“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.
“Sometimes, I find it tough to be a solitary witch,” a reader of my blog, at GoddessHasYourBack.com, wrote to me.
She asked a question, and I responded. It reminded me of my early days of learning the Craft.
Here are three insights related to what solitary witches have shared with me.
A Solitary Witch may have a desire to gain assurance that she or he is performing rituals correctly.
One way to develop your spiritual practice is to keep a Spells Diary. This will help you refine your technique. You’ll have evidence of when you’re successful and when things fail. This helps you capture the wisdom you can gain from your experiences.
You may find in reading several books that you get contradictory information. I’ve learned to read a number of sources and then find what works for me personally. Again, keeping a Spells Diary is helpful.
A Solitary Witch may seek a connection with like-minded people.
Like many things, when we seek to develop a new friendship, particularly through online groups, it is a good idea to go slow. Pay close attention to how the new person conducts herself or himself. People who are trustworthy in small things may also be trustworthy in more crucial things.
Some people may be goodhearted but still misinformed. It takes a process to pay attention to see if someone is a good addition to your personal circle.
In years past, I would attend PantheaCon, and I enjoyed meeting and reconnecting with many people. With the related health crisis this year, in-person gatherings are difficult.
One friend suggested doing a Zoom call and watching the other person’s body language. Sometimes, you can get more understanding of a new person by seeing them on video.
I look forward to the day when the world has moved beyond the current health crisis. Having a community or circle provides real support. With trustworthy people in your life, you can feel more connected to your spiritual path.
A Solitary Witch may seek more comfort from the Gods.
Consider having a daily meditation practice (even just a 5-minute session) which can give you more time of feeling connected and comforted by the Gods.
“What does the Winter Solstice have to do with spirituality?” my friend, Andrew, asked.
“In ancient times, people saw the Winter Solstice as the longest night of the year, and they were deeply concerned because the Sun-God disappeared at that time. Think of how this contrasts with Yule. In fact, after the longest night, we celebrate the rebirth of the God—something that restores our hope,” I replied.
Here are three insights:
Realize that the God is reborn and will grow strong
The idea of the rebirth of the God ties to the original, ancient impression that the God and the Sun were one. As the Sun is “stronger” during the Spring, the impression is that the God is growing and increasing in power.
When I think of this pattern, I realize that we, witches, experience times of rebirth, too. It would help to support our rebirth-times. You can do a ritual. For example, you can include this chant with a ritual bath to cleanse yourself of the negative energy of the past year.
God, I celebrate Your rebirth Your support guides my rebirth. At this time for my renewal My heart will shine like a jewel. With hope, I take action My soul fills with Inspiration. So Mote It Be.
Embrace Yule as a time of celebration
Witches refer to the God who has come back from death. This is a time of celebration. The God has returned from the Underworld. Now the Earth will grow green again. Our spirits are renewed because Spring is on the way.
You have an opportunity for renewed hope and inner peace when you embrace the seasons
Yule is about new beginnings. It reminds us that in the middle of the cold winter, we’re on a path of renewal and hope. Years ago, I was stuck in a hospital for a month. My spleen was destroying my platelets. I could bleed out at any time. Doctors attempted to heal me with medications.
That did not work.
Only after surgery that removed my spleen did I receive the glimmer that my life would continue. I’ve thought of that moment when I was in the recovery room as a moment of Yule. My glimmer of hope rose in the middle of a “winter season.”
We all go through winter seasons in our lives.
I’m hoping that you’re feeling that glimmer of hope this Yule time.
Have you felt, at some time during the current worldwide crisis, somehow disconnected or isolated?
Some spiritual paths create more isolation. How? These spiritual paths suggest that human beings have “dominion” over the natural world. To have such dominion means to be set apart or set above.
Fortunately, witches realize that our interaction with nature is not about dominion. Instead, it’s about cooperation. We are not separate from nature; we are part of it.
Witches are freed from getting caught up in “competing” with nature or trying to subdue or control nature.
Here are three insights:
Let go of thinking humans are above everything
Have you noticed how much chaos arrogant human beings are causing? I’ve heard people say, “We need people to stop treating the environment like a garbage can.”
The animals and plants are our brothers and sisters of Mother Earth.
Let’s pause for a moment and think about how aspirin comes from willow bark. What a wonderful situation we have: Nature in many ways supports us. Often, nature nurtures us.
Connect with nature to get outside your ego
Take a walk in nature and connect with your brothers and sisters of the natural world. You can pause for a moment next to a tree and project your thoughts to it. I know fellow Wiccans who receive feelings or insights in return from a tree.
My point here is that when you connect with nature you lift yourself out of feeling small and vulnerable. You’re part of a family; you’re not alone.
On the other hand, the ego is that part of you that is made of fear and feels small.
I’ve learned that when I walk in a forest or park, I feel one with the Gods.
The Gods express Themselves through nature
The Winter Solstice is now approaching. This is the time of the rebirth of the God. Wiccans have a deep connection to the seasons. We notice the cycles of life, and the Gods also go through Their own seasons. For example, Ostara (March) is a time connected to fertility and renewal. The world and the Gods become new again.
My point here is that we, witches, have opportunities to feel supported and enriched by the flow of seasons.
We are not alone. We are not stuck. The natural flow of the seasons and the power of the Gods are deeply part of our lives.
Would you like to create new and better circumstances in your life? It’s valuable to realize that you manifest what you want on the Astral Plane first.
Here are three insights:
You create twice—first on the Astral Plane.
When you are doing spellcraft, you want to make a change on this earthly plane. I’ve learned from spiritual elders that you really need to begin with creating change on the Astral Plane.
When doing spells, you construct the change you want on the Astral Plane first. Eventually your desired change will manifest on the material plane. That can occur when you have done the necessary steps of your spell.
Visualization is so important in doing your spells. Your spellwork begins with your mind and focusing on what you truly want.
Your visualization and your will interact to create a “form or structure” on the Astral Plane.
What do you truly want to manifest?
Be careful on the Astral Plane.
Working on the Astral Plane includes risks.
For example, my spiritual elders warned me that entities exist on the Astral Plane that can consume your energy. This is the reason that witches begin by building a safe place on the Astral Plane. That safe place is where they conduct their work. (Often, witches learn more in-depth details directly from a spiritual elder.)
Here, I’ll share some valuable principles. Your thoughts create reality. For example, have you noticed that when you are in a bad mood, things just seem to go wrong left and right? This results from making the situation worse by putting that negative energy onto the Astral Plane.
Be careful. It’s important to move yourself into a good mood before you do spellwork.
I’ve learned to shift my mood by reading material by a favorite author or listening to some great music.
If you can’t seem to shake a bad mood, place your energy into something positive. For example, I’ll turn to knitting or reading my Book of Shadows (BOS). Not only am I changing my focus onto something positive, but with my knitting, I am creating something useful.
Focus so you can connect with the Gods on the Astral Plane.
A number of witches go to the Astral Plane and connect with the God and Goddess. The Gods are present to help and support your dreams and desires.
I begin certain forms of meditation sessions by going to my own safe place on the Astral Plane. Then, I simply say something like: “Lord and Lady, please join me here [in my safe space].”
When you’re in your safe space, you can talk with the God and Goddess free of interruptions from other entities on the Astral Plane.
“What a surprise. When Cheryl said that comment, it felt like we were not even talking about the same reality,” my friend, Andrew, said.
This led to an interesting conversation. We talked about how each practitioner of witchcraft and Wicca has a truly individualistic practice.
Witchcraft and Wicca have space for people to have an individual approach to spirituality.
Each witch has a unique belief system.
Here are three insights:
Choose your Pantheon of Gods to focus on
Here are a couple of examples: the Celtic Pantheon, Egyptian Pantheon, and Germanic Pantheon. For example, one of my friends relates to the Germanic Pantheon and especially focuses on the God Odin.
Perhaps, you’re at a specific point in which you’re focusing on a particular aspect of life.
For example, one person may focus on communication (Mercury – the God of Communication … and more.).
Another person might relate to compassion (Quan Yin – the Chinese Goddess/Bodhisattva* of Compassion).
(*Bodhisattva, in Mahayanist Buddhism, means a person who can reach nirvana but delays doing so because this person seeks to relieve the suffering of other beings. So, some people do not view Quan Yin as a Goddess.)
Focusing on a particular God or Goddess (or Pantheon) can assist you in creating a unique worldview and spiritual practice.
This choice is an important one. Ask: “How do I see the world?” Then, do research into the different pantheons to see how you feel about the Gods and Goddesses of each.
What aspect of a God or Goddess means the most to you?
Notice how you experience the truth – and leave space for others’ perceptions
Ask ten witches what they believe, and you will get ten different answers.
Many of us say we believe something because we know it’s true.
Some of us come together in a coven. Covenmates may have a similar view of the Gods. Still, each individual will have varying beliefs.
Ask yourself, “How do I know something is true?”
We remember the old question: Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
What is your answer?
This question relates to how you perceive a situation.
My point here is that both answers (half-full or half-empty) can be correct simultaneously.
This brings me back to Andrew’s discovery of Cheryl’s “separate reality.”
Andrew does not need to prove that he is right and that Cheryl’s interpretation is wrong.
In fact, both interpretations can be correct. How? Andrew and Cheryl have had truly different life experiences. This shapes how they look at things.
For example, a friend of mine had a student who was marrying someone of a different faith. As a Buddhist, she felt she would eventually (beyond death) become one with “all that is.” Her fiancé held to his Christian focus to become one with God.
Here is the good news. This couple could realize that they both focused on “becoming one with the Source.”
Are you leaving space for friends or family to have interpretations that are different than your worldview?
Discover your interpretation of the Gods’ plan
What is your truth? Do you believe in reincarnation? Do you believe in karma?
As we go through life, we build a complex tapestry of beliefs. Every experience shapes us and forms our unique path.
As you choose and take action, you are creating strands of your own unique tapestry of beliefs.
Each strand builds upon the others, creating your worldview. This includes your interpretation of the Gods’ plan for you and how you see yourself in it.
I’ve learned that when I focus on how the Gods love me and support me for my personal growth, I feel supported and comforted.
At 14 years old, I was sent on a spiritual retreat. The group leader said to find a spot in the forest and read a letter. That’s when I found out that it was written by my parents. Years later, when I thought about this process, I realized that my parents and their spiritual group were attempting to push me to see the world in their way.
Instead, while I was out in nature, I found my own understanding, and it wasn’t of their God, but of the God and Goddess.
This brings me to thoughts about how we, witches, find our personal form of spirituality.
Here are three insights:
Discover how spirituality comforts you.
Have you had a moment in which you prayed to the Gods and felt support? Spirituality can be of great comfort. When we are worried, we may call on the God and Goddess and find comfort and often guidance.
When my depression symptoms flare up, I try to concentrate on the Gods and how They love me. They care about me every day. I try to slow down and take a few deep breaths in and out—and talk with the Gods. I tell them how I am feeling, and They send comfort and understanding. They are great listeners.
Use your spiritual tools for great decision-making.
When I need to make a decision, I use my spiritual tools to help me. My favorite tools are the Tarot and meditation.
I also use a process I call “If this then that.” Here is how it works.
Samantha needs to make a decision about taking a new job. She goes into meditation and asks the Gods for a sign. She says, internally, “If this new job is a great match for me, please show me a red balloon.” Over the next days, she stays alert to see if she sees a red balloon. (You can choose whatever object feels appropriate to you.)
When it comes to using spiritual tools, sometimes, the Gods give you a completely different sign than what you asked for. That is when it’s valuable to keep up your meditation sessions. Over some days, you may receive more guidance.
Nurture your personal growth and connect with the Gods.
As witches, we realize that personal growth is one of the most important things on this spiritual path. Working with the Gods helps us grow.
How do we nurture our personal growth with the God and Goddess? It’s about devoting time with Them.
We can connect with Them in a meditation session, a walk in nature, or by doing rituals.
Doing rituals dedicated to the Gods helps strengthen your bond with Them.
I’ve noticed that when I’m connecting with the Gods, I step out of daily worries.
When you’re feeling low energy, you can decide to do a brief meditation session, a prayer, a chant, or a simple ritual. Enjoy the resulting feeling of support and being personally nurtured by the Gods.