There is so much shame and fear associated with mobility aids in our culture. If you’re capable of standing and walking at all, you’re told that mobility aids aren’t for you. “Why on earth would you limit yourself and let your illness win when you can and should be strengthening your legs?” (Sarcasm there.) If you spend most of your time in a wheelchair but then stand or walk briefly, your entire disability is called into question. “You could walk this whole time???” And if you’re a full-time wheelchair user, it’s “such a tragedy.”
What an ableist view, right? I use a cane probably 50-60% of the time I leave the house, and I have a rollator that I bring along when I know my destination will require a lot of standing in one place. My cane helps me feel less shaky and off-balance, especially during bad pain flareups. My rollator gives me a mobile place to sit if I’m waiting in line or doing something outdoors. And while I can’t speak to the experience of using a wheelchair, I’ve heard many folks talk about how their wheelchair gives them mobility, freedom, and extra energy they’d have to save for walking otherwise. Here’s a brilliant blog piece by disabled creator Kathleen Downes about her experience with her wheelchair.
My point here is that our mobility aids deserve celebration and acknowledgement, not shame and guilt. And from a witchy point of view, why shouldn’t they be a source of power, too? We enchant objects of all kinds; we tune into the energy of crystals and trees and the earth itself; why can’t we give our mobility aids the same treatment? This ritual is built for that purpose. Use it to turn your cane into a wand or staff, your rollator or wheelchair into a chariot, or infuse any mobility tools that you use with magical energy.
I’ve designed this ritual to be as customizable as possible. You can use every single one of the steps in the order I’ve laid out, of course, but you’re also welcome to change the order, skip steps that don’t apply or that you don’t have the energy/resources for, add step, etc. Think of it as an outline that you can fill in and edit however you please.
YOU WILL NEED:
- The mobility aid you want to enchant
- A space to work comfortably, ideally where you won’t be interrupted by anyone not participating in the ritual
YOU COULD USE:
- Things to decorate your mobility aid with, like stickers, paint, ribbon, etc.
- Something to take notes with, like pen and paper, a tablet or phone, voice recording apps, etc.
- Anything you use to connect with ancestors, deity, spirits, etc., and an offering if you’d like to give them something for their help
- Representations of the four elements, such as a candle, bowl of water, bowl of dirt or sand, and feather
- Music, either to help you get into a meditative mood or to inspire feelings of power and triumph
- Something to anoint with, such as moon water, essential oil, your favorite tea, etc.
- After gathering your supplies and finding your space to work, take a few moments for your preferred method of preparing for ritual. Cast a circle if it suits you. Center and ground yourself to the earth, perhaps. Say an opening prayer to whoever or whatever you’d like. Or simply spend a minute or two focusing on your breath until you feel acclimated to the ritual headspace. Whatever helps you shake off mundane concerns and get ready for ritual.
- If you work with deities, ancestors, or any sort of spirit, and you’d like to include them in this ritual, invite them into the space. Share your intentions for today’s work (to infuse your mobility aid with power and magic). Make your offering if you have one.
- If you work with the four elements, ask each of them to bless your mobility aid with their unique gifts. There’s many ways you could go about this, and only you know how the elements’ flavors appear for you and how they might connect with your mobility aid. Here’s one option:
“Element of Earth, keep me rooted as I move with this aid.
Element of Water, keep me well as I flow with this aid.
Element of Air, keep me flexible as I soar with this aid.
Element of Fire, keep me energized as I act with this aid.”
- Meditate for a few minutes on the negative feelings you associate with your mobility aid. This can be both your own negative feelings (any shame or guilt you harbor, feeling less-than abled people who don’t require mobility aids, etc.) and the negative feelings of others (thoughtless or ableist comments you’ve received about your mobility aid, treating your accessibility needs like a burden, etc.) Then consciously release those feelings. If visualization works well for you, imagine taking all of those feelings and comments, putting them into a box, and throwing it in the garbage or off a cliff. If you’re more verbally-focused, imagine your own voice or the voice of a trusted loved one shouting so loud that all the negative comments are drowned out. You can even jot down the comments and feelings as they come up, and then either rip up the paper or burn it (being mindful of fire safety, of course). Say aloud or to yourself, “My (mobility aid) is no more shameful than one of my own limbs. It does not deserve guilt or embarrassment.”
- Assuming that this is a mobility aid you’ve been using before now, thank it for its help up through this point. If it happens to be brand new, welcome it to your life!
- As you might with a crystal, put your hands on your mobility aid, close your eyes if you’re comfortable doing so, and pay attention to any impressions, images, or ideas that rise up in your mind. Is there a particular energy that comes to you? A trait or some sense of a distinct personality? A word or sound that plays in your mind’s ear? A color? No matter if something feels completely nonsensical or unrelated, make note of it (even take a minute to jot it down, if you’re so inclined).
- Still with your hands on your mobility aid, ask if there is anything (within reason) that it would like in return for its service? This could take many forms. Perhaps your mobility aid would like to be left to charge under a full or new moon from time to time, just like a crystal. Maybe it would appreciate if you spoke a small prayer before or after using it. It might just want gratitude and acknowledgment for all the work it does and the support it provides. Again, make note of this, either mentally or in your note-taking implement of choice.
- Anoint your mobility aid. You could use moon water, which is made simply by leaving a container of water out under moonlight, most commonly a full moon. You could use your favorite essential oil, or choose an essential oil that’s associated with something you’d like to infuse your mobility aid with (e.g. sandalwood oil for healing, or sage for protection). Or you can even brew a favorite tea and use a few drops of that to anoint with. Be mindful of your mobility aid’s make and limitations, though–you don’t want to get liquid into the workings of a power chair, for example, or corrode the metal of your cane. I recommend only using a few drops to anoint, and using a clean cloth to wipe the liquid away when you’re finished with the spell.
- Decorate your mobility aid! Use stickers, ribbons, paint, markers, anything you’d like that will make it feel more like You. (Again, make sure to be aware of keeping the aid in good shape.) If you want to infuse even more magic into this step, create a sigil for your mobility aid and then put it onto the aid, either by painting it or by drawing the sigil on a blank sticker and placing that on the aid somewhere. (I’ve included the sigil that I designed for my cane in my notes after these ritual instructions, which you are welcome to use if it speaks to you. But I encourage you to create your own here, especially if you’re enchanting something that isn’t cane-shaped, since I incorporated that shape into the sigil itself.)
- Why not take this opportunity to give your mobility aid a name? Like a sword from a Tolkien novel, or a boat that carries travelers safely to harbor, giving a name to a trusted object grants it an additional level of importance and power in your life. I have two canes; the first I got from my grandfather, and its name is Edward after his middle name. The second is named Mulberry because of how very purple she is. (That’s the cane I chose to enchant.) You could choose something simple like Edward, or descriptive like Mulberry, or you could choose something absolutely extravagant, like Pathblazer or the Flowercart.
- Once you feel the ritual is complete, do whatever closing activities you prefer. Thank any deities or ancestors you called on for their time. Close the circle if you cast one at the start. Say a closing prayer or incantation.
If you got a sense of what your mobility aid would like in return (step 7), make sure to follow through on that to the best of your ability. Be gentle with yourself if you need to adjust as you go, however. For example, if your rollator wants to be charged under a full moon, and next full moon you find yourself unable to get out of bed, be willing to reconnoiter. Of all the people and objects in your world, your mobility aid should understand if you need a raincheck.
Here’s my very glamorous setup for this ritual (not actually). I wanted to do the ritual on my balcony, but it was cold and rainy, so I just wound up sitting on the floor in my living room. I used my favorite tarot cloth, and around that I arranged the beautiful cane holster that one of my partners crocheted for me. I also laid out my Hestia statue and two stones: carnelian, which is a stone I associate both with my own energy and Hestia’s, and an amethyst because amethysts are basically good for anything magical (plus it matched my cane!). I had my selenite wand for cleansing. Finally I made a cup of one of my favorite lavender teas, and I put a few drops aside in an apothecary bottle for anointing my cane with. (I couldn’t get a good shot of Mulberry’s whole length without including the ragged strips of paper and shopping bags that my cat likes to play with, so apologies for the subpar picture!)
I won’t walk you through every step of the ritual as I did it. But I can tell you that I had charged Mulberry under the last full moon, and when I meditated on my connection with her, I got a strong sense of power and energy. She really liked being charged up in moonlight! So when I set out my moon water every full moon, I’m going to set Mulberry out, too. Her energy reminded me of the suit of Wands in tarot. And I’m excited to deepen my connection with her now that I have this deeper understanding of her.
If you do this ritual I’d love to hear what pieces felt the most powerful to you, or what impressions you got of your mobility aid! And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram so you can see more of my day-to-day witchcraft, tips and tricks for disabled witches, and more!