I don’t think it’s any secret to pagans and witches that there are times when the magick just doesn’t seem to be there. It’s not like it just disappears. But, your connection to it can get blurred…it’s harder to reach. It’s harder even to feel.
I relate this now to the way I feel when I can’t get my writing in order. Everything I type sounds blah and boring. It’s not making sense, and it’s not painting the picture I want.
In magick, it’s almost an identical feeling. I may try to reach in and shake my inner witch awake, but she’s hit the snooze button and completely ignores me. Spellcraft – even if I’ve been planning it for just this particular moon phase and astrological alignment – is out of the question. Divination gives me nothing but a lot of mixed signals, if it gives me anything at all (especially my particularly ornery pendulum).
It’s not a great feeling to fall into this kind of magickal funk. When this feeling would strike early on in my practice, I’d feel a little bit like a failure.
Since when couldn’t I practice magick?
Was I being punished for something?
Shit, had someone cursed me?
The more I’d wind myself up thinking about the different ways I could have fucked up and caused this, the longer the stretch of time would go between feeling connected and feeling completely alone. Abandoned, even. It was as if my deities, guardians, and all the like had just walked away.
Or was it I who had walked away?
Confusing, isn’t it?
It doesn’t really have to be, though. We don’t have to get wrapped up in a frantic mess when this happens to us. The guilt is unnecessary. And we definitely don’t need to feel as though the gods themselves (if you believe in such) have turned us away.
Listen to an old hag tell you that it does not have to be confusing and lonely when you feel as if you’ve fallen out of your practice. I can promise you that the fates, the gods, the whomever-you-believe-in have not abandoned you. You’re not being punished. Nothing is wrong with you or your beliefs.
These dry-spells can happen to the best of us.
You may know what causes this fallout in your life. Are you too involved in the practical, day-to-day happenings? Is your spirit being left to the wayside? Or, alternatively, have you been working too hard on your craft and not taking the time to rest?
But, really, I’m not sure if focusing on the cause of these hard spiritual times is really the most important part of this process. I’m not sure if we – nowadays – can ever completely avoid becoming disenchanted with the spiritual side of ourselves. Aren’t we discouraged from believing in this fantasy, anyway? Isn’t being successful in your practical life sometimes at odds with success in your spiritual life in our modern times?
Personally, I’ve found that my most reoccurring lesson (as I never seem to learn it thoroughly enough) is acceptance. The understanding that not all things are within my control, and I need to be ok with that, is part of my spiritual building-set. And, when I apply this lesson to my sporadic feelings of disconnect, I find that I skip out on the guilt, loneliness, and a substantial amount of time in this place of my practice.
So, if I accept where I am in my practice, what do I do in order to deal with it? How do I get past this if I didn’t control it’s entrance into my life in the first place?
Now, before I begin on what reconnects me to my spiritual side, there’s something I want to point out: As with most things with the Craft, the answer may not be the same for everyone. What reawakens your spirit may not work for mine. What calls to your divine self may be silent to others.
But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t try what others have found to be effective…It’s just important to be aware that it may not have the same result. And that’s ok. Finding what works for your spirit is all about the Try and Try-Again theory. Trust me.
When feelings of discouragement and disconnect begin to hit me, I may feel those tendrils of guilt sprout up at first despite my best efforts. Have I not been working hard enough? Did I ignore something important? Am I not of good faith and follow?
Recognizing that these questions and the guilt that associates with them is not productive or healthy, it’s common for me to take a step back and just breathe. I don’t try to force myself to progressively practice through these dry-spells anymore, like I once did when I was younger (and incredibly stubborn and inexperienced). In my own history, when I do that, my practice typically doesn’t go as I intend and I make very little progress if any at all.
I need to take a break. That is, after all, what I think my spirit may be telling me.
This break doesn’t mean I close the spiritual door all together. Contrary, I actually focus on refilling my spiritual energies.
How do I do that?
- Go on hikes. The beauty of nature is the first magick I ever remember recognizing. Let the energies there revive the energies in you. Stack stones on your route, or draw sigils to engage in the powers here. It’s simple, and it’s effective.
- Do something alternatively witchy. This is different for everyone, and was touched on in It’s Witchcraft. Dance. Write. Paint. Express your spirit’s joys and exercise them. Let your spirit find its own inspiration again.
- Clean and cleanse. I mean this in the spiritual sense as well as the practical. Our lives get cluttered up in all kinds of ways, and sometimes that clutter can cause us to fall out of sync. Clean your house and cleanse it of unproductive or restrictive energies. Cleanse yourself of anything you may have picked up, or something you’ve been hanging onto…Starting fresh is always a good idea. Clearing clutter allows room for growth.
- If you have altar space or a practice space, change it up! I learned about energy transmissions when my husband was working on my stone circle last spring. And, honestly, I think this is an important thing for us to recognize. The arrangement of your spiritual items and tools may need a refresher from time to time, especially as the seasons change.
- Find what makes you calm. If this is meditation, I envy you (I’m a hardcore meditation failure). Listen to beautiful music. Practice yoga. Garden. Put your bare feet on some dirt! Many times, when I’m out of sync, it’s because I’m not calm…I’m not listening. My animals make me calm. When I’m with my horses, or just cuddling up on my dog, I can feel my spirit give a sigh of comfort…and sometimes, you know, it needs that.
It’s ok to take a break from spell-crafting and magickal practice to recharge. It’s unfortunate if this time has hit right when you were about to do something major in your practice, but perhaps the timing isn’t coincidence. Do you need to go back and look at what you were planning, and iron some things out?
And there is my next tip: Go back.
As we expand our practice and spirituality, things can get complex. It can take a lot to keep digging and uncovering parts of yourself and your spiritual practice. And, when you find yourself at a dead-end, it’s not a bad thing to take a step back.
Go way back, even. Back to square one. Practice magick and craft that you did when you first began. For me, that usually goes back to candle magick – the wish-magick, in my world. Sometimes, when you’re practicing heavily, you can forget the simple pleasures of novice magick…So, go back and remember. Reconnect the way you first connected!
I think it’s important for us to remember how beautiful magick is, even when we’re wading through the bowels of some of its less sparkly sides…But this is part of the process. Not everything is puppies and rainbows, as I tell my step-kids. And I remind myself of this, too. But, it’s important to remember that when things get too heavy and a little too dark that you need to feel the light. Don’t let yourself wilt in the shadows.
When in doubt, remember why you started. Remember what called to you and your spirit. Go back and feel that again, and when you’re ready, continue on; renewed.