Practically Practical - “Love Is In The
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
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
LIGHT, FERTILITY, PLANNING…
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.
PURIFICATION and PLANNING
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!
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
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
For a magickal boost here is a spell to
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!