CN for non-graphic mention of sexual violence.
Before I go write any further, I want to say that I am pro whatever works for you and I would never downplay the hugely positive impact modern medicine and talking therapy can have. From my own experience I can say that when something hurts, its good to throw everything at it. You deserve healing and attention and medical support and its your right to just try things out and see how they feel. You do you!
If you are reading this as a straight men and are wondering what I am on about, please know this: This isn`t for you. Its about the systemic violence that is a manifestation of thousands of years of patriarchy. Its about the fact that one in three women will experience sexual violence at some point in their lives. And its an attempt to reflect on new and old ways of healing from this.
For me personally, witchcraft is about reclaiming practices of natural healing and spirituality that have been suppressed and shamed within male dominated cultures all over the world, not about flying on a magical broom. Its about intuition, understanding the cycles of nature and the courage to take space for what is truly healthy and nourishing. Meditation means the world to me and has become a daily practice. Its a fluid, sweet way of calming my mind, of telling my body that my health is a priority and a way to remember that stillness is always a possibility, even in the wildest chaos.
When I reflect back on my teenage years and early twenties, there are lots of memories that feel heavy, even if there are also thousands of beautiful ones. Some of them are small and less significant, like being laughed at during PE or guys making inappropriate comments about my boobs. Others are more faded and more meaningful. Together they add up to some rage, some hurt and some shame around the things I have let happen when I wish I had stood up for myself more. I know so many of us have memories like this and I think that what we do with them can significantly affect the course of our lives, because they affect our confidence, the way we approach relationships and our health.
Here are (witchy) practices that I love when I feel frustrated about the world and its injustices towards femininity:
- Exercising clear and healthy boundaries for my body – I light candles for myself, I sleep at least 8 hours a night, I make decisions about what I eat even in social situations
- Using herbs and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg that are grounding and comforting in times of stress and anxiety – teas with homemade nut milk infused with flower essences are the shit
- Creating fire rituals in which old memories are written down and then burned as a stepping stone of release
- Creative visualisations and meditations in which I go back into the past, in a way that feels comforting and safe to me, to meet my younger self, rewrite the stories I tell myself and release the experience
- Creating seasonal altars and working with archetypes to reflect on my development, the strength I gained and the path I am walking (I love Caroline Myss` work on archetypes!)
- Journalling to look in more depth at the feelings that come up and see immense progress over time, maybe even adding poetry and illustration for some extra magic
- Clearing spaces with smoke, essential oils or other purifying rituals and staying within them when things feel overwhelming
- Connecting with nature – walks, gardening or looking at the stars help me reflect on the timelessness and wisdom of nature that transcends temporary human experiences
You may or may not believe in the healing properties of natural medicine and rituals that so far have no or little scientific back up, we are after all children of our time conditioned to prioritise our rational mind over our intuition. What I do know with absolute certainty though is that these practices help us to shift our perception of ourselves from being a victim to an active creator of our lives and our wellbeing which is so so valuable.
If you can manage not to carry vibrations or energy with you that you do not need or that take power from you, will live a much freer, happier and lighter life. Own the release and take back your power in a way that is magical to you.
I would add forgiveness to the list above, but it can be a very double edged sword and I think the most important thing to remember is that forgiveness is always for the benefit of the victim first. You don`t have to forgive anything or anyone if it doesn`t feel good to you. For me, it has helped to think about how restrictive and hurtful our ideas of toxic, mainstream masculinity are for men. Now this doesn`t mean that I believe in reverse sexism or that I condone sexual violence in any way, it just means that I am making tiny steps towards seeing the humanity of people that have hurt me which sometimes feels peaceful.
Wishing you love and comfort in all that you do,