Image: Marta Bevacqua
“Miraculously recover or die. That’s the extent of our cultural bandwidth for chronic illness.”
S. Kelly Harrell
I want to talk about a topic that is extremely personal and close to my heart; it was after reading an article similar to this the other day that I realized I had something to say on the matter, too. I allowed myself to collect my thoughts over the last two days, making sure I am clear in what I want to say and how I want to make my point. I have a feeling that this blog will resonate with many, and give new hope to people who otherwise have lost it. I will link you to the article that inspired me at the bottom.
This piece is about Chronic Illness and how it does or does not affect one’s Magick. I am bringing this topic up and discussing it because I am plagued by Chronic health issues.
Let me first define Chronic Illness or Disease: “A chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more, by the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear”.
Some examples of Chronic Illness include but are not limited to: “The leading chronic diseases in developed countries include (in alphabetical order) arthritis, cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and stroke, cancer such as breast and colon cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and seizures, obesity, and oral health problems. Each of these conditions plague older adults in the US (and other developed nations)”. Note: Age has nothing to do with it, in my opinion.
Some other Chronic Illnesses that I am referring to are auto immune diseases such as Lupus, Hashimoto’s Disease, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Syndrome; let’s not forget diseases like Depression, Bipolar Disorder, even Asthma.
These conditions affect millions of people, primarily in developed countries, and there are so many theories as to why.
I like to read threads of comments, I find that it gives me a good idea of where the world has shifted as a collective. I know that “it’s just Social Media” but it’s a good indicator of the state of our planet. Watching the Trending topics will allow you to see a pattern that is used when mainstream media wishes to distract us from something bigger, from something actually worth reporting, which seems to be more and more common these days. Anyways, on a particular thread I saw a comment that has played over and over in my head since and it read:
“If you are truly spiritually aware and spiritually awakened then you do not need to be on medications, you will also not need any substances to assist you. When your mind and Spirit are truly in tune, your body will be in perfect balance”.
I personally believe the opposite; I think the more spiritually aware we become, the higher in consciousness we go, the more our bodies and minds begin to feel the symptoms. I think that Occultists, Witches, and Spiritualists in general are prone to depression and anxiety (even just social anxiety) because we see the world differently, we ARE different and society is quick to point out just how different we are. I also believe deeply that there is a connection between consciousness and past life wounds with chronic conditions.
As for substances, drugs and such in regards to Magick: it’s a personal choice.
Am I condoning drug use? No, I am not but I am standing up for one’s right to choose, even if that choice is harmful to themselves—they will either learn their lesson or they will die, it’s simple. I have never been into “hard drugs” and I don’t judge those who are. I did cocaine a bit when I was 21, and haven’t touched it since. I have tried and loved shrooms a few times, acid scares me, and everything else is too hard for my taste. As for weed, it’s part of my everyday life, I am a true advocate for it, and I have seen the health benefits first hand; not just in myself but in others, too.
When my Mom was going through Chemotherapy and Radiation for Breast Cancer and her mouth tasted like metal and she couldn’t eat, it was smoking a bowl or two that allowed her body to calm, her appetite to come back and for a brief moment she was taken away from the pain she had become accustomed to.
As for my personal experiences and chronic health conditions; I had a full hysterectomy due to a uterine fibroid, cervical cancer, ovarian cysts and endometriosis at 27 (I am now 31). I experienced a Soul Wound at this time because it was such a trauma to who I was as a person. A Witch in her Maiden and Mother years harnesses her power from her Womb and her monthly blood. All of that was taken from me, and it took me years to come to grips with the fact that my Magick now comes from the darkness of the Crones, and I had no choice but to adapt.
From this point my “little pains” I had experienced since my early twenties could no longer be ignored. I had a grand mal seizure in August 2013 and it was at that exact moment that my spiritual awakening kicked into overdrive, and I have not been the same since. Two months later in October is when I took my vow of celibacy; a personal, not permanent vow to myself.
It was once believed that Seers would have seizures induced by Hekate to test their will, and to invoke Her power into them. I will link you to the story at the bottom. I have never since, and never before had a seizure, I do however get severe muscle spasms and ‘twinges’ when a vision is about to occur; this happens during waking or sleeping hours. I went through more neurological tests than I can count and the only thing they could find is that I have an extremely overactive mind, and I use parts of my brain more than the average person. There were and are no defects to my brain, no nerve damage, nothing.
As for my current chronic health conditions I have been diagnosed with Bipolar 2, Anxiety, ADD, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Disease (a form of Hypothyroidism), Chronic Pain Syndrome, Systematic Lupus, Severe Dermagraphism and some pretty nasty allergies (the kind where I need to carry an epi pen everywhere I go.)
I have been through the ringer with the pharmaceutical world, and I know what to do and not do in regards to what I put my body through; that was a painful lesson to learn. I treat myself Holistically with a splash of Modern and a whole bunch of Ancient methods.
Some medications can and absolutely will affect your Magick, and fog your mind but there are times when medications serve their purpose and can actually help you. When the mind is clear the practitioner can focus intent with better precision, and is that not the end goal of any adept?
I don’t think people should become dependent on medications or drugs for their ailments, be them spiritual or physical. I also don’t believe it makes us weak as people, or as practitioners to have to take something to better our quality of life, and overall health.
Of course I believe that we should lead the healthiest lifestyles we can, and believe it or not I actually do lead a healthy lifestyle and still find myself stricken by these chronic conditions. We need to listen to our bodies and minds in regards to health as much as we listen to our intuition in regards to Magick.
So many Witches practice under the rule that one must be calm with focused intent to cast, to some degree that is true. However, I have seen many Witches who CAN harness their madness and incorporate it into their Magick. We are all individuals and should stop comparing and competing with each other so much. Live and let live, live and let live.
I will end this saying, in most countries even to this day mental illness and/or chronic conditions are seen as a sign of spiritual enlightenment; too bad the West can’t adopt that theory and wish to over medicate instead.
The Article that inspired this:
The story of Hekate and epilepsy:
My most favorite article on Mental Illness: