There is a Native American proverb I enjoy: An old Man is telling a story to his grandson, telling him that we all have two wolves within us, one wolf is light, and embodies happiness, joy, love, peace, and contentment, The other wolf is dark, and embodies stress, anger, resentment, fear, and sadness. These wolves are in a constant never ending battle with one another, an eternal struggle. The grandson asks “which wolf will win?” And the Old Man replied “whichever one you feed”.
I wanted to write a follow up to my first article “Witchcraft & Mental Health-Magick is Self Care”. At the end of the article, I mentioned the control of thoughts and emotions. I understand that is much easier said than done. I understand when that dark cloud of negative thoughts roll in and those feelings bubble up, we feel like we are at its mercy, but we do control our own thoughts emotions.
How can a witch control the forces around them if they cannot control the forces within them? Below I have outlined some techniques I personally use to aid myself in magick and overall mental/emotional well being.
1. For the Inner Critic
When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it. You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”
For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Strong I am Powerful, I am Witch, I am a Creation of the Divine Dark Mother, I am a perfect magickal being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of power, energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”
If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.
2. For the Worrier
Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.
Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.
You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:
Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline, Shallow breathing or breathlessness and muscles tension.
Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.
If you believe in your power as a witch, this is the time to engage with it. Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, cast a spell to ensure they are safe. As an example.
Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it truly believe it, and half the battle of having power is believing you do. If you can visualize what you are casting for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.
Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts. Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior.
3. For the Reactor & Over-Reactor
Permanently eliminating this type of thought process will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize it’s presence.
The angry thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.
I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.
Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.
Breathe in through your nose:
Feel the air entering your nostrils.
Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
Focus on your belly rising.
Breathe out through your nose:
Feel your lungs emptying.
Focus on your belly falling.
Feel the air exiting your nostrils.
Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.
4. For the Sleep Depriver
I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.
Here’s how I mastered my mind and the Sleep Depriver monster and all his cronies.
I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long.
Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.
When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.
From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within a few minutes.
If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique.
Just like your spell book, athame, or tarot cards, your mind is a tool of the craft and a factor in your magick,and like your magick itself, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.
You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.
Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts, and I’m turn, be a master of the world around you and channel magick in all its forms!