Love Spells and Ethics

Love Spells and Ethics: Stripping Past the Controversy

Ethics of Love Spells Image

Love spells cause a lot of controversy. At any given day in any given group, they’ll be an argument over what is okay.

When really, there needn’t be.

The basic rule of thumb that I use is: ‘Would I do this in a mundane way?’ Or, more accurately: ‘Would this constitute as abuse or other illegal behavior if I did it mundanely?’

Things That You Wouldn’t Do Normally

  • keep a lover when they wanted to leave
  • demand someone think of you all the time
  • demand all of your lover’s time
  • hurt them if they didn’t do what you wanted
  • force them to fall in love with you

Things That Are Cool

  • making yourself more beautiful
  • highlighting your best qualities
  • opening yourself up to love
  • asking for a partner


To put this into another context, it’s okay to do a money spell, but not okay to do a spell that allows you to rob another person.

A lot of the ‘darker’ love spells come from times when a woman’s next meal came from her ability to keep and please her husband, and she would be facing ruin, if not death, should her husband leave her.

We aren’t in those times now. Being single isn’t a problem that needs to be fixed. By all means, ask for a partner if that’s what you want, but asking is the key word here. Ask. Don’t demand.

My favourite love spell is simply writing down the characteristics of my ideal partner, and sleeping with that sheet of paper under my pillow for seven days.

What’s your favourite love spell? Let me know in the comments!

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Decluttering – How to Do It the Effective Way

How to (2)How to Declutter – The Effective Way

What is Clutter?

There are many decluttering posts around, but they don’t always answer this simple question.

Clutter is things we don’t need, and most likely don’t want. Clutter can be physical objects, but it can also be emotional baggage, spiritual nastiness and unwanted behavioural patterns.

The  best way to tackle decluttering and prevent the need from having to do it again, is to approach it holistically.

Questions to ask yourself

When you are throwing out an object, think about why you have it in the first place?.

Was it a gift that you think you can’t get rid of because of who gave it to you? Is it something that you’ve been meaning to mend, but never got around to, because you either have more important priorities or you just don’t know what your priorities are?

Are you accumulating rubbish because you can’t take the ten seconds to put in in the outside in because you’ve always got better things to do? (Guilty)

Are you hoarding things to fill up some sort of emotional gap?

When you tackle these emotions head on, rather than focusing on the objects, you’ll be able to release the emotional block, and be able to deal with decluttering easier. We have an emotional relationship with physical items, and it isn’t always easy to let go. A lot of decluttering guides forget that.

How much should I declutter?

However much feels right to you. I set my goal to get rid of 101 things, because that seems like a comfortable goal. I needed to clear a lot of space to fit my stock from my old shop into my room, and I have a lot of hobbies, which means a lot of stuff.

So, for me, crafter hoarder extraordinaire, 101 things is very reasonable.

If you are already very minimalist, 101 things might be difficult. If you’ve not thrown anything away in five years, 101 things might not even scratch the surface.

Start small. You can always go through things again, if you find you still haven’t enough space.

How do I Declutter?

By starting small.

And by small, I mean taking ten minutes a day to go through a single drawer or shelf. That might seems silly, but decluttering always takes way more time than you think. Taking things slow and small prevents you from sobbing into a pile of odd socks way past your bedtime.

Ten minutes a day.

It’s that simple. There’s no need to complicate it with checklists or to do lists or special manoeuvres. Get rid of stuff, think about why you had it in the first place, and set into motion healthier ways of dealing with that unwanted emotion.

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Why I Hate Meditation – Guest Post by Deanna from SMEAR

Today we have a wonderful guest post called ‘Why I Hate Meditation’ by Deanna from SMEAR.

Why I Hate MeditationWhy I Hate Meditation

The truth is, I hate meditation.

There, I said it. I feel like I just admitted to something dirty. Like people on the other side of the screen are looking at this and like: “God, how could she say that?!”
I’m not sure what it is about the art of meditation but it just doesn’t appeal to me. But you know what? I still do it.

Why? Because it helps. Yes, I hate it but I’m not oblivious to the fact that it does actually help me. It makes me so much more calm, it increases my mindfulness and that in turns allows me to be happier. The same way one small positive thought in the morning can change the entire day, a few minutes of simple meditation can change the day. As much as I hate admitting it.
I’ve always hated meditation. I’m not sure what it is really but it just… rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s just that I don’t want to settle down and calm my mind. I want to keep thinking, I want to keep coming up with ideas even if I know how good it is for me to quiet my mind.

But there are alternatives that I don’t mind. I love walking and allowing myself to slow down. Often times I find a walk the perfect alternative to meditation- though sometimes my mind goes a mile a minute still. Coloring can be a great alternative as well for anyone who enjoys it (surprise, I hate that too. There must be something wrong with me.) But there is a reason that every self help book, blog, guru, and forum out there suggests meditation. It’s good for you.

A few months ago I challenged myself to try meditation, even though I hated it. I forced myself to go in with an open mind and I kind of hoped I would come to love it. I didn’t, but I stuck it out for a month and I learnt a lot. I learnt that even though I hated it, it was good for me. I didn’t need to love it to benefit from it. So, to anyone reading this right now who doesn’t like meditation, I have a challenge for you. Try it. For one month do it at least 6 times. That’s not too much.
See how it changes your life and your mindset. If it doesn’t and if you still hate it, that’s okay. But I know a lot of people who try it once and decide it doesn’t work. We often get discouraged when we don’t get results right away. But meditation (like a lot of things) takes more than one time to work. It takes constant practice, and an open mind to be willing to let it work- because without that no amount of meditation will have a benefit on you.

So, do I meditate a lot? Of course not! I hate it. But I do it three or four times a month, and that seems to be enough for me. When I’m stressed I might sit down and do it more and in truth, that helps. It’s like working out for people who don’t like working out but want to get into shape- it’s about finding the right balance. And you never know, you might come to enjoy it.

More From Deanna

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Dealing with Burnout

dealing with burnoutDealing with Burnout

Fallow times come to us all. We cannot be at the top of our game all the time. There are several reasons why we might be dealing with burnout, and so there are a few solutions. The best thing you can do for yourself is wait and rest, however. Burnout happens when we push ourselves to hard, and pushing through it is pointless at best, and can be disastrous at worst.

When I urge people to consistently put themselves first, this is why.

Even if your sole purpose in life is to help people, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

It is difficult, and sometimes impossible to help other people when your soul is hurting. Some pain we can work through, but the worst pain is the one we don’t even feel.

Society tells us that by being anything less than 100% all the time we are being lazy, and it’s precisely this attitude that causes so much mental illness and emotional distress amongst our population.  This attitude causes burnout, and we feel we must remove the burnout, instead of this attitude, which creates a sick self fulfilling prophecy.

Let’s look at some of the more common causes.


As described above, the most common direct cause is simply that of doing too much. Or trying to do too much – humans cannot multitask. Science has come forward in the recent months to explain that multitasking is actually detrimental to getting things done. Doing six things at once only means that small progress is made in six things, rather than actually completing one or two tasks which happens when you single task.

Throw out your To-Do list – half of what’s on it you don’t need to do. Yet more of it you can delegate to colleagues or family members.

You need to work smarter, instead of harder.

But first, you need to rest. If you’re thinking about work – you aren’t resting. You are still giving work (or whatever you’re burnt out on) that energy. If you are constantly thinking about work on your day off, you may as well have gone to work for all the rest you’ve got.

Give yourself a respite, and a sacred space to be

Time Out

Sometimes, especially with spiritual work, you can be put into a sort of ‘Time Out’ if you refuse to listen to your body or to signs you’ve been given.

This is simply a waiting game. There is a lesson to be learned while you’re in Time Out – a sort of ‘sit there and think about what you’ve done’ kind of thing.

You’ll be let out once you’ve learnt your lesson. I promise. Be good, now.

Lack of Passion

Sometimes we lose passion for what we’re doing, and discipline keeps us going. But discipline can sometimes take us too far – if we’ve lost passion, it becomes supremely difficult to keep going. What was once easy for us is now a trial, and it’s easy to just try and work harder to try and get the same amount and quality of work done.

However, this is worst thing to do. You need to reignite the flames of passion for your work – or find a different path. Try and remember what drew you to the work in the first place – is there still time in your working life for that? Or have you progressed so far you no longer even do the things you wanted to do? Are you stuck doing paperwork instead of the goals that you had set for yourself? Or has the industry simply changed and you no longer enjoy it?

Taking steps to increase the amount of joy in our lives goes a long way to help failing passion. New books, movies, long walks, museums are all ways to get the brain to fire again.

But the key part is to listen to yourself – what is really making you unhappy? Can you change it, or get rid of it?

And remember, it’s okay to walk away from something that once made you happy. It doesn’t make you happy anymore, so it is no longer right for you. Don’t cling to a dream that has flown.

Lack of Support

If no-one understands your path, it is hard to walk it. Instead of trying to convince your family and friends to support you, find those who will. The Internet is vast place, full of support groups for just about every job, business or hobby.

And if your family/friends are really getting you down, it’s okay to walk away from them too.

A book I found really useful in clearing a lot of my To Do list and avoiding burn out in the first place, was The 4-Hour Work Week. Amazing things happen when you realize how much work actually doesn’t need to be done – or not done by you!

Dealing with burnout becomes a lot easier when you don’t get burnt out so often in the first place!

You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me.

Top Ten Budget Crystals

budget crystals

Budget Crystals

Budget crystals – are they worth it?

Yes! Crystal healing needn’t be an expensive hobby. There are many, many beautiful and expensive stones, but you can great results with a collection worth less than £20.

Here are my favourite budget crystals, and where I source them from.

Where to Source Stones

Obviously, you should be looking for ethical companies to stones from. But here are some tips to getting cheaper crystals.

  • Buy from museums or science shops. I went to a bunch of jewelry and science stalls when I was in Germany, and got crystals half the price they are in the metaphysical shops. A crystal is a crystal is a crystal. Yes, there are some shapes that are better for a certain purpose than others, but a raw or tumbled stone will serve you just fine.
  • Secondhand stones are perfectly fine. You should be cleansing any stone that comes into your life anyway, so don’t feel odd about buying them secondhand.
  • Check out jewelry shops – sometimes they sell of old stock that has gone out out of fashion, but are still perfectly usable. You can also get carved or shaped stones cheaper than in other stores too.

But which ones should you buy? Here are my Top Ten Budget Crystals…

(Links in this post may be affiliate links.)


Rose Quartz

Buy here: £2.10
Rose Quartz Chunk Approx 2 inches by Geofossils

If I had to pick a favorite stone, it would be Rose Quartz all the way. I just love it.

Rose Quartz is the best emotional healer available, and works in conjunction with just about any other stone.

It promotes love of all kinds – self-love, friendship, family, and romance. Rose Quartz  helps ease the pain of abuse and sexual trauma. Healing heartbreak, it is a gentle stone that is suitable for jewelry and other forms of daily use.

You can also use it to ease tension in a room, and give a calm loving atmosphere.

If you suffer from headaches or migraines this not only eases the symptoms, but can help prevent attacks.

It can help reduce the symptoms and effects of degenerative mental conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and also helps you recover from addictions of all kinds.

Physically, it heals the heart, lungs, chest, and eases burns and blistering.


Buy Here: £1.05
Amethyst Tumble Stone (20-25mm) Single Stone

Amethyst is a Master Healer, yes, but also one of the most common elements on Earth, so if you’re asked to pay large sums for small stones, some bugger saw you coming.

Being a Master Healer, there isn’t much Amethyst can’t do, but it does have specialties where it’s powers are amplified.

It helps sobriety of all kinds, healing addictions and self destructive behaviors. Amethyst also helps the memory, and improves neural links, making you sharper and cleverer, also easing the symptoms of memory related disorders.


Buy it Here: £2.75

Clear Quartz Crystal Natural Rough Point
Another Master Healer, this one specialising in burns, radiation and chemotherapy side effects and other similar ailments. It de-toxifies the body and brings the organs into balance.

Quartz is good for diagnosing illnesses and indicating where energy blockages and disease lie in the body and aura field.

Blue Apatite

Buy It Here: £3.90

Tumbled Blue Apatite Tumble Stone
Apatite is a balancing and calming stone, making it great to ease emotional overload associated with autism, ADHD, panic disorders and similar conditions.

It is also useful for bones, cartilage and teeth, and disorders within those areas of the body, including motor skills and exhaustion.

Black Tourmaline

Buy it here: £2.90
Rough Black Tourmaline Crystal Chunk For Grounding, Protection & Obsorbing Negativity and Pollution Approx 1.5cm – Free Postage

Black Tourmaline is great for chronic and/or terminal diseases and conditions, especially good for pain relief, and conditions related to the lungs and immune system.

Also useful for arthritis, hand-eye coordination and back pain.

Tiger’s Eye

Buy it here: £1.07
Tiger Eye Tumblestones – Medium

Tiger’s Eye is great for mental illness, and deals with issues of self-worth, self-doubt and blocked emotions. It encourages the correct use of power and assertion.

Red Jasper

Buy it here: £1.08

Red Jasper Tumble Stone (20-25mm) Single Stone

Red Jasper is another good one for chronic conditions and the isolation therein, but is great for fevers, cleaning the blood and liver, and protecting against electromagnetic and geopathic stress.

Green Aventurine

Buy it here: £1.85
Tumbled Green Aventurine Tumble Stone

Green Aventurine is a great all around healer, good at balancing most aspects of the body.

Particular illnesses and conditions eased by Green Aventurine include migraines, stuttering and other speech impediments, high cholesterol, acne and intrusive negative thoughts.


Buy it here: £1.10
Carnelian Tumble Stone (Brazilian) (20-25mm) Single Stone

Usually known as the business success stone, Carnelian has many healing properties as well.

Specifically it’s good for nosebleeds, wounds, ovaries and the womb, depression, neuralgia and helps the absorption of vitamins and minerals.


Buy It Here: £1.07
Sodalite Tumble Stone (20-25mm) Single Stone

Sodalite is good for balancing the shadow with the light, and so it great for hypochondria, panic disorders, depression and anger issues.

It also works on the throat and vocal chords, can lower blood pressure and increases the absorption of fluid.


What I’ve give you here are just a few properties of each crystal, and specifically just a few for crystal healing. Add the witchcraft uses for crystals, and you can do anything you want with these ten budget crystals.

This is a perfect basic toolkit, and also a good gift for the budding healer in the family.

But which budget crystals are your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

(You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me.)

Mars Retrograde – 10 Lessons to Help You Cope

Mars Retrograde

So what is Mars Retrograde?

A planet goes into retrograde when it appears to slow in the night sky, stop, and then go backwards. It isn’t actually going backwards in the astronomical sense; it just looks like that because of the particular way Earth is placed in relation to whichever planet.  In this case, Mars Retrograde.

Astrologically, the most basic explanation is that anything that Mars governs will slow down, stop and go backwards also. Anyone governed by a sign that Mars rules (i.e Scorpio) will feel the effects most, anyone with Scorpio or Sagittarius well represented in their birth chart and anyone who has their Mars in Scorpio (i.e, me) will also get the shorter end of the stick.

However, whenever any planet goes retrograde, you actually benefit from it if you stop fighting the energy. You need to tap into the energy and learn the lessons available to you. Are those the fun lessons where the teacher wheels in the TV and you watch a film?

Probably not.

So, Mars Retrograde in particular?

Mars is a planet of fire, so governs fiery stuff, but in the specifics it governs:

  • -fighting
  • -anger
  • -drive (which is different than ambition)
  • -motivation
  • – energy in general
  • -sexual matters

So, during Retrograde these all get turned on their head. As the theatre proverb goes, if it can go wrong, it will. Which is why during Retrogrades people say you should avoid certain situations and essentially hide in a hole. Which is tempting, but not useful. Especially with the nearer planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars) since they govern things which take up probably 70% of our day to day lives.

You can’t avoid anger. Except, you probably are, which is why you are currently so irrationally pissed off at everything. You’ve got to constantly be on the go and working, else you’d fail at your goals. Except, you can’t do that, which is why you’re so sleepy and sluggish.

You can’t avoid life; just like you can’t not put on the play. You need to find ways of working with the energy, not against it. Mars Retrograde can be an exceptionally healing time if you do it right.

Read on for ten lessons Mars Retrograde can teach you.

Mars Retrograde lasts from 17th April 2016 until approximately 29th June 2016.

Ten Lessons Mars Retrograde Can Teach You (and Advice On How to Do Your Homework)

1.Don’t work for the sake of work.

Advice:  You can probably stop doing around 80% of your job. No, don’t click away. I’m serious. It’s called Pareto’s Principle, and basically 80% of any success comes from 20% of any work. Pareto noticed that with his peapods, 80% of peas came from 20% of the peapods. Find out what your 80% of crap is, and stop doing it.

Hint: if you’re self-employed, it’s probably something around social media. Drop the follow me/like me games unless you’re literally at like less than ten followers, stop following huge amounts of people to get them to follow you, stop deleting your Pins on Pinterest, etc etc.

Unless you are really seeing a benefit from something, STOP. You will feel real resistance from yourself when you do this. This is because we are conditioned to work; and to feel bad when we are not. However, work for work’s sake helps literally no one. Not even your employer, if you have one.

You don’t need to work harder, you need to work smarter. I’ve halved my hours of work and more than doubled the results in terms of sales, when I approached my working life in this way.

If you would like to learn more about this, read Tim Ferris’s: The 4-Hour Work Week.

2. Learn why you are working for the sake of it.

It’s easy for me to say that we are conditioned to work, but each of us probably has a slightly different reason why we’ve fallen into the trap. For me, it’s guilt and envy.

I feel guilty that I’m sat on the couch whilst other people have to work 12 hour shifts. Which is silly, because me doing more work won’t make their lives any easier.

I also feel envious, and this is one of these irrational impulses you’ll find about yourself during Mars Retrograde. I feel envious of career people doing career things, having enough clients and work to be working 18 hours a day, doing this, doing that, having work lunches at fancy café with fancy suits.

You have to ask yourself is that what you really want? Do I really want to be working 18 hours a day? No. No I don’t. I want a business that sustains me …and I do want to eat at fancy cafes.

But neither of those things means I have to work daft hours.

Get off the damn treadmill, and since you’re looking for something to fill that time, find out precisely why you were on it in the first place. This will help keep you off it.

3. That thing you’re avoiding? Either do it or don’t.

Do you know how long I’ve procrastinated on one simple email? FOUR MONTHS. And the thing is, it’s not just that one email that didn’t get done. It was a whole bunch of other stuff that needed my concentration, and since I couldn’t concentrate because of that damn email, they didn’t get done either. I ended up either spending way too much time on online games trying to ignore the approaching brainweasels,* or I did a lot of work for work’s sake to try and convince myself I had Done Work.

So what happened, then, when I sent this disastrous email?

Nothing. In fact, better than nothing. I got sympathy and understanding for having to cancel due to real life issues.

What a waste of time and energy.

On the other hand, sometimes it’s best to accept that you never will put up those shelves in the garage/use that gift card/write that play. Strike it from your To-Do list forever and stop feeling guilty about it.

(*Negative thoughts that can consume you. It’s like you have a brain full of angry weasels. Brainweasels. It’s a thing, okay?)

4. That stuff you’re doing for ‘exposure’?

Are you actually getting exposure? Is it the sort of exposure that’s bringing you paid work? Is it bringing you the sort of clients that you actually want to work with? No? Then stop doing it. If you must work for free to build a portfolio, do it on your own terms, on your own websites, accounts and publications. You control the content, spend more time doing projects you enjoy, spend less time running after someone else, and you could probably monetize your free content to some extent as well.You don’t have endless amounts of energy; so you have to say no to some things.

5. That stuff you’re doing for a ‘hobby’?

You should probably keep doing that actually. You have to spend your energy doing fun stuff sometimes. Make sure you actually enjoy it though, and leave yourself enough energy to enjoy it. If you have to say no to other stuff for You Time you can actually use, so be it. Staring at the screen at TV (or books!) you’re not really enjoying but you’re too tired to do anything else is not ‘You Time’. That’s a sign you’re doing too much and need a break. Or a nap. Probably both.

6.Go the frick to bed.

If this is difficult, go the frick to a doctor. Who knows, you might be like me and find a nice doctor who gives you a certain blood test just in case, and then you find out you’re actually so deficient in a major vitamin you have to take stronger tablet than dying people in hospitals take.

I feel much better now.

And also, rest is not just sleep. You have to have downtime too. Take things slower. If you die tomorrow, you won’t really give a toss whether or not you did the washing or beat your colleagues’ sales score.

Learn to not do things. It’s more difficult than you’d expect. Go for walks. Read stuff. Colour in. Whatever appeals to you, and makes you park your arse for a few minutes to an hour.

7.Learn why you are angry.

And it’s probably not the reason you think. Anger is never irrational – when you feel yourself exploding over something minor, really think about the reason. Are you just stressed? Or is there something in your past that you never dealt with? Is that silly comment you just blew up about really just the last straw on a bad day, or did it actually trigger or upset you in a specific way? Does the person remind you of someone else, or are you just learning to stand up for yourself?

If you’re struggling with anything, I always recommend keeping a journal. The specific format I recommend is detailed in The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self, but it has benefits for anyone who is not a creator as well. The format is Morning Pages – three pages of long hand stream of consciousness first thing in the morning. If you don’t know why you’re upset or struggling, these Morning Pages will soon tell you. In excruciating, teenage poetry like detail. If you’re looking for a sign, you probably just aren’t listening to yourself.

8.Learn how to deal with your anger

Your anger isn’t irrational, but sometimes your actions are. Some people bottle up their anger and then lose their temper over something silly because they didn’t raise their voice at what really mattered. Other people can’t feel an emotion without expressing it. Just because someone is irritating, doesn’t mean you have to tell them. Even though you don’t like them, doesn’t mean they need to have that screamed at them. Just because you’re going through Hell doesn’t give you the right to jump down the throat of a waitress because she got your order wrong.

There are many options to work with your anger, including therapy. Personally I find art journaling helps me keep my temper and work through issues, but I know other people find solace in sports, especially martial arts.

9.Look at your relationship with sexual matters

Whatever your previous relationships, sexual orientation or amount of desire, we all probably hold hang ups, whether they more simple or something a lot darker.

Whilst I don’t recommend poking at your darker history without the aid of a therapist, the natural energy of Mars Retrograde will bring un-dealt with shenanigans forward, especially of the sexual nature.

Any journaling or other therapy type things you already do may be well focused on this area, although if you are deeply hurting I would always recommend you take the advice of a professional.

This is also a good time to address any sort of smaller hang ups around dating, and re-establish what you are looking for in a partner – including whether you are actually interested in having one or not!

A lot of our self-worth hinges, often wrongly, on our sexual nature and behaviour, so even if you’re pretty sure you’re good, checking in with yourself on some hot topics is always a good idea.

The ideas around sex and dating can often be fraught with misogyny, and there are many wrongful attitudes around same-sex and polyamorist relationships that can be very damaging when you internalize them.

At the time of writing, Pluto, the planet of looking inwards, is also in Retrograde, so any inner looking is especially well aspected now.

10. Are you chasing the right dream?

Another way that Pluto can help during Mars Retrograde. We spend so much of our time on the minutiae of life – according to this article, we spend 208 hours on average each year just doing cleaning. It is so easy to let life pass you by, and follow the same routines as five years ago.

Are you still the same person as you were then? Do you want the same things? Did you get the things you wanted – do you still want them?

Make sure you aren’t spending precious energy chasing something you don’t want.

In conclusion, Mars Retrograde can really help you learn to say ‘no’ to things that just aren’t worth it. What did you say ‘no’ to this week?

If you’re into astrology and want to learn Moon Magic, I recommend this course by Heart of the Forest.

(You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me.)


Sleep Paralysis – My Experiences with Sleep Paralysis

sleep paralysis

Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is an experience that most of us have had at least once, though some people have it more often. It’s one of the most terrifying experiences you’ll have in your life, but, except in rare cases, it’s completely harmless. If you have other sleep problems as well as sleep paralysis, I would recommend you see your GP as you may have some form of narcolepsy, but otherwise you’re safe.

What is Sleep Paralysis?

Does this picture ring a bell?

sleep paralysis

It’s called ‘The Nightmare’ and it’s by Henry Fuseli. Usually said to be a picture of an incubus, demon or average nightmare, it actually describes the symptoms of sleep paralysis really well. St Patrick also used to suffer from it, but attributed it, like most historical cases of sleep paralysis, to demons.

Sleep paralysis happens when the mind wakes up before the body does. You will be paralyzed for a few minutes, usually feel something crushing your chest and if you’re unlucky enough to have opened your eyes, vivid and excruciating hallucinations.

Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis

Other symptoms include breathlessness and symptoms not unlike that of an out-of-body experience, falling out or up of your body, your limbs being lifted up or forced downwards. Hallucinations are, as always, tailored to the particular sufferer, but almost always include one or more of the following:

  • thinking you are being attacked by some sort of spirit/god/demon/etc – this happens less if you’re atheist, of course, I’ve also been convinced I was being strangled by a burglar before. I would imagine that’s the form they would take for a committed atheist, but your mileage may vary.
  • being utterly convinced you are going to die. Like, seriously, this is the worst.
  • something physical on your chest
  • being watched and tormented by something or someone, or sense that something is coming to get you and will get you before you can move.

In my case, they are almost always preceded by a series of lucid nightmares. Yep, lucid nightmares. I am acutely aware of what is happening to me, I can control my own actions, and I am aware that I am dreaming. No matter what I’ve done, I struggle to wake myself up, and I usually wake up to an episode of sleep paralysis. Next time it happens I’m gonna try calming down, because usually as soon I work out that I’m lucid, I panic, because I know what happens. I think I’ve tried this before to no avail, but here goes nothing.

What Not To Do During An Episode

  • panic. You will be able to move again, you can breathe even though it doesn’t feel like it. The knowledge that you’ve just gained about this being a normal and natural bodily function will make them less scary, I promise.
  • open your eyes. Do not open your eyes first thing, even though they will be the first thing you can move. In fact, I recommend you don’t open your eyes until you can physically get out of bed and put the light on.
  • go back to sleep. You must get out of bed, use the toilet or get a drink if you need to, and then do something to occupy your mind for at least half an hour. Or until you are no longer sleepy. I don’t know why, but after the paralysis ends you are mega sleepy, and if you go back to sleep you WILL have another episode. Get up.

How to Cope During an Episode

As well as the tips above, use these:

  • Concentrate on wiggling your toes and fingers FIRST. Not your eyes. As soon as you can move your fingers and feet you should feel the other symptoms recede.
  • Get out of bed and walk around.
  • Speak, as soon as you can. Doesn’t have to be loud, but I’m always frightened most by not being able to talk or scream during an episode.
  • If you’re struggling to move, try and kick your bedsheets off, but don’t panic if you get tangled. Work on sitting up and pulling off the bedsheets with your hands.

Preventing an Attack

  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
  • Somehow sleeping on your back causes attacks. Not sure why, just does.
  • Avoid lucid dreaming workings. What triggers attacks differs from person to person – there’s only one meditation/dreaming exercise that doesn’t set off attacks for me personally, and if at anytime I try and change a dream beyond the ‘ooh look I’m having a dream about my favourite TV show, wouldn’t it be cool if character A did this’, that will cause an episode.
  • There is a specific technique to cause lucid dreaming that I believe is called the WILD or WILDS technique that has been known to cause sleep paralysis in those that don’t normally get it, so steer clear of that.
  • In fact, any out of body techniques that you are meant to do when you are asleep, on the edge of sleep or lying on your bed when you might fall asleep whether you intend to or not, are best avoided.
  • Go to sleep at the same time each night if you can. Anything that can disturb sleep and not wake you up properly can cause sleep paralysis. Something as simple as having music instead of a beeping alarm can cause it for me – the music doesn’t startle me awake like the beeping, I just notice there being something ‘wrong’ in my sleeping environment and wake up wrong.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions, let me know and I will try and answer them.

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