another generally powerful spell that most people in their late thirties to fifties would find very exciting.  I mean, you could put an ad in the local newspaper for that one.

Just this last week, I applied to teach and be Dean of Wizardry at the Grey School of Wizardry (  I am surprisingly excited about it.  Even being a dean doesn’t faze me.  So, long as I don’t have to be the Head. I have demonstrated to myself that being the man up front and in the limelight is not my strong suit.  I’m the man in the dungeon that nobody knows about and they keep wondering “Now how the heck did that happen?”

But not only does it put my back into the teaching profession and give me the title Professor which has always been my dream (well, at least since watching Gilligan’s Island as a tot).  There was a time when I wanted to be a Captain — you know, a ship’s captain — but, um, I digress.

Now, many people would say, “don’t be silly.  Grey School isn’t a real school, and teachers of young adults don’t get to be called “professor” no matter what they do at Hogwarts.  But, I’ve watched this school grow and it really is quite serious.  Fun, but perfectly serious.  It is aimed at 11-17 year olds but has a long-term vision of serving its graduates with college-level work someday. No matter what my more straight-laced friends would say, the magical world is really quite a substantial underground culture in America (and throughout Europe and the British Commonwealth).  We are dealing with students who loved Harry Potter and want to learn real magical arts.  Not the stuff of fiction and fantasy, but the great Western Magical Tradition (which has many threads but resolves into a tapestry if you step back a few paces).

It isn’t about religion.  Wizardry is about practices and attitudes and beliefs.  And, true it does usually include some religious ideas — existence of spirits or divine entities, for example — but that is chiefly because until recently there weren’t any wizards who did not have some religion or other as their primary worldview.  They may have pushed the envelope on it, but religion was part of their cosmology.  And that’s the first great step of the wizard — to get a grip on a new cosmology.

That is why a lot of religions consider wizards to be heretics.  They aren’t authorized to change the cosmology, or even elaborate on it.  But some religions are more accepting of wizards than others.  Indeed, in many cultures wizards are honored and respected as important professional persons who help and assist the people of their community.  In the past two decades, “community” has taken on a new meaning — it now includes “virtual” communities online.  We have become so accustomed to this new type of community that we have dropped the “virtual.”  Inevitable really.  Just as in a few more years no one will call a mobile phone a “cell” phone.  It will just revert to “phone.”  At least that’s my guess.  In Britain calling it “my mobile” has become common, and Americans do say “my cell” but that has bad connotations.  “Call me on my cell, man.”  “What did you say?  Call you in your cell?  Are you in jail again?”  No, I think it will just be phone.  But I digress…

Where was I?  Oh, the expanded idea of community. Yes, that makes the wizard capable of serving a much wider clientele.  What I find interesting, though, is the possibility that wizards and cunning folk will move out of the little metaphysical bookstores and put a brass plate outside their front doors.  Obviously, this is less likely to work in a rural town where there is still a lot of religious enmity towards magic.  A rural hedge-witch or wizard would have to get under the radar in much of rural America — perhaps by providing “home remedies,” “advice and counseling,” and “imaginary proscriptions.”  It is a great double entendre, because most people think of “imaginary” as something that doesn’t really exist.  But of course wizards know that “imaginary” just means “relating to the power of imagination” which is to say belief.

But anyway, I was day-dreaming today of being a neighborhood wizard and handling everyone’s little problems.  Especially remodeling projects that won’t get done.  But there are lots of other little problems that cannot be even addressed by a physician, pharmacist, or psychologist.  The wizard is a sort of psychologist, true. But the methods are a little different.  Psychologists nowadays will prescribe mantras (positive affirmations).  I wonder if they know they are doing magic.  Perhaps some do.

But the affirmations are so much more effective with the rest of the apparatus of ritual and with some help from nature through the medium of a stone or herb.

I suppose I should have to get a pet owl to be really respectable.

Someday perhaps.  People just can’t get over the robes and pointy hats.  Except at Halloween.  Hmmm.  A grand opening at Halloween.  Now that would be interesting.

Happy Spring!

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