I was in sixth grade when I first realized my sister was using magick. I had caught her in our backyard burning something. Within days I found a book in her room called Secrets of Gypsy Love Magick by Raymond Buckland, Llewellyn Publications 1990. This was my introduction to magick. I wouldn’t dive into the practice for a couple more years but this was the moment that I became aware.
When it comes to our magickal practices, my sister and I are as different as water is to fire. She likes to assert her will through domination in the form of love spells and whatnot. Me, I prefer transformative magick. I’d rather focus on fixing myself and working with the energies that are already present as opposed to creating outcomes that are wholly different from what currently exists. In other words she likes to go against the current, tipping the tide in her favor. I am more prone to a controlled burn so the whole forest doesn’t catch fire.
When presented with my current dilemma; I would wager that she and I would approach a magickal solution with completely different points of view.
I Can See No Way, I Can See No Way
I wrote a book. I’ll likely say that a lot over the next couple months. It’s due out in June 2021. Just get used to me inspiring you to give it a read. After writing the manuscript and making all the editor’s revisions, the next step is to send out PDF versions of the book to other authors in order to garner their support. This is basically asking them to endorse my endeavor. This is, by far, the scariest part of the process for me.
I grew up in a world that tried to teach me that I was not enough. My own grandmother was indifferent to me and I don’t even speak to my father. I was homeless while my brother and sister had a townhouse which my mother paid the rent on. Everything about my childhood seemed as though it was meant to break me, only it didn’t. I was a high school dropout who went to college. I was a homeless guy who recently built his own house. And I was an unloved child who found the perfect man to marry and love me; despite how intentionally annoying I can often be.
The world did not teach me I wasn’t good enough. It taught me I have worth. It taught me that if I lean into my circumstances people will see me, they will accept me for all that I am. And even though I know this, I still struggle. This is because I am human, and probably, I’m just like you.
Obviously when I am sending my manuscript out to writers whose words I adore; there are demons that begin to chatter in my ear. They enjoy telling me things like, “No one will like this book.” Or, “You are an impostor.” My demons, they like to remind me that I’m not good enough. I know better than to listen but it’s hard not to hear them.
I’ve learned that my demons are liars but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe them, sometimes. It is at these times when I feel lost.
And All of the Ghouls Come Out to Play
I sent my manuscript out to amazing Witches who I don’t actually know. Only one of these well-known Witches has had real-life-meaningful interactions with me. By that I mean phone calls, video chats, and an in the flesh meeting. I only sent out about 15 emails with my manuscript attached, and this one Witch, who I truly sort of know, wrote back the next day. It was an email response saying, “I will not endorse you, but congratulations.”
My heart broke. Whose heart wouldn’t? I don’t know the reasons behind their response. I’m sure there are plenty of them that one could assume. But me, I convinced myself of the worst possible situation. Obviously this person hates me. While that is unlikely I am fighting every day to not believe it.
The truth is that of all the people I’ve sent my manuscript to, I was sure this one Witch would support me. When they wrote back nearly immediately to say they would not, I was given reason to believe that the demon chatter was not full of lies after all.
I’m Always Dragging that Horse Around
No matter how much I’ve grown, the dead weight of my childhood is always tethered to my ankle. Like a ball and chain, dragging in the dirt behind me, the pain of my past leaves a cloud of dust in my wake. It isn’t hard to turn and see the debris kicked up into the air while I am doing my best to move forward.
That’s what this human condition subjects all of us to. It reminds us, typically at our lowest points, that we have known trouble. That life has not been easy. Transformative magick is about combatting that. It is, at its core, about finding a way to transmute the issues at hand into a successful outcome.
Pushing through an issue like the lack of self esteem is a heavy burden. Not only are there constant reminders regardless of how well you’re doing, but there is also an ingrained fear of regression. What if I fail? What if this project only serves to prove that I am not worthy? Coupled with the initial defeat of rejection, it isn’t hard to jump to the conclusion that repetition is likely to follow.
But I know better because transformation is anything but stagnant.
I’m Gonna Bury that Horse in the Ground
As a Witch who is focused on the betterment of myself, it is my responsibility to stand up in the face of this adversity. Who am I to write a book about transformative magick only to let self-defeating ideas keep me stuck in my own head? How could I assume the authority to help others grow through transformation if I allowed my own self confidence to wane like the present phase of the moon?
I am not that Witch. I am not that human either. I have never been the person who lets a situation or idea get the better of me. I was once advised by Pam Grossman to sip tea with my devil. When I was writing my manuscript I wrote into her podcast The Witch Wave, seeking advice for self doubt. She answered my letter on air in her 40th episode Twin Temple, Diabolical Rockers. This advice was a reminder that it is normal to have these thoughts. It is human to momentarily wane in self esteem. She suggested I allow it, but only temporarily and then to move onward.
That’s the point. To take the time to sit with the fears we all experience. To acknowledge them and then keep trying regardless. This is how I manage these moments, and then ultimately put them to rest.
But It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn
The publishing world has its own time frame. It feels like the publishers take forever to get back to me. June feels so far away. I keep expecting to see the cover of my book any day but then I don’t. This is pretty normal because great things take time to produce. On top of these, honestly, small issues, now I am waiting to hear back from some of the authors who I feel are the best in the community. These Witches, and authors are busy. The writing world in our community doesn’t make a living on its own typically, so the Witches I look up to are very much working on other projects while living their best Pro-Witch lives.
Yeah, sure, I want to hear back from these amazing, magickal people as soon as possible. I definitely want to know that my labor of love has been validated by the people I respect the most. But nothing is ever going to be within my time frame. I have to come to terms with waiting. While this is not in my nature, I am required to build patience while accepting that no news can often also be good news.
The darkest moments of my waning self esteem come when my patience is tested. This is not in regard to a person testing my ability to roll with the punches. This test comes from my own mind telling me that what I’ve produced has been ill-received. At these times I am unable to see the light on the horizon. I fail to recognize that the Sun still rises the morning after the Winter Solstice. The darkness of my inequity to the community of my contemporaries contains no starlight. Even though I feel this darkness, I have to accept that the light is on its way.
So Tonight I’m Gonna Cut it Out and Then Restart
Luckily for me, I am confident in my ability to create spells that work. I have learned how to transform the feelings I am having into powerful magick. I know that I can manifest a change, especially when that change is within myself. Transformative magick happens from within. Sometimes spells that help to facilitate the changes necessary to come to terms with the world around us are helpful.
I have developed a spell for exactly the feeling I am having right now. This is a spell that focuses on what is inside my head and helps to bleed it out. This is the magickal equivalent of leech therapy. This spell is designed to not only relieve the pressure of lacking self confidence, but also to replace the self doubt with strength and peace.
I prefer to design spells that are low to zero cost. Trust me when I say I know what Witching on a budget is like. But for this spell there are highly specific things that I believe are necessary. On the other side of the same coin I do not agree that anyone can tell another how best to perform their magick. With that said, if you choose to use this spell for yourself, please feel free to adapt it as you are led to.
It’s Hard to Dance with a Devil on Your Back So Shake Him Off
Because this is the best time of the year to buy the spookier things almost anywhere, it is no surprise that bleeding skull candles are available at Walmart. I didn’t know what I would need it for when I found one a few weeks ago. I brought it home because my intuition is sound and I like to listen to it. When I sent a picture of my purchase to my sister she told me that these can be used for domination. I quickly reminded her that they can also be used to free myself of emotions and issues that are holding me back. You see the dichotomy between us?
Yesterday I woke up earlier than expected with what can only be described as a Claircognizant sense of knowing exactly how to use this candle. I would in fact free myself of the demons in my ear. I set to work. The moon is waning as I am writing this. What I know is that the best time to really relieve myself of the fear in my head is quickly approaching.
I love to work within the three nights of both the full moon and the new moon. In this case I will work with the new moon on Wednesday night. While it is called the new moon, technically the first night of this phase is really the last night of the waning moon. This is a powerful time to send away all sorts of things. Why not use this moment to shake the devil off of my back?
And I’m Ready to Suffer and I’m Ready to Hope
To prepare for this spell, I first researched herbs that would repel negativity, build strength and increase self love. What I need in my head right now is strength and courage. What I want to release are all the thoughts telling me I am not enough.
I settled on nine herbs which I’ll list in the spell. Each one has its own purpose and so they have their own place in the skull as well. I wanted something that I could carry with me after the spell is finished too. I included a Rose Quartz for self love.
I woke up at 1am this morning and could not fall back to sleep so this is when I created my candle. Once my ingredients were placed inside, I put the skull on my altar until tomorrow night.
Well What the Hell I’m Gonna Let it Happen to Me
The skull candle will be ready to burn on Wednesday night because that’s the first night of the new moon and the last night of the waning moon. It will sit on my altar for the next 24 hours and I will let it burn through until it is finished.
Recently I listened to Between the Worlds, this is a podcast by Amanda Yates Garcia in her 26th episode, Witch Way Q&A she talks about placing ingredients into spells. I found her approach to be amazing and have adapted this for myself because it makes sense. She says that she holds the herb or item for the spell and then names it out loud. For instance, one might say, “This is Rose Quartz.” Then she talks about identifying the qualities of the item as well as what its purpose is for the spell. “You are pink and beautiful; you are placed in this spell to help bring self love into my mind.” I then thank each item as it’s placed in the spell candle.
For each herb, the crystal I included, and the skull candle itself I did this. It turns out I felt much more connected to the spell so far than any others I’ve performed. I plan to always use this approach moving forward.
If you would like to try this spell or one like it the following is the recipe. As I said, feel free to adapt as you see fit.
What you’ll need
A skull candle: this represents your head.
Rose Quartz: to place a bit of self love into your mind.
Black Pepper: to banish negativity.
Lavender: to give peace and happiness.
Rose Petals: for loving yourself.
Rosemary: for getting rid of negativity.
Dragon’s Blood: to drive the negativity away.
Thyme: to add courage.
Allspice: to help heal from the past.
Bay Leaf: for healing, purification, and strength.
Anise Star: for purification.
Carve three holes into the skull. You will want to make sure that you pull out a chunk that is large enough to place back over all the ingredients once they are in the candle. The three holes can be on the right, the left and in the center near the back of the skull.
Start by placing the Rose Quartz into the hole you made at the back of the skull. Plug the hole back up with the wax you carved out of it and seal it shut with a lighter. Tell it that it is now a part of you.
Next separate the herbs for purification and ridding negativity from the herbs that are meant to pull in strength, courage, and love. Use a bay leaf for both of these because it is dynamic and covers both sides of the spectrum.
On the right side of the skull put each herb that rids you of negativity and purifies you. Once the herbs are added, plug the hole with the wax you carved out and seal it with a lighter. Tell these herbs that they are here to help you rid yourself of the negative thoughts you are having.
On the left side of the skull add all the herbs for courage, strength, and love. Once they are all in there plug this hole with the wax and seal it with a lighter as well. Tell these herbs that they are here to bring you peace of mind.
Performing the Spell
On the first night of the new moon place the candle in a dish. It will likely drip so make sure that you have something that can catch the wax and any herbs that might fall out. As the sun sets, light the candle and talk to it. Tell it what its purpose is. Even if you do this in a whisper use your voice to let the candle know what the job is at hand. Then let the candle burn itself out. If you must leave the candle unattended do so in the safest way possible.
Once the candle has burnt out there will be remains. Pluck the Rose Quartz from it and carry this as a reminder of the magick you have performed. It has your magick in it and it can only make you stronger.
With the rest of the remains, it is best to bury these. I like the idea of a graveyard or a crossroad but you can go with what feels right. This is all that negativity and degrading self talk that you released from your mind. It is best to put it to rest in a place that is not part of the same land which you live on. Use your discretion.
As you bury the remains speak a eulogy for the parts of yourself that you are letting go of. Thank the negative thoughts for helping you become stronger and then bid them goodbye.
The song that inspired this post was Shake it Out by Florence and the Machine
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