The Witch's Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit - Arin Murphy-Hiscock 2018
Fighting the Stereotypes of Self-Care
Self-Care and Magic
The media pushes self-care “solutions” in the form of spa days and retail therapy. It’s frustrating, because these solutions assume that you are of a certain class with certain options available to you. They assume that you have disposable income; they assume that you actively desire these things and deny yourself for some reason; and they assume that you have the time to engage in these activities, even as a treat.
These media suggestions also assume that engaging in these kinds of activities will fill a gap in your life, implying that you are somehow not normal if engaging in one doesn’t fill the void in your heart. Take courage! The media view of self-care does not have to align with your sense of self-care…and, in fact, it’s probably healthier if it doesn’t.
Another stereotype of self-care is of someone lazily lounging on a sofa eating chocolate and ignoring chores. This stereotype is harmful in that it suggests taking a few minutes to yourself between tasks is letting an unspecified “everyone” down in some way. It implies that if you’re not wholly immersed in handling things, you are failing somehow. This is one of the most harmful stereotypes associated with self-care, because you are being told that you aren’t taking things seriously enough if you aren’t always working for the benefit of someone other than yourself. It tells you that if you take a moment or two for yourself, you should feel guilty.
While it can be therapeutic to put something off, procrastination or ignoring a problem isn’t self-care; in fact, it’s the opposite. Ignoring a problem just makes it more of a problem. Self-care involves scheduling things so that they don’t reach problem status and includes being kind to your future self by not leaving her a mess to handle.
So often we carry around our guilt and let it fester within us. This is not healthy! Releasing guilt can be very helpful in learning to prioritize self-care. Use the following ritual to let go of some of your guilt and allow yourself to feel the burden of it lifting away from you.
Ritual to Release Guilt
This is a burning ritual in which you burn the thing you are trying to banish or release. This type of ritual can be very therapeutic when you are trying to process painful memories or work through heavy emotions. You may have to do this ritual semiregularly if you tend to feel guilty about different things, or if your guilt about a specific thing pops up again and again. Do it as often as you feel you need to.
This ritual calls for grounding, centering, and optionally casting a circle; if you’re not already familiar with these techniques, see the instructions later in this chapter.
What You Need:
♦ Trivet or hot pad
♦ Fireproof/heatproof container
♦ Frankincense incense and a censer
♦ White candle and candleholder
♦ Matches or lighter
♦ Pen or pencil
What to Do:
1. Center and ground. Cast a circle if you feel you need one.
2. Place the trivet or hot pad and the heatproof container on top of it next to the incense and candle.
3. Light the frankincense incense. Light the candle.
4. Sit with your eyes closed and think about your sense of guilt. What is it related to? What triggers it? Can you pinpoint what you feel guilty for? There may be associated feelings, such as resentment, sadness, shame, or anger.
5. When you’re ready, write these things on the paper.
6. Fold the paper in half or quarters to fit the heatproof container. Hold the paper and say:
I release this guilt to the universe.
I invite peace and serenity to take its place.
Open my heart to the positive energy of this lesson
And support me as I learn to care for myself freely.
Thank you for your many blessings.
7. Touch the corner of the paper to the flame of the candle. When the paper catches, place it in the heatproof container and allow it to burn to ash. Allow the incense and candle to burn out.
8. Later, take the ash of the paper and either dispose of it under running water outdoors, or allow the wind to take it.