I <3 Jen. I’m so happy to have her on my blog, today. She’s a local author, and an all-around awesome human being. Check out her giveaway at the end of her story.
I wandered into Paganism when I was seventeen, after reading Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon and feeling like I’d found my home. I bought my first tarot deck the same time I snagged the book, and I started to teach myself to trust my intuition.
Even though I grew up in a small, fairly rural community, there was a fabulous New Age store nearby, but it took me awhile to work up the nerve to visit the store. Finally, I tagged along with an older friend and her brother, and I fell in love with the space. Housed in a hundred year old house, the store was both sprawling and cozy, and I lost myself in exploration. Armed with loose leaf teas and D.J. Conway’s Maiden, Mother, Crone, I left the shop a few hours later, determined to return.
The next time I ventured to the store, I went alone, and despite my nervousness, the kind woman behind the counter greeted me with a smile. I spent a long time sniffing the wall of incense, and I eventually sat down on the floor in a corner, snuggling with the store cats. While I was there, another woman come in, and to my “everyone’s older than me” eye, she looked like she was somewhere between my age and my mother’s. She started chatting animatedly with the shopkeeper, and I felt myself listening, despite good manners. I was desperate to know more about the path I’d started walking, and after a bit, the young woman sat down in a chair near me and smiled.
The silver haired shopkeeper leaned forward on the counter and looked at us, her eyes sparkling. “It’s a good day,” she said with a smile, “especially since we’ve got all three faces of the goddess right here.”
I sat up a little straighter, feeling sure of myself for the first time since I’d started exploring magic. I knew what she was referring to, and I felt a surge of pride to wear the maiden face of the goddess in that moment. The three of us shared a smile, and for a moment, I felt the bonds of magic connecting me to the two women, even though we parted ways shortly after. I still had a long way to walk before my feet would feel stable on my new path, but that moment, sitting in a homey store with two strangers, everything clicked into place. I set aside much of my earlier hesitation and fear of shying from the faith of my parents, and because the shopkeeper told me I wore a face of the goddess, I let myself believe her as I moved on.
Doubts still plagued me, and even after more than a decade on this path, I do not know everything; there will always be more to learn, and I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful, too, for the women I shared that moment with all those years ago, and grateful for the safe, warm support I found every time I set foot in that shop. Even years, many moves, and many shops later, I still think of that store as “mine”; I may not have gone through a formal initiation in that space, but it served as my first temple and witchy school all the same.
About Jen McConnel
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her first nonfiction book, GODDESS SPELLS FOR BUSY GIRLS, is out now from Red Wheel/Weiser Books. She also writes YA and NA fiction. Visit http://www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.
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GODDESS SPELLS FOR BUSY GIRLS
Goddess magic is powerful magic: with the help of the right goddess, simple spells can yield amazing results. In Goddess Spells for Busy Girls, Jen McConnel offers 80 spells imbued with the vibrant force of 25 Goddesses from around the globe.
McConnel provides an introduction to 25 celestial ladies, to make sure you are asking the right goddess for help: Athena for memory retention, Aphrodite to gain confidence, Persephone to find you path, and Sekhmet to prevent illness. Each section includes the history and lore behind the goddess, and three simple spells to invoke her help.
For the busy young woman who wants it all but needs help getting it, Goddess Spells for Busy Girls can help you achieve love, balance, protection, and abundance in your life.
Available worldwide, Teen Spirit Guide to Modern Shamanism.