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.
As cliché as it sounds, self-love is a journey, not destination. It’s going to look different for everyone. It doesn’t mean your journey is wrong, you’re simply on a different train, aka your own. But as long as it’s heading right to love town, you don’t need to worry about the details. Self-love means learning to love yourself unconditionally. You are absolutely allowed to fuck up and slip up and get hurt one way or the other, but that does not negate the fact that you deserve your own love. You are worthy of your love not because of anything conditional, but simply because you exist.
A talisman is said to bring luck and fortune to the wearer, but in this case, it’s something that makes us feel loved. Whether it’s a crystal, pressed penny from the pier, or a necklace a loved one gave you, the first step in finding a talisman is to choose something that reminds you of feeling loved.
You can cleanse the object with moonlight or smoke from sage, palo santo, or cedar to charge the object. Sit in a comfortable position with the object in your hands. Imagine a gold cord connecting the root of your spine to the core of the earth. Once you feel grounded, imagine a warm light flickering in your heart, growing bigger and bigger, warmer and warmer, eventually enveloping you. Feel how you felt at a time when you were completely loved and cared for and infuse this into the item between your hands. You can finish by pressing your head into the earth, imagining extra energy returning to your core, or imagining the energy returning through the cord.
For me, well, I love rose quartz. I probably only have 10 or so crystals, but I have two chunks of rose quartz, and it’s really the only crystal I have to stop myself from buying all the time. The last time I was in San Diego visiting my parents, I bought myself a rose quartz bracelet. During the day, when I am feeling extra emo or anxious, I take it off and hold it between my hands. Sometimes I close my eyes and feel it, imagining a warm glowing light resonating from it straight to my heart. Not only is the crystal helping me connect me to my heart, it also gives me a physical reminder of what I’m trying to do, which is open that heart center way up.
You can wear or hold your talisman whenever you need to feel loved. Set an alarm on your phone or make a ritual of it every morning. Return to your talisman when you need a reminder of what love feels like. Hold it and imagine the warm light from your ritual flooding from the talisman and into your hands. Take three deep breaths. Press your feet into the earth. Return to this often, and cleanse your talisman regularly. Leave it under the light of the full moon. Cleanse it with smoke. Whisper sweet messages in its ear.
Okay, I know they seem lame but trust me. Find a mantra that works for you. It should feel good to say it. Some examples: “I am deserving of every type of love.” “I am a goddess.” “I am loved.” “I find strength in my compassion.” “I am a boss-ass bitch, and I am SO LOVED.” “I am enough.” Again, it’s going to be unique to who you are. I literally tell myself I’m a sex kitten and that I have men drooling at my feet even though I often feel like a blob of a human. But it's what works for me!
The key is to remember to repeat your mantra over and over to yourself often. When you’re washing your hands or in front of the mirror, close your eyes and imagine someone you really love in front of you. Really feel like they’re there, imagining how warm and juicy and open they make your heart. Then open your eyes and tell yourself your mantra. When you’re in the car driving, talk to yourself like you would to your favorite pet or your plant. Use a baby voice! Coo over yourself! Have fun with it; it’s okay to “trick” yourself. In fact, make this a habit.
A ritual for self-love
- A mirror (preferably full-length, or one you can sit in front of)
- A pink or white candle
- Palo santo or sage
- Florida Water
- Massage oil or rose or crystal quartz
- A talisman
Ground and center: Sit in front of the mirror in a comfortable position. If you feel called, you can light a candle and set it in front of you to one side of the mirror. Clean your mirror with Florida Water and cleanse yourself with the sacred smoke of sage or palo santo, remembering to get the bottoms of your feet and the top of your head. Close your eyes. Feel the warm love of Mother Earth moving from the base of your spine up to your heart. Let it rest here, imagining a pink light pulsating warmer and warmer. Hold it here and feel this reassurance. Let it move into the palm of your hands.
Rub the good in: You can use massage oil, a rose quartz, or crystal quartz (make sure they're clean and lack jagged edges) on your hands; starting at your feet, give yourself a massage. Really take the time to feel your body, imagining the pink, loving light from your palms infusing your flesh and bones with love. Accept this love! Move up your body, feeling the beautiful folds of your belly or the sweet dimples of your thighs or the tender skin on your arms. Infuse everything your hands touch with this beam of love. You can repeat your mantra to yourself as you continue to feel and love yourself. Imagine a warm hug or your favorite memory or anything that reminds you how of how damn lovable you are.
Open your eyes to the truth!!: When you feel good in your body, open your eyes. Look at yourself. Tell yourself something you love about yourself; it could be anything from the way you rock that red lipstick to the fact that you have the cutest cellulite. I challenge you to say something to yourself that’s hard to say. Open yourself up to loving the “unlovable.” Challenge yourself to shift that perspective and love those parts of yourself anyway. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are enough, that you are beautiful and worthy of love. Take three deep breaths, holding your talisman or a crystal in your left hand if you have one. Exhale out of your mouth, allowing whatever sound to flow out. Thank yourself.
Ground your love: When you’re finished, imagine all the extra love you have surrounding you like a protective cocoon. Remember that gold cord connecting you to the earth? Send any extra energy her way, back down to the core of the earth. You can also press your forehead into the ground and imagine the energy center there, also known as your third eye, sending extra love and energy back to the earth.
Find something that speaks to you, and make a ritual out of it. It could be anything from holding a rose quartz in your hand every morning to breathing. It could be meditating or dancing naked to your favorite song. More than anything, trust your gut; it always knows.