Doing Magick While Sick

While reading Practical Protection Magick last month, the author suggested doing magick while ill to help yourself get better.  I had mentioned this point in my review and how I disagreed, but would go further into detail about why in a separate post.  So here it is!

Not to knock Ellen Dugan or anything–like most things in paganism, this topic is highly individual as well–but I don’t think anyone should do magick while they’re ill.  The body is using all its resources to fight off infection.  There’s a reason doctors tell you to rest and get plenty of sleep when sick, because your body is fighting off the illness and using up its energy.  The way our bodies get more energy is by eating good food and getting plenty of rest.

Magick is the manipulation of energy.  That’s a very simplified way of putting it, but for the purposes of this post, it’s fine.  Magick is all about energetics, the sending out of energy for a specific purpose.  Those who have ever used their psychic abilities for more than a few minutes know that it can be very draining.  I know that when I do something magickal, I get very hungry.  I was playing some psychic games earlier this week for about 20 minutes with some friends and afterwards I was ravenous.  Two years ago when I helped my school’s Pagan Student Union with Tarot for Charity and read tarot cards for about three hours, I was absolutely drained and starving.

This happened because I was using and conducting energy for a specific purpose.  I expended energy, therefore, my energy needs to be refueled.  Even channeling energy that isn’t your own can have the same effects, because in some manner you expend energy in any magickal working.

So let’s recap: when you’re sick, your body is using all its energy toward getting better.  And when you do magick, you’re using energy in some way, shape, or form.  Ergo, combining the two seems ill-advised, as performing a spell or magickal working would use your own energy that is going toward making yourself well.  You’re only taking away from your recovery by using that energy to cast a spell.  And if you’re doing something magickal to try to make yourself better faster–why bother?  You don’t really end up doing yourself any favors by taking away energy that’s going toward fighting the problem in your body.

Besides, in my opinion, we tend to get sick when we need to rest the most.  A lot of people have had those moments when they are at their busiest, or “can’t afford to get sick right now”– and what happens?  They get laid up for a week.  The universe is saying “rest, idiot, you’re doing too much.”  Or your body is so stressed that it’s open to infection–whichever explanation or combination works for you.

So my opinion is that working magick while sick is not the best of ideas.  There are probably exceptions to this rule, of course.  What do my lovely readers think?


3 responses to “Doing Magick While Sick

  1. A resounding Harumph for this argument!

    But, because I like to advocate for devils, what if instead of expending energy, you opened yourself up to receive a certain type of energy? There is, after all, a cup as opposed to the sword, a High Priestess as opposed to a Magician, a left pillar as opposed to a right pillar. All of these dual symbols suggest that the conduit of magick can work in both directions.

    Now ethically speaking, it wouldn’t be very nice to just suck all the good juju out of the air like a vacuum cleaner, but you could open yourself up to receive energy in the following ways. Each of these ways would work in tandem with resting and feeding yourself, rather than working against what you naturally need to do.

    1. Drink juice, gatorade, or even colored water whose color or ingredients you associate with healing. Don’t will the healing into the drink; instead, assume the healing is already in there, and you’re just consuming it.
    2. As you go to sleep, relax and visualize your body being taken care of, in whatever effectively symbolic way comes naturally to you.
    3. Pick up a stone that contains or channels healing energy. As with the drink, assume or intuit that the energy is already in the stone, tapped from an inexhaustible source that flows into you as if flowing downhill.
    4. Do a breathing exercise that draws in healing on the inhale, and disperses gunk on the exhale.
    5. Kitchen witch or herbalist style, drink a magickal tea with the appropriate ingredients.
    6. Fill yourself with gratitude for how well your body works, without you even having to think about it. Say thank you to your body and rest, knowing that it will do its job with only a little conscious help.

    Magick doesn’t always have to be as draining as trying to bend a spoon. Where we both agree wholeheartedly is on the point that one ought to be responsible when using magick, and it certainly isn’t responsible to exert more energy than necessary when you’re sick.

    … I need to start my own blog of responses to you and Tori’s blogs. 😉

    • I think opening yourself up to energy while sick is far better than expending energy. And, if you’re opening to divine, healing energy, it would probably be beneficial while ill to do exactly that. Opening yourself to energy doesn’t take a lot of your own energy in order to work, though it does take some concentration, so timing it with a time of day when you feel most energetic or after waking up from a power nap would probably be a good idea. And I would be careful with visualizations, as visualizations (in my experience) are essentially a manipulation of energy, and some visualizations can draw on your own energy in order to be effective. I like #6 of your suggestions the best.

      • Good point on visualization. A relaxed visualization is better done with eyes closed and just sort of vague, soothing thoughts – more like a guided meditation than the sort of visualization where you draw a symbol in the air (which, yeah, feels like bending a spoon). I just try to have a positive attitude when sick, because I find that if I don’t, it’s like an energy drain and I’m liable to become depressed, which of course prolongs the illness. And all these things are ways that I can rally healing energy. A childlike suspension of disbelief helps with some of these; perhaps I’m just triggering a placebo effect, which hey, is a handy tool.

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