Pictured are some of the tools I use in my money work: a dedicated candle (with matches), another candle holder I use for a long-term money spell, my wallet, prosperity oil, and of course the money I have thus far accumulated in the Pagan savings challenge.
Perhaps more important are the non-physical tools, some of which I have touched upon before. They include the ability to lie to oneself ("I don't really have that money"), the power of visualization ("I can see that fireplace insert I'm saving for clearer every day"), and the discernment to know when or if I should deviate from this course and spend my wad prematurely (which will take a really stupendous occasion for me, both because this year has been somewhat fortunate and because I've taught myself to be tight-fisted).
My week thirty-five savings: $630, 5.5% ($35) of which I added today.
For the first time since this challenge began, I didn't take a picture of the cash. I don't know what I was thinking, but I feel the touch of the hand of fate. Why wouldn't I take a picture? Maybe it's so we can talk about visualization.
Having a growing bank balance, stuffed money jar, or other visual reminder that the savings is adding up can actually be a bit risky, because the temptation to use that money can also grow. While it may be appropriate to do so, determining that requires discernment.
Settle into an altered mental state of your choice, be it worship, meditation, or something else, using whichever external or internal cues that work for you. Visualize that which you set as a goal for this challenge -- for me, that's a fireplace insert, which is pretty tangible; your goal may require something to make it more visual if it's not a physical object.
Holding that image in your mind, now turn to the present reason you wish to spend that money instead. Again, develop a strong image in your mind of the crisis or other temptation.
Now bring those images together, overlapping them like two slides projected at the same screen, or as if you've made each one a layer in a project in Photoshop, if you have no idea what a slide projector is. Hold this overlapped image, which will be blurry and confusing, in your mind until it clears. One image may be dominant, suggesting you should follow that path. In the alternative, a new image may emerge, which should be interpreted as one might a dream.
My week twenty-nine savings: $435, 6.6% ($29) of which I added today.
Later, she might wonder whether she’d been looking at one too many Venus figurines for her online archeology course.
But now her mind, as it had for days, weeks, decades on end, was chattering non-stop, yammering thoughts (judgments, really) through circles within never-ending cycles of not-good-enough. Such had been her life, so-called, whatever you would call absenting yourself from actual contact with the world's flavors, textures, and other trinkets of sensation. Certainly her world — although some might call it sterile — was neat, tidy, clean.
She wasn't discontent with her circumstances. Any time she had peeked out of her circumscribed la-la-land, however arid — and, to her credit, she had attempted several sorties — she'd encountered bits of barbed wire in her milk, darts flying through the air, cutlery strewn across the sidewalk. In her, yes, limited experience, the world was not a friendly place. If her existence within her self-imposed isolation was a bit lonely, actually loveless, at least she was safe. Trips to the grocery store and library were adventures enough.
Wiccans and Pagans often use the word “energy” to mean the power that emanates from living things, deity, the earth, or all three. Geek that I am, I have likened it more than once to the Force from Star Wars, “It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” I have also likened it to the “qi” or “chi,” the core principle of tai chi and Chinese medicine.
Beginner Wicca and Paganism books—including mine—often include exercises for working with energy. Some of the benefits of doing this are to align with the natural world, to become more attuned to one’s own body, and, eventually, to work magic. It’s also extremely useful for stress management.
Author Scott Cunningham wrote that in his experience there were three types of magical energy: divine energy from the Gods or another spiritual entity; personal energy from your own body; and earth energy, which is drawn from—you guessed it—the earth. Each of these kinds of energy will “feel” different. Energy can also feel different when you are doing something “active,” such as raising and directing energy to help heal someone, or “receptive,” such as sitting outside and attuning to the natural world around you.
On top of that, each person seems to perceive energy differently. Some people feel it in their bodies. I’ve heard it described as feeling like an electric charge, a breeze, a current in water, a tugging, a spiraling or swirling sensation, or even like that “pins and needles” sensation you get when a part of your body “goes to sleep.” Others see energy instead of feeling it in their bodies. I’ve heard that described as rays of light or that shimmery effect you see above the horizon in the hot sun. Once or twice I’ve even had someone tell me they have been able to detect a change in scent when they’re using energy or that they get a “taste in their mouths.” Still others don’t perceive it in a physical way, but rather “see” it in their mind’s eye. None of these ways is wrong!
When you first start working with energy, it can be difficult to be sure you’re sensing it and directing it effectively. I have found that it really helps to practice with at least one other person who can give you feedback, send and receive energy, and tell you how he or she is experiencing it. You may not have the luxury of working with a partner, though. In that case, I encourage you to try a wide variety of exercises. Some will work better for you than others. If one doesn’t work, another might. Also, if an exercise doesn’t work the first time, give it another try or two. Sometimes repetition is the key.
I also encourage you to work on your visualization. People who do magic have a saying: energy follows thought. The basic idea is that if you are able to visualize the energy in your mind’s eye and “see” yourself receiving it or directing it where you want it to go, the energy is more likely to go there. It’s like your thought acts as a beacon or trail for the energy. And the more you practice your visualization, the more likely you are to be able to feel the energy in your body.
When you are doing your exercises, please remember to ground before and afterward. There are grounding techniques online, in my Wicca for Beginners book, and in many other books for beginners. Grounding in and of itself, of course, is a form of energy work. It’s kind of like a reboot or returning your body systems to their factory settings (to use yet another geek simile.) The idea is to take a moment to center yourself, focus your thoughts, connect to the earth, and be fully present in your body.
Grounding before energy exercises sends a signal to your subconscious that you are clearing the way for energy work. If you do it for a while, it can become a trigger, to the point where whenever you ground, your mind and body are primed and ready to work with energy. Grounding afterward helps you get rid of any excess energy you may have raised. Excess energy can leave you feeling tired, loopy, disoriented, wired, queasy, or some unsettling combination of the above. And just as grounding beforehand can trigger your mind and body to be ready for energy work, grounding afterward lets them know that you are done and resetting yourself for whatever else your day brings.
When things aren't going your way you can use tarot magick in meditation to help find new perspectives and solutions.
A good card to work with is the Hanged Man.
Did you know that the Hanged Man is the card of yoga? This card carries the energy of meditation and yogic practice.
I have a personal association for the Hanged Man as well; I see it as the card of the 12 Step Program. It is, after all, card 12 of the Major Arcana. The message of the Hanged Man matches the 12 Step Prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Sometimes we need to reframe events or situations in order to better handle them. We need to accept things that are hard to accept and find ways around obstacles. This isn't an easy process but the Hanged Man is the perfect card to help.
To start, create sacred space appropriate for meditation. Use candles, stones and herbs that aid in meditation.
If you can, do some yoga in preparation for your meditation. You may have music in the background if you like, or do some drumming or chanting to help prepare for your meditative journey.
Do some meditative breathing and grounding.
Once you are ready, make a list (either in your mind or by writing) of the things that you are having a hard time accepting, and/or the feelings or perspectives that are holding you back. What are the things in your life that need solutions?
Now take the Hanged Man and spend some time with this card. Look at it, hold it to your chakras and breathe in its energy.
See that the Hanged Man is held upside down in an uncomfortable position. He is calm within that position. Through it he has found enlightenment.
Meditate for a few moments on the concept of finding wisdom and enlightenment as a result of being in a bad position. Think about how this can relate to your own situation.
Now see your situation through the Hanged Man's eyes. Everything looks different when you see it upside down. When you look at your problems differently, what do you see? When you get outside of your usual way of viewing your situation, what other perspectives and solutions can you find?
Use the energy of the Hanged Man to help guide you. You may even do a visualization in which you approach him and ask him for advice. Of course, to talk with him face-to-face you will need to be upside down as well!
Open your mind to possibilities, and see what comes to you. You might want to write down your thoughts, even the ones that don't make sense.
The powers that you invoke in creating sacred space will combine with your own creative and meditative visualization process and the energy of the Hanged Man to help you gain new perspectives and solutions.
Here's some tarot magick to relieve anxiety, worry and self-sabotage. All you need is the Eight of Swords from a Waite-Smith or Waite-Smith clone tarot deck.
In the Waite-Smith Eight of Swords we see a woman who is blindfolded and bound. She is in a cage of swords.
The suit of Swords is related to the element of Air. In the language of tarot we can see each sword as a thought, an idea, a word. And so we see the woman's cage is made up of her own thoughts and her own ideas.
That's a perfect picture of anxiety, isn't it?
When you find yourself caught up in anxiety, worry and fear try using the Eight of Swords to heal.
Create your sacred space while focusing on peace from your inner turmoil.
Breathe and take yourself to a meditative state.
Hold the Eight of Swords and look at it while breathing.
Visualize yourself in the card in place of the woman.
Think about the swords that surround you and what they represent to you at this time. What are your worries? What are your fears? What thoughts keep you in a state of panic? What thoughts are you using to sabotage yourself?
Focus on your breathing, and remind yourself that these thoughts have no power over you unless you let them. Summon all your strength and break the bonds that have trapped you. Remove your blindfold and commit to see your situation as it truly is, rather than through the distorted lens of anxiety.
In your visualization, walk to the edge of your circle and remove a sword. Toss it to the ground. Move around the circle doing the same thing to each sword. These thoughts, these words cannot trap you, cannot bind you.
Once you have removed all the swords and are free, place the Eight of Swords card face down on your altar.
Take a breath and affirm your power and your control over your thoughts.
You can enhance this ritual with herbs and stones that increase clarity and calm.