My friends, I sit here every day doing more or less the same thing, which is next-to-nothing. My state is open, but I don't go anywhere except the grocery store and the pharmacy.
That will change when September rolls around. I will be expected to report to my classroom. There have been no plans revealed about what that classroom capacity will be and how my students and I will be protected from the novel coronavirus.
Having worked in a school for 15 years, I'm here to tell you it's a swirling miasma of contagion. In January, just before Covid, I had a virus that had me coughing for weeks. My English department colleagues all caught it too.
I listen to the news obsessively, so I know what I can do to protect myself: masks, hand-washing, face shield, hand sanitizer, don't touch face, social distancing. I'm prepared to do all of that.
But one never wants to leave any tool on the table, so I have turned to magic for a boost in my protection. Magic doesn't replace the mundane safety measures, but it can enhance them.
If you're looking for a good place to start learning about a magical practice, I highly recommend John Beckett's new online course Operative Magic. John is a Druid and a very reasonable, approachable person. His course is six sessions, homework optional (mostly to get his very helpful feedback). John gives a nicely-done history of magic, the philosophy of magic, and then concrete information on how to create a spell. The course is $50, which I call money well spent. I only have one session left to complete, so I've gotten a good view of it.
There are also two books I will recommend if you feel any affinity for organic magic stemming from Appalachian traditions. The first is Staubs and Ditchwater by Byron Ballard. Byron is a hedge witch working as a Pagan. The other book is Backwoods Witchcraft by Jake Richards. Jake works through the Christian tradition, which is to be expected -- generations and generations and generations of Appalachians have been Christians. But what's interesting about Backwoods Witchcraft is how ancient and British Isles it feels. Both of these books show you how to do spells using items you have all around you in your house and yard.
Skeptics might say, "Why turn to magic? Isn't that just a bunch of superstition?"
My answer is, "Why not? And what you might call 'superstition' I call 'covering the mystical bases.'"
This pandemic is the most dangerous existential threat to my existence since I was a blithe teenager doing stupid, reckless stuff. I'm not leaving tools on the table. That would be foolish.