‘Can’t’— This one toxic word can destroy a spell working

‘Can’t’— This one toxic word can destroy a spell working February 29, 2024

Image by freepik

I can’t; you can’t; we can’t; they can’t.… This wording is extremely harmful. Whoever said “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words would never harm me” never was told those words. 

These words can be detrimental at best; highly impairing at worst. The extent of

harm is far greater than one thinks. The mental abuse it can cause hearing it and repeating it to yourself can last years, or a lifetime. When you tell yourself you can’t, you automatically set yourself up for failure.

Most of my life I was always told “you can’t.” It happened so often, so consistently, that for a very long time -three plus decades – I believed it was true. That negativity followed me in school, about household chores and even my driving was affected. Most of my schooling until sometime in high school I didn’t even try.

When I started my first “real” job, my editor gave me a shot. I didn’t have a journalism degree, but my work in the college media department and extra classes proved my qualifications. The trust that the editors \had in me was amazing. I went from editing tasks like simple obituaries and press releases to writing my own stories and even a column. 

The tech booth in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, NJ. PHOTO BY ANN TRIP

This again is the case for the tech job I do for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, NJ now. Sure, with my photography skills I knew camera angles, but I had no other skills to prove myself. However,  the Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael gave me a chance. I proved that I could handle the work and learned all that I needed and then some. As the Rev. Foxxy (Sher) Pullen always tells her Three Fires Grove class to never stop learning, so of course I still do.

These two words though, “I can’t” or even “you can’t” can hinder you. Spellwork won’t work if you say- or even think- you can’t. If you don’t think or believe what you are trying to accomplish is even possible it won’t be. Stop sabotaging your rituals and spellwork with those poisonous words. This goes for anything you do, even the mundane stuff.

When I began building and then running my Sacred Wheel CUUPs chapter I didn’t think I was capable. And to run a ritual, I didn’t believe in myself yet. I then constantly told myself that I could do it. I stopped saying those hurtful, self-destructive words, and replaced them with I AM able to lead rituals. Things slowly began to change for me. I easily led discussions and classes too.  Now, I correct others when I hear the words, just as my elders taught me.


Foxxy’s late husband Hermotimus “Herm,” also my elder, drilled into us in his Hermetics class to never say “I can’t.” Herm considered, “I can’t” worse than a cuss word. Additionally, phrases such as “I’m stupid…dumb…an idiot” etc. he put in that same category. Now I understand why.  If we said “I can’t” he scolded us into always changing it to “I haven’t been able to yet.” When you tell yourself “… can’t” you are programming your brain to not allow it, causing yourself to fail.  I now remind others of this as well.  

In fact, as I said in a previous blog, Herm taught us to picture the final result. Focus on the outcome not what may happen on the way to that product.

For those who may not know, I’m now the tech lead for UU Montclair. This past Sunday, I asked my friend’s son to run the projector slides. He was new to the tech booth and has a learning disability. However, his positive attitude when I trained him amazed me. He absorbed the information so well and asked questions wanting to learn more areas in AV tech. His response each time, “OK, I got this.” He didn’t let his disability control him. It actually was an influence on me. I admired it and it probably influenced me to break another fear of mine that day. I jumped in front of the camera to record a testimonial for my congregation’s archives without a written script.

My confidence has improved since their Three Fires Grove classes. It has taken me a long time and I still have a ways to go. However, I’m doing things I never imagined I could or would before. I am teaching this to others in Three Fires Grove and anywhere else that I  can.

By adding ‘yet’ to the phrase can’t or better yet say “I can”, changes everything. First, stop sabotaging yourself before you even try.  Second, it helps to build your self confidence. You’re giving yourself the possibility to succeed. It takes time and effort but anything that is worth it involves some, and sometimes a lot of, work.   

So, the next time you hear someone utter the phrase “I can’t” or worse “You can’t” correct them. 

In the words of George McFly, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” Now if I could only go back in time…


Also see: A Clear Concise Intention Is Vital For Spells And Life and Don’t Let Fear Control You — Conquer And Destroy It

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