Well thank the gods we are on the other side of the full moon-slash-eclipse weekend. I have been a hot, sloppy mess so I hope you’ve been doing better than I have. Mercury retrograde is still raging, so I’m not letting my guard down yet, but holy shit. That eclipse energy was unreal. We will be sliding into Gemini season this weekend, so that will be another shift, but hopefully, we will be able to get our legs back underneath us soon.
I’ve been reading a lot of messages and emails this week and I feel like this season has come in pretty hot for all of us. But I am really touched and humbled by the messages I’m receiving. Some of the magic that you all are experiencing in your practices is really remarkable and I have loved reading all of it. I’ve responded to everyone I think, but if you have written and I haven’t replied, please resend it. I don’t know why, but I feel like there’s someone I was supposed to talk to, and I am just concerned that maybe I lost a message or retrograde ate or something. Or maybe I’m delusional. Always a possibility.
But I do have a message from a witch called Kristin with a bit of a conundrum that I wanted to read. Kristin writes:
First I want to say that I love your podcast. I listen to several but yours is my favorite. I have a question about a money spell. I applied for a job last month and I did a money spell for a better salary. I used the money oil recipe from your podcast on a green candle with a carved salary dollar amount. I Also used bay leaves with the amount written and burned them. The next day I found a small plastic gold coin. It was in the parking lot of a business I had gone into for just a few minutes. I had gone inside for just a few minutes and it wasn’t there, then I walked back outside following the same path and there it was. It was very out of place, so I felt like it was a sign that my spell was manifesting.
I’ve had two job interviews with this company since, and I was feeling pretty confident that my spell had worked. My problem is that the company I am currently working for has started absolutely killing me with required OT, which is negatively impacting my mental and physical health. I can’t help but feel like the money spell is the cause of this. Obviously I wanted the income, but the spell was meant for a new job with a higher salary. And I did put that intention into the spell. Is there a way to fix this? Can I cancel the spell? I’m afraid I will negatively impact the new job opportunity. Should I do a new spell? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Now this sounds exactly like some classic cosmic bullshit. The universe really thinks she’s funny. So I agreed with Kristin that we should leave that original spell alone so that we don’t interfere with the new job. I said that I think probably the best course of action is to work a new spell specifically related to all the mandatory overtime and its effect on her mental and physical health. And we are going to want to be surgically accurate with the wording of the spell so that we don’t give Mercury retrograde any room to twist her intentions around.
A simple spell that says something like, “(Boss’ name, or whomever controls the schedule) stops scheduling me for overtime; my workload is light, my mind and body are at ease.” If you are partial to candle magic, maybe consider dressing it with herbs like yarrow, basil and rose for overcoming problems, dandelion, fennel, sage or vanilla to help relieve stress, and salt, lavender, garlic, or anise to support your well-being.
And it might also be a good idea to feed your new job spell too, to give it a little encouragement. I’ve asked Kristin to let me know how it goes, so we will see. But that is a good reminder of the importance of being very specific with the wording of our spells. And in this case, Kristin was specific that she wanted a new job making X amount of money. Well the universe started working on that new job, but in the meantime, it started delivering on the money too. Sometimes, when it rains, it pours!
Now, today, we are going to talk about meditation. This topic is something that’s been on the list for ages, but with Mercury retrograde being what it is, and with the chaos of eclipse season, I don’t think I can put it off anymore. The thing about meditation is that it isn’t like glamorous, fun, flashy witchcraft. It’s very quiet, it’s generally a solitary activity, and so it doesn’t really translate well to the modern social media presentation of what it means to be a witch. I am not suggesting that anyone here is a witch just for the aesthetics, I’m simply saying that we don’t generally see a lot of emphasis on meditation in witchcraft, and that is why I think it takes a bit of a backseat these days.
But it is important, and it does have a lot of value, for everyone but also for witches. We are as bombarded as everyone else in the world is, by the news, by the media, by work, by family obligations, by bills we need to pay, and appointments we need to make, and the list goes on forever. But as witches, we also are bombarded with synchronicities, and dream symbolism, and eclipse energy, and just toxic vibes in general when people around us are really going through it, we feel that with them.
There is so much noise, all the time, everywhere. And, here I go being an old crusty Gen Xer, but especially with phones, we really never give ourselves a moment’s peace. There is rarely a moment that we are completely alone with our thoughts on a given day. Even if I’m sitting in a waiting room, I’m not just sitting and observing and letting my mind be idle, I’m on my damn phone. I’m playing sudoku or googling lyrics trying to figure out who sang the song that’s playing in the waiting room, or I’m reading some bullshit news story that makes my blood boil, or whatever the case may be.
This constant mental noise is not good for us. Modern humans appeared about 200,000 years ago, and our day-to-day lives were pretty much the same up until like 200 years ago when folks started moving from rural areas into modern cities. For more than 199,000 years, we had a whole lot of quiet time for contemplation. I’m not arguing about the quality of life then versus now, my point here is that evolution happens slowly, but technology has moved insanely quickly. We have not had time to evolve to adapt and adjust to the nonstop bombardment of our senses. So meditation is not just a good practice, it’s necessary. It’s healing, it’s restorative.
But what does meditation mean? What is it exactly? Meditation very simply, is the practice of using mindfulness, which simply means to focus on a particular object or a thought, or a mantra – to train the mind to come to attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. The attention that we are trying to come to is attention of the present moment. This is really hard to do. But it can be done. We will start by giving ourselves a time limit. The limit is not imposed to stress us out, and there are no penalties if we don’t manage to achieve a clear state of mind during that time. The time limit is just there to help the mind accept that it doesn’t need to worry about what’s going undone while we are meditating. It won’t last forever, and nothing bad will happen in the five or ten minutes that we allow ourselves.
So decide your time limit, I do suggest five or ten minutes, and set some kind of a timer for it. Not one that’s going to make you jump out of your skin when it goes off though. If you have a white noise app on your phone, you can set something mellow and relaxing, like bird calls or rain sounds, and set it to turn off after five minutes. It can help you to settle into meditation, and then once it stops playing, it’s a gentle way of announcing that the time is up. The other thing you need is the commitment to let go of your obligations, concerns, worries, and distractions before you begin.
This is also easier said than done, but you need to be ready to let go of those things before you begin. Just know that those concerns aren’t going to go anywhere, they’ll be waiting for you once you’re done, so you can permit yourself this little five minute slice of time to not think about it. Nothing will go completely tits up while you’re taking this time. Just be in the here and now, for these few minutes, and allow yourself the luxury of this mental break.
It’s important to recognize and accept that our mind isn’t used to being quiet. That’s ok, that’s the whole reason we’re doing this. When we realize our thoughts are starting to get noisy, especially if we’re experiencing negative self-talk, simply acknowledge whatever the thought is, observe it, but don’t engage it, and then let it go. Think of it as a leaf blowing past on the breeze. See it, notice that it’s there, but don’t follow it down its path. Don’t make any judgments about it. Let it continue to blow by, and don’t worry about where it came from or where it goes next. Let it go.
Something that is helpful for meditation is to have a meditation object. This is simply a point of focus. It can be the flame on a candle, it can be a simple phrase or word that you repeat in your head or out loud until it loses all meaning and just becomes sound, frequently people will simply focus on their breathing. Breathe in for a count of three, hold for a count of three, and then exhale for a count of three, and hold for a count of three. The purpose of this is just to give the mind something to focus on that is of no larger consequence, and when the mind finds itself wandering, it is also a gentle place to return to.
The more we do this, the more we will begin to experience awareness. We can actually become aware of the spaciousness of the mind, even while we are not thinking about it in an active way. It’s so transformative, and it’s incredibly enlightening and empowering. When we begin to understand how much room there is in the mindspace, and how much power we truly wield when we can integrate and appreciate the self that has to go to work and pick up the dry cleaning and the self that is truly at peace in the universe, it becomes so clear that there is absolutely nothing we cannot do.
As we continue to practice meditation, we begin to find that those little mindless distractions have less of a hold on us. When we do decide to indulge them, it’s in a much more deliberate way. It isn’t automatic to just spend an hour on social media without realizing it; it becomes more of a decision. When we are reading news stories that get us worked up and angry and overwhelmed, we begin to recognize the manipulation tactics that grab our attention and keep us distracted and that siphon our energy. And it becomes a lot easier to step away from those things, it’s just so much less appealing.
The nitty gritty details of meditation, such as whether you’re sitting on the floor, on the ground, or in a chair, or even lying down, are completely your decision to make. Consider that you will want to be comfortable for the entire duration of the meditation. It won’t do to start your meditation sitting cross-legged on the ground if it hurts your back or your legs fall asleep after a couple minutes. You won’t be able to focus on anything but the pain and discomfort you’re in. I personally have to be seated in a chair because if I’m on the floor, my dog thinks it’s play time. And I can’t just shut the door on him, because he doesn’t believe in closed doors and will wail in despair until I open it again. So, a chair it is for me, and you have to decide how you will proceed.
Finding a guided meditation on youtube might be necessary, but you may also find that it’s something you’re able to do alone. Again, the choice is yours. Experiment with different meditations and different methods until you discover what consistently works best for you, and what you prefer. If you do start your meditation solo, try to first find a comfortable position, wherever you are, be it on the floor, in a chair, or lying down. Settle into your limbs, let your weight settle comfortably. Rest your arms in your lap or at your sides, whatever feels most comfortable. If you’d like to close your eyes, let them close. If you’re using a focus object, such as a candle, just gaze at the flame and let your vision become soft. Blink when you need to, don’t think too hard about it.
Maybe try a three-count breath. Breathe in for a count of three, hold for a count of three, exhale for a count of three, and hold for a count of three. Repeat this three count breath, and as you do, notice the sensations that accompany mindful breathing. Feel the expansion as the fresh air fills your lungs, feel the pause as you hold for a count of three, experience relief again as you exhale for three, and then pause again as you hold.
Remember to unclench your jaw, relax your shoulders back and down, let go of any tension in your face, your brow, your neck, your back. Let your thoughts float away, you don’t need them at this time. If a thought does come floating into focus, acknowledge it without judging it. Notice that it is a thought, and let it pass. In the meditative space, we don’t need these thoughts. They can wait for us to come back to them when we are ready.
Once our mind is quiet, once our thoughts are far away and hazy, we can just enjoy the peace. Feel it surround us and pour over us. We are always safe in the meditative space. We are supported. The universe holds us here, and welcomes us. In this space, we are the universe. In this space, we are reunited with our ancestors, and we are reunited with our descendants. We are at one with all of the versions of ourselves in every reality. In this meditative space, we recognize that abundance surrounds us. There is more here for us in this universe than we will ever need or want. Once we remove the barriers and blockages that our minds create, we can begin to access all of this abundance. The universe wants to give us what we desire, we only have to accept it.
Once our time is through, and we are done meditating, take a moment to come back to this reality. Move slowly, one toe at a time, one finger at a time, to bring awareness back into the body. Open your eyes if they’ve been closed, take your focus away from the candle flame, or whatever focus object you may have used. And take something with you from every meditation session. If it’s a feeling, a sensation, a realization, whatever it may be, hold onto it.
As we continue to do this, and especially as we make it a habit, we will find that those five or ten minutes go faster and faster each time. We will begin to look forward to it, and to want to stretch it out longer. And of course this is entirely your decision to make, but if we plan for three, five-minute sessions during the week, maybe we can have a twenty minute session on the weekend. It’s our time, we can do whatever we like with it. It doesn’t need to be one more thing on the check-off list. If you’re not feeling it, save it for tomorrow. If you can’t do it in the morning because your mind is too preoccupied with what is coming up that day to be able to quiet down, then save it for the evening.
As a human being, this work is very essential to our own self-care. But as a witch, we can use these tools and skills to better attune to our desired manifestations and the goals that we set for our spellwork. Learning to subdue the mind’s tendency toward negativity and negative self-talk is applied the same way during meditation as it is during spellwork and ritual. Meditation is a great way to practice opening roads to call in manifestations and abundance. It’s all interconnected, and even though it isn’t exciting and it doesn’t look like much on social media, it is a very important part of a witchcraft practice. Or at least it can become so.
Please write to me and tell me what tips and tricks you have for helping make meditation easier and more enjoyable, or write to me for any reason at all. On instagram or facebook at @middleagedwitch, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will talk again next week. Good luck this weekend, Geminis, and happy soon-to-be birthday. My name is Eli, and this is the Middle-Aged Witch podcast.