Using Magick to stay sane

First post! I always dreamed of starting a blog but never had the courage to put my words out in public. At the same time, I always felt like I have a lot to say and share. Alas, being mortifyingly socially anxious and introverted, I knew that I would never get a chance to do this in “real life”. So here goes.

I am in the midst of a “vacation”, which in my field in the stage that I am in, means that I get to stay home instead of at the hospital while pounding away at yet another research project. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE research – it is one of the few things I truly believe I can’t live without. This project is special though – I am forced to step away from the computer as this algorithm that I have running on my poor, old, and very abused computer is running now for 2 days with no signs of finishing anytime soon. Because of this, perhaps for the first time in years, I have been forced to step away from research and medicine to read something other than the two aforementioned topics.

Thanks to this fortunate/ unfortunate circumstance, I am now half way into a biography called “Initiated” written by Amanda Yates Garcia, a hereditary witch. The author writes of living in a world where taking part in LSD/ marijuana-driven house parties and large orgies were quite ordinary. As a reader, especially in medicine and science, it is difficult to NOT question if the spiritual experiences she had at the time were not in fact products of intoxication or withdrawal. Having said that, I come from a long line of witches and oracles, so I know that the world is so much more vast and richer than science can explain. Hallucinogens have been used since the dawn of time to invoke spiritual experiences, and it is difficult to explain how much of their visions were the product of rapid alterations in brain chemistry induced by these substances, and how much of it was a product of communication with realms beyond our own. I ask this because I have had two difficult interpersonal experiences lately – with two different supervisors, who, I am sad to say, have truly gone out of their way to bully me, a lowly learner. It is hard to explain why – It could be because I come from a science background and have progressed further in this area than they have despite being more junior in medicine, and/or because I outwardly rejected their abandonment of efficiency over “obtaining a deeper understanding of patient experience”. Mind you, I agree that there is certainly a place and a time where such endeavor is desirable and productive. However, I find it hard to agree with this sentiment when I know that there is a mountain of patients who would benefit from urgent care who are not receiving it simply because each physician is only seeing 6 patients a day in the particular institution that this occurred. I was quite literally told that I could do whatever what I want once I become staff, but until then, continuing as I am now will “get you flagged”. In an environment where co-learning is encouraged, and this was in fact, a matter of difference in philosophy and not competence, I was surprised that this resulted in a negative evaluation. The manner the evaluation occurred, was also quite baffling to me – this supervisor contacted my evaluating supervisor to ask her to give me a poor evaluation (despite my evaluating supervisor having already given me her feedback that she would give me a good evaluation).

As a practicing witch, I have a choice in how I want to interpret this situation. Do I take the road of the aforementioned author, and believe that this woman has been possessed by evil energies and spirits, and hence cleanse, forgive and move on? Would choosing to see the world with this magickal lens (fortunately or unfortunately without the help of psychedelics) take some sting out of the “evils” of the world? Do I accept that some people in this world are truly “nasty”, and begrudgingly hope for a better supervisor next time? Do I take the most realistic approach, and accept that the way to get through this period of training is to suppress my own philosophies and values and follow whatever the supervisor says is right, so that I don’t have to be “flagged”? Accept that my voice is never appreciated, and that some educators become educators so that they can feel that their way is the “right way”? Reflecting on the last point, I remembered some nurses commenting that this staff had been very anxious as a trainee, which impaired her ability to function quickly due to her need to know every detail before proceeding. Perhaps this feedback was given to her either directly or indirectly, and she became an educator to convince herself that her way was in fact, the right way, and others were wrong all along. Maybe this is why when she saw that I rejected her approach, it was so triggering for her.

In either case, I took the middle approach. After much reflecting and suffering over this incident, I cast a spell to invoke the three fold law – that she will receive three fold what she had done to me. I am a strong believer in Karma. Growing up, the many bullies in my life always received the poison they shared. When I spread poison, then I received it back as well. So, in invoking this spell, I chose to leave it up to the Universe and let it solve itself out. If she had truly meant ill will, well, she will receive it three fold. If her intent was truly, to educate, then she will receive that three fold as well. I will leave the wiser spirits of the Universe decide which one it was. My balcony gnome, who I recently became acquainted with, was watching me approvingly as I meditated on this spell, so I would like to think that it was the right way to go. I also decided to be a pragmatic and accept that to be a successful trainee in my field, I must become a master mime and a puppet, and accept that some educators enter the field for self-gratification, and therefore to be liked by them, I must, at all cost, make them feel good about themselves as much as I can. That means that I certainly DO NOT get to disagree with their philosophies in patient care (which would make me a bad learner).

I hope that I don’t lose who I am as a person at the end of this – it is one of my greatest fears. Did my three fold law spell take the sting out of having to accept this sad reality? Of course it did – it gave me back some sense of control. Magick, real or not, helps us believe that we can shape our own reality. It helps me be a more responsible and yes, less bitter person, which I think ultimately has a positive effect on my life as well as those around me. Especially being in this stage in my training where most of my sense of control over my beliefs, time, and basic rights (like sleeping and going to the washroom) have been stripped away from me, Magick keeps me sane – it keeps me human.