Expectations vs Reality: Witchcraft
One of the things I really noticed while writing Slipping on Karma Peels was that the Whiskey-verse novels have really gone away from traditional witchcraft. Paige is more of an elemental witch (like me) and doesn't do spells the same way Leslie or Alma does. With Wynonna, I was able to get back to that a little bit, but in doing so, I ended up re-introducing myself to some real-life witchcraft and had more than a few character-defining experiences.
Growing up, I always wanted to be the witch who gathered herbs. I've even tried a few times, but in the end, the whole thing takes time. First, you have to research herbs and know what they actually look like. Second, a lot of plants look a lot alike in the wild. Third, drying herbs isn't super easy, especially when you don't have an area to let them dry in. They grow mold when they can't dry properly.
My expectations were that as I progressed in the craft – both writing about it and in experience – I’d have more herbs gathered by my own hands. In reality, I just order them online.
The way Alma was with green and growing things was another way I expected witchcraft to be. She could walk into a room and things would grow.
In reality, it’s… kinda that way. Though, now my plants are tied to my emotional well-being. That’s probably because I repotted them with the intent of “grounding” the house and making it a comfortable place to be.
So, when we’re passively-aggressively at each other’s throats in the house, the house plants suffer for it. But! They also start growing more at about the same time we figure out a way to come together.
Reality is a bit weird on this one.
Growing up, I collected a lot of spells. As I got older and older, I performed fewer and fewer spells. In Karma Peels, Mandy and Rai practice a spell that had been performed by Leslie and Paige several books before. It was really neat to see the difference between the two. Paige and Leslie had called on their elements and focused them with their intent. Mandy and Rai used an incantation to focus their intent.
I think part of spellwork has to do with the amount of time you have and how much assistance you need to focus your intent.
The reality for this busy witch is that spells… don’t happen. I might light a candle or burn a representation of my will, but that’s about it. I am much too busy to sit down and commit to a full spell.
This really annoyed me. I’ve had a couple reviewers tell me straight up that Whiskey Witches isn’t even about witches anymore because my witches don’t do spells. Now, I realize that for writing about witches, I don’t invest a lot of time talking about their magick or how they find it, but magick comes in different forms.
For me and more than a few others, we call on the elements. As is normally the case, we were much better at it when we were younger – being able to call or summon fire (which was never me), or being able to summon a storm when I was angry (I was a very angry teen).
Reality is that even as adult, I affect the elements. I struggle with fire and I think it’s because I’m water. I’m drawn to water and it helps me think, but storms are my favorite. When I’m angry, storms come. When I’m happy, they go to other places, which… I know is not a great thing. It can have negative impacts.
I think that a lot of us go into life and fiction with certain expectations and then we get upset when reality shows us something different. My fiction, while certainly smeared with Hollywood flare at times, is very down-to-earth in many ways, including the craft.
To see how I use witchcraft in my books, read my Whiskey Witches series which has over 20 books and counting.