BY LAURA DELARATO
I’ve done every single thing you can think of to be thinner. I’m a recovering bulimic, brief time anorexic, teen ipecac user, compulsive exerciser, and was an all-around bad person to my body for an excessive amount of time. It took everything I had to get to a place of acceptance and I’m really lucky to have come out the other side with the wherewithal to understand why we do this to ourselves.
It’s 2017 and 91% of women in the US are unhappy with their bodies. There is something wrong with this number. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like; we all walk around with an invisible cloud of insecurities based on our distorted view of how we are suppose to look — measured by impossible beauty standards. Advertisements, film and tv representations of women, media criticisms of bodies: they don’t care if you can wake up every morning as a person who love themselves. They want you to buy their product.
I say: No thank you.
I really believe in the power of embracing yourself, your body, and who you are in this very moment — and finding strength from within. Body acceptance is a journey, and this spell is a great ritual that can be done whenever you feel you need to re-enroll yourself into that course.
This spell incorporates self-love, kitchen witchery, and a few stretches to keep yourself present within your own skin. It can be done anytime of day that would coincide with taking a shower and having some quiet time.
Yoga Mat or Towel
Gather all your elements and keep them at close range before starting.
Arrange a yoga mat or towel in front of a mirror enough to where you can see your face and a part of your body. The mirror can be any size you wish, and can be propped up by books or furniture for a better view. This would be a good time to turn on any soothing instrumental music and grab any personal items that feel good to you. For example: I like to keep a Queen of Hearts out from my card deck and a few crystals.
Remove as much or as little clothes that makes you feel comfortable. If you can do fully nude, wonderful — if not, also wonderful. I tend to like doing this spell in my underwear and topless so that I can draw more attention to my midsection and heart. Adorn yourself with any jewelry or physical symbols of confidence. For example: I apply the brightest red lipstick I own.
Light a pink candle and place it in front of the mat. If you do not have a pink candle, light any candle and put a pink object next to or under the frame (sometimes I’ll rip out a section of a magazine that as the aesthetic I want to invoke). This candle represents the transition into loving and accepting yourself. Grab your pen and a piece of paper, and write down 3-5 things you enjoy doing. Fold the paper and place in front of you. Here are mine: painting, making breakfast, yoga, playing with makeup, baking.
Sit on the mat and look at yourself in the mirror. Open up your non-dominate hand in front of you and add the body oil (alternatives: lotion, coconut oil, olive oil) into the center. Pick up your cinnamon with your dominate hand and give a few dashes into the oil (cinnamon is a common spice used to draw love). Coat your index finger from your dominate hand into cinnamon/oil mixture then drag it along the tops of your thighs, stomach, chest, arms, lower back, and neck.
When done, look back at yourself in the mirror. Close your eyes and imagine yourself. Keep the image in your head. Take your hands and place them on the tops of your thighs. Say, whisper or think: I appreciate you carrying me through this world. I will be good to you. Take hands and place them on your chest. Say, whisper or think: I believe in your decisions. I will be good to you. Take hands and place them on your lower back/top of ass. Say, whisper or think: Thank you for giving me stability. I will be good to you. Take hands and place them on your belly. Say, whisper or think: I hold you dear and you bring me comfort. I will be good to you. Open your eyes.
If at any point you thought of something negative about yourself, write it down on another piece of paper. Sit with those thoughts for a moment, then fold the paper and place it behind you.
Stand up, put your hands above your head and stretch up to the sky. Drop down slowly and dangle your body toward your feet. Do not worry if you think you're bending and stretching in somehow insufficient. This isn’t yoga class…and even then they’d tell you to do it at your own pace. This is your body — move the way it allows.
Remove any jewelry you added from earlier. Put on your robe (or towel), and bring the lit candle into the bathroom. Turn on the shower and turn off the lights — the candle will be the only light in the room. Hop in the shower; bathe the way you normally would — remembering to wash off the cinnamon/oil mixture. As you do, let your hands grab your belly and thighs and ass. Grab every part of yourself and really feel every inch. You have so much value and worth to offer the world. Mentally remind yourself to slow down, allow for self-care, and to recognize that having bad body image days are going to happen — but you’re going do your best to be good to yourself and your body when those days happen.
Finish in the shower, turn on the light, and blow out the candle. Make your way back to your mat and look at yourself once again in the mirror. In front of you is your list of things you love to do. Put the list on your altar. Behind you is the list of any negative thoughts. Standup, put on clothes (or don’t…fine by me!), and take the list into another room. Rip up the paper, put it in the trash, dash pepper and vinegar (optional) into the trash. Tie up the trash and put it outside.
End your night with a glass of wine, a hit off of a bowl, or with a long masturbation session — anything that will allow you to relax in your own space. This will close out the spell.
Laura Delarato is a video babe and writer at Refinery29. She is a staunch body positive activist, illustrator, sex educator and painter based in Brooklyn. Her work is deeply planted within body politics, fitness, and sex education. She also loves breakfast, banishing spells, her bike, and bikinis.