Though the new year marks a time for review and renewal, it’s often a few weeks into the year before I’m ready to set new goals via the contemplative practice of spell-casting. It’s as though I have to get out of the turbulent holiday season and new year energy before I’m ready to engage the magic of habit formation.
This year (like the past couple) I’m returning to the practice of writing spells (like mantras, poems, or intentions) that I’ve learned through adrienne maree brown (specifically, episode 10 of the Healing Justice podcast—“New Years Practice: Cast a Spell with adrienne maree brown”).
Words Cast Spells
As someone who came to writing and literacy studies because I so struggle with finding words, I strongly resonate with this practice. I resonate with the importance of naming and speaking aloud desires. I resonate with the idea that words cast spells, that words manifest being.
This year, I notice that my spells pair the welcoming of abundance with the experience of grieving (allowing sorrow and lament) in a way I’ve never considered (much less articulated) before.
Perhaps this is because I’ve been re-reading Edgar Villanueva’s Decolonizing Wealth, and I’ve been particularly moved by the recognition that grieving must happen before moves toward apology, listening, investment, and repair are possible. I’m learning—and feeling in my body—the need for deeper, truer grieving in order for continued visioning and striving toward justice.
Likely this is also because I’ve been actively working on noticing comfort-seeking and numbing-out behaviors (my preferred ones being sugar-binging and TV-watching). I’ve been noticing how these behaviors keep me from deep grieving. Though they’ve been good friends for some time, they’ve become self-sabotaging. I’m ready to face how these behaviors are blocking me from pursuing my commitments with real integrity, discipline, and accountability.
So, along with an active resolution of “no TV or sugar during daytime hours” (something I’m finding exhilarating and exhausting), I’m ready to turn to what awaits in 2020. I’m using words (spell-casting) to call in the creative potential that’s possible. And I have a sense that I’ll get there through some emotional deep-diving: through releasing old patterns and allowing life to take new shape.
With these recognitions in mind, here’s my spell for 2020, shared with the hope that it might spark spell-casting for you, too.
My Spell for 2020: Linking Grief, Temperance, and Abundance
I stay with grief, sorrow, and lament: noticing when I fall into comfort-seeking behaviors to block suffering, and more and more, staying with the sensations that come up, allowing myself to feel, experience, release, acknowledge, and emerge.
I use temperance as a guiding principle: noticing when I’m being less than honest with myself and gently, humbly redirecting.
I stay with the hardest stories and the ones asking to be told even when I’m resisting. I notice and release resistance, leaning instead into the guidance coming to me.
I welcome abundance and ease: noticing with gratitude all the ways that I’m already supported and allowing myself to be held within a community of sustenance, care, and backing. I’m not in this (this work, this life, this striving) alone.
I use intuitive guidance systems—runes, meditation, pendulum, and more—to reconnect with the “strong yes,” and that strong yes becomes part of an ongoing and daily discernment process.
I invest in repair, working with money, resources, and inheritances (ancestral debts and assets) differently, learning to betray capitalist goals, honor the earth, and live out reparations.
I commit to truth-telling, ancestral healing, and a relational ethic. While recognizing continued harm, I strive to lessen harm and to learn and unlearn.
I stay in mess (the messier and truer, the better).
This post is written by Beth Godbee, Ph.D. for Heart-Head-Hands.com. For related posts, you might try “Spell-Casting and Other Contemplative Practices for Reflection and Recovery” and “A New Spell for a New Space.”
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