Everyone has their own story. Each individual will have walked a different pathway from the next person. However, there will also be similarities, experiences that have been shared or at least echoed. We are all in different boats, but we are floating in the same ocean.
The world we live in is fast-paced, and completely manic sometimes. It is incredibly easy to become overwhelmed. We are assaulted from all directions by media in various forms. We are constantly being told to look more beautiful, dress better, eat different foods, or to change our lifestyle. There is a constant parade of images showing us how we should look and act. It can be crushing to all of our senses and it can also be quite soul-destroying.
It is no wonder that so many people suffer from issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression. It often seems there is little escape. However, it is important to remember you are not alone. There is help, there is support. And as a Witch or a Pagan you may even have an advantage, as we have a magical tool kit into which we can delve.
Recognising what is happening to you is the first step; acknowledging it and then making a plan on how to deal with it comes next. But remember, you are amazing—even if you are having a bad day, you are still a fantastic human being. Don't give up; even if you do have a bad day, you can always start again. You are not broken, and you do not need to be fixed, but you will benefit from some self-care.
We all get caught in cycles; as Pagans we see a world full of them. Getting caught up in destructive or unhealthy cycles is easy to do. Getting out of them, however, is not so easy, but it can be done, with a little help. Most importantly you need to do what is right for you. There may be underlying causes, there may be external ones. The key is to work out what your triggers are and then start to deal with them. It probably won't be an easy journey, there will be a few bumps along the way. But there is such a wonderful reward at the end of it. But it is ongoing work, being open to seeing and recognising patterns and triggers will continue. With your magical tool kit at the ready you will begin to recognise them before they take hold.
A lot of emotional issues require you to let go. We hold on to so much emotional baggage it can drown us. Shoving it away and trying to ignore it might work for a short while but ultimately it will fester and start to seep out. Not a pleasant experience. This is where the acknowledging and accepting comes into play. And then…the release. Once you have cleared it out, there will be a void and that will need to be filled with all kinds of good stuff—that's the fun part.
There are, of course, some mundane things you can do to ease the pressure. And I would say, if your issues are really causing you to become seriously ill please do seek medical help. Planning helps, as does making time for yourself and doing what makes you happy. These are simple suggestions, but each will help ease the load. I am not suggesting you change your lifestyle completely in one fell swoop; rather, baby steps at first. Just small tweaks here and there will begin to help.
Nature is a big healer; in fact, she is probably the best healer of all. Just stepping outside and taking a long deep breath of fresh air can bring you back into the moment. Not everyone has a forest or an ocean on their doorstep, but just standing in your own back yard can connect you straight into the energy of Mother Nature. Opening a window or tending to a house plant can do the same thing. It doesn't need to be grand or expensive.
My favourite area of the Craft to work with is magical herbs, plants, and foods. Every single item has a magical energy that can help you in some way. Whether it is an herb or spice from your kitchen cupboard or a flower from your garden, Mother Nature provides us with a whole plethora of ingredients with which to work.
Working with magic to help ease your troubled soul can involve visualisation in the form of meditation or working with affirmations—methods that are free, uncomplicated, and only involve your own inner power.
Magic comes from within, as does change, courage, and empowerment. However, we can help it along by working spells and rituals. Add in come colour magic to create a rainbow of magical power. Connect with the energy of Deity and the Divine for support. Pick crystals and herbs, flowers, plants, and food to build up the layers of energy. Find your animal and plant world spirit guides and work with their energy to give you guidance and strength.
Incense, oil blends, and herbal teas can be created to help you along, each one blended with a specific intent and created with your own energy.
Stir up a bit of kitchen magic by creating something scrummy to eat that includes ingredients with the magical energy to help and support your intent.
Small daily rituals can help, too! A ritual doesn't need to be worked on a grand scale. A ritual is just a set of actions you perform regularly.
And of course, our own energy patterns are controlled by our chakras, if one or more of these is out of whack it can throw you off completely. Work with them regularly to cleanse and clear out the negative and get them spinning in the right direction.
Let's not forget that the moon is incredibly powerful, and her phases can seriously affect our moods and emotions. Learning how to work with that energy flow rather than fight against it can be incredibly beneficial. The sun can also help, as it has immense power and strength that can help boost your mood and stabilise your emotions.
The turning of the wheel of the year brings huge shifts; each season has a particular feel and energy that brings different waves of emotions and feelings. It is by recognising those patterns and tuning into each one that can really connect us to the source.
Sometimes it is just the small things that can make a change, or even begin a cascade of changes. With a Witch's bag of curative magical tools, you can begin your journey of overcoming emotional issues.
I don't have all the answers, but hopefully I have some suggestions that will help people along the way.
Rachel Patterson, also known as the "Kitchen Witch," is a High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven and an Elder at the online Kitchen Witch School of Natural Witchcraft. She's the author of twenty books on Witchcraft, ...