“I’m touched by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful — collecting these shards of spirituality — that we may be helping to bring about a healing.” — Leonard Nimoy
We’ve all undergone some form of trauma peppered throughout our formative years that have left us just a bit broken as adults. Though not all of us are honest or aware of how deep that trauma runs and the shape it takes in our everyday life and I used to be exactly like that.
I’ve experienced all sorts of childhood trauma, from corporal punishment being the discipline of choice by my parents, molestation from family friends, caustic teachers, teasing from my peers about my weight and any other innocuous things, and religious conditioning that was more damaging than it was soothing.
I’ve battled with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager but I still remained in denial about how that trauma was bearing fruit in my life.
Like many, I suffered in silence. In fact, when I was diagnosed with anxiety by a doctor his advice to me was to stop worrying, and he further implied that my youth should translate to not having anything to be anxious about.
It was hard. I turned everything inward, built vanishing cabinets within my psyche to sequester the pain of all of the trauma. I built a Department of Mysteries within my mind that held the cabinet and then locked the door.
Any time a traumatic event occurred in adulthood I would fill that cache behind that door deep within me. But I didn’t take into account that doors have spaces around their perimeter and trauma can sublimate into vapor and seep out slowly, by way of diffusion until it seeps into everything.
Around 25 things began to change. The door rattled, and more of that darkness was finding its way out. I binged drank heavily, began experimenting with drugs more and continued to ignore everything that I was feeling. I was drowning.
We can all relate to these cycles of sadness when an event triggers an unpacked trauma and sends us into free fall. That has happened to me a few times over the course of my adult life. Until I began to actively try to resolve the issues I was unable to face in the past. I’ve never really been in a financial position to afford a therapist.
So I sought an alternative to healing myself.
I’m a self-proclaimed witch. Like most women in my generation, it started with watching the cult classic The Craft. Sure there were other movies that came before but none like The Craft that made us think we too could be blessed with the power. And while I don’t do glamour spells to change my hair color, or love spells to get a guy to fall in love with me, I do use witchcraft to help me unravel years of trauma.
And here’s how I do it. I use the power of ritual.
“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” — Tori Amos
Best Witchy Woo Woo Practices for Self-Healing
1. Releasing on the Full Moon
It is natural for a witch to follow the ebb and flow cycles of the moon. Many cultures in the past honored the natural cycles of the moon and women were the most in tune with her energy. As the moon waxes and wanes, our own emotional inner world responds in kind. I’ve learned to use this cycle to release what no longer serves me in my current cycle of life.
On the night of the full moon, I complete a Ritual of Releasing. This can be anything that I feel no longer lends to my growth as an individual. They include but are not limited to ways of thinking, attitudes, behaviors, habits, and desires that no longer align with who I want to be, etc. At the beginning of my journey, my ritual was simple. I would write a list of 5–10 things that I wanted to release on a sheet of paper. Then I would read them out loud and affirm that I am ready to release them. To seal this symbolic release I would burn the paper.
I know what you are thinking, that sounds like a simple placebo effect and can’t possibly be beneficial. But actually, you can be surprised how well a placebo can work when employed correctly and with great determination. Now my Full Moon Ritual has evolved to include the Tarot. I began reading Tarot in 2014. I use a book called ‘Get a Life: How to Relieve Past-Life Karma through the Tarot’, and it has remarkably changed my releasing.
Through this ritualistic act, I’ve forced myself to be accountable for the very darkest aspects of myself, confront them, acknowledge them and then release them. As the luminary wanes subsequent the Full Moon leading up to the New Moon, I can take real action in ensuring I’m making strides to not allow those things to affect me any longer.
2. Active Manifestation on the New Moon
On the New Moon, I use the energy to manifest what I want in my life. It’s more or less goal setting for witches and spiritual people. You set the goals you wish to achieve and write them out. I like to write them in my Book of Mirrors (my spiritual account journal) and on a separate sheet of paper for burning.
I go further sometime by anointing a candle for a specific purpose that is the overarching theme of my list to give my manifestation added power. Like on my release, I read the list out loud, speak some words of power about my desires being made manifest and then I burn it. The idea is that as the moon waxes leading up to the full moon your desires should begin to come to fruition.
Naturally, setting goals are only the first step. You then have to carry out actions to ensure what you’ve set actually manifest in your life. So manifesting requires action.
Carl Jung stated, “The shadow to be the unknown dark side of the personality. According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.”
3. Shadow Work and Spiritual Journaling
When doing shadow work, a big part of the journey is recognizing those hot button issues which seem to consistently raise your blood pressure or make you feel depressed, or like you’re drowning. Identifying those things gives you the power to begin working at the root of them. You can work to understand where certain anxiety-driven fears, complexes or negative behaviors stem from. Comprehending their genesis leads you to see why they hold so much power over your life now and how they keep causing trouble for you.
To do this. I created another ritual that I carry out before and after I do my shadow work. I designated a black candle, carved specific runes of release and cleansing, dressed it in herbs for cleansing like hyssop, rosemary, and yarrow, and anointed it with cedar oil for cleansing. I say a few words and light the candle and begin with smudging myself and the area with sage followed by a quick meditation to ground myself. Then I follow the journal prompt from the list I have specifically for Shadow Work. I conclude with a release and smudge myself to cleanse the negativity I just released on paper.
4. Spiritual Cleansing Baths for Self-Care
The element of water is seen as a medium of cleansing and recharging. Whenever I feel a heaviness on myself I like to do a ritualistic spiritual cleansing bath. I usually use 5–7 cleansing herbs steeped to make a strong tea-like concoction, essential and conditioning oils for cleansing, and candles. I soak, visualizing myself releasing all the negativity surrounding me, and then I push the water away from my skin in a downward motion to symbolize washing it all away. Afterward, I smell divine and I feel so much more at peace within and without.
In the End
“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” — Hippocrates
I continue to struggle daily and I know my journey to healing will most likely continue through the rest of my life. But I actively am trying to uproot years of burying my innermost hurt. Things still happen to me that throws my life back into flux and while sometimes I give into the darkness, I do find ways to pull myself back again. Witchcraft has allowed me to do that in a relatively easy way that is much more cost effective than seeking a psychologist.
While I am a big advocate for seeking Therapy I also know that it isn’t always the easiest financially. There are ways that you can begin a journey of healing all on your own, and my methods don’t have to be what works for you, the take away here is to go within and confront your inner hurt and then work to pull it out by the root. I wish you luck on your own healing journey.