Do you have certain thoughts that come up and make you feel unhappy? Do they even make you feel worthless?
I’ve learned how to make a shift so I can go forward in my day. When I need to record an audio message, I tell myself to toss the harmful thought into the backseat. I do not let the thought do the driving.
Here are three insights:
Make a vivid image.
To create a powerful image, you might even add the sense of smell. The classic positive image of Grandma making cookies includes the aroma of those cookies. You can recall the taste of them and your feeling loved.
I mentioned my image of toss the harmful thought into the backseat of a car.
What image will help you shift the direction of your thoughts?
Verbally tell yourself a direction.
Here are examples:
“Toss the thought into the backseat”
“Put the thought on a shelf”
“Let the thought flow by on the stream”
The idea of let the thought flow by on the stream ties into a meditation idea of thoughts flowing on a stream of water. You avoid focusing on one thought like picking up a leaf and shoving it close to your eyes. Then you can see nothing else but this “negative thought/leaf.”
Instead, you let the thought float down the stream—away from you.
What verbal direction can you choose to help you shift your thoughts?
Bring the Gods into your thoughts.
Close your eyes and imagine the Gods’ light shining down upon you. In your mind, you can say something like “May the Gods bless me and cleanse me of this thought. Lord and Lady, You gave me this divine spark. Let it shine freely.”
What “mini-prayer” will you choose so you can shift away from a negative thought?
Do you feel squeezed or pushed at this time? Many of us certainly feel pressed by the health crises and unrest in the world. We may want to rebel against whatever is oppressing us. Recently, I took part in a conversation about how “the energy of rebelling” can arise in our practice as witches.
Here are three insights:
Look beneath the “energy of rebelling” for what you truly want
Often, when people rebel, it’s about going against something—perhaps, systemic racism, oppression of women, or other extreme situations.
People rebel against something that does not work in the world.
I have also noticed witches rebelling against the teachings of certain elders.
We, witches, may have chosen our spiritual path because we are individualistic in our approach to spirituality. Some individuals rebel against standard organized religion and look for the Pagan path and specific details that speak to them personally.
My point here is for us to look for what we truly want.
This urge to rebel may be on the surface, like a storm raging over the ocean. When you dive below the waves, you can find what you truly want.
What do you truly want?
Freedom …. community that you can relate to … people who feel as you do … support from the Gods … perhaps, other important elements for your spiritual practice.
I suggest that if you work with any spiritual elders, that you take the time to learn more about them.
If you can, ask someone who knows the particular spiritual elder these questions: “Since you worked with this spiritual elder, would you work with them again? Why? [or why not?]”
Realize the “Energy of Rebelling” may rise from pain.
Many of us carry the pain that may have come from some form of cruelty … systemic racism, oppression of women, violence, and other terrible actions.
Some individuals rebel against spiritual elders because of a recreation of a mother-child or father-child pattern.
If possible, see if you can have a conversation in which you express your concerns about a pattern that seems to have arisen. Gently ask for what you need. Also, ask what the spiritual elder would like to see happen.
Sometimes, the answers do not line up, and one may need to find a different spiritual elder.
We all walk a personal spiritual path. Sometimes, we walk with others, and sometimes we walk alone for a time. Be true to your own path.
Invite the Gods to support your journey from pain to healing.
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi
I’ve noticed that when one has a wound, one can have a hole. The hole allows energy to come in. Witches do well when they focus on making sure that healing energy comes in where it is needed.
Ask the Gods to support you in enhancing healing energy.
You can do a simple healing ritual with a green candle.
A Healing Prayer
Powerful Lord, Gracious Lady Heal my wounds And transform this pain Into a creative force For good For strength For peace within myself. May my healing flow outward. And bless my sisters, brothers, and the Earth. Blessed Be.
My cat, Magick, in the morning whispers. As the day goes on, he finds his voice. At night, his meow is loud. Willpower is the opposite of this. Willpower starts strong, but like an overused muscle, it fades as the day goes on.
Here are three insights:
Get in motion with a ritual and take care of your body.
Exercise can help with your rituals. How? Your healthy body is a source of energy. We can build energy by dancing and moving the body. Your body is like a battery; when you move it, you are charging your body.
You’ll develop more energy and stamina when you make sure to move during the day. Sitting and remaining stationary for most of the day can drastically reduce the energy you have to use in rituals.
Additionally, you can develop a small pattern or “ritual” to get yourself in motion. For example, my friend, Joe, starts a writing session with his partner by doing ten pushups. That may seem strange, but Joe’s friend is used to it. This is a way Joe gets in a bit of exercise as he goes through his day.
Having a small pattern/ritual for getting yourself to move is helpful. As a bonus, the small pattern/ritual becomes automatic. It’s a habit that reduces your need for willpower to get in motion.
Connect with the Gods to enhance your magick.
We connect with the Gods to build our relationship with Them. One of the benefits of this process is that you connect with Their energies and the natural energy around you. In this way, you can enhance your magick.
Magick is the channeling of natural energy. The more you connect with the Gods, the stronger you become. You unite your energy with Their energy.
After meditation or a ritual, be sure to give an offering to the Gods.
Be selective in how you use your willpower.
One of my friends says that she eats salad for breakfast because that’s when she has the most willpower in her day.
Witches tend to wait until the sun goes down before they do a ritual.
On the other hand, if you are doing a complex ritual and you need your willpower and energy at a higher point, you may decide to do the ritual early in the day. The reason is: Research shows that the more decisions you make, the more you deplete your willpower. Willpower acts like water in a reservoir. We make decisions, and the reservoir is depleted. Then we rest, sleep, and find more water in the reservoir on the next day.
In a recent conversation, a friend and I talked about how so many of us are searching for novelty. We like something new. Many of us are caught up in FOMO (“Fear of missing out”).
After the conversation, a phrase arose in my thoughts, “Truth is beyond novelty, ego, and fear.”
I have three insights for you:
Novelty can invigorate your rituals and spellwork.
Some research suggests that novelty can increase the secretion of dopamine in the brain. Our brain appears to “light up” in a way when truly novel objects are presented.
You can bring novelty to how you do rituals. You can change elements of your spellwork. It’s possible that you’ll enjoy this new process, and such pleasure may increase the power of your spellwork.
Having novelty can help spice things up for my own spellwork.
Additionally, it is important to understand that novelty is only one part of the pie.
Find a space beyond novelty and the ego
When you explore and find novel ways to do spellwork or rituals, you can find a certain form of truth: What you like and dislike.
However, with FOMO, we can get tangled up in our ego. In my books, I’ve written about how the ego can be seen as made of fear. If we’re caught in “fear of missing out,” we can miss other parts of the truth.
I’ve noticed that truth can be buried under a lot of emotional layers.
“… if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.” – Doreen Valiente, in The Charge of the Goddess, writing in the voice of The Goddess
I note that this quote can read as: “If what you’re looking for is not inside you, you will not find it outside you.”
So, what is inside you?
Perhaps, you noticed that much of your day is focused on worries and fear.
When you meditate you may find something else inside you: The divinity placed there by the Gods.
The truth of your spirit is inside you, and it is beyond novelty and the ego.
Invite the Gods to help you in your journey to the truth.
Sometimes, finding the truth can be difficult. This is where the Gods come in. Going into a meditation session or a light trance can give us the space to connect with the Gods.
What truth may you find? You may find that have more compassion because you have been hurt. You may discover that you’re stronger than you think you are. You might find a new purpose in your life.
The Gods guide us in many ways. When in meditation, ask the God and Goddess for Their help in exploring your inner truths. You could say a small prayer at the beginning of your meditation session.
My God and Goddess, Remove the layers of lies and deception To unearth my truth. Uncover my treasures within. Though in darkness, I seek the way. Help me find my truth day by day.
Sometimes, the journey is long and hard. Still, your journey may be much sweeter when you connect with the Gods.
“Something bothers me about the ‘bottle spell,’” my friend, Sandra, said.
“And that is?” I asked.
“So. you’re supposed to write something that you want to stop on a piece of paper and then put it in a bottle of water. Then you place the bottle into your freezer,” she said.
“That’s the basic pattern.”
“But the problem is … the thing in the frozen water does not go away,” she concluded.
This started my thoughts about how we deal with things that bother us.
Here are three insights:
Realize the difference between “look at it” and “ruminating.”
If you look at something, it’s in front of your face. However, if you’re ruminating, you take that something and smash it into your face—over and over.
In talking with a therapist, I noticed that it can be helpful to talk about something that bothers you. My therapist and I would set a pattern that I’d talk about the problem and then take a break after the session. I would let myself realize that I confronted the problem. But, after the session, I would be focused on other parts of my life.
So, the therapy session was the “look at it” time. Then I stepped away—as much as possible—from ruminating.
Set a timed period for “looking at it” and a specific action to shift your state of being.
At times, my specific action for stepping away from ruminating is listening to smooth jazz while I knit. This takes me into a different state of mind. I’m using different parts of my brain. I’m counting and concentrating on the knitting pattern. It also helps when I listen to music without lyrics.
When it’s hard to shift out of ruminating, turn to the Gods.
You can concentrate on making something for your spellwork. For example, you could make a poppet.
Is there something you want to get better in the New Year? Okay. I know. So many things we want to get better.
Have you thought about New Year’s Resolutions? I have something better. This is something that will take away some pressure on you.
Isn’t that what you really need?
So many of us are overwhelmed with so many obligations: being a good parent, an efficient employee, someone with a totally clutter-free living space. It seems like we try to pile on as much as we can.
Here are three insights:
Realize that “your plate” is finite.
I’m talking about our schedule when we say, “My plate is full.”
A big problem with New Year’s Resolutions is just that, you’re already overcommitted.
So, what happens? You drop the new behavior and fall back into the usual behaviors that you’re used to.
Adding more than we can manage makes us feel under too much pressure. This lowers self-esteem, and some of us even get physically ill.
So, realize that your plate is finite and look to stop adding to your schedule.
“Nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold I am the Mother of All Living, and my love is poured out upon the earth.” From The Charge of the Goddess, written by Doreen Valiente in the voice of the Goddess
The Goddess pours her love on the earth. She does not want you to sacrifice your health and sanity.
Imagine that you can live each day with more moments feeling the Goddess’s love and abundance.
Do not add until you take something off your plate.
If you plan to add a new behavior as a New Year’s Resolution, take something off your plate. This creates space for the New Year’s Resolution, so you stay on track.
I invite you to consider creating a “New Year Stop It” List. Pick something to remove from your daily schedule. This will give you more energy to do the things that are important to you. Give yourself the gift of space.
Ask the Gods, “Do I stop this because I’ve ‘graduated’ or ‘I’m worth it’?”
Sometimes, we “graduate” from a particular situation, and it is time to move on.
I have a friend, Henry, who realized that he had “graduated” from two friends. These so-called friends, as a habit, would tear Henry’s creative ideas down.
Henry realized that he would gain so much space and energy if he would reduce his exposure to these two people.
Ask the God and Goddess to guide you about your next chapter of life.
In a meditation session, you can ask, “God and Goddess, is it time for me to let go of certain people or situations in my life?”
I also mentioned asking the Gods about “Do I stop this because I’m worth it?”
“I’m worth it” relates to “I have value, so I don’t have to endure this, anymore.” Sometimes you need to be like a snake that sheds its old skin to become new again—to have room to grow. The snake leaves the non-useful skin behind it.
Some things you will graduate from. Those things need to be taken off your plate to make room. You will have more opportunities for new lessons and new joyful moments.
“I want to start a new practice, but—” my friend, Samantha, said.
I waited, listening.
“But New Year’s Resolutions usually end in disappointment—for so many people, including me,” she said.
I understood how she felt.
Many people make New Year’s resolutions, and they are good for a few weeks. Then they drop the new behaviors.
When making resolutions that include the God and Goddess, choose wisely. Yes, They are forgiving, but don’t set yourself up for failure by overloading your schedule. Some people promise the Gods that they will do a daily ritual, and it may prove to be too much of a commitment.
Here are the three insights for you:
1. Devote a specific time of the day or night.
Choose a specific time because that will help you and your body remember the action you wish to do.
For example, let’s say you want to start a meditation or devotional practice to a specific Deity. Be careful about the time you choose. You’ll likely have work and family considerations to take into account. Some parents find that setting a time before the kids wake up (or after they go to sleep) is a good time for their new spiritual practice.
When you get used to doing your meditation or devotional practice at a specific time, you create a rhythm that supports your new practice.
2. Make it easy and automatic.
The idea is to connect your new practice to something you’re already doing. Make the process into something that is automatic. You could do a chant right after you brush your teeth in the morning. Connecting your devotion to something you already do will help you remember it.
It’s even better than just remembering the new practice. It’s about putting something in that becomes part of your natural pattern of actions.
3. “If you mess up, get back on the horse.”
If you mess up it’s okay because it is part of the process. If, on a particular day, you’re thrown off schedule, and you miss a meditation session, get “back on the horse” as soon as possible. One of my friends misses a morning yoga session, and she picks it back up after dinner that same day.
In earlier years, I would cut myself down when I made a mistake. I still need to make efforts to remind myself, “Making a mistake is part of the process. The Gods know I’m doing the best I can.”
See if you can course-correct without being mean to yourself. The Gods love you.
“I am so ready for 2020 to be over. But …” my friend, Samantha, began.
“But … what?” I asked.
“I’m afraid that somehow 2021 won’t be the big relief year that I’m hoping for,” Samantha concluded.
I thought about this, and I realized that Samantha’s concerns could be valid. Things may be tougher than we hope. It may take more time for things to settle down.
Here are three insights:
Release the previous year
With all the fear, divisiveness, and more negativity, I join many people in saying: “Goodbye 2020!” It’s easy to add the phrase “good riddance,” too.
In order to welcome the good of 2021, it will help us to consciously release the previous year.
Release The Previous Year Prayer
This year I release. All pain, all good, all in between I release you now. I give all lessons to the Gods’ purposes. They see my path better than I can. Dear Gods support me as I begin again In the New Year. Thank you, year that is past. Welcome New Year. Welcome New Year.
So, let’s release all of 2020’s negativity and pull in the New Year’s positive potential.
Include gratitude with the sadness
Recently, I read about several spouses of veterans who returned from war.
In tears, the spouse says, “You never came home.”
The veteran has emotionally shutdown.
This ties into my thoughts about each year of life.
Emotionally shutting down cuts us off from the Gods’ gifts that we received in the previous year.
You might ask: “What gifts? Lockdowns due to Covid-19. Job losses. Uncertainty. And more.”
And yet, I pause. I give thanks that one of my friends received a new kidney and pancreas. Life-saving surgery.
I give thanks that another friend had three novels published—a creative dream come true.