There was probably no more and no less “magickal” (yeah, I used the k) time in my life than the first weeks after my daughter was born.
Oh, sure, there were magickal incidents: a gassy, toothless smile, a moment of eye contact. But, more often than not, all of the magick dissipated from the room because of my nerves and my worries, my schedules and fears. And, obviously, I was really fucking tired.
That said, I’ve always been charmed by the concept of non-religious, spirit-enhancing magick. You know, the kind where you sprinkle a little dust here, place a crystal there, read your tarot cards a few times a week. This appeals to me because I love the movie The Craft, and because Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush seemed to be tapping into another world every time they opened their mouths. Because isn’t it more fun if the world is more than what appears before our regular old boring-ass eyes?
Anyway, if only I’d had the book Witchy Mama, I might have been more motivated to think magickally about many aspects of my pregnancy and my daughter’s first months. Instead of frantically Googling things like “what does serious jaundice look like” and “ideal room temperature for a 2-month-old,” maybe I could have better spent my time studying my daughter’s zodiac signs (Western, animal, and Chinese are included in this book), or prepping a batch of “magickal lactation cookies.”
The authors of Witchy Mama are Melanie Marquis, the founder of the United Witches global coven, and aerobics, yoga, and kickboxing instructor Emily A. Francis. They focus about half on the well-being of the baby and half on the well-being of the new mother — actually a sort of rarity in parenting literature, where books tend to be wholly either/or. The message is resoundingly clear: A mother’s care for herself is a top priority. And that is refreshing! Some might even say magickal.
In fact, when you consider the many New Mom books you are likely to read, is a spell to get your baby to sleep any crazier than the other available options? I’m not sure, but I know that what I was actually doing those first few months — plotting bedtimes on paper as I laughed maniacally at the thought of them ever actually coming to fruition — wasn’t necessarily any more realistic than prepping a “no more bad dreams sachet” or drawing on a piece of purple paper a sleep charm for my baby: “beneath the moon, draw a clock showing the time that represents your idea of an ideal bedtime for your child.”
New babies are insane and unpredictable, and this book is a reminder of their humanity, their beauty, and also of the fact that controlling them directly isn’t possible or even desirable. After all, we love them a little more than our pets precisely because they aren’t as highly trainable. But it’s also kind of nice to imagine that doing a little incantation — “by the light of the moon in the black sky above / my baby will slumber wrapped up in my love!” — might help just a little.
No, I don’t really think my dreams are “prophetic,” but I’m not above hoping that the choice of first foods — which is overwhelming and sometimes stressful for every mother on the planet — could best be influenced by the “properties” of each food itself: Avocado is calming; bananas are for prosperity. Broccoli, my daughter Zelda’s favorite, is for health, protection, strength, and abundance. Of course it is.