Over the last month I’ve been reading a book on honoring your inner witch. As an avid Feminist, self-love advocate, and emotional writer, I support anything that has to do with understanding who we are as humans, and the way we work. Though I’ve grown up in the Christian faith, I live in a Southern California beach town where oils, herbs, yoga, and meditation are common. Thus, I’ve built my life to exist in openness and harmony with all forms of spirituality.
The rituals we practice and the beliefs we hold about who we are in relation to the universe are, at the core, very similar—regardless of our faith or religion. And that’s what drew me to this book, Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft by Gabriela Herstik, in the first place.
Being a ‘witch’ is not about carrying a broom and casting crazy spells, but about unleashing your strength. It’s about harnessing your energy, and opening yourself to the universe in both acceptance and love. It’s about feeling and celebrating what makes you, you and guiding your life around those principles. And it’s about honoring those who came before, and learning to be open in spirituality, as that’s what connects us to one another, and to the Earth.
After reading this book, I’ve gathered some of the most empowering takeaways that I’m carrying with me in my self-love practice. Regardless of your beliefs, walk of life, religion, or thoughts on this topic, I encourage you to read these words from Gabriela and myself and let them shape the way you move.
“So, Wild One, now you know that the Universe is both chaotic and peaceful, and that the dual nature found in her is also found in you.”
— Gabriela Herstik
I’ve always identified as a spiritual person, and to me, spirituality is fluid. I associate yoga, meditation, crystals, affirmations, and prayers on the same wavelength—the distinction of practice or ‘religion’ has never bothered me.
In the first pages of this book I realized my thoughts of witches were completely wrong. Celebrating your inner witch is not about casting voodoo spells or coating yourself in black robes and pointy hats. Being a witch means tapping into who you are at your core and growing, calming, and cultivating your energy.
On Creating A Circle For Your ‘Spell’ Or Energy:
“Imagine the energy you cast coming back to you, through your body, through your feet back into Mother Earth. Walk once counterclockwise around the circle before stopping at the front of where your circle was, and say: ‘The circle is open, may it never be broken…’
Ground your energy by pressing your forehead and palms to the floor, imagining any excess energy returning to the Earth.”
Being a witch is about discovering your power. Something I really resonated with was when Gabriela talked about changing your energy. Regardless of your faith background, this is a necessary and human challenge. We have so many emotions built into us, and learning to shift and share that energy in appropriate ways is what will propel us forward.
On Changing Your Energy:
(In Conjunction with the Lughasadh holiday, beginning of autumn.)
“On the right side of [a] paper, write down what nourishes you. On the left write down what no longer nourishes you. Be as specific as you can, taking inventory of what feeds your energy and what depletes it.
Rip the two sections apart. Take a look at what’s depleting you energetically…write down five ways you can shift these things so they feed you, or five new ways to find nourishment.”
I loved this above section because it’s a powerful, tangible reminder of how important it is to see what we’re focusing on and find ways to declutter our lives when we find ourselves caught up in the negative.
On Creating A Safe Space:
“Redirecting the energy of a space, cleansing it with smoke and decorating it with correspondences like crystals, herbs, and flowers are all good ways to start creating a sacred space. If you feel drawn to creating even more harmony in your space, perhaps learn about feng shui. [This is] the Chinese philosophy of creating harmony with your environment by mapping how your space corresponds to different aspects of your life.”
One important aspect of self-care is to create a place where you feel you can truly be yourself, as well as honor your journey. For some people this can be a room, for others it’s a journal or even a park bench. Regardless of where or what it is, this place is uniquely your own and helps you reconnect with yourself.
Along with a safe space comes the ability to be alone in that space, or to practice mindfulness. This is the practice of shutting down the words and influences of the world, and focusing in on what you think and feel. One of my biggest takeaways was on chakra meditation, and focusing on each part of your body and soul as independent, yet connected.
“Start by imagining a ball of glowing red light at the base of your spine—at your root chakra. This red glowing ball stays there as you breathe into it for a few deep breaths. Then it moves up to your sacral chakra, turning orange along the way.
Breathe into this before it moves up to your solar plexus chakra and turns yellow. Do this with each chakra, imagining the light changing to the corresponding color as it moves upward.
When it gets to the crown of your head, imagine it being here for a few breaths before it then starts to move back down your spine, going from white to violet to blue, all the way down. [Also] remember to close your chakras if you open them. This will help you stay balanced.”
In unleashing our inner witch, we as women also need to learn as much as we can about the Earth and her influence on and over us. I really connected to Gabriela’s thoughts on the moon. I’ve always been intrigued by zodiac signs and how the months in which we were born directly affect our emotions. Reading the sections about the moon made me see feelings and thought in a different light.
On the Moon’s Influence:
“The moon represents our inner world. While the Sun illuminates our truth, our passions, and our light, the Moon rests her gaze on the realm of the subconscious. Her whispers are more subtle; caresses on flesh, flashes of insight in our mind’s eye, the whispering of truths in our ear as we contemplate her silky surface.
She is the subtle energy of the Universe personified; she is one of the greatest teachers we have, and a reminder that we’re allowed to transform as often as we’d like.”
A big part of self-care that’s often overlooked (in my opinion) is the focus on energy. We each have energy, embody energy, and are distinct in that way. I loved the focus Gabriela put on our energies and how they are so vastly different.
On What It Truly Means To Be A Witch:
“Your energy is sacred, your energy is powerful and your energy is transformative. May you never forget who you are: an incredible, powerful, worthy witch. May your magick grow as you do. May it evolve as you do, and may it help you bring a deeper sense of purpose and meaning to everything you do.”
When we can tap into our energies and learn to both grow in them, and share them, we begin to flourish—as witches, as women, as people.
To order Gabriela’s book, click here.
Featured Image Credit: Lena Bell