I recently reviewed Bending the Binary: Polarity Magic in a Nonbinary World by Deborah Lipp. For the most part, I enjoyed the book, but I was a bit frustrated by Lipp’s use of a wheelchair user as an example of the active/passive polarity. Suffice it to say that I wanted to provide an alternative for those of us who are mobility-impaired and might take umbrage at being described as “passive.”
When I was discussing the book with my partner E, ae had the brilliant idea of using the polarity of movement/stillness instead of active/passive. I love how versatile this duality is; one person might find stillness in the act of meditation, for example, but I know folks with ADHD who find meditation unbearably difficult, so they might choose to invoke stillness by sitting as still as possible, but letting their mind wander.
In the book, Lipp offers a sample ritual for each of the polarities she presents. So in the spirit of her writing, I created a spell specifically geared for spoonies to tap into the polarity of movement/stillness. This spell is intended to bring you energy that is sustainable and consistent throughout a busy week. Energy is often at a premium for disabled/neurodivergent folks (that’s the whole idea behind the Spoon Theory I quote constantly, in fact!) and it’s common for energy to peak, burn itself out quickly, and then slump and take a long time to recover. This spell can help to smooth those peaks and valleys, providing you with a more steady, reliable source of spoons.
Timing-wise, I recommend that you perform this spell just before a busy week. You might choose to perform it the evening before your workweek starts, for example. Or if you have a trip planned, you could cast this spell before departing. Basically, anytime you foresee a busy or stressful week, this spell can be great to have in your back pocket. Plus it doesn’t require any materials or trappings–all you need is yourself and a few uninterrupted moments of time.
It’s also worth noting that you do NOT need to perform the steps of this spell “perfectly” for it to be effective. The spell takes you through a process of initiating movement and then stillness in your breath, a part of your body, and then your mind. Naturally, some of these asks will be easier than others. For me, for example, finding a meditative mindset is manageable, but breathing in a specific pattern can be challenging. That’s okay! The point of the spell isn’t to Do It Right. The point is to be mindful of each of these pieces of yourself, to try for movement and stillness in each of them, and (importantly) to NOTICE the places where you are challenged. Pushing yourself to hold perfectly still if it isn’t possible for you won’t add anything to the spell. In fact, the very act of noticing those challenge points adds to the spell, because it directs the energy that you’re summoning to the areas where you get hung up or have limitations.
- Come to a comfortable position of rest (to the degree that that is possible for you). It’s okay if you’re prone to shakiness, tension, or anything else that might make perfect stillness difficult/impossible. Simply find a position that is as restful and comfortable as possible. Notice where you feel movement in this position. Is your chest or stomach moving up and down as you breathe? Is your mind skittering from topic to topic and struggling to settle? Notice, too, where you feel stillness. Where does your body meet the floor, chair, bed, etc. where you’re resting? What parts of your body feel comfortable and relaxed?
- Focus first on your breath. Notice where you feel the movement of your breathing. Is it your chest? Your diaphragm? Your nostrils? Do any other parts of your body move, even slightly, as you breathe? Perhaps your shoulders shift a bit in tandem, or your hands are resting on your stomach and move as your stomach moves.
- If it’s comfortable and safe for you, hold your breath for a few seconds. Notice the stillness that this creates in places where there was movement seconds ago. Notice, too, if this stillness brings any other movements into sharper focus. (I always notice my heartbeat more when I’m holding my breath, for instance.)
- Repeat this cycle a few times, watching your breath for a moment, holding your breath for a few seconds, and maintaining awareness of the movement and stillness these actions create.
- Once you feel ready to move on, say aloud or silently to yourself, “As it ebbs and flows, or at rest, my breath sustains and energizes me.”
- Now, choose a part of your body that you are able to move comfortably and with relative ease. This could be as specific as the tip of a finger or as broad as your entire torso. Really try to listen to your body here: are there any parts of you that want to move, or to rest? Whatever body part you choose, move your focus to there. Begin to move this part of your body in a repetitive way (side to side, for example, or in a clockwise circle). As you move, pay attention to the sensations in your body. Where do you feel the movement most intensely? Does it create any discomfort, or alternatively, does it alleviate any tension or fatigue?
- Now return that body part to stillness. What sensations does this cause? Can you still feel the effects of movement, even in its absence? Does stillness feel like a relief, a resting point? Or does this part of your body still crave the sensation of movement?
- Repeat this cycle a few times, shifting between moving your body and holding it still. Stay focused on how each cycle feels, not just in the body part itself, but anywhere.
- Once you feel ready to move on, say aloud or silently to yourself, “In action or in quiet, my body is an instrument that energy flows through.”
- Finally, shift your focus to your mind. You can initiate mental activity in a few different ways. If you have a strong mind’s eye, you mind visualize yourself spinning in a circle. If visualization isn’t possible for you but you have a strong kinesthetic sense, you can simply imagine the feeling of moving or spinning. Or you could simply give your mind leave to wander as it sees fit. Again, notice how it feels to find movement in your mind. Is it challenging, or is it a relief? Do you find your thoughts getting stuck on any specific topic or idea, or are you bouncing from thought to thought like a pinball?
- Now try to bring your mind to a place of stillness, where thoughts can pass by but you don’t cling to them. Again, this might be especially challenging if you’re neurodivergent, and that’s okay. Notice how easy or difficult it is to seek a clear mind.
- Repeat this cycle a few times. Make sure not to chastise yourself if your mind wanders when you’re trying to maintain stillness. This is a practice, not something you’re meant to perform perfectly. And it is the act of trying that raises energy for your spell.
- When you’re ready to move on, say aloud or silently, “Abuzz with thoughts or soft and slow, my mind directs my energy.”
- Do a brief body scan, starting at the top of your head and moving down to the tips of your toes. Notice one more time where you feel comfortable and uncomfortable. Notice the places where stillness feels rejuvenating and peaceful, or where it feels restrictive. Notice where movement has left any fatigue or discomfort, or where you find yourself desiring more movement.
- Say aloud or silently, “My breath, body, and brain are aligned. I am aware of the ways that movement and stillness can be challenging for me, and I am aware of the ways that movement and stillness can be rejuvenating. I am a vessel for energy to move through. I invite energy for the week ahead. This energy is sustained and consistent. I am able to notice when I crave stillness, and I am able to act when I need movement.”
- Choose a closing statement that feels right for you. It could be “so mote it be” or “for my highest good” or “blessed be” or even simply “it is done.” Tense up the body part you used in step 3. As simultaneously as possible, say your closing statement (or if speaking aloud isn’t comfortable/possible, sign/think it and exhale sharply) and release the tension in your body.
As the week goes on, pay attention to your energy level. Do you feel a bit more oomph supporting your day-to-day activities? Are you experiencing fewer energy slumps overall? Do you feel better able to sustain energy and pace yourself when need be? If so, you can add this spell to your self-care arsenal. It only takes ten to fifteen minutes to perform, and it might make for a nice, rejuvenating ritual to give yourself regularly.
Thank you again to E for the inspiration behind this spell! Don’t forget that my book Your Tarot Toolkit is available for purchase and is jam packed with activities and hands-on applications of tarot magic.