Monthly Columns

Magic Myrtle

Hello Myrtle! I’m middle aged and have “started again” multiple times. I’m not too bad at it, but I’m getting tired of changes if I am honest. I understand that times change and I will get left behind if I don’t roll with the changes, but this time, I really don’t feel like it. I have settled comfortably into a new career I’m good at…but the job is changing again in such a way I feel pushed to literally get another degree because I can tell my skills need sharpened. I am good at what I do, but I am going to have to learn more so I am not replaced, but my gods, I am tired after work. I can’t retire yet, so I have to keep working. I am having trouble getting started , Myrtle and I need an attitude adjustment please! What can you tell me? Thank you!

– Tired Older Career Woman

“The birds they sang at the break of day:
‘Start again,’ I heard them say.”
– Leonard Cohen


We start every day anew. Getting out of bed in the morning can be harder as we get older, but starting again isn’t really the hard part by itself. At any age, though, sustaining forward movement is a lot easier when you’re heading towards something that you actually want.

I suspect that starting again is especially hard for you this time because what lies ahead on that path isn’t what you want. It sounds as though, like many people, you may be overworked and underpaid; perhaps the emotional fulfillment you used to get from your job is gone. But you’re missing something. If you’re not excited by the idea of developing your skills in the field you’re in, it could be that there’s just a lack of interest in continuing with it. Nor is it easy to learn and keep a good attitude if you’re only doing so to avoid being laid off; but if you don’t have forward motion, you may also feel that you’ve stalled out.

Change is a constant in this world, whether we like it or not. Much like the dawn, it sounds like these changes in your career are unavoidable. But sometimes a change is just what you need. You have a finite amount of energy, and it sounds like you’ve hit your limit. Consider your skill set and whether there are other places it could be used – maybe at a new company, or a related field of work. You could benefit from a lateral move, into another position within your organization, or a similar position at a different organization. Sometimes a move like this can come with better hours or better pay, too!

Here’s a short ritual for starting again when you’re facing unavoidable change; though difficult and sometimes unwanted, it’s just what we must do. This ritual can be done over the course of three separate days, which can be spaced out however you like during the period of transition.


A Ritual of Starting Again

What you need:

  • A red or three-color candle
  • A marker or pen
  • Dried bay leaves
  • A fire safe bowl

Start the spell whenever you are ready. On the first day of the spell, gather all your materials together. If you already have a ritual for opening a magic circle and calling on your deities or other spiritual forces, do so as usual. When you are done, sit in front of your candle and light it. Say aloud:

I hear the knocking, and answer the door.
Though I did not invite it, the time for grieving is here.
As this new dawn breaks, I rise to greet the sun.
I give thanks, and I acknowledge what I am losing.

Name what you are losing. Are you losing pay? Time? Beloved coworkers? Or do you just have a lot of good memories that you’re sad to leave behind? Write these things on the bay leaves. When you are done, light them from the candle and let them burn down in the fire safe bowl. Release them back into the world. Sit and mourn your losses for as long as you like, and allow the candle to burn down a third of the way, then blow it out and close your circle.

On the second day, open your circle again, and sit in front of your candle to light it. This time, say:

I hear the silence in this liminal space.
As I come to the crossroads, I will find a new way.
As I pass over the threshold, I choose my own path.
I stand in-between, aware of this moment of change.

Sit for a while in silent meditation, considering the change, and watching the movement of the flame on your candle. If you like, you may scry in the flame, draw Tarot cards, or use some other method of divination to read about the paths open to you, and what lies ahead. Let the candle burn down another third of the way, then blow it out and close your circle.

On the third day, open your circle again, and sit in front of your candle to light it. This time, say:

I see the light shining upon a new path.
Though I cannot see where it may lead,
As I take this first step, I commit to my decision.
I give thanks and acknowledge what I am gaining.

Name what you are gaining from the change, and write these names on the bay leaves, just as you did on the first day – but don’t burn them. When you are done, place the bay leaves on your altar or in a money bowl to draw these things towards you. Let the candle burn down to the bottom until it goes out, then close your circle.