There’s a state, magically, between stuck and not so stuck, or at least I’ve always felt that there is.

    Stuck I understand. I feel like my energy is low, I’m not so inspired and nothing really exciting seems to be happening. I’m usually neither surprised nor distressed when stuck times show up, often accompanied by the rune “Isa,” or ice. Late winter is a major stuck time, for sure, but there are others, and they can strike without warning.

    I have tools for times like these. The first one is backing the hell off and chilling out, with as little worrying or expectation as possible. Another is throwing myself into dull work. Stuck time is a great time to clean the house, literally or metaphorically. I Get everything that can be in order ready to go, so I don’t have to think about it later.

    Sometimes, to get things moving again, I work on journaling and shaking up my routine with a few risks, though at times like this a little risk is plenty. A last minute plan, say, or trying something new.

    On the other hand, there are the in-between times. Times when the next magical wave is visible near the horizon, but it’s not quite time to catch it yet. The energy is building, almost like the hour before a thunderstorm, and not having anything to do can drive me a little crazy. Anyway, it’s times like this when I turn to the coffee shop omen.

    A big thing with omens, or at least looking for them, is being between things. Liminal. Maybe that’s why they tend to work well at times like this, but you can improve your odds further. According to Welsh tradition, doing things slightly askew – queering your reality a bit – is a good first step. For example, when you’re seeking an omen you can wear your shirt inside-out, or choose mismatched socks. (You could take it a lot further than that if you use your imagination, but that’s a start). This sort of behavior is a reminder to yourself and others that you have one foot in the other worlds, or at least not quite in this one.

    Then, when I don’t have a particular direction in mind, my favorite method is to take myself and my mismatched socks to a coffee shop. Choose carefully, because some coffee shops are more magical than others, but any coffee shop will do in a pinch. If it helps you get into the right state of mind, you can spin around a few times on your way out the door.

    There are a couple of good things about coffee shops. One is that they’re a great contemporary crossroads. You will run into people, you will see posters and you can pick up literature if you want to – newspapers and magazines, and personally I would recommend trying a coffee shop with books. The number of times I’ve experienced just-the-perfect-book synchronicity at coffee shops is ridiculous. For you it might not be the books, though. Your omen could come in the form of a bit of overheard conversation, or even just a stroke of inspiration.

    Which brings me to my second point – coffee shops have coffee. Now, coffee isn’t strictly required for this plan. I rarely drink coffee for health reasons, but since my tolerance is low it works even better for magical purposes. Caffeine is strangely overlooked as a ritual intoxicant. With a few rare exceptions, you actually want something that helps you get into a slightly elevated state of consciousness without being disorienting or distracting. There’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine for this purpose, but personally I often prefer coffee, or even strong black tea.

    The stimulant in tea is actually theobromine rather than caffeine, which comes from the genus name theobroma, or food of the gods. (I like to think this is evidence that this type of function was better known in the past.) I don’t really have a personal preference between the two molecules, but if you want to try both you can go for a mocha, since chocolate also contains theobromine. Yum!

    Anyway, get your coffee or tea and see if anything grabs your attention. If not, you can hang out and chat, browse, doodle, journal or just mindfully enjoy your drink. I rarely get through this process without some sort of shift in energy. I actually like to leave the rest of my day open if possible, because who knows what could happen?

    If you manage to get through all that without a stroke of inspiration, though, at least you got out of your house, right? The in-between state rarely lasts long, so if one coffee doesn’t shake you out of it, you can always try again tomorrow.


    • is a co-editor of BAD WITCHES. She also offers witch medicine for what ails you (along with more art and other stuff) at Dream Horse. She lives in the wilds of Pittsburgh with her partner and two children who are mainly being raised by wolves.

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