Self-care is about a lot more than bubble baths. Even when the action is as minor as taking half a day off for mental health, caring for yourself is a small, one-person, feminist rebellion. Many people—women especially—try to justify self-care as a way of replenishing energy so they are available to give more of themselves to other people. Having more energy to spread love and kindness is a wonderful side effect of self-care, but it is not the purpose. You do not need an excuse to take care of yourself.
Your self-care is about you
For centuries, the role of women, especially women of color, has been to take care of others. Women have been raised for generations to behave as wives, mothers, and caregivers first. Not only are we expected to do all of this service and emotional labor, but we are expected to do it for free. And though women are culturally expected to read and process other people’s emotions more readily than men are, our own
pain and emotional needs are not taken seriously. The idea of women caring for themselves (and only for themselves) in an effective way is a very new concept. When you take the time to care for yourself, you acknowledge the inherent value of your energy, your pain, your emotions, and your body. You acknowledge that you have a self
, a beingness outside of what you do for others. You preserve and develop that self by caring for you.
Little by little, the world can change because you value and care for yourself. As you stay mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy, you become more authentic. You learn to appreciate yourself more and demand the time, money, and love you deserve. Other people—men and
womxn, including trans and gender-nonconforming folx—will see your hard work and feel inspired to do more for their own self-care. Person by person, the change spreads. This is how self-care stretches beyond indulgence and even self-preservation to become political and feminist—a part of the world’s greater healing. Okay, but why witchcraft?
Witches are wise in the ways of self-care. The craft of the wise is full of healing remedies for body, mind, and spirit. In witchcraft, there is reverence for the divine feminine and for the divine within everyone. Witches have respect for the feminine, for the divine masculine, for girls and women of all ages, and for the natural world. All of this is integral to the way you care for yourself as a divine spark in a larger web of interconnected life.Do I have to be Wiccan?
The community of people who practice magic is large and diverse. Even within the popular religion of Wicca, there are different traditions. Other spiritual and magical paths include, but are not limited to, Santeria, hoodoo, Druidry, eclectic paganism, ceremonial magic, chaos magic, and various forms of traditional witchcraft. Some magical practitioners have relationships to gods and/or goddesses and others do not. These spells are not designed for any particular spiritual or magical path; what they have in common is their intent for self-care.What is magic?
A creative director is branding a new sneaker company. He gives the business a name, chooses a color palette, and has a logo designed, all for the specific, intended effect of attracting a young audience. He chooses a special date for the launch and invites the right influential people to support the business. Together with his team, he develops advertisements that tell a story about the incomparable speed, comfort, and coolness of the company’s shoes. When the branding campaign is a success, the company sees profits immediately.
A witch is looking for love. She chooses colors and symbols for the spell that will produce the specific, intended effect of finding love. She chooses the right date for her spellwork based on the movements of the moon and invites the right influential spirits to help support her intention. She develops a story about the qualities her ideal partner will possess and what the relationship will look like. The spell is a success: the witch meets someone who has the qualities she’s looking for.
Which of them used magic to get what they wanted?
Magic is the effect of your will on the world, aided by the use of the symbolic. If you’re willing to suspend disbelief and work your own will on the world, magic is yours for the taking. When used properly, magic becomes a spiritual campaign for your own success and happiness. It is the work of your focused intention, but it also reaches beyond you.
There are other forces at work besides your will. Some will help you and some will harm you if you aren’t careful. These forces include spirits such as angels, demons, saints, fairies, ghosts, and gods. It’s important to remember that you are interacting with the unseen world and to protect yourself accordingly. Some of the spells in this book call on specific goddesses, gods, and planets, but most don’t. You may adapt spells according to your spiritual tradition, including the deities and spirits you feel called into relationship with.
It’s also important to remember that while magic can aid you in your endeavors, it does not do everything for you. You are still responsible for your decisions in everyday life. Casting a psychic shield or carrying a talisman, for example, does not empower you to seek out dangerous situations. Protective magic increases the power of your personal force field to help ward danger away. It does not make you invincible. Always take basic precautions for your safety regardless of the magic you’re using.
The ingredients of magic are all around you. They’re in your spice cabinet, your garden, your jewelry, the colors you wear, and the perfume you like. Selecting specific ingredients, and putting them together with intention, is what witches call spellwork. It brings the magic within you and the magic around you into harmony, producing remarkable results.
Copyright © 2019 by Potter Gift. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.