A Lammas Ritual + Guided Meditation

Lammas (also called “Lughnasadh”) is a holiday, or sabbat, on the witch’s Wheel of the Year, typically celebrated on August 1 in the Northern Hemisphere.

This is a time of harvest, and from a Jungian Magic point of view, it’s a potent day to release what no longer serves in order to create space for the newly harvested energy to enter your life. 

Seven of Pentacles from Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot

During this time of global upheaval, doing our inner work is more important than ever. The collective healing relies on, and is composed of, our individual healing. 

So, on this sacred day, let’s add to the communal web of wellness with a simple-yet-powerful ritual (with a free guided meditation).

Let’s begin…

You’ll need some quiet time and space to journal undisturbed prior to the meditation. 

Feel free to light a candle or incense to mark the occasion, then take a few breaths to calm and center yourself before using the following incantation:

I call upon my Total Self

On this holy Lammas day.

To healing I surrender, 

My soul will guide the way.

Focus on the intention to receive insights regarding what within you is most in need of healing right now, perhaps using the following prompts to spark your inner wisdom.

Is there a thought that keeps nagging at the corner of my mind, a bit of worry or anger that I can’t seem to set down?

Is there a relationship that feels discordant right now? What, in particular, feels amiss?

Is there something I wish I could say to someone, but it feels impossible to do so?

I strongly encourage you to journal your responses rather than simply thinking about them. This doesn’t need to be polished or epic; even brief bullet points will do.

Committing words to paper creates a dynamic bridge between the conscious and unconscious selves, unearthing nuggets of truth and wisdom that are otherwise easy to overlook.

As you journal, see if you can connect with one thing that is ready to be released, such as:

A belief about yourself

A belief about another person

A belief about “how the world works”

A fear

A self-righteous mental story

Write down what it is you intend to release in the following format:

I am 100% ready and willing to release, fully and completely, [fill in the blank]. 

And now, it’s time for the guided meditation:

Come into a comfortable seated position (you can lie down if you wish, just don’t fall asleep!), cue up the audio, and close your eyes. 

Lammas Guided Meditation

To download the meditation, click on the stacked dots on the right of the controller and select “download.”

Have a blessed Lammas!

How to Work Menstrual Magic

Working intentionally with your menstrual cycle is a powerful way to supercharge your magic through the momentum of your inner tides, while aligning more deeply with the sacredness of your body.

We’ll be exploring the four phases of your cycle and different ways to magically partner with the energies of each phase. 

As with any cycle, where we begin is somewhat of an arbitrary choice, as each phase follows from the one before…

…but we’re going to start with the follicular phase, as this most closely matches that initial spark of an idea, which is a common portal into a new phase of growth. 

Follicular Phase – Building, Focusing, and Winnowing

The follicular phase is initiated by Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), produced by the pituitary gland.

This hormone acts on ova, or unfertilized eggs, within the ovaries. Each ovum is housed in a little follicle, and as its name suggests, FSH stimulates these follicles, causing a select number of them to enlarge.

The ova embark on a race to see who will emerge victorious, with the winner proceeding to ovulation and the rest gradually disintegrating. 

Energetically, this is a time of building potency, increasing focus, and allowing extraneous elements to fall away.

The magic of this phase:

This is an ideal time for selecting a focus for your energy, and initially, you might be trialing a handful of options. 

You could use tarot, runes, a pendulum, or other divination tools to explore the pros and cons. 

You can check in with your body as you contemplate each option, sensing whether your body grows more open and expansive or more closed and constricted, using this to guide which path is best for you right now. 

You can meditate and journal, asking your higher self or any guides and deities you work with for clarity. 

You can pay attention to your dreams, requesting guidance before you go to bed each night.

Once you have a sense of which option your soul wishes to focus on, it’s time to start gathering your energy

…and a big part of this process is consciously acknowledging the alternative options that you won’t be taking right now.

Too often, we have a lingering FOMO (fear of missing out), and this causes us to subtly (or not-so-subtly) cling to every possibility, dissipating our energy and leaving us feeling scattered and confused.

A spell to focus your energy:

I find it helpful to write down on separate slips of paper the options I won’t be pursuing right now.

Sometimes, this can bring up a whole host of emotions, such as fear, grief, anxiety, and so on.

If you can, simply be present with these feelings, honoring them by resisting the urge to reach for distractions, and trusting that even though they might be intensely unpleasant, they are nonetheless valuable. 

You might also write down any additional energies that you sense need to be released so that you can move forward cleanly, recycling any unused energy for future endeavors.

Then, ritualistically release these elements by burning the slips of paper in a bonfire, in a fireproof cauldron, or other safe means.

You might choose to bury the ash in your garden or release it into a body of water with gratitude. (You can simply throw it away, too.)

Acknowledge that this energy hasn’t disappeared; it’s been powerfully returned to a larger cosmic cycle.

Even though you aren’t pursuing these options right now, there’s no telling how this energy might return to your life in new and exciting ways. 

With this release, you are now primed to focus intently on your chosen aim, thereby unifying your will, which is an indispensable magical tool.

Without a cohesive will, your efforts will be scattered and less effective, which, over time, can feel extremely frustrating and discouraging.

Instead, support your efforts by having the courage to prioritize what’s truly important to you rather than trying to “do it all.”

I love journaling on my focus, and if I intend to cast a spell, this is when I would sketch out the details.

If I’m doing a worded spell, I’d draft my intention phrase, such as, “I am in a career that supports and nourishes me financially, creatively, and on all other levels—so mote it be!”

If I’m incorporating other ritual elements, such as candles, crystals, herbs, etc., now is the time to start gathering these magical allies. 

Ovulation Phase – Energizing, Galvanizing, and Releasing

When your body reaches a sufficient estrogen threshold (among other factors), ovulation is triggered, and there are a few bodily signs that indicate this shift.

One of my favorite resources for more detailed instruction in this area is Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, but here, we’ll briefly cover the three signs that signal ovulation and their magical implications. 

The first is an increase in your temperature, which is assessed upon waking in the morning.

Magically, we can think of this additional heat as fuel for our energetic fire—it gets things moving and allows us to burn through resistance and other obstacles.

When I’m paying attention, I notice a palpable shift in my energy during this time, and when I capitalize on it, I find it much easier to get. shit. done. 

This is a wonderful time to schedule necessary tasks related to your aim that might ordinarily meet with inner naysaying.

You’re much more likely to transform resistance into fiery resolve during ovulation, so why not put that to good use? If you’re casting a spell or doing another type of magical working, now is the time to send that energy out into the cosmos!

The second sign of ovulation is a change in cervical fluid.

As ovulation approaches, this fluid generally takes on a more slippery, lubricative, egg-white texture. 

Magically, we can view this as increased energetic fluidity, allowing us to travel the path of least resistance.

As we tap into the fiery momentum of ovulation, if we meet with potential obstacles, do we have the flexibility and adaptability to navigate them, or do we allow them to derail our efforts?

This speaks to an important principle of magic: While there’s much we can do to encourage a desired outcome, it’s far more difficult (i.e. energy intensive) to control precisely how this outcome is realized. 

Particularly during this more fluid phase, our magic is enhanced when we acknowledge this principle…

…recognizing when we are growing too attached to a particular route and, with gentleness and self-compassion, releasing this attachment to allow the energy to continue flowing toward our goal. 

The third ovulatory sign is cervical position, with the cervix becoming higher, softer, and more open during ovulation.

In a similar fashion, are we putting ourselves in a good position to support our magical aims?

For example, if we’re doing a spell to make more professional connections, but we’re hiding out in hermit mode, this undermines the energy of our working.

Often, when we’re trying to micromanage the process, rather than surrendering into co-creation with the cosmos, this causes us to constrict.

How can you support yourself in gently opening and softening during this time, welcoming the desired outcome into your life?

Luteal Phase – Increasing, Nourishing, and Preparing

If you recall from the follicular stage, the ovum is contained inside a follicle. At ovulation, the ovum bursts free, traveling to the Fallopian tubes and leaving its follicular casing behind.

This leftover follicle becomes a corpus luteum or yellow body, which carries an interesting alchemical correspondence.

In short, the yellow stage of alchemy involves a conjoining of above and below, a union of spirit/potential with matter/manifestation.

Magically, our outcome is materializing. 

During the luteal phase, the lining of the uterus is thickening, in part due to cues from the corpus luteum, which is releasing progesterone.

Are you taking steps to prepare for and nourish the successful outcome of your magical working?

For example, if your goal is to find a romantic partner, and you know that staying up late every night translates into your being a total bear to be around, transitioning to an earlier bedtime is one way of nourishing a successful outcome. 

Progesterone not only causes the uterine lining to thicken, it also suppresses the release of any additional ova that might compete with the ovum that is already traveling down the Fallopian tubes.

Magically, we are being given another opportunity to evaluate what we’re spending our time and energy on.

Are we spread too thin, thereby draining our original focus of its power?

Or can we continue holding space for this goal, allowing it to really take root in our lives, nourishing it through our daily choices, which in turn become self-sustaining habits.

This is a time for deeply instilling the outcome of your magical working into your actual, lived experience.

Menses – Purifying, Releasing, and Resetting

If the ovum has not been fertilized, once the corpus luteum disintegrates and is no longer producing progesterone, the blood vessels supporting the lining of the uterus will constrict…

…and that lining will begin to die off. This initiates a phase of flow and release, and in the background, hormonal players will be readying for a new round of the cycle. 

Magically, I experience this time much like the energetic feel of a dog shaking itself dry after a swim before flopping down in the sun for a well-deserved nap.

It’s time to cast off anything that no longer serves and any unused remnants of energy leftover from the working.

I like to collect some of my menstrual blood and ritually offer it to the earth, acknowledging this process of shedding and release. 

When you reach menstruation, you’ve just completed a cycle of building intensity and focus, and it can be so very delicious to embrace this period of cathartic release, resetting for the next cycle of growth. 

How can you carve out time for rest or play?

Can you loosen expectations and shift into being instead of doing mode, allowing your batteries to recharge?

If we try to sustain unflagging productivity throughout our entire cycle, eventually we become depleted, wrung out like a sponge, and we have less access to our creativity and sources of inspiration.

Relishing this period of rejuvenation and release is so important. 

Tuning into your cycle is a potent way of honoring the sacredness of your body, while connecting with the ever-changing ebbs and flows of energy.

By connecting with your inner tides…

…you will be better equipped to align with the larger, cosmic tides…

…and these, in turn, will add powerful oomph to all of your magical workings. 


The Gnarly Effects of Labeling Ourselves (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post, we looked at how labels can limit our power and our relationship to the deeper self. 

Today, we’re going to explore how labels tend to cluster with sneaky assumptions, which can lead us far astray of our soul’s path.

First, a story…

A few months ago, I was Zooming with a friend. We were chatting about business—she’s wanting to start her own—and she mentioned a woman whom she’d recently met. I’ll call her Sara.

My friend said, “Yeah, well, Sara’s rich, because she has two office locations.”

Now, I happen to know Sara, apparently better than my friend did, and I know very well that Sara does not consider herself to be financially rich.

Taking out the second location was a bit of a gamble, one that hasn’t yet paid off. 

How often do we make these mental shortcuts?

Two office locations = rich

Losing weight = happiness

Troy at the office not taking credit for our ideas = self-confidence

While there are many repercussions of these pervasive assumptions, I want to focus on just one here:

How assumptions affect our choices.

Let’s say my friend allows her assumption to go unchallenged…

It’s very likely that she’ll see reaching the milestone of “two office locations” as a sensible goal in the pursuit of financial success. 

From the outside, it’s probably easy to see how irrelevant this goal is, how there’s no inherent connection between having two offices and being financial successful.

(I mean, does your particular business even require one office? Maybe…but maybe not.)

In fact, pursuing this could have precisely the opposite effect. Two offices equals twice the overhead, which could be enough to run a business into the ground. 

And what about in relationships?

Like all areas of life, relationships are often loaded with assumptions, so we have plenty examples to choose from, like…

Unless Terry stops making passive-aggressive comments, this friendship is in the toilet.

If I don’t go to brunch on Saturday, Kayla will be pissed.

My partner doesn’t listen to me because he doesn’t care/is self-absorbed/thinks I’m boring.

Each of these assumptions leads to a sequence of choices and a narrowing of options. 

They act as blinders that hide any information that doesn’t conform to our current perspective—can you see what a self-defeating cycle this could generate?

Eight of Swords from Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot

If we don’t like the way things are…

…yet we’re holding assumptions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to see things in a new way, our ability to creatively problem solve will be severely limited. 

To break the cycle, we have to be willing to risk that our assumptions might be incorrect. 

This might seem simple, but in practice it often triggers feelings of raw vulnerability, and sometimes even shame, so the ego will often go to great lengths to prevent us from taking this road less travelled.

It will try to convince us that our assumptions are facts by seeking evidence everywhere we look. 

If it finds even the slightest hint that our partner isn’t listening, it can magnify this to epic proportions…

…turning it into incontrovertible “truth,” and leading us to believe that the only way for this relationship to work is for our partner to become a better listener. 

But if we were willing to challenge this assumption (something I show you how to do, step-by-step in this free course), we create space.

Space for new ideas to bubble up, space for creative possibilities to reveal themselves.

The Star from Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot

We’ll feel more inspired, more curious, more willing to engage with life in different ways. 

And in doing so, we’ll generate insights based on real-world experiences (i.e. not circular, untested thoughts) that will guide us toward wise decisions.

Rather than unconsciously choosing completely arbitrary aims (“I have to open two offices!”), spinning out time and energy on things that will likely leave you feeling flat and frustrated…

…challenge those assumptions to locate your unique North Star, letting your inner guidance light the way to deeper satisfaction.

You’ve got this.

The Gnarly Effects of Labeling Ourselves (Part 1)

Throughout my life, I’ve ascribed countless labels to myself.

When I was younger, I was a…

Student. Anarchist. Atheist. Daughter. Dog walker. Chicagoan. Web designer. Hot mess.

…and dozens of other roles.

Later, I became a…

Jungian Witch. Structural integrator. Yogi. Wife. Nature lover. Writer. 

…and the list goes on. 

While names and categories can certainly be useful, and perhaps even necessary in some cases, they can also distance ourselves from our power and our deeper self.

Let’s look at each effect in turn.

When labels separate us from our power

How often have you heard someone (perhaps even yourself) say:

“That’s just the way I am!”

“That’s just not me.”

“I’m not the kind of person who…”

When we take an aspect of our experience—what we do for work, our relationship status, mental health, physical appearance, opinions and preferences, etc—and we make that synonymous with who we are…

…we risk seeing ourselves through a very narrow lens, and the less of ourselves we can see, the fewer options we have in day-to-day life.

This winnowing down of our options occurs in two ways:

One, if an option isn’t compatible with our current identity, we either can’t see it or we won’t allow ourselves to take advantage of it.

For example, the “light worker” who repeatedly turns down or bungles money-making opportunities, because being financially successful doesn’t compute with their identity. 

(And yes, this same person might bemoan their lack of funds and consciously want precisely the opposite, but identity is a tricky beast…)

The Devil in the Waite-Smith Tarot

Two, if there are parts of ourselves we cannot see because they don’t match with our identity, these parts get pushed into the unconscious. 

And now, these parts, like any unconscious contents, have the ability to heavily influence our choices and actions, but because they’re unconscious, we have no idea what they’re up to. 

The results of these unconscious meddlings simply seem like life events that are happening to us, and we don’t realize that our unseen inner self is playing a central role.

Here again, our options are restricted, this time because our puppet strings are being yanked outside of our awareness. 

As Jung famously said: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Labeling can separate us from a sense of responsibility for our own lives (“That’s just the way I am!”), and power and responsibility are intimately connected.

We cannot have true power without taking responsibility. 

Or as Peter Griffin sagely remarked, “With great mustache comes great responsibility.”

If we want to feel—and be—empowered, we must take responsibility for our own lives. 

The choices we make, how we spend our time, what we choose to focus on, how we communicate with ourselves and others, and so forth…

…all of these factors are our personal responsibility.

When we try to skirt around this fact, we start compromising who we really are, what we care about, our soul’s yearnings, and all the other things that make us feel truly alive. 

It’s a high price to pay for an identity.

When labels separate us from our deeper self

Humans—and indeed, all beings—are wildly vast and awe inspiring. 

No label can ever capture the totality of a human being. 

So, if we’re summing up our selfhood in a word or two, we can be sure that this is but a sliver of our deeper self. 

Sure, it might be a sliver that’s quite important (or quite important to the ego—only you can know for sure which), but it’s still just a sliver.

You are more fascinating, more wonderful, more infinite than you can ever know. 

Labels help us parse out the immensity of our true nature into more manageable, bite-sized chunks, which can be useful at times…

…but when we confuse these bites with the whole shebang, we’re shortchanging ourselves, and we’re shortchanging the world that we’re here to impact. 

In our attempts to stake out solid territory in the ever-shifting sands of life, we can set our life in stone. 

Everything, your life very much included, is a process, not a static entity. 

When we try to capture a dynamic animation in a single frame, we’re only getting the merest glimpse at what’s really going on. 

And then, when we make decisions based on that still shot—whether that’s a still of ourselves, another person, or the world around us—we’re left speaking to a part of existence that isn’t changing. 

In other words, a fiction. A mental construct.

Let me say this again: 

Nothing in life is still and unchanging…

…so when we are relating to “fixed identities” (e.g. “that’s just the way I am,” “they’re just a selfish a-hole,” “Life doesn’t work that way”), we are relating to fictions.

This leads to frustrating encounters, both inner and outer, because we’re essentially operating in a fun house hall of mirrors, left wondering why our efforts aren’t having the effect we’d like.

To strip away the veils of illusion, we must be willing to challenge what we think we know…

…including ourselves. 

So, who are you, anyway?

I bet you’re far more incredible than you realize. 

How to Stop Ruminating on Triggering Stuff

Something intriguing emerges when I witness my inner process during challenging situations…

First, there’s a flare of emotions, and it can be quite intense.

But if I resist the urge to get overly attached to the emotions, and I simply let them run their course, every single time…they pass. It never fails.

However, that’s rarely the end of the story, though, right? At least, not for anything more significant than, say, getting cut off in the salad bar line. 

When the situation is ongoing and far from resolved, well, it’s really easy to reignite the initial emotional flare up. Again…and again…and again.

And here’s where things get interesting. 

I became super curious as to what, exactly, triggered the subsequent flare ups, because it was often far from obvious.

Frequently, I was alone, I was doing something totally unrelated to the challenging situation, like mowing the lawn, and—boom! 

Suddenly, I’m in the middle of an imaginary argument, and the emotions are coursing through me like lava-spitting scorpions.

What the hell?

Turns out, my unconscious was trying to help me regain a little psychic equilibrium, because I had taken things too far to one extreme or the other.

Temperance from Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot

The psyche, you see, has a fundamental governing principle

…baked right into its core, and that is the principle of polarity.

If our conscious mind takes something super duper far to the right (metaphorically speaking), threatening to shift us perilously out of balance…

…the unconscious will step in to help by introducing energy from the left. 

And it’s often those moments when I’m on autopilot (mowing the lawn, for instance) or spacing out, when the barrier between conscious and unconscious thins, and that material more easily spills through.

Typically, we view this unconscious energy as an unwelcome intrusion, because, after all, it directly contradicts our conscious position, which can then trigger all sorts of self-righteous refusal.

What does this look like in practice?

Let me share an example (one of many) from my own life.

I have a friend who rarely initiates contact. If I reach out, they always respond, and we have a great time when we hang out, but I wouldn’t bet on them being the one to get in touch.

We talked about it once, and there was a short burst of change before things returned to the status quo. 

Well, every so often, this would suddenly bother the shit out of me. 

“Why am I always the one to reach out? Who do they think they are?! Okay, fine—if you don’t want to reach out, then we can’t be friends!”

And on and on the mental stories went.

So, why did this only happen every once in a while, and what triggered it?

In meditating and journaling on this, I noticed that I had an inner rule, largely unconscious, running in the background. 

(Side note: So far, I’ve never been in a resentment-triggering situation that, upon further exploration, wasn’t being fueled by a hidden inner rule.)

That rule was: Good people are always communicative and responsive.

And my ego was very, very attached to my identity as a “good person.” 

To maintain that identity, I had to see myself as being 100% communicative and responsive.

It didn’t matter if I was tired, on vacation, needing alone time, etc—if someone wanted to get in touch with me, as a “good person” I had to respond. 

So, if I wasn’t in the mood to talk, this could only mean one thing (assuming I wanted to maintain my ego’s good-person identity):

The other person was “bad.” 

“God, they’re always so needy! Why are they calling me after I’ve had such a long day!”

“I shouldn’t have to tell them not to email me while I’m on vacation!”

And on and on my indignant “logic” went. 

Because my ego was deathly allergic to being a “bad person” (i.e. someone whose communication style differed from my inner rule), this meant I had to project those qualities onto someone else. 

And the universe, in its wonderfully endless diversity, makes it incredibly easy for us to find people and situations on which to project our unwanted stuff. 

(Aw…thanks, universe!)

You need someone who has a more nonchalant approach to responding onto which you can project your baggage? Or someone who loves avoiding communication entirely, just to spice things up? Coming right up!

The Shadow Side (traditionally labeled the Devil) in Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot

Let’s return to the sudden outbursts of anger and their hidden source…

So, here I am, with my “good person” identity intact.

In order to maintain this shaky identity, I have to reject any information that might suggest that I am not 100% perfect when it comes to responsiveness and communication. 

And since every single thing in life is inherently imperfect, it’s inevitable that I am not, actually, 100% perfect in this, or any other area. 

Meaning, I’m going to encounter a lot of information that needs rejecting in order to maintain this identity. 

Day after day, a little more rejected information gets thrown into my shadow. A little here, a little there, and pretty soon, the shadow’s gettin’ pretty crowded. 

Something’s gotta give. 

Balance must be regained, because things are getting mighty lopsided in my psyche. 

On the one hand, I have my shining self-image of the perfect communicator, and in my shadow, I have a giant knapsack of crud that contradicts this image. 

Suddenly, the bag splits open, and out spews the unwanted information. 

My ego finds this information extremely threatening, so it’s once again projected onto the other person, at which point I find myself having imaginary arguments with them (or actual arguments) in an attempt to convince myself that I am still the “good person” and they’re the villain. 

Whew. Identity protected—victory!

Until the bag gets too full of crud again…aaaand I’m right back where I started, angrily ruminating and brimming with resentment. 

So, the only way off this hamster wheel is to acknowledge the shadow bag. 

In my scenario, this would involve a more honest look at my own communication habits and their human imperfection.

But even more importantly, I need to compassionately challenge my inner rule of “Good people are always communicative and responsive.”

As long as I allow this rule to run unchecked, I will act like a tyrant with myself, ignoring what I want, need, and feel in order to satisfy the demands of the rule. 

And if I fail to meet the rule, I will often repress the evidence and, instead, see it existing only in other people.

Thus, I need to be willing to sit with the discomfort that arises when I confront this rule and allow myself to make different choices. 

Often, this can trigger guilt or even shame. 

Can I be present with myself when those feelings arise, instead of shoving them into the shadow bag by, say, grabbing my phone and seeking a distraction? 

Here’s the thing:

When we engage this practice, the ego, which was once incredibly brittle and prone to flying off the handle at the slightest hint that its identity was being threatened…

well, it becomes more resilient

When confronted with information that contradicts its self-image (aka, life), with practice, the ego is better able to be with this. 

It becomes less reactionary. More curious. 

Less indignant. And more compassionate—to self and others. 

Does this mean you’ll someday reach a level of perfect peace in the face of all triggers?

Nope. But you don’t have to in order to live a deeply satisfying life. 

Simply expanding the ego’s resilience and flexibility even a little bit amounts to big dividends in your level of inner peace.

We can do this.

One day, one choice, one moment at a time. 

Are you with me?


P.S. Want more guidance on working with projections and building a more resilient sense of self?

Check out my free course: How to Alchemically Transmute Difficult Sh*t Into Electrifying Satisfaction

A freaky truth about your magical power

One of the cornerstones of Jungian Magic is intentional partnership with the unconscious self through specific tools and techniques. 

The unconscious is seen as the source of your magic, an interface between your personal creative powers and the vast creative powers of the cosmos. 

In other words, not only is it the portal to your individual change-making capacities, it allows you to tap into much larger forces, helping you to create profound transformation with less a drain on your personal energy.

Unintentional Magic

Of course, we can (and do) tap into these energies all the time without understanding how, but this often leads to a deep misunderstanding of the direct connection between our inner world and our external experiences. 

Rather than seeing how we are actively creating what we experience, particularly situations that seem to crop up repeatedly (unhappy relationships, feelings of low self-worth, an unsatisfying career or financial hardships, etc.), we feel like victims of annoying circumstances.

We are confronted with a situation Jung describes in one of his most well-known quotes:

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. 

Said magically, we’re casting spells and performing magical operations all the time, but we perceive them as situations and forces that are happening to us, not through us.

This leads us to feel confused and disempowered, wondering why things aren’t working out the way we’d hoped, and we can spend years (our whole life, even) chasing after symptoms like a game of whack-a-mole, never really getting to the root cause. 

Divine Powers

In perhaps his most controversial work, Answer to Job, Jung analyzes God’s behavior in a manner that speaks to this whole conundrum in a fascinating way. 

The Old Testament Yahweh (God) was a bit contradictory, to put it mildly. Loving and beneficent one minute, rageful and smiting the next. 

Isolating one incident of many, Jung examines a particularly volatile interaction Yahweh had with one of his human followers, Job, and to make a long story short, Yahweh’s scathing attack on this poor man demonstrates some of our very human tendencies when we are operating largely from the unconscious. 

Among other “energizing” effects, we can be subjected to bouts of strong emotions and inflamed, frequently self-righteous ideas that compel us to speak and act in such a way that, later, might cause us to feel a wee bit regretful, not to mention baffled at our own behavior.

In the aftermath, we might cringingly promise ourselves, “I have no idea what came over me, but it’ll never happen again.” 

We might also be convinced, though, that external circumstances more or less forced our hand: “Well, if so-and-so hadn’t put me in this position by cheating on me/making that rude comment on Facebook/showing up late again/etc…”.

Apparently, even Yawheh wasn’t immune to this sort of thing, and in Answer to Job, God essentially blames the outburst on Job. 

Jung presents us with the compelling idea that, in this scenario, Yahweh was failing to consult Their omniscience.

What on earth does this mean (and why should we care)?

Well, Yahweh is God, and God knows everything, right?

If that’s the case, then God knows exactly the why, when, where, and how of these unfortunate situations. And if that’s true, then why didn’t They make a different choice, thereby avoiding such a regrettable (and foreseen) outcome?

Well, because God had forgotten Their omniscience. 

And in that state of forgetfulness, They blamed external circumstances for Their inner battle: If only Job had acted more faithfully, then God wouldn’t have been so angry.

Said another way (and this has big implications for our magic), God had forgotten how powerful They really are, that They are vastly creative and possessing great wisdom. 

That, rather than being a helpless victim of life, They are a creator of life:

Yahweh was so fascinated by his successive acts of creation, so taken up with them, that he forgot about his omniscience altogether.

Answer to Job (par. 634)

When we become “so fascinated” by how crappy our job is, or how our partner never listens, by the “state of the world” (an especially compelling fascination during this global pandemic), and on and on–we forget how magically potent we truly are.

This forgetting often takes the form of endlessly tackling external factors or “fascinations” while ignoring their inner source. 

Now, this isn’t to say that external events aren’t actually happening. 

Jungian Magic, and indeed, life itself, requires us to get up close and personal with paradox. The more we deny that things are this-and and not this-or, the more we’re stuck whacking away at never-ending moles. 

So yes, your boss might act like a monster, and yes, you are bringing your own stuff to the table, causing you to perceive them as monstrous. (And if we wanna get really trippy, you are unconsciously helping them behave even more monstrously toward you.) 

Yes, your partner might be pretty crappy at listening, and yes, you are bringing your own stuff to the table, causing you to feel unheard. (And helping them display their crappy listening “skills” in conversations with you.)

Bizarre Ripple Effects

This is a contentious idea, to say the least–one that can be construed as blaming the victim.

All I can say in the constraints of a blog post is that it is simultaneously true that other people are fully responsible for their own behavior and we are fully responsible for what we are experiencing. 

(If this is something that intrigues you–or perhaps enrages you–I cover it at length in my courses.)

Going back to the magical implications of this, when we perceive what we are experiencing as merely external circumstances happening to us, we forget that we have played a major role in creating them. 

We forget to consult our omniscience. 

In other words, we fall for the pervasive illusion that we are only who we consciously believe ourselves to be, and we forget that we are also a vast, divine being, wielding powerful energies through our unconscious self. 

What do we do, then?

Well, the short answer is: We learn how to partner with our unconscious self, rather than being perpetually surprised by its activities and blaming them on our surroundings. 

Granted, this isn’t the easiest of tasks, but because the power of the unconscious is so mind-bogglingly immense compared to our conscious awareness, even a little bit of intentional partnership can yield massively useful results. 

A Magical Exercise

This week, start by choosing one situation that feels less than awesome. 

One important caveat: I do not recommend choosing something as ginormous as, say, a global pandemic. (With events of this magnitude, collective unconscious factors play a large role that is beyond our scope to discuss here.)

Once you’ve got your situation, without censoring yourself, write out what you wish someone else in this situation were doing differently. 

For example, if you’re angry with your partner, describe exactly how you wish they would change without getting distracted by analyzing the likelihood of that actually happening. 

You might use these prompts:

What do I wish they would start doing?

What do I wish they would never do again?

What do I wish they would say to me?

Spend no more than 20-30 minutes on this, journaling anything that arises. Then, set your writing aside for a full 24 hours. 

Come back to it, and this time, I want you to pretend that all of these wishes directed at your partner are actually inner requests directed at yourself, journaling whatever comes up for you. 

This can feel super-duper challenging, and we often have knee-jerk reactions like, “I never do that!” or “I always do that!” 

Breathe, accept that the ego is simply trying to be helpful by preserving your current self-perception, and continue returning to a place of gentle curiosity. 

Again, I would limit this session to 20 or 30 minutes, max. 

Then, set it aside for 24 hours, and repeat. Do this for a total of three times. (Meaning, you’ll do the initial round directed at your partner, then three rounds directed at yourself.)

Know that, in between sessions, your unconscious is still brewing its magic, weaving together threads that would entirely elude the ego were it working on its own, generating potent insights and healing. 

By doing this practice, you’ve issued an invitation to that vast, unconscious part of yourself, availing you of its uncanny ability to know things that, to the ego, seem completely mysterious and unknowable, including information that transcends the ego’s limitations of time and space. 

In other words, you’re remembering your omniscience. 

Jung called this bizarre ability of the unconscious “absolute knowing.”

By the end of the final round, you should have a sense of something your larger self wants you to know and/or do. 

Perhaps when you feel that your partner isn’t listening, your larger self wants you to pause, and deeply listen inwardly to yourself. What are you experiencing in that moment? 

Can you stay present with any thoughts, feelings, and sensations, and resist, even just for a few breaths, the urge to jump into a storyline about what your partner is or isn’t doing? 

Perhaps a part of you feels lonely in these moments. 

Can you be with this part of yourself, comforting them with your presence, rather than abandoning them, exacerbating that feeling of loneliness as you leap into the partner-focused storyline?

Or perhaps you get a sense that your larger self wants you to listen with more presence to your partner. 

Can you experiment with this, even if part of you is feeling resentful that your partner is the one who “started it” and by all rights should have to change first? Can you be gently present with your feelings of resentment, without judging yourself?  

These practices, while they might seem mild, are, in truth, incredibly potent. 

In my own life (and witnessing the experiences of hundreds of clients), this self-inquiry paired with experimental changes to my own thoughts and actions, has been extraordinarily effective at creating change, not only in my inner world but in my outer circumstances as well.

On the flip-side, my attempts at avoiding these practices, which typically take the form of trying to change someone else, have, without exception, resulted in crappier outcomes, including more stress and far less positive change. (I have decades’ worth of examples if you’re at all in doubt.) 

By bringing your focus back to your inner landscape, you invite your unconscious to bestow gems of wisdom and other powerful energies, such as healing and inspiration, from the storehouse of your divine omniscience. 

One moment, one choice at a time, you will remember how powerful and creative you truly are.

This is the perfect time.

When the world goes topsy-turvy, it’s tempting to try and forge a sense of normalcy by sticking to old habits and trusty routines.

But if this pandemic has taught me anything it’s that now is most certainly not the time for a business-as-usual approach.

As just one example of many, if I ignore social distancing and traipse about like all is fine and dandy, I could kill someone, quite literally.

So how are we to take advantage of these challenging times?

For me, with much more time on my hands (and a great deal of that time being spent alone), I’m finding that life is a bit like an extended meditation.

And just like seated meditation, there are periods when I find myself calmly blissed out on the interconnectedness of all life…and other times when I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin with impatience, anxiety, anger, fear, [fill in the blank].

Shining light in dark places

This never-ending meditation has made some of my usually hidden patterns a wee bit more obvious.

For example, when I’m confronted with the reality that I can’t control what other people do (for instance, whether or not they socially distance) I often get angry and judgmental.

In fact, for the first week or two of quarantine, I was feeling angry and judgmental a lot.

But then I began to notice that underneath the anger was fear and vulnerability.

When those feelings arose, it felt safer to focus on how angry I was, getting all wrapped up in the self-righteous narrative, but in doing so, I essentially abandoned that part within myself that was feeling scared.

And that–the self-abandonment–is what really felt cruddy, more so than what anyone else was or wasn’t doing.

Staying hyper present with myself when these emotions arise feels a bit like cracking open a tough shell, leaving me feeling exposed, but also tenderly compassionate, aware of how connected I am to every single living being on this earth.

I’ve also found that this presence leaves me more clear-headed to focus on the choices that are actually under my control.

Curiouser and curiouser

Now is a powerful time to explore (and reinvent, should you choose) any patterns or routines in your day.

What do you typically do when you first wake up?

When you get hungry?

When you feel bored?

When you feel highly energized?

When you feel lonely?

When you feel creative?

Before you go to bed?

You certainly don’t need to examine each and every one of these elements in a single day; perhaps choose just one to go Sherlock on.

For example, if your morning routine involves getting on your phone while you brew coffee, get curious as to how these activities affect your energy, your mood, your mental clarity, your connection to your body.

Is there a practice you’ve always been wanting to do instead, like:

  • meditating for five minutes?
  • watching the sunrise while you drink your coffee?
  • weaning yourself off of coffee?
  • journaling?
  • doing a short yoga routine?

If your situation is anything like mine, you’ve been given the gift of more time and space to be introspective and purposeful.

When we get to the other side of this, I, for one, want to know that I’ve used this opportunity, not to stalwartly stick to what I know, but to change, expand, and grow.

Care to join me?

This will make you powerful

Lately, I’ve started dividing time into pre- and post-COVID life, and I’ve noticed something interesting.

Pre-COVID life, I was pretty darn good at fooling myself into thinking that I had a much larger degree of control than I actually do.

The certainty with which I made long-term plans and the breezy confidence I bestowed in their outcome looks almost quaint now.

Yet I’m not interpreting this as an indication of my utter helplessness.

Quite the contrary.

You see, I’ve also become increasingly aware of the things that I do have control over, things that, pre-COVID, were often neglected in favor of trying to control the uncontrollable.

Here’s an example.

For the first few days of self-isolation, I was checking the news every hour, compulsively texting and FaceTiming friends and family, and wandering around the house in a highly distracted state.

I tried, at one point, to pick up a book, but after reading the same paragraph five times and having zero clue what it was about, I gave up.

That’s when it really hit me: My mental health isn’t a given right now.

I have to step up and be a responsible steward of my inner state.

No one else is going to do this for me.

I could blame the state of affairs, but, while not necessarily inaccurate, this isn’t the least bit helpful.

So what can I actually control right now?

Doing my best to get good sleep.

Meditating and journaling a little every single day.

Getting in physical movement, both in my yard and indoors with the help of free fitness sites.

Reaching out to friends and family for some Zoom social time.

Regulating how often I check the news.

Try this two-step turnaround

First, identify a potential power zapper.

What things are you spending time or mental bandwidth on right now that aren’t yours to control, like:

  • Obsessing over when you’ll be able to go back to work?
  • Freaking out about people who aren’t social distancing (that one’s a biggie for me)?
  • Constantly scrolling through news feeds?

Second, choose how you’ll transmute this energy.

Choose something that truly is within your zone of ownership right now, and consciously channel the power-zapping energy into this new activity.

For example, if you find yourself going into robo-scroll mode through apocalyptic news articles, stop, take a deep breath, and decide to do a short yoga routine instead.

Or do some laundry.

Call your grandma.

Take a shower.

Meditate.

Focus on the things you can genuinely impact, one choice at a time.

Now, more than ever, we need to be conscious caretakers of our inner landscape.

So please, take care of yourself, love.

We will get through this together.

3 Ways to Keep Your Energy Strong During Crisis

As magical practitioners, working with energy and being attuned to one’s inner world is key to building magical power. 

But now, there’s an even greater need for these skills.

Globally and individually, we’re experiencing a rollercoaster of energetic highs and lows, and our inner landscape is no doubt home to a bit more double, double toil and trouble right now. 

Just as we’re all being called to do our part on a practical level to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, avoid large groups, etc), now is the time to do our part on an inner, magical level as well. 

Here are three ways to tend to your energy and inner world, aka your magical power, right now. 

1. Meditate

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a client say, “I really want to start meditating,” I’d be more loaded than Scrooge McDuck.

But, hey! Now’s a great time to start, right? 

If you’re like me, you have plenty of time where you’re just sitting around at home. Why not use it to build one of the most beneficial habits ever?

Here’s a simple meditation that’s particularly suited to our current situation. 

Even though, physically, we may be isolating and feeling more disconnected, this is a great practice for reinforcing our interconnection in a healthy, positive way. 

Find a comfy place where you won’t be disturbed for ten minutes or so. 

If you like, set a timer. This can be a nice way to alleviate some of the “Am I done yet?” fidgetiness.

Close your eyes, and connect with your breath, doing a gentle scan of your body from head to toe, breathing into any areas where you notice tension. 

Start to bring your awareness to your base, whether that’s your bum on the chair or your feet planted on the floor. Feel your connection to the earth. 

Visualize roots beginning to extend from your base, into the rich, loamy soil of the earth. They might start out as slender filaments and expand into sturdy tree roots. 

Take a few rounds of breath, and simply enjoy this feeling of connection with the greater whole and a deep sense of grounding. 

If you like, you can gently open to receive earth energy, up through your roots, allowing it to permeate each and every cell within your body. Perhaps follow this by sending love, down and out through your roots, into the earth. 

Next, begin to see web-like tendrils extending from the matrix of your personal roots, making connections with neighboring root systems, which in turn connect with their neighbors, and so on. 

Like the vast mycelial, fungal networks connecting immense stretches of forest through a living internet, feel your place within the vast living internet of your fellow beings. 

Allow a feeling of love, gratitude, peace, or any other healing emotion that arises, to build at your heart center, and then send this healing energy out through the roots, rippling through the living web to all fellow beings. 

When you’re ready, gently bring your roots back into your body, do a gentle scan once more from head to toe, setting the intention that your energy is healthy and balanced on all levels.

Wiggle your fingers and toes, and open your eyes.

2. Limit time spent mindlessly scrolling.

I know we all want to stay informed, but now is a great time to practice balance when it comes to media intake. 

I strongly suggest not hopping on a device first thing in the morning. 

Think of it as mental-emotional strength training, which we’re all going to need to get through these tense times with presence and grace. 

Use that time to start your day with some deep, intentional breaths (something we do far less than our bodies would like), and spending some time simply being present with yourself. 

When we’re scrolling through the news or Facebook, we can easily slip into robo-mode, mindlessly tapping and swiping. 

What’s worse, we often don’t realize how robo’d out we are because it feels so normal, and then we start texting and replying from that headspace. 

Now, more than ever, we really need to be present. 

We need an active connection with our larger Self, not the frightened, defensive ego, and we can’t cultivate that if we’re numbing ourselves out with chronic internet scrolling. 

So, take some time to connect with yourself in the morning, before you pick up any devices, and then, throughout the day, check in before you start scrolling. 

How am I feeling right now?

Is there anything I need right now in terms of self-care (grabbing a snack, taking a short nap, journaling, FaceTiming a loved one, etc)?

Do I really need to check the news/social media right now?

Presence is one of your most potent magical powers. 

Make sure you’re not handing it away to every little news blurb and social media post. 

3. Be mindful of internal polarization.

We see highly polarized reactions in the world around us all the time, and it gets even louder in times of crisis. 

Collectively, our egos are in a panic, and they’re grasping for certainties. 

Who’s to blame. 

Who’s right. 

Who’s wrong. 

Who’s screwing things up for the rest of us.

And on and on it goes. 

We cannot change anyone else but ourselves, so let’s start here.

What’s going on in your inner world?

Just last night, I made the decision to close down my healing practice for two weeks, maybe more.

As a self-employed business owner, this means zero money coming in. 

Is this scary? Hell yes. 

But it’s also not black-or-white. 

Thankfully, I have a partner who is still working. We have some money set aside. We have toilet paper. 

I can use this time to get some writing done, get out for my beloved solo hikes, and to simply rest, something I don’t get to do that often when I’m busy with work. 

Fear speaks to us in self-righteous extremes, whereas the intuition has a peaceful tone of calm assuredness. 

The previous two practices will make you better able to discern the difference between the two. 

Are there reasons to be afraid right now?

Sure there are.

But even when I’m afraid, I don’t want fear to be in the driver’s seat. 

It can come along for the ride, but it’s not handling the wheel. 

Stop making this power-draining mistake.

I don’t have enough time.

I can’t.

I have to.

How many times have you said any (or all) of these this week? Today?

In magic, it’s understood that words have power, but too often, we overlook all of the little “mundane” things we say, day in and day out.

Ancient Hermetic Wisdom

In Hermeticism, a body of philosophical and magical teachings named after the god Hermes, there’s a creation story that goes a little something like this:

In the beginning, was the ALL.

The ALL, as you might expect, was everything.

But the ALL got bored, you see, with sitting around being everything, so it decided to separate into the One Mind and the One Thing.

The One Mind took the form of blindingly brilliant, piercing light, while the One Thing was a dark, roiling ocean of that could take any form.

This duality led to curiosity: The One Thing wanted to know the One Mind, and vice versa. Relationship was now on the table.

The One Mind sent penetrating light rays into the enfolding waters of the One Thing, and through this union, the four elements were created.

Our Inner Magic Makers

The One Mind is mental–it’s the energy of thoughts, ideas, images, fantasties, and so on. We can liken this to the conscious self.

The One Thing is the substance that allows these mental constructs to take actual form and substance. This is equivalent to the unconscious self.

Without the interplay of both, we’d just have a bunch of ideas that go nowhere or a pile of raw material with no idea what to do with it.

But when the two are working together, they form the building blocks of existence: the four elements, which are the Magician’s tools pictured in the tarot.

From The Witches Tarot

The Power of Logos

In Genesis, this dynamic is described in a strikingly similar fashion:

The spirit of God moved over the face of the water, and through this interaction, everything we know in the world around us was created.

Here’s another interesting clue: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.

The concepts of the One Mind and the Word or Logos both speak to the conscious mind’s ability to create by defining.

Through our words, we take energy from the dark, roiling ocean of our unconscious selves, and we shape and forge that energy into our tangible, lived experience.

If we’re careless with our words, this vast source of energy will be directed in ways that might run very contrary to what we want and need.

Try this instead…

Starting today, take back your power by being mindful of these three all-too common phrases:

I don’t have enough time.

I can’t.

I have to.

Replace them with:

I’m creating plenty of time to [fill in the blank].

I’m choosing not to [fill in the blank].

I’m choosing/I get to [fill in the blank].

Even if you’re doing something you don’t particularly like, acknowledging that, in this moment, you are making the choice to be here, doing this undesirable thing (perhaps because it helps you achieve a larger goal), reclaims your power.

On the flip-side, whenever we insist that we have no choice, we drain our power away.

Do this enough, and you’ll really start to believe–and experience life as if–you have no power to choose and never enough time to go around.

Witches are mindful stewards of their personal power.

Take back yours, starting now.