How They Happen; How to Avoid Them
You didn’t know that witches have special hangovers? Yep, we do. Just like overdoing it with alcohol, overusing your psychic energy can produce what feels very much like a hangover. When experiencing a psychic hangover, you may feel physically sick: fatigue, have a headache, feel nauseous or actually vomit, and or experience an extended period of malaise. Even the most practiced witch, medium, healer, and the like may fall to it, but if you are disciplined (oh, look, there’s one of the guiding principle words), you can prevent it. But to do that, we need to first understand how they happen.
In recent months as I’ve become a more and more public witch, my energy/magic/psychic output has spiked. If you viewed it in some sort of measurable graph it would look something like this:
And those highs notably follow a crash. And crash I did. How did I let it happen? I was feeling good and plain and simple was not careful. This is what happened, right around Samhain, I was doing rune casting/reading after reading, I had started Solitary Shenanigans, and was doing daily dream interpretations. Additionally I was making magical things for my Magical Flea Market. The output was high and I was loving it.
Now, I’ve been doing those things for most of my life, but they were weekly at best, and sometimes I would go a good amount of time without doing any kind of psychic output. Life today is very different as I’ve found my new path with a constant focus on a magical life. Then the crash came. I was dumbfounded by why I woke up one day just absolutely drained. I felt hung-over but had not imbibed in my traditional nightcap of a shot of whiskey in the nights before. I couldn’t eat because I felt almost a sea sickness. My head throbbed and within a few hours I had a migraine as I’d not had in a very long time. For three days I could do only the bare minimum in my life. I had to cancel Solitary Shenanigans. And reschedule clients. Everyone was understanding. My clients were gracious. My Viking was supportive. During my recovery, it didn’t take me long to figure out what had happened. I had a magic hangover. My psychic output had been so intense, I’d overdone it. I burned my hedge witch candle at both ends. I got burned. And it hurt.
When I started coming out of the fog, I reached out to some of the other witches in my life, asking them how they deal and, more importantly, prevent such psychic crashes. All of them could relate and had lots of advice. All of them had learned the hard way, even when they had protected themselves, grounded themselves, and done other prevented measures. What I also gleaned from talking to my fellow witches is that appears that we all need to push ourselves to know where our limit is. Much like most adults know they can have “X” number of drinks so they stay away from a hangover episode.
MareLin, the PNW High Priestess, for whom I have partnered with for three-plus years doing magical work and The Country Dwellers Podcast, told me that many a witch can find themselves getting sucked in and drunk on the craft. She teaches new witches all about this through her Path Of The Moon Initiate – Foundation and its initiate course. Preparation and protection are key, she said.
Preparation can just look like scheduling things in a more meaningful and relaxed manner. My fellow witch, Jennifer Hryciw, aka Painted Goddess, who has the fabulous Astrologic Lab, told me that after her lesson of trying to do 30 readings in 30 days, she now knows she needs to only do three readings a week. Your mileage may vary, but other folks I spoke to have restrictions on how much they put out. It’s also why readings have the cost they do. If you’re making your living doing magical work — it’s still labor and skilled labor at that (but that’s another post…stay tuned).
Protection can be done by wearing specific wards, crystals, or casting a circle. When I do readings and do magical work, I call on my guides for protection and wear all the protective crystals, specifically black tourmaline and carnelian. I save circles for big ritual work, where I tend to expend a lot of magic. But I can put it in my playbook for later, if I’m feeling like I need a boost. However, I know many witches that don’t work unless they cast a circle, often calling forth the deities they prefer to work with. My circles tend to use elemental energy instead. But it’s a protective resource regardless and available to prevent a psychic hangover.
MareLin’s advice was echoed in Mat Auryn in his book Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide to Meditation, Magick & Manifestation. He writes about the possibility of burnout and relays a story about his own experience with a magical crash. His experience was related to not grounding before practicing his craft. He also warns that continued pushing of the psychic limits without recovery or preventative measures can make you literally fry your ability to function. And ain’t nobody got time for that.
So how do we prevent getting a magical burnout or psychic hangover?
Like Auryn says in his book, the first thing to do is ground yourself. If you are unaware of how to ground yourself, there are a ton of resources out there. If you are wanting some guided grounding and meditative practices, besides reading books like Auryn’s mentioned above or Astrea Taylor’s book, Intuitive Witchcraft: How to use Intuition to Elevate Your Craft, I recommend you seek out someone like Tina at The Evergrove for guided meditation services which also incorporate grounding techniques. If you hurry you might be able to participate in a free session she’s giving Feb. 6 (2021).
But in my experience related above I did ground myself and still experienced a crash. So what do you do if you crash and need to recover? The Universe has just told you to sit you ass down, witch. You are going to have to rest. Much like recovering from the flu or a hangover. You need to hydrate. Drink some healing teas with a bit of honey. I know it sounds cheesy and cliché, but it works. Feed yourself whole foods. Nothing too high in fat, sugar, or carbs. Definitely nothing processed. As your energy expands, look at doing some light exercise like restorative yoga or a gentle stroll in nature (this is not the time to try to climb a mountain!)You can also look at doing some energy healing, like reiki or sound healing. I can recommend sessions from Steph Ananda, and her Ananda Industries offerings. Also, take a bath, if you’re able. A cleanse to purge the after effects of a magical binge is very healing.
A bath was a highlighted tactic and tip that Hryciw gave me when I reached out feeling blindsided by my psychic hangover. She told me, “If I could, I would do my readings from a bath, soak in those Epsom salts, and just charge me under the moonlight while I’m (doing) readings.”
I like it! Do your readings from a restorative bath!
But most importantly, you’re going to need to abstain from doing any magic. Seriously, give yourself a cease and desist order from anything magical. For some of us that may be tough. I mean I didn’t even do my daily coffee ritual or any kitchen witchery. We ate frozen leftovers and ordered in because I’m at the stage of my life where all kitchen work includes magical energy. For how long? Well, like everything in your practice that depends. You know you and your practice best. For me, the incident above took almost four days total to recover from. I didn’t even pull an oracle card or any small thing. Hell, I was in bed or on the couch for two of those days. You may need less time; you may need more. One thing to note is that magic hangovers get harder to process the more powerful a witch you are, or just how hard you tied on your psychic overdose. Make sense? Think back to how you could party in your younger days and still go to work in the morning (or for me, run in formation for six miles); but today, a hangover means you can barely get through the day or need to call in sick. It’s the same with your psychic (magical) energy.
Lastly, this whole experience made me recall the witch I learned the most from back in the day (you know before the internet, social media and people hearing the word witch daily), oh dear “LBT,” who wrote to me from her “Mushroom Cottage” responding to my gushing fangirling letter regarding her work. Told me to trust my gut and to rest as much as I work. And that’s how I’m playing it. In addition to preparation and protection, I’m balancing work and rest. Therefore, if I’m doing readings, for an hour. I rest for an hour, or two if necessary.
Appreciate you reading all the way through. If you have things you do to prevent a psychic hangover, please leave a comment below. And stay tuned next week when I tackle the subject of Dream Hangovers! Yep, there are those, too.