Can you believe we’re half-way through 2020? My mind flashes back to the moment I was excitedly counting down to the New Year, having no clue that the months ahead would drastically transform humanity’s existence. This year has challenged us significantly, to say the least—first with the global pandemic and, more recently, with the call to action to take an active stance against racism.
Major shifts can send anyone into overload and there comes a point when you need to stop and center yourself. So, what are some of the best ways you can decompress? I’m going to share a few tips, from the one card Tarot pull to virtual spiritual classes.
Shopping For Your Metaphysical Needs
Before you begin these rituals of self-care, there may be a few items you want to stock up on. Here, I will list three brands with online stores you can shop from. While there are many metaphysical shops out there, I’ve decided to highlight Black-owned small businesses that you can support. I met the owners of two of these businesses at the first Witch Walk last year and it was wonderful getting to explore their products in person.
Christine Deloatch and Lauren Brewer are the lovely ladies behind this spiritual lifestyle brand, formerly called Truth Intuitions. If I remember correctly, during our first meeting at Witch Walk, one half of the duo informed me that they had relocated from Washington D.C. Now, they’re based in Long Beach, California, and offer services such as Reiki healing, guided meditations and psychic readings. In their shop you’ll find crystals, candles and The Truth Decks featuring original art you won’t find on any other Tarot cards.
This was another vendor I discovered last year at Witch Walk. Founder Nahisha, aka AncoraBella, fuses together Dominican brujería, yoga, Ayurveda and holistic living to bring her brand to life. She does oracle readings, spiritual cleansings and more. A few of the products she offers include Anointing Oils and Aura Salt Scrubs, which she handcrafts. Her website highlights services, but you can check out the Goddess Awakenin’ Instagram page and click on the “Products” story highlight to view items.
Sienna Sunbeam is the woman behind Demure Lyfe. She is a High Priestess and shaman who discovered her clairvoyant abilities as a child. She has been practicing her craft for 20 years and performs Chakra Readings, Spirit Animal Readings and Dream Interpretations, to name just a few services. Her online shop contains sage wands, cleansing mists, herbs and more.
The One Card Tarot Pull
If you feel overwhelmed and need guidance on a particular situation, the one card Tarot pull can provide much needed clarity. No, you don’t have to be a master at reading cards to perform this ritual. This practice is wonderful if, like me, you’re a beginner and want to advance your skills. I’ve had my cards read before and I own a Gothic-themed deck, but it’s only been recently that I started to use it to do readings for myself.
Set some time aside when you can be alone for this exercise in a quiet space. Focus on and be specific with the question you want to ask. As you ponder your question, shuffle the cards. Trusting your intuition is key when pulling your card. Do it when it feels right. Once your card is selected, it’s time to reflect on its meaning. I purchased my Tarot deck with an accompanying guidebook that describes the meaning of each card. If you don’t have a guidebook, an online search can aid you. Think about the significance of the card and how it relates to you. I like to write my thoughts and interpretations down in a journal so that I can return to it later if the meaning doesn’t immediately seem clear to me. I personally feel more relieved after doing one of these sessions.
If you don’t have a Tarot deck, it’s important to find one that resonates with you, so take your time and shop around. A website that may be helpful is Aeclectic Tarot which highlights a diverse range of decks and features a section that explains individual card meanings. Also, check out this article, “13 Tarot and Oracle Decks Created For and By Black People,” which recommends decks inspired by Hoodoo, Afro-surrealism and more.
The therapeutic benefits of music have been widely recognized. It can alleviate anxiety and depression, aid with deeper meditation and get creativity flowing when you’re in a rut. Earlier this year, I attended an event by Dark Ambient Sound Bath. You can read more about it in this blog post, but essentially, sound baths use rhythm and vibrations to incite relaxation. Dark Ambient Sound Bath encourages individuals to tap into their shadow selves for a deeply cathartic and transcendental experience. Currently, future sessions have been suspended due to COVID-19, but founder Lauren Davis has put up a video recording on the website so you can enjoy it from home. You can also donate to help support DASB during this time.
I also want to mention the music of Arcana (not to be confused with Nox Arcana) Peter Gundry, and Adrian Von Ziegler. I have a penchant for dark, ethereal music, and these composers offer pieces inspired by the occult, witchcraft and fantasy. Turn down the lights, close your eyes and let yourself be carried away to another plane of existence.
Cooking With A Dash Of Horror
My culinary skills are practically non-existent and I’m hardly ever in the mood to cook, but did you know that it can be a stress reducer? Something as simple as slicing vegetables gets you to focus on the task at hand, decluttering your mind of all superfluous thoughts and worries. You become steadier and calmer without even realizing what’s happening. I can attest to this because when I have cooked, I don’t start off enthused, but once I have a rhythm flowing, I find myself at ease.
Now, since my forte is the odd and macabre, I’m going to suggest adding a bit of spooky flair to your cooking therapy session! Not too long ago I tackled a couple of recipes in Zach Neil’s The Nightmare Before Dinner Cookbook, which is filled with dishes inspired by Tim Burton films. I had a great time bringing these to life in the kitchen. If you watched The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell on Netflix, you know this woman crafts delightfully terrifying treats, including a ginger-dead house, spirit board cookie and edible spiders. You can try your hand at some baking with her book Deceptive Desserts: A Lady’s Guide to Baking Bad! Other noteworthy suggestions include The Necronomnomnom: Recipes and Rites from the Lore of H. P. Lovecraft and the forthcoming Alien: The Official Cookbook, which will be released this November.
Virtual Metaphysical Classes
Due to COVID-19, many esoteric shops local to me have started offering various virtual metaphysical classes through apps such as Zoom. These are wonderful if you want to develop your spiritual side, learn more about magickal practices and connect with like-minded souls. One I’ve taken was “Witching: The Art of Words,” which discussed how writers can incorporate magick into their writing. I’ve seen classes on Tarot, psychic development, sigils and more.
It’ll be great once it’s safe enough for these sessions to be held in-person so you can benefit from interacting with others who are also on a spiritual journey. Classes I’ve attended have helped me to sharpen my intuitive skills, find inner-peace, and attain more balance. I walk away feeling less alone. Ipso Facto in Fullerton, California, has a few online events lined up, so you don’t have to live nearby to participate. I also recommend searching for metaphysical shops local to you to see if any classes are being offered.
Saging & Bathing
Other self-care practices you can do to quell anxiety and stress are saging and bathing. White Sage is known for its cleansing power and the act of using it to purify a space is called smudging. The Native Americans regard it as a sacred plant and have been gathering it for thousands of years. Use it for healing, protection and dispelling negative energy. One common way to smudge is to take a smudge stick, light it, then either walk around the area you wish to cleanse or leave it to burn on a non-flammable plate. You can also use loose sage if you prefer.
I don’t think I have to explain how a warm bath is relaxing. From soothing tired muscles to quieting the mind, a deep soak will do your body and soul good. When getting my cards read by a friend, he suggested I draw a bath and add sea salt (for purifying), and milk and honey (for soothing) to ease tension. Try it out and see how it works for you.
I hope that incorporating some magick into your self-care routine lifts your spirits and reinvigorates your soul. These are stressful times, but by taking time for yourself, you’ll be in a much better place to meet life’s challenges. Take care out there and sending everyone lots of positive energy.