his post came from a question asked by a member of our community who has (very, very) patiently waited for me to respond.
It took me so long because I wanted to write my response as a post here on Canto for the general public; as this topic warrants more public understanding and discussion.
In 2016 4% of adults self-harm, 15% of teenagers self-harm, and up to 35% of college students self-harm.
This is one form of compulsive behavior that affects so many of us and those we love in different ways.
Now some would say that this is a mental health issue and as such should be left to mental health professionals. Obviously there is truth to that, but I have found that the Sacred Arts speak to our mental health concerns, just as they speak to everything else.
So while seeking treatment and good counsel in this are is absolutely the first step, there are techniques and tools within the sacred arts that we can work with to support people who self-harm and are ready and willing to receive help.
Here are some of the best sacred arts based tools and techniques to address this:
1.) Spiritual Cleansing and ritual bathing – cleansing one’s home and body in an intentional manner has long been believed to have protective qualities as well as the ability to remove negative influences and hardship. Any kind of mental or physical disequilibrium falls into the “negative influence and hardship” category.
One of my favorite ritual bath recipes to employ when you are seeking to stop any kind of damaging compulsive or addictive behavior is made with:
- one part kosher salt
- one part olive oil
- a pinch of dried grapefruit rind
- three pinches of lemongrass
- three cardamom seeds
- a pinch of black pepper.
2.) Working with a lodestone to draw and attract not only greater clarity but the external supports (people and systems) require for the breaking of addictive or compulsory behavior.
3.) Creating a salt jar, which I think of as a ceremonial “reset” button, as well as very protective and cleansing.
4.) Creating a prayer bundle, mojo bag, or medicine bag for the one who is suffering. In this case you want to think about the individual you are making the bag for. If possible, it is a good idea to have them help you in fashioning the bag.
You will want to use your own good judgment and take into account what herbs, roots, and talismans would be appropriate given the specific person and situation, but some of my favorites to include in any work where there needs to be more clarity and a cessation of harmful, compulsory behavior are:
- small rose quartz and/or clear quartz crystal
- small piece of black tourmaline (it can even be a black tourmaline bead)
- soil or dirt from a place where the individual felt healthy and happy
- a few small kernels of dried corn
- Archangel root (commonly known as angelica)
- High John the Conqueror Root
- Solomon Seal Root
- a bit of dried grapefruit rind
- a bit of Juniper or Cedar
- a sprinkle of pink dried pink rose petals
5.) Prayer and blessing are obviously recommended. Here is one that I wrote for my clients who have self-harmed or who have loved ones who have self-harmed. This was originally written for people to say over themselves but you if you have a loved one caught in this cycle you may bless them with it.
Blessed ones in whom I live and love, move and have my being. Thank you for this day. Thank you for the earth beneath my feet and for the sky above my head. Thank you for the breath running through my body and the blood running through my veins. I ask that you give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that knows the right path to follow with wisdom and discernment.
I ask too that you keep me whole, in vital health, and fixed on the fact that I am holy, beloved, and needed in this world in so many ways that are both seen and unseen, known, and unknown to me at this time. Support me in my attempts to stand in sovereignty, just as I am, untouched by the criticisms and harrowing howls, clean and safe here and now.
Bring me back to the place of loving and caring for myself in all good ways as I remember and make room for the sensations of deep pleasure and sincere being that go hand in hand with the health, wholeness, and holiness that are, were, and ever will be my own. So it is, amen.
If you need resources and more information about self-harming, I highly recommend Cornell’s categorized resource list.