Break-up’s are a common human experience and they completely suck. Whatever the specific circumstances are, going through the loss of a relationship is a grieving process. And just like the grieving process we experience after the death of a loved one, we go through stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We vacillate through these stages while we adapt to our new lives without our partner(s)
As a Witch and a therapist, I’ve often been fascinated by the intersection of Witchcraft and mental health. One thing I’ve found over the years is that the Craft can be a useful tool in recovering from the pain of a break-up. While there may not necessarily be a spell to erase your ex or bring the relationship back (I really wouldn’t recommend that anyways), there are ways you can incorporate magic into your journey of heart-healing. The following practices are some of my favorites because they are both practical and easily adapted to incorporate your specific style of Witchery.
Cleansing and Creating Sacred Space:
One of the first things that I recommend to clients who are going through a break-up is to have a thorough cleansing of their home. There are two specific reasons for this, the first being that you are clearing away your ex’s presence (both physically and energetically) and the second being that you are creating a sacred space for your healing journey.
- Gather together anything that either belongs to your ex(s), was given to you by your ex(s), or otherwise reminds you of them. This may include clothing, letters/cards, photos, and gifts. If you’re not ready to let go of these objects, that’s okay! Put them in a box and store it away somewhere until a time when you do feel ready. When that time comes, decide what items you may wish to return to your ex(s) (if you feel comfortable with that), donate, or throw away. Try creating a releasing ritual around this process. I’m a big fan of burning things like photos and letters, speaking special words of intention and burning sacred healing herbs while I do so.
- Replace your bed linens, as they are likely saturated in energetic memories of your ex(s). Look for sheets that are especially comfy and a color that inspires a sense of peace and restfulness. If this is out of your budget, that’s okay! Just give your sheets a good washing, perhaps hanging them out to dry in the sunlight and fresh air. Otherwise, try creating a sachet of herbs to throw in the dryer with your linens. This not only gives them a pleasant scent but also a magical boost. I recommend a blend of lavender, rose, chamomile, and lemon balm (all of which are good for heart healing).
- Create an altar dedicated to self-love and your healing journey. This could include candles with specific intentions, photos of times when you felt especially happy, sacred objects like stones and herbs, inspirational messages, cards/letters from loved ones, and statues/artwork/photos of people you admire. This will be a space that you can come to when you’re in need of healing, release, and empowerment.
- Utilize your favorite method to spiritually cleanse your home. Focus specifically on banishing negative energy regarding your ex(s) and the break-up. Reclaim your home as your own, as a single person.
Journaling and the Written Word:
Let’s face it, when going through a break-up we are often overcome with the desire to talk about our ex(s). It’s almost an involuntary impulse and when we get going the word vomit can be endless. While it’s essential to have a support system to turn to, we cannot always discuss our past relationship with our family and friends otherwise we risk burning them out. Yet, it’s imperative that we allow ourselves to express our emotions and process our experience. This is where writing can come in handy.
- If you’re feeling particularly upset, try writing out your thoughts and feelings. Writing about it signals our mind that we are actively doing something, which can help calm anxious/depressed thinking. Additionally, you may find that you gain new insight into your situation. When you’re done you can either keep what you’ve written or get rid of it. If you choose the second option, either rip it up or burn it, focusing on magically releasing negativity and making space for healing.
- Write letters to your ex(s), expressing how you feel and saying anything you may not have been able to at the time. It’s important that you do not send these letters, they’re for you and your own healing. This comes in handy when you really want to say something to them but know it’s better not to reach out. When you’ve finished a letter, seal it up in an envelope with some special releasing herbs (like sage, hyssop, or cedar). Dispose of the letters as you see fit (DO NOT SEND THEM!).
- Designate a journal in which you can write down inspirational quotes, song lyrics that you find empowering, words of affirmation, or goals you have for your new single life. This is also a place for you’re to record all the things that you are grateful for. Finding things to be grateful for can be hard when we’re down in the dumps. But do your best, there are many things in our lives that are awesome but are easily looked over.
Artwork and Creative Crafting:
While journaling is totally awesome, sometimes we just don’t have the words to explain how we are feeling. In therapy sessions, particularly with children, I like to utilize artistic mediums as a means of emotional communication. By using different creative methods like painting, drawing, and sculpting, our conscious and subconscious mind can process events without the use of words.
- Like before, if you’re feeling particularly upset, try using art to express yourself. Using whatever medium speaks to you, allow your emotions and thoughts to flow from your heart and mind, out into your creation. It doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty, in fact sometimes the messier the better.
- Design a specific sigil which is dedicated to healing your heart. It can be as simple or complex as you wish. Perhaps incorporate runes, planetary glyphs, alchemical signs, or other existing symbols. Or try creating one from scratch! When your sigil is complete, begin incorporating it wherever and however you see fit. You could carve it into a candle, paint it on a canvas, sketch it in your journal, or even draw it on your skin. Any time you see your sigil it is a reminder of the strength you are building as you move through the break-up process.
- Put together a vision board using magazine clippings. Gather together photos of things that you love and which inspire you. This can include representations of goals you have and things you’d like to manifest in your life. I like to include words and phrases in addition to symbolic items. When you’re finished, bless your vision board with words of intention and then hang it somewhere that you’ll see it often.
Taking time to breathe, ground, and center yourself can be extremely helpful in healing your heart. Engaging in meditation or other mindfulness practices are useful in providing a sense of calm in which we can clear our minds and process our emotions.
- Set aside a designated amount of time (10-30 minutes) once or twice a week in which you will consciously sit down and process the break-up. During this time sit in front of your altar, perhaps journaling or doing artwork. Allow yourself to feel deeply, whether it’s anger, sadness, or any shade in between. When the time has passed, take a couple of deep breaths and ground yourself. Then go and participate in a fun, mood elevating activity. I like to watch a short episode of a funny show or talk to a friend. Throughout the day, if you have intrusive thoughts of your ex come up, calmly tell yourself that you’ll return to those thoughts during your designated time. Of course, it’s like that this won’t completely eliminate intrusive thoughts, but with practice it can help significantly reduce them as well as encourage healing integration.
- Find ways to incorporate words of affirmation into your daily routine. Affirmative messages, which should be read numerous times throughout the day, can help replace negative self-beliefs with positive ones. There are apps for your phone, which will send you an affirmation each day. Alternatively, there are many affirmation decks out there (such as this one) that you can simply draw from every day. I recommend pulling a card in the morning and putting it on your bathroom mirror. That way you are likely to see it a few times, and you can recite it while washing your hands. You could also use your favorite tarot or oracle deck in the same way, pulling a card each morning as an indicator of an area you may want to work on within yourself.
- Try using creative visualization to cut the energetic cords that connect you with you ex. You can find wonderful guided cord-cutting meditations on YouTube (such as this one, which I’m particularly fond of). You may wish to use physical representations, such as actual cords and a pair of scissors. If that’s the case, after you’re done, burn, bury, or throw away the left-over cords. Whatever method you choose, burn some cleansing herbs when you’ve finished to clear away any remaining unwanted energy. You’ll likely need to repeat this ritual a few times, and that’s totally okay. Perhaps perform it once or twice a month on the new and full moon, or other auspicious time.
These are just a few of my favorite heart-healing exercises, which I hope you find just as useful. And while this article focused on emotional healing after a break-up, these exercises can be used for just about any other human experience. Additionally, there are many ways in which you can further incorporate Witchcraft into them, depending upon your needs and your style. I personally like to keep things simple and practical.
Finally, if you’re reading this and you’re currently going through a break-up, stay strong! You are not alone. It hurts now, terribly so, but one day you will wake up and it will all be different. The sun will come out from behind the clouds, the bird will sing to you, and you will be whole again. It will take time and courage, but you will get there and it will be amazing. And remember, you are always loved.