When I initially planned this post, it was simply from the perspective of creating rituals of any level of simplicity or complexity to begin one’s day with an attitude of self love and empowerment.
And, that will be what this is about.
However, after a comment from @clairalchemy on Twitter encouraging me to expand on a comment I made about creating sacred devotional time with my spirit, this sort of morphed into something much larger, which deserves to be more fully developed and structured, perhaps even some kind of template to help others implement this approach and mindset into their lives in an expanded system.
So, be on the lookout for that from me in the coming months, but for now, let’s talk about rituals and self love.
Rituals in Magickal Practice
The term ‘ritual’ may engender visions of arcane and complex undertakings, dark robes, ceremonial sacrifices, and chants in languages you don’t understand.
Or, it might make you think of practicing something many times over in order to perfect it or learn it better.
Or, maybe its a gathering with fellow magick practitioners or pagans wherein you celebrate an important lunar or solar date.
None of these are necessarily wrong, but I want you to step back away from preconceived definitions and ask yourself what rituals you have already created in your day. That is, what things do you do most days, or almost always the same way, or in symbolic honor of something or someone?
Most peoples’ days are not that extremely different and variable, as humans are creatures of habit in many ways. Even the most spontaneous of us still get dressed the same way each day, shower and brush our teeth in a certain order, or eat the same 10-15 foods fairly consistently.
So, its likely you have some rituals already established. Some of them serve you to get to work on time looking professional, others ensure that you complete work effectively, and still others may assist you in caring for family members such as prepping dinner each night or tucking kids into bed.
Rituals in magickal practice are not extremely different in that they follow a certain structure, even if you do not follow a more defined path such as Garderian Wicca or Voudon, its likely that there are certain steps or actions you take before, during, and after all of your rituals, regardless of the purpose or workings contained therein.
For some people, rituals and spells are completely separate undertakings. For others, they intertwine as needed. Wherever you fall in that spectrum, ritual is something that has repeatable elements and builds behaviors that yield change in our lives or our world in some way, either through physical/psychological/spiritual action, or symbolic actions.
Examples of how ritual may impact us include:
- establishing a deeper connection to external spirits, divinity, source, or ancestors/guides
- building a community and fellowship with peers when done in social groups
- sending forth energy in the form of requests, spells, prayers, or workings to affect ourselves and our environment
- creating subconscious or spiritual connections to actions, elements, ideas, and more in order to grow or change our spiritual or even physical self
- learning to be more present and focused
There are plenty more ways that ritual practice may affect you, but most importantly, it is time dedicated to a person(s), spirit(s), deity/ies, concept, project, or other pursuit that is a priority to you.
The bottom line I want you to take away is that ritual time is time focused on a person, task, idea, or element, not on distractions that have nothing to do with it. It is devotion of time, action, and thought and being present in the moment.
So, if you consider yourself a priority (and I hope that you do), are you incorporating rituals for yourself?
Self Love and Acceptance Actions Ritualized
For some of us, its not simply enough to think we’re great, the power of a regularly implemented ritual can create magickal ripples of energy flowing from within you to affect your environment, the people around you, and, yes, even the rest of the world.
There are many ways you can practice self love. They don’t all incorporate bubble baths and pedicures. Sometimes the things you may need to do to love yourself are organizing your monthly bills or grocery shopping for fruits and veggies so you can snack on those instead of empty calories like chips.
And yet, still other examples of self love include taking care of your physical body with movement. Do you have an exercise ritual? What about getting outside daily to breathe fresh air? There are plenty of ways you can ritualize this.
Maybe ritualized self love for you is affirmations in the mirror before you get ready for the day. Instead of focusing on what you perceive are your flaws, perhaps you can create statements of self love to repeat out loud before you do your make up and hair?
Embrace the things about yourself you find beautiful, alluring, sensual, special, or otherwise remarkable or unique. Remind yourself about those first thing every day.
Ritualized self love may be a meditation (guided or not) in which you breathe deeply in a quiet space or outdoors, imagining yourself embracing and accepting what you have and what you want, pursuing your goals, and acquiring your desired outcome. Consider it a visualization pep talk.
Or, maybe its writing down your thoughts before getting ready for the day. Write down your fears, worries, regrets, irritations, and any other feelings typically perceived as ‘negative.’ It’s important to acknowledge these exist, and not just ignore them and pretend like they’re not there.
Then, write down all the positive attributes you feel like you have. All of them, no matter how small you think they are. They’re all important. Look at your list. Isn’t it awesome? Aren’t you awesome? Now you’ve taken away the power of your fears and worries, and you’ve established your self worth and empowered yourself to start the day with a mindset focused on bringing out those strengths.
You may also ritualize letting go of past hurts or experiences that hold you back. This could be in the form of journaling, reading tarot or oracle cards, creating art to tell your story, or meditating, as just a few suggestions.
Creating Your Own Magickal Morning Ritual for Self Love
I can’t and won’t tell you what ritual to create, as I’m not you, and I don’t know what will work with your life. Only you can decide how much or little of this you need, and in what form it will occur.
But, at this point, after reading through the above suggestions or ideas, did anything jump out at you as appealing?
If nothing was appealing, its possible that your self love ritual needs to include more specific things, besides just ‘movement,’ ‘nourishment,’ ‘spiritual work,’ and so on.
Think about how you feel at the end of a day. What are the things you think to yourself ‘I wish I had time for that‘ or ‘I wish I could change this about myself’?
That is the first thing to start with. Whatever you want to do more of, or want to approach differently, should be a ringing bell that perhaps it would benefit from some ritualized self love.
An example of this would be ‘I wish I had more time to read for enjoyment.’
So, then part of your morning ritual might involve waking up 10-15 min earlier and grabbing a book from your nightstand and reading for a bit before doing anything else. Start the day with that little bit of time that’s devoted to just you, and I promise your day will flow much smoother and you’ll begin to see your self worth show up in ways you had not expected.
Or, ‘I wish I could change my body.’ I don’t want to get into the realm of bodyshaming, but coming from a background in nutrition and fitness, having worked with hundreds of women of all ages, this is so ubiquitous these days and believe me, every single one of us can name off numerous things we want to change about our bodies if we could. No matter how body positive we are publicly, we’re still human inside.
This propensity to be unhappy with our bodies has to be acknowledged, instead of continuing to sweep it under the rug and pretend like we’re not all at least a little bit insecure about our bodies, no matter what they look like.
And saying that we should all want to keep them just as they are, no change needed also minimizes the very real emotions and feelings that come along with inhabiting bodies. It makes women feel bad about their bodies, and then makes them feel bad about feeling bad about their bodies, which further works against us.
And, I also refuse to jump on the ‘y0u should love your body no matter what’ train. Y0u should love your body, but if you don’t, that is not a sin, and there is nothing wrong with you. Sometimes loving your body does mean making it healthier, depending on what your definition of healthier is.
Ultimately, you are the one that has to live in your body. Change it or don’t change it based on what you like or want or feel, not anyone else’s opinion of what it should look like, nor whether you should care what it looks like.
Decide if/how you can make changes and what you are willing to give up to make that happen. Some changes are unrealistic and the urge to make the change is based on misogynistic ideals we’ve embraced for women’s bodies and lives, and some are simply impossible based on individual factors.
This type of statement, however, can be transformed into self love in one of two ways:
- Is this something you can actually change? And, if so, can the change be attained without risk for your personal health or safety? If the answer to both of those is yes, then consider creating a self love movement/exercise, skincare, diet, medical, or other bodywork ritual geared toward your goals. Always work with a healthcare provider when appropriate.
- If this is not something that can realistically be changed (wanting to be taller than you are, wanting a body shape you genetically or anatomically cannot attain, etc), then you might focus on removing the urge to want to change your body and hone in on the aspects of your body that you find spectacular. I worked with a client years ago that was ~ 5’2″ and was obsessed with the idea of having ‘long lean muscles’ like I did at the time. But, I’m 5’9″ and genetically that’s how people in my family are built. After discussing this in great depth before working together and during sessions, she came to the realization that she had the perfect build to develop gorgeous curvy muscles, which she ended up loving even more. Sometimes, we realize that what we originally wanted is not really what is best for us or isn’t going to yield what we think it will. The grass is almost never greener.
Beyond those things, perhaps your self love is changing your mindset or creating a path to growth through the arts, self exploration, or other pursuits that flex your spiritual and psychological muscles in various ways.
You might want to add to your ritual chants or mantras that help you internalize concepts you want to be better at.
For instance, lets say you feel like you are short-tempered with your partner and you want to approach discussions or situations with friction more calmly. You could create a sigil, a chant, or any other written or verbal element to symbolize yourself remaining calm and diffusing your temper when put in those situations.
You could also sit with your favorite houseplant or in your garden, touching nature and breathing deeply to fill yourself with gratitude and the beauty of what the earth has to offer us every day. Visualize drawing energy from those sources if you need it, or returning excess energy if you feel you have started the day a little too tightly wound.
All of these things are merely suggestions for you. Ultimately, decide what elements, if any, you want or need in a morning ritual.
Because this is a morning ritual, it should be based around the things that you feel will put you in the best mindset going into the rest of your day.
Whether that be being more assertive, drawing firmer boundaries, showing compassion, improving your health, helping those less fortunate, learning a new skill, or listening to others instead of doing all the talking, decide what you want this ritual to provide you with, and craft its elements accordingly.
As long as you are devoting that time, no matter how long or short, to yourself and practicing an act that you consider to have the intention of self love, it can help to grow and heal you spiritually and emotionally as you are consistent.
Personal empowerment is everything, and being who you want to be is at the root of this ritual self love practice.