Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is critical when working with magic. The most obvious boundary we create as witches is our magical circle. There are also essential boundaries modern witches should set outside of their magic circles in their daily lives.
A quick note. This is a MASSIVE subject. Many of the points we discuss below have entire books written about them. So buckle up, I’ll try to cover as much as I can without making it a rival for Homer’s Iliad. As with everything I share, take what resonates with you and leave the rest.
Witch, know thyself
Know yourself, own your limits, and speak them. If you don’t know what you will and will not stand for, what you are willing to accept in your life, you are more likely to be taken advantage of. The more this happens, the more likely you are to be stuck in the victim role. We teach people how to treat us. Be clear on what you want so you can clearly communicate that to others.
You likely already know who and what is crossing your boundaries because it feels like shit. The challenge is being able to communicate what you what instead, and you can’t do this if you don’t know. Spend some time reflecting on what behavior, situations, and treatment makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed. What needs to happen for you to feel respected (by both yourself and others) and relaxed instead? What is right for you?
Also, consider the relationships in your life. Are the people and situations you are currently invested in aligned with your values? Are they what you want to be spending your energy on?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that setting boundaries is about other people. They feel out of control and want to take that control back. The only way to do this is by stating what is ok and not ok for you.
Figure it out. Write it down and then put on your Wonder Woman underoos and become a boundary badass. Your life and your magic will blossom.
Witch, embody your magic
Once you have written down what you will and won’t stand for, you have to enforce it. Have a plan of what you are going to do and say when your boundaries are being pushed. By being prepared, you are less likely to fall into old habits. Work on a few key phrases and responses that you can use in situations. Since boundaries about you, it’s essential to use ‘I’ statements and talk about what you need.
For example, if you have a co-worker who often comes to you to bitch, moan, and gossip, telling her to fuck off is probably not the best way to enforce your boundary with her. (Although it might feel great for a moment before you are dragged in front of HR.) Instead, try ‘I feel uncomfortable talking about other people, and I want to have positive conversations and interactions. I’m happy to talk about something else later, but right now, I need to get back to work.’
It’s ok to say no. No is a complete sentence and doesn’t need any clarification. Saying no never goes out of style and feels great. So say it loud and say it proud. How other people react to your boundaries is on them. It’s not up to you to manage their reactions or soothe their feelings. If you meet resistance, you can say something like, ‘I am letting you know what I need, I would like you to honour it.’ If people don’t respect that, remove yourself from the situation or relationship.
If you are staying in situations and relationships that don’t respect you, you need to own that. It’s on you to change. Understanding your emotional and energetic reactions is imperative. If you feel like you are doing something out of guilt, or not doing something because you are scared, you aren’t honouring yourself.
Many boundaries, unfortunately, aren’t one and done. Therefore, you have to practice energetic protection, hygiene, and care. Use practices such as grounding and centering, cord-cutting, meditation, and deflection. Choose what feels right to you and implement it.
Some practices of mine include:
- Energetically cleanse my living space at least once a month.
- I cast and release a magical circle every time I work magic.
- I energetically ground and cut cords often.
- I have made an effort to observe and not absorb other people’s energies. (As a tarot reading, high priestess empath, that was my number one priority.)
A good place to start is to learn a quick shielding technique and then build your skills up from there.
Witch, care for thyself
It may sound like a cliche, but you’ve got to put yourself first. If you aren’t, you’re giving away all your energy (and magic reserve) to others.
Of course, there are the basics – sleep, eating well, and exercise – which can help you feel balanced, healthy and sane. But much of self-care is personal. It might saying no to a draining social engagement (or leaving early if you have to go). Or, you might be getting up earlier than normal to get some art, fitness, or study in.
Whatever self-care is for you, to say yes to yourself, you might need to say no to someone else. (But that’s ok, because you have those Wonder Woman Underoos).
Self-care is also being gentle with yourself. We are often our own biggest critics. Words have weight, especially for witches. So what seeds of spells are you sowing when you use harsh words against yourself? Instead of seeing mistakes as failures, see them as opportunities for learning. We are never perfect, especially when it comes to putting in boundaries. Forgive yourself, new people come into your life and bring with it new situations. It is never too late to put a healthy boundary in.
Some healthy self-care practices for witches include:
- Every full moon after your ritual (small or large) have a cleansing bath and take time to journal your worries away.
- Drink herbal tea that aids your magical work.
- Regularly reflect in your mirror book about your challenges and look for healthy ways to address them.
- Know what is best to let be. Sometimes the best way to enact a boundary is to walk away from drama.
Witch, gather Your A-Team
It’s easier to give zero fucks about what Brenda in accounting thinks about you saying hell no to the work she is trying to dump on you when you’ve got people in your corner. A stellar support crew not only helps you feel good about yourself, but they can also help you feel less attached to what the boundary pushers in your life think.
Your support system might include a mental health professional. Ain’t no shame in that. In fact, having someone to help deal with past trauma, or just be there through the hard times is a really smart idea. Personally, I love me some good ol’ therapy.
If you are someone who doesn’t like to put others out with their problems, remember it’s healthy to lean on the people close to us. If I need a good bitch about something that is happening, instead of worrying, I ask permission. That way they have the opportunity to say no, or they can prepare for the coming vent wave if they say yes.
Other things you can do to strengthen your support team include:
- Gather your guides and helpers on the other side for support.
- Work your boundary tending into your daily devotions and energy work.
- Help other people when they are putting in their boundaries if you can too.
Witch, don’t take it personally
A boundary is a person stating what they need and what they stand for, not a rejection of you. Being on the receiving end of boundary setting can be quite triggering, especially if you feel disappointed. But, when you honor other’s boundaries, you pave the way to having your own honored in return.
I’m lucky enough to have a bunch of people in my life who have also worked hard on boundaries. I love them because they don’t take my boundaries personally. They know that I’m not saying no to them, but yes to myself. It’s a relief to be back out of something at the last minute because I feel sick or run down guilt-free with these people.
You can help others set their own boundaries by:
- If someone looks like they are feeling uncomfortable, ask them.
- Ask someone if they would like a hug before giving them one. (Consent is sexy).
- Graciously allow people to opt-out of commitments if they are sick, or feeling low, or just need a reset.
Setting boundaries can feel tough at times, but a little discomfort upfront will vastly outweigh the suffering of not having boundaries.