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First of all, I’m not dispensing medical advice here. If you’re sick, call your doctor. If you’re not sick, stay home and wash your hands a lot. Do all the things people are telling you to do. When in doubt, believe what Dr. Anthony Fauci and the CDC have to say over random yahoos posting stuff on the internet or talking in front of a White House microphone.
However, while I’m not a medical doctor, I AM clergy. And that means my purview isn’t the health of your body per se, but the health of your spirit. Lots of people are stressed right now…worried about their friends and loved ones, their jobs, their own welfare, how they’re going to pay the bills, et cetera. Lots of people are in mourning for the world we lived in just a month ago, which got taken away from us abruptly. That includes a whole lot of denial, and foolish behavior, and anger about both of those in others.
This is going to get worse before it gets better, and it’s not going to be over any time soon. Pretty soon some people are going to hit a wall, psychologically. Our health system in some places has already hit a wall; there are no more ICU beds available in Atlanta, where I live. We need to learn to how support our own resilience, now. That’s where spirituality comes in. That’s what it’s for.
The way witchcraft traditionally deals with those and similar problems is by doing things. Our mind and body are not separable, and our homes are extensions of ourselves. This approach is the essence of the folk magic I have been practicing for decades. Best of all, most of the really traditional approaches are done with stuff you probably have lying around anyway or can find in your yard, so you don’t have to go to a store.
So here are a list of recommendations for getting through this:
1. Have a daily practice. If you have one that’s been sitting on a shelf, dust it off. If you don’t, get one. This can be as simple as lighting a candle or sitting in meditation for a few minutes every day, chanting, praying, setting up and maintaining an altar…what have you. It should be simple, easy to do when you don’t feel like doing it, and not too time consuming, so that you’ll be more likely to keep it up. In the future I will have some more specific recommendations for how to conduct a daily practice, but that’s a full topic in and of itself.
2. Cleanse your self. If you’re sensitive at all, you are picking up everyone else’s freakout on top of your own. That stuff sticks to you like mud. Salt water and other spiritual baths, egg cleansings, and smoking with incense are all ways to clear that stuff away and regain your sense of calm and peace. (Note: Using incense to purify is a worldwide practice, but “smudging” is a specific Native American ceremony. “Smoking” is what traditional hoodoo practitioners in the South call it, so that’ s what I call it.)
3. Cleanse your house. Literally clean your house with disinfectant and good old soap and water, but after you’ve done that also go around and clean and protect the energy of it too. I’ve written before about crossed conditions (this whole situation certainly counts) and how to do a house blessing. I can’t recommend this enough, both as a way to motivate you to do the regular cleaning that you should be doing and as a way to bring a peaceful, serene feeling to your household, which some of us sorely need. (Shout out to all of the suddenly-homeschooling parents out there).
4. Spend time in nature, if you can. Sit under a tree. Go for a walk, away from other people. Listen to the birds. Realize the world is much, much bigger than us, and touch the earth. (This counts as a daily practice too, but deserves special mention).
4. Write down your dreams. This is one of my go-to pieces of advice for anyone on the kind of spiritual path I follow. Keep a notebook by your bed and write down whatever you remember of your dreams. If you can’t remember anything, write down how you feel. The reason for this is that the instinctual self…which is connected most deeply both to your body and the Otherworld…speaks in imagery and symbolism, through dreams. It’s also the way that deities and ancestors sometimes choose to speak to you, and they probably have a lot to say right now.
In the following days I will write more about how to do some of the things I mentioned, in greater detail. I’ve also been experimenting with making videos to talk people through meditations and the like. We are all in this together. Take heart, and be well.