Witchcraft doesn’t have to be entirely woo woo. It’s rooted in Paganism, which is also what a lot of our modern knowledge of the Earth is rooted in (as well as our “American” holidays, traditions, and cultural nuances). Yes, witchcraft can involve crystals, astrology, and other “unscientific” ideas, but most of it revolves around an important, and scientifically backed ideal of self-care— intention.
Being intentional about your life is the bottom line of witchcraft. It can be really fun to incorporate more unconventional practices into your craft (such as casting spells or making an altar), but no matter your preferences or comfort level, everyone should be slowing down. Everyone should be noticing the little things, and being intentional with their actions. Witchcraft is a fantastic way to do that, and to physically show what you’re internally wanting or practicing. Autumn is a really special time of year to get in touch with all of that. This season is about letting go, centering yourself, and embracing the natural cycles of the Earth. If you’re at a loss with where to begin though, here are five ways to incorporate witchcraft and slow living into your autumn.
How To Incorporate Witchcraft and Slow Living into Your Autumn
1. Pumpkin seed magic
Not only is this a great mindfulness practice, but it’s also sustainable since it battles food waste. There are many ways to go about this, since this is a pretty old practice, but an especially intentional ritual goes as follows. Collect your pumpkin seeds and clean them under running water, thinking about what you’d like to let go of or what’s holding you back. Imagine the grime sliding off the seeds being those limits, and watch them wash down the drain (or, if you have access, bury them in the dirt). Next, pour them into a bowl, thinking about them being fresh and clean. Anything is possible, so allow yourself to get in that mindset as well.
Choose your spices specifically according to what you want out of this. This may sound complicated but think of it like this—what does paprika remind you of? It’s red, so often people think of adventure or success. If that’s the case for you, pick that. Garlic makes many think of protection, and turmeric is often thought of as success or courage. If you’re more into sweets, think similarly with sugar and cinnamon. Go for spices that remind you of self-love, or other attributes that you want to grow within.
If you feel really out of place with this, try these two combinations: for success and creative sparks, mix pumpkin seeds with paprika, garlic, basil, and turmeric; for self-love and confidence, mix the seeds with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and a little orange zest. As you mix whichever spices feel right for the mindset or attributes that you want, think about what they mean to you and why you want them. Picture it coating the seeds, and your hands, and yourself. Notice the smell, the feel, and take deep breaths to completely be in the moment. Pour in an oil of your choice, or melted vegan butter, thinking of it as everything you need to gain what you want. Stir it clockwise, or whichever way feels natural for you, still being in this mindset. Put them in the oven until golden, and while they cook, journal about your thoughts about this (or paint impressions or move your body to be centered). Let the seeds cool, and picture everything coming together. This is a good time to be doing some deep breathing, yoga, or other grounding exercises. Once they’re cool, enjoy with cider or other seasonally appropriate beverages and food. Try to pick them mindfully as well, but as you eat the seeds, remember what you made them for.
2. Bath magic
If you’re somebody who loves a good bath, or really just needs to relax, this is a great option for you. If you don’t have access to a bath, try doing similar things in the shower. Baths are beautiful ways to slow down and breathe and just pay attention to sensations, as well as reflect. Since the beginning of time, water has represented new life, rebirth, nourishment, healing, and depths. This all aligns very well with the literal purpose of autumn, making this a very powerful time to bathe.
When deciding what to use in your bath, think of intention. If your goal is to practice self-love, try picking out things that make you feel closer to yourself or remind you of love. Things like lavender bath salts, rose quartz, seashells, colorful flower petals, and your favorite scented candle are fantastic for that (though, it’s also important to pay attention to the color of the wax. In traditional witchcraft, that was extremely important, so if that matters to you, aim for pink or white or even purple). If you’re wanting to let go or release, pick out things that reflect that like clear crystals, lavender sprigs, white candles, or pearls. Pay attention to how plants, stones, pictures, candles, etc. make you feel. Practicing witchcraft in general is a fantastic way to get to know yourself because of ideas like this.
So, fill the tub with all of this in mind, picturing what you want being in the water (self-love etc.). Step into the water, and pay really close attention to how the water makes your skin feel. You can spin clockwise or stretch before sitting down if you want to add more motion, but as you do sit down, imagine immersing yourself in the intention. Lay down for as long as you feel you need to, paying attention to the water’s feel and the items you chose. Reflect on it all. Once you feel uplifted, full, or overall ready, drain the tub, imagining the things you wanted to let go of or whatever you need to release in order to grow, going down the drain with the water. Step out of the tub, feeling the air on your skin, and drink a glass of water. This is simply a beautifully physical representation of release or circulation, and physically doing something, can really cement it emotionally and mentally.
3. Breath magic
This one is probably more familiar to most. Take a walk or do yoga outside, paying attention to your breath. Breathe as deeply as possible, letting your lungs expand completely. This is a powerful way to connect with the planet and the world around you, as well as give you a chance to slow down. Bring a journal or just pay attention to every feeling you have. Try to breathe in harmony with how you imagine the trees would be breathing. Connect and ground, and focus on breathing with nature, and being one.
Another familiar one, but one not often practiced in the autumn. Go outside and take off your shoes. This is an ancient pagan way of connecting with the Earth, and it’s been scientifically proven to boost your mood as well. Find a patch of grass, or if you’re able, go to a field or forest, and just wander. Pay attention to the imprints your feet make in the dirt, look at the mud caked around your toes, feel the falling leaves brush past your cheek, and center yourself by focusing on every moment. How does the wind taste? What does the Earth smell like? Take it all in, and connect with Mother Earth.
5. Make something
This may sound very simple, but the physical act of creating something from nothing is in fact magic. Whatever you choose to make, make it intentionally. Pick out colors that speak to you. Pick out ingredients that stick out to you. Listen to your gut, and as you make whatever you choose, think about why you chose to make it. Why did you pick out all of these ingredients/materials? What makes them special? What do you want out of the experience? This practice is something that many do daily, whether they make dinner or candles or jewelry, but few do so with a lot of mindfulness. Incorporating it into your craft will slow you down, help you get to know yourself more, and maybe bring a new skill into your life. Bonus points if you add another form of magic into the experience (i.e. make a candle and learn fire magic, or make loose leaf tea and learn water magic).
None of this is super out of left field. A lot of us have taken a walk before, or been barefoot, or made something. What makes something witchcraft isn’t whether or not it involves conjuring death or black cats or wands. Witchcraft is connecting with yourself and the Earth, and in order to do this abstract, emotional thing, it often helps to do something that physically represents it because a lot of us are visual beings or learn-by-doing people. We are told to constantly be on the go and to be conventional, so slowing down and practicing witchcraft is an act of rebellion, and it’s an important one. Life lasts longer when you’re taking all of it in and pausing for it, and that’s magic in itself, isn’t it?
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Photo: Emily Degn