Meg Stoneman explores links between intuition, our bodies and one’s sense of self, showing that the world of the mystic is not nearly as out of reach as you might think.
As we go into a season coloured with mysticism – I offer you an invitation to think about what a witch is. There are many avenues of thought on witchcraft, my answer for now being that it is a person who taps into their sense of knowing – a knowing which resides in the physical and etheric body. The body is equipped for listening, it just needs us to tune in. I want us to explore the idea of witchcraft as a communion with our bodies and intuition, and therefore deepening our connection with the Earth too. To appreciate our connection to nature, a friend of mine recommends reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass. Achieving a deep rooted sense of self ripples out into more sincere and authentic connections with the people close to our hearts, as our ability to listen and to nurture flourishes.
How does one access and tune into that place of knowing and therefore embody one’s inner witch/mystic? Listen to your dreams and the songs or words which get stuck in your head seemingly by random. Listen to your nervous system. Listen to the conversations around you. Listen to your body. Listen to your intuition, learn to trust, and let it guide you.
Being invited to listen and trust your intuition can sometimes feel like an ambiguous suggestion – how do we do that? The answer is perhaps that stepping into modern mysticism requires the knowledge that there are no rules to it. Try to step out of your thinking mind, which questions how to do something and whether we are doing it right. You and your ability to feel will have the answers to any question – try to be your own teacher, develop that sense of trust. This freedom should always be married with an appreciation and a reverence, rather than an appropriation, of the rich and layered history of intuitive and earth-connect practices sometimes known as witchcraft. The sense of knowing and being your own teacher has roots in Shamanism – a religious practice by indigenous peoples of far northern Europe and Siberia that is characterised by the faith in and connection to an unseen world and the spirit of all things. I suggest that you consider what your intention is for thinking about and creating your own spiritual practice, carry that reverence with you and move from there. Root your exploration of the mystical in gratitude for being able to do this work.
You can achieve communion with your intuition and sense of knowing through daily practices which feel innately you – connecting you to your higher self and a sense of Source. Acts of sincere, yet playful, listening. Practices can include meditation, yoga, dance, reading, writing, creating, swimming, mindful movement, intention setting, visualising, getting to know your astrological birth chart, aligning your month with the lunar cycle and tuning into the rhythms of your menstrual cycle. This alignment with the wax and wanes of the self can allow a liberation from the constant state of ‘on’ that society can often demand of us – bringing a sense of softness into our bodies and lives.
Bessel Van Der Kolk writes beautifully on yoga as an instrument for learning to inhabit our bodies in The Body Keeps the Score. Perhaps an unlikely read for a witchcraft article, but a book I would recommend for your practices nonetheless! May his research show you that elements of witchcraft and mysticism are also grounded in healing and psychological science. He references Stephen Cope’s Yoga and the Quest for the True Self who lays down the beauty of yoga as being that ‘as we begin to re-experience a visceral reconnection with the needs of our bodies, there is a brand new capacity to warmly love the self.’ I would recommend starting a home practice alongside Yoga with Adriene – she is a wonderful teacher and full of ease. Stepping into mysticism (cue playing Van Morrison’s Into The Mystic) is to design crafts and practices which feel like you and is therefore a highly personal and intuitive thing. What I have covered here is only one glimpse into it all – take what resonates with you and leave what doesn’t – I only hope that I have given you some things to think about. I will leave you with a poem by Joel Leon, a beautiful voice whom I lovingly suggest you listen to: “don’t let your practice, the ways in which you choose to show up in the world, be accidental. Let it be purposeful. Let it be intentional. Let it be proactive. Let it be freeing. Let it be consistent. Let it be sincere. Let it be open. Let it be fluid. Let it be love.”