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!

How Your Morning Routines Make Your World a More Magical Place

Everyone has morning routines.

Even if you’re the kind who rolls out of bed, splashes water on your face, and puts on the first clothes you find before heading out the door, routines are built into that.

With just a bit of a tweak, you can turn that morning routine into a ritual that starts you off with a bit of magic, a connection to higher powers, and a great setup for the rest of your day.

What are Routines?

If you look up the word “routine” in the dictionary, you will find the following:

  1. a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program;
  2. something performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason;
  3. something organized for automaticity.

In short, a routine is a set of activities you do every day, day in and day out, regardless of the day of the week or the day. You do them so often that you don’t even think about them anymore.

I love my morning routines. I complete them every day, weekdays and weekends, no matter the season. In fact, if I miss my morning routines for any reason (everyone has had their morning disrupted by a dog barfing on the rug, a baby whose diaper mysteriously fills just as you’re heading out for the day, or an alarm that gets ignored), I feel unprepared, and even cheated. Here is my typical morning routine:

  • Wake early (5:30 am at the latest) before everyone else; Wash my face;
  • Make a cup of coffee. While the coffee brews, I load stray dishes into the dishwasher and start a load of dishes;
  • Light candles and incense in my breakfast nook and get out my journaling materials;
  • Do a daily tarot pull (1-6 cards, depending on my reason for the reading) (one of my cats has usually joined me on the bench by this time);
  • Continue with whatever ongoing research I’m doing (right now, I’m studying goddesses of justice and the kether [crown] sefira);
  • Journal, make my schedule, pray and set my intentions for the day;
  • Add items to my altar to correspond with my intentions;
  • Walk my dog and talk to the sun, moon, planets, stars, and whatever wildlife greets me.
illustration of a woman journaling with her cat and tea nearby
Routines such as journaling, time with your pet, and a morning cup of tea can all become rituals if you add a bit of thought.

If it’s a work day, there are a couple of steps after this (make breakfast and lunch, say my goodbyes to whoever is still sleeping). But this is how my day starts, no matter what the date. These are my morning routines – and they are also rituals. Let me tell you why.

Why My Morning Routines ARE Rituals

When I first started on my path to the Great Spirit, I thought meditation was something only seasoned yogis do well and that rituals involved fancy incantations, moonlight escapades in the backyard (my poor neighbor…), and maybe secret potions. Then one day, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Magic & Alchemy by Tamed Wild, and heard one of the co-hosts, Kristin Lisesnby, state that the best way to add ritual to your day is to look for the magic in the ordinary things that you already do. What a relief!

Let’s compare the definitions of routine and ritual and see how we can turn the first into the second:

Comparing the features of routines and rituals gives us a clue on how to turn a daily routine into a ritual experience (Image by author, 2022)

We can see that routines and rituals differ in one important way: the why. The same ordinary action, such as the first sip of your morning coffee, takes on a more metaphysical, spiritual meaning if done with purpose or intent. The intent might be increased mindfulness (e.g., feeling the warmth of the cup in your hands, smelling the aroma of the fresh brew, sipping the first sip, noting the way it feels in the mouth), or it might be your gratitude toward something greater than oneself (e.g., giving thanks for the quiet, the new day, fresh opportunities, and comfort). If you’re walking the dog because it’s what you do every night before bedtime, that might be just a routine. However, if you take the time to talk with your dog, greet the moon, look for Jupiter shining in the night sky, and feel the energy of the stars rejuvenating you, you might be engaging in a bit of ritual magic, especially if it’s the way you end your day every day. This ritual closing of the day takes on a spiritual meaning when done with intent.

The Benefits of Morning Routines and Rituals

Scientists have studied the many positive results of morning routines, including increased productivity, creating a positive context for the rest of the day, increased energy and feelings of control, decreased feelings of stress and forgetfulness, and improved relationships, confidence, and flexibility. Adding the element of intent focuses the energy of the routine into a specific area: mindfulness routines, such as making your bed, sipping tea, or writing in a journal focus that energy on connecting with your inner self (the “shadow self”), while setting the table for breakfast, filling the bird feeder or lighting incense focus that energy outward, toward others or the divine.

Turning Your Mundane into Magic

While there is always a place for that special ritual, such as lighting candles at a shrine or participating in a baptism, everyday tasks can become magical when done with a spiritual purpose. Let’s look at ways to turn your morning routines into rituals, and make your world a little more magical.

Create a table with three columns. Start by listing 5-7 tasks you do every morning without thinking about why, in the first column (maybe this is your FIRST journal page?). Next to each, write why you do it. If you don’t know, leave that blank. In the last column, think about how each could be an opportunity to connect to yourself, others, or the divine. Choose one of your routine tasks, and practice doing it with intention every day for a week, two weeks – however long it takes to feel you are now doing it with purpose. Be grateful. Be thankful. Be mindful and aware of changes in yourself, in your view of the world and of others. When you feel the magic, add another ritual to your day.

What’s Your Favorite Morning Ritual?

I’d love to know what your favorite rituals are for starting your day. Better yet, what routines did you turn into rituals, after reading this post? Drop a picture and share in the comments below.