Mental Space: Witchcraft as a Coping Strategy

Seances, tarot, spells and tea; It all sounds like something I’m pulling out of The Addams Family, but I can assure you that it isn’t. I practice witchcraft in my spare time – which isn’t all that often. It feels weird to come out of the “broom closet” so to say, but I use witchcraft to help me cope with my mental illnesses.

Over the summer, I got really into holding seances with a friend. We would communicate with deities, passed loved ones and a mischievous spirit named Janey. To hold these seances, we used my pendulums that I made. To do that, we asked yes/no questions to whomever we were communicating with, and they would make the pendulum move in ways that were associated with the answer. Had we used a spirit, or Ouija, board, I probably could have asked more questions that I thought I wanted the answers to, usually more of the “why” type questions.

Surprisingly, it brought me some much-needed closure about my father’s death by allowing me to speak with him. I also got to talk to my grandfather who passed when I was eight. Now, you can be skeptical and think it’s all a bunch of “hocus-pocus” or just in my head, but it really helped me.

I also made friends online while reading tarot. Tarot allows me to give others messages from Spirit, the Universe or whatever you want to call the force that causes certain cards to be pulled. I would answer questions about relationships and about careers, and it helped to bring others clarity. That made me feel better about myself because I was able to make others feel good. As an empath, I feel others’ emotions and when they’re happy, it helps me feel happier.

I don’t always pull cards for myself, but when I do, I usually only pull one card for the day. It gives me a sense of what the day might bring me or a sense of clarity over the events of the day if I pull my card at night. Sometimes, the cards call me out and tell me what I need to do to improve my life and well-being. When that happens, I tend to listen because I don’t like being called out.

Since starting witchcraft, I have noticed that my mental health has fluctuated more. I think this is because I’ve become more aware of myself and my needs, so I notice things more quickly than before. I use essential oils to help me sleep or calm down when I need some extra help. I drink tea and stir in my intention when I add milk or sugar. I also cleanse my space often to help get rid of negative energy.

I don’t dance naked in a forest around a bonfire and I don’t summon demons to make them work for or with me. I talk with spirits and guides and I tell people messages. It’s not evil, and if it helps me to recognize my own struggles, I’d say it’s a good thing. In all honesty, witchcraft is more about the intention than it is about spells, seances or tarot. If I want to banish writers’ block, then I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and repeat myself as I stir in the intent of good ideas and banish a lack of them.

I use lavender oil and Sleepy Time tea to help me sleep, but I still take my prescribed medications to help me deal with my depression. I put stock in my dreams because I think they mean something, but I still see a therapist about my issues and get professional help with them- yes, science and magic work together in my life. I’m also certainly not hurting anyone. In fact, I’m helping people get through their own issues when I read their tarot.

You can call me crazy, but I’m going to continue to do what works for me and if that’s magic, then so might it be.

Amber Gausshttps://writers.work/ambergauss
Amber Gauss is a Psychology and Russian Language double major. She has been part of staff since August 2019. She writes about Mental Health in her column Mental Space.

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