Let’s burn some shit and let some things go, shall we? But first, a story.
Imagine you are standing in the street in front of your house. You are holding two heavy suitcases. In your left hand, the suitcase is full of wistful memories, pain over things you wish had gone differently, anger and sorrow at people who have wronged you, and regrets about your past. In your right hand, the suitcase is full of anxiety, worry, weighted expectations of how you hope things will turn out in the future, and fear that they might not go the way you plan. Feel the weight of these two states of mind. A deep desire not to repeat the mistakes of the past at war with the crushing pressure of being determined to have a better future.
That shit is heavy.
Now, what would it feel like if you could put those suitcases down? What if you could let go of the past, forgive yourself, and accept the things that you have been through as teachers and tools, especially the failures and fuckups? What if, instead of hauling around all your baggage of expectations for your future, you could allow things to come into your life as they arrive, and go with ease, instead of trying to force outcomes and make things fit into your life that don’t belong there?
If you’re like me, when you imagine dropping that weight, you feel relief. Freedom. You feel weightless and hopeful. You feel alive and excited rather than stuck carrying all this fucking baggage around. Empowered.
The good news is that those suitcases are things we construct ourselves. They are stories that we tell ourselves about who we are, and the experiences that have shaped us, in relationships with others, and the relationship we have with ourselves. The more we repeat these narratives of fear, the more real they become. We think we are trapped by our previous choices, by the ways we’ve chosen and behaved in the past, and by how successful we think we’ve been at becoming the version of ourselves we think we should be. The magic of looking at our past and future like this is that when you decide to put that weight down, you realize that all we really have is the present moment. The actions we take right now, today, those are the things that define us and make us who we really are. The present moment is all the truly exists. And that means that every single day, we all have another chance to turn it all around. We make the future today. Tomorrow never actually comes. If we want to cultivate real change, we have to do that one action at a time. Right now.
And the first step to being present and powerful in manifesting your own change is letting shit go. Holding on to the past, leaving claw marks in things and people we need to kick to the curb, that is a tired, weak sauce way of showing up for ourselves in our own lives. Instead of facing our own shit, owning it, looking inside and saying, “OK, I’m fucking listening, what do I need to do to move forward in self love so that I don’t keep repeating the same mistakes and falling in this hole every time?”, we blame other people. We trade up and run. We get different partners, different jobs, we move house, move cities, join and quit things, anything to avoid facing the answer. Then we act so surprised when shit goes totally sideways, we are like “Oh my god this person/place/job/pottery class/country is ruining my life!”
No, asshole. You’re ruining your own life. Pay attention.
When we don’t learn our lessons, life gives them to us again. And again. And again. LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK. And if you’re stubborn, and clever at self awareness, but also self deceit (Shadow is wicked smart, y’all), then your lessons keep getting bigger, more intense, more painful, and more real until you fucking find yourself alone in Peru on the side of a mountain, hallucinating, crying, violently ill, begging for the answer.
And life says, “YOU KNOW THE ANSWER. YOU HAVE TO FACE THE ANSWER.”
The only way to really create change in the present is to be really fucking brave and turn around. Face the answer. Open. Stop being afraid of getting hurt. You’re going to get hurt. If you’re doing life right, it fucking hurts. Love yourself harder and stop letting people into your life that contract and close in reaction to you. Be more selective and demand more accountability before you decide to love people. Demand love in return, and if you don’t get what you need, LEAVE. Own your shit. Own it and get the fuck over it. Look into yourself and go deeper. Ask why. Keep asking why until you get to the root. When you think you’ve gotten there, go further. Keep going until you see something new that you haven’t faced before.
This is how you grow. It’s uncomfortable and it hurts and it’s something you have to do alone. Most of the really vital work of growing into a healthy human being is solitary. And that’s why it’s so rewarding. Because you are giving yourself the gift of time and love and compassion. Really knowing and seeing yourself, accepting your shadow and loving yourself, especially your flaws, is how you will come to have the ability to love others fully, without attachment or expectation.
So, what can you let go of today, on Valentine’s Day? How can you love yourself the most today? What are you holding on to (or, let’s be real, who) that needs a nice send off into the realm of the past? I am a woman of ritual, and also I’m a witch, so when I feel that I am stuck and holding on to someone or something that is no longer serving me, I like to make an event of it using fire and a releasing ritual. Not only does it honor the bond between me and whatever is clawing at me, but it’s an event that can create a tangible break in your mind and heart. The only way to create space for something new is by releasing the old and putting it to rest for good.
FIRE RELEASING RITUAL
WHAT YOU NEED:
- Paper or journal and writing utensil
- Matches, lighter, candles, incense, palo santo, sage – whatever you need to get your witchy setting just right
- Fire-safe container or surface – Metal or iron bowl/cauldron, a big field of dirt, fire pit, some safe place where you aren’t going to burn the house down
- Other items: Essential oils, tarot cards, totems, crystals, stones, sacred objects, or items you would like to break/burn to the ground. Sometimes breaking things is really cathartic.
- Glass of water
So this is an amalgam of several different rituals I have done over the years. You can do some or all of these things, or add your own. Whatever feels good for you is right. Some of it may feel kind of silly at first, but trust me that making a ritual out of letting go, however that works for you, is a very healing and real process by which you will move forward in your own growth.
- Arrange your altar/ritual space using the objects and tools you chose. I like to do this outside where there’s grass I can put my bare feet in.
- Grounding. Stand on the earth and breathe. Close your eyes, and feel the wind and sun on your skin, the ground underfoot, and the space around you.
- Write your intentions. For a serious releasing/banishing, I like to list 15 things or reasons why this person/thing does not serve my best interests. Then, on a separate sheet, I make a list of things I want to invoke in this newly opened space in my life. This can be anything that makes you feel more YOU. Your authentic hopes and wishes for yourself. Put it in the world and manifest that shit. You can also do a tarot reading now as well.
- Call the corners/ your powers that be – I always call on certain forces for each element/direction, but I often call whoever else comes to mind. Like it can be anyone. I call David Bowie and Bjork and Prince and Gaia in all my circles, because obviously they are powerful fucking witches. I have a little thing I do that goes like this…
- North – Earth (Pentacles)
“Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North, Powers of Earth. I invoke you and call you. Ancient ones of the North, witness and protect this circle. Gaia, Pachamama, Divine Mother Earth Goddess – bring your knowledge of time, patience, and healing. Powerful buffalo that paws the ground and stands as solid as the mountains, I invoke you.”
- East – Air (Wands)
“Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East, Powers of the Air. I invoke you and call you. Ancient ones of the East, witness and protect this circle. Athena, Goddess of Air, Wisdom, Craft, and War – bring me your knowledge of purity and truth, intuition and strength. Wise owl that soars the heavens and is as intuitive as the ancient winds, I invoke you.”
- South – Fire (Swords)
“Guardians of the Watchtowers of the South, Powers of Fire. I invoke you and call you. Ancient ones of the South, witness and protect this circle. Sunna, Goddess of The Sun – bring your passion, fire, resilience, and determination. Burning lion that shines with light and explodes into being like a volcano. I invoke you.”
- West – Water (Cups)
“Guardians of the Watchtowers of the West, Powers of Water. I invoke you and call you. Ancient ones of the West, witness and protect this circle. Aphrodite, Goddess of The Sea and Oceans – bring your empathy, emotions, and pure love, especially toward myself. Gentle whale of the deep and the waves, that is the morning dew and the torrential rains, Water is life. I invoke you.”
- Take your releasing list and read each item aloud one by one. Imagine how it will feel to be free of the pain and suffering holding on to this person or thing has caused you. Imagine how free you will feel when you put down the suitcase of the past and stand in your truth in the present. Imagine what kind of happiness will become available to fill the space you are creating by letting go. Place the list in your burning receptacle and set it on fire. As it burns, feel the release through the fire.
- Now, take your glass of water and imagine a beautiful white light emanating from it. Drink the water, feeling the light fill your body from within. Take your invocation list and read each item out loud, all while you feel this delicious light flowing through you. All of these items you have wished for are within your power to create. You are made of light, a light you give to yourself, and that is always within you, no matter what. You can all on this light at any time. Sit with these new, hopeful, positive feelings as you burn the list, and know that you have created room for them to show up in your life.
- The final step is to feel these things to be true. You can close the circle and thank your guardians/powerful feminine forces and let them go be free to help out other pagan queens.
We create our own reality. There’s no magical force that’s going to fix your life for you, no matter how much you chant or burn or manifest your ass off. We are the gods. We get to decide what our life is. And only accepting relationships where we are loved for who we really are, where we are getting as much as we’re giving, where we are valued and adored and get what we need every single day – that is an act of revolution. You are not too much. They are too small. You are not work. You are not something to be given with no investment or work. You are asking the wrong person. Go find the right one.