Restrictions and Magic
There is some controversy about when you should or shouldn’t practice magic. This is a subject that isn’t addressed often, but should be. This is usually in reference to when you are pregnant, physically ill, injured, physically disabled or mentally ill. Personally, I can understand the reasoning in not practicing under those circumstances. But in reality, I believe that you might still be able to practice magic anyway. For those of us who are in some way physically or mentally disabled, practicing Wicca and magic can be a bit of a challenge. I have also read in some books by prominent authors that only those of sound mind and body should be admitted to the coven or practice magic. I completely disagree with this opinion. I think that we are vastly limiting our resources and ability to learn when we omit such a large group of people. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has much to teach us and can contribute quite a lot to the magical community. But let’s examine the circumstances in which you might or might not practice magic in closer detail.
First we need to examine what is necessary when you are practicing magic. Magic begins and ends with the mind and heart. If you don’t have control of your thoughts and your feelings, thus your mind and heart, then you shouldn’t be doing magic. Magic relies on you to be able to focus on what you are doing, which is your intended goal of the magical spell; so if you are distracted in anyway then your magical act may go astray or not happen at all. There are many things that can cause you to lose your focus while performing your magical act. Your current mental state and your physical well being are just two of the things that can limit your ability to practice magic. So anger as well as physical and mental distress can cause you to lose your focus on your intended goal and that can cause problems, sometimes serious problems.
Let us first look at when you are pregnant. I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t practice magic when you are pregnant because you might, in some way, hurt the unborn baby. This is not necessarily a viable reason, and that is simply because if you are not hurting yourself then you can’t be hurting the baby. The baby is a part of you while you are pregnant, so what you do to yourself you do to it. Magic itself almost never harms the Witch unless the Witch is doing something that will bring harm back to them in return for what they have done or if they are drawing all the energies for the magic just from themselves and thus over tax themselves. But don’t think in terms that the baby would be cursed. Whatever retribution that comes back to the Witch won’t affect the baby unless the mother is physically harmed and thus the baby is at that point put in jeopardy. Also, most babies are born in a healthy state. However, if the baby is born with a physical or mental problem it has nothing to do with your magical workings. It is part of the circumstances that the baby has chosen to be born under. Remember that we all choose and plan out the circumstances that we are born under long before our conception while in the Summerland between incarnations. We as parents may not understand why a baby has chosen it, but we should accept it as the free will of the baby’s soul and we should not blame ourselves or others for it. The child has chosen its path for this incarnation and we should work with it to make its life as joyful as we can. But remember that as an expectant mother you are responsible to take care of your physical body in all reasonable ways. So, see your doctor or midwife and take their advice to heart. Again, if you don’t need to do a ritual or magic then don’t do it.
Now if you become ill in some way while you are pregnant then I would definitely say that you should not do any magic. Your energies were already being taxed with the pregnancy itself and now that you are ill you would have little if any energy left to spend on a magical act. If you truly need some magic done then turn to your magical sisters and brothers to do it for you. I’m sure there is someone in your magical circle that would be willing to do some magic on your behalf. Just don’t jeopardize yourself or the baby by doing some magic that someone else could do or that could be put off till later.
Also remember that your body is undergoing a great deal of physical changes and it may not be advisable for you to stand at the altar for a long time or to dance about in a very energetic way. Some women have no problems with these things and others have a great deal of issues with it. Be aware of your present physical condition and don’t over stress it. There will be plenty of time later on after the baby is born to do all those things. Adjust your practice to fit your present abilities like having a chair at the altar to sit on when you need to. Maybe you’re in your 3 trimester, so maybe it would be inadvisable to dance too energetically about. There is still the drums and you can clap your hands and sing or chant.
However, as a pregnant woman your body is under a great deal of stress and thus your energies are focused on the development and growth of the baby. This bodily stress can, and many times does, cause mental distractions that can affect the focus of your mind and physical energy levels. You should take a careful look at your mental condition and as to whether or not you can focus on what you need to accomplish magically. If you see a real need to do magic then draw on the Elements and/or Deities for additional energies. Don’t do it on your own. Also, be mindful that you are not a single person at this time. There is the baby to take into consideration too. What happens to you can very well happen to the baby so take extra care as to what and how you do your magical act. For the most part, I personally think you should avoid doing magic while pregnant. Only if it is a great need should you consider doing it and even then, do so with great care.
One thing that can cause a problem is if your body isn’t as healthy as it could be. Bodily ailments as well as pain and such, can be a distraction that can take your focus away from what you intend to accomplish. So, if you can’t focus then you need to refrain from doing your magical act till you are better able to do so again, Even if this means waiting till you are well again. This doesn’t mean that if you are ill that you can’t practice magic. It only means that if it is bad enough to distract you from your focus then don’t do any magic. One of the things you can do to help you regain your focus is to go back to your magical exercises. These can help you to find your focus again. Do your breathing exercises and meditate. Try to do a visualization exercise. Next, most Witches call on the Elements to help them with their energy level, at this time you will especially need the extra help. When you are ill your energies are focused on getting you better and, so you have less available to do magic with. Calling on the Elements to help you is a good way to increase your energy level. And of course, like many Witches, you can call on the Deities to assist you with your magical intent. But most importantly, you need to prioritize your needs to whether or not you actually need to do this magical act. If it is an emergency and there is no one else who can help then ok do it, but take careful stock as to its need. Anything that can be put off should be put off, otherwise call on a friend and ask them to do the magical act for you. Don’t strain yourself or your personal resources if you don’t need to. You are ill, and you need to focus your energies on getting well.
For those of you who are terminally or chronically ill, my advice is a bit different. You might find that your level of normal energy is different now. This will probably not be as high as it had been before. Work with this. Don’t stress your body more than you need to but don’t think you can no longer do magic either. Like I said before, you can draw from the Elements and Deities, so you aren’t totally limited. Don’t let your condition drag you down to inaction. You are still a viable Witch and more than capable to contribute to the magical realm. Find what works for you and work with it. Rest and take care of yourself and you may find that your illness isn’t as debilitating as you thought it might be. But like I said before, don’t do magic you don’t need to do. And don’t do magic on your bad days.
You suddenly find yourself with a physical injury. You have broken your leg or arm or some other type of injury, but you had planned to do some magic that day or week. Well you might have to put it off for a while or you might have to ask a magical friend to do it for you. Like I’ve said before, if you don’t need to do it right then then put it off till you are healed. That injury was a shock to your body and it will take a bit of time for your body and thus your energy levels to recover from it. No need to stress about it. Most magic can be done at a later time. Focus your energies on your healing and you may find that you will heal faster than expected. However, if you truly need to do that magical spell and only you can do it then be sure to ask for all the help you can from the Elements and Deities. But my advice is to wait till you are healed. You will be better sooner than you think and then you can do your magic as you normally do it.
Magic and Disabilities
The opinion that we should omit those with disabilities from our magical community is based on some false assumptions. One is that most people think about their rituals and spell workings as standing before an altar with candles and incense burning. They may stand there for half an hour or more. They may dance about the altar or play a drum. Much of their practice can be quite physical in nature. But that isn’t the only way to do a ritual or magic. Another is the assumption that a person who has a mental disability is not capable of focusing their mind properly or safely to do magic. It is assumed that a mentally disabled person does not have the ability to judge properly when and what kind of magic to do and also that they have no control of their mental states. And yes it’s true that we need to be able to focus our minds properly to do a successful spell, that doesn’t mean that a mentally disabled person isn’t capable of doing this. All of this goes back to the thinking that those with disabilities are unable to contribute to the community and would be a burden. This is false.
It is true that there are those who are Witches who are not capable or it is inadvisable to do much physical motions or have mental illnesses that might seem to limit their abilities to do magic. Yet they wish to do magic. Does this make them less of a Witch? No, it does not. For the heart of our practice is not in the physical actions but in our heart and mind. First you need to remember that you can’t magic away your disabilities. But you can use the energies and concentration used in magic and ritual to improve your life. Remember that everyone has problems and limits. It’s just that some are more apparent than others. Know that you are not alone and that there is support out there if you look for it. So how do we, who are limited in our physical and mental abilities, worship or practice magic? Here are a few suggestions.
Let’s start with those that are physically unable to stand at the altar, whether for a few minutes or an hour. I personally can’t stand on my feet for more than a few minutes, but believe me, that does not stop me from my worship of the Goddess and God or from doing magic. When I plan to do a ritual or magic I have a bar stool in front of my altar to sit on. My altar is only a little bit taller than a standard table and so a standard bar stool works just fine for me. Also, I’m short as well so this can actually give me a bit of height I don’t normally have. I am unable to walk my circle, but that is ok. I simply visualize doing it and raise and wave my hands to encircle me and the altar. I would then be at that point able to continue with what I had planned to do. This works great for me and I have seen no change in the significance of my worship or magical results. By sitting at the altar I am in little pain and am better able to concentrate on what I wish to accomplish. So for those who can’t stand at the altar for whatever the reason, I suggest either a stool or chair of some kind that fits your altar and your need.
For those that cannot hear or speak, this also poses no limit to your abilities to practice. Sound is only a part of what many Witches employ in their practice but it isn’t necessary. Hand gestures are used a lot in magic and worship and very effectively so. So using sign language in your practice works great; and you can easily invent your own gestures for you magical acts or even for certain parts of your worship. Again I can’t emphasize more the fact that all worship and magic starts within your heart and your mind, not in the sounds that one makes.
Next let’s talk about those who are limited in their vision, being either totally blind or partially so. My only suggestion to you is to avoid fire. Candles and incense are nice but not necessary; though you can use them if you wish. If you want to have a certain scent on your altar then I suggest that you put scented oil on something like a cotton ball. Or you can put fragrant herbs on the altar. But you don’t have to have a physical altar at all. You could visualize your altar within your mind or create it within the astral plane. This was once suggested to me by someone who was blind and said that she did all of her practice in the astral plane, and quite effectively too; but if you wish to have a physical altar that is fine too. Put things on it with shapes that feel significant to you; as well as things with scents that you like and are magical to you. Sounds may work especially well for you too. So playing a drum or any instrument would be great as well as singing or chanting.
For those of you who can’t move your arms, here again there is no limit to your worship or your magical practice. As long as you have your heart and mind you have all that you need. Create your worship and magic mentally within your mind or within the astral plane if you want to. You might ask someone to help set up an altar for you to visually enjoy and as a focus for your magic and ritual. But don’t think that because you can’t use your hands that you can’t be a Wicca or Witch. Use what you do have and you can’t fail.
Now as for those with mental illnesses like bipolar or chronic depression or even schizophrenia, many may think that you would be prohibited from doing magic, but this isn’t so. I have bipolar and am able to do magic virtually anytime I wish. I do avoid magic when I’m depressed or manic but otherwise I do magic whenever I wish to. There are treatments for most mental illnesses that allows for you to live virtually normal lives. And quite frankly, how do you measure what is mentally normal? For most, it is that which makes you seem to be like everyone else. But everyone else isn’t like each other. They are each individual with their own way of thinking and doing things. No one is truly like the person next to them.
Now for why some think you shouldn’t do magic if you are mentally ill; this is because when you do magic, you need to be able to focus on your intent, on exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Remember that magic starts and ends within your mind and heart. When you are mentally ill you might, and I say might, have a problem with your focus sometimes. However, if you follow your treatment as you are supposed to, then there are no reasons why you shouldn’t be able to do magic. All you need to do is keep in mind that if you choose to do magic, that you are aware of your mental state. I heavily suggest you practice your breathing exercises and meditation, especially your meditation. Be sure that you can find your center. Also, ask yourself these questions: Are you able to focus on your intent? Are you centered? Are you depressed, manic, angry, anxious, or irrational about the situation? Is your reason for doing your magic suitable for the situation? These questions should be asked by anyone whether or not they are mentally ill. Being mentally ill doesn’t mean you are not able to do magic. It is just a challenge in your life that you will need to work with and conquer.
One more point about doing magic. There are not any real reasons why you can’t do magic when in a home where there are children, even small children. The Deities protects children when there are rituals or magic being practiced. If you are not doing any magic that is dangerous then there is no reason to think that it would be dangerous to the children. Keep in mind the children are there and remember that you shouldn’t ever be doing anything dangerous around them. Most magic isn’t dangerous anyway. Also, how else are they going to learn about magic if you don’t practice it around them. Yes, there are magical spell workings that are better not done in a home where there are children present. I wouldn’t do anything with conjuring up spirits and such around children. Also remember, children are very sensitive to the energies around them. Most children are naturally empathic. However, doing a healing spell or a protection spell with children around is very acceptable. Also, remember that children, especially the little ones, might find that they wish to join in on the fun. Be prepared for interruptions or better yet, see if you can get someone to watch them and keep them occupied while you are doing your magic or ritual. Just don’t make it seem that what you are doing is naughty. That could cause other problems.
So as you can see, there may be some restrictions as to whether or not you can do magical spell working or rituals but for the most part everyone can do magic and ritual works. Just keep in mind what your limits are and whether or not you can focus properly on your intended goal. Also, like at any other time, decide if you really need to do that spell at that time or if it can wait for a better time or maybe it shouldn’t be done at all. It might be a challenge but if you pay attention to your energy levels and your abilities to focus it’s possible. Draw on that which is available to you for your energies and everything magical will be available to you. Remember that magic and the worship of the Deities comes from your mind and heart and with those two things all things are possible. The Deities loves you not your abilities. Worship them with your heart and you can’t go wrong. Blessed be