Start with this moment, this space, this exact point in time.
Take a deep breath in and let it out on a sigh. Relax your jaw. Roll your shoulders and then reach your arms up overhead for a stretch.
Now, let’s talk.
The work of metaphysics, simplified, is the direction of energy by mind and spirit. One useful analogy is to think of energy as streams of water flowing across a wetland. When we step in to create a metaphysical effect, we redirect or adjust the flow of that water. Maybe we dig a little pool off to one side of a stream and divert some water there. Maybe we add more rocks to one side of a rivulet to shift the direction the water is flowing.
All our regular magick is based on an established set of parameters. The water flows downhill. It flows around obstacles in its way. On our end, we are used to parameters where we can direct the flow. We can pick up rocks, dig little trenches, evaluate the flow of ‘water’ and make changes.
Your abilities haven’t changed. You remain the badass witch you always were. However, the parameters are completely different right now.
When Streams flow Uphill
The energetic web around us is generated by all sentient beings. When a huge number of sentient beings are terrified, there’s an immediate impact to the web. Those vibrations spread out and disrupt the flow of energy. Our beautiful tributary with its flowing streams is messy right now. The water is doing strange and unpredictable things.
The normal techniques for directing the flow of energy aren’t working as well as usual, or at all. We are compromised individually. My own experience with the pandemic reminds me of how my mind operates when I am in deep grief. It’s like a program is running in the background on my computer and slowing things down. Although I can still do some things, part of my mind and energy is completely oriented toward grieving. Or, in this case, concern/anxiety/worry about…well… *gestures to everything*.
The good news is that there are practices to help stabilize our selves and immediate environments.
Rev. Carl Gregg, the minister of my UU congregation, has a great saying: ‘Stop shoulding on yourself.’ That is truer now than ever before. These are not normal times and all our standards around how we move through our lives need to be relaxed. Maybe your daily spiritual practice has fallen off. Maybe when you journey, you’re not connecting as well or able to stay as focused on your travels. Maybe figuring out a spell is just out of the question. You know what? That’s all okay. All of it. None of this normal. Let go of your shoulds.
It’s also important to understand that the emotional and energetic toll ‘normal’ activities take will be higher than usual. Remember my point above about your brain running a high-cost background process? That’s happening on every level – mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. Our recovery rate for things will be slower. This is particularly true of activities that bring us into proximity with others. Right now, if I go grocery shopping, I know that I’m shot for a couple hours afterwards. That’s okay. Now I know, and I can be prepared to need recovery time on the other side. The first couple times it was surprising but I’m beginning to get a feel for how the ‘water’ is flowing.
Following the point above, allow for times, days or even longer spans of time where self-work isn’t an option. However, on days when you’re feeling a little better (for me, right now, that’s days with sunny weather), put in a little extra bolstering. Your own energetic resources are at the center of your experience. Unless you make sure you’re okay first, it’s tough to care for other people. Like the airplane safety precautions say, put on your own mask first.
Make Hay While the Sun Shines
One of my friends mentioned that they devote their available energy (when they have it) to creating gifts for their future self. I love this idea. In their case, that means that long-term projects take a back seat to tasks that help their future self, who may be having a bad day. We know that bad days are A Thing, so when we do have the motivation, we can support ourselves by making those days easier.
I have some suggestions below based on what I’m doing on my good days. Remember, this isn’t a list of ‘Things you SHOULD be doing.’ Fuck should. This is a list of things that might help, that you ought to only even look at on days when you feel like you’ve got the hit points/spoons for it.
Food Prep. This first suggestion is practical and metaphysical. Make a large batch of something (I like hearty soups and curries for this) and subdivide it. While you are cooking, work as much healing energy into that food as you can muster. Choose comfort foods – recipes that you absolutely love that make you feel safe. Culinary magick is stunningly effective when we combine our emotional responses to certain foods with a little magick. Yesterday I was having a good day, so I made a big batch of vegan jambalaya and a large batch of one of my favorite lentil soups. I’m set for food for a couple days that aren’t so great now. AND, those prepped foods will help address more than my nutritional needs.
Shield Work. Shields are an energetic construct witches use to protect themselves from the discordant energy of other people, places and events. Most of us power our shields using our own energy or a little bit of channeled energy. Something I would suggest at this time is to build a set of shields that are powered by a talisman instead. This is for days when raising energy is not an option. To create your talisman-anchored shield, raise energy in the way you prefer, then direct it and your shield visualization into your talisman. When you wear or carry that talisman going forward, the shields attached to it are very strong. However, stored energy does decrease with use. Remember that you will need to periodically recharge the talisman. How often depends on how much use your shields see. If Shielding as a whole concept is brand new to you, here’s an article covering the basics.
I recently adjusted my shields in another way that may prove useful to you. Along with my usual construction, I’ve added a very slippery oil layer to the outside of my shields. I serve a large community and was experiencing a little bit of ‘drag’ from the needs of that community. Those attachments – the needs of my beloved community – are not malicious, so they don’t always get caught in my filters. The oil layer has reduced my own fatigue significantly since I started using it.
House Wards. Double up, recharge or retool your House Wards. Our homes are always more than simple structures (article on getting to know your House Spirit here). They protect and contain our own energy. Right now, our House Spirits are working incredibly hard to protect us from the free-floating miasma of fear all around us. They may also be working hard at keeping peace within depending on the dynamics of our families. Give them some help. Here’s an article on creating and enhancing your House Wards.
Healing Magick. Look around your home, room or apartment. How can you make your space more comforting? What would increase its ability to offer peace and healing to you? Consider color, scent, artwork, music and arrangement. Write your ideas down. When you have the energy for it, begin implementing some of those ideas.
Blanket Forts are totally an option
Prep healing remedies for yourself and your loved ones. Get some candles, oils, tinctures or your preferred magick delivery system ready to roll. Remember, you can do all the correspondence work (sigils, color selection, herbs, stones) and some of the energy raising in advance. When you or someone you love needs help, you’ll have your magickal trebuchet already loaded with exactly the right kind of stone. All you’ll have to do is aim.
Consider doing this on a practical level as well. I started a big batch of honey-fermented garlic yesterday. It’s one of my go-to cold remedies and seems to work well in terms of boosting my ability to fight off illness. It takes a good month or so to go from raw materials to finished product, so I started it now.
Consider Tonic Techniques
A Tonic is a medicinal substance you take to support well-being and vigor. Think daily vitamins. There are a few good tonics right now to help support us in this dumpster fire of a situation.
Control Media Exposure. Although your monkey brain is rattling for stimulation, although your fear wants you to stay hooked on the news for any possible update, those behaviors are not healthy. They are making your anxiety worse. The most important boundary you can set right now is with yourself. I check in on the news twice a day. I have snoozed people on my social media feed who do nothing but post pandemic articles. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I know in order to be effective I need my mind to be working as well as it can. Drinking from the media firehose is not constructive right now. It turns all of us into Chicken Little and leaves us no ability to respond in a considered, meaningful way. Set specific times when you check in and set a timer when you start scrolling for how long you want to be there. Then, when the timer goes off, use every ounce of willpower to support your own better judgement. Put down the internet and walk away.
Go outside. This hinges on your geographical location, but if it’s at all possible, go outside. I live in Western Maryland and I have been investigating the less-used trail system in my area. Right now, my partner and I are hiking or walking around 2 hours a day. It is keeping us both saner and we rarely encounter people (when we do, everyone is awesome about allowing safe physical distancing). I am also spending a lot more time in my garden. When I get to the point of NOPE, I go outside. I dig things. I pull weeds. I trim overgrowth. I build new vegetable beds. Nature is one of the most powerful tonics we can take. Go outside. For longer. Yes, mild discomfort is a thing. Bring a jacket, bring a water bottle, wear sunblock. You really will be okay. Learning to tolerate a little mud/sun/bugs is good for you.
More than anything else, more than everything I’ve written about in this blog, please allow. Allow, allow, allow. Let the emotions come. Give yourself space to be a mess. Lean in to the hard spots. Cry. Wail. Binge comforting television shows and movies. The parameters of our magickal world have shifted. The parameters of our ability to respond to that shift are ALSO different. Allow yourself to be a mess about it. The waves come and go, but if we repress them, they ultimately break out in ways that are more destructive (getting mad at people who don’t deserve it, drinking or eating to excess, etc). It’s okay to not be okay. By creating space for grief, disappointment, fear and stress, we give those places a vent. We let the wounds breathe. Then, on days when we’re in a better headspace, we can enjoy the sunshine a little more.
So, what are some ways you’re gifting your future self some ease? How are you planning to support your rainy days right now? Hit me up in the comments.
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