Meditation is the act of engaging in deep focus, reflection, or contemplation in order to achieve clarity and awareness. Meditation is an ancient practice that spans multiple spiritual traditions. It can be practiced as part of a religious path, as part of a spiritual practice like witchcraft, or as a secular activity to increase mindfulness. Anyone can meditate, and everyone can benefit from a daily meditation practice.
A study led by Harvard researchers found that meditation increases gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. The same study found that regular meditation decreased gray matter density in the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with stress and anxiety.
Daily meditation can reduce stress, decrease feelings of depression, enhance self-awareness, encourage a positive emotional state, and increase compassion for yourself and others. All of these benefits have been proven through scientific research.
Like we talked about in Chapter 1, meditation is important in witchcraft because it helps us to develop a greater awareness of our own energy and the energy around us. Developing an awareness of this energy is the first step in learning how to direct it through acts of magic.
In her book, Wicca for Beginners, author Thea Sabin says that witches can use mediation and other trance techniques, “to train their minds and work with their subconscious to harness their mental powers.”
Sabin explains that during meditation, we enter a light trance state, which is the state of consciousness between being awake and being asleep. This is what we mean when we talk about “zoning out.” According to Sabin, “During a trance, the conscious mind doesn’t quite leave — although sometimes it feels that way — but it’s occupied elsewhere, and the subconscious has freer reign.”
This allows us to tap into streams of energy or information that we may not be able to connect with when we are fully conscious. In many magic traditions, trance is also an important part of spellwork, so meditation can help you get used to slipping in and out of this state.
Meditation is also a crucial part of energy work. In an article for the International Center for Reiki Training, Laurelle Gaia says: “Meditation is the art of creating a quiet mind and listening to the sound of silence. Where prayer is the act of talking with the Divine, meditation is the act of listening and truly hearing what God has to share with us.”
That being said, you don’t have to believe in God to benefit from meditation. The force that Laurelle Gaia identifies as “God” can also be seen as your own higher Self, or as a manifestation of universal life energy. Whatever you choose to call it, this connection is able to provide a sense of clarity that we don’t often get in our busy lives.
An easy way to induce a meditative state — i.e., a trance — is with a visual trigger. You can do this by lighting a candle and focusing intently on the flame, or by watching incense smoke rise into the air.
Another option is to use repetitive sounds, like drumming, chanting, or binaural beats. There is a lot of meditation music available for free on YouTube, and that can also be a good option for helping yourself focus.
Special breathing techniques can also be used to reach a meditative state. One of the easiest of these is called square breathing. To practice square breathing, breathe in slowly for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, and then exhale slowly for four counts. Repeat this as many times as you need to reach a calm, focused state.
Once you’ve reached a meditative state, what do you do? This depends on the type of meditation you choose to practice, and the possibilities are literally endless.
My favorite type of meditation, and the one that I recommend for new witches, is what I like to call “the five minute energy check-in.”
Sit or lay down in a comfortable place, and use your favorite method to enter a meditative state. Once you find that state, imagine a thick root growing down from the base of your spine, into the earth; you may see this root in your mind’s eye, or you may feel it physically. Focus on the way that this root connects you to the earth, allowing you and the planet to share life energy in an endless, mutually beneficial relationship.
After a few moments of focusing on your connection to the earth, notice an energy of pure love and light entering your body through the crown of your head. This is the spiritual force that directs all the energy in the universe. It moves through you and fills you — it is a part of you and you are a part of it. See or feel this light slowly moving through your body, from the top of your head, down your neck, shoulders, arms, torso, legs, and feet. Feel it flowing down that root and into the earth.
As you do this, pay attention to the way the energy moves through your body. Is there anywhere in your body where the energy feels blocked, or doesn’t seem to flow as easily? Pay attention to these blockages, because they can clue you in on areas where you need to do some spiritual healing.
This is what I like to do, but there are lots of other ways to incorporate meditation into witchcraft. Some witches like to pull a tarot card each morning and spend a few minutes meditating on that card’s imagery and meaning. Other witches may meditate with a crystal, really focusing in and attuning themselves to that stone’s energy. Some witches do the same thing with trees or plants. You could also read a section of spiritual literature and then spend a few moments in meditation, deeply focusing on the meaning of what you read.
There are some people who believe that they can’t meditate. I hear a lot of people say that they can’t get their brains to shut up, or that they can’t make themselves stop thinking. These people misunderstand the purpose of meditation. You aren’t turning your thoughts off — you’re just quieting them and letting them fade into the background. When a thought comes up, acknowledge it, but then let it go. Some people find it helpful to think of their thoughts like clouds, drifting across the blue sky of the mind and then disappearing.
Other people say that they can’t meditate because they aren’t able to visualize things and see them in their minds’ eye. My response to these people is that you need to broaden your definition of what meditation is. Some types of meditation do rely on visualization, but other types do not. The type of meditation I do most often revolves around feeling the energy within and around your body. You don’t have to visualize anything for this type of meditation — you simply have to be aware of your own body.
Some people feel uncomfortable with how freeform meditation is, or feel like they would do better with something more structured. I encourage these people to try guided meditations — in a guided meditation, someone else walks you through the entire process, and these typically follow a more rigid formula. This can be a great way to get used to the feeling of meditating until you feel comfortable doing it on your own.
I challenge everyone reading this post to make a commitment to themselves to meditate for five minutes a day, five days a week. I’m not asking you to meditate for hours and hours, or to meditate every day. Five minutes, five days a week. I promise you will be amazed by how quickly this meditation practice changes your life and propels you forward on your spiritual journey.
- “Proving the Benefits of Meditation” from Psychology Today
- “Science-Based Benefits of Meditation” from Healthline
- Wicca for Beginners by Thea Sabin
- “Reiki and Meditation” by Laurelle Gaia
Note: Baby Witch Bootcamp began as a series of informational videos on my YouTube channel. This series is my attempt to meet a need for free, accessible, and well-researched information about witchcraft and other forms of magic. My background is in journalism, and this is the approach that I take with this series — I try to be as transparent as possible about where I get my information, and each episode is always accompanied by a complete list of sources. I also try to keep this series as objective as possible — my goal is not to convince you to practice witchcraft a certain way, but to provide you with the tools and resources you need to create a magical practice that fits your own beliefs, values, and spiritual needs.
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