I went into this year knowing that it would be a hard year of witchcraft. I was going into an intensive year of shadow work at the Temple of Witchcraft as well as Sacred Fires tradition. I carry a lot of trauma from my childhood and while I had mentally processed it and rationalized everything, I hadn’t actually emotionally processed anything.
There are a lot of articles on shadow work out there, particularly from those fairly new to their paths, and I am going to be very honest with you: don’t do it until you are ready. You may never be ready in this life, and that is okay as well. When I was at PantheaCon this past year I met a truly amazing person who had lost someone dear to him because they had jumped into this kind of work without having the skill set to carry them through it. Witchcraft has very real consequences and should be treated appropriately.
Whether you are working through some deeply intense internal workings, or living with depression and trying to figure out how that fits into your practice, here are a few of the things that I have relied on in the last year. Our hardest work only makes us stronger, but make sure that you have what you need in order to do it safely.
Embrace Your Sovereignity
Depression and anxiety are things that I have fought with my entire life. There are days where it feels impossible to pull myself out of bed, or when I wake up so anxious that I am sick to my stomach. I hope that I never see a day in which that stops me from my practice. There are a lot of posts that list ways in which you can do low-energy witchcraft to work around this, and that is great if that is what you want out of your practice. If you want to make substantial change in yourself and in the world then you need to substantial work for it. Work smarter, not harder. Sometimes there are things that only you can do because of your experiences and that is magical.
No one is going to place your crown upon your head, but if you want to take control of your life and do the work, then here are some of the things that I have incorporated into my practice that have helped:
Be Self Aware
Know you energy limits. Know where you draw your energy from. When do you feel the most empowered? Figure that out for yourself and then incorporate it into your practice. Some of the things that I love doing include being outside and present during storms, drawing down the moon, putting the kettle on (literally my answer for everything), lighting my favorite incense and just allowing myself to be present, and raising energy with friends and community. This can literally be anything, as long as it is healthy for you then make the room in your life to do it.
Find the Work that You Love
Once you stop seeing your magical practice as being work it will stop feeling like a chore that you need to dedicate energy to. What path calls to you? You magic should always be an exchange of power, yes you are doing the work, but you should always be receiving something in return. If you feel as though the things in your day to day life drain you of your energy, and you have no other choice than to do those things, then make your practice into something that replenishes you.
One of the things that has really helped me is replenishing the part of me that needs it the most. I live in New England, which means it is dark, cold and cloudy for a large portion of the year. I have found that nurturing and kindling my witch fire throughout the year tends to help carry through those times where my energy dips lower. Kindle this throughout the whole year, even when you are feeling fine, and it will help.
Find Your Best Medecine
This really depends on you. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. This takes some experimentation and can really vary from person to person. It may be prescribed medications, vitamin D, smoking marijuana (for those of you in states where that is legal), but do what works well for you. If you try something and it doesn’t work then try something else until you figure out what does. Just because something works for others, it’s okay if it doesn’t work for you.