The Slump is an irritating phenomenon that affects many practitioners. You wake up one day and your interest and enthusiasm for witchcraft is just…gone. No idea where it went, or why it went, all you know is that your books and crystals and herbs just don’t hold the same appeal that they used to.
I hear about this a lot. More than you’d expect, really. I ran into a similar problem five or six years into my own practice, and I’ve gotten similar messages from other witches at around the same general period in their own journeys. (I think The Fifth-Year Slump might be a thing, but really it can happen anytime.)
We all get to a point where we feel like we’ve stalled somehow. We’ve learnt the basics, we’ve run out of Witchcraft 101 books to read, we’re looking for the next step and not finding it, we haven’t had a reason to cast a spell in a while…it could be any number of things. And it’s very frustrating. Makes a witch want to hang up their boots.
For those of us with mentors or a local witchy community to offer guidance, it’s a little easier. There are extra resources and knowledgeable people to turn to, and that can help buoy things along until the slump passes.
For solitary practitioners, even with an online support system, we can be left feeling like, “Well….now what?”
What I’ve found to be helpful is getting back to my roots. By this I don’t necessarily mean starting over, but instead, going back to the things that made me want to be a witch in the first place, the things that made me turn my face to the autumn wind and wonder if I could fly.
Here’s a short list of suggestions to help you work through your slump:
Try something new. If your current line of study isn’t doing anything for you, branch out! Curious about the history of magical practices? Always wanted to try divination? Go for it! There are lots of places like Sacred Texts and Project Gutenberg were you can read books for free. See if something new grabs your interest. Nothing revitalizes a practice like having something new to explore.
Play in the dirt. For witches whose practice revolves around plants, getting into the garden and working the soil can make a world of difference. Go out and pull weeds for a bit, or plant something new, or just sit and soak up the sun with your plants. Pick up a potted plant or some kitchen herbs that are easy to grow. Tend them and harvest them. Seeing little bundles of drying herbs and flowers hanging about always makes me feel better.
Get out of the house (if you can). Stir things up with a little fresh air and a mini road trip. Go visit a local park. Take a stroll through the woods. Visit a sacred site. Is there a particular spot within easy travel distance that makes you feel witchy and powerful? Go pay it a visit and see how you feel.
Attend a gathering. If time and energy and finances allow, see if there’s a pagan (or at least pagan-friendly) festival in your area. The largest concentration of gatherings usually happens in spring and fall, so these might be the best times to go looking. It doesn’t have to be a full-on rite or anything elaborate; it can be as simple as a local street fair. Sometimes just seeing and interacting with other practitioners, even on a momentary basis, can give us a helpful and refreshing boost.
Curl up with an old favorite. This one is going to sound silly to some folks, but I swear to you, this is probably the most effective method on the list. If you’ve hit a slump and nothing else is helping, pull out the books and movies and music that make you feel witchy.
Doesn’t matter what month it is, it’s always a good time for The Worst Witch or Halloweentown. Loved Practical Magic or The Craft? Watch them again. (Don’t be ashamed, I love them too.) Reread that book that made you want to cackle over a cauldron. Harry Potter? The Abhorsen Series? The Enchanted Forest Chronicles? The Discworld Witches? The Black Jewels? Do it. Put on a playlist with a witchy feel while you’re running errands or cleaning or chilling on the computer. Anything that floats your broomstick. There are plenty of them to be found on Spotify.
Whether it was hearing “Seven Wonders” at just the right time, or a poignant remark from Granny Weatherwax that really hit home, or that one episode of AHS: Coven, these things affected you in a profound way for a reason. Revisit them. Say hello. Don’t be surprised if the magic is still there. Because it’s still in you too.
You just need to find it again. 🙂