Welcome to the spring equinox, otherwise known in the Wheel of the Year as Ostara! The day and night are of an equal length, and from here the day will either begin to grow longer if you’re in the Northern hemisphere or shorter if you’re in the Southern. This might be a time for spring cleaning–whether externally by tidying up our spaces or internally by releasing what no longer serves us. Or as the holiday is strongly associated with animals, it could be an excellent time to celebrate and honor the animals we share our lives with. (Especially emotional support and service animals, for those of us who have them!)
But for this year’s Ostara, I want to offer a spell to bless a a new habit, routine, or ritual. If we think of the seasons as related to moon phases, we had the chance to consider and set intentions back in the winter–the new moon of sorts. Now as spring sets the natural world to growing and birthing, we can begin the true work of bringing our intentions to fruition. Just as we would during the waxing moon. Let’s say, for example, that I set an intention during the winter to be more mindful. Now I have the chance to think about what practices and habits I could build to enact that intention. Maybe it’s beginning to meditate regularly, maybe it’s spending 30 minutes before bed with my phone put away, maybe it’s just doing a stretch or two first thing in the morning and paying attention to my body. The point is to find a meaningful and (importantly) achievable habit that serves my intention.
The beauty of this spell is that it can codify any sort of habit you want to begin. It could be something large, like planning to read a book every week. It could be something very gradual, like taking five deep breaths before getting out of your car and going into work every day. It could be a physical goal like practicing yoga, or it could be a spiritual ritual like giving your patron deity an offering every three days. The possibilities are truly endless here. The only guideline to consider is what will best serve you (what intentions are you trying to manifest? What habit will improve your daily life in some way?) and to keep your capacity in mind.
ON ALL-OR-NOTHING HABITS
A word about the latter: when choosing a habit, I encourage you to be hopeful but realistic. I have been repeatedly guilty of setting a goal that was entirely unmanageable for my physical and energetic limitations. As an example, I attempted to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) several times. The goal is to start on a brand new writing project on November 1st and finish the month with at least 50,000 words written. I’d always start out strong, but inevitably a flareup or energy slump would derail me to a point where I couldn’t get back on track. This would ultimately discourage me from writing altogether, which is the exact OPPOSITE of what the event is supposed to do. I finally decided that it wasn’t good for my mental health (or my writing practice) to participate.
At the same time, you also want to avoid fatalistic thinking. For instance, maybe you’d like to start journaling regularly. It might be easy to say, “You know what, I probably won’t be able to write when I’m having a bad mental health day, so this isn’t even a good goal to begin with. Never mind.” That’s just as unhelpful as overextending yourself! It’s so easy to fall into all-or-nothing thinking as a spoonie. But (for example) if you want to journal, even journaling just once or twice a week is better than not at all. That’s what I mean when I say to be hopeful but realistic. Think about what you want. Let yourself hope for it. Incorporate your limitations into the habit you want to build. And when you do get thrown off by symptoms or overwhelm, don’t beat yourself up. Get back in the groove of the routine as you’re able.
Whew! With those caveats in mind, let’s move on to the spell proper, shall we?
YOU WILL NEED
- A candle, or something equivalent. If smoke or scent is an issue for you, you could use a battery candle, a flashlight, even twinkling Christmas lights! Or if your vision is limited, you could use a warm drink like tea or coffee.
- A pen and at least one sheet of loose-leaf paper. Even if you don’t like to/can’t write by hand, the paper is going to be symbolic.
- A space to work comfortably, ideally where you won’t be interrupted by anyone who isn’t actively participating in the spell
YOU COULD USE:
- An additional place to write notes as you work. This could be a notebook or extra loose leaf paper, a notes app on your phone or computer, or a voice recording program.
- Clear quartz or selenite to evoke a blank slate and new beginnings
- Ground and center yourself however feels most comfortable for you. You might spend a few moments in quiet meditation, focusing on your breath. You might repeat a mantra. You might say a prayer to a patron deity or ask an ancestor for their blessing. Whatever gets you in the headspace for spellcasting.
- Light your candle if you have one, or if you’re using something like a warm drink, place it with intention in the center of your workspace. If you can, put your hands around your object and take three slow, deep breaths.
- Take a few moments to think about your chosen routine, ritual, or habit. Really consider the details as much as you can. How will this habit improve your life? What will it allow you to do? How could you grow as you practice it? If you’re so inclined, you can take notes in your extra notebook, app, etc. about your thoughts.
- Now, with equal consideration and care, think about possible challenges or speed bumps. What might get in the way of you practicing your chosen routine (like flareups and meltdowns, outside obligations, etc.)? What internal challenges might you encounter (like procrastination, lack of motivation, forgetfulness, etc.)? How might you navigate these challenges? What could keep you on track even if you lose your footing for a bit? Again, if you’d like, you can take notes as you think.
- Create a positive, firm, one-sentence statement of your plan for this habit. Examples might include: “I will put lotion on my face every night before bed.” “I will call my grandfather every two weeks.” “I will practice German for at least fifteen minutes three times a week.” Make sure to state the habit itself along with your intended frequency. Know that this ritual is a promise that you are making to yourself, but that it is fluid, too. It will forgive unexpected hangups. It will still be here if you falter. Building a habit is called a practice for a reason. The promise doesn’t expect perfection–it expects dedication. No more, no less.
- Take your blank sheet of paper. Write your statement sentence on the page, or simply speak/sign/think the words aloud while holding the paper close to your heart. It is now infused with this intention that you’re setting, this promise you’re making to yourself.
- Pass the paper around the circumference of your candle (or equivalent) three times in a clockwise circle. As you do, repeat the sentence aloud or hold it clearly in your mind.
- With the routine or habit blessed, do something with your intention paper to seal the magic. You could burn the page (being aware of fire safety, of course). You could tear the paper into pieces and scatter the pieces to the winds. You could fold up the paper and place it somewhere meaningful to the habit itself (for instance, you could put it in your bathroom drawers for a hygiene or self-care routine, or on your altar for a spiritual habit. You get the idea!)
What habit, routine, or ritual are you planting this Ostara? Personally, I just finished reading Lisa Marie Basille’s The Magical Writing Grimoire, which I cannot recommend enough. (She has a ton of accessibility ideas within the book too, which of course I adore.) In one of those strange synchronicities that often happen, I’ve also been discussing handwriting, pens, and journaling with my best friend and honorary sister (who is a self-described pen witch). So the habit I’ve decided to build is to write a poem about anything or nothing, at least once a week, by hand. I want to improve my handwriting and try out Basille’s poem spellwork, so it feels like a perfect combination.
If you’re looking for a treasure trove of ideas for activities and self-care practices (many of which could make for excellent habit-building jumping-off-points) check out my book, Your Tarot Toolkit! As the fabulous Jenna Matlin noted, it’s honestly a self-care book that happens to be about tarot. So even if you aren’t a huge tarot nerd, you’ll still find plenty of prompts and activities.