Fundamentals: Accessible Witchcraft

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like a Bad Witch.

Not a Bad Witch in the Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch sense. I’m talking about feeling like a Bad Witch because you don’t have the energy to perform elaborate rituals every full moon and sabbat. Because you don’t have the funds to keep a cabinet full of appropriately-colored candles and herbs on hand. Because you don’t have the mental bandwidth to meditate daily.

Maybe by “Bad Witch” what I really mean is “Lazy Witch.”

I’ve certainly felt that way. As a witch with a chronic pain condition, anxiety, and probable sensory processing challenges, I’ve flayed myself with guilt when I missed a chance to do a full moon tarot reading. I’ve felt awful for not observing a sabbat because I was too exhausted to go out and buy supplies. I’ve called myself all kinds of names for falling asleep halfway through a meditation session.

It’s easy to look at witchcraft books or witchy social media pages and hold yourself up to an impossible standard. We do that with every aspect of our lives, right? From cooking to exercise to interior decorating, if your lived experience doesn’t seem to measure up to your Instagram feed, it’s tempting to blame yourself. To point to a lack of will or discipline on your part. To think of yourself as lazy. Not enough. Why would our witchy lives be any different, somehow immune to this vicious cycle of comparison?

But in the last few years, I’ve been working on consciously shifting my expectations for myself and my witchcraft. And what I’ve learned is this: if witchcraft is supposed to be all about intuition, our intuition as disabled and neurodivergent (ND) witches is just as important to observe. If witchcraft is supposed to include a connection to nature, our bodies and minds are as worthy of connection as anything else in the natural world.

What I mean is, if I wake up on Mabon and my body tells me that it’s in too much pain to go apple picking, I should listen to my body’s intuition and scale back my plans (or postpone them altogether). My body, in all its busted and sometimes-frustrating glory, is part of nature. If I am committed to honoring the messages I find in the great outdoors, I should be just as committed to honoring the messages I receive from (the great) within.

Witchcraft should be accessible. Our most important rule is “an it harm none, do what ye will.” Why wouldn’t that include harming ourselves by pushing through pain, exhaustion, or mental overwhelm? Committing to not harming ourself means adapting our practices to allow for guilt-free rainchecks on rituals or spells. It means making sure that our relationships with deities and spirits are warm and accommodating, not demanding or damaging. It even means allowing ourselves to totally give up any practices that aren’t serving us. Witchcraft should be nourishing, not depleting. Full stop.

That said, there aren’t many resources out there for disabled or ND witches. And while witchcraft is ultimately deeply personal and individualized, it’s a lot harder to freestyle when you don’t even have much knowledge or experience with keeping rhythm. It can be validating and encouraging to hear how other witches are practicing, especially when those witches are finding ways to adapt their craft for disabilities or “neurospiciness” as a loved one of mine calls it.

Even if any one source doesn’t work for your needs, it can provide jumping-off points for developing your own rituals and spells. We can start to build those resources by sharing what works for each of us. I hope that Tiny Witchcraft can be a space for that sharing and learning together.

Tiny witchcraft is what I call the small, bite-sized, achievable magic that I practice. For me, that can mean balancing tarot cards on my blanket in bed so that I can do a reading even in the midst of a pain flareup. It means whispered thanks to my patron deity rather than elaborate offerings. It means finding the simplest ways to celebrate the wheel of the year, like sharing apple cider with loved ones on Mabon.

It’s a lot of trial and error, and of course I can’t offer you a one-size-fits-all guide. Part of the challenge in writing for disabled and ND witches is that those labels cover such a diverse range of experiences. A Deaf witch is going to have entirely different accessibility needs than a witch with ADHD, who will have totally different needs than a witch with Lyme disease. I plan to post regular interviews with other disabled/ND witches to illustrate how other witches with other conditions navigate and adapt their practices. But as with any witchy guide, take only what serves you and leave the rest.

So what can you expect to find in this space? Plenty of starting places to get you thinking about how to Crip your craft. Reflection questions, resources, and ideas that you can use as jumping-off points. Spells, tarot spreads, and rituals that are made by and for disabled/ND witches. Interviews, as I mentioned, with witches who are figuring out how to make their magic work for their unique bodies and brains. And of course a healthy dose of personal anecdotes about my practice–both my successes and my setbacks.

You deserve a spiritual practice that supports all of you, including your disabilities, chronic illnesses, and neurodivergences. You deserve to feel empowered by your magic, not discouraged. You deserve to listen to your body and brain when it tells you to slow down and take a breath.

Let’s start making witchcraft accessible, not just for you and me, but for anyone who has ever suffered from witchy Fear of Missing Out.

And to tide you over, here’s a quick stanza for accessibility. Use it as a morning affirmation or as an incantation before entering an abled space that makes you nervous.

I am whole and complete, and my needs are my needs

My intuition guides and I go where it leads.

I’ve the strength to ask when I need plans to adjust

I stand up for myself as often as I must.

Fundamentals: Accessible Witchcraft Tiny Witchcraft

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Published by Ru-Lee Story

Tea-drinking, asexual, agender tarot practitioner and author battling chronic illness and social injustices. Not necessarily in that order. They/them or ey/em.

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