Some days, it’s difficult to be witchy.
The world is too heavy.
There doesn’t seem to be magic in it anymore.
I’ve been sitting over here for the entire day, trying to raise my energetic vibration enough to write my next moon post and get us all ahead of the game.
But when I look at the pain and chaos that is happening in the world today, at riots breaking out across the country, at six planets about to retrograde, when I feel Cancer season quickly approaching with its desire to withdraw into our safe spaces and protect those we love…
I don’t have it in me.
I don’t have it in me to write a thoroughly researched post about astrological ongoings. I don’t have the brain space to organize and sort through multiple planetary interactions.
I feel defeated. Today is an impossible day.
I am incredibly low on spoons.
I wanted to put together a resource for myself that gave me small actions that would bring a little happiness or even a moment of quietude into my heart. Just a pause of healing where I can stop feeling the pain of the world. Something to promote my healing so that I can serve others again. Something to help me feel capable of contributing and educating.
For other spoonies or people out there who are struggling to cope during these crises, I hope this article helps you figure out how to bring some small bit of healing magic into your life.
The Cereal Solution: A No Spoons Approach to Hygge and Comfort
First off, the easiest way to cope with low spoons is to not practice magic at all. Don’t worry about hygge. Don’t worry about making yourself look pretty for Instagram or trying to keep up with everyone else. Don’t worry if you’re not emotionally capable of participating in the protests. You do not have to be everything to everyone. When your spoons are completely depleted, it’s a sign that you’re supposed to rest.
When I was going through a bad depressive episode (the worst one I ever had), I got to the point where I sat on my couch in my bedroom for 7 days straight, staring at the wall. I would get up to pee from time to time and drink a glass of water. But for the most part, I didn’t shower, eat, or leave the apartment for a week.
I sat for a week, and I stared at the wall.
I don’t know what brought me out of it. Maybe hunger finally pulled my monkey brain back into reality. Somehow I dragged myself down the seven flights of stairs (no elevator) to the shop a block away. That in itself was a feat. I think I cried the whole way there. I was quickly overwhelmed with the idea of having to cook something on a burner or that the food would rot if I went back into “potato” mode. But then it dawned on me.
It didn’t need to be refrigerated, which meant that it could sit right next to me on the couch. And yes, I could eat cereal in a bowl with milk. But I could also eat cereal from the box with my bare hand.
Shit, I could lay on the bed with my mouth open and pour cereal in the general direction of my face if I had to.
I then had another revelation.
Fruity Pebbles looked happy. They were the color of the rainbow and my chakras, and they looked like confetti. They might even…make me smile a little bit.
That one little choice helped me begin to heal. I bought the fun cereal that reminded me of my childhood and put a smile on my face. I bought Fruity Pebbles and Chocolate Krave and Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms.
They were supercharged pieces of hygge that kept my belly fueled and made it easier for my exhausted body to care for itself.
The takeaway? First, rest. Detach from the news, feeds, and forums. You can come back to them when your spoons are recharged.
Second, look for opportunities to adapt your routine in small but magical ways. Does dinosaur oatmeal remind you of your childhood, but you’d normally eat plain oatmeal because it’s healthier? Get the dino oatmeal until you feel better.
Actually, get the dino oatmeal all the time. Who doesn’t love that stuff?
Finding A Ritual That Works For You
I want to put a disclaimer here: your magic does not have to look like other people’s magic.
- If you have difficulty standing or walking, it is perfectly acceptable to adapt rituals so that you are sitting or lying down.
- If you have mobility restrictions in your arms or hands, practice magic by setting mental intentions, minimizing steps or the number of ingredients used in a ritual, or adapting with more ergonomic tools.
- If you have difficulty writing, a digital (typed) or spoken grimoire might work better for you. Perhaps you have a friend that could help you collect resources and upload them to your e-reader.
- Speaking of e-readers, they can be a much easier way to access your reference books if holding and carrying heavy books is too difficult. (Quick aside: For people on a budget, this is also a lovely option. There are many free books on Project Gutenburg, and libraries also have digital collections to borrow.)
- If you are non-verbal, cast spells with visualization, intention, or sign language.
- It’s completely fine to use battery-powered candles or candle apps if having an open flame is not going to work for you.
- Keep digital plants instead of real ones if upkeep takes too much energy. The Viridi game is beautiful and lets you “pause” time if you’re not going to be able to visit them regularly.
- You might also keep a digital familiar if caring for animals is not in the cards for you right now.
- If you have smart technology in your home, it may make it easier to cue your candles, lamps, fairy lights, oil diffusers, and music. I know it’s not in everyone’s budget, but I do suggest it if you can swing it!
To give you an example of an adapted ritual: My high-energy full moon ritual involves me going outside (down two flights of stairs), sitting on the ground, lighting a candle, lighting sage and moving it around my body and above my head, writing releases on paper, burning that paper and practicing fire safety, burning sage again, and then sitting in Easy Pose to do a meditation. I then walk back inside, go up two flights of stairs, fill jars with water, and set them in the moonlight to charge.
But an equally powerful and valid ritual may look like this: I’m laying in bed with 1-2 spoons left. I turn on the battery-powered candles I have by clicking one button on a remote. I close my eyes and visualize the things that I want to release. I might play a song on my phone, which is next to me on the bed. Then I click the button to turn the candles off. I do not sit up this entire time. I don’t have to put out jars of moon water because I simply leave a jar of water on my windowsill at all times and top it up after I use some of it.
Your ritual might be even simpler if you use smart technology in your home and can tell it to manage your lights and cue your music.
I’m going to try to organize this article from least-complicated (one-step rituals) to most-complicated. This may not always correspond to spoon usage, depending on your health condition. However, I’ve done my best to keep the easiest and most basic things at the top and the more complicated things below.
- Light a candle. It can be battery-powered or on an app on your phone. If you have the energy to burn and maintain a real candle, have it work double-duty by choosing candles with certain scents. To make your life easier, leave a candle on your bedside table with the lid off and the lighter next to it.
- Turn on your oil diffuser if you have one. Following the same trend as candles/incense, an oil diffuser helps to scent cleanse your space. Not only does it make it smell amazing, but it also means there is no open flame to worry about!
- Crystal work. Keep your favorite crystals on your bedside table. If you’re able, pick one up and hold it or set it on your chest.
- Turn on your energy-boosting playlists. While it will take some spoons to create your playlist, this is an easy option once it’s made. Simply turn it on or ask your smart technology to turn it on for you. Just enjoy vibing with that energy!
- Meditate. You can even do this lying down in bed! Pay attention to your breathing or practice visualization.
- Practice dream magic! This can be especially nice to do on days when you’re super low energy or struggling with depression. “I just want to go back to bed” turns into “I will go back to bed and practice my psychic intuition at the same time.” It’s nice.
- Draw a sigil or speak a phrase to set an intention.
- Charge water. One of the easiest forms of magic is charging water. Usually we do this at certain moon phases (new and full moon), but you can also make sun water, storm water, snow water, eclipse water, retrograde water (I can see this happening in the next month or so when six planets are retrograde!), or set crystals next to your jar of water to give it specific properties.
- If you have a sunny window where you charge your water, you might also be interested in creating tinctures and infusions. They are fairly simple projects. Just put herbs or flowers into oil or alcohol and ignore for a length of time. This might mean that you’re able to start them on high-spoon days and leave them until you have energy to deal with them again. I have yet to hear of a tincture that was ruined by ignoring it too long. (Again be sure that your tinctures and infusions are safe to consume. There are many wonderful herbal resources out there that can guide you safely.)
- Charge crystals. Place your crystal in the moonlight (if it’s a light-safe crystal), in a bowl of salt, or next to your charging cell phone to help raise its energy.
- Type emoji spells on your phone, and text them to yourself! These can be especially fun to do with specific intentions in mind! There are so many emoji options, so you can get creative with them. I’ve even made whole emoji scenes or stories using multiple lines in a text message.
- Anoint things with oil. Using safe oils, anoint yourself, your crystals, your bedside table, your medication bottles, or whatever feels right. Your oils could be essential oils, infusions, or sun/moon charged. If you have hand pain, you might be able to use a rollerball container with the lid off, since oil doesn’t really evaporate! Just pick it up and roll it on.
- Read a book. Kind of a two-step option here, since you have to track down your book and then use the brain space to read it. Simply learning something new or going to a different imaginary world can help revitalize you and take your mind off of your current problems.
- The same goes for listening to a podcast.
- Use a Dry-Erase marker to draw sigils and intentions on your mirrors. This is especially nice for two reasons. If you’re a secret witch, you’re able to clean them off when company comes. And you’re also able to switch them out seasonally or if circumstances in the world change!
- Open a window (and close it later) to let clean air purify your space. Not only is this energetically cleansing, but it also helps on the physical plane to give you a literal breath of fresh air. If you’ve been inside for a long time, the air in your home and bedroom probably needs a little refresh.
- Hang chimes throughout your room. (Windchimes or bells work well!) Either run your hand through them or attach a string from the clapper to your bed and pull on it when you want to clean your space.
- Burn incense. I know it seems simple, but I put this one in the three-step category. You may need to pull the incense stick from a box or bowl before setting it on your incense burner and then lighting it. It also uses more brainpower to watch and maintain it.
- If you’re cooking food for yourself, remember that you can sprinkle salt on your food to “cleanse” it. You could even leave the salt out on your windowsill to charge during the moon cycles!
- Buy yourself flowers or cut flowers from your garden that have specific meanings or colors. You can even hang them to dry so that you can enjoy them for longer.
- Do a tarot reading or play with your tarot cards. There are also tarot decks if you’re finding it difficult to access your deck or handle your cards properly.
Low-Energy, Multi-Step Magic: Get Yourself To A Bathtub
If you have the physical energy for it, I always recommend taking a bath.
For anyone, even if you don’t practice magic, bath time is incredibly healing. It’s a moment to linger and savor, a perfectly acceptable space in which we are allowed to sit as long as we want. If you struggle with depression like me, having a “productive task” to do can seriously lift your spirits. It’s relaxing for high anxiety days, fills up a huge chunk of time for depressive days, and you come out clean on top of it. And if you’re a spoonie going through a lot of pain, it might help soothe your tired muscles.
If you’re into herbalism or witchcraft, you might wish to throw special beneficial herbs into the tub. Some people even make herbal bath bombs to cast certain spells. The use of herbs in the tub can range from very complicated, homemade bath bombs made under certain moons…to simply the use of lavender, which has traditionally used to calm and relax the spirit.
If you have the energy, you might also like to drink herbal teas that help to recharge you.
(OBVIOUSLY ensure that you are drinking tea from safe herbs! The types of herbs that you can topically use are NOT always the types of herbs that you can ingest. If using essential oils, do not consume them. They might work fine on your skin, but they are not to be eaten!)
High-Energy, Multi-Step Magic: Cleanse, Cleanse, Cleanse
This last option is definitely more physically intensive, and I apologize in advance if this is not applicable to some spoonie witches out there. Since my symptoms are usually more mentally-exhausting and doing bodywork helps me process, cleaning is often a comforting task for me. For others, this might be a task that you ask a friend or family member to help you with, or you may choose to invest some money in a cleaner to help do a deep clean once a month. (Bonus points if you have them come near the full moon to move old energy out!)
The first step is to wash your sheets and put on clean sheets. If you can, try to have at least two sets of sheets so that you can put the clean set on immediately when your energy is still high. Clearing out the bad-energy sheets and applying smelly-good sheets is soothing to me when I have to spend a large part of my day in bed.
You can also clean old bad energy by sweeping or vacuuming. If you have a lot of energy, you can even enchant that yummy stuff that you sprinkle on the carpet before vacuuming. You know what I’m talking about. Carpet fairy sprinkles. That stuff.
If you’re feeling very high-energy or have a strong friend over, see if they can’t help you rotate or flip your mattress!
Take Care of Yourself
Most important of all: take care of yourself. Be gentle. Listen to your symptoms, and offer kindness to yourself during difficult times.
You cannot support others or fill another person’s cup if your well is empty.
On days when we’re not able to help others like we want to, it is easy to berate oneself. It’s easy to feel pressured or guilted into action when we are not ready.
But it is okay if we’re not able to march in support with the Black Lives Matter movement.
If you want to be involved, know that there are other ways to help out. Reaching out to one’s friends that are active in the movement, donating to organizations that need our help or to businesses that were destroyed during riots, writing letters or calling our representatives, voting, educating oneself or lending books to others so that they can educate themselves on the Black Lives Matter movement, or explaining the situation to friends and family members that may not understand are all valid forms of support.
I know some may sneer at that, and I hope I don’t step on toes. Sometimes, for me, it takes all of my energy to have a peaceful and positive discussion with a family member. But sometimes, that conversation is the point where it finally clicks. One more ally. One more person who will speak up against discrimination and injustice.
I hope this is helpful for some of you. It may end up just being a resource that only I use. A coping mechanism to help me heal and fill my well. A self-care guide to help me feel in tune with my energy and clear my brain.
I want to set the intention that there is still beauty in the world. That we can recharge and keep improving things. That we can take one-step actions to make it a little bit better. That there won’t be so much hatred. That with grassroots efforts in the people close to us, we can all help educate and spread love, not hate.
I hope you’re all hanging in there.
Love to you all.
What Is The Spoon Theory?
For those of you who don’t know, the Spoon Theory was created by Christine Miserando to describe the day-to-day experience of someone with chronic illness.
All people have “spoons” or units of energy that we use to get things done. Most high-functioning people have a ridiculous amount of spoons. Their day might look something like this:
Getting out of bed takes 1 spoon. Organizing and taking your medicines on time takes 1 spoon. Taking a shower might be 1 spoon unless you raise your arms above your head to wash your hair. If you do, take away another spoon. It starts out pretty simple. Our normal morning routine so far used up 4 spoons, and we give up another 3 spoons to get dressed and do our hair and makeup.
Driving to and from work takes 2 spoons. Work takes 4 spoons, as does your hot yoga class that evening and the quick stop at the store. We then end our day taking an after-yoga shower (2 spoons), making dinner (3 spoons), watching TV (1 spoon), and then canoodling with our partner (3 spoons). We might even do some spellcasting (2 spoons) before bed.
Day’s spoon total: 32 spoons. And you’re not even really that tired.
Now imagine that day lived out as someone with a chronic illness that makes standing difficult and use of hands incredibly painful. They only have 10 spoons to use, and they already lost 1 because they didn’t sleep well the night before.
You might choose to get out of bed, take your medicines, and get dressed (3 spoons). You can drive to and from work (2 spoons) and work all day (4 spoons). That’s it. You’re out of spoons. You are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. There is no more energy left for anything. No spoons left to cook dinner with, and definitely no spoons to go grocery shopping.