Fall is magical. The leaves change into all sorts of vibrant hues, the scent of cinnamon is everywhere you go, and the chill in the air bites in a way that almost feels personal. It’s a season that feels so alive, so it’s no wonder that fall is directly tied to mysticism. So much so that one of the key images of the season is a witch (Hocus Pocus, anyone?). Of course, with that title also comes dated stereotypes of what it means to be a witch: flying broomsticks, evil cauldrons, and a desire to eat children. But the true definition of a witch isn’t so easy to nail down.
Historically, witches–or people accused of being witches–have come in many different forms, but most of them were women, and they were far from monstrous. Rather, they were masters of wellness, specializing in herbalism, midwifery, and other healing practices. Modern women are turning these rituals more mainstream, finding deep connections to the earth and nature, and leaning into practices that enhance their quality of life. So if you really think about it, embodying your inner witch is in itself a wellness practice. Read on for some wellness rituals that witches throughout the ages have used and loved that will help amplify your health for fall and beyond.
1. Be more intentional with essential oils
Scent is known to trigger both emotion and memory, so you can use scent to enhance your sense of self and impact the way you relate to the world around you. Instead of just the typical diffusing lavender oil to relax or sniffing peppermint oil for energy, DIY your own potions (see what I did there?) so you can tap into the kind of energy and emotion you associate with that scent at any time. Sniff or diffuse a wide range of essential oils (eucalyptus, lemon, etc.) and either see how the scent makes you feel or you can associate an affirmation with the smell.
To take it a step further, blend your own concoction by starting with a base like jojoba or extra virgin olive oil, and pour into a small vial with a roller ball for easier application. Add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice to the base (essential oil alone might be irritating for the skin, which is why you combine it with another oil to dilute) to rub onto temples, wrists, or other pressure points when needed. Top off the vial with some flower petals or fresh herbs to enhance the smell while beautifying the blend. As with all rituals, remember that setting an intention for the practice will amplify its effects. Assign a word (like bravery, compassion, or confidence) to your potion and apply the oil to your skin whenever you need to be reminded of that intention.
2. Update your bath routine
Baths have been important for both hygiene and ritual for centuries. Water has often been used not only to cleanse the body but also your mind and energy. And when you’re intentional about supplementing your bath water with herbs, flowers, or crystals, you can amplify its healing properties. Forget boring bubble bath–there are countless combinations you can create when devising your bath ritual. I like basil or eucalyptus plants to relax muscles, lavender or chamomile to relax the mind, rose petals and basil for skin glow, or crystals like Rose quartz and Amethyst to clear out anxious energy and invite peace into your space.
I believe that if you’re drawn to a particular plant or crystal, your intuition is guiding you to use it for your benefit. But if you’re a researcher like me, feel free to hit the books (like here or here) for all the healing properties that plants and stones have to offer. Go wild and apply whatever calls to you. Once again, bath rituals are sealed by the intentions you set for them, so think about what you’re cleansing, renewing, healing, or inviting in.
3. Light some incense to reset energy in your space
Many different cultures throughout history have burned herbs and incense as a way to clear stale energy to make a space feel vibrant and fresh. With the rise in palo santo and sage becoming more mainstream, it’s important to honor and remember where they come from, so do your research and honor the ritual. For incense, Frankincense and Myrrh are two options that have withstood the test of time and are still known for their healing properties. When it comes to lighting herbs and incense, find a type that calls to you to clear out space in your home.
And to reiterate, intention has to be at the core of any ritual. If it’s not, the practice is just fluff. Set the intention to clear stuck energy and invite fresh, loving vibes into your home. As the scent lingers, visualize the space being utilized in a way that feels good to you. This is a great ritual to do consistently, especially when you’re using your space as a work-from-home set-up. This ritual can help you meet specific goals at work, or ease out of work mode into relaxation.
4. Future journal to become the person you want to be
You didn’t think I’d write a witchy post without at least one nod to spell-casting, did you? Journaling is a powerful way to cast daily “spells” because you are quite literally alchemizing your thoughts into tangible words on a page. Journaling in itself is a little bit magical. When you journal your intentions for how you want to feel, what you want to be doing, or how you want to be acting in the future, you’re better able to visualize yourself in that future role. This makes it easier to embody yourself in that role now, which is one of the fastest ways to manifest the life you want.
So go ahead and write about the higher version of yourself. Then focus on all the elements I just laid out: how you want to feel, how you want to act, and what you’d like to be doing in the future. Take a few moments to embody who it is you’ve just written about, and notice how your energy shifts. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
5. Choose a single-word affirmation for each day
If journaling feels like too lengthy an endeavor, another quick alchemizing trick is to choose a word or phrase that you want to embody on any given day. For example, if you have a big meeting you’re a little nervous about, “capable” might be your word of choice. Visualize yourself completely personifying this word and feel free to write it down somewhere that will be visible to you all day long, like on a post-it note by your desk. It can be just as powerful to embody a single word as it is to envision an entire future for yourself, so long as you set the intention to make it stick.
6. Connect with nature on a regular basis
Science proves that nature is healing. But guess what? Cultures, tribes, and world religions have already known that for thousands of years (including witches). Anyone with a keen sensitivity to shifting energy will argue that the effects of this particular ritual are undeniable. Try earthing or grounding, which involves walking barefoot outside, or forest bathing, which means being in nature (a trail, forest, park, etc.) to reap more benefits.
Take a moment to feel your bare feet on the ground in whatever way feels comfortable. Visualize any energy that does not serve you being pulled into the ground, feel gratitude for the oxygen that trees and plants supply, and check in with yourself if there are any insights that come up for you. You might be surprised by what comes through. This is an especially good ritual for those of us with busy minds because it encourages us to slow down and reconnect to our inner voice of wisdom. Trust me when I say, your nervous system will thank you.