The Magick of Rest and Self Devotion

The Magick of Rest and Self Devotion July 8, 2022

Sadly, I tested positive for COVID this week*, but even more upsetting (?) was the amount of time I spent looking up a clear definition of ‘rest.’

All of the articles about taking care of myself (something I have written about extensively) said to get enough sleep to recover well. They talked about eating well and drinking water and moving around every few hours.

And they said to rest. And I realized I don’t know what that means – to me. Or maybe at all. Maybe this moment in my life is a time to figure out what it means and how to call it back to myself.

Maybe it’s just time to step back and step into something that feels like boredom, but sings liberation to the worn and tired places.

Maybe there is more or less. Maybe you can’t look for the meaning, but wait for it to arrive.

(Maybe quarantine/isolation has me thinking too much or too hard.)

(Or capitalism has drilled productivity as worth and value into my brain so deeply that I’m having trouble shaking it. Loosening it. Exorcising it. Taking a freaking break.)

I need rest. And you probably do too.

Photo by Fabio Grandis on Pixnio

A Long Time without a Break

It’s been more than two years of a new layer of uncertainty. It has sucked. Plain and not-so-simple. And in the moments of not-doing, I think I believed I was resting and getting ready for the DAY WHEN IT WAS ALL OVER.

I can trace this back to other timelines of my life. The space between classes and witchcamps. The times between big life events. The distance between deaths and the expansion of births.

To myself, “Oh the ‘space’ is the rest. The not planning and not actively doing is the break.” The times when no one was counting on me were the times to rest. I was resting, right?

Enter: me.

Stage direction: The human looks around the room as though searching for the invisible and not finding a place to land.

Different Kinds of Rest

According to a TED article, there are seven types of rest (which at first sounds exhausting, but stick with me here.)

  • Physical (active or passive)
  • Mental
  • Sensory
  • Creative
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual

You can read the article for their words, but here is how I’d summarize this. There are facets to rest. There are many different ways in which we tax and toil in this world, whether it be at or outside of a home. Whether it be with people and purposes you love — or being stuck in a place that does not fit anymore.

  • You can rest your body by calling it to stillness or slowing it down.
  • You can rest your mind by stepping away from the things that worry and wrangle you away from this moment.
  • You can turn off phones, TVs, the news, notifications, computers, video games, Zoom, etc. to rest your senses.
  • You can stop creating. Take in beauty and inspiration. Let it be a balm.
  • You can find ways to rest your emotions and reactions. Therapy. Meditation. Breathing. Running until you can’t think things anymore.
  • You can rest by getting away from social interactions that don’t energize or nourish you.
  • You can rest your spiritual practices. Let them wait for you to return.

I don’t see any of this as stopping, but rather surrendering to a pause of coming back to the idea that you are a human BEING, not a human doing.

It all comes back to this moment. To being. To allow whatever is here to be what is here. No judgment. No fixing.

Settling the waves. Watching them release into the shore, returning different each time. Returning again.

The Time I Named Myself Inexhaustible

When I took on the name of Irisanya, there were two parts that I talk about. One, Iris is for the goddess that called to me one day with the brightest rainbow I had ever seen during a question about where my path was taking me. The second part of my name is ‘anya’ which meant ‘inexhaustible energy’ when I found it that day.

I took on a name that seems to be the opposite of rest.

But I tell everyone to do it.

(If you knew how many times I looked myself in the mirror and told myself to rest…you might think something. I don’t know what you’d think. If anything. We teach what we need and know.)

But what I’ve learned now is that ‘anya’ also means ‘grace.’ So to myself, to you, and to this wondrous and horrible world, I offer grace.

I offer the space to figure it out. To screw up. To pick a few places and facets that could be quieter. If only for a few minutes or moments.

I offer you permission to rest.

It will help you recover. It is more than self-care, it is self-devotion. It is the practice of honoring yourself, your needs, your heart, and your emerging magick.

Rest well and for longer than you think is needed.

You have been ‘going’ for so long.



*For those who might ask, at the time of writing this, I was feeling back to normal for me. I have been resting.

About Irisanya Moon
I’m a Witch. I’m a writer. I’m a priestess, teacher, feminist, and initiate in the Reclaiming tradition, as well as deathcare worker. I serve the godds, my community, and the Earth. I’ve called myself a Witch for more than 20 years, and my life has been infused with magick. I am interested in shifting stories – the ones we tell ourselves and the ones that are told about us. I’m continuously inspired to engage as the storyteller and the story, the words and the spaces between. I am a devotee of Aphrodite, Hecate, the Norns, and Iris. I seek to find love and to inspire love by reminding us we are not alone, while also meeting myself at the crossroads, holding the threads of life, and bringing down messages from the godds. (I've also written some books. You can get them at my website.) You can read more about the author here.

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