Magical Basics - Self-Care and Magic

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

Magical Basics
Self-Care and Magic

The main focus of this book is not to teach the basics of magical practice. However, in the interest of giving everyone a level playing field, what follows are some bare-bones foundational techniques that will be called on in this book.

For a more in-depth look at magical techniques, please see my books Power Spellcraft for Life and Solitary Wicca for Life.

Center and Ground

This is an essential magical technique that ties especially well into self-care. It’s a practice that can calm agitated personal energy, replenish low personal energy, and create a sense of belonging, connection, and reassurance.

Center and Ground

This is the first thing you should do before engaging in any kind of magical work, to ensure that you don’t drain your personal energy during the working.

What to Do:

1. Close your eyes and take three slow breaths.

2. Visualize a light in the core of your body. What you consider your body’s core is up to you; some people locate it around the heart, others, the solar plexus or lower in the abdomen. What’s important is that it makes sense to you as the location of your core.

3. Visualize a tendril of light growing down from your core toward the ground. See it reach down through the surface, deep into the earth’s core. Visualize your tendril of energy meeting the energy of the earth. Draw some of the earth’s energy up that tendril as if it were a straw, bringing it up into your body. Let the energy of the earth fill you.

4. If you are tired or low on energy, you can use this earth energy to replenish or rebalance yourself.

5. If you are jumpy or buzzing with extra energy that’s making you jittery or flighty, then once you have connected your energy to that of the earth, visualize some of your personal energy bleeding off to be absorbed by the earth.

This process can be easier to visualize if you imagine the energy of the earth to be a different color from your personal energy.


A magic circle is an energy barrier created to delineate a sacred space in which to worship, a container created to protect what is inside or to keep unwanted energy out, and provides a way to collect focused energy while it is raised before that energy is released toward a goal. You might not always need a circle, but how to cast one is a good technique to know because the circle can also function as a personal shield to ward off negative energy.

Casting a Circle

Here is how to cast and take down a magic circle.

What to Do:

1. Center and ground.

2. Draw energy up from the earth into your core and let it flow down the arm of your dominant hand.

3. Imagine the earth energy flowing out of your fingers. Point your hand to the side and either turn slowly in place or walk around the perimeter of your space, visualizing the energy flowing out like a ribbon to surround your working area. Finish the circle by visualizing the ribbon of energy meeting the other end you started with.

4. Once the ring of energy is complete, visualize the energy stretching up to form walls, then continuing into a dome over your head. Visualize a similar hemisphere under you, so that the energy surrounds you like a full sphere.

5. When your work is complete, visualize this in reverse. See the half spheres above and below you recede back into the simple ribbon of energy circled around you. Then point your hand at where the circle began and ended and trace it in reverse, imagining the energy flowing back to your hand and up your arm to your core. Make sure to allow it to flow past your core and down your connection to the earth to allow it to rejoin the earth energy it came from.

Sacred Space

Sacred space is space devoted to your best self. A magical circle created to set apart a bit of the everyday world is one form of temporary sacred space, but sacred space can also be made with intention in other ways. This is probably the technique that you will use most often in pursuit of self-care.

Methods of creating sacred space can include:

♦ Lighting a candle and incense dedicated to that purpose.

♦ Sprinkling blessed water (made by adding a pinch of salt to a cup of water) around an area.

♦ Strewing herbs.

♦ Blessing an area with all four elements (earth, air, fire, and water). A simple way to do this is to use incense, which represents fire and air, and blessed water, which represents earth and water.

Cleansing/Purifying Objects

Before you use items in magic, it’s always a good idea to cleanse their energy. Energy tends to collect on objects, especially objects that are handled by people. You may have programmed some items to do specific energy work, like absorb negativity or protect or draw something toward yourself. At the end of their purpose, it’s a good idea to run them through a magical wash to get it clean for the next time you need it.

Don’t worry; cleansing something won’t remove an item’s innate energy. In other words, you don’t need to worry about wiping away clear quartz’s ability to supply you with energy or obsidian’s ability to protect you from negativity.

Here are a few different ways to cleanse something magically:

♦ Place the item in sunlight or moonlight for about 24 hours. Put a small mirror underneath it to increase the efficiency of the purification.

♦ Place the item in a container of salt. Warning: don’t do this with metal items, as they can corrode. This works best with stones and crystals.

♦ Place the item in a dish of sand or earth and cover it lightly. Wrap the item in a light cloth first, if you like.

♦ Pass the item through smoke of sandalwood, frankincense, or myrrh incense. (See Chapter 5 for incense recipes.)

♦ Hold the item in your hands, or hold your hands above it with the palms down. Center and ground, then draw up energy from the earth. Imagine it flowing down to your hands and surrounding the object. Say, “With this energy I cleanse you; with this energy you are cleared of all external energy. May it be so.


Mindfulness is not a technique so much as an important aspect of magical practice. Mindfulness is being in the moment, allowing whatever task you’re performing to have the whole of your attention in a relaxed fashion, so that you are fully open to the experience.

Mindfulness is important in magic because you are tied to your environment, which impacts you. Being aware of everything is critical to being able to pick and choose what you want to draw on in your magical work. It’s also important because you need to be able to differentiate between good and bad (or supportive and unsupportive) energy.

Reaching out and being able to sense what is around you takes a curious blend of concentration and release. Check out the awareness and sensory exercises in Chapter 2 to work on practicing mindfulness.