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The First Spell


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The First Spell

Regina McIlvain


The magic in the first spell is that you feel a shift from normal, drudging, everyday life into a world of spirits and power and the ability to call upon any of it when you like. The first spell may not even feel like magic because it is made up of common actions. Really, the only difference is your attitude: you go from being an automaton that goes through motions without noticing much to a being very much a part of creation: alive to every miraculous hint in Nature.

Let’s see: to enter into a world of magic that is ours to share, why don’t we start big? A beauty spell. first, we will imagine what this would look like in ideal conditions, but the power in it does not need ideal conditions to work, just the right mind set. A beauty spell calls us to release our expectations into the unknown, like the ugly duckling who entered a period and space unknown, trusting that something good existed on the other side. There can be many ways to achieve it, but since time immemorial, a ritual bath with great intention has been a likely gateway to transformation.

Ideally, you would live near a forest of ancient trees and running streams. A fragrant path strewn with softened pine needles, glittering leaves and the soft breath of Mother Earth would guide you to an inland pool of fresh, clear water, fed by a sparkling waterfall. The temperature is perfect: crisp, cool air surrounding the pool, which is a thermal spring, nourished by hot surges of water, purified through thousands of years of pressure from the volcanic earth’s core, up layers of refining rocks.

Prepared with your kit of essential oils, scrubbing sponges and herbal soaps, you enter the steaming waters, immediately feeling the massaging currents surround you as you luxuriate and feel years of anxiety, tensions and layers of dead skin cells lift away. It may be late afternoon and the golden shards of sunlight streaming through the foliage blends with the warm breezes that freshen the air.

Diving into the spring, you delight as currents flow through your long tresses, and when you set yourself to the task of soaping up and scrubbing away your surface cares and dry skin, you can feel the baby-soft skin emerge.

With the luxury of time, you can then stretch out on a polished stone shelf beside the water and slather mud on your face and body. It dries quickly in the sun and as you scrape it off, your already softened skin glows pink with the rush of blood to the surface and another rinse in the ever swirling warm spring removes the last vestiges of age and care.

With skin so ready for treatment, you gently massage fragrant oils, rich creams and stimulating serums all over, then rest again, in clean cloths that keep you warm as the nourishing products soak in.

A leisurely walk back, through the forest in waning sunlight, gives you the opportunity for a movement meditation: the silent progress in quite literally new skin, back to familiar surroundings with a very renewed sense of purpose. It is well there are no mirrors here: this is not the time to contemplate your exterior, but simply to appreciate its ability to receive such priceless gifts.

I did say that was under ideal conditions, something few of us ever experience. What we may lack in perfection, we can re-create with intention, some basic tools and time specifically scheduled out.

Not everyone has a bath, so if a shower or even a sink with washcloths must suffice, try to keep the temperature one that is warm and comfortable. If you cannot spend 30 minutes in a warm to hot bath, spend more time in self-massage with fragrant oils. The most effective and economical ones are: lavender and clary sage. If you enjoy them, use enough to fill your senses, so that long after this experience, you will breathe in the transforming power of herbs that require months of hot sunlight to develop their healing perfumes.