‘Subtle workings’ is one of those terms that also means its own opposite. A contranym. Like the word dust: you can dust flour onto your kitchen counter, and you can dust it clean when you’re done.
Subtle workings are all around us, whether we notice and acknowledge them or not. Trees pulse sap and burst slow-motion with the seasons. People weave plot lines around and over and through each other. Our spiderweb brains churn synaptic sparks, thinking an infinite number of things we are aware of and another infinite number of things we aren’t.
Subtle workings can be passive. They can feel like the hand of fate, like tectonic emotions carving everything up. They can feel like shit prolifically, enthusiastically hitting the fan.
But subtle workings can also be active. The ways we choose to think and to tell our stories shift the way we live. These are the powerful workings, the ones that help us see where we can exert control and where we can’t. These workings are philosophy, they are the practices or habits or rituals that bind up daily life into something that’s our own. Something with meaning.
I call it mind magic, because that’s how awesome it can feel (in both the old-fashioned and the modern sense of the word). Also, it sounds neat.
This space is where I talk about and refine my subtle workings. Here are some current obsessions in my tool box:
- Philosophy and psychology, for managing anxiety and depression (I’m totally untrained, but hey, whatever works.)
- Naturalistic spirituality (i.e. non-supernatural woo-woo)
- Ritual as a way of engaging with and tending to subconscious bits of the psyche (I read tarot, to expose half-buried ideas and stories.)
And here’s little about me (Mary):
- 32 / queer / breast cancer survivor
- I’m a self-employed writer, and I also run a green housekeeping business.
- I live in Minnesota but grew up in a river valley in Tennessee. My accent is usually in stealth mode.
- I’m probably drinking tea as you read this, whatever time it is.