Spiritual Self-Care - Spiritual Self-Care

The Witch's Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit - Arin Murphy-Hiscock 2018

Spiritual Self-Care
Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care is the process of nurturing our search for meaning in life, usually by interacting with some form of power or energy greater than our own. While many recognize that spirituality is an aspect of their lives, not as many people understand that their spiritual life and relationship with the Divine or whatever they hold sacred needs tending, just as relationships between people do. This chapter explores methods through which you can engage in spiritual self-care, exploring creativity, celebration of the Divine, and your connection to the elements around you.

Spiritual Self-Care

Your spiritual life is also a source of self-care. Touching the Divine, communing with the universe at large, can be a very comforting thing that refills your metaphorical cup. It can soothe, energize, inspire, and uplift you, depending on what you need…or what the universe thinks you need.

If you participate in an organized religion, you likely have the kind of spiritual support that naturally comes with a group of people who meet regularly and follow a prescribed set of rituals within the context of a particular calendar. If you follow a personal spiritual path, however, where your spirituality evolves based on your individual experiences with the Divine, then you carry a lot more responsibility for the direction your spirituality takes. This kind of spiritual path depends on frequent reflection and listening to intuition in order to keep it functioning in a fulfilling way.

Spirituality should be joyful and celebratory. If you’re feeling like something’s lacking, something’s not quite fitting right, or you’re miserable within your spiritual practice, then you’re doing something wrong and definitely need to reevaluate your spiritual practice in order to make it as rewarding as possible.


If you follow a nature-based alternative spiritual path, chances are good you might consider your path as being under the pagan (or neo-pagan) umbrella. While you don’t have to be pagan to practice magic, a large number of magic practitioners do self-identify as pagan, and that’s what this section is about.

Do you identify as a follower of a monotheistic religion, or an established alternative path with clearly specified deity or deities associated with it, or perhaps powerful entities such as saints, bodhisattvas, or angels? Go ahead and call on them to bless and/or lend support to your work.

A relationship with some aspect of the Divine, be it a specific godform or an abstract, can be deeply rewarding. Putting a face or name to the magical, divine power that animates the universe can be very therapeutic and make your relationship with the universe at large much easier.

Worship is part of it, but it isn’t self-subjugation; it’s a joyful celebration of the deity. It’s celebrating the rich, complex relationship you can develop with a deity via communication, meditation, aligning yourself with the deity’s values and associated areas of power.

A relationship with a deity isn’t very different from relationships with other human beings or sentient creatures. It takes time, attention, and awareness. And like the more familiar kind of relationships, sometimes we’re swept away by an instant connection, but sometimes it takes a while to really get to know someone.

It’s important to know that a relationship with a deity may not last a lifetime. There may come a time when your connection to a specific deity fades and they release you. There may be a new deity that it is time for you to work with. The trick is making sure that the relationship has proper closure and is not just wilting from a lack of effort on your part.

If you feel called by deities or drawn to them in some way, but you feel uncomfortable with them, it is perfectly all right to thank them and say no, politely and respectfully. Try researching associated deities or similar deities from other cultures. You may find a parallel deity clicks for you.

Getting to know deities can be done through meditation, reading about them, or familiarizing yourself with their areas of association. For example, is the deity you’re drawn to a harvest deity? Try working with a garden for a while! Or you might wish to work on a project or craft that honors them. In general, just talk to them. Try adding a brief prayer in the morning or evening to acknowledge their presence in your life (as simple as “Bright Lord, help me get through my day with a smile” or “Lady of the Moon, thank you for my many blessings this day”).

Aside from sources of natural energy people draw on in magic (such as crystals and stones, flowers and herbs, elemental energies, and more), one source of energy people often draw upon is that of deities, or some form of the Divine. This brings folk magic into the realm of religious magic. You don’t have to practice one or the other exclusively.

Working with divine energy is not like plugging something into an equation, however. It’s dependent on your personal relationship with the deity in question. It would be rude to invoke a deity to lend their aid to a spell or ritual if you’d never bothered to introduce yourself or cultivate some sort of relationship between the two of you, wouldn’t it? A relationship with a deity should always be founded on deep respect.

If you work with generic godforms, such as God and Goddess or Lord and Lady, you might have a bit more leeway. Generic godforms are often seen as all-encompassing, containing multitudes of various expressions of the male or female aspect of the Divine. It’s polite to declare yourself to the godforms, and a personal relationship is encouraged. If you are considering working or invoking a particular deity, etiquette calls for a specific introduction at the barest minimum before invoking them (remember, respect is the foundation of a good relationship). Research the deity and find out about its culture or origin, what its likes and dislikes are, what its areas of association are in order to become as familiar with them as possible.

For self-care magic, read up on deities associated with such areas as hearth and home, health management, and protection. Here are some examples:

♦ Apollo (Greek): healing, enlightenment, reason

♦ Brigid (Celtic): hearth, healing

♦ Demeter (Greek): abundance, cycles, household

♦ Durga (Hindu): protection, strength

♦ Eir (Norse): healing

♦ Frigga (Norse): hearth and household, protection

♦ Idunn (Norse): longevity, good health

♦ Isis (Egyptian): healing, protection

♦ Kuan Yin (Buddhist): compassion, mercy, health

♦ Minerva (Roman): wisdom, strategy


Animal energies can also be invoked or called on to help power spells or enhance rituals. If you have a particular animal that you feel drawn to or connected with, that may be an animal spirit that functions as a spiritual guardian for you. Sometimes you deliberately invoke a specific animal in a spell because of its magical associations with your goal, and you request that the animal lend its energy to help you because you want to learn from its energy and the lessons it can teach you. In this case, the animal is a spiritual teacher.

Like deities, it’s important to know that relationships with animal spirits may not last a lifetime. There may come a time when your connection to a specific animal fades and they release you (or you release them). Thank them for their time and lessons.

Animals associated with serenity, harmony, calm, health, protection, and other areas associated with self-care include:

♦ Bear: conservation of energy, nurturing

♦ Crane: patience, healing, balance

♦ Deer: family, kindness, peace

♦ Dove: peace, calm

♦ Dragonfly: harmony, change

♦ Fox: avoiding complications, discretion, staying in background

♦ Hummingbird: joy, hope

♦ Moth: transformation

♦ Otter: joy, play

♦ Owl: wisdom, insight, honesty with yourself

♦ Squirrel: resourcefulness, caution, balance

♦ Swan: transitions, peace, spiritual evolution

Animal Invocation/Honoring Ritual

Sometimes to support your self-care, you might want to invite the spirit of a certain animal to help you out. If you are drawn to an animal that isn’t generally associated with an energy related to self-care, research its behavior and habitat and life cycle. You may discover something that resonates with an aspect of self-care you’re looking for.

This ritual calls for a representation. It can be a small figurine, a postcard, even a photo printed from the Internet. To further support the energy relationship you’re aiming to create, you might collect other things that remind you of the animal or that depict it in some way. Consider making a little shrine somewhere, perhaps.

What You Need:

♦ A representation of the animal you wish to call on

♦ Small dish of fresh water

What to Do:

1. Center and ground.

2. Visualize the animal standing before you. Say:

[Name of animal], I call to you.

I ask that you lend me your energy

That I may live a better life,

Cared for, safe, and supported.

In token of this request,

I offer you this fresh water,

Symbolic of life, transformation, and purification.


Bless me with your gifts.

So may it be.

3. Hold the representation of the animal in your hands and visualize the animal you imagine before you flowing into the representation. Place it behind the bowl of water.

4. A day later, pour out the water (gift it to a plant!) and place the animal representation somewhere that you will see it often and be reminded of the animal’s energy.


If you’re working with deities, animals, or other spirits, and asking them for aid, the concept of an exchange is important. You’re not paying them for their work; an offering is a token of your appreciation. It could be a pretty rock or flower or a small cup of milk, honey, or alcohol left outside or on your work space. It might be a cookie. Burning a candle or incense in honor of whoever has helped you is also common. If you work with a specific animal a lot, perhaps donating money to a rescue organization or wildlife preserve that focuses on the animal itself or its habitat would be appropriate.

What do you do with food or drink after you’ve made an offering? General theory has it that the essence or energy of the offering is absorbed by the entity, and you can dispose of the physical remains the next day.

Spiritual Community

You may not belong to an established spiritual community that offers you spiritual support, no matter what your chosen path is. That’s not unusual in this day and age. What you can do is find a community of like-minded individuals that support healthy self-care in other ways, who respect your spiritual path (whatever that may be) even if they don’t walk it with you.

Try looking on websites like www.meetup.com, searching for local groups on Facebook, or joining a few different ones that each intersect with one of your interests.