How to Cope When Imposter Syndrome Creeps in to Sabotage Your Magick
Imposter Syndrome isn’t just a witch thing…. it’s a human thing.
It’s that relentless guilt of not being good enough, that incessant feeling of not belonging, that niggling thought of not being worthy of your own goodness and accomplishments. It’s the same terrible voice inside that won’t allow you to feel pride, gratitude, and grace for your own creativity, imagination, and abilities (mundane or magickal). It’s the tendency to over-achieve because one doesn’t feel they will ever amount to anything, conversely it’s the tendency to underachieve because one doesn’t believe they are worthy enough to succeed. It’s an awful monster that hides within all of us.
I can’t get over how quickly 2021 snuck up on me. I can’t get over how my best laid plans often go awry, and here it is January almost ready to bid farewell and I haven’t the slightest idea how I got here. When I started this blog back in November, I felt bright and shiny and oh so inspired to start my blogging journey, my grand plans to post at least ONCE a week was a totally-attainable goal, and I was going to have all sorts of magickal goodies chronicled here.
Alas it was not meant to be! All I have right now is guilt for failing at follow-through, wistfully wishing I planned better to make time and room in my life for two things I love the most: writing and witchcraft.
December flew by and bid adieu faster than I can say “‘Tis the season!” and since then my life as a witch went on a standstill. After a somber, yet memorable celebration, a sense of quiet settled within me as I took stock of how much I’ve changed just in the past year. My path has diverged and converged in surprising places in many ways time and again. January brought an inspiring forecast. All signs pointed to “Yes” according to the Universe! I was floating in a mist of witchy cloud nine, full of energy, promise, and more magick than one can shake a (broom)stick at.
But then reality set in. New year, new resolutions, new responsibilities, new commitments. Where in the world am I going to find time to do my day job, write this blog, attend school, and practice witchcraft when my calendar is already booked until April? My anxiety began poking its spiky little head telling me it’s impossible. This sense of overwhelm took over and along with it, my magickal mojo.
I told myself I’d feel right again as time went by. I waited to “feel” magickal again. Days went by. Then weeks. Nothing. I felt detachment, a sense of loss. Questions began plaguing me: Has magick finally deserted me, or did I ever have it at all? Am I really cut out to be a witch, or was it all in my head?
Then came that all too familiar feeling of doubt that perhaps the path I chose didn’t actually choose me.
Suddenly I shrink away from my goals, because I’m all like:
Remember those moments when you feel so aligned, so connected, so in tune and empowered that you feel you can conquer anything? Wasn’t it awesome? Then suddenly, self-doubt rears its ugly head and screams 👹 You are not worthy! What even are you actually doing?
With spiralling thoughts going out of control, I had to stop and wonder:
Am I the only one going through this roller-coaster ride of yay-I-rock and oh-that-sucked when magick (and life) becomes a hit or miss because one can only have so many spoons in the run of the day….
Am I the only one who feels lost, disempowered, and disenchanted amidst all the trials and tribulations our world seems to throw at us on a daily basis….
Am I the only one who worries I am never going to have a valid witchcraft practice because I can’t always do spells, rituals, or manage to keep an “Instagram Ready” grimoire….
Am I the only witch who can’t memorize the Tarot because my ADHD-brain just refuses to pay attention when it’s study time….
(I have so many more to add to this derailed train of thought but the above is the gist of my brain chatter at 3AM)
The answer is to all of the above is….of course not.
In light of current events and the reality that some of us have non-neurotypical brains; our inner worlds can change in a heartbeat, along with our sense of self. Nothing is constant in life except change, and recognizing this is the first step in gaining a different perspective. Magick ebbs and flows like the tides of the ocean. It may seem like it’s left…. but it always returns to shore.
I’ve been in these slumps more times than I can count, and it’s not fun. It could be caused by a number of reasons:
1. Challenging events and experiences in everyday life that we feel we can’t cope with
2. Challenging people, relationships, and situations that make us feel “less than”
3. Fears and Failures: real and perceived, past and present, mundane and magickal
4. Pushing ourselves too hard causing physical/mental/spiritual burn out
5. Health concerns: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual
6. Uncontrolled, self-perpetuating negative self-talk
7. Too much social media (yup, had to put that there, there is a fine line between healthy appreciation and destructive comparison!)
Okay. So what to do about it?
Three things, in a neat little package I call:
It costs nothing but a little bit of time and consistency. They are simple and low-effort (#spoonie), because I know what it’s like when energy and motivation feel like they’ve deserted you and your past successes are rendered null and void. I hope it helps you find your shine again when everything else seems dull.
Witch Tool #1
Create a Solid Anchor
This is a simple daily routine that tethers you to your practice no matter how hectic or crazy life has become. And you MUST do it daily for full effect. Our brains thrive on consistency and feedback (let’s choose a positive loop!) Consistency in a simple act prepares us to conquer bigger and greater things. It builds confidence and self-trust.
- Light a candle, say thanks, blow it out and then go about your day.
- Put on a favourite piece of jewellery, state intention, then forget about it.
- Take a photo with your phone when you see something/anything particularly beautiful in Nature. Tell yourself that “I am connected to this magic and beauty. Always.” (Or some other meaningful phrase).”
- Tea magick! Drink up good intentions.
- Better yet, cook some up with some magical herbs from your pantry.
Witch Tool #2
Okay this is New-Agey, but they do work. Our subconscious is like a child, it has no filter, it takes everything literally. What you say and think consciously is recorded and will be repeated back to you like a toddler that won’t shut up. So when you speak to yourself, do it kindly. Pre-made recordings are great but not everything will resonate so I suggest creating your own so that you can remind yourself about the BEST things about YOU. No one knows you better than you. Think back to times when you felt most confident, when you’ve manifested spells so well you surprised yourself, think about your greatest accomplishments. Write it on a sticky note or make wallpaper for your phone. Your subconscious registers this and it will help cut down the negative inner chatter.
- I have wisdom on tap and I know how to use it!
- I am loved, supported, and protected by my guides/ancestors/universe.
- I have enough courage to face my fears.
- I’m braver than any situation, I got this!
Witch Tool #3
What’s a witch tool kit without throwing in a spell? Here’s a small banishing ritual I like to call:
»•» Slash & Burn «•«
- Take a piece of paper, fold it in half
- In the first column write everything you love about yourself and your Craft (Label this YES), in the second column write everything you don’t love so much (Label this NO).
- Center yourself, light a candle.
- Take your piece of paper and slash/rip/cut it in half.
- Fold away the ‘YES’ half and place it in your altar/BoS/night table as a reminder of all what you love and want to keep in your life and your practice.
- Burn the ‘NO’ half and let it go into the wind or bury in soil, let Mother Earth transmute those pesky things into something useful and positive. You can do this as often as you need/want.
Take from this post what helps and discard what doesn’t. I hope it brings a measure of faith back into yourself and your Craft. In my experience, once magick touches you, it will always be there. It is never gone, it sits silently waiting, always present and shining beneath the surface.
And finally this question….Who chains us and who holds the key that can set us free? It’s YOU. You have all the weapons you need. Now, fight!Sucker Punch
You can read more about Imposter Syndrome here