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Magical Practice

Embracing Responsibility, Examining Accountability

by T. Thorn Coyle

This is an article about stepping into leadership. We are at an important juncture in this large community called Reclaiming and we need the help of everyone to keep creating community in ways that are healthy and conducive to growth. With corporations disintigrating in scandal and debt and governments fighting straw wars to save face, I like to imagine the world changing for the better as more and more people become accountable for their actions. Rather than collapsing in the midst of crisis, together we can respond, and in responding, we can affect change.

Magical Practice: Stepping Forward

Light a candle. Take a deep breath, from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. Fill your aura with breath, with life force. Take a breath into your heart, feeling it gently open. Ask now that your heart be cleansed. On each breath, fill with kindness. On each breath, let yourself become more and more clear and clean. Ask for forgiveness if you need it. Ask for help if you need it. Feel your aura fill with love. You are surrounded by love.

Now take another deep breath. Ask for courage. Imagine a circle in front of you on the floor. That circle is responsibility. When you are ready, take a breath and step into that circle. It may feel hard or oppressive at first. Take another breath and let the circle expand. Let your capacity to take responsibility increase as the circle expands. Don't close up around the energy, breathing into it instead. You are able. Let your aura grow, pulsing with life. You are a Witch.

If you wish, you may say this prayer: "May I be open to love. May I be healed. May I walk the road that lies ahead of me, following its curves and listening to its ways. May I take courage and step forth, into responsibility, accountability, and true kindness. May I find my work and may my work be of help to me, to my community, and to the Gods. So mote it be."

Now you may step back out of the circle of responsibility, knowing that you carry with you exactly the amount you are able to handle at this time. As you continue this work, each time you step into the circle, the stronger you will be and the more your capacity to do your work will increase. Be loving with yourself. This magic takes time.

After you have stepped back out, feel the new sense of responsibility in your body. While breathing, straighten up into it. See the circle in front of you dissipate, sinking into the Earth to feed the Mother. Put one hand on your heart, and one hand on your belly. Breathe. Blessed be.


The time is ripe to create new thoughtforms and new systems. For those of us who feel able, this means stepping into responsibility, examining our accountablity and opening further to kindness. We know who we are. We are long-time Witches of many descriptions. I ask us to question the skewed power dynamic that says, "Teachers need to look at their money issues, or power issues, or not have sex with people who are magically wide open." This places all of the power of our community with the teachers, who are as flawed as anyone else. We all need to be accountable if power is truly to be shared. We can all be teachers to each other.

Here are some questions that I find helpful: If you are an experienced Witch, what is your responsibility to someone newer in the Craft? If you are one who initiates people, what is your responsibility to the Craft itself? What is your responsibility to your tradition, to your own work, to showing others what the work is by virtue of your example? How do you examine yourself and your practices? Do you have peers who will call you on your stuff in a loving, constructive manner? Can you talk about money issues? Do you complain about power problems or do you try to rectify them? Do you have a daily spiritual practice that grounds you on your path? How do you examine yourself?

I am a Feri priestess. In Feri, there is a tenet to "not coddle weakness." This means to not make excuses for bad behavior from myself or someone else. It means standing up to power structures or behaviors that feel destructive, unethical, or inequitable. It means really examining myself first, and then speaking to what I see outside of me.

Not coddling weakness does not mean acting or speaking without compassion. On the contrary, it is a deep act of kindness and true respect. If I am treating someone as though they cannot help themselves, I am taking their humanity away from them. That is a sign of disrespect. Holding them accountable from a compassionate space shows that I truly honor them. Can I take a breath for kindness and compassion? Can I step forward to take my place? Can I know when part of my responsibility is allowing others to lead? Can I take a break when I need to examine myself more thouroughly? Can I take a breath for courage?

This I know: if I keep stepping forward into my responsibility, I will eventually reach that large circle in the center, where I meet others who have fully taken on their commitments. In this circle, I can take the hands of others. At that point, we begin to lead together: teachers, students, organizers, campers, priestesses, editors, ritual planners, artists, activists, parents and friends. May we keep on stepping forward.

T. Thorn Coyle is a Feri and Reclaiming priestess who teaches across North America. She is writing a book on the Feri and Reclaiming tools, "Evolutionary Witchcraft: Awakening the Divine Within." For information, including travel schedule, see