Practically Practical - “Love Is In The Air”

By Athena


There are several holidays and holy days in the month of February, but the ones most

Well known have themes of love and light.  We have the American Groundhog Day on the 2nd, which has to do with calculating the length of the dark, cold, winter season (also known as when the heck Spring will get here!), and the promise of light and warmth with the seemingly far off spring.  This coincidentally (or not!) is the same day (give or take one) that the pagan sabbat of Imbolc (Imbolg, Oimelc, Candlemas) is celebrated, which is a time to celebrate the coming of the warmer, longer days, preparing for the first planting of the crops, and of course, fertility and love.




Being a major theme for this month, it is a time to declare new (and sometimes secret) loves, and rekindle existing/old ones.  This is also a perfect time to pamper and love yourself!   Teaching to love one’s self is one of the most difficult tasks you can undertake.  It means acknowledging your positives and imperfections, and loving yourself not in spite of them, but BECAUSE of them!  All of your habits, your likes, dislikes, physical features, and so on, make up a wondrous and unique creature – YOU.  If you’ve ever doubted that you held worth, that you were loved, that you were special in some way, well you are not alone.  We ALL have these thoughts and feelings at some point in our lives, but it is a truly strong person who will acknowledge and accept them as part of themselves, and seek to heal themselves of the negative thought patterns.  You ARE special, you DO have worth, and most of all you ARE absolutely loved.  If you doubt any of this, then get yourself outside and take a look at nature.  Do you really think that the God and Goddess would provide such beauty and allow you to partake of it and them if they DIDN’T love you?




If, when you examine yourself you find something(s) that you perhaps would like to change, then this is an opportune time to begin the transformation.  With the Imbolc sabbat we find he theme of light, fertility, planning ahead for the future, and with all of this purification and cleansing.    Just as we might make a corn dolly to symbolize the Goddess Brigit and place her in a Bride’s Bed with a wand (to symbolize whichever God aspect she chose), so is it a time for creating within our hearts, minds, and souls an inviting, loving and fruitful environment, in the hopes of endeavoring to love ourselves all that much more.




Light IS cleansing; it shows where we are on a path.  It can also reveal things about ourselves that we might have avoided out of fear.  Once the light has shown these things, they are no longer unknown to us, and we have an opportunity to accept and move beyond these things, allowing fear to bind us no more. 



Light’s companion, fire, can kindle within us the flame of purification that will burn away all that we wish to be rid of, and in its place set a will of finely tempered steel.  This very same blaze can inspire us to embark on new journeys and adventures that we previously might not have dared to even dream of.  We can begin to make long-term plans now and make sure that we can manage it so each day is one step closer to achieving our bliss.  One step may not seem like much, but consider taking the task as a whole; it becomes overwhelming and in most cases would be abandoned before too long.  Completing our daily task towards your goal is akin to performing a daily affirmation.  You are stating (through your actions) that you DO deserve this, you ARE ready for it, and you WILL achieve it!




Fertility is another actor in this play – and lest we forget its importance, let’s revisit that corn dolly that I mentioned earlier.  This dolly was constructed in some cases, out of the last sheave of wheat or grain in a harvested field, where it was believed that the spirit of the Goddess retreated to.  In some cultures, this sheave would be used to make the dolly, and when it was time to plant the first crops, was used as the first seeds of the season.  Still another tradition is to dismantle the dolly and use it to feed the creatures and birds outdoors between Samhain and Yule.  Whichever tradition you adhere to, you cannot deny that fertility is paramount in the cycle of birth-life-death-rebirth.  There would be no rebirth without it, no inspiration, creativity, no spring splendor to behold.  Take this time to cultivate a fertile mind, heart and spirit.  Read that book you’ve been putting off; spend some time each day in quiet contemplation, spoil yourself in some way that you wouldn’t have before.  You will soon find that this attitude will spill over into other areas of your life, causing excitement and enthusiasm in your life that is downright infectious!


LOVE revisited


Last, but not least, let us move back to the subject of love.  I don’t know why it is that we (and I fully include myself in this) can drop that word so casually in relation to someone’s new hair cut or song on the radio, but grow stiff and uncomfortable when we are told that we are truly loved as an entire being (or even when faced with the opportunity to express that same sentiment to someone else).


To be loved is I think, one of the most precious feelings once can experience.  To me, it is the building block for all else that is healthy and positive in our lives.  We all love to get compliments, to be adored, but to return the sentiment, or perhaps allow for a deeper level of intimacy in a relationship is a major concern for most of us. 


Well why?  The answer will probably not surprise you – it’s not really a secret – its You.  It’s me, it’s the neighbor two doors down – we, for the most part practice self-denial and self-loathing, instead of self-love.  It’s scary to open one self up to another in that way, because it means trusting them with your most sensitive portion of your heart, knowing that the other person has the power to cause hurt.


And right about now, I see that you are all snickering at the term, “self-love” – well sexuality is certainly a part of this, but my focus here is primarily on learning to love and accept ourselves for simply being ourselves.  I have told others on occasion when I have been complimented, or for completing a task well, that I am “just me.”  No, not just me as if I am less than what the compliment implies, but in the sense that I am who I am.  I do not change myself to please another, I make no excuses for my behavior – and yes I can be a rotten creep some days.  However that is all part of the sum that is me.  It has taken me a very long time to be able to say that and put it down in writing – it is a scary concept indeed.  I had always measured myself against others expectations (and sometimes still do when I get forgetful of who I am!), petrified that I would be a failure.


Well, guess what? I am not a failure by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I have and do fail.  On the other hand my “success” rate is much, much higher now that I am not worrying incessantly about failure.  I can honestly say that I have learned more from my undertakings that have not gone the way that I had originally planned, then by the ones that were without wrinkle.  It caused me to ask questions, examine and make changed where I needed to.  Another milestone was when I stopped trying to live up to someone else’s expectations, and started setting my own.  And honestly, mine are usually higher, because I can be extremely anal *G*, but I have also given myself permission to not succeed, because I know that learning lessons sometimes is a valuable experience.  I can use someone else’s expectations as a guideline but keep in mind that they are not the ultimate commandment.  I know my level of competency and skill better than anyone else, and I can judge whether or not another’s ideals for me are in line with what I think or not.


Whoever I allowed to sell me that bill of goods that I wasn’t supposed to be happy, self-indulgent, and in control of my life must be pretty peeved when I asked for a refund.


Yes, I do consider others needs and wants before my own, but I also recognize that I am a being that needs to be put first in some circumstances, or I will be too wiped out to adequately be of any good to myself and anyone else.  So occasionally, I take a “mental health” day from work, buy that new CD I keep hearing on the radio, and eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (“From Russia with Buzz” if you please) for dinner.  In the long run, it allows me to be healthier, happier and infinitely more productive, which in turn makes me happy and healthy all over again.  Hey, does this cycle look familiar??


So, how does one begin on this journey of loving themselves?  Try writing some simple affirmations (or find some that you particularly like) and tape them to your bathroom mirror, your computer monitor at work, or even write them on a small card that you can place in your wallet.  The key is to make it easy to remember, and easily accessible if you need it.  You will be amazed at what an affirmation can do for you.  Keep in mind though, that this is a process of undeveloping one set of habits/thought patterns, and redeveloping another – it takes time, and consistency to complete, as well as patience.


For a magickal boost here is a spell to invoke self-love:


A Spell of Self-Love


Sometimes the best Witchcraft path to take when you wish to attract love and good fortune is to increase your self-love. This week long spell will change the way you view the world, reinvesting it with magick and beauty.  It is especially recommend if your energy is down or if you are feeling cynical and jaded. This life-refresher is guaranteed to make you feel wonderful.


Every morning for seven days awake alone. Upon awakening repeat these words seven times.

I allow my beauty to shine

I respect this body which my Divine Mother gave me

I will keep my mind healthy

And my spirit strong

And know that I am beloved of her now and always.


 Morning 1

Walk to a sanctuary. There, pray to the Mother. Allow yourself at least two hours silence in the early morning. Do not speak: this will allow the Mother to come into your thoughts and manifest herself. It will also allow your Higher Self to begin communicating with you far more directly. Pray to the Goddess before retiring.


Morning 2

Awaken early. Pray to the Goddess. Remain silent. Take a love bath in lukewarm water steeped with rose petals-add essential oil of lemon to invigorate you for the day. Bathe for 15 minutes, meditating on the wonders of being alive. Examine your body and cleanse it with reverence. Stretch your limbs and admire the beauty of your body. Appreciate how it works for you, the pleasure it brings you and the myriad of functions it performs. Be assured: you are beautiful.


Morning 3

Cast a circle, and meditate within it for 20 minutes. Call forth your 'wild woman' (the spirited, untamed side of your Higher Self, who speaks honestly from pure instinct and is a valuable friend). Listen to her and let her guide you. After this, write down on parchment her instructions to you, and begin to act on them today. Wear rose geranium for self-love and re-balancing of hormones. Allow yourself several private moments throughout the day to meditate on the message of the morning.


Morning 4

Time to get physical! Put on some invigorating wild and frenzied music and shake, dance and leap around to it, allowing energy to move through your body and loosen up your chakras (energy channels). Let your wild woman dance for you-get completely loose and wild; yell, scream or whoop if those feelings come up. Experience the joy of being a physical person, and as you slowly calm down focus on your breathing. On the in breath repeat:

I am beloved of the Mother

All that is mine shall come to me.

 Repeat this affirmation until you feel ready to take on the day.


Morning 5

Plant something-a tree, a shrub or herb-to symbolizes the growth of your new self, and the success of your new endeavors. (This should encourage you to take care of your plants!) Plant this living symbol barehanded-don't wear gloves. Get your hands deep in the dirt-go all the way and get your feet into the dirt, too. Getting your hands dirty and planting your feet right into the ground will remind you that you are of the Earth and that the Earth is your Mother. Remember this as you go through your day. This is an extremely valuable exercise for people who tend to work and live in their heads. University students take note!


Morning 6

Today you will rise early enough to watch the Sun rise. Think of all the wonderful things which are coming to you. Use path working to add power to this ritual. After glorying in the birth of the day, pick some flowers (from the wild, or a park or garden). Keep these with you on your desk or at home throughout the day, and remind yourself of the miracle of the

sunrise, and of the magick you too can work through your lifetime. This evening, take yourself to the same place and witness the sun leaving the sky. Again do your affirmations and path working. This is very simple as it reconnects you with nature and your dreams in a very powerful way. Be prepared for change!


Morning 7

Perform a wish spell with special significance for you. Stay in bed all day if you wish, and if possible take a mental health break from work in order to focus on your inner self. In our culture, being 'selfish' is heavily criticized, especially in women-but time spent contemplating your own nature in an honest and wise manner is never a waste of time. Spend

this day doing this, and celebrating your power and refreshed energy.  Drink one glass of red wine steeped with cloves as the evening star comes out. Toast to your new beginnings.


This may seem very long and maybe not worth the effort, but in order to achieve true self-love and appreciation of yourself you need to spend more than one night spell casting to do it. Some things take time, but the rewards for your effort and perseverance are well worth it.


Cinnamon is also a scent that works for me when I am feeling under the weather – it completely lifts my mood.  Try this in a body or room spray whenever you need a pick-me-up!

Winter Pick-Me-Up 

2 fl oz of distilled water or vodka

20 drops of Cinnamon essential oil

8 drops of Peppermint essential oil

8 drops of Ginger essential oil


Measure the drops of the essential oils into a spray bottle, swishing them together once you have added the last of the oils.  Sometimes I like to take a deep breath of the mixed oils before I add the water or vodka.  I close my eyes and envision all of the joy and good the mixture will bring to its user.  Then I add the water or vodka and cap (I use a spray bottle, but you can also use a regular bottle and then wet cotton balls with the mixture, either way will work).  Then whenever I need to refocus on being in “love” with myself, I spray.


Something to also consider is that in taking time to learn about and love ourselves, we are also performing a strong form of sympathetic magick.  No, kidding, you really are.  By forming that bond of love with yourself, you are also opening your soul up for a stronger relationship with the God and Goddess as well as drawing love from outside sources towards you.  Have we not noticed that in a room full of people we tend to gravitate towards the ones who are happy and comfortable with themselves?  You guessed it – that’s like energy attracting like, which in short is what we refer to as sympathetic magick.  Yes there are love spells to draw the emotion into your life from and outside source (or person), but I truly believe that the transformation has to begin within us before we can truly and wholly give ourselves to another in a relationship.


And one last thing before I let you go on your way – during this time in the Wheel of the Year, the activities that people enjoyed were primarily indoors.  It was too cold, and in some cases too dangerous to be outside for long, except when necessity demanded it.  So they sought to complete or partake in activities inside, like reading, storytelling, crafting, divination, and in many cases, indoor repairs to the homestead that perhaps were delayed so the family could take advantage of the good weather.  Why not make this your time to go within and “make repairs” on yourself?  We spend so much of our energy on being concerned with the outside that we forget to make sure our “insides” are in good working order.  When we take that time to make sure our spiritual, emotional, and mental beings are happy and healthy, our physical being reaps the benefits.  It is a scientific fact that when we have prolonged episodes of stress and negative thought patterns it depresses our immune system and makes it that much easier to get sick.  So, be well, take some time to get to know you – and you just might find that you are the most interesting person you know!