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Emotions are one of the pillars of witchcraft (along with imagination, intention, and willpower) and you shouldn’t underestimate how potent emotional harnessing can be in your craft. Each of the other pillars gets quite a bit of discussion time in witchcraft circles but it always seems that emotions are left out of the conversation. It’s either assumed that you already understand how to use your emotions, or the importance of emotional energy is highly undervalued. Either way, it’s time to open this topic up to discussion and get some more perspective on how exactly to make the best use of your emotions.

What is emotional harnessing?

Put simply, emotional harnessing is the ability to call up emotions in yourself for the purpose of using that emotional energy in your spells. For example, if you’re doing a job spell to get a promotion you might call up the feeling of victory, accomplishment, and pride you’ll experience once you get that promotion. If you’re doing a spell for protection, call up a feeling of complete safety. If you’re doing a spell to banish someone negative in your life, you want to call up the feeling of freedom and relief you’ll feel when they’re gone.

That said, emotions can be an incredibly difficult subject so I’d like to take a quick moment to examine emotions a little more closely and dispel any misconceptions you might have.

First, you are not your emotions. Your emotions are a sense, much like sight and touch are senses. Emotions tell you what is happening internally and in your surroundings. It’s a way for the subconscious mind and the body to communicate with the conscious mind. If you feel as though you cannot control your emotions and currently don’t see any way that you could harness them for magic then the first step is to view them as something separate from you. If you struggle with emotional control, you’ll also want to utilize more external forces to help you learn to create the emotional state that you’re looking for. Happy music, funny videos, motivational speeches, smiling practices, power poses, and more can help you to reach the emotional state that you’re wanting to utilize.

For those of you who currently cannot feel your emotions, this process is going to be more difficult but you should first know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. I mean that. Not feeling your emotions is a state that arises when the emotions are somehow made invalid or dangerous by the outside world. This means that your lack of emotional feeling is something that your subconscious mind is doing to protect you, it’s doing a very important job but it’s doing it in a way that may be cutting you off from your emotional power. I would suggest that you take this process very slow, work with a therapist who can support you in your emotional explorations, and only undertake solo practice in this when you are in an environment that feels safe to you. It can also be helpful to formulate a plan in case your emotional explorations trigger dissociation. Having support people, safety mechanisms, and grounding activities can all help immensely.

The first step in learning to feel emotions will be to recognize emotions for what they really are. At a very basic level, emotions are actually physical sensations. The subconscious triggers physical sensations in the body which are then interpreted by the conscious mind as emotional states. For the vast majority of people who cannot feel their emotions the body is still having these physical reactions, the physical feeling of an emotion is simply either not recognized as an emotion or it’s ignored. In order to reconnect with the very basic level of your emotions, you must tune into the body.

To learn to feel your emotions, I would suggest setting a timer to go off 4-5 times a day and when the timer goes off, describe to yourself what you’re feeling in your body at the moment. It’s ok if you can’t interpret these sensations as emotions yet, simply getting in the habit of noticing them is a good start. As you progress, you might begin trying to put a name to the sensations that you’re having. It’s ok if you’re not entirely sure, write down the physical sensations you’re having and then your impression of what emotion it might be. Later, look up a list of descriptions of what various emotions feel like and cross-reference that with what you experienced. This can help you learn to name your emotional sensations.

Please keep your wellbeing at the forefront if you’re undertaking this process. Learning to feel your emotions can cause unexpected reactions and you always want to be sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard. If you become exhausted, take a break. If you dissociate, take the time to come back to yourself. If you have a sudden influx of intense feeling it’s ok to take the rest of the day to recover. And, as always, seek support from professionals and those who love you when you need or want them.

How can we use this in our craft?

Using emotional harnessing in the craft can be done in many ways. The ideas below are a great way to start but feel free to experiment and develop your own methods of utilizing emotions in your craft

  • Work an emotional meditation into the prep for your spell as a way to raise energy. Immediately prior to beginning spell casting, sit and take 5 minutes to create the correct emotional state so that you can proceed through the spell in a primed energetic state.

  • You can include emotional meditations directly into your spell, as you gain proficiency in this you may find that you can create emotions in yourself as you’re performing other actions such as lighting candles, chanting incantations, or mixing herbs.

  • Creating the correct emotional state and then pairing it with an intention or visualization can act as a spell all on its own. If you experiment with this kind of emotional harnessing you’ll probably find that the emotion comes to a “peak” and then comes to a breaking point followed by a rapid decline in the level of emotion you’re feeling. Try utilizing this peak to release the spell into the world, kind of like stretching a rubber band as far as you can before letting it snap into action.

  • Storing emotions for later use is entirely possible. Choose an item to store a particular emotion and when you either create that feeling state or the emotion arises naturally you can channel that feeling into the item to be used later. If you do this, be sure you know what emotion you’re putting where and do not mix emotions in one object. If you store triumph in a necklace do not also try to store love in that same object. You will not be able to pull them back out one at a time and so will wind up with an object that can only give you mixed emotions in a very literal sense.