Hoo man, if I had a nickel for every person I’ve seen ask for a prayer or a spell for healing….
I would have so many nickels, you guys.
Fortunately, most practitioners I’ve come across have erred on the side of caution in these cases– either telling people they won’t offer them a spell at all, or gently reminding them that neither religious nor secular prayer is a substitute for medical advice. Still, requests for spells and prayers pour in, and unscrupulous websites offer “!!GUARANTEED EXTRA POWERFUL HEALING SPELLS!!” for a fee.
Does magick have any place in health? It wouldn’t seem so based on these observations, but there are situations where I feel it can be used to very good effect.
Magick and Holistic Healing
Holistic medicine attempts to treat the entire patient, viewing them as a person rather than an illness or set of symptoms. The patient’s physical needs are met, of course, but attempts are also made to meet their psychological and (for those to whom it applies) spiritual needs.
In holistic medicine, I feel there’s definitely a place for magick– either religious or secular. If a patient’s psychological needs are met through secular magick’s interaction with the world, awesome. If a patient’s spiritual needs are met through religious magick’s interaction with nature or the divine, good on them. Patients only stand to gain when all of their needs are addressed, and patients who believe in and use a magickal system are no different from those who find solace in any other form of prayer, meditation, or secular mindfulness practice. These things should only ever complement a course of treatment, however; they shouldn’t replace medical advice.
Actual healing spells are a little different. These generally attempt to impact the physical plane, helping to speed or bring about healing directly in a not-necessarily-holistic framework. This can range from sympathetic magick (place the flat of a knife against a sore spot, then plunge it into the earth three times– it helps!) to petitioning a deity for aid.
Some situations aren’t appropriate for healing spells. When a condition is progressive or a patient’s prognosis is poor, it may be time to set aside healing magick in favor of prayer, meditation, or spellwork to help the patient accept and make peace with the direction their life’s journey is taking. I know it certainly helped me.
I also don’t advocate using healing spells in lieu of medical attention. For one, in my experience, magick tends to work best when you know what you’re working with– if you’re dealing with vague symptoms and no diagnosis, it can be extremely difficult to attack the root cause of the problem. For two, why forsake a doctor’s help for magick unless you absolutely have to? Magick gives people agency, but medicine’s power shouldn’t be underestimated. If you are turning to magick as an alternative because you live in the U.S. and can’t afford healthcare, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s site may be able to offer you some help.
That said, there’s no rule saying that the only options are either healing spells or prescriptions. From my experience, the two can be pretty easily combined. Consider treating medication like any other magickal tool. Would it be appropriate to consecrate it in your practice? If you have the time to devote, could you spend a brief minute or two meditating on the medication’s purpose and what it will do for you each time you take a dose? You can also try different methods of charging it, like:
- Letting sealed bottles of shelf-stable medications charge under moonlight. (Not sunlight! Heat and UV can break down some medications and reduce their effectiveness.)
- Swirling bottles of liquid medications in a clockwise direction.
- Holding a bottle of medication (or a single dose) in both of your hands, and picturing them filling with a bright, healing light.
- Creating and drawing healing sigils on the lids of bottles.
- Drawing or taping sigils to medical devices.
These measures won’t increase the potency of a given medication (hello, overdose), but focusing and filling them with your healing intent still helps. Remember, though: if you’re performing any kind of magick on someone’s behalf, even simple healing things, get their consent first.
Medicine and Herbal Witchcraft
A lot of medicines today are derived (either directly or as a synthetic equivalent) from compounds found in plants. Research yours to find out if it has any green origins. Consider developing a relationship with the plant that’s helping to heal you, whether that’s by growing some, obtaining a dried specimen, creating a collage of pictures of it, meditating upon it, or whatever feels appropriate to you. You may find that an illness allows you the opportunity to discover some green wisdom you may not have considered before.
As with anything to do with a system as finicky as the human body, there are several precautions that it’s wise to take when dealing with healing spells:
- Magick isn’t a substitute for a diagnosis or treatment.
- People claiming to be gurus and spells claiming to be guaranteed pretty much always aren’t. Do not seek a guaranteed miracle cure, because there is no such thing.
- Run any consumption of herbs, whether through ingestion, inhalation, or dermal absorption (I’m looking at you, flying ointment) by your doctor. What may be perfectly safe and reasonable for your regular practice may change if you’re put on certain medications.
- Magick isn’t a substitute for a diagnosis or treatment.
- Curses should be diagnoses of exclusion. They don’t happen nearly as often as most people think they do. See a doctor first, work the unhexing second.
- Know how to back out of and close a working, even if you aren’t finished yet. If you become too pained, exhausted, distressed, or sick to go on, don’t. Have an exit strategy that will allow you to close the working and tend to yourself.
Good luck to you, and be well.