a spell for business success

Today is the full moon in Capricorn, and one day of the week ruled by Capricorn is Saturday, which is today! Capricorn energy is practical, focused, hard-working, and dedicated.

And, this double whammy of earthy Capricorn energy (moon in Capricorn + its on a Saturday) is the perfect time to take advantage of synergy for spells in the following areas of life:

  • business
  • prosperity
  • self-esteem
  • fears and self-limiting thoughts
  • anything material-related

What You Will Need:

  • a green or gold candle
  • matches or a lighter
  • a piece of paper
  • a pen
  • a handful of soil
  • a small dish of rainwater (water from a rushing source will work, and bottled spring water can work as well)
  • a flameproof dish or cauldron
  • incense of your choice, but for spells related to prosperity in business, I really like basil, mint, frankincense, cinnamon, or rose; or all of the above, whatever you’re drawn to most

What You Will Do:

  1. Clear your space and clear your mind. Center yourself and ground. Spend 5-10 minutes just breathing deeply, counting your breaths, or letting your mind settle and clear any way you find effective. I like to use my Rich Bwitch spell oil, rubbing a few drops on my temples and wrists, to help me tap into the exact energies I plan to use.
  2. Think through exactly what type of business success you hope to achieve. Is it financial? Making your first sale in a new venture? Making your 10,000th sale in an established business? Hiring more help? Expanding? You need a good, solid, and specific picture of exactly what you want.
  3. Once you have this image and list identified in your head, write down your intended outcome in one sentence, as succinctly as possible. If you are asking for 4 different things, consider choosing 1-2 that are priorities for this particular spell. You can always do another spell tomorrow or next week, or next month. The key is to give the energy you raise a specific and well-defined target. The more information you include and more potential outcomes you seek, you risk muddling the intent and getting none of them.
  4. To clarify, if I was hoping for an increase in revenue by 30% the 2nd half of this year, so that I could then expand to a physical storefront, hire an employee, and grow my product line, I would need to figure out what would yield all of those things collectively or pick one to specifically request. An example would be, “I am able to achieve a level of revenue growth that yields the ability to open a store within the next 12 months.” The assumption here is that, in opening a physical store, I will far exceed the 30% revenue increase and will also net a revenue level that affords the ability to hire at least one person.
  5. In your cauldron, place your herbs/incense of choice.
  6. If you want to carve anything on your candle, now is a good time to do it. It could be a sigil, a word such as “success” or “prosperity” or a symbol that is meaningful to your goal. Light your candle.
  7. Grab some of the soil in one hand, sprinkle it over your paper and recite:

“soil and earth, bestow your worth”

8. Dip your hand into the bowl of water, sprinkle a few drops on your paper and recite:

“rains and seas, feel my plea”

9. Blow your breath onto the paper, visualizing your outcome and recite:

“gusts of air, carry this prayer”

10. Finally, light the herbs/incense in the bowl/cauldron and drop the paper into it, letting it catch fire. You may need to light it if it does not initially catch. Recite:

“Heat, flame, I call thy name”

“My will is known, my business grown. So will it be.”

Because the ashes now contain all 4 elements balanced into your spell, I would personally let it burn down and stir the ashes into what is left of the soil, and stir that into a pot or my garden, using it as a fertile starter for any plants.

If you’re not that much of a green thumb, but don’t want to just throw out the ashes of your spell, consider just sprinkling the ashes or ash/soil mixture outdoors somewhere meaningful if you have a yard, or even a fave spot in a local park, trail, forest, or friend/family’s yard.

You can also just throw them out now that the spell is worked and you’ve sent your will out to manifest. Or you can save them once they’ve completely burned out and use them to make black salt in the future.

goddess spotlight: bastet

Bastet has recently become one of my favorite goddesses. She’s more than just another love goddess. If you’re not familiar with the deities of the Egyptian pantheon, I highly recommend reading up on them. They are some of the most fascinating and beneficial deities to work with on a wide variety of areas of life.

But, back to Bastet.

History

Bastet (also Bast) is the Egyptian goddess of love, sexuality, fertility, music, dancing, and war, but also lotions and perfumes. She is typically depicted in Egyptian art and writing as either a cat or a beautiful woman’s body with the head of a cat.

There are sources that point to her being worshipped in Egypt as far back as 3200 B.C.

Some historical sources point to her being the daughter of Isis and Ra, but most just depict her as the daughter of Ra alone. The hieroglyph that represents her is also the same that represents the ointment jar, which is why she is associated with lotions, oils, and perfumes.

She was said to be the wife of Ptah, the god of architecture and craftsmen. She was closely associated with the goddess Hathor, who was also associated with love, music, fertility, dancing, and intoxication.

There is also some indication that she was originally a lioness goddess, and at some point, she and her sister Sekhmet became two separate goddesses with different attributes.

In addition to her associations above, she is also a goddess of cats, highly revered animals in Egypt.

Bastet is a solar deity, and, therefore has attributes of all the planetary bodies, which she can manifest under certain conditions.

Bastet could also be a vengeful goddess, taking vengeance on the enemies of the Pharaoh when called upon.

She is commonly shown holding a sistrum, a musical instrument commonly used in ancient times.

Bastet was most commonly worshipped during huge celebratory festivals in her honor. These occurred several times per year, and women attending the festivals were said to ride large ships up the Nile river, partying, dancing, drinking, and exposing their genitals to others on the river banks as they sailed past.

She was petitioned to protect households from evil spirits and thieves, as well as a protectress of pregnant women. People also had their pet cats mummified after they died, in honor of Bastet.

Bastet was said to have slain Apep, an underworld serpent god of chaos, who was also the enemy of her father, Ra.

At some point, as the Greek pantheon and Egyptian pantheon began to take on associations of their counterparts, Bastet also was likened to the goddess Artemis, and therefore became associated with the moon, in addition to also being a solar deity.

Associations

  • Cats
  • Patron of: dancers, musicians, possibly other performance artists, mothers, and healers
  • Fertility, Love, Femininity, Beauty, Pregnancy, Sexuality, Intoxication, Dancing, Music, Protection, War, Vengeance
  • Sensual pleasure
  • Perfume
  • Lotions, oils
  • Colors: Green, Red, Gold, Turquoise
  • Planets: all, depending on the day of the week; especially rising sun
  • Incense: Myrrh, Frankincense, Jasmine, Cinnamon, Sandalwood, Vervain, Lavender
  • Herbs: catnip, cattail, yew, cypress
  • Crystals or metals: gold, pyrite, lapis lazuli, red jasper, red agate

There’s really a huge body of content and information out there if you want to get more about Bastet, so if this has piqued your interest, I highly encourage you to search out more information, and even maybe check out some of the Khemetic resources on Bastet.

invocation vs evocation vs summoning

I know this will be controversial to many, but I think this subject deserves some attention. And I expect everyone to like or agree with these definitions, but I do think everyone can agree these words do not mean the same thing.

These words get used interchangeably by many, but, depending on who you ask, have vastly different meanings, and, therefore, potentially very different results when working with spirits, deities, or entities.

Aleister Crowley has differentiated the two terms by saying that invocation is calling on a spirit to manifest inwardly vs evocation is calling forth a spirit to manifest outwardly. He gives no distinction of implied control or supplication on either part of the evoker/invoker and evokee/invokee in this definition.

In Crowley’s version, which has widely become parroted throughout most of the magickal world, invoking is a way of aspecting, or allowing an aspect of a deity to manifest within themselves or even take temporary possession in order to communicate.

I don’t think this is inherently wrong, but its also clear that both words still mean very different things, and come with different implications.

As an alternative to that definition, I really like the way that Connolly breaks down this topic easily and succinctly in several of her books (The Complete Book to Demonolatry, The Demonolater’s Guide to Demonic Magick are two I recommend if you’re into a more ceremonial approach to demonic magick).

It is her definition that I think delineates the nuances of these terms.

Invocation

Think of invocation as a request. It is asking respectfully and reverently. ‘[insert name], I invoke thee to attend my workings tonight.’

Invocations to deities go back as far as human history and spirituality. You can find written invocations in religious texts thousands of years old, giving direction to petitioners on how to respectfully ask a deity for assistance.

And, at least historically speaking, there is not really any basis for the claim that invocations were requests for the deity to possess the person invoking. That definition appears to be a modern interpretation.

Invoking simply involves asking nicely for whatever spirit or being you are seeking to be present, lend assistance, or communicate with you. It’s my opinion that most of the time, people using the terms invoke, evoke, or summon actually mean invoke.

Invoking is akin to praying in a way. It can also just mean leaving an offering without any manifestation. It is welcoming.

Most of us aren’t running around demanding anyone make themselves known or show up for our rituals or spells. The demand comes with an air of mistrust or even superiority.

If you want to work respectfully with a spirit or being, regardless of who/what it is, invoking is the way to go. You would not want your autonomy taken from you, so why treat another being that way? How readily would you want to help someone that demanded you help them?

Evocation

Evocation means more of a demand that a being or spirit show up. It usually involves protective circles, maybe even binding the spirit, and almost always because there is an element of fear of them, or at least some mistrust or discomfort.

Evocation, going with Connolly’s definition, is a method of conjuring an entity to appear or manifest physically in some way, usually within that protective circle and usually also involves no implied supplication from the conjurer.

I will never understand why someone would evoke a spirit or being of any kind they are afraid of or are uncomfortable in the presence of. You get out of magick what you send into it, and entities are no different. If you approach them with fear and ego, you put yourself in danger.

Its incredibly arrogant of us humans to think that we can keep an incredibly powerful other dimensional being from harming us just by erecting special shapes for our working space and binding them with phrases. I’ll leave it at that.

Making demands and starting off in a confrontational manner are not respectful ways to work with entities you want help from, so consider your use of terminology if you’ve been using these interchangeably.

Summoning

Summoning is essentially the same in terms of implied demand as evoking. Summoning is a demand to a spirit or being to appear, usually against their will.

Again, usually this involves protective circles, banishing, and signals that the summoner fears and lacks trust in or comfort with the entity being summoned. If you’re using this method, you’re implying you seek to control that spirit or being and impair its free will.

Do Evoking and Summoning Have a Place?

I won’t be naive enough to say that you should never need these methods. I can’t speak to every possible situation or reason why someone would consider these options.

Only you can make that decision based on what your goals are and who/what you’re working with. And if it sounds like there’s judgment here, there’s not. Magick is a highly personal journey we must all walk in our own way.

Personally, I approach this from the perspective that there are literally thousands of potential spirits or beings whom you could ask for assistance with a request or need.

Why summon one and engender potentially negative will toward yourself when you can simply invoke another that will be equally effective, and who will more than likely be willing to help you out in exchange for your respect, reverence, and offerings.

The approach taken by demonolatry practitioners is, when working with entities of that type of power, respect for them is appreciated and yields much better results and working relationships than ego, control, and force.

However, again, your path is your own and you may find your results using evocation and summoning are equally fruitful.

how to balance your natal chart elements

I mentioned in my book review post of Spiritual Protection by Sophie Reicher some things I had intuitively been doing to offset a really strong lack of earth element in my natal chart.

I figured this is something that might not be intuitive to everyone, and I had promised to follow up with a post that gave some tips for balancing your elements, should you happen to have one or more that are lacking.

First, if you don’t know how your elements are distributed in your chart, get a free natal chart done here.

Once you have entered your information and generated your chart, look in the tables below the chart itself, for a super handy visual that breaks it down for you. It will look like this:

Now, look at the left hand column “F, A, E, W” which represent, you guessed it, the element signs: Fire signs, Air signs, Earth signs, and Water signs.

Do you have any of those rows empty or very few compared to the others? My example above is a perfect illustration of what you might see with just one element lacking, Earth in my case. Notice how there’s lots of Water, and Fire and Air are pretty moderate, but one lone little Chiron in Taurus to represent Earth.

As I have expanded my spiritual and magickal path through life, the deeper I go into this, the more it becomes evident to me that this imbalance affects me in various ways. One thing I started doing that I now look back on is I have been grabbing certain crystals or stones to carry with me in my pocket or purse, or just on my desk and from time to time I touch them, or hold them while briefly meditating.

This helps to pull me back to ‘Earth’ so to speak and keep me better grounded, since the characteristics of this element do not always come naturally to me.

Balancing Your Natal Chart Elements

So, here’s where we start working on ways to add back in those elements which we lack.

Fire

The lack of Fire element in your chart can show up as lack of assertiveness and perhaps struggling to find and express your creativity and passions. It might also present as lack of initiative or drive.

Here are some ways to add more Fire to your day to balance you out:

  • burn candles often, especially near you; they can be scented or unscented and they don’t have to have any special magickal significance other than they represent fire
  • drink herbal tea made with these herbs: calendula, dandelion, basil, angelica, hawthorn, nettle, rue, rosemary, any other red or orange blossomed plants (please consult a trained herbalist before consuming any plants you are unfamiliar with)
  • carry or wear jewelry made with these stones or crystals: carnelian, dragon stone, citrine, red jasper, red agate/fire agate, red aventurine, yellow aventurine, tiger’s eyes, garnet, yellow and orange calcite, yellow or bumblebee jasper, yellow or orange quartz, yellow sapphire, sunstone
  • wear brightly colored red, orange, or yellow clothes, shoes, or other accessories to bring some fire to your wardrobe
  • if you can’t burn an actual candle at work or home for some reason, get some of the electric tea lights or even a strand of fairy lights to string up and add some sparkle to an area you spend a good deal of time in
  • cook with more spices, especially the fiery peppers higher in capsaicin, an ingredient that creates the ‘heat’ you taste in spicy food; these include paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne, but also red/green chiles, tobasco, bell peppers, and then all the spicier peppers from jalapeños to Carolina reapers. (please use caution and common sense when consuming spicy foods; if you are not used to a lot of spice, introduce these slowly and in small amounts based on your personal tolerance; capsaicin in larger amounts than you’re used to creates irritation in mucous membranes)
  • take acting classes or join an improv group; you can also resolve to stand up for yourself, set strong boundaries, and speak out more often
  • experiment with various creative hobbies; if you don’t know where to start, wander around an art or craft/hobby store and see what grabs your attention

Air

Air is the element of the intellect, thought, words, and communication. If you lack Air in your chart, you may be more prone to close-minded thinking patterns, might find it hard to express yourself through written communication, or may find it difficult to learn languages, even including those which are native to you.

Adding more Air element to your day might look like some of these:

  • burning incense, if you can do this where you live or work
  • turn a small fan on near where you spend more time, especially if you can have it gently waft essential oils associated with Air element like: peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender
  • dab a bit of those essential oils on your temples, neck, or wrists (dilute them if needed before applying to your skin)
  • carry or wear jewelry that contains any of these crystals: sapphire, smoky quartz, tourmaline, topaz, rhodonite, lapis lazuli, amethyst, peridot
  • practice deep, rhythmic breathing exercises
  • drink herbal tea made with any of these herbs: lavender, peppermint, elder flower, thyme, wormwood, mugwort, comfrey (please consult a trained herbalist before consuming any plants you are unfamiliar with)
  • write in a journal or even just a private blog daily to improve your written communication
  • join a writers group, especially one that helps with writing prompts to allow you to develop this skill further
  • take an online course; you can find many free ones here

Earth

A lack of Earth element in your chart might leave you feeling flaky, unstable, or trouble holding onto or managing money smartly. You may also be prone to jumping from one new idea to the next without seeing them through (for me this manifests as starting many things and finishing few).

You can add more Earth element to your day with any of these following ideas:

  • walk barefoot outside (if safe to do so) for at least a few minutes a couple times a day; this helps you absorb the negative ions from the Earth, which send happy balancing waves throughout your body
  • center and ground often throughout the day (hint: the book I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Spiritual Protection by Sophie Reicher, has an excellent simple technique for this that I really like, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to do)
  • keep rocks nearby you, or crystals such as: agate, jade, tourmaline, nephrite, turquoise, quartz, onyx, malachite, jasper
  • wear earthy colors such as greens, browns, tans, and neutral or natural dyes/undyed textiles
  • get help with financial planning or sign up for apps that help you track your spending and create a budget
  • dab a drop or two of these essential oils on: patchouli, vetiver, cedar, or pine (dilute them if needed before applying to your skin)
  • drink herbal tea made with any of these herbs: pennyroyal, black cohosh, slippery elm, sage, horehound (please consult a trained herbalist before consuming any plants you are unfamiliar with; some of the ones mentioned here should never be used during pregnancy)
  • either eat more salt (work with a qualified healthcare practitioner to determine your safe daily intake levels of salt) or keep a bowl of salt at your desk or nearby where you spend a good deal of time
  • keep a salt lamp near you while you work or sleep

Water

Water feels like home to me, obviously if you look at my chart, its my whole foundation. It is the element of emotions, empathy, and love.

But a lack of Water in your chart might manifest emotionally as lacking or having trouble experiencing empathy, being emotionally cold, closed-off, trouble accessing or interpreting yours or others’ emotions, and, some people will even say you could feel chronically physically thirsty because of this lack.

Here are some ways to add Water element to your day to help you even this out:

  • drink more fluids (this one seems obvious, but I meet so many people that just don’t do this)
  • take herbal or magickal baths weekly
  • do a daily ritual cleanse with a bowl or sink, washing your hands and/or face, adding essential oils if desired
  • essential oils associated with Water element include: jasmine, chamomile, spearmint, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and myrrh
  • keep a bowl of spring water on your desk or nightstand
  • these crystals have Water element properties: blue lace agate, amazonite, aquamarine, aventurine, blue chalcedony, chrysocolla, agatized coral, red coral, emerald, sea shells of all varieties, lepidolite, opal, prehnite, quartz, blue sapphire, tourmaline
  • drink tea often; using these herbs, which are associated with Water element, can further enhance this: burdock, valerian, echinacea, chamomile, and roses (please consult a trained herbalist before consuming any plants you are unfamiliar with)
  • play background noises with waterfalls or running water sounds while you work or meditate

the importance of your solar return

Ok, first, today is my solar return (so happy bday to me) and I thought what better occasion to share this really cool resource I stumbled across, and talk a little about the significance of your solar return for your life, goals, relationships, and energetic opportunities.

Definition of Solar Return

Your actual solar return occurs at the specific time that the sun aligns with the position of the sun in your natal chart.

If you do not know when that is, you can generate a natal chart for free here.

Once your chart is generated, take a look at the table below the chart itself, which gives you the exact positions of your planets at the moment of your birth.

In my chart example above, my natal sun at the moment of my birth was at 8º Cancer, 23 hours 17 minutes (these are based on Universal Greenwich time). Based on that information, I can figure out using an ephemeris (you can find one for 2020 free here) when this year’s sun will cross my natal sun.

Based on the ephemeris, my technical solar return will occur sometime in the early morning hours of June 30th (today).

Take note that your solar return is based on the planetary position, not the clock time, so it may even occur a day early or late compared to the actual day you celebrate your birthday.

You Have a Solar Return Chart

This is where stuff gets really really awesome, and I didn’t even know this was a thing until recently. Just like you have a natal chart with your specific planetary positions at the moment of your birth, you also have a Solar Return chart for each year of your life, which is based on the positions of the planets at the moment of your solar return.

The Solar Return chart is only good for one year, so it doesn’t override your natal chart and its shaping and influence of your life.

But, it can give you a heads up on what your year’s focus will likely be, as well as trends you may have appearing this year.

You can find your Solar Return chart here for free. I really like this version as it overlays it on your natal chart positions. Make sure that when you enter the location of the Solar Return, you use the current city you’re in, not your birth city, if they are not the same. Below is an example:

Once you generate your actual Solar Return chart, you’ll see the actual exact time and position that that will occur, in my case it will be (was) June 29, 2020 at 11:45 pm CST. At that time, my natal sun and current sun were in perfect alignment!

Using to Your Advantage

The Solar Return once again pumps all that great energy of your sun sign back into your life. So, whatever sign you were born under will be the strongest influence in your life. You’ll feel pulled to the areas of your life ruled by that sun sign as you get close to the date of your Solar Return, as well as the days after.

In my case, as a Cancer, I’m def feeling the emotions, all of them. As Cancer is a cardinal sign, I’ve also been filled with action and motivation to accomplish things.

When looking at your Solar Return chart, you’ll want to notice what house your current sun appears in for what theme this year will take on for you. You can find house descriptions and influences here.

For instance, whereas my natal sun occurs in my 12th house, my Solar Return sun this year occurs in my 10th house. The 10th house focuses on goals in life and career, as well as public image.

Take a look at what house your sun was in or will be in on your Solar Return this year. If it has already occurred, was it pretty accurate so far? If it hasn’t occurred yet, do you see any themes or patterns that are leading you in that direction already?

Based on that position, this area of your life will be an advantageous area for you to focus on and grow in this year.

Planetary Aspects

I can’t really do this justice in a few paragraphs in a blog post, but I’ll refer you back to the Dark Pixie website, which has an excellent course I recommend you take, as well as tons of free information. There is info about aspects here.

Your natal chart is constantly aspected by planets transiting all the time. Some of those aspects are beneficial (sextiles and trines) and some are considered challenging (squares and oppositions). Conjunctions can be beneficial, but depending on the planets involved, might be either neutral or challenging, as conjunct planets tend to amplify each other.

Your Solar Return chart will also give you an easy to decipher visual of the aspects made at your Solar Return, which can tell you what areas of life will trend toward strengths in this year or which ones will present challenges for you.

A quick reference for the basic aspects is:

Conjunction- in the same sign

Sextile – 60º (about 2 signs) away

Trine – 120º (about 4 signs) away

Square – 90º (about 3 signs) away

Opposition – 120º (the opposite on your chart) away

And aspects aren’t just to your sun position, they’re relevant to positions of all planets, as well as how transiting planets aspect your natal planets. It can all be quite a lot to keep up with, and, if it seems overwhelming, take it slow and maybe just focus on your sun and moon aspects until you get comfortable with this concept.

I’ll give a quick example based on mine:

My Solar Return sun position is conjunct Mars, which I interpret as enhancing my assertiveness and vitality this year. I will probably be fairly fearless and attack problems head-on.

It is sextile to Uranus, which means if I put in some work, I’ll reap the rewards of unconventional thinking, innovation, and eccentricity.

It is trine to Neptune which means I can take advantage of that energy to be more open and sensitive, transparent and accepting of otheres.

It will be square to Lilith moon, Chiron, and Venus, which I take to mean Lilith moon will enhance my already strong will, bringing out my outspoken and feisty personality; Chiron square the sun will highlight resistant wounds and health problems, but also encourage me to work on healing those; and Venus square the sun will highlight underlying tensions in my relationship and ask me to look at whether my relationship is focusing too much on vanity rather than deeply valuing each other for our unique characters and attributes.

It is in opposition to Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn. Sun opposite Jupiter may bring out or highlight excessive behaviors like spending too much, drinking, or being overly generous to the detriment of myself; Pluto opposite the Sun can produce an internal war of trying to express my strong personality while trying not to let it conflict with others; Saturn will influence my self esteem, dredge up insecurities, and I will have to fight to work hard and stick with endeavors I start.

Phew. So, yeah, a lot going on there, but now I have a heads up on this year and I am ready to keep an eye out and balance what needs to be balanced.

magickal uses of water

I’m a water sign and have a lot of water in my chart, as well, so, naturally, I find watery stuff soothing and appealing, as well as intuitive to work with.

I wanted to put this quick post together for anyone who hasn’t pondered the ways that water can be used in magickal practice, and this is by no means fully comprehensive, but will include probably the most common, as well as few uncommon, ways to use water.

On Your Altar

This is something that probably all of us do almost all the time because its pretty consistently practiced across most magickal path traditions, to have something representing each of the 4 elements on your altar, including just non-work dedication altars to ancestors or deities.

Most people have either a bowl or a chalice with water. Some people even just put a bottle of water on there, and others still, use just any old random cup. I think as long as its symbolically meaningful to you, it probably doesn’t matter what vessel itself is used to hold the water. Some materials are more symbolic than others to a particular deity, but you can customize this many ways. \I bought an inexpensive set of crystal stemware to use for the water offerings on my altars to ancestors and the deities I do any devotional work with, and I think its a nice touch, but I know not everyone has a budget for those things.

I have known people who use a vase of fresh cut flowers in water to represent their water and earth at the same time, which also beautifies the work space or dedication/offering, if that is what the flowers are for you.

For Protection

Water itself is inherently cleansing, but it also absorbs all manner of negative intentions or vibes, if its charged and purposed to do so.

One of the tips that I picked up from Sophie Reicher’s Spiritual Protection (read my review of it from yesterday here) was to keep a bowl of water by your front door when you are anticipating guests. It will help to grab and contain the energies they are bringing into your home, lowering the chances of them leaving behind unwanted and unpleasant energy.

She also mentions sleeping with a glass of fresh water by your bed each night to prevent unwanted spiritual visitors while sleeping. Dump it out into the toilet and flush it each morning after you wake up, then fill with fresh water again before sleeping. This is excellent for hotel rooms or traveling, when you can’t ward your entire space regulary.

Water can also be blessed to function as holy water or sacred water, and you can either purchase it already blessed from a local religious organization or bless it yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. Holy water doesn’t technically have to be blessed by a priest or holy person, there are a number of non-denominational blessings you can find online (there is an excellent one in The Exorcist’s Handbook by Josephine McCarthy!!).

Water can be used to draw protective symbols on thresholds, windows, and mirrors, as well.

And, then water with salt added, particularly if you have also blessed the salt (that same book from McCarthy has blessings for both holy water and sacred salt), can even further add protection. You can use that to clean spaces, sprinkle in corners of rooms when cleansing and purifying, and to discourage evil or malevolent spirits or energies from entering your home or space.

Water can also be infused with various natural substances, like herbs, resins, plants, and crystals to use in spells involving protection, cleansing, abundance, and more. You can do a simple plant infusion by boiling the plant(s) in question in the water for 20 minutes, then removing from the heat, letting it cool to room temp, then straining the solids out and saving the infused water in an airtight jar in your fridge.

Purification

That brings me to my next point, which is that water is a purifier. As it is of the earth, and it is both one of the most destructive forces on earth, yet at the same time stimulates and feeds life, it is inherently powerful. Its all about the intent you put into this element.

I like to use spring water for my magickal work, especially that concerning purification, as it has not been adulterated or altered in any way. It is as close to the truest form of water found in the earth as possible, without actually going and collecting water from outdoors. I feel like spring water in a glass bottle retains better energetic properties than that stored in plastic, but in a pinch, again, its about the intent you instill in it.

Water collected from the earth, particularly that of a source of running water or catching rain water as it falls is even better, and even more energetically charged. If you can get that, do it! I know of people that order water from hot springs all over the country specifically for this purpose, if they cannot find any easily accessible sources in their area. You can also very easily set up a collection bowl or jars outdoors during rain to collect that which is free from the sky.

Moon water is a popular type of water used in spells, too. Put a jar or bottle of water out in the moonlight on a full moon (or a windowsill where the moon’s light will hit it) to charge the water with the energy of the full moon.

But, even if you can’t afford spring water in glass bottles regularly, and there is no clean outdoor source of running water near you, tap water is okay. Don’t worry too much about this. If you get hung up on using tap water, thinking its not magickal, then guess what? It’s not magickal. If you doubt yourself, your magick won’t work.

One caution I have is don’t drink water you collect from an outdoor source unless you sanitize it first by boiling it. While those sources are not typically contaminated by stuff we add to municipal water supplies like chlorine or the lead in our pipes, they are usually overflowing with microbes and other substances that may not be the best for you to consume.

I also recently started doing a ritual purification each day using spring water in a bowl with essential oils or my Release spell oil, along with water-safe crystals as a way to freshen myself up energetically for the day. You could easily do this in your bathroom or kitchen sink with the drain stopped, fill it with water and ritually cleanse your hands, arms, face, etc.

As An Offering

Don’t forget your ancestors and deities! A simple act such as filling a fresh goblet or cup of cool water each day for your ancestors and deities can go a long way to keeping them happy, and in your life, and honoring them with your attention.

This is another place I like to use spring water and my line of thinking is that if I can afford it, I can show them they matter to me by purchasing something higher quality, similar to the concept of burning ancestor money. I don’t view it as throwing money away.

Yes, I could use tap water and it wouldn’t cost me anything, but if I’m in a position to purchase spring water, then I should because my ancestors deserve it. If they make my life abundant, I should share some of that abundance and a $2 bottle of spring water each week is one small token of that appreciation. Plus, one of my grandmas is just petty enough to ignore me if she feels like I’m not making the effort lol

Now, please do not interpret that as saying if you don’t use some foo foo spring water, you don’t love your ancestors. Your ancestors know what you can afford and what your situation is. If it is truly a stretch for you, they are not going to get mad about tap water. I have friends who offer tap water and easy mac. Its not gonna be the end of the world.

However, there is no shame in saying to your ancestors, “I really want to be able to offer you more expensive offerings. Can you help me find ways to bring more money into my life, so that I can honor you by sharing it with you?” This works, really. Try it sometime.

But, I think what I’m trying to say about this is if you make 6 figures and your life is materially wealthy and your ancestors get tap water but they know you could be giving them better offerings, maybe don’t skimp. Its my experience that the more thought I put into what I offer them, the more they reciprocate with blessings in my life and my home.

On the subject of offerings, also consider putting a few drops of your favorite (or your deity’s favorite) essential oil into a water offering to add some beautiful or personalized aroma to the altar space.

So, hopefully you can take away some ways to work with the water element daily or in ritual/spell work!

book review: Spiritual Protection by Sophie Reicher

Spiritual Protection by Sophie Reicher is not a new book (it was published originally in 2010), but I felt like it deserved a review because it really dives into a topic that many modern authors do not devote much time to, just as the author of this book points out.

I tried extremely hard to find an official author website or social media for the author and couldn’t locate anything, but if anyone reading happens to know if she has an official page or something somewhere, I would love to link to it to further give her credit.

So, I’ll start by saying that you can probably find thousands of articles and posts online, let alone chapters or short passages in books, that discuss the concepts covered in this book, which are primarily:

  • types of gifts and how they can leave us too open (psychic, empath, telekinetic, medium, etc)
  • centering
  • grounding
  • shielding
  • warding
  • working with energy
  • protection from magickal or psychic attack
  • plus so much more

But, you will be hard-pressed to find all of those in one neat little package, as they are in this book.

Now, before you’re like, ‘Oh, boring, I thought this was going to be about the good fancy shit,’ listen, witch, hear me out. If you have that attitude about those foundational basics, you’re probably a really chaotic and unpleasant energy to be around for energy sensitive folks.

The subject of creating effective protection for not just yourself, but your home and any space you work in, whether you are an energy worker, a tarot reader, a psychic, or any other magickal practitioner or spiritualism enthusiast cannot be understated.

I don’t care if you think you’re just reading cards or swinging a pendulum. You are actually opening yourself up to energies that are usually mostly beneficent, but can be occasionally, harmful, or at least irritating or draining, if not outright malevolent, depending on the type of person you are, and your own energy being projected and what it attracts.

You can also bring home sticky energies from being out in public and around other people, and it can be difficult to keep yourself and your home or other sacred space clean and clear of those.

Not to mention if you are a spiritual or magickal practitioner of any kind, its almost like you’re sending out a beacon to let other beings, not all of which are human, know you’re there. Which can be both good and bad.

This is really elementary but suuuuuuper necessary stuff for anyone working with energy or magick, so, again, check it out if you notice that you go through spells of feeling drained, fatigued, unfocused, or even dragged down. It could be just physical, but could also be that you’re accumulating ‘metaphysical goo,’ so to speak by all the contact you’re making with energies outside your own (including other people).

Which brings me to my next really really important take away here.

If you are an empath, I highly recommend you get this book now and even if you don’t read past the first 4 chapters, it will probably radically change your life.

As an empath who didn’t really understand what I was until sometime into my late 20s, but even then, I think I didn’t actually grasp the full spiritual or energetic implications of being an empath, I took away so much from reading this, despite having it mostly what I thought was ‘under control’ for some years now.

I found myself underlining or nodding along with a LOT of the first part of the book, but also realizing that I have been doing some of the recommended things (just not all of them, and not consistently enough) without realizing. I just intuitively figured some of it out.

How I wish I could hand this book to my 15 year old self and warn her to avoid certain people! lol

I also want to add here that this was the first book I’ve read from a magickal perspective that made me understand that my gift of empathy (because that is what it is, even if you don’t think so) is not the same as others’ gifts of natural psychic inclination, and that. is. okay.

Sometimes in the magickal or witchcraft community, we see people we look up to and they have these great well-developed skills such as psychic abilities, for instance, or the ability to easily see and communicate with spirits and we think that if we can’t also do those things, we can’t be a good or powerful practitioner.

Well, let me reassure you that not everyone needs to have those skills, and its quite possible that you could have them latent and just need to coax them out, but the point is, you undoubtedly have other skills that they don’t have, and if you recognize them and work to develop them, you’ll also see that you are equally as skilled and powerful in your own right.

This book is chock full of recipes for cleansing rituals, witch jars, protective charms/talismans, creating wards on things or places, energetically protecting yourself and your home, and on and on.

I’ve written before on the importance and physically and energetically cleaning your home, and there’s plenty more detail in this book for ways to manage, block, or improve energy in your living space.

I think we tend to be impatient to get to the spells and fancy rituals in magickal or spiritual practice sometimes, but we forget that the work that goes into cleansing/purifying, protecting, and preparing (centering/grounding) probably has a lot more to do with our magick working than the actual spell workings.

I don’t care how mad that makes someone to hear it, but if you’re not centering and grounding before workings, you’re likely getting little to no results from your practice, and its highly likely you could be attracting the wrong energies.

Another thing that jumped out at me while reading this book (which, incidentally I sat down and read cover to cover in the course of a day, it was that good), was how I had intuitively been balancing my elements without realizing it.

This book focuses in some ways on using elemental associations or energies in some of the centering, grounding, and shielding, and I came to notice I had been intuitively picking up on this, again, without realizing it.

I have a LOT of water, a good deal of fire and air, and almost no earth (basically just Chiron in Taurus, that’s literally it) in my chart. Which makes for a flighty, unfocused, yet passionately deep-feeling life of constantly being excited about the next amazing idea I just had, daydreaming all day, and pouring my emotions into everything I do. I sometimes need to take a lot naps to handle this.

Its a seriously great mix, but I can see how it leaves me open to imbalance in various ways, one of which is not being able to center and ground as easily OR more aptly put, needing to center and ground myself more frequently, but also more consistently before any spiritual or magick working.

I actually started carrying a green opal palm stone with me in my pocket or keeping it at my desk because it just makes me feel so much more balanced. Its vibes are really soothing and calming, and I feel like it takes the edge off the turbulence of my otherwise heavily elemental mix.

If you look at your chart and notice you’re seriously heavy on some elements but almost completely lacking in one or more others, consider how you can incorporate that missing element into your daily activity to balance yourself out and see if it doesn’t help. I will write a more in depth article on this later this week with actual suggestions.

One other thing I discovered while reading this, and not because its something in the book but because of the way the exercises are described, is that I visualize with my eyes open more easily than with them closed.

In fact, I had lately been really feeling down on myself and getting discouraged that in meditation and visualization sessions I had a hard time visualizing things when closing my eyes. However, when I read a passage in a book, I can visualize extremely easily as I’m reading exactly what I’m doing and with great effect.

I don’t know why this is, and even though its not specifically covered in the subject matter of the book, I want to throw it out there in case there are others in the same boat like me, and I suspect this may have at least a little bit to do with being an empath and having strengths centered around ‘feeling’ rather than ‘seeing’ things.

I think the nature of empathic communication described in the book turned that light bulb on for me in a stark moment of realization of what I had been intuitively doing all this time, thinking it was wrong because other books said ‘this is the only way to do this thing.’

Anyway, I hope you go check out this book and put into regular practice the basics, if you’re not doing them.

One of the solid points made by Reicher is that too many practitioners are drawn to magick and various spiritual practices without doing the foundation work needed to be prepared to handle things that both turn out how we want and don’t turn out how we want.

The old saying ‘don’t summon anything you can’t banish’ goes along well here, but, also, ‘don’t play with energies you can’t control’ would be one I would personally add to this.

Whether its because you’re uncontrolled yourself and attracting a chaotic and draining energetic force, or whether you’re simply just advertising a little too loudly how powerful you are without taking the proper precautions to protect yourself when someone or something comes to investigate you, the concepts in this book should be required reading for all.

a meditation exercise for a chaotic mind

I will not claim to be an expert on meditation, however, I am someone that struggled mightily, and sometimes still do, to achieve that truly still mind when I first started doing a regular meditation practice.

I firmly believe, and I’m not alone, that any good witch or magickal practitioner, or just anyone who wants to be able to affect their life and world in a positive way, needs to be at least intermediately adept at meditation.

It is the deeper states of meditation that allow us to connect with our higher self, the spiritual plane, the astral plane, or other states of being outside just the physical.

But, even if none of those are your goal and you simply want to be able to calm down, disconnect from a stressful world, change yourself inside and out, and bring abundance to your life, you need to nail meditation.

Prepare for Meditation

I won’t spend a lot of time on this, as I don’t think this part is important for everyone. But, some of us need to lock the door to our bedroom, put on headphones, or cue up our favorite guided meditation (more on this in a minute).

Maybe you also need to find a more comfortable position to sit or lay in. Maybe you need to silence all devices or take off your smart watch so it doesn’t keep buzzing the whole time.

You might also prefer to listen to background noise, music, or binaural beats.

Or maybe you choose to meditate on the spot spontaneously and preparation is a distraction in itself.

Whatever you need to do to create a distraction-free setting for the time you plan to meditate is your preparation.

How Long to Meditate For?

When you’re newer to this, you might literally just set a goal for 1 minute of unbroken focus meditating. I had to start there at one point because an exposure to extremely toxic black mold left my brain in pieces for a while, which caused me to essentially lose most of my conscious control of focus.

You’ll read accounts from very adept or skilled magickal practitioners that use longer meditation to precede things like ascension to other planes. Generally, you should be able to hold a meditation focus for around 30 minutes minimum if you are attempting this.

Same for astral projection. Being able to deeply meditate for longer periods of time is required to dissociate the astral body from the physical.

But, don’t feel pressured. Those achievements can come in time and the only really important thing to start with is being able to get through that first minute. Once you can consistently achieve one whole minute of meditation, without your mind wandering, move on to 2 minutes, then 3, and so on.

This process can take days, weeks, or months, and there is nothing wrong with you if you don’t get it right away. We all have different strengths and weaknesses.

A tip I can provide here is that if you struggle to meditate on ‘nothing,’ try a guided meditation recording first.

Breathing is the Key to Meditation

This was a game changer for me. Of all the techniques I tried to get myself into longer meditations, breath work was the most effective and accessible.

Breath work has been used in all manner of spiritual, martial arts, and physical training practices throughout human history, and for good reason.

Conscious focus and control of the breath and its connection to the mind, the body, but also the external energy surrounding us, heightens our awareness of ourselves, our spirits, and our connection to that source.

When breathing in, you can feel and visualize the breath filling and expanding tissues, flowing through the body and its energetic pathways.

It also gives you a focal point for your mind, so that it is less likely to stray.

I’ve put together an exercise that helped me immensely, as it combines the physical act of breath work, with the mental exercise of counting and focus. This can be done anywhere and for any length of time.

The Basic Exercise

Once you are prepared and comfortable, decide how long you plan to meditate for and set a timer on a device not attached to your body. Place it near you, but not touching you, especially if it is a smart phone, or anything that will disrupt your focus with notifications.

The premise of this exercise is very simple, and can be expanded infinitely theoretically.

In one cycle of breathing, you have the following actions:

  • the drawing in of breath
  • the pause of held breath
  • the pushing out of breath
  • the pause before the next breath

You’re going to start with short breaths, then gradually lengthen the breath cycles by lengthening the ‘in’ and ‘out’ actions, and then also by lengthening the ‘pauses’ between them.

Draw in and out 10 breaths, each one being a 1:1:1:1 count for in, pause, out, pause. These will be shorter breaths than normal.

All you are focusing on is the count length of the breath. You might focus on the sensation of it pulling through your nostrils, or of it filling or deflating your lungs. Whatever you choose to focus on physically is associated with only the breath, and you’re counting the rhythm in your mind.

Once you reach the tenth breath cycle, start over at ‘1’ again, but this time, you will lengthen each ‘in’ and ‘out’ action to 2 counts, keeping the pauses in between the same. So it will be a 2:1:2:1 count for in, pause, out, pause.

You will repeat this sequence, each time adding one additional count to the drawing in and pushing out of breath until you reach the 10th cycle through.

The 10th cycle through this, you will start each breath cycle drawing in for 10 counts, pausing for one, releasing for 10 counts, and pausing for one before the next breath. The count will be 10:1:10:1.

Now, at this point, its important to reassure you that if you are actually only starting with 1 minute total meditative time, you might not even complete the 1st cycle, or maybe you get through that 1:1:1:1, but only half of the 2:1:2:1. That’s fine. When your timer goes off, bring your focus back to the real world and you can always pick back up later. Don’t force longer meditations if you’re not there yet.

Expanding the Exercise

Okay, so let’s say you get to where you can regularly do the 10:1:10:1 and it only takes you like 10 min or less. I don’t know how long it will really take you, I’m just making up an arbitrary number. But, for the sake of the argument, its less time than what you want to spend meditating, as you’re growing your skill and gradually increasing your time spent in meditative focus.

Now, you can easily begin lengthening of the pauses after each breath. This allows you to remain in that focused exercise and further enhances your breath work.

After completing your 10th cycle of 10:1:10:1, you’ll start back over with a 10 count in and out, but now the pauses will be 2 counts instead of 1. This will look like 10:2:10:2. You’ll continue with the 10s adding one additional count to the pauses until you reach 10:10:10:10.

An alternative to this would be to return to 1:1:1:1 and begin to add equal length to all actions, rather than only it the ‘in’ and ‘out’ actions. So that would look like 1:1:1:1, then 2:2:2:2, then 3:3:3:3, and so on until you reach 10:10:10:10.

Either one of these is acceptable.

And, at any point if you reach your 10:10:10:10, and still feel focused and want to continue in meditation, you can begin removing a count away from either the ins/outs or the pauses, or all of them by one count less each cycle, going backwards to 1.

So that might look like 10:10:10:10, 10:9:10:9, 10:8:10:8, and so on; or, it could look like 10:10:10:10, 9:9:9:9, 8:8:8:8, and so on.

Play around with which patterns produce the best results for you.

I find its best to end the meditation by letting your breath naturally return to a more normal cadence before returning to full consciousness. This might be somewhere around a 3:2:3:2, or 2:2:2:2, give or take.

I also recommend having a meditation journal or recording this in your own book of shadows with the length of time you meditated, what number sequence you started with and which one you ended. Also note any preparatory work you did beforehand, your positional posture, time of day, tools/focus objects used, and so on.

symbolism of the raven

Long considered a magickal symbol or omen or portent, the raven has captivated humans since before we could even paint images of it on cave walls.

Ravens have been symbols of messages, growth, and guidance to humans across various cultures. Depending on where in the world the raven was seen, it may be a bad omen, a wise sage, or a neutral messenger.

In general, birds are viewed by most cultures as messengers of some sort, as they are able to traverse long distances, arrive from seemingly distant lands, and are seemingly not subject to the same laws of gravity and movement as humans. They are usually considered prophetic, even if they are seen to only bring bad prophecies in some cultures.

Some people viewed them as sneaky, or opportunists, and others viewed them simply as artfully witty birds, finding and taking what they wanted. Yet others viewed them as tricksters, ready to steal your shiny beads and laundry hung on the line to dry.

And, yet other cultures compared or attributed them to daemons, all-knowing spirits with powers beyond human comprehension, and capable of imparting immense wisdom, if only you could see past your own prejudices and contrived myths.

It also doesn’t help the image or reputation of these birds that the plural or name for a group of crows is a ‘murder of crows’ and, this I didn’t know, the name for a group of ravens is an ‘unkindness of ravens.’

These terms may simply stem from the fact that both of these types of birds are known to eat carrion (dead or rotting corpses of previously living humans/animals), which is also perhaps why they became associated with bad omens in many parts of the world.

Also, ravens were associated with the dead and the afterlife by many cultures, as they were thought to either be mediators between this world and the world of the dead, or as actual spirits of the dead whose souls were damned (based on Christian iconography in Europe, mostly).

Across all cultures, however, there does definitely seem to be an association with ravens/crows and magick and witches. Perhaps we see them as kindred spirits, misunderstood and wrongly assumed to be ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ simply because they live for themselves, take what they want from the world, and are highly intelligent.

Ravens and crows are also sometimes considered shape-shifter spirits, or animals that witches or wizards can shape-shift into.

I also want to note here that in many places, no distinction appears to be made between crows and ravens, as some cultures viewed them as similar enough to have the same qualities or symbolism, or, in historical texts, records, or archeological finds, it is not possible to distinguish whether the bird depicted is a crow or a raven.

Of the two birds, crows are physically smaller and more sociable, living or traveling in larger groups, and ravens are more likely to be seen alone or traveling in pairs.

Ravens in North American Cultures and Beliefs

The Northwest Pacific Coast Indians (including, but probably not limited to Tsimishians, Haidas, Heiltsuks, Tlingits, Kwakwaka’wakw, Coast Salish, Koyukons, and the Inuit) referred to a particular raven as “Real Chief,” “The Great Inventor,” and “the One Whose Voice is to be Obeyed.”

In this setting, the raven was very much viewed as a wise spirit, a perceptive being, bringing tidings, predictions, or other advice deemed important to the people of the area.

Ravens in many of those cultural groups also saw the raven as the creator spirit, with myths centering around the raven bringing the world into existence, and bringing light into the darkness, as the raven, despite its dark plumage, is typically associated with the sun, or solar energy.

Another raven myth of NWPC Indian peoples involves the raven finding a clamshell, or many clamshells, and opening them, to find the first human men trapped inside. Upon letting them out, he became bored with them, and went in search of their female counterparts. He found them trapped inside a chiton (another type of mollusk).

After he brought the two sexes together, he derived great entertainment watching them mix and interact (I’m not so silently laughing at this because, for real, if you were some other species watching human men and women interact, you’d be pretty fucking entertained too).

Ravens in Asian Cultures and Beliefs

The most well-known legend involving a crow or raven in cultures of East and Southeast Asia (areas including China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan) is by far the three-legged crow or raven.

The earliest known depictions or written instances of this occur in China, and are usually of the Jīnwū, or Golden Crow. It is actually depicted as a red crow, rather than black, or, as the name implies, gold.

This crow is associated with the sun, and even considered a type of solar energy, or solar deity in some areas.

In Japan, the raven named Yatagarasu is a very large black bird, also referred to as a crow-god or raven-god, symbolizing important news from god or the gods, intervening in human affairs. It is also thought to be a symbol of rebirth, perhaps due to its aforementioned affinity for eating animal remains, which is associated with rebirthing the spirit of those dead.

In Korea, a similar three-legged black bird is called Samjogo, a crow that lives in the sun and was all powerful.

Ravens in Afro-Caribean Cultures and Beliefs

Reliable or documented information from African and Caribbean cultures and beliefs about ravens and crows is hard to find, so if you are reading this and happen to know more about these geographic areas and their connections, myths, stories, and beliefs about ravens/crows, please let me know! I spent a LONG time combing through sources on the internet and didn’t come up with much other than northern African cultures like the Egyptians, and even there, I couldn’t find much.

Ravens and crows definitely do exist on the African continent and on the Caribbean islands, though.

Most African cultures appear to have considered ravens as guides, or spiritual guides. They carry wisdom and are to be consulted, or may appear to us as guides, in times of trouble.

Ravens in Celtic and European Cultures and Beliefs

Perhaps one of the best known examples of ravens in religio-cultural history in northern Europe are the two ravens of Odin, Hugin and Munin (which translate to “Thought” and “Memory”). They are said to fly through the nine realms daily and bring news back to Odin.

Another famed Norseman, although not a god, whose tale has been even more popularized by the History Channel series ‘Vikings, was Ragnar Lothbrok, whose banner called Reafan depicted a raven.

The crow is associated with the Greek god Apollo, and is his divinatory animal, bringing reports of what will come. It is also said that crows were originally white, but when one brought bad tidings to Apollo, angered, he turned the bird’s feathers black.

Ravens commonly seen in Celtic depictions include those associated with the goddesses Macha, Badb, and Anu (the triple goddess comprising the Morrigan). Here, they are omens, but also representations of war and battle, as well as death.

Roman priests would often make predictions for the future based on the flight patterns or shapes of flocks of crows or ravens.

Ravens, even to this day, are considered the guards of the Tower of London, and it is said that if the ravens ever leave, the tower will fall.

A well-known legend involving the martyr Saint Vincent says that after he was executed, ravens protected his body from other wild animals devouring it. They then took up their posts protecting his body when it was laid to rest under a shrine in Portugal. That shrine was eventually named Kanīsah al-Ghurāb, or “Church of the Raven.” Even after St Vincent’s body was exhumed in the 12th century, it was still followed and protected by ravens.

One other interesting theory or legend is that the mythical King Arthur didn’t really die, but was transformed into a raven.

Ravens in Middle Eastern or South Asian Cultures and Beliefs

The Q’uran actually mentions a raven as the bird that teaches Cain how to bury his brother Able in The Repast 5:31. He watched a raven digging a hole in the ground in which to bury its dead mate or companion (also a raven), and then he did the same for his brother.

In the Hebrew Bible, ravens are the first birds mentioned, as well as the first animal to leave the Ark when Noah sends one out to test if the great flood waters have receded enough to disembark back to land. The raven was said not to have returned, which symbolized there was land somewhere nearby.

However, some interpretations say that the raven did not return because it was selfish, and then God turned its feathers black, symbolizing Satan. The Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, however, theorized that the raven did not return because it had many corpses of the drowned on which to feed after the flood.

In the New Testament Book of Luke, Jesus called the ravens God’s provision for man.

In Hinduism, crows are associated with ancestors and there is also a goddess named Shani who rides a crow or raven.

a bedtime ritual for empowering sleep

Earlier this week, I posted a morning ritual for self love, and hopefully it helped get the juices flowing about how to optimize your morning routine to fill your day with empowerment and self love.

In order to make it all come full circle, though, wouldn’t it also be great to have a bedtime ritual that helps you shed any negative influences or energy from the day, dump frustrations, release what’s weighing on your mind, and set you up for empowering sleep so that you’re ready to roll the next day?

Well, let’s approach this process from a similar perspective as creating a morning ritual.

Sleep Hygiene

First and foremost, as a clinician, discussing sleep hygiene with patients was one of the most difficult things to get people to change, even though the payoff for it is massive.

All these people who have trouble sleeping are usually doing at least some things that are directly impairing their quality and duration of sleep. I won’t get into a long medical discussion here, because its been written about ad nauseam elsewhere, but you can google these and read more if you want.

Here’s my basic list of barebones stuff you absolutely need to pay attention to with a nighttime routine:

  • Put all devices down at least 60 min before you want to be asleep. This isn’t just because of the blue light, its also because of the stimulatory nature of consuming digital content and all the ways it stresses us out, makes us feel bad about ourselves, or is full of anxiety-causing subjects, triggers, and noise. This includes phones, watches, tablets, computers, and TV. If you use a bluelight-canceling reader that is literally only a reader, then that might be okay, but stay away from reading on other digital devices, as its way too easy to ‘I’ll just check Facebook before I turn the lights out’ and then 45 min later you’re still there.
  • Do something that symbolizes a break between your day and your night. This could be a simple stretching routine, reading an actual book, or breathing/meditating. Whatever you prefer. But it serves as a signal to your brain that from here on out, its all about sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom clean. I feel like some people are going to be like ‘what? People don’t clean their rooms?’ but yeah, this is all about the energy of your bedroom. Clutter, dust, and disarray invite negative energy to hang out. Period.
  • Keep your bedroom cool. If you already sleep in a cool/cold bedroom, you know exactly what I mean and why this is a game changer. If you don’t yet, try setting your thermostat down to like ~64-66F (or even lower if you can tolerate it) for a couple nights and just see how much difference it makes. Studies do show people who sleep in colder rooms sleep deeper.
  • Sleep in a dark room. Turn digital clock faces away, put phone screens pointing downward, cover up any other little LED devices, and maybe even consider blackout curtains if you have bright lights coming in from the outside, or if your windows let in a lot of ambient light.
  • Clean yourself. I’ve always been a nighttime shower-er and mostly because it physically and symbolically washes off the day, but even if you are a morning shower-er and nothing will make you change that, you can still perform a form of self-cleaning like washing in the sink or a basin your hands and feet, arms, neck, face, whatever and rubbing something purifying on your skin, like a favorite essential oil to signify you’re clean. Visualize rinsing away stress, negative thoughts, worries, or other things bugging you.

Some of the things listed might be already intuitive to you, but some may not. If you’re not doing all or most of those things and you’re having trouble sleeping, start with that list first, because no amount of other ritual will replace the fundamentals of preparing the body and mind for deep, restorative sleep.

Creating a Personal Empowering Bedtime Ritual

Let’s say you’re doing all or most of those things, though, and now you need to really turn bedtime and sleeping into something that works for you and gets you closer to your goals.

As I mentioned before, we want bedtime rituals to do these things, at a minimum:

  • shed any negative influences or energy from the day
  • dump frustrations
  • release what’s weighing on your mind
  • set you up for empowering sleep so that you’re ready to roll

Here are some things to consider adding, and, just like the morning ritual creation, pay attention to which of these, if any, jump out and speak to you as something you find appealing or appropriate for your situation:

Cleansing

This could be just showering or bathing, especially with herbs, essential oils, or soaps made for magickal or therapeutic purposes. It could also be symbolic like burning herbs or incense to cleanse your space before bed. You could also cleanse the energy of your bed or bedroom by spraying something like Florida water or an essential oil blend to uplift the energy and instill a clean energetic feeling to the area.

Releasing

This includes letting go of thoughts, worries, tension, or other things that are going to occupy your mind as you fall asleep or even during sleep in the form of bad dreams, or waking in the middle of the night because you are anxious about something.

It might also be thinking through who or what you got upset or frustrated with during the day and writing it out, practicing forgiveness, or creating a plan for how you want to approach it or deal with it tomorrow. Whatever it is you choose is something that helps you relieve your mind of this particular thing so that it doesn’t feel obligated to chew on it all night.

Releasing could also be stretching, yoga, massage, or even orgasms, whether with a partner or yourself; those can all be forms of letting go of energy or tension you don’t want to keep holding onto.

Calming

Whereas our magickal morning ritual was all about finding and maintaining the right energy and self love to start the day, we don’t really want to build energy up right before we need to sleep. We can, however, redistribute energy that’s maybe too intense or too plentiful in order to calm our mind and body.

Things that calm and promote balance might include the aforementioned stretching, as long as its not overly strenuous or painful, aromatherapy with essential oils, drinking a non-caffeinated hot beverage (I’m a huge fan of tea), reading something non-digital, journaling/writing, spending time with a beloved pet(s), cuddling a partner, meditating, and so on.

There are probably dozens more things you could add to this list that are more specific to your life and situation, so think about what you typically do to calm down or wind down when you’re in need of it.

Empowering Sleep

Now we get to the actual part about making sleep work for us.

What are your goals right now? Are there any projects or things you’re working on that you want to ensure are going to work out or be successful? Are you trying to make changes in your life or attitude? Are you trying to attract people or things to you?

Write those things down on a slip of paper.

Also write down anything else like “I will sleep soundly without waking,” or other similar action statements about specifically impacting your sleep quality/duration. Or, perhaps, that’s all you are really focused on here, and don’t really have any outside goals you want to wrap into this.

You can take those slips of paper and meditate on them each night before heading to sleep, breathing deeply, envisioning the successful outcome you want, then tuck those slips of paper under or into your pillow before you fall asleep.

You can also draw those statements out into sigils you meditate on.

You could write out positive affirmations that empower you, such as ‘I speak my truth, unafraid of standing up for myself.‘ Or maybe draw symbols, scenes, or sigils of those affirmation statements. State them out loud a few times, keep them by your bed, and/or place them under your pillow while you sleep.

The empowering piece here is the stuff we need to do to change our mindset from whatever we experienced during our day to what we want our next day to ideally be.

As we practice this act of envisioning and setting our expectations and intentions, we can create a conscious mind space of receptive, open, and abundant thinking.

Whatever elements of this ritual you ultimately settle on, its important that you honor the ‘ritual’ part of that. Which means, you do it consistently with the intent of affecting yourself and/or your life,

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