I began this Wellness series during the winter of 2016 as a means to process the difficulty I was having after the election. As we stared into an uncertain future, I needed a survival game plan. So, I began with The Pentacle Approach to Wellness in Dark Times, offering a magickal framework for harmonic balance between the physical, mental, will, emotional, and spiritual bodies. This concept is symbolized for Witches by the Pentacle, an encircled five-pointed star. That uncertain future is darker than ever, and let’s face it, really depressing. So today, I return with some ideas on how to keep our emotions in healthy balance.
I love; therefore, I am.
I’ve struggled with depression my entire life. I’m a water sign, with my sun in Pisces, gifting me with abyss-levels of emotions and empathy for the world around me. This is a nice way of saying that I am prone to puddling. I sometimes drown in my own puddles, and occasionally I’ll drown in society’s puddles. Witchcraft is the ship’s ladder I use to climb out of that dark abyss, and keep on sailing more effectively. I’ve written about my struggles here.
In my witchy opinion, our emotional experience is the most important aspect of being human. Therefore, I choose a spiritual tradition whose sacred poetry describes the cosmos as the incarnate love of Goddess for God – or the self-love of The Two Who Move As One.
“All began in love; all seeks to return in love. Love is the law, the teacher of wisdom, and the great revealer of mysteries.” (1) ~Starhawk
In this metaphor, Their love is the creative force that flows through the cosmos, making everything a physical embodiment of divine emotion. It’s ALL LOVE, baby! This is a sweet answer for the ineffable questions of existential dread that otherwise keep me up at night. <cackle>
Which brings us to the ultimate question: What is our human purpose here? My answer: To enjoy Love. I love; therefore, I am. I believe that our purpose here is to ENJOY incarnate life, and to grow through every nuance of interaction.
“…and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise. For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and mine also is joy on earth; for my Law is Love unto all Beings…Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.” (2) ~Doreen Valiente
Ecstasy. Joy. Love. Rejoicing. Pleasure. I believe these are the key words to what it means to live our most fulfilled lives through Witchcraft. Yet, it is difficult to enjoy ourselves when we are collectively drowning in a tsunami of global terror. I’ve learned that wellness and balance are subjective and complicated. Talking about emotions is uncomfortable. Folks don’t like to confront their fears, and they surely don’t like taking responsibility for their troubles. You can’t talk about emotional imbalance, nor hope to regain that balance, without getting into WHY we are upset. These are perilous waters, my friends, but there is nothing for it; we’ll have to take the deep dive…
• Identify what wounds us emotionally, so we can heal our broken hearts.
• Recognize how wounds drive fearful behavior; Conquer our fears.
• Renew our connection to Divine Love.
• Break the wounding cycle through compassion and grace.
• Regain the power to fight the good fight of restoring balance globally.
A tall order, to be sure, but we are Witches. If witches won’t accept this mission, who else do we expect to do it?
Mechanics of Magick
In order to maintain our emotional balance, becoming impervious to the fear-tactics of the over-culture in which we find ourselves, we have to start by understanding the underlying mechanics from a witchcraft perspective.
Hermetic Alchemy: IV. The Principle of Polarity: States “Everything is dual; Everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree…”–The Kybalion.
I’ve described the Universe as interwoven from the Love of the Goddess and God, which is a form of panentheism (3). Divine Love is whole, inclusive and unconditionally sacred. Therefore, every atom and every being are also whole, inclusive and sacred – including you and all your neighbors.
So, what is the polar opposite of love?
If Love is everything, then the opposite is nothing…the opposite of Love is the Void of Love. Can you think of any concept more terrifying than the absolute deprivation of Love? I can’t either. Therefore, I surmise that the first thing to emerge from that void is Fear, specifically the Fear of a lack of love.
Consider this: If LOVE is always the solution, the problem is always Fear; the source of all human infliction of evil, crime, hatefulness, terrorism, selfishness…would be wounded people who are afraid they won’t have what they need to thrive, and are destructively lashing out at whatever they blame for that deprivation. Reacting from our wounds causes more problems; responding through Divine Love solves them.
Disclaimer: What follows is my own thealogical development, from revelations given during a very intense time in service to Aphrodite/Venus. I’m not a psychologist, I’m just an observer.
Allow me to explain…
Divine Love vs. Fear of the lack of Love
I first called upon Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of love, grace and beauty, to teach me these things. From that inspiration emerged Aphrodite’s Thealogy of Perfection. I invite you to go read that piece in depth, but here is the nutshell version:
If Divine Love is every iota of matter and energy in the Universe, you have to start thinking about Love as WAY more than just a feeling…
Divine Love would have to include both sides of every polarity, every atom, all states of matter, all types of energy, all phases of the cycle, all types of life-forms, all expressions of gender, all sexual preferences, all social strata, all areas of consciousness, crests and troughs, good hair days and bad hair days, red votes and blue votes, sinners and saints, et cetera and so on. By this definition, Love is your actual dinner, the act of preparing dinner, and how you feel about your dinner.
Eight Love Conditions:
She showed me (the hard way) how Divine Love is experienced as “ease” within of the middle world. When I’m in the state of “ease” I feel…
- Acceptance as my whole, authentic self, treated with respect.
- Sovereignty with liberty to pursue my happiness with Free Will.
- Resources to ensure my physical survival in comfort; clean air and water, nourishing food, adequate shelter and clothing to protect me from the elements.
- Affection: I have access to the physical touch, intimacy and inclusion that I prefer.
- Expression of my opinions are honored as a valuable contributor.
- Security: I have physical safety, my boundaries are honored and my privacy is respected.
- Authenticity: the outward declaration of any circumstance is the actual truth, without deception.
- Trustworthiness and Reciprocity: I can rest assured that those around me, and my environment, can be trusted to not harm me, and are equally worthy of my trust.
When we are denied these basic human needs it creates stress. If it goes on too long, the stress throws us off balance, which grows into anger. Folks don’t like that feeling, and we fear its infliction, which becomes hatefulness toward whomever we blame for the fear. This fear twists and festers inside us, and emerges as dis-ease. If we don’t get a handle on these wounds in a timely fashion, that disease can spread to all levels of the self: illness (physical), insanity (mental), despondency (emotional), violence (will) and sociopathy (spirit).
Point 4. Element of Water: Emotional Wellness
Hermetic Alchemy: III. Principle of Vibration: “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”–The Kybalion.
If you look at the world through fear-colored glasses, you will only see those things that scare you. Fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I wrote about how this works in You are what you believe. Our wounds set the frequency at which our consciousness is “vibrating.” That vibration attracts more of the same – like a magnet for more of the harms that wounded us in the first place. Like attracts like, as they say.
The Witches’ Pyramid of Power: Elemental Lessons of Water
In Wiccan Witchcraft, the chalice is the altar tool associated with the element of water, as the cauldron is the grand tool. Imagine your heart like one of these vessels with sturdy walls, that are formed by the edges of your other 4 bodies: mental, will, physical, Spirit. To restore balance, we need to strengthen the “cup” that holds our emotional “waters” through careful definition of those boundaries.
Water’s Power To Accept: The Chalice
We have no control over how other people choose to treat us, but we have absolute control over how we respond to them. And we have all the control over how WE treat other people. If our emotional imbalance is due to our pouring out too much of our own energies to other people, then we have to pull it back in and start saying “No” to unreasonable demands on our attention.
The receptive lesson of water is To Accept. We consider the lessons of the chalice, or the cauldron, honoring and defining the boundaries of our emotions. Think of the placid lake lapping gently at the banks. Those shores mold the calm waters that fill the situation they are in. Acceptance lessons are about acknowledging the whole truth of your circumstances; of compassion so that you can empathize about why other people are hurting, too.
Acceptance must be the first step in any evolutionary path toward enlightenment; I have to know where I am, so that I can chart a course to where I want to be. I have to know who I am now (the good, the bad and the ugly) in order to diagnose what caused the wounds of my broken heart, and heal them.
Understand How Wounds Crack your Chalice
How this Love/Fear thing it plays out:
✓ Being denied a Basic Divine Love Condition wounded you deeply. (listed above.)
✓ Fear sets in that it will happen again.
✓ You now vibrate with wounded consciousness.
✓ You begin to project that fear onto others.
✓ You lash out with bullying behaviors to ease the tension, and protect yourself, wounding others in turn.
✓ Suffer more of the same back at you, reinforcing your fears.
✓ Repeat (all the way to the Dark Side.)
Because we are all interconnected, everyone is affected on some sub-conscious level when any part of us suffers. Who wants to suffer like those guys over there? Enter: survival of the fittest, and a race of mean-girls and bullies evolves to take over the government. If we want to rise above that dog-eat-dog race and regain our power to create a more evolved system, we have to do something radically different.
Witches are good at being radically different. So, back to good ol’ witchcraft…
Water’s Power To Dare: The Dam Breaks
The projective lesson is To Dare. We DARE to overcome all barriers before us. Much like a raging river rising up to break the banks and flow over all impediments, the daring power of water is the radical energy to blast through all preconceived limitations, and societal norms. This is where we “smash the patriarchy,” and Declare our Independence and kick off a revolution.
Daring is the courage to heal our wounds, and release those who’ve wounded us, but it is also the daring to stop further harm to be done. Like the raging flood, we redefine our boundaries and can carve a new path, smooth over the jagged edges and polish ourselves to a shine.
Daring waters teach us how to work together so we can overcome all obstacles. Remember that a single drop of water is limited in it’s ability to create change, but many drops of water together can be a tidal wave to reshape the landscape. Water’s lessons of Daring are about inclusion and non-discrimination. There is no drop too precious, nor too polluted, to be excluded; water welcomes it ALL in–holy water and toilet water alike, and once gathered together, the tide raises all ships together. Daring energies are what made that Women’s March on Washington, and the #metoo movement such an incredible force for change.
As I attend to the Great Work of Magick through the sabbats each year, I come back to these watery lessons and check in with my process. From Lammas to Mabon I ask myself which barriers I need to smash in order to regain my emotional balance? And from Mabon to Samhain, I ask which personal boundaries I need to defend, in order to maintain my emotional balance.
Exercise 1: Drink Water
Just water–ok, maybe a squeeze of fresh lemon or a slice of cucumber, as both have magickal associations with water. We are a terribly dehydrated society. Symptoms like hunger-pains, headaches, fatigue, tight chest and anxiety attacks can all be linked to a dire thirst for plain water…not coffee, not soda, not energy drinks, not juices. H2O. Doing energy work will require even more hydration, or you’ll blow out your circuits. Hydration should be your first step, no matter what else is ailing you, first drink a big glass of the purest water you can get your hand on, while you are considering your next move.
Make Crystal Waters
Just try it for yourself before you form a judgement on the Woo. Do some research on the metaphysical properties of stones, and choose a few that have properties you think will aid any emotional troubles you are having. Add the stones and crystals to a small, clean mason jar with a tight sealing lid, fill that with water to the very top, and then seal the jar. Note that it is important that the crystals do not come into contact with the drinking water, as some stones will leech elements into the water that are not healthy to consume. Here is a good resource.
Place jar in bottom of the pitcher, and then fill THAT with fresh water. Try a sip just for comparison. Let them sit for 10-20 minutes. Remove the stone jar. Pour yourself a glass of water and Viva La Difference!
Exercise 2: Venus Soak
Take a long, soaking bath with handful each of epsom salt, and sea-salt. Lavender essential oil will chill you out. Make a big deal out of this treat with candles, incense, the whole shebang. Add rose petals and rose quartz to the bath to kick it up a notch into the loving, Aphrodite magick realm.
Call on the presence of the Goddess of Love, Grace and Beauty. Meditate while soaking, visualize yourself breathing in a pink light, and as you exhale, see all the self-loathing, worry, doubt and sadness oozing out of you, extracted by the salts and roses into the water.
Repeat an affirmation, like “I am a Perfect Child of the God/dess; I am whole, healed and complete within myself; I am Loving; I am Lovable; I am Love;” like a mantra until you feel that the work is sufficiently done. Then yank the plug, and sit right there while you watch it all drain away.
Give yourself a final rinse in the shower. After the bath, anoint your crown and heart with an oil blend that has Venus associations, like rose, jasmine, or lavender. Wear copper, which is her metal, carry the rose quartz with you.
Exercise 3: Merry Meet, Merry Part, Bright the Cheeks, Warm the Heart.
This line in the long form of the Wiccan Rede (5), is profoundly simple, and profoundly important. It suggests that to be happy and warm hearted, begin with merry interactions with others, and your own merry demeanor. It also encapsulates all four of my rules of effective witchcraft: Don’t burn the witch; Don’t be the asshole; Don’t be the weak link; Must be present to win.
I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now, but the resolution to the problem of fear-induced harms that create dis-ease in our emotional body is compassion. This is true both individually, and collectively, because we are all interconnected, remember?
The cure for every dis-ease is Divine Love. We restore the ease of LOVE where wounds of deprivation still plague us, by embodying Divine Love in tangible ways for others – through providing the Eight Divine Love conditions within our sphere of influence. With the heart’s daring power, we break down barricades to the fulfillment of inalienable human needs. By becoming the warrior of Divine Love, we shift our vibration from wounded consciousness to abundance consciousness, thus affirming for ourselves that we also will abundantly have all that we need to thrive.
The message delivered by Aphrodite time and again has been this: The heart opened from the giving of Love, is prepared for the receiving of love. The arms opened from a generosity of resources, is prepared to receive resources abundantly, on all levels.
How? Here are a few ideas:
- If you see something you think is beautiful, say it… Make heart-felt complements to both strangers and friends.
- Shake hands. Offer hugs. Offer a friendly touch where appropriate. Visit with the elderly and take care of them. Extend invitations to anyone who may be lonely.
- Take a casserole to a grieving family. Deliver a hot meal to the parents of a new baby. Help a neighbor repair their leaky roof. Adopt a struggling family at Yule time, and make sure everyone gets what they need. Sprinkle some wonderment and fun into the kid’s lives.
- Write unexpected thank you notes. Be a gracious driver. Hold open a door for someone.
- Smile at folks who pass you on the street. Show respect by saying please, thank you and excuse me. Tip your servers generously.
- Look people in the eye. Listen carefully. Take concerns seriously.
- Pay attention to what is happening to folks with less privilege and power than you, and then use your power to help! Vote; call your representatives; team up with others of like mind and protest injustice.
- Donate resources; defend the disenfranchised; be trustworthy.
- Bury the hatchet, rebuild a bridge, tear down a wall. You start first.
The more you express graciousness and love in tangible ways, the more it will return to you as bright cheeks and warm heart of emotional stability.
Additional Magickal Ideas:
For an emotional bond-breaking “Divorce” spell: Click here.
For a spell to create Acceptance Waters with Snow: Click here
Visit an Energy Healer
There really is nothing comparable to the delicious, relaxing goodness of a session with a Reiki energy healer, acupuncturist, reflexology, and/or crystal healer…etc. A regular chakra balancing is just as valuable to me as that bi-annual dental cleaning. There are so many varieties available out there, but you’ll never know how fantastic it is until you try it for yourself.
Thanks for joining me on this deep dive into the squishiness of emotional balance. If you’re attending the Mystic South conference in Atlanta, July 13-15, I’m offering a workshop on this Pentacle Approach series. See you there!
- Between the Worlds: Creation, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess by Starhawk Source
- “The Charge of the Goddess,” Doreen Valiente Sacred-texts.com
- Panentheism: is the belief that the divine interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond time and space. Divinity is both immanent in nature, and transcendent, with a collective consciousness greater than the sum of its parts. (wikipedia)
- “The lady doth protest too much, methinks…” is a figure of speech originally found as a quotation from the c. 1600 play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. I use this phrase every time it is plain as day that bigotry is just self-loathing projected outwardly. source
- The Wiccan Rede, Long Form. Attributed to Lady Gwen Thompson, here is a great article about it by Jason Mankey.
I’ll update links as they are posted, stay tuned for a look at the lessons the Spiritual Body.