Magical practice need not be something that requires the regalia of high ceremonial magick. We do not need to don floor-length robes and lay down a circle of salt in order to be effective spellcasters, especially since for those of us who are confined to our beds for a significant amount of time, laying down salt may be awkward and messy. If we are limited in one way or another, we can find ways to access magick with as little as our bodies and our imaginations. You don’t need to be in optimal health to be able to access all the elements of a bed magick practice. I have been working for years while suffering from mental and physical health issues that can leave me bedridden for days or even weeks. Being able to engage in my work during these times has allowed me to pull myself out of dark and painful places and to engage in practices that allow me to cultivate space for comfort and for peace.
Part of my own growth in the craft has been to experiment with no muss, no fuss spellworking. What is the least amount of accessories required to perform magick and self-transformation? I would like to detail here a list of spells and exercises that you can do from the comfort of your own bed. Whether you are there for issues of chronic illness, or simply enjoy the comfort and safety of being there, this article will give you a good footing for how to start integrating your practice into this most sacred of spaces.
Journaling is something that I can consistently do in bed, even when I am at my lowest. Writing in my journal can help me to externalize my experience, work through my thoughts, and practice self care and healing. I can keep track of my goals and see how my spells are manifesting, as well as just having something to do that isn’t indulging in media or staring up at the ceiling.
A journal lends a certain level of importance to my day, allowing me to keep a chronicle of who I am and what I am becoming. It is something that I keep by the side of my bed and make a ritual of writing at night before I go to sleep.
I sometimes look back on old journal entries to see how far I have advanced. It can be a learning process to analyse how I react to the events of my life, to detect patterns of thought or action, and to locate points where I could improve or work on myself.
Related: Why you should keep a magical journal, by Michael Reese
When thinking of bed magick, one of the first practices that comes to mind is meditation. Meditation can be done anywhere, but your bed actually works pretty well. A lot of people tend to fall asleep when they first start meditating, so you might want to at least prop yourself up in order to avoid napping. A meditative practice ends up being unique to each person, and your practice will ultimately be tailored to what works for you. For myself, I like to do insight meditations as well as body awareness work.
For those of use with chronic illnesses, it may be difficult at times to connect with our bodies, considering that we may be experiencing pain or discomfort. For me, it has been very healing to slowly learn how to sit with my pain, and this has allowed me a greater flexibility in my life. When I am in spaces where I am not comfortable, I have at least developed some capacity to tolerate my discomfort and even feel some level of mastery over it.
However you choose to do it, meditation is a great way to develop insight as well as train your mind. The key with any kind of meditation is to be open to your own experience, to accept it and to learn to witness it without judgement. Whatever comes into your mind, whatever sensation you happen to have, just let it move through you. Allowing ourselves to experience our discomfort, our deeper emotions, our thoughts and fears can be incredibly liberating, but it can also be unsettling and even destabilizing. If you have a lot of issues that you are facing, it is important that you give yourself permission to disengage with your practice if it gets to be too much. Sometimes, distracting ourselves from our thoughts can be as important as engaging with them. For issues of deep body trauma especially, learning to step outside of the mental loops that can happen, as well as getting drawn into the very visceral memories of pain, can help us to witness our pain and learn to let it exist in the past.
All in all, we must learn to honour where we are in the moment, giving ourselves the space to grow, but also the space to be scared or overwhelmed. Healing is not a race and we are not in competition with anyone else. We are here to care for and nurture our bodies, and it is good to keep this in mind with any practice that we engage in.
Related: Meditation: Four techniques to get you started, by Mercury
Related: Zen: Simply Sitting, reviewed by Psyche
Another bed magick exercise that works great in bed is visualization. This is also an extremely helpful skill for spellwork. Having the ability to call something into our minds at will can really help when trying to see ourselves in some positive outcome, or to visualize the desired goal of our workings. This is another area where some of us might have issues with falling asleep, so again, it would be good to try to prop yourself up. However, I often practice my visualization before bed and in the morning before I need to wake up fully. It’s very relaxing for me to visualize comforting and pleasant scenes and even to make up stories with different characters. It helps me to relax while also honing my ability to picture things in my mind.
You might want to try some simple exercises to get the juices flowing. Begin by focusing on the blackness in your mind as if it were a tangible material through which your visualizations will manifest, then imagine a shape or texture emerging from it. Try to hold the image in your mind as lightly as possible and without any effort at all. In my own experience, taking the idea of effort out of the equation has helped me to master my visualizations the most. It’s more a matter of allowing the images to form and the energy to flow through you. Try your best to get out of your own way.
Trancework is similar to visualization, but requires a more direct approach and takes a bit longer. Often, I have decided on a particular journey that I wish to take. I put on some relaxing music and settle in for an interior journey. If you have been practising body insight meditation, this will come in handy when trying to enter into a trance state. Before beginning, I often do a body scan, attempting to relax each part of my body in sequence. Once I have achieved a relaxed state, I begin to visualize myself walking down a staircase, descending deeper and deeper into the earth, though any visualization in which you are descending can work for this task. The most important thing is that you are achieving a deep state of relaxation. This tends to unfetter the mind and the normal mechanisms of conscious thought that can hinder the imagination.
During my trancework, I have constructed mental locations to do my work and this can be a good exercise for more advanced visualization. Creating an astral temple can be a good start for trance explorations, as you can set up protective barriers and can practice in a safer place. You can fill this place with symbols and objects from your journeys and can even create an altar for this purpose.
Sometimes, I enjoy going on a journey into the astral. A great way to begin this work is by visualizing a place that you know well and mentally visiting it. You may also want to explore the more spiritual planes and interact with the spirits there. However, you will want to exercise some caution when you do this. Much like the physical world, the astral plane can be full of amazing beings that can be very kind and helpful. But many of these beings are very different from humans, and they may not understand what it means to be corporeal, so you need to be sure to stay in touch with your own well being. Also, don’t trust everything a spirit says just because they’re a spirit. Not every entity has our best interests in mind when they communicate with us, and it’s best to use your discretion, just like you would with humans in the physical world.
Related: Trancework in groups: Accessing mutual imagination, by Chrysanthemum White Alder
Dream work is something that might require a little practice to be able to get into. Many of us don’t remember our dreams, as they often disappear from our minds moments after we return to normal consciousness. It requires a little bit of skill to be able to catch and grasp those memories and to make conscious use of them. A dream journal is an excellent tool for beginning to practice dream work. The act of writing can allow you to record your dream imagery before it evaporates and it can then be accessed at a later date for analysis.
When you are going to sleep, you can give directives to your conscious mind to activate or work on during your sleep. If you are practising connecting with your dream state, you may be able to work on problems happening in your waking life through your dreams.
There is such a thing as lucid dreaming as well, and if you get very deep into dream work, some may find it possible to enter into the dreamscape fully aware of what is happening and even able to control the dream. The key for this is to be able to realize you are dreaming while in the dream. One good exercise to do this is to do something while you are awake to check if whether you are awake or dreaming. If you make this into a habit, it is likely that it will happen during a dream and you will get triggered into a lucid dream. Some people carry a bouncy ball and bounce it every so often. Some people try to read some text and then recheck the text. The key thing is that the logic of a dream is not the same as in waking life. When you are in a dream, things will be a little wacky and if you can realize this, you can begin to play with your dreams in a totally new way.
Related: Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming, reviewed by Marie RavenSoul
Related: Dreaming Wide Awake, reviewed by Daleth West
Whether you are in a relationship or alone, sex is a powerful means of exploring energy. It can easily be incorporated into a larger spell or ritual, and has a great deal of power and mystery in and of itself. Sex magick can put our relationships with our bodies into focus, as well as the ways in which energy tends to manifest and flow through them. It can be a means of working with this energy and freeing ourselves of the blocks and barriers to bliss. It can also be a great pain and stress reliever.
Besides the body element, sex magick can also help us deprogram ourselves from the imbalanced attitudes about sexuality we learn from our culture. Sex has often been highly regulated by both religious and social institutions, and the ways that these institutions settle into our bodies, in terms of shame and guilt, can add to and exacerbate our pain and discomfort. When attempting to untie these knots, sex can allow us to engage in a deep level of healing, not only for our bodies but also our psyches.
Crafting and artwork
When I am really low-energy and can’t manage to do a lot, I like to work on crafts that have a repetitive element to them. My craft of choice is either crochet or drawing, but there are so many different arts and crafts out there, and they all have a particular effect. I especially like to make little crochet spell bags, and either give them away as gifts or use them in my own bed magick work. Because I use a stitch that I can replicate without too much effort, I can enter a sort of trance state when doing the work. I often attempt to hold an intention in my mind as I make the piece. The effort is soothing, and the material process of making hundreds of little knots can produce some powerful spells.
There are more skills to practice than I could possible cover here. Needle crafts are handy because they do not make a lot of mess and are very accessible and versatile. If you are looking to learn or practice a craft, there are a wide variety of skills that you can look into with varying levels of difficulty and investment required. A few of these include sewing, beading, weaving, knitting, crochet, and tatting. Other than these, there are a myriad of arts that are well suited to bed magick such as drawing, digital painting and collage, animation, writing, poetry, video art, and music.
Depending on what you are drawn to, practising art magick can allow you to enrich your spellwork, develop concentration and creativity, and allow you to explore and deepen your relationship with yourself.
Related: Satanic art: A devotional practice, by Marie RavenSoul
These bed magick practices can allow for powerful spellwork to take place, all the way from crafting intention, through to visualization and energy raising, and all from the comfort of your bed! No matter our state of health or ability, we all deserve access to power, as well as the ability to devote that power to our own well being. I strive always to move from where I am, and to offer love and tenderness to myself in the places of pain and of suffering. We all deserve love and care, and I hope that these tools can feed into that love for you as they have for me.
We have within us the seeds of power and all of our implements are merely tools that can set the stage for that power to be released. If we are able to believe in ourselves, we don’t need implements to carry out our magick, we need only the belief in our bodies as conduits for sacred will, to carry out the transformations that come from our intentions. We need nothing but the gifts that we have each been given as the very core of our humanity.
Image credits: KAYLA*DELACERDA, peaceful jp scenery, Lady Orlando, Марья, and Elaine with Grey Cats