Sacred Sobriety & Magical Reclamation
During this inward season, particularly during this powerful Venus Retrograde and before this October New Moon, we have the opportunity to be revealed to ourselves in sharp definition. What do you see through your reflection? What has existed for too long, and what parts of you require more care? Now is the time to inquire and explore with courage.
Willingness to practice discipline paired with surrender results in alignment, and deeper self-understanding. During this season, perhaps take the opportunity to reevaluate personal habits, prune what no longer serves, and make space for new knowledge.
“An it harm none, do as ye will.”
- excerpt of the Wiccan rede
The traditional text of witches, healers, and most religions have several points of morality they share. One most notable repeated message commonly translates into “do unto others what you would wish done to you.” The opposite is true as well, and is especially clear to empaths, as they feel the pain of others. Do to yourself what you would have others do to themselves.
We often find ways to damage our lives. Sometimes these methods don’t initially come across as hurtful. They can seem fun, timely, harmless, or funny. We could even acknowledge that some of these habits aren’t great for us, but for the sake of social norms we make the same exception time and time again.
In early February, I went out drinking with a girlfriend. She was having a rough time, and I felt it would be great to meet, talk, laugh, and enjoy the spirit realm. Alcoholic spirits, anyway. We met up at a local spot to watch Drag Race, and have some cocktails. I’ve always been a fan of margaritas. Any drinker will tell you that wine, brandy, whiskey, mezcal and beyond all have their own unique attitudes. As these spirits possess us, we often relish the sensation of relenting to them. We have momentary release, allowed a kind of conceptual space between worlds. It feels so real, we almost believe it is. We can even come to rely on it, rather than working towards the real thing.
I don’t even remember how much I had to drink. I just know I kept saying yes when “another round?” was suggested to us. I remember climbing into a photo booth with strangers. I remember the taste of lemon and salt on the rim of the glass. A taste I knew so well, and sought as I would a friend. What I didn’t remember that night were the dozens of times I went home with people who’s names I didn’t and still don’t know. Or the times I managed to find myself and my car back at my apartment building without remembering how. I didn’t remember the salve of drinking in high school. One that allowed a false reflection of my childlike unconditional love take the lead, without interference from the mundane; temporarily numb to my deep sadness. Each time, I picked at the scab of abandonment and trauma, passively hurting myself further until I felt empty again. That growing emptiness could then be filled with “another round.”
As these spirits possess us, we often relish the sensation of relenting to them. We have momentary release, allowed a kind of concept of space between the worlds. It feels so real, we almost believe it is. We can even come to rely on it, rather than working towards the real thing.
When I got home, my partner was asleep. His son was sleep. I staggered into a still and silent home, suddenly aware of the chaos my body brought to this quiet space. My boots slammed on the floor, and the side of my body dragged against the wall as I tried to keep my balance. My night out had been “fun.” Normal. Just a few drinks. Somewhere deep in the hourglass of night, I awoke in a full sweat. My body wept. I barely made it to the bathroom when up came a tart, familiar flavor. I was the living dead, immersed deep within a certain spirit world, aching to return to my body.
In the morning, I could barely stand. The minutes dragged before my partner left for work, and his son left for school. My shame was a heavy secret to keep. I wondered if I stank like leftover alcohol, or sweat. I needed to bathe, to sink into the tub, rest my limbs, rehydrate and banish the poison from the night before. Hangovers aren’t what they once were. In my teens and 20’s, I could feel the exhaustion but it didn’t linger the way it does now. I’m 32, and the feeling of disassociation not only hurts me physically, but my sense of magic, and connection to the divine drifts farther and farther when drunk; body and spirit separated as my inner eye sees double.
My partner has been sober for over three years. I originally was introduced to the notion of sobriety by attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with him. I knew that this was an incredibly important part of his life, and in loving my partner, I wanted to understand and support all aspects of him. By this exposure alone, I suddenly became aware of this part of myself. I started reevaluating my relationship with alcohol, and for months denied any problem could possibly exist. This is exactly why the first step of AA is Surrender.
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.”
It took time- but after recognizing what I had brought to my life and to the lives of others, I decided that all the years of danger, bliss, fun and chaos navigated by my blindfolded fairweather friend were complete. When we harm ourselves, we harm the whole. Not one person is their own container, and why would we ever want to be? We are all connected as living beings in this cyclical shared experience.
I’ve found that in terms of lifestyle, there hasn’t been much of an obvious difference in who I am since drinking has been banished to my past. The quality of my life however has greatly improved. I remember things with clearer vision. I make healthier choices, and my attention span is longer. Connection to ancestors, the voices of trees and plants, and the presence of living creatures - all seem richer. My intuition is sharper than ever before, and my ability to see with my inner eye has clarified. I’m happier. I am more of myself.
There is a collective damage done when we harm ourselves, and especially when we continue to do so, once made aware. When that awareness sets in, we have an opportunity to not only heal ourselves, but the collective whole.
And what an honor to answer such a call.
The 13 Steps of Magical Practice
Know your craft.
Learn and grow.
Apply knowledge with wisdom.
keep your words in good order.
Keep your thoughts in good order.
Meditate and keep yourself centered.
Trust your intuition.
Attune with the cycles of nature.
Do as you will, but harm none.
Honor the God and Goddess.