In ”Ask a Witch,” Gabriela Herstik answers your questions about channeling ancient wisdom in the modern age. From spellcraft to finding your path, explore what it means to be a millennial witch. If you have a question about all things magickal, contact Herstik on Twitter via @gabyherstik or Instagram @gabyherstik
Question: I was wondering if you had any tips for a new witch that is having problems manifesting?
Answer: Ah yes. Manifestation. Dear new witch, you are not alone in your quest. Yesterday I was trying to use my witchy powers to win a raffle and alas, it didn’t work. The heart-thumping, palm-clenching anticipation (that only lasted for about five minutes) can feel eerily similar to trying to manifest something and waiting desperately for it to happen.
The idea of manifestation is pretty straightforward. Manifestation works alongside the Law of Attraction, a universal rule which dictates that thoughts can become things. Your thoughts hold immense power, and you attract whatever it is you think about. So where's the problem? All the negative, anxious, late-night existential quarter-life crisis thoughts!
The universe has no way of distinguishing what it is we don’t want versus what it is we do want. It just sees where you’re putting your energy and magnifies that. If you’re having trouble manifesting, it can very often be because your thoughts tend to be rooted in negativity—even if you’re unaware of it. Start by being more conscious of what you’re grateful for. You can do this in a few ways, whether it’s thought a gratitude journal (what it sounds like) or by thinking of all of the good things about your day when you’re going to bed, picking one to be extra thankful for each night.
Next, start noticing when you have negative thoughts; awareness really is the first step to change. A negative thought can be anything from “I hate this” to any hyper-critical self-talk you may participate in, to realizing that you may be noticing the bad in a situation before the good. Once you start to notice when you have a negative thought, you’ll start to catch them more and more. Try focusing on what you love and on what makes you feel good and happy and alive. Soon you’ll be attracting more of THAT. Manifestation is a magickal way of getting what you want, and the easiest and most powerful way to do that is to feel it. You can also use visualization to aid in manifesting.
That said, sometimes there’s just negative stuff in this world that we can’t ignore. And sometimes, it’s that one thing, that one situation, or person, that’s holding us back from manifesting. But news flash: That one thing may be YOU. Because ultimately, the only person who has to wholeheartedly believe in your magick, power, and ability is you. Magick is a process and a muscle; it’s like spiritual self-love. It takes time. But there are some tips and tricks (aka spells and rituals) that can help.
When I feel stuck or like I need to let go in order to receive, I use the handy dandy little ritual below.
What you’ll need:
A serene space where you can quiet your mind and burn something safely
Paper and pen
A fireproof dish or bowl (or fireplace!)
A match or lighter
Optional: White sage, mugwort, or other cleansing herbs or incense
When you should perform the ritual:
On the Winter Solstice, December 21st, and the day following
The night of the New Moon and the night following it (you can also perform this three days before or after the New Moon as well)
During the Waxing Moon (This ritual is written to take place over two days. You can choose to only do one, depending on if you want to let go or receive, but it is suggested that you do both for the full effect. This ritual is designed for YOU. Do what feels right. Trust your intuition always. If you’re called to tweak this, then do it.)
Take time to set up your sacred space. If your practice calls for casting a circle (for energetic protection), then do so. You can burn white sage, desert sage, mugwort, cedar, or even incense if you want to cleanse your space with smoke and herbs prior to the ritual. Take time to settle down, finding your way to whatever supplies you have.
Once you’re ready, take five deep breaths standing up, grounding your feet into the floor, imagining roots forming from your soles into the core of Mother Earth. Breathe into this space of grounding and find your seat whenever you’re ready. Imagine a bubble of white light around you, protecting you and engulfing you with a warm sense of safety and comfort. Feel this for however long you need.
Write it out:
The first step to manifesting is to let go. So think of what’s holding you back from what you want. Whether it’s an unhealthy relationship, self-doubt, or money troubles, focus on what it is that you want to release. Write down what you want to let go of at the top of a piece of paper, focusing the energy and feelings you have as you write. Be intentional. You can write something like “I am done living in a place of fear” or “I release any self-doubt I may have” or “I am done living from a place of scarcity.” Again, this should feel right to you.
This is the fun part. Once you’ve written one of your affirmations, burn it! Tear up the strip of paper, fold it up, and burn it in a fire-safe bowl or fireplace. Imagine all the energy of what you’ve written being released into the universe in a beautiful bright flame. Do this as many times, with as many written intentions, as you need. More than anything you need to KNOW that it is working. This is vital. Even if it feels fake at first, believe that you’re releasing this energy!
Once you feel like you’re done, take a moment to sit and ground. You can stand up and imagine your feet as roots once again or you can press your forehead into the ground and imagine all of your energy pouring into Mother Earth. I prefer this method after a ritual to help me ground. If you’ve cast a circle, close it. That night, pay attention to your dreams. Notice if you feel anything differently.
The next day, the format of the ritual is the same, but you’ll be focusing on what you want to manifest, instead of what you want to release, as you write. So center yourself and then get to work!
Write it out (again):
After you’ve centered yourself, think about what it is that you want. There are no rules with the universe; nothing is too big or too small. But sometimes it’s easier to start small so we can see our powers at work. Personally, focusing on what I want to feel in whatever I’m trying to manifest really helps. Are you looking for a great job where you feel valued and supported? A relationship that’s empowering and full of growth? A safe space for your community to have? Manifestation does not have to be centered around you, although there’s nothing wrong with that! This time when you’re writing, phrase the affirmation like you already have it. “I am so thankful for the job I have that ….” If there’s something specific you want, write it down. There's a caveat, though: Don’t do this for love! By this I mean, don't write down the name of the person you want to be with or the relationship you want to be in. Instead, focus on the qualities you want in someone else. Focusing on how you want to feel in the situation is vital, so write about that instead. Repeat the process of burning the affirmations and feeling the energy of the flame bleeding into the fabric of the universe. KNOW with every fiber of your being that you’ll get what you want.
Repeat this ritual as many times as you need. You can cast a spell, use your favorite tarot cards, or just write down what you let go of or manifest during this potent window of cosmic time. If you want to let go of something, use the time of the Waning Moon to New Moon; if you want to manifest, use the time of the Waxing Moon to Full Moon. Couple this ritual with real-life work and you’re bound to make something magickal happen! Never doubt your powers, and best of luck.