Hey, witches. It’s mid-February, which means that candy hearts and capitalist notions of romance are being sold to us left and right. We’re supposed to receive jewels and roses from our lovers or else eat chocolate in the dark alone while blasting some early Alanis. But as witches we must use our magic to combat all patriarchal forces that hurt us—including the ones that tell us that we must participate in Valentine’s Day as either a happy, coupled girlfriend/wife/partner or a bitter single person. So let’s cast a love spell, shall we?
No, I am not going to tell you to steal locks of your exes’ hair, light candles, and recite incantations to draw them back to you. I’m not even going to tell you to envision your ideal partner and cast a spell to have them manifest in your life. February 2nd was the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Imbolc celebrates the first sign of spring and the transformation of the goddess from the Crone to the Maiden. The Maiden represents youth and new beginnings, and the Maiden’s power comes from being one who is whole as herself—without other. So let’s take this opportunity to generate some self-love, shall we?
1. Buy yourself some new gems.
No, not from Kay Jewelers! Go to your local new-age shop (or science store or anyplace that has a nice selection of stones), and pick out a piece of rose quartz. This pink gem is known for its healing properties; for its ability to help open up the heart chakra, or soothe a broken heart. There are many different gems with healing or energizing properties. Go spend some time holding different stones and seeing how they make you feel. Then choose one or a few, just for yourself. When you bring them home, let them sit overnight in sea salt (either mixed with water or dry) in a glass or ceramic bowl or container.
2. Make yourself a magical bath.
Adding epsom salt to your bath can help you feel grounded, and salts are readily available at most drug stores. I also like to add a few drops of essential oil. Aromatherapist Melissa McGill, founder of Morphologically, says “Rose is great for opening and healing the heart chakra, jasmine is a euphoric, and vetiver is a musk, grounding, and animal-like, like sex.”
Light some candles and sit quietly, holding your quartz. Take some deep breaths and imagine you are breathing through your heart. Draw in light, warmth, and love with each inhale, and let go of negativity, doubt, and anxiety with each exhale. You might write an affirmation or spell to recite to yourself while you do this. It can be as simple as “I am love” or something like “I am open to draw in the love that surrounds me, so that I may share this love freely.”
Did you really think I was going to write a witchy, self-love to-do list and leave out sacred sexuality? Make time to do this. It is important for witches to learn about their bodies and desires, which can and do change all the time. Plus there are real physical benefits.
One of the best ways we can generate love is to give it away. One of the great witches of our time, Starhawk, has talked about the importance of witches being activists. This means that we don’t just create rituals to make ourselves feel good, but that we also “need to use our magical tools to face the stark and overwhelming realities that confront us, acknowledge our feelings, and transmute them into the energy we need for change.” Is there an organization in your community that needs some volunteers? A local park that needs some cleaning up? A neighbor that needs help shoveling snow? Sign up. Using our abilities to help others and ignite positive change in the world is real live magic in action.
And finally, because, you’ve read this far, and I know you might very well be aching for romantic love this Valentine’s Day, I’ll tell you a secret. If you take time and make magical self-love a priority, you will not only be feeling good on your own as you spread love to your immediate surroundings—you’ll without a doubt attract it, too.
Elizabeth Koke is a writer, activist, and second-generation witch who lives and works and practices magic in New York City.