my body considered its death todayhe who balances our hearts
my brain has considered it many times; keeps its words to itself
tucks it away like a dirty secret
but my body has caught up
inhales, and says
i was born to do this.
theya song for sunrise
who calm the tempest whirling behind my eyes
the balm over the sores on my body
they who tame the hornet inside my head
slay the elephant in the room and decorate the conversation with the ivory
What better way to head off a brand-new witchcraft blog with a musing about how draining and difficult practising the craft can be!
I recently took a much-needed holiday to be with my long distance partner for a couple of weeks. It was an extremely refreshing and enlightening experience, and while we were together, we took a trip to Glastonbury. I have done my best since the beginnings of my witch life to take a yearly exodus to the Isle of Avalon, as it’s a very special and spiritual place for me; walking through the Diagon Alley-esque streets into shops littered with crystals and incense and interesting instruments, it’s a huge source of cleansing for me. The reason I mention this is because it really got me thinking about my wavering relationship to my craft. I consider myself a witch, yes, but I’m very casual about my practise, mostly out of necessity rather than any lack of inspiration or interest.
For some vital context to this tangent: I’ve been Sparta-kicked into the mental place of which I like to call the ‘witch ditch’, due to a mixture of being a little mentally frazzled and over-stressed in general, plus a healthy dose of depressive episodes. Basically speaking, the witch ditch is that space where you become physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually fatigued and drained as a result of practising or trying to improve your craft. If your crystals aren’t vibrating right, your God phone is being left unanswered, and you keep pulling Tarot cards that make no sense, you’re balls deep in the witch ditch, babe.
A collection of shots from Glastonbury Abbey, taken by my lovely partner Kira.
So anyway, why am I writing this? Well, I figured it might be worthwhile for me to record a few ways that I try to pull myself out of this ditch. Perhaps it will remind me to try a little harder, and maybe it will help you if you’re feeling as burned out as I am. Generally speaking, these are good for any old burnout situations along with the witch ditch, but experiment with what you like best.
Practise an act of self care.
I generally define self care as a pattern of acts that are entirely self-serving and endeavour to fill a specific purpose (personal hygiene, physical nourishment etc), so this is pretty customisable to your own needs. Here are a few simple ideas that make a surprising difference to my mood and energy;
- Scrub, wash, and moisturise your feet.
- Meditate for 10-15 minutes (outside, if possible.)
- Tidy one section of your room/home.
- Stretch/do some yoga.
- Wash your face. Use that fancy face mask. Do it.
- Burn your favourite incense/diffuse your favourite essential oils.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of methods, but I think it’s a good place to start if you’re figuring out small rituals to make you feel better.
Unless you do not feel safe or sane enough to be on your own (feeling deeply depressed, suicidal, likely to self-harm, etc) sometimes it can be a good idea to shut down your Discord and stay off Twitter for a day or two. Other people’s voices and thoughts can crowd your own mind, and can be especially draining to my fellow empaths; other people’s negative thoughts and energies can rub off on you and drag you down, and that is all the more prevalent on social media with its constant data stream of politics and news.
If you can, take it a step further. Make plans to leave the house, go for a walk, even spending time in the garden can give you fresh energy. If, like me, you tend to spend a lot of time in your room, you may notice the energy and air in your room becomes stagnant and doesn’t inspire a lot of movement or liveliness.
Be patient, and have faith.
Having fatigue or wavering faith is very normal. I honestly believe that these feelings are part of a very natural cycle of death and rebirth of your own thoughts, feelings and emotions towards your craft. Katrina Pfannkuch wrote a very interesting article about the cycle of creativity, and how resetting yourself is a vital aspect of your process;
“You already know how difficult it can be when you’re stuck in a routine or repetitive life cycle, but being willing to put an end to it and begin again can seem so much scarier than just keeping things status quo. It’s a common challenge. However, until you make a choice to leave it (or get forcibly shoved), you continue putting low-level energy into something that’s only draining creative reserves. …To move through the fear part of letting things go, step into an empowered mindset. Re-frame your thoughts to reflect the reality of what’s happening – that you are simply saying goodbye to what no longer serves you.”Pfannkuch, 2014
This is how I feel about my craft as well; sometimes, it is necessary to step back and re-evaluate what you are doing as a witch and what you want to continue or change going forward. I feel this especially as a relatively-new witch who can’t really get any specialisations to stick. It is easy to feel your faith in your deities waver, your grasp on your magick and your craft growing weak and struggling to hang on.
But remember this, witches. Magick is everywhere; it flows through and around you. It involves itself in every cycle in the universe, observes every natural process and breathes its energy into all things. The Gods always listen from their heavens, and the Earth will always hold you. You don’t have to scramble after your faith and your magick; you need only reach out and touch it. It’s not going anywhere.
Hi everyone! After sharing my prayer to Selene, I figured it may be nice for me to give you a tour around my altar to Her, in the hopes of providing some context for my deity work and potentially to provide some inspiration to others!
My altar is built up into a north-facing window above my bed’s headboard; the facing of the window means that on some nights when I am honouring Selene, I can see the full moon through the window! It’s absolutely perfect for its purpose. (As you can see, I’m also using this area to dry some lavender.)
I took some time to paint a portrait of my depiction of Selene; every witch will see their deities differently, and I would much prefer to have a personalised piece of Her on the altar as opposed to some generic image, as lovely as it may be.
In front of this image of Her, I have a few crystals to promote certain effects, namely amethyst (for calmness and peace), hematite (for grounding), aquamarine (in reference to the moon’s power over the tides) and crystal quartz (to boost the effects of any spells or rituals that occur there). It’s not in the picture, but I also have a small offerings bowl in front of the image (today it contains a small ginger sweet, I hope my Moom likes confectionery!)
Candles have a huge role in my practise; I have wonderfully relaxing memories of meditating in front of a candle as a child with my mother and sister. They’re often used as a focus for my meditations and energy work, as well as acting as another act of devotion to Selene. The selenite is also very symbolic; obviously, it’s Selene’s very own being in crystal form.
I’d like to begin this blog by sharing a prayer I wrote for my primary deity: Selene, Greek goddess of the moon.
I like to use this prayer for Her during full-moon rituals, where I light some candles at my alter to Her, usually make some offerings and engage in self-care activities like drinking herbal tea or using a face mask. I find that self-care and self-protection alongside my prayers acts as a nice ritual.
Selene, the Moon Mother,
She who watches from Her hovering satellite.
Daughter of titans, nocturnal sister
Ancient watcher and beholder of generations.
Your hands skilfully on the reins as You guide the moon across the faultless darkness,
A beacon pilot light, to be seen and never touched.
Your temple, adorned by the crescent moon,
A testament to Your power, a symbol of Your divine strength.
I call for Your guidance,
I call for the endless depth of Your grace,
Your celestial knowledge and wisdom.
O Selene, beautiful and divine,
I call upon Your balance and light.
I ask You guide this one, blessed and gilded Selene,
and allow them access to Your infalliable love and limitless wisdom.