Magical Living

How Skepticism Can Help Develop Your Personal Practice

During my interview with Yarrow Magdalena from Yarrow Digital and Daydreaming Wolves, she brought up what I actually think is such an important question for anyone (new and experienced) that is actively practicing or interested in practicing magic, tarot, astrology, and really anything! She mentioned that she was a bit skeptical of astrology, after all the planets are so far away and how do they really affect our day to day lives? At the same time, she could completely understand how using astrology would be therapeutic or healing for others—she just wasn’t sure how to access this herself or reconcile those twinges of skepticism she felt.

SKEPTICISM HELPS US ACCESS OUR CURIOSITY AND CHASE THE “WHY” BEHIND PRACTICES

I loved that she brought up the topic of skepticism, because often skepticism can be placed in a negative light when it comes to more spiritual topics. Personally, I think that healthy skepticism is an important foundation to your personal practice! It activates our innate curiosity and wanting to understand the “why” behind a methodology, which is crucial if you are going to engage in a practice that becomes personal to you! This “why” that you find is what will give this practice meaning in your life. It’s the difference between thinking your Saturn return will be devastating because everyone talks about it in that tone, versus understanding what Saturn represents and how you can take steps to better align yourself with that transition in your life.

IT CREATES HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

Other than deepening your relationship with practices that you want to integrate into your daily life, it provides healthy boundaries and allows us to recognize what resonates with us and feels healing, versus what doesn’t without judgment. Some of my most healing and incredible journeys with these tools have started with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Gina, my co-host and co-producer for our podcast, Open Magic, and I still laugh over how she gave me my first tarot reading. It was at a craft market and I had bumped into a friend who had just had a card read by Gina, and while I was curious, I was also incredibly skeptical. This was even with me loving crystals at this time and regularly reading about astrology—tarot just seemed a bit out of left field for me. I remember being incredibly stone faced as I told Gina that I just wanted a general reading (I didn’t want to give anything away, duh!). Of course, with just one card she was able to completely summarize my life circumstances at the time and I immediately bought the booklets she had about tarot and got my first deck the next week—the rest is history!

IT RELEASES OUR EXPERIENCES FROM EXPECTATION

I had an incredibly similar experience to my reading with Gina when I went to my first Reiki and hypnotherapy session. Those initial experiences with those modalities ended up being incredibly impactful and inspiring for me, but I think through being skeptical I was much more oriented to feeling what was going on within myself physically, emotionally, and intellectually to be able to feel the slighter shifts. This is in contrast to when we dive into an experience with a set expectation of what is going to happen and what it will mean for us when it does occur. Even if something does shift within us, or there’s the opportunity to, we may have a harder time recognizing it because we are so oriented to what we perceive should happen!

IT ALLOWS US TO DISCERN WHICH PRACTICES RESONATE WITH US

On that same note, skepticism allows us to also notice those moments where particular practices just don’t resonate with us or may be perfectly fine, but not something we are interested in pursuing or practicing further. I feel this way about the language around “energetic portals,” “starseeds,” etc. I’ve read about them to get a basic grasp of the concept and simply didn’t feel like it expanded my practice—and that it is okay to experience that!

Conversely, It’s important to remember that someone not being interested in a practice that you utilize has no reflection upon you, your worth, or your sense of self. We should all be kind about practices we don’t engage in as long as they aren’t perpetuating harm to others. But we do not have to defend or justify what we find meaningful.

HONORING YOUR SKEPTICISM

Through sitting with our skepticism, and choosing to explore it versus feel shameful, it actually opens up this beautiful opportunity to draw down these practices and methodologies you are reading about to a personal level. If you are skeptical about how astrology works as a system, there are numerous books to read about the science behind it. But outside of the science of any of these practices, one of my core values is that if it is not usable to you, it doesn’t matter how “real” it is.

The power of astrology for you as an individual is not just based on the influence of the planets on your energetic being. The healing, transformation, and power comes from how you interact with it as a system. This is why I do not believe in astrology. I practice it. (I attribute this language & concept to reading Alice Sparkly Kat’s work).

I practice it because I have found working with it to be deeply therapeutic and healing in a way that is rooted in my personal, lived experience. My placements and transits have provided a trellis and anchoring point for me to explore topics that felt too daunting or intense to start to process—I felt like I would get lost in a sea of emotion. Much more, I’ve found that observing transits in my own personal life has been deeply insightful and I have been able to observe the shifts in myself through the lens of astrology. You may feel the same way, you may not, and that is what makes our practices so powerful—they are for you, by you. 

Allow skepticism to be a guide towards discernment in your practice. If you are feeling skeptical but interested in astrology, you can start journaling with transits to see if you can observe the influence of these transits in your own life. Explore the “why” behind any of your practices so you can truly bring intention to whatever you are working with—from meditation to candle magic to reading tarot. Allow yourself to feel that ecstatic “yes” when an experience feels expansive, and similarly allow yourself to feel your “no” when a practice that you explore doesn’t resonate with you. Skepticism has a powerful place in making our practices individual and I think it’s worth acknowledging its role more often!

I hope you enjoyed this little exploration of skepticism’s place in our practices! As always, feel free to drop me a note in the comments below, via email, or hit me up on the ‘gram!

Until next time,

Bri

 

 

Reflection: Strength

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.

— brene brown

image by stefan tan via unsplash.

image by stefan tan via unsplash.

out of all of the cards in the major arcana, strength is the one that i have the most familiar relationship with, though this relationship continues to evolve and develop with every experience. ever since i have started working with tarot, it frequently appears and in the fountain tarot it’s depicted by a a woman riding an amorphous beast with a fiery, feisty smile staring right at you. whenever i’ve looked into her eyes, it’s been hard for me not to feel that it is the part of me that has kept me moving forward, making tough decisions to protect and care for myself, and believing in my resilience even when i struggled to believe it.

my card for the year and for the card of april were both strength. after struggling to embrace the movement that the eight of wands (february) and king of wands (march) was demanding from the last two months, i decided that with that synchronicity april would be the month i truly needed to jump off the diving board i had been staring down and take the plunge.

before i get to far into my personal experience with the card of strength, for those who haven’t worked with this card before, let’s take a second to consider its more general meaning.

STRENGTH

in the rider waite smith deck, the strength card depicts a woman with a lemniscate above her head in a flowing white dress, wearing a crown and flowers around her, holding the head of a lion as it gazes up at her. it’s interesting to consider, based on the context this card appears, is she exerting dominance and force against the lion, closing its jaws with its tail curled in submission underneath it? or is she stroking it, having tamed it and the lion finding comfort in her touch?

i believe it probably depends on what the lion represents for you, but either way this is not a battle scene. instead, they stand in a peaceful, sunny field with the sky a bright, golden color behind them. it is a scene exuding the elements of grace, fortitude, resilience, and courage. regardless of whether the lion is snarling or being stroked, it almost seems to welcome the opportunity to be tamed and provided guidance through the way it looks up at her, bows its body, and tucks its tail.

the lion will likely represent many different things, people, and situations that we face in life—but centered around the theme that it represents our passions, pride, ego, and the things we do to survive. i find it intriguing to consider how the lion appears so small next to the woman holding its head. i personally see that strength presents an opportunity for us to surrender our desire to fight for our survival or defend ourselves, pride, and passions to our intuition and parts of ourselves that are wiser and not so attached to our egos.

through experience, we learn that we do not have to burn bridges or lash out to get our point across or make healthy decisions. instead, we can make these choices for ourselves in a measured, calm way.

the fortitude and resilience that the woman exudes seems to indicate that we are more than capable of facing the situation at hand, if only we can surrender to our own abilities and trust our true strength to be calm, resilient, and truly courageous in the face of adversity.

how can we embark on this journey? in the words of brene brown, “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” 

image by  Priscilla Du Preez  via unsplash

image by Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash

MY JOURNEY WITH STRENGTH

in my personal life, i find it intriguing that strength is my card for both this year and the month of april. these past two months, i’ve felt a bit of a struggle with the cards i’ve had. in many ways, i wanted those energies depicted in the cards to do the heavy lifting for me rather than showing up to the do the work and create space to invite the energy in. i wrote about this experience with eight of wands and how i was looking for the external validation and arrival of this energy rather than taking bold action or clearing space myself. as a result, i felt desperate, insecure, and frustrated rather than feeling grounded or like i could trust myself to take those actions.

with the appearance of strength, i realized it was time to jump in the pool and learn to swim.

SURRENDERING

over the past year, i have been making a lot of intense decisions around caring for myself, implementing boundaries, and choosing to actively heal myself.

first, this past summer i became estranged from my family after years of struggling with boundaries and my expected role in the family. because this had been causing me so much stress for so long, i genuinely felt just sheer relief for months before really starting to feel the grief settle in my bones at the beginning of this year. since then, i have struggled to be gentle with myself and to allow myself the time and space necessary to even be vulnerable about my emotions. in many ways, i felt like grieving at all only affirmed how important my family is or how i need them when i’ve spent years distancing myself and extricating myself from their dynamic. i’ve had to take great steps to let the heaviness of my bones guide me to rest, to be felt, and allow myself to finally cry about the emptiness i feel not over the members of my family, per se, but through allowing myself to palpate the emptiness that exist in these roles in my life.

secondly, i was in a job where i was facing a lot of the same dynamics that were present in my family. it was incredibly stressful to be in my role itself with these dynamics, other than it being incredibly triggering and bringing up a lot of the trauma from my family. i have struggled with money for years and this was the first job where i was truly starting to make enough to start paying down debts, so it took me months of feeling ill and genuinely starting to dissociate regularly for me to recognize enough was enough and i had to choose myself and my health. this in many ways was actually harder than leaving my family because i was still receiving something (a paycheck and financial stability) in exchange for this emotional pain. i had been taught to sacrifice myself and my wellbeing for the sake of money for so many years, that this was a huge form of reprioritization for myself.

this month, i left a side job i’d been working for over 2 years. a few behind the scenes changes make it clear that it just wasn’t going to be fulfilling for me anymore. choosing to leave this job felt actually incredibly intense and was where i truly drew upon the strength card.

TINY SHIFTS

i found it intriguing that taking the most radical steps, such as becoming estranged from my family, actually felt easier than starting to implement these new systems and ways of living into the smaller, more everyday components of my life. i think it’s because i was just at such a breaking point with my family that i couldn’t carry that burden anymore whereas it would’ve been much easier for me to just ignore my feelings around these smaller aspects of my life. through choosing to still take actions and extricate myself from these unhealthy, albeit familiar dynamics, even in the smallest slivers of my life indicated that i wasn’t just taking these steps because i couldn’t handle it anymore, but that i was actively choosing to care for myself before things reached that breaking point. as someone who has been taught to sacrifice their needs to others’ priorities and desires for so much of my life, this has been an incredible paradigm shift that has truly shaken me to my core.

when i look into the eyes of the woman in the card strength, i want to say to that part of myself, ‘thank you for saving me.’

through finally leaving this job, after leaving all of these other dynamics i’ve listed, i truly feel like i have cleared the space necessary to move from a point of trying to cope with and handle unhealthy dynamics and old thought patterns, to a point of healing.

there is now space for me to process, acknowledge, and heal from these experiences and create new thought patterns without simultaneously having to justify these same dynamics being in my life in any capacity, no matter how small.

through making this transition, i feel like i am now able to look at the entirety of my work in the past year and hold myself tight. i have felt a great deal of joy and sadness simultaneously well up in my body. i look at the card of strength, see that part of myself that believes in my strength smile back at me, and i want to cry. i want to thank myself for continuing to fight for what feels like forever.

i feel like i have been fighting through life, through these dynamics, trauma, and emotional abuse for the past seven years. the entire time, that small part of me has chosen to fight, to dig deep and believe in myself and my ability to carry forward even when i wanted to collapse, to give up the fight, and just succumb to these forces and people around me. when i look into the eyes of the woman in the card strength, i want to say to that part of myself, “thank you for saving me.”

image by  Maddy Baker  via unsplash

image by Maddy Baker via unsplash

CLEARING SPACE

during our latest interview with lisa nagel on our podcast, she presented a beautiful analogy about the different ways of clearing space and letting go that nature presents. in the interview and other aspects of her writing, she talks about how beech trees and oak trees release their leaves. beech trees release their leaves all at once in anticipation of their new leaves coming in whereas oak trees hold onto many of their dead leaves until a new bud comes through and releases that old leaf.

in the past, i’ve always been a person to hop from stepping stone to stepping stone. it was okay if the path meandered, but i was always building and always moving forward with a new opportunity to replace the old one. in leaving these two jobs, and i suppose my family in many ways, i feel like the beech tree. i released all of these relationships and commitments with nothing to fill their place.

i have had to become familiar with this void and sitting with emptiness. the emptiness of not having a family, of not having another career based job lined up, and not having another stepping stone to jump to. i’m currently not able to justify my worth through an exemplary paycheck or title. through this void and through the card of strength, i’ve seen the opportunity to lash out, act from my ego, to return to that ability to claw my way through life and fight for survival, and try to fill this void with something, anything, so it won’t just feel so empty—but i’ve dedicated myself to the act of surrendering.

i have become the lion. with my tail curled underneath, i bow to the wisdom and intuition that i hold within me. after years of having to fight for survival. this time, i have fought enough to clear this space to be able to listen, to be able to sit in space and time, and just listen to that void and do the work i need to to be prepared for the opportunities i see ahead of myself.

WORKING WITH STRENGTH

if you are working with the energy around strength, first and foremost, i recommend that you watch the ted talks by brene brown and read a book or two of hers such as daring greatly. her entire body of work exudes the energy of strength through finding the connection, creativity, and opportunity that vulnerability in the face of fear provides—and how this personifies true courage.

i highly recommend listening to our most recent podcast episode with lisa nagel where we discuss inherited trauma and ancestral healing—which requires this ability to show up, be vulnerable and gentle with ourselves and our healing process while recognizing our resilience.

otherwise, when working with strength or if you are wanting to invite the energy of strength in your life consider a few of these questions when meditating, journaling, walking, or even driving. just let them settle in your mind for a moment and find surrender in the answer provided.

  • what does the lion represent to you?

  • how have you had to fight for yourself in your life?

  • write a list of ways that you are strong and instances where you have demonstrated your strength

  • what do the words strength, vulnerability, and surrender mean to you?

  • what ways are you comfortable being vulnerable?

  • how do you let go and clear space?

  • what habits and survival mechanisms does the lion represent for you?

  • what steps can you take to release those mechanisms to your wiser, compassionate, vulnerable self?

if you’d like to work on this intention through spell work, feel free to utilize the sigil i’ve included below by drawing it on a sticky note and placing it on your desk, stirring it into your food, writing it on your palm, drawing it in your journal, writing it down and burning it, burying it, or letting it dissolve in water—whatever works for your intention and how you wish to activate the sigil.

 
Surrender-06.png
 

as always, thank you for reading and feel free to reach me with your experiences, thoughts, questions, and other forms of communication either via instagram or my email!

until next time,

bri

Making an Altar? 5 Ideas to Provide Inspiration

altars are a personal staple of my magical practice. they definitely aren’t required to practice magic or be a witch, but i love having a designated space to work with an intention over a longer period of time.

i have a semi-permanent altar on the top of my bookshelf in our dining area that is just dedicated to beautiful gifts from the earth such as a deer skull i found and a bouquet that has dried. there’s a lot of queen of pentacles and empress vibes with this one and i enjoy feeling the presence of the natural world.

the other altar i have is in my kitchen and here’s my huge secret from instagram—it’s on the top of a shoe rack from target! for this altar, i like to change it up entirely every few weeks as i work with different energies or intentions.

altars don’t have to be a perfect, instagram-worthy interior design feat—just to reiterate my favorite altar is on top of a shoe rack! instead, there is abundant variety between altars from large, sprawling, and bountiful, to more minimalistic or even mobile(!) altars! while the variety can be a little overwhelming at first, i hope we can open this up into opportunity knowing that the most important component of an altar is simply intention. regardless of where you put it or how large it is, every time you pass by it and even just in the process of creating it, you’ll be reminded of this intention. plus, you may have working elements on your altar such as a magic candle, sigils, and more.

funny enough, we had a discussion at craft night about what really constitutes an altar and arrived at the meme-worthy, mind-blowing revelation that even a single candle can be an altar! it is the intention that matters!

to help you get started in working on your own altar, or maybe just finding some additional inspiration for your altars presently, here are some ideas based on how i get inspired for my altars!

oracle cards from the  hollow valley deck of symbols  by erin alise borzak. these particular cards have inspired some objects for my personal altar!

oracle cards from the hollow valley deck of symbols by erin alise borzak. these particular cards have inspired some objects for my personal altar!

GET INSPIRED BY YOUR CARDS

i’m crazy in love with my first and only oracle deck, the hollow valley deck of symbols by erin alise borzak, not just for the messages it gives me, but the incredible amount of inspiration it has provided me for altar items. i’ve recently been pulling the cards antler, comb, and honeybee frequently and, in my desire to work with their messages, they’ve inspired so objects to place on my altar including an hourglass, comb, and something related to honey (i recently had honey calcite pop up on my feed and i immediately thought of this card!).

looking to your cards can be an excellent way to really work with integrated intentions! you can draw a card for the month and if you are desiring to really embody that energy, look for the symbolism in the card and see if there’s an object you have or could easily obtain that would suit your altar.

for example, you could use a pomegranate to bring in energy of the empress or something i’ve considered doing when i pull the five of cups, is placing those full chalices that the figure in the card is ignoring onto my altar and replenishing them every day to mimic the perspective shift necessary to see opportunity.

based on the different decks you use, there can be abundant symbolism to draw from them and you can even create new associations with this energy! i personally love trying to embody the cards and seeing how i feel when i imagine myself in those forms and mindsets, and adding something physical to my altar is a create way to really enhance that for me!

prism oracle deck, full spectrum edition, by iriseyris!

prism oracle deck, full spectrum edition, by iriseyris!

COLORS

color correspondences are a classic element of magic and is incredibly versatile as well! you can choose candles to prepare based on the correspondences, you can make yourself an altar (!!) by wearing particular colors, and wear or place crystals and gemstones on your altar based on color as well.

color magic in many ways permeates our daily lives through how marketing and branding play off of these natural color associations. aside from using these correspondences to create your altar, see how they are used in your daily life and draw your own associations from them that you can use!

otherwise, thought co. has a great list of different color correspondences.

plus, if you are super interested in using color magic, i highly recommend following IrisEyris! She has a book out called Color, Form, and Magic and also has an oracle deck, The Prism Oracle, that utilizes color magic!

NUMEROLOGY

working with numbers can be a wonderful factor to integrate into making your altar as well! like color, it can act as a correspondence to match and enhance your intention and other elements that you want to work with.

for example, if there’s a tarot card that you particularly want to work with such as the nine of pentacles, you could use nine small votive candles that are dressed to align with your intention around this card. if you are are wanting to work with a tarot card in the double digits, you can simplify the number to work with its numerology. say you want to work with death, which is the 13th card in the major arcana, you could utilize 4 as the simplified number you’re working with!

otherwise, numbers themselves hold potent meaning and you can use it as a man element in your spell work and altars! for example, in the work i’ve been doing recently around money, i’ve placed three cinnamon sticks on my altar to attract abundance as cinnamon is an herb that brings in warmth and abundance, and three is the number of harmony, abundance, and is connected to the empress in the tarot.

image by  Rikki Austin  via unsplash

image by Rikki Austin via unsplash

NUMBER MEANINGS

  • one - self, independence, energy of the individual, associated with the sun and the magician. can be utilized with work focused on defining yourself, identity, advocating for yourself, setting out on your own, and individuation.

  • two - balance, polarity, duality and polarity between “self” and “we”, collaboration, partnership, relationships. related to the moon and the high priestess. can be used for intentions related to promoting harmony, love, enhancing partnerships, and inspiring mutually beneficial collaboration.

  • three - creativity, communication, abundance, action, will, the trinity, collaborative and supported expansion. associated with the empress. can be used for intentions around communication, inspiration, action, and abundance.

  • four - foundation, balance, solidity, home base, stability. associated with the emperor. four is the number to utilize for things like boundary setting, finding stability in your life, promoting your health, and helping sustain and nurture projects and ideas.

  • five - friction, change, agitation, creativity, true growth, need for a shift, taking risks. associated with the hierophant. five can be utilized for removing or destroying parts of your life that you no longer wish to carry with you or bringing in the necessary change for projects, parts of your life, etc.

  • six - family, community, harmony, partnership, there are similar elements of harmony and balance of the three, but this is amplified and evolved. associated with the venus, sixth house, and the lovers. this is an excellent number to utilize for long-lasting partnerships, harmony, unity, and artistry.

  • seven - higher knowledge, spirituality, intuition, higher expression, connection to our guides. associated with the chariot and neptune. this is perfect for enhancing your intuition and seeking guidance from your guides, ancestors, and angels.

  • eight - power, wealth, strength, maturity, wisdom, mastery of self, transformation, discipline, patience. associated with the card strength. this is the number for working with mastering your skills, your wisdom, maturity, and transmuting your shadows to find your strength. this is perfect for developing discipline and beginning the path of transforming habits and finding greater wisdom.

  • nine - transformation, completion, self-awareness, rebirth, growth. related to the hermit. this can be used as a number of amplification, of integrating lessons to find true growth, and for moving through difficult times or shadow work.

photo by  Shot by Cerqueira  via unsplash

photo by Shot by Cerqueira via unsplash

ASTROLOGICAL CORRESPONDENCES

working with the energies and movements of planets can really enhance or provide inspiration for your altar! each planet cards its own symbolism and some correspond to a day of the week! so not only could you select objects that correspond to its energy and color, but you could start working with it on the day of the week its associated with. if you want to get really precise, there are also particular minutes and hours that correspond to each planet. this can be useful for working with planets in general, or if you know you’re undergoing particular transits that you’d like to align yourself with. if you want to know more about this practice, i have a guide for journaling with astrological transits available on our patreon for just a few bucks a month!

you’ll see how all of these elements can really come together and layer upon one another! say you are seeking a little extra energy in your life around a project. you could create an altar that utilizes the colors of inspiration such as orange and yellow, dress three candles for this intention, and then light them and meditate on this intention on a wednesday—the day associated with mercury! or, you could just take one of these elements and work with it, it’s all up to you!

witchipedia has this great little table of colors, intentions, days of the week, and planets that you can reference! 

this is an altar i created using my pendulum!

this is an altar i created using my pendulum!

USE A PENDULUM

this is actually one of my tried and true methods of creating an altar. this is particularly because, number one, pendulums aren’t very expensive and can even be made from found materials. number two, i personally have a hard time figuring out what i need, particularly in times of distress, and like having something that i can defer to to help bring me what i need.

a pendulum is simply a weighted object that hangs from something like a string that can swing back and forth. i find it is important to bond with your pendulum and, like any person in your life, treat it kindly when you want it to help you out.

how to use your pendulum

  1. when it’s suspended—first ask, “can you please show me what a yes looks like?” and “can you please show me what a no looks like?” you can also ask it to show you either what uncertain, maybe, or rephrase looks like. once you know how your pendulum is going to communicate, i would ask, “do you mind if i ask you some questions?” i even tend to be specific when making an altar and talk to it first.

  2. i’ll tell my pendulum basically, “hey looking to make an altar that’s around the intention of ____, do you mind helping me with that?” you can also decide whether you want to access the wisdom of your ancestors or spirit guides through your pendulum. otherwise, you can even explicitly state that you do not want these entities to be involved in the communication process.

  3. from there, based on that intention, i will just go through all of my objects and touch them, silently asking if it would be useful for my intention. if my pendulum says “yes,” i add it to my collection to go on my altar. if it says “no,” it stays on the shelf.

  4. after the fact, i always thank my pendulum and ask it if it would like to be left on the altar that it has helped create. otherwise, i find a spot to place it that it has indicated they would like to be set down.

after you’ve arranged the objects on your altar to your liking, when you’ve used a pendulum to select them it’s incredibly useful to look and see what objects have been selected. as you do this a few times, you’ll see patterns and the significance in different objects based on different intentions or times in your life. for example, my pendulum doesn’t really select that many crystals. so i was quite surprised when one altar i was constructing was almost entirely crystals! when i refreshed myself on the meaning of each of them, it was clear that they were selected because i needed healing around my grief and my heart chakra.

this technique works for many magical preparations such as making a magical candle, selecting tinctures, finding medicines that work, etc. and i find that using a pendulum can really help you break away from potential overwhelm!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

i hope that if you were curious about creating an altar of your own that this can help provide guidance! if you already work with altars, hopefully this provided some helpful resources or new ideas!

there are certainly other kinds of “recipes” and instructions for making altars for specific purposes that you can check out as well! my interest was simply in providing the tools to make your own altar based on what you are interested in!

i would love to see your altar, hear how you construct yours, and receive feedback either via email at hello@tadpolemagic.com or via my Instagram!

Otherwise, I hope you have a magical time making your altar!

until next time,

Bri

11 Ways to Incorporate Magic into Your Routine

let’s reclaim our sense of ownership over our practice and give it some breathing room through it being something we get to do, rather than have to do.

I was recently asked on Instagram, “How do you find time to practice so consistently while balancing everyday life and obligations?” and could’ve exploded with joy that this was asked! When we scroll through Instagram all day or wherever we are seeing projections of other people’s lives, that what we are seeing! Even someone like myself, where I definitely try to offer a more sincere and grounded approach to the platform, am only sharing the glossy, glow-y bits that are about my practice—not me begrudging washing dishes or the guilt I feel when I don’t always have something to share on Instagram!

So, in short, I don’t always find time to practice magic or witchcraft on a daily basis. I have gone months without reading tarot for myself, forgotten full moons, not really cared to investigate certain transits because like any person, when you’re going through it, you may not want to always pry deeper or you could just be busy with life!

in these moments, it’s important to remember that this practice is for us, by us. this phrase should be tattooed on my body at this point, but that’s how much i really believe in it. it can totally feel like someone is on the outside, looking into your life, and judging your for not casting spells 24/7. great news is even if that is happening (which it shouldn’t, definitely get that checked out!) it doesn’t matter because it’s not about them! instead, let’s reclaim our sense of ownership over our practice and give it some breathing room through it being something we get to do, rather than have to do.

set yourself up for success

before diving into a few different ideas to incorporate witchcraft more easily into your hectic day, i think that the most important first step is to set yourself up for success and be realistic about your time constraints and also what you are interested in! when we are rushed, busy, and stressed, it may not be the time to explore the practices we have a stickier or tough relationship with. it’ll just turn us off and we will feel sorry about not practicing later—not the cycle we want to really get into!

for example, like a lot of folks meditation is struggle bus central for me. should i still take time aside and develop discipline around it? absolutely! but maybe it shouldn’t be my go to practice when life is insane. instead, choose something you like, adds to your life and mental state positively, and is available to you emotionally, physically, and spiritually! just finding the things you can easily turn to can make an immense difference in your day to day practice. if you’re feeling a little stuck or don’t know where to turn to do just that, without further ado here are some ideas i have for you!

8 Ways to Add Magic to your Routine

1. CREATE A CANDLE FOR THE WEEK

if you have your sunday afternoon already set aside for meal prep, why not prep something witchy for the week? on your day off, take a little extra time to sit with your candle and think of an intention or mantra that you’d like to bring into the coming week. perhaps it’s “i take care of myself” or “i allow myself to rest” — it doesn’t have to be something promising to shift the tectonic plates of your life, but instead can be a gift to yourself throughout the week. then, when you’re drinking your coffee in the morning or winding down at night, you can light your candle and reflect on that intention for a few moments while moving through your day. aside from reaffirming that intention for yourself, which can be a really helpful form of orientation, candles are also just nice? period? soak up the coziness and delicious aromas that candles bring!

2. LISTEN TO PODCASTS

while we may struggle to find time to actually sit down with our decks, astrological charts, you name it, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be furthering our studies in other ways! when i had a 45 minute commute each way, finding my way to my deck wasn’t always a natural use of my time, but listening to podcasts helped me continue to think about the practice, the archetypes of the cards, and more. when i did get to my deck, i would bring with me a renewed sense of curiosity, new ideas to consider, and more knowledge! audiobooks can be a great expansion from this idea as well!

some witchy podcasts to consider:

  • open magic (obviously a little bit of a cheat! but i do recommend it since we talk about things just like this article!)

  • the radiance project

  • embodied astrology

  • tarot for the wild soul

  • the witch wave

  • myth and magic for modern times

3. TALK TO YOUR GUIDES

as i write this list, i’m realizing i apparently i do a lot of witchcraft in the car! while you may feel a little crazy to start off, if you are interested in developing a relationship with your guides this is a great way to do it. just in driving to do errands or go to work, you can start to develop a dialogue with your guides. this can be out loud or internal, but thank them for getting to your destination safely, share any highlights or frustrations about your day, ask them for guidance on smaller or large aspects of your life, but establish that line of communication—they are there to help you! when you become comfortable with this line of dialogue, you can start to get more interactive with it! ask to see particular signs and symbols such as a pink car, to hear a song on the radio, or whatever you want (yes, i’ve totally asked for the most green lights possible and it does work!). this can be incorporated into other work that you are doing with signs and synchronicities, as well. if this interests you as a practice, i wrote little piece on how to use them for guidance and in your day to day life over here.

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4. WATER YOUR PLANTS

we can bring plants into our home that are medicinal or carry other significant meanings. plus, they are magical beings on their own. take a moment to water them and as you do so, perhaps think of an intention you have growing as you nourish the plant, or just visualize the water being full of vitality and life force that your plant is absorbing. you can expand on this practice by burying sigils and notes of intention into the soil of your plants and thinking about them blossoming as you care for your plant. you may also find that taking care of your plants may make it easier to take care of yourself, as well, and to consider your needs just as you would with a plant.

5. DREAMWORK

we all have to sleep! if you are particularly busy or struggling to move through life in general, much less incorporate magic into it, this can be an excellent practice to engage in. as an added bonus, it can really help with sleep hygiene. like many folks, the first thing i look at when i wake up is often my phone. while i should do this all the time, particularly when i’m trying to do dreamwork i’ll set my phone in the kitchen to charge at night so that i won’t get distracted and completely forget my dream when i wake up! to start your dreamwork practice, all you need is paper and a pen at your bedside. when you wake up, i find its useful to try to put your dream together and remember pieces of it before you move too much. but take a few moments and just start to write about what you experienced in your dream. at first, it will likely seem mundane, but as you wake up and investigate the dream further, you might recognize signs, symbols, or at least understand why certain elements are of symbolic importance in your life. while there are many dream dictionaries, start by evaluating how these symbols are powerful to you and what meaning they have in your life. as you get into the habit, you can start asking for certain issues, questions, or signs to be revealed or at least explored in dreams, and it can be another avenue to interact with your spirit guides.

6. JOIN (OR START) A GROUP

this may be a little bit of a cheat, but if we are talking about our lives overall, joining a group can be a great means of enhancing your magical practice. a group provides you a sense of companionship, people to bounce ideas or questions off of, and just having that designated time to discuss or practice your magic can be so helpful in keeping up with your practice. if this isn’t available in your area, or you don’t feel comfortable being out as a witch or someone who engages in metaphysical practices, there are many online groups that you can join either hosted by practitioners (like our patreon), via facebook, or internet forums. but this will help you remain engaged with your practice, make friends in doing so, and also provide inspiration and insight into other practices that you may want to explore yourself!

a tarot to-do list i pulled for myself the other day!

a tarot to-do list i pulled for myself the other day!

7. TAROT TO-DO LIST

while this is a little more involved than the other suggestions, this can still just take around 10-15 minutes in your morning. some folks love to do a daily draw, which can be a great way to keep forming associations and considerations around your cards, but there are other options as well. for me, i like to do what’s called a “tarot to-do list” where i use either my tarot or oracle cards and ask, “what are the three things i need to focus on today?” when drawing my cards. you can make it more or less, but i consider the message in the cards and try to consider how it would translate to my everyday life and make a little to-do list out of it! cleaning my home, reaching out to friends in need, and taking time for myself are all things that have appeared on my tarot to-do list before! you can expand this practice by asking your cards about more everyday, mundane questions and questions like helping you decide what to make at a potluck, how to decide what dress to wear, or where you should go for dinner. you’d be surprised at the insight it can bring, plus it makes our relationship with our decks more friendly and delightful when we may be used to intense, grave questions or answers!

8. VISUALIZATION

this is a fantastic practice for any part of your day. and what’s great, is it is all in your mind so you can do it at work or without drawing any extra attention to yourself. is someone pissing you off at work because they are in a bad mood? take a second and take a few deep breathes, thinking about all of that negativity billowing out like smoke. when you’re ready to move on, start to imagine yourself in a golden, smooth, soft cocoon that will keep you protected from taking on anyone else’s bullshit! personally i love to do this while showering. i’ll draw a sigil that i’ve thought of on our glass shower door, and as it melts away in the steam and water, i think of everything from my day melting away from me and washing down the drain. talk about refreshing!

9. SCHEDULE IT OUT

while i’m clearly an advocate for smaller, everyday rituals, it’s incredibly worthwhile to set aside some time for more in-depth exploration such as shamanic journeying, longer meditations, or taking the time to face the practices that ask us to do more emotional work. it’s important to get into the habit of reserving our time for ourselves, as well. you can dictate the frequency, but schedule a time for these more in-depth practices and stick to you! you deserve that time for yourself and your magical practice.

10. movement as magic

this is one of my favorite practices! whether it’s lifting weights, which is my preferred form of movement, to yoga, to going on walk—movement is easily a part of our magical practice. we can spend a lot of time up in our heads and really developing the more mental and spiritual parts of ourselves, but it is important to remain grounded in our practice. while exercising, you can think of a mantra that you repeat to yourself, you can use your intuition to help guide you on your running route, find a sense of mindfulness in checking in with your body and truly sinking into the sensation of movement. it can become a moving meditation where you focus on your breath, as well. consider where you are feeling tightness or pain and how this might translate to mental stressors in addition to any physical ailment. but recognize that taking care of yourself physically and tuning into your earthly body is just as important as your spiritual, intellectual, and emotional self.

11. intuitive journaling

this can be a little more time intensive than the other practices i recommend, but you can also set parameters around how much time you spend journaling! what’s nice about this practice is it requires minimal materials and can be done in virtually any setting, whether that’s waiting at the bus stop to being at work. this is a little bit different than writing, say, a journal entry—though it can start or end that way—but instead of consciously collecting your thoughts and recollecting what has happened during your day, month, year, whatever, this is focused more on the flow of thoughts. it sounds silly, but just start writing. what themes are circulating in your life? what word do you keep hearing over and over? how does it make you think of grandmas house when you were a child? what cravings have you had? what is the energy within you, at the office, in the world in general? it doesn’t have to be linear or structured, but follow the journey of your mind through the different associations. this will really help expand your intuition through giving space and voice to thoughts that you may otherwise automatically shut off in our day to day lives, but then want to access later in our more intuitive practices. start to let that door open in your daily life and see what you are sensing around you already and see how your intuition is being utilized or active all day!

final thoughts

i can think of a billion other ways to incorporate magic into your life, but we will leave this list where it’s at for now so we can explore other ideas later! that being said, i would love love love to hear about your everyday magical practices, what ideas you may have gotten from this piece, and practices you would want to be included on this list! feel free to drop me a note, comment below, or hit me up on instagram!

until next time,

bri