At some point about seven years ago, I came to a crossroads in my practice of witchcraft. I had put all of my craft supplies away, I rarely lit incense and I couldn’t remember the last time I had lit a candle. That’s not to say that these things are necessary in every practice, they were simply ways that I would have otherwise regularly manifested my intentions. I had lost myself in my marriage to my now-ex; I could no longer recognize myself. After about a year and a half of living that way, I moved to Alaska and had the most life-changing experience. I had never struggled so much before, just to keep a roof over my head and put food in the fridge–we hadn’t prepared enough financially for the move to be comfortable the first few months. It took a long time before I felt comfortable and I couldn’t have gotten to that point without the support of new friends in my life. To make this already long story as short as possible, I found myself interested in finding my roots. After a DNA test, I found that a lot of my heritage was Scandinavian and German–I already knew about the German ancestry and had even studied the language for two years while in college. I found myself learning more about the older Scandinavian practices that weren’t as widely talked about, as the witchcraft I had spent the previous fifteen years learning and practicing. That’s when I discovered galdr–essentially a spell, but with the connotations of being Icelandic in nature–galdr led me to galdrastafur, which is simply-put, Icelandic Stave Magic.
Overcome Your Enemies
So this Witchcraft Wednesday, I’d like to cover a topic near and dear to my heart. Self-care. Whether you’re a practiced selfish witch like I am, you spend a lot of time working on your own problems, or trying to, instead of worrying about what is happening to everyone else. This isn’t because I don’t care about the world-at-large, I do–if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be a writer. Okay, maybe I’m just digging myself a deeper hole here.
Let’s start over, I care enough about other people, to work on how I feel about myself first. Kind of like the practice in an airplane when the oxygen masks come down from the ceiling and they tell you to secure your own mask before you help anyone else. I think that’s a valid line of reasoning–because if you can’t function, then how do you ever expect to be able to help, or even be there for another person–let alone, multiple people? So what does self-care have to do with overcoming enemies, exactly? Well, here’s the thing, your worst enemies can oftentimes be yourself. If you look in the mirror and even for a second find yourself thinking, “Ugh, I’m fat!” or at any other time during your day promote an ideal of yourself in which you are represented poorly, that is going to be how you begin to truly think of yourself. This, in turn, is my advice to you as a witch who regularly practices self-care.
Banishment magic can be some of the most important magic you do, but I urge you to not think of it as banishing someone as much as you are banishing something. I have more need for black candles, because I do more banishing magic–as opposed to sex magic, money magic, legal magic, etc. I love doing banishing magic on negativity, because I encounter a lot of it–maybe that just goes with the territory of being a horror writer, getting into the mindset of a serial killer for a biography piece was one of those projects that really put me into a negative place in my life–but maybe I’ll discuss that more on a later post.
Combining Galdrastafur and Candle Magic
I love candles–not in a weird, “I’ve got every type of candle there is!” kind of way, but in the sense that I thoroughly enjoy lighting candles as a part of my magical practice. They’re a great way to visualize what you may want to happen–but I find when I combine the intention I am putting into a candle spell, with a stave, it’s backing my intention up in a real, historical way, that I can connect a long line of ancestry to. Now–don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to have an attached ancestry to something in order to practice it–ethnicity does not, in my opinion, have an absolute authority over a specific practice. I do, however, believe that whatever you intend to practice, you do so with particular honor to the culture that birthed it.
A friend gifted this bowl that is pictured when I dedicated myself to my Scandinavian roots and it has been sitting on my altar ever since. It’s where I burn all of my spell-candles, or homemade incense that I concoct for my own purposes–I’ll admit they don’t always smell as amazing as they work.
It makes sense to me to combine these two powerful aspects of my own magical practice–so for me when I combine the stave for overcoming enemies with a black candle, it becomes a simple yet incredibly useful spell for clearing myself of my own personal and internal foes.
Do you combine different elements of witchcraft that might otherwise not be used together? If so, let me know below!
Mary has been a writer and artist for over a decade. Her passions lie somewhere between the beautiful and the macabre, but she enjoys every aspect of life. She explores the mysteries of the Last Frontier and the written word but dabbles in her love of artwork through the digital medium.