Self-care Check-in — Real thoughts about Goddess Provision’s Sacred Self Care course, and finishing Week 1 of Stratejoy’s Holiday Council

That was a mouthful of a title! If you’ll remember, I signed up for an 8-week self-care course offered through Goddess Provisions. I was looking for something structured, guided, to help get into a better self-care routine.

We’re finishing off Week 5 of the course, and… I’ve been a bit disappointed, honestly.

We were promised 8-weeks of guided activities, journaling, and meditations, all to connect us to our higher selves. And it’s felt like all we have received are weekly PDFs with two to three pages of actual worksheets, an oracle deck, and access to a Facebook group. There are some women in the group who didn’t even really know who the leaders are. Our weekly activities culminate in requests for us to post a picture which almost feels like an aesthetic contest some times.

Much of this course just feels very surface level. Self-care should be more than just taking walks, bubble baths, and dancing. It’s definitely good to treat yourself to these, but it’s only just the start. I will say, though, I do appreciate that they are covering the importance of boundaries. That might be the most beneficial topic they’ve done thus far. But on top of this feeling like just surface level self-care, it definitely doesn’t feel guided. Outside of the weekly email with the PDFs, we don’t hear from the leaders. If they’re active in the Facebook group, it’s not as leaders, but more just other members.

The shortcomings in the Sacred Self-Care course were made all the more glaring after this first week of Stratejoy’s Holiday Council. HoCo18 is 21 days of delving deep to reflect on the past year and prepare ourselves for the year ahead. It includes 3 live calls (each an hour long), recorded interviews with inspirational women, a 36-page worksheet, a very well put together online portal, and access to a private Facebook group. The big difference, Molly, Stratejoy’s founder, is very involved. She’s been guiding women for 9 years now, and it shows that this is her passion.

In completing my first week workbook, I’ve been hitting those “oh holy crap” moments. It’s like this is exactly what I need in my life right now. I’ve been able to look at and face the hardships from this past year with new eyes, seeing them as opportunities to grow, and events that do not define me. I’ve been called to celebrate the good of this year, however minor. Prior to doing this course, the notion of “pride” wasn’t on my radar. But fuck if I don’t feel proud for the growth I’ve made and how the joy I feel in my life right now.

I’ve met some amazing women in both groups — and was very happy to see friends and familiar faces in the HoCo18 group. While the Sacred Self-Care has been disappointing, I am going to see it through. I think the next two are about creating morning and evening routines, and the final week we’ll reflect back on it all. I am unbelievably excited to continue with HoCo18, even though I know it’s going to go by way too fast!

I was skeptical about Stratejoy at first, but I feel like this might potentially be something I do annually. It’s nice having the guidance as well as just the overwhelming community and support.

Ranting about toxic attitudes and this trend to hate things

Recently in my gaming community, a high point of topic has been the rampant negativity among gamers over overwhelmingly subjective opinions. Honestly, it’s not solely an issue exclusive to gaming. People have opinions, and they want theirs to be validated, which leads to people getting louder and more incendiary.

People will completely rip apart a game or movie before that thing has even been released. So prior to having any experience with this media, they have formed a solidified opinion about it and have decided to rail against it and everyone who may be excited for it.

That last part is really what gets me. As people, we are totally allowed not to like things. Let’s take Fallout 76. I have never played a Fallout game ever. But from what I have seen of the previous games, they have not interested me in the slightest. However, I’m not going around to people who love the game, who are playing the game, and espousing everything I find wrong with the game and/or series. People actually do this. They go into streams and just let loose all the things they dislike, with no regard at all to whether the streamer actually loves this game/series/franchise or not.

There is a time and place for constructive criticism. But if you hate something? Why spread that? I’ve seen it a lot with sports, too. And I’m not talking just the typical anti-whatever team. People get all high and mighty because they’re not interested in “sportsball.” It’s in areas of our culture where people are called basic for liking certain beverages and scarves and warm things… I’m actually really happy that people are reclaiming basic and wearing it with pride.

If you don’t like pineapple on your pizza then don’t order it. If you could get no fucks for sports of any kind, then actually don’t give fucks and don’t engage in petty mocking of those who do.

I just do not get this continuing trend of putting people down for liking things or feeling haughty superior for not liking something. It’s gate-keeping bullshit and needs to end. Let’s celebrate people’s joys and passions — even if it’s not something you like or understand yourself.* (With the obvious asterisk of: there are legitimately toxic and harmful things people like that we should not encourage)

Witchy Stuff: my favorite books, decks, and crystals

I don’t really consider myself a witchy person. But for the last year, I’ve found myself in a lot of witchy communities. Drawn to various aspects of those practices. Maybe because a lot of them are inclusive — people are the margins banning together to care for each other. Including some of these practices in my own life has led to personal growth and introspection I had not anticipated.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the items I’ve incorporated into my life and why I love them. (And yes, these are affiliate links where possible.)

Decks

I use tarot infrequently — whenever it sort of feels like I need a little extra reflection. I don’t see tarot as a tool for divination, for predicting the future. However, I believe it can be a very interesting, fun, and sometimes powerful tool for introspection. Think of it like journal prompts.

I don’t use the ‘past/present/future’ three card spread, but mostly a ‘context/focus/outcome’ one. I have a few others I use from time to time, but this is my main one. Also, if you’re not sure about buying a deck, there are many cheap and free decks available on mobile! I also highly recommend the Labyrinthos Academy for anyone wanting to learn tarot.

Linestrider Tarot: This was my very first tarot deck. There is this old belief that your decks should be gifted to you, however, it’s not really a followed thing. Honestly, the best advice is to find a deck that “speaks” to you. For me, it was the artwork. Siolo Thompson’s watercolors are beautiful. She has an oracle deck, and another tarot deck on the way next year.

Ostara Tarot: It took me a little longer to really decide I wanted this deck. I had seen various readings with this deck posted on Tumblr, and found some of the cards absolutely stunning. However, I really wasn’t impressed with some others. This deck has four artists. After purchasing it, though… I’ve really come to love this deck.

Inner Star Clarity Oracle: Another one I went back and forth on for a while. However, it was sold out, so I didn’t think too much of it. Then I saw on instagram they were running a small batch of reprints! So I went and pre-ordered as soon as I could afford to. Oracle decks are different. I really only use one card at a time, sometimes more. But these really are useful for self-reflection.

Sacred Self-Care Oracle: I thought this deck was really clever. It’s full of all sorts of activities that most of us are familiar with, however might not be great at making time for. Listening to music, getting a massage, creating art, cooking, connection with friends or family… There’s only one card I removed from the deck and won’t use: “connecting to your womb.” This is definitely a very Western feminine deck… and “sacred womb” ideals just don’t speak to me at all. I got this deck as part of my Sacred Self-Care course with Goddess Provisions.

Crystals/Stones 

I remember growing up, my mom had a rule about not buying crystals. Not getting involved with crystals. I never thought of her as superstitious, but for some reason that rule always stuck in my head. But then last year I started buying crystals. Which really, I just call them stones. Because that’s what they are.

The idea of using specific crystals to heal certain areas or to cause various things to happen… I mean, it’s a stone. They’re minerals. But if having a specific stone helps remind you of things? Yes. I don’t believe at all that wearing a Smoky Quartz necklace will get rid of my depression. But if it helps me remember that I’m stronger than my depression? Hell yes. I find power in that.

Amethyst: Useful for protection during sleep, bringing on restful sleep, and guarding from nightmares. I have a lot of Amethyst. On my nightstand is a large piece that was my grandmother’s. I don’t know what she thought about it, or if she even knew of it’s correspondence… But I like having this watch over me as I sleep.

Carnelian: Typically related to speaking well and productivity. I keep these stones at my desks. Now, I had one of these on my nightstand, and for a while wasn’t sleeping well. Read more about the stone and then moved it out of my room completely. Slept fine since. Any actual woowoo with that? No idea. But yeah.

Smoky Quartz: Known for dispelling and protecting from negativity. As I mentioned, this one has a lot of meaning for me as it reminds me to not let my depression

Rose Quartz: This is the stone of love and self-love. Honestly, it’s also just a pretty pink stone. My first stones I bought was a rose quartz bracelet that I purchased to remind myself to take care of myself and not let my anxiety overwhelm me. And if you were wondering how that went?Well, I purchase this before my breakdown, so… yeah, take the stones with a grain of salt.

Tips on buying… Ok, so part of me doesn’t want to share this because I like keeping it to myself. But, what’s the point in that? Yes, you can (and should!) support your local metaphysical shops. But if you’re on a budget, check your geological institutions! Museums, caves, mines.. A lot of them will have amazing specimen at a lot lower of a cost. Some even 50¢ per stone, where you’d be paying $3-7 for the same thing at a witchy store. Also, if you have a crystal and gem show in your area, you can get pretty good deals there. That’s where I get a lot of my stones for my jewelry.

Also: Be sure to do your research on your stones. Some should not be placed in water, others can’t be in direct sunlight. Rose Quartz, for instance will fade with too much sunlight. Others can be toxic to you if you put it in water that you consume. Whenever you are buying anything: do your research, especially if you plan on using something topically or internally. This is especially true with essential oils — never put them on your sick neat (or without diluting in another oil, water won’t work).

Books

I’ve purchased a number of books, some are definitely more useful in my opinion or other. Reviews aren’t always helpful when purchasing, so I’ve been checking tumblr and also trying to read previews where available.

Hearth Witch’s Compendium: This is just an amazing, big book of recipes! There is everything from food to cleaners to soaps to lip balms… I love it. They even have booze recipes! Make your own wines! I haven’t really tried many of these, but I have a lot of pages flagged.

Light Magic for Dark Times: Speaking of flagged pages… I have so many of these pages bookmarked. Now, this book is a spell book. But for those who want to add some rituals or activities filled with intention geared towards self-care but isn’t all sunshine and rainbow, this is a very good book. I purchased it after a very strong recommendation on the Fat Feminist Podcast. I really appreciate how this book embraces what some consider as negative emotions, like anger.

Jailbreaking the Goddess: If you want any sort of book to challenge you, then you need this book. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really big into “goddess” stuff. However, this book is equally about intersectional feminism. It uses a fivefold goddess model, rather than the threefold maiden-mother-crone. The fivefold one isn’t focused on Eurocentric biological ideals of who is a woman or what makes a woman. It doesn’t commodify our bodies and turn us, essentially into public property. I’m two chapters in, and really enjoying it. It’s also a really thick workbook with journal prompts and activities after every section.

Boundaries & Protection: I wasn’t sure about this one, but decided to get the eBook. This book is going to push me. In setting boundaries, I’m hoping to not only protect my self mentally and emotionally, but also allow myself to be more open, but, well, in a healthier way.

Other…

Fat Feminist Witch podcast: I love this podcast. Paige covers a lot of issues and all of it feels very true and authentic to her journey. She researches her topics very well and has really interesting interviews. And of course, a lot of book reviews as well! Episodes are about 45 minutes long, but I break them into a few sittings, which I appreciate that there are good pauses for me to do so.

Witchy Instagram: I don’t have *one* link for this. But with a little searching, you can find a lot. I’ve been finding a lot more through my self-care course, and really excited to get involved with this community. There’s some interesting discussion and debate on witchy instagram — and yes, a lot of it is gatekeeping. But you’ll find a lot in and around the aesthetics, and honestly, you can follow just for the pretty pictures or for the communities.

These fragrances from Twisted Twigs you can buy online! I love this Air Elemental room spray so much. And the Oracle perfume oil is amazing. I’m excited about getting some bath scrubs from them soon!

What sort of “witchy”, magical, or other spiritual items have you used or would recommend?