Unlocking the Magick Within

Releasing Your Magic by Finding the Keys to the Way You Think About Yourself

Did you know there is a clear link between how you think and the magic that manifests around you?

Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” In clinical psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches people that first, there is a thought, then the thought elicits a feeling, and that feeling leads to a behavior. As we all know, our behaviors change the world around us. If we want our world to change, we must trace the process back to the original thought, which often, as the proverb states, originates in our core belief system.

For millennia, spiritually minded people have learned to take control of the energy flow between their thought processes and the world around them by disciplined efforts to manage the type of energy they allow to flow from themselves. But before we can harness this energy flow, we must first identify what type of energy we allow to flow from ourselves. We often put barriers up that limit our ability to manifest our magic. Psychologists would refer to these as limiting beliefs.

I recently embarked on a magical writing journey using Silk & Sonder as a springboard for helping me better understand the connection between my belief system and what manifests in my life. The theme for January is Abundance. All the energy of the Universe is interconnected –  all the life forces, all the matter, all the wavelengths of light, all the knowledge – and I (and you!) can tap into this abundance if I learn to align myself with the Universe. The first step in this process is identifying my limiting beliefs. The following writing exercise is adapted from one of the January Silk & Sonder rituals.

Exploring My Limiting Beliefs / Core Values

Step 1: Where do I feel I “fall short?”

Open a journal to a blank page, and begin listing places where you feel you don’t measure up well against others. Remember: this is not about FACTS, but about your PERCEPTIONS. The saying goes, “As a man thinketh, so he is.” This step is about identifying where your thoughts limit the person you are meant to be.

Like many of you, I had a “life” before my current one, surrounded by an environment that didn’t resonate with the same energy I needed to survive and thrive. Many wonderful things happened during that time, most notably the birth and rearing of two fine children: this was a time during which I chose to spend time at home with my two eldest boys until they reached grade school age. As a result, many things happened to me later in life than they did to some of my compatriots. 

I often feel that, compared to other people, I have “fallen behind” in three areas:

  • Retirement ~ Because I dedicated ten years of my life to raising my two oldest children to school age before re-entering the workforce as a teacher, I feel the need to work much later than my contemporaries.
  • Doctoral Studies ~ I chose the field for my first graduate degree based on the heavy influence of others and had no interest in pursuing advanced studies in that area. My current field of interest is a passion, but I feel compelled to continue these studies now when others might wonder, “What’s the point?”
  • The Home of My Dreams ~ I have lived in several different homes in my adult life and left them to move on for various reasons. I often get “social media envy” when I see the homes other people have built and paid off, and I am just re-starting the process of making a home.

Step 2: Who sees me differently?

On the same page, identify people who might view you differently from your appraisal. 

  • Who is proud of you (and tells you so)? Why?
  • Who would be proud of you if they could see you now? Why?

My husband always tells me how proud he is of me and brags to friends and family about me. He tells people, “My wife can grow anything,” that I know the names of every tree and bird, and that I’m the smartest person he knows. He also talks about my cooking, how I like decorating our home, and how I organize my spices (spoiler alert: I have a serious addiction to collecting all the herbs and spices and keeping them in alphabetical order. I know.). He tells people I have healing power in my hands and marvels that I taught myself how to build a website. He’s like a one-man, unpaid marketing team and cheerleading squad, and I love him and need him for that.

If my maternal farming grandfather were alive today and saw me as a school principal AND feeding livestock after work, alongside my son and his wife – another generation of farmers in the family – he would be so proud, not just of me, but of the three boys that I’ve raised to follow in his agricultural footsteps: one livestock farmer, one pet store manager/”animal collector,” and one perennial nursery team leader. I miss my grandfather dearly and think of him often.

My mom and dad are very proud of all their four children and the grandchildren we’ve created for them. We learned the importance of hard work and taking care of family first from our parents, and we have passed these values along to our children, who are all successful in their own right.

Step 3: What did I learn about myself?

Examine what you have written. Analyze your responses, and make a table like the one below.

  1. Use your notes about your perceived “shortfall” areas to help identify limiting beliefs, as revealed by your inner worries.
  2. Use your “pride” areas to help determine your hidden strengths, as identified by your close ones.
  3. Identify corresponding values and need areas revealed by your analysis. 
  4. If you want, summarize your findings in one or two sentences.

Here is a part of the table I made for my own exercise:

Step 1:

Shortfall AreaLimiting BeliefI Need…
Retirement“I won’t have enough money when I’m older.”The revelation of alternate forms of abundance
Doctoral Studies“I’m running out of time.”Confirmation that I am an infinite being living in a temporary, finite body.
The Home of My Dreams“Other people have better things than I do.”A spirit of hygge in my home.

Step 2:

Pride AreaHidden StrengthCore Values
I know a lot of things.I have learned many things and strive to do tasks well.Knowledge, Wisdom, Learning, Effort
I heal people with my hands.I have a connection to natural healing power and energy.Compassion, Spirituality, Faith
I am a school administrator.I can lead others and manage an organization.Leadership
I participate in agricultural activities.I am connected and devoted to the land that supports us all.Service, Stewardship
My father, grandfather, and children were and are all involved in leadership roles in their businesses.I have passed along important values and ethics to my adult children.Legacy, Family

Step 3:

My core values focus on honoring the wisdom, knowledge, and efforts of those who came before me and passing them along to future generations, as well as protecting and preserving the sanctity of the natural world, the divine essence, and family. However, I am distracted by the temporal nature of my current existence, not recognizing my contribution to, and part of, eternal energies and systems.

Putting Your Magickal Work to Work

The process of examining our magickal selves to better understand our power and the self-imposed barriers we must overcome is often referred to as shadow work – perfect spiritual work for the dark months of winter, when we tend to cocoon and when there is less going on outside of ourselves to distract us (at least here in chilly New England). Knowing this information can help us identify our true calling– our life purpose. In the next article, we will look more closely at the beliefs and values we’ve identified in ourselves and find magickal correspondences that we can include in our shadow work to support us in areas where we need support and strengthen us in areas that are our core values. 

I would love to hear any nuggets you learned through this exercise and how you hope to use the information in your mindfulness, magick, or spiritual practices. Comment, share, and link below!

The Cocoon

The last autumn leaves have long since fallen from the trees, thanks to our recent winter storms. While the weather is unusually warm for December (almost January), we have seen single-digit highs in recent weeks. With the ground too frozen to dig now, we in colder climes have left stray potatoes, weeds, and annuals in the ground and retreated into the warm recesses of our homes for the long, dark winter months. Wrapped in our cocoons, we await sunshine and fairer days.

My cocoon is closely woven around me. Wrapped in a warm sweater with my black cat, Puff, as my “muse,” I light a maple brown sugar candle that my husband and I bought on our Columbus Day getaway this past fall. Its sweet aroma reminds me of the fiery autumn display of the Berkshires and our recent holiday baking. Under the candle is a gardening book aptly entitled, One Magic Square – a not-so-subtle reminder that being a gardener is not about the size of your garden but the fact that you simply have started gardening and that the process of seed becoming tomato plant is, indeed, magical. Just add sunshine, water, and hope.

I daydream of childhood when I lay in the grass with my friends, gazing at the fluffy cumulus clouds of July and August, imagining them as long-departed pets staring down at us from a deep, blue summer sky. We felt like there was all the time in the world to just be, and we knew nothing of life’s trials. We were free.

My maiden days have long since passed, and my matron days are soon to close, with the youngest of my three boys in his final teen year. Turning the pages into the crone chapter of my life is a process and, admittedly, not one I began happily. Right now, however, my cocoon is cozy and is a safe place to transform and prepare for the next phase of my life.

A caterpillar focuses its days on the right now, eating, finding sunshine to warm itself, and shady spots to hide itself to rest. It grows, sheds its skin, and grows some more. Like our childhood selves, it does not think about tomorrow but lives each day in the present, enjoying the sunshine and endless summer days. Time stands still.

At some point, however, there is the inkling that things are about to change. Perhaps there is a subtle change in the amount of sunshine or a dip in the air temperature. The caterpillar stops searching for food and starts searching for a more permanent shelter – someplace it can create its cocoon. Does it know what is about to occur? Does it understand that its existence as a caterpillar will soon end? I’ve often felt that our children become reminders that time is passing. Where once sat a chubby toddler now stands a teenager with gangly limbs and an awkward gait. Our hearts remain youthful, yet the change in our offspring tells a story of passage. We shift our hope onto our children. Our hope takes life in them as they grow and change. The matron years are ones of nurturing and providing and sheltering and giving.

So here I am, in my winter cocoon, my matron-to-crone cocoon. Like the caterpillar in its cocoon, I feel I am becoming something me, yet not me. My essence will remain the same, but what will emerge at the end of this season will be something new, unique, and wonderful, fully equipped for the next stage of life. What happens in the cocoon, I wonder? Will my very fibers untangle and reknit in a new and magnificent way, like the caterpillar-butterfly creature? Is that the meaning of the salt-and-pepper hair or the shift of my tissues into a rounder, softer form? Instead of the pain of resisting the change, should I embrace it and receive these gifts as a “crown of glory” that I have earned along with the wisdom of experience? When I emerge, will I travel to faraway places? Will others draw hope from my new form? Will my days be full of the beauty of gardens and forests, flowers and fields?

This cocoon, this winter, is different for me. The hope I have sown, like seeds, into my sons has taken root and transformed them into fine, successful young men with their own families. I am peaceful and welcome the transformation into the wise crone. Through trials, hard work, and perseverance, I have earned all I am and will become.  Whatever form I emerge in, I will be fully equipped for the days ahead. The songs that I hum silently to myself in my cocoon today, I will sing out loud in the days to come. The hope I once sowed into my growing sons, I will sow into words on a page, into embraces, into golden days with the love of my life, into meals to share with others, into seed in the ground. My wings will spread gloriously, and I will once again be free. 

Notes From December 2022 …

In the Sky Today…

Sunday… the Day of the Sun. The Moon enters Leo this afternoon, this Day 19 of the Lunar calendar, as we begin Krishna Chaturthim.

Focusing on Home, Self-Care, and Family

I love holiday times – the food, the family, the gatherings (or time away from people – as the need dictates). I love the changing seasons, the way people feel more energized, and the air feels electric. But there is no doubt that holidays can bring on unnecessary stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions.

Over the past few years, family health crises and COVID pandemics have helped my family rethink our holiday approach. My husband suffered from end-stage congestive heart failure from 2016 until receiving a heart transplant in January 2020. We just did not have the energy to spend thinking about holidays – we were so focused on just making it to the next day. Then, we had to stay away from others to protect my husband’s newly gained health after the transplant. Shortly after, we all became shut-in, masked, and socially isolated. We had our holiday “gathering” over Zoom that year.

This is the first year we are in some kind of space to entertain thoughts of holiday merriment. Fortunately, our years of not holiday-ing taught us that the most important parts of the holidays have nothing to do with shopping (or even gifting), attire, or decorations. We discovered that the best part of holidays involved gathering together, enjoying laughs that hurt your belly, opening a new adult beverage bottle, passing plates of our favorite foods, and eating from our fanciest dishes. In short, crises taught us that simpler is simply better.

Last week, the highlights included the following fun:

  • Decorating the house with holiday lights (no tree – too many nutty cats!), candles, and incense holders;
  • Making good food with abundant harvests of butternut squash, potatoes, and strawberries;
  • Digging the last of the potato harvest with my eldest and his wife;
  • Planning holiday festivities at school;
  • Making my own tinted moisturizer;
  • Finishing my fall graduate courses – freeing up time for family activities.

Recipes You’ll Love…

The Easy Fresh Strawberry Pie also has a few blueberries in it. Both fruits were from my Misfit Foods box and reminded me of summertime… for the triple batch of butternut squash bread, I used roasted butternut squash puree that I made from squashes in my farm share in October, roasted, mashed, and frozen in November.

I have used more tinted moisturizer than foundation for the past few months. There are many recipes for DIY tinted moisturizer online, depending on whether you want to use makeup products you already have or plan to make yours using natural ingredients. Here’s a simple one made with your favorite skincare products.

Holiday Preparation in Your Home

How are you preparing for the holidays? Drop a comment below.

10 Places To Look For a Little Glamor Magick

For the past several days, Venus, the planet of love and beauty, has been square with Neptune, the overseer of our subconscious mind. This can make some of us feel more self-conscious about our appearances. In general, winter’s dark, cold days often bring about more negative views about things (for this flip-flop lover, anyway). In times like this, glamor magick is good for everyone.

Glamor magick is a magical practice that uses your personal power to bring about success. By focusing energy on charm, charisma, and things that make us look and feel good, we project energy into our surroundings, increasing the power of attraction – one of the central forces (along with organization) holding the Universe together. This post will share low-cost or no-cost ways to tap into glamor magick.

When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you look good. Glamor magick uses these feelings to be more powerful and attract success.

What Types of Glamor Magick are There?

There are four general types of glamor magick:

  • beauty magick
  • fashion magick
  • wealth magick
  • health magick

There is no doubt that there’s a lot you can do if you are wealthy that attracts people to you – and not necessarily in a good way. So let’s focus on the other three as they are accessible to anyone, no matter how much you earn. Remember: the thing that makes something magical is intention.

Beauty Magick

All do things every day that can become part of glamor magic routines. Whether makeup, perfume, tattoos (permanent, temporary, or henna), or hair coloring/styling can be a part of a magical routine. Here are some simple ways to make your regular routines more magical:

  1. Charge those beauty products! If you use candles or incense for daily meditation, pass your beauty products through the smoke to charge them with energy. Alternatively, leave them out in the sunlight or moonlight (especially the full moon – she’s extra feminine and magical) or in the waxing moon after a new moon. Be careful, of course, not to melt your lipstick in the sunshine! Tamed Wild has goddess and intention pillar candles that are great for use in ritual magic.
  2. Incorporate oils and herbs. I like to purchase shampoo, cleaning, and other products that contain whatever herbs and essential oils I’m currently using in other practices. For example, I recently purchased seasonal household products that contained white fir and balsam essential oils from Grove Collaborative. Both oils are perfect for adding to your shampoo and conditioner, and other products during the holidays when stress is high, and you want to look, feel and SMELL your best! I also have a vintage atomizer with moon water and Siberian fir essential oil that I spritz over myself before I meditate (thank you, Tamed Wild, for that ritual, too).
  3. Treat yourself to something pretty. I LOVE surprises. There’s got to be a name for the “love of random things” – because I definitely have that! I started a small business (okay – I do it to get free stuff, and I’m my own best customer) selling Color Street products. Just having a cute mani makes me feel prettier. I also recently reactivated my Ipsy subscription service, which sends me a cute little bag of curated items based on my preferences. It’s an inexpensive way to try new things. And don’t forget – charge them before you use them.
An inexpensive manicure or wonderfully rich hand cream can make you feel glamorous, even sporting your Saturday jammies.

Fashion Magick

  1. Clean out your closet. If you’re like me, you have a bunch of clothes in there that 1) don’t fit you anymore; 2) someone gave to you, and you feel bad discarding; 3) you don’t really like but cost a lot once and you feel bad discarding them; 4) needs a button/zipper/stain removal/whatever, and you have been saying you’ll get to it for three years now… Get rid of all of those things. I did a big purge before my last move (and honestly could do another). Better to keep a few things that you love and make you feel pretty than to have a closet full of items that remind you of a different weight/body shape/time and make you feel bad. I get my clothes pretty much everywhere. I have liked the earth-mothery ones at Sivana lately.
  2. Try something funky and unique. Diamonds may be SOME girls’ best friend, but I’m just as happy with a unique piece of costume jewelry or something inexpensive and original. Some people maintain that natural materials are preferable for the energy they hold (compared to synthetic items). If you feel pretty/powerful/unique/magical in it – wear it! I try to find jewelry with symbolism that fits the intention I’m currently working with (e.g., the moon for feminine power, calm and love; sun or concentric rings for power and energy, and action). For me, jewelry selection is less about buying something new than choosing the right jewelry for the day. Remember: intention makes it magical.

Health Magick

  1. Hydrate. I am really bad at hydrating. I don’t like water! But I have had better luck drinking the right amount of water when I add a dehydrated lime or lemon juice packet or infuse the water with good herb tea bags. I have successfully replaced some of my (many) cups of coffee with Rasa, an adaptogen-rich coffee alternative. When you don’t drink enough, your skin and hair get dull, you feel weary, and it’s harder to adapt to life. Make hydration a glamor-magic priority!
  2. Eat more fresh fruits and veggies. Like getting enough water, eating more fruits and veggies has several “inside” benefits that help your “outsides” look and feel better. I currently use Misfit Foods to purchase produce and other slightly imperfect products delivered to my door weekly. Not only do I get organic produce at less than grocery store prices, I feel good because I am helping to reduce food waste which just feels glamorous and good.
  3. Get moving! I have a job that sometimes involves sitting longer than I’d like. Some experts say that sitting is the new smoking. Not only do you not benefit from moving your body when you sit, but you actually LOSE benefits from any previous movement when you have sedentary stretches. I did a couple of things to help myself in this regard. One: I (re)joined a gym. I chose Planet Fitness, because I really need their “judgment-free zone” philosophy. They also have a very reasonable price point (monthly memberships as low as $10), and such an assortment of activities that anyone can find something there. Black Card membership ($24.99/month), includes access to tanning (sun worship for those dark days of winter here in New England), and a convenient app for your phone which helps with meal planning and home exercise. Going to the gym might not seem magical, but remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup or fill it if it’s broken!
  4. Get those ZZZs! When I joined the gym, I got a coupon good for a free Amazon Halo View. One of the benefits of the fitness tracker is that it tracks my sleep patterns, including how long it takes me to fall asleep, how long I sleep, how much time I spend in the different phases of the sleep cycle, and whether or not I had any disturbances or time awake in the night. I have learned a lot about my sleep habits (such as the fact that I fall into a deep sleep within 5 minutes – often a sign that one is chronically under-rested), and that I feel more energetic and get more steps in the day after I had a good or excellent night sleep. There are many free apps that track sleep. Check one out.
  5. Speak kindness over yourself. When I began my current (stressful) management position, I made it a point to write an affirmation in my planner every day. I use the Moonly app, which is free and has many wonderful, calm, and beautiful benefits, including daily affirmations, dietary recommendations, and meditations. Practice speaking positive things over yourself – imagine the words accompanied by a sphere of protective light around you.
Taking care of your health is glamorous, and magickal.

Getting Glamorously Magickal… or Magickally Glamorous

I hope this post has given you some ideas about incorporating glamor magick into your day. If you can’t add something new right now, try to remember specifically why you’re doing something to give it intention: “I’m going to bed now. When I sleep better, I feel better. When I feel better, I make better decisions and feel more powerful. I want to be powerful.” “I’m putting my water jug in the moonlight to absorb the Moon’s female energy. When I drink the water, the Moon’s energy fills my body. I will feel stronger, more peaceful, more centered.”

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