The Witch's Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit - Arin Murphy-Hiscock 2018
Magical Techniques for Self-Care
Self-Care and Magic
This book proposes a variety of magical techniques to use in your practice of self-care. Most of them are easy and accessible, and others ask for minor purchases of herbs or stones. Stones don’t need to be huge; even a small stone possesses natural energy that you can draw on to help support your own. Most of the herbs can be found in a grocery store. Some can be used in oil form. Essential oils may seem expensive, but they are concentrated and last a long time with proper storage away from light. Here are some of the magical techniques you will explore throughout this book.
Were you called out for daydreaming or having an overactive imagination as a child? Creative visualization is a technique that uses your powers of imagination and concentration to create an image of the reality you’re working for. It’s more focused than daydreaming and requires you to create what you’re visualizing with care. Essentially, by visualizing a potential situation and lending it energy, you’re fueling it and giving it more power.
Creative visualization also works in a negative way. This is why you need to catch yourself in the act if your mind goes off on a tangent imagining something terrible. You don’t want to give a negative outcome any more power or fuel than it already possesses.
Meditation offers your mind a break by allowing it to disengage from the ongoing commotion of the world around you. It has physical benefits, such as slowing heart rate and lowering blood pressure. Mentally, it improves concentration and counters stress, depression, and anxiety, as well as fighting recursive negative thinking. Emotionally, meditation encourages self-acceptance and optimism. Spiritually, it fosters calm, serenity, and a sense of peace and harmony with the universe.
The types of meditation explored in this book include mindfulness meditation and breathing meditation, both very simple practices that encourage self-care.
Breathing exercises allow you to pay attention to what is otherwise an autonomous function. For an autonomous function, it’s impressive how much improvement you can realize with a bit of attention to the process!
By taking control of your breathing, you can affect the depth and rhythm of your intake and release of oxygen. In turn, that can benefit your brain function, your heart rate, the health of your body in general, and more. Breathing exercises can also do double duty as meditation.
What’s the difference between herbal magic and herbalism? Herbalism works on a medicinal level. Magic works with the energies of the plant. The two are not mutually exclusive. For example, there are tea recipes in this book that incorporate both herbal magic and medicinal herbalism. Mainly, however, the energies of flowers, shrubs, herbs, and trees are used to support and encourage self-care magically as opposed to medicinally for the physical body.
Herbal magic can be used in aromatherapy, incense, oils, potpourri, sachets, powders, charms, and as a supportive magical technique for other kinds of magic.
Apart from candles providing an excellent way to create a welcoming atmosphere, candle magic is simple and serene. It can be as simple as lighting a candle and enjoying the beauty of the flame and the scent, or it can be more complicated, involving carving words into the candle or drilling holes in the wax, which you then fill with herbs and/or oils. Candles provide an easy way to engage in self-care; you don’t need to invest in expensive ones, although seeking out the cheapest options often means you might end up with poorly made candles that burn unevenly, smoke, and leave messy black soot on the walls.
You can also purchase your own ingredients and supplies and enjoy rolling, dipping, or pouring your own candles, which allows you to add powdered dried herbs and oils to the candles as they are being made.
Here are some tips for candles:
♦ Buy a box of any size of Mason jars (or grab them when you see them at thrift stores) and use them as candleholders, either for tea lights or pillars. Tie a bit of ribbon or raffia around each jar for rustic charm. (Make sure the ribbon or raffia isn’t too close to the top of the jar so it’s safe from the flame.) Swap the colors of ribbons or raffia as the seasons change, if you like.
♦ Grease the inside of the bottom of the jar with petroleum jelly or olive oil to help prevent the candle from sticking to the bottom once it has finished burning.
♦ Always use a proper candle snuffer to put out the flame instead of trying to blow the flame out to avoid spattering wax.
♦ Look for soy candles or ones with a high percentage of beeswax. Not only do they burn more cleanly, they also release fewer harmful chemicals into the air and are likely to be made under better working conditions.
♦ Practice sensible fire safety around candles. Don’t leave them unattended, and make sure there is nothing flammable around them.
Crystal and Gem Magic
Like candles, crystals and other stones can be a passive part of your self-care, or they can take a more active part if you charge or program them to direct their energies toward a specific purpose. Crystals and stones are terrific little batteries with native energy that you can access easily. They’re generally small enough to slip into a pocket or bag, or you can find jewelry set with stones that align with your desired goal. Stones are reusable, too; give them a good cleansing (see the instructions for cleansing/purifying later in this chapter), and they’re good to go again.