Winter break is officially over, and I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve actually dreaded going back to school. Last semester was so chaotic and by the end of it I was so completely exhausted from constantly trying to keep my head above the surface. This semester is going to be even more intense and my anxiety is already high with the mass amount of readings, papers, and projects on hanging over my head like a sword. Throughout my academic career, and especially with the increasing workload of graduate school, I’ve found that all too often my Craft gets set on the back-burner. This is something that I really hate, yet most the time it feels unavoidable. After spending all day in class, researching in the library, or writing papers, it’s hard to find the energy to do things like celebrate the full moon or journey into the Otherworld. When this begins to happen, I start to feel guilty and my head tends to fill with obtrusive thoughts about what my Witchcraft practice should look like.
I think this is a common experience for many Witches, getting caught up in the idea that to be successfully practicing our Craft we must look and behave a certain way. Typically, this amounts to living a constant flux of Witchery that just about no one can actually achieve. Because, at the end of the day, we’re still only human and sometimes life just gets in the way. Whether it’s school, work, family, or other social obligations, many of us live very busy lives and it can become increasingly hard just to find time to breathe let alone fit in a Sabbat ritual. While I do believe that time, dedication, and discipline are important in Witchcraft, I also believe that some of the most powerful and meaningful ways to practice can be simple and practical. Contrary to what guilty minds tell us successful Witchcraft looks like, it is really only based on two things: feeling connected and getting results. And those two things do not inherently require a Witch to spend lots of time, money, or energy. So if you find yourself feeling down because your busy life is getting in the way of your Craft, check out some of my favorite little rituals that have help keep me feeling connected on the daily.
Good Morning Rituals:
Upon waking, greet the day! Say good morning to your deities and spirits just as you would your friends and family. This could be as simple or elaborate as you desire or depending upon how much time/energy you have. One way I like to perform this morning ritual is through the following prayer:
Today I honor the spirits in the north,
I honor the spirits in the east,
I honor the spirits in the south,
I honor the spirits in the west,
Today I honor the spirits of the upper-world, mid-world, and under-world,
I honor the spirits of the land, of my ancestors, and my Familiar,
Today I honor the Witch-Father and the Witch-Mother,
I ask that you walk with me and guide me on my journey today,
I ask that you help me to be the best person and Witch I can be,
So mote it be!
Additionally, if you have time, light a candle (just make sure to blow it out before you leave!) and spend a moment setting your intentions for the day. I like to do some brief breathing exercises where I inhale all the good qualities I want to exude throughout day and exhale all the things I want to be rid of or banish in advance. You could also draw a tarot card or two, with the intention of getting a feel for what’s to come and what to look out in the day ahead.
Mindfulness Rituals Throughout the Day:
One of the easiest and most effective ways of connecting to deity and practicing your Craft throughout the day is by being mindful and putting intentions into mundane acts. Integrating magic into the mundane can make any task not only spiritual but also fun!
- When taking a shower, either in the morning or at night, focus on washing off all the negativity and assorted sludge you have accumulated. Wash it away with soap, watch it disappear down the drain, and emerge feeling refreshed and radiant.
- When cooking, whether it’s making a meal or simple making yourself some coffee/tea, stir in your intentions! Stir clockwise and imagine that whatever you’re making is being imbued with the virtues you desire. I like to fill my coffee with a magical boost of energy, courage, and inspiration to help me throughout my daily grind.
- Cleaning is another wonderful place to insert your intentions. Kill two birds with one stone, wipe away the physical and psychical grime. Beyond setting intentions, try creating your own cleaning mixes and adding specific ingredients. My favorite cleaning spray is made with white vinegar, purified water, lemon juice, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil. All of these are awesome on both a mundane and magical level for cleansing.
- Try to find some time to be outside and connect with nature, even it’s just for a brief moment. Take in some fresh air and notice what is going on in the natural world. This may look very different depending upon if you live in a city or somewhere more rural but there is usually something to be noticed.
After a long day, my energy levels are usually quite low and the only thing on my mind is face-planting into bed. Although it may seem that any type of ritual may be out of the question at this point, I assure you that there are plenty of nighttime rituals that don’t require a whole lot of energy. These small acts are great for both feeding your spirituality and for helping you unwind in preparation for sleep.
- Baths are one of my all-time favorite ways to de-stress after a long day. Turn your bathroom into a temple with candles and incense. Slather on a mud mask and set your intentions on purging your skin of all toxins both physical and psychical. Add salts, herbs, oils, or whatever you want into the warm water. I like to change it up depending upon my mood, goal, or physical state. Right now I’m a bit under the weather so I’ve been using eucalyptus and lavender oil. It’s like the bathtub is a giant cauldron!
- Brew a cup of calming tea and fill it with peaceful energy. Create an herb mixture that is right for you and your intentions. I personally enjoy a mixture of rose petals, lavender, and chamomile.
- Take a moment to sit in your sacred space, or perhaps when you lay down, and reflect on your day. If you keep a journal, this is a good time to take it out and write down some of your thoughts. What were some of the highlights, good or bad? Did you accomplish your goals for the day? What are some things that you are grateful for? If you pulled a tarot card for the day, return to it now and see how it aligns with the events that occurred.
- Finally, say goodnight to your deities and spirits. Thank them for all that they’ve done for you throughout the day.
As with most other Witches, Sabbats and Esbats are occasions when I really enjoy having longer, more vigorous ritual. However, sometimes life gets in the way of these celebrations and there just isn’t a whole lot of time to be had. If that’s the case, try one of the following:
- Consider some of the goals you’d like to manifest and carve those intentions into a candle. Burn this candle throughout the current moon cycle or until the next Sabbat. Every time you light the candle, state some words of intent and visualize how your desires will manifest.
- Leave offerings on your altar, on a windowsill, or outside somewhere as a sign of gratitude towards your deities or spirits.
- Spend some time, however much you can spare, and reflect upon the changing season. What does this time mean for you? What changes are happening in the land? If you keep a journal, write about your thoughts. Otherwise just sit in silent meditation and connect with the energies you’re sensing in the land.
These are just some of the many possibilities for simple rituals you can perform to stay connected during busy times. I truly believe that just about anything can become a magical ritual if the right intent and focus are utilized. So, if you feel like your practice is lacking due to your busy life, my best advice is to use your imagination. Find simple ways to connect that have meaning to you and fit into the context of your daily life. Finally, don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t always get around to these practices. Sometimes even the smallest ritual is just too much, the important thing is to take care of yourself. No matter the size or complexity of a ritual, if you’re feeling too stressed, sick, depressed, exhausted, etc., it’s likely that it won’t be very beneficial or effective.