The world can be a very harsh place, and protecting ourselves so that we can engage sometimes means disconnecting yourself from engaging with anyone but yourself. Self-care is an important and necessary part of our lives and mental health, and we can use our magick to deepen the bond with our inner selves and help bring balance and peace to our psyches.
Self-care runs the gamut if remembering to take time to eat lunch during a busy day, to just not commenting on Facebook posts that run your blood pressure up. Self-care also includes daily rituals, like the act of making a fresh cup of tea and drinking it in front of the window. Since you’re already doing the ritual aspect, it makes sense to add some magick to the mix.
As always, the rituals outlined in this article are designed to be accessible for a wide variety of people. These self-care rituals include spell workings, and although I do not outline any words to say here, it is appropriate to create your own affirming mantras that speak to your own practice and belief system to use in conjunction with the directives I’ve provided.
Sigil art for care and protection
Sigils are one way of performing magical spell-work. Art can be extremely therapeutic and relaxing. This self-care ritual combines the two. You can do sigil art in a variety of mediums such as paint, pen or pencil, and even digital media, if that’s your thing. This type of ritual is really great for situations where you don’t have space, time, or the energy for really in depth or overly complicated ritual work as sigil work is self contained magick, that is usually quite simple.
The first step in this ritual is to create the sigil which is based on your desire.There are many ways to create a sigil and you are more than welcome to create your own method if you’re comfortable! I’ll be using a common method that I think allows you to more fully engage in the magick. This method is based around the Austin Osman Spare tradition.1
As you are building on a self-care ritual, we are going to use the statement, “I will be safe from negative energy” for this example. When creating a sigil, you remove the vowels and repeated letters. Our statement then becomes “wlbsfrmngtvy.”
This is where the art comes in. Whatever medium you’re working in, you will create a symbol based around the shape of those letters. Take as much times as you need moving them around to create something that feels right to you. Once you have your sigil, commit it to your working area if you did this part on scratch paper. If you did do this on scratch paper, your trial efforts should be destroyed when you are finished.
Your sigil should be in the centre of your “final” piece. Add things, make connections between the letters, create a form from an abstraction in your head, or build upon the form that you already have in front of you. Create whatever comes to mind, kind of like a meditative practice. Let the sigil guide you as you slowly begin to cover and abstract it and incorporate it into the work. Your end goal should be to obscure the sigil, so that it is hidden in the work. The act of creating has charged it, and covering it has destroyed it ensuring its activation.
Don’t worry about your artistic abilities. Don’t worry about how good it looks. This art is for you by you. No one else has to see this, no one else has to understand it. There is no need to buy fancy supplies. You can do this with a normal pen and paper, paint and canvas or even just Microsoft paint on your office computer. Whatever you have is fine.
This is for you.
Ritual bath to energize, clear, and empower you
Baths are great because just in normal sense, they are relaxing and enjoyable experience. Ritual baths differ from your normal, everyday relaxing soak in two major ways. One, you don’t actually wash and two, you think about your problems. Maybe you’re a ritual bather and you didn’t even know it!
I know that thinking about the things that are causing you upset in your life probably seems like the direct opposite of what you want to do to take care of your self, but this serves a function. The bath used in this way is to “wash” away the negative things that are plaguing you. By thinking of them, you are making a very direct and intentional call to banish them from you.
Before you start, you’ll need to make your ritual water. Since this is a self-care bath, using herbs and flowers that promote love and protection is the best choice. There are many options but for ease jasmine, rose petals, and lavender mixed with mint and some crushed rosemary makes a good base. This is just a simple start, but once you’re comfortable with this sort of work, you can branch out and make your own mixes. Books like the Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs2 will give you a good overview of different plants and their properties.
The plants should be ripped and crushed to release their oils and then soaked in water for at least half an hour. Once that time has passed, strain the plants from the water. The water should be slightly off colour. This is the mixture you will add to your ritual bath water.
Before you take your ritual bath, it is appropriate to have a quick shower where you actually clean yourself. Your ritual bath should not have soap or body washes, just the flower infused water you prepared and some salt. Epsom salts are fine as well as sea salts, or plain old table salt if you’re in a pinch.
Run your bath water and if possible, you should light some candles while the tub fills. Pink for (self) love, red for energy, or white for protection are all good choices. You may also light some incense such as cherry or sandalwood, both of which help clear negativity and boost positive energy.
Add your herbal water and bless your bath. You can invoke a deity or just call on energy, depending on what your personal practice and preference calls for. Once this is done, get into your bath. Lower your body into the water, letting it cover as much of you as it can.
While you are soaking, thinking of the things that are bothering you, envision the water pulling them away from you. Call on positive energy to fill you, cover you, and protect you. How you do this up to you. You can do it in silent mediation or speak out loud if you wish.
These baths should only run 15-30 minutes at time. Don’t just sit in the water until you get pruney! Once finished, step out of the tub, and the problems you were running over in your mind. Watch the water go down the drain, and imagine the negative things in your life going down with it while you air dry. If you do not have the time to wait for this and must use a towel, then ensure that you are drying away from yourself, pushing the moisture down your body, and brushing the negative energy away.
Clean the tub with salt and blow out your candles, closing the ritual.
If a full ritual bath is not possible due to mobility or space issues, just follow the ritual but instead of using a full tub, just do a foot soak and psychically push the negative energy towards the ground towards that part of your body. As with the full ritual, dump the water and watch it drain, and clean the container you used with salt.
Make an altar to you
The world can be a very negative place and it’s easy to forget our own magick and power especially when it seems like everything around us is hectic and depressing. It’s hard to see our inner power and strength when we’re surrounded by negativity, so make a physical representation of your own power as a reminder.
This altar space does not have to be big. It can be travel size, made from a gum tin or a space on your dresser. The important thing is that it is a space you can access and promotes you to interact with it on a regular basis.
The altar should contain nothing but positive representations of yourself. Include a photo of yourself that you enjoy, one that makes you think, “look at me,” maybe one of those photos where your hair is looking just right, you’re wearing your favourite outfit, or where you’re doing something you love. Whatever pleases you about the photo is fine. If you can’t get a physical photo of yourself printed, it’s fine to snap a selfie of yourself and put your phone on the altar while you are working. (Just remember turn of your notifications!)
Think about things that you enjoy, things that make you happy. If they are large or intangible things, then you can use items to represent them. For example, if running makes you happy, put a Barbie sneaker on your altar. For knowledge, a book, for expressing love, a heart. Include flowers that please you. If you worship a specific god or goddess, you should include something that hearkens back to their energy as well and reminds you of your connection with them.
Everything you place on this altar, small or large, should be something that brings you joy just from looking at it. Make intentional choices and identify the one thing that you enjoy most about the item. It can be as simple as you like the colour or as complex as a deeply treasured memory. This is your altar, it’s about you. Place white, pink, or red candles at your altar to be lit while you are using it. If you have made a small travel altar, a battery-operated tea light should go with it.
Once your altar is finished, it’s ready to be used.
The ritual opens with the lighting of your candles as you sit or stand before your altar. Start with your photo, speak your affirmation that it is you and that the joy of the photo is your joy (even if you don’t feel it at the present moment). Then move around your altar, speaking one sentence for each item and the joy that it brings to you.
Feel the positive energy pour into you, pushing out the negative. Let it bring peace and calm to you as you move through the parts of your life that empower, energize, and protect you. Spend as much time on each item as you would like. When you have finished, say your closing line, affirming the energy that the ritual has given you and blow out the candles (or turn off your electric light).
This ritual is designed to help you pull more positive energy to yourself by connecting you with things that already bring you that energy. It also helps you focus on you, and your needs, which is exactly what self-care is.
Magick for yourself, magick for self-care
The magick I’ve shared in this piece is meant to be accessible to a wide variety of people with different abilities, access to tools, supplies, and space, and different experience, knowledge, and paths. I’ve tried to ensure that anyone can adapt them to their practice — hopefully you will find the flexibility supportive.
The magick invoked in these rituals isn’t obvious or fast. It is a slow, gradual upkeep of the self. These rituals are designed to help the inner being rebuild and recharge or to create a safe space to draw positive energy to themselves.
Image credits: Nancy L. Stockdale, Aaron Crowe, Central Hotel, distelfliege, and thotfulspot