An Introduction To Eclectic Witchcraft
I am Fiona Duncan--Witch, Teacher and Creatrix of The Magickal Path. I love billowing cauldrons, deep-forest walks and my ridiculously huge collection of magickal botanicals.
I created this school because what I love most is empowering people to find their magick and transform their lives.
Principles & Practices to Guide the New Witch
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KEYWORDS: Witchcraft ~ Magick ~ Healing ~ Spirituality
I am Margaret McNellis, a student at The Magickal Path School, and this is the story of my journey here. Through working with Fiona and her 1-1 program, in eleven months I found my path to a 20-year dream.
When I signed up for WAY OF THE WITCH: Witchcraft 101 almost a year ago, it was because I was feeling lost and angry in life. The pandemic had wrought changes that upended my lifestyle, and I felt like my dreams of spending most of my time working as a writer were always so far in the distance as to be unattainable. I knew I was a witch and that magick was the right spiritual path. But I felt overwhelmed by a plethora of information, some of it leading me down conflicting paths.
Enter Fiona. We clicked immediately—but then, my family is half comprised of Italians from New York. But what really engaged me wasn’t a shared cultural heritage (though that’s always fun because we naturally agree on lots of things like bridges shouldn’t get new names and social gatherings aren’t complete without food no matter the occasion). What really hooked me was Fiona’s eagerness to provide guidance while still encouraging me to forge a path of my own witchy traditions.
For example, open flames make me quite nervous. I’ve never felt comfortable around uncontained fire, and even contained fire sometimes makes me wary. While this is something I’m working on, I didn’t want it to hinder my progress, particularly when it came to casting spells. Fiona worked with me to replace candle burning with using a wood-burning stylus to work bespoke talismanic magick. This sort of one-on-one, custom approach to learning about witchcraft appealed to me, and I signed up for her Witchcraft 101.
The pandemic, political unrest, social injustice… I was an angry person in June 2020 and tried to take conventional actions in order to feel some peace. Some things I did were:
But I just felt angrier and angrier.
Unfortunately, the most common recipients of my discontent were family members. The pandemic changed all our lifestyles, adding two people, a dog, and a flock of chickens to our household. I moved from my walk-out basement apartment to a 10×12 room. More strong personalities lived under the same roof than I’d experienced in decades.
I felt I’d lost my voice, and this deepened and darkened my anger. As an introverted Capricorn, my initial response to anger is to usually bury it deep. This would inevitably feed resentment needing to be healed later. However, the stress of the pandemic and all that was happening in the world made it difficult to keep my anger at bay. I was verbally lashing out at anyone I could find.
My daily altar practice—meditation, centering, grounding, shielding, and gratitude—are key components of my witchcraft practice that I learned in Fiona’s program. Implementing this practice made it easier to process my emotions, protect me from psychic and emotional drain, and spend time with my family in peace. It didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t start to notice a difference until about six months in, but it was at that time I realized I didn’t feel as angry. Dreamwork confirmed that my efforts to integrate that shadow were paying off.
I began to find my voice in my family again. When it really mattered, I felt I could speak up and establish boundaries I needed to emotionally survive. This isn’t to say everything is perfect. It’s not. There are still moments when my initial reactions are anger or resentment. There is more shadow work to do, and I’m doing it. But I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago. I can now recognize when my emotions are bubbling and withdraw to deal with them in a healthier way than blowing a gasket at someone I care about.
I found a path to peace that I didn’t even know I needed. And I’m doing my best to walk it without wandering into the brambles.
I became a witch for so many reasons. After my father passed, I found no comfort in the spiritual tradition in which I was raised, Roman Catholicism. I’d always been interested in the occult. I love the idea of a feminine divine as well as a masculine divine. I’ve always believed that we possess both types of energy, regardless of our biological sex. As someone who grew up splitting her imagination between being Xena and Hercules (those shows ruled my youth), I had always identified polar energies within myself, even if I didn’t have the language growing up to say as much. Growing up feeling like an anachronism always made me feel a strong pull to ancient traditions as well, many of which are not monotheistic.
But my dreams? Those were always to become an author. I want to take a moment to share my definition of writer and author. A writer is someone who writes. An author is someone who shares those writings with the world in a professional capacity. These are my definitions, and if they’re not yours, it’s okay. I just want to ensure we’re clear so that when I use these terms, you know what I mean.
I’ve always had a facility for words, and I’ve always enjoyed writing. I didn’t start to seriously pursue the craft of writing (I smile whenever I think about how both writing and magick can be described in the word ‘craft’) until about 20 years ago. That’s when the dream of not only being a writer, but also being an author first began to germinate.
However, I didn’t want to be an author on the side. I wanted to be a full-time author.
Side note: While I am an earth witch, I’m also a sea witch.
Another dream of mine is to someday own a beach house. It will be on the water, with beach rights and views. I’ve held this desire in my heart for a long time. But I also know that for an author to earn enough to pay off student loans from two master’s degrees and someday buy a beach house, she just might need a side hustle.
Enter book coaching. I love book coaching. Helping writers find the confidence and learn the craft to tell their stories gives me such joy. I started my book coaching business in January 2021, and became and Author Accelerator Certified book coach in April 2021. During this time, I planned to grow my book coaching business to support myself and then some, and to write on the side. Why? Why did I plan this way when writing full-time or as close to that as I can get while still working my way toward owning a beach house is my dream?
Because of shadows and a long-held scarcity mindset where money is concerned.
My relationship with money is one I’ve been working on for the last five months. Basically, once I stopped feeling volcanic anger toward my loved ones, I started to think about how to meet and work with my shadows surrounding money and success. Spoiler alert: I’m still working on this. But I’ve come a long way, and I want to share my tale with you.
When it came time in the WAY OF THE WITCH program to cast my first spell with Fiona, I aimed to exponentially increase my email list subscribers with writers who were ready and willing to pay for book coaching services. I did the mundane work for the spell to succeed. I also did the magickal work, and I got a plethora of signs that the Universe heard me… but growth stagnated when my list hit the mid-50s.
I knew it was either going to take a lot longer or something was blocking my magick.
As this was going on, I kept having dreams that with social media, I needed to focus my posting on my writing journey. I presumed this would bring me coaching clients and archived all of my old Instagram posts before starting from scratch with my main account.
While I do read tarot, oracle cards, runes, and use a variety of divination tools, sometimes it’s nice to purchase a reading from another oracle/witch. I happened to meet someone who promises a truthful but funny reading. I also connected with her because she’s an author.
When she read my cards, she asked me some questions that got me thinking:
Well, I said, I have bills. Student loans. Mundane concerns that mean I can’t hide away in my dream beach house and write books all day.
She told me my focus was divided. At first, this was puzzling since I thought of book coaching and writing/authorship as being the same road… in fact, they’re slightly parallel paths wending through the same woods. Maybe one has more rocks or roots to trip over. She also informed me that if I stayed on my current course, there’d be some misfortune at my book launch. Nothing I couldn’t recover from—inclement weather perhaps that might dampen attendance.
After the reading, I spent a week and a half in thought. I journaled, I meditated, I listened for what the Universe had to tell me. In the space of two weeks, so many opportunities came into my path:
All of this came to me in a week and a half. When it rains, it pours, and the woods of my life just turned into a tropical rainforest.
This work includes:
I have also have begun to lay the groundwork in my mundane life as well. Things I am doing include:
Originally, I had planned a different post for this blog, and perhaps one day I’ll still share that one. But after the breakthrough I had on June 17, 2021, I knew I had to share this story with you.
At the time I’m writing this, Lesson 12 in the Way of the Witch 101 course opens for me in two days. I will go forward from this course with the knowledge of how to manifest the life I desire.
I’m going to shift my spellwork to focus on writing and selling my novels. In my mundane life, I’ll still work on building my book coaching business, but I’m okay with it being one of my many side hustles.
I’ll incorporate working with Jupiter more. Normally, Mercury and Venus are at the heart of my magickal efforts, but Jupiter has shown me so much beneficence and guidance over the last fortnight (and really, for longer than that), that it feels right to focus on this trio of planetary energies.
I’ll continue to work with Fiona, one-on-one in WAY OF THE WITCH: Witchcraft 201. I’m so excited for what the coming months and years will bring as her student and friend.
My main path will be authorship. All my other mundane work is important to me; I find value in it and all of it connects with either helping people tell their stories or helping them become confident, skilled storytellers themselves. Now though, I have laser focus on the path I choose to walk.
For two decades, I dreamed of a life that centered around writing and authorship. And in just eleven months I found my path to my 20-year dream. Now that I’m at the precipice of it, I feel so full of energy, gratitude, and happiness that every root or rock I’ve tripped on in the past suddenly seems worth it, every scar a proud badge of my journey thus far.
Someday, I will look out the window from my beach house, watch the sea ebb and flow, and write about how The Magickal Path School helped me get there.
Margaret McNellis is a solo eclectic intuitive witch and a Capricorn-Gemini-Pisces. She dreams of a career as a historical fiction author and a beach house overlooking the tide. When she’s not writing, Margaret enjoys helping others tell their stories, teaching, and practicing divination. She loves kitchen witchcraft; her favorite comestibles to bake include breads and chocolate chip pound cake. You can find Margaret here: mcnelliswrites.com and readyourpath.com