Is intuition a magical extrasensory super-power or a natural part of everyone’s body/mind experience? Yes! And you can develop and trust your intuition for a more balanced, easy, joyful life.
Here are 6 rituals to help you get in touch with your inner knowing. They’re listed from simplest to most elaborate. Start anywhere and if you’re familiar with ritual and spell work, of course jump into the deeper end. If you’re already a pretty “connected” person you can use these practices to deepen your innate intuitive ability to truly magical levels.
Having conducted hundreds of rituals for groups of all sizes as well as the ones I’ve done at my own private little altar just for me, I know rituals will shift your focus and energy from the mundane to the numinous. We start to see past the illusion of the ordinary to the magic that is around us all the time.
Intuition is body based. They are called “gut feelings” after all. There are more neurotransmitters produced in our bellies than our brains, and the signals go both ways. But most of us think all the reliable information comes only from our heads.
What would it be like to think from our heart and gut? To work less on flat abs and more on listening to our belly’s wisdom? What if we felt more tenderness toward our bodies – these vessels of knowledge and experience and sensation? I know you’ve heard that if asked, nearly 99% of women say they hate their bodies. Hate. How can we trust messages that come from something we hate? Belly Witchery is about loving your body and belly and learning to trust your own innate wisdom.
Intuition = Honoring What the Body Knows
When we honor the belly—the home of our second and third chakras (the Sacral and Solar Plexus) we get expansion of creativity, pleasure, en-joy-ment (embodied joy), and power.
Yes, learning to listen to your belly wisdom will help you with decision-making and navigating life but it also makes you a more whole person; more at ease, less anxious. It rounds you out. (Don’t we dread hearing the words “round” and “belly” in the same paragraph!) Intuition centers you, and from that center courage rises.
Here is your first ritual to help you get used to listening to your body’s wisdom.
Actually, I had to start by not ignoring my body! I was so good at it that I never knew what thirst felt like. I ignored messages about needing to eat or sleep. My foot would be asleep and I wouldn’t realize. I’d wait for ages to go to the bathroom, even though I had to. I would work until my body was stiff and achy. Sound familiar?
Practice this ritual every day to develop your intuition (and learn to give yourself some self love and care!)
Ritual #1 A Mini Ritual for Intuition-Building
Practice being in your body. Sit comfortably. Breathe the way you normally do. Have no expectations.
Don’t try to control your thoughts. Just feel what it feels like to have a body. It’s busy beating, thinking, breathing, pulsing, radiating electromagnetic force you’re not even aware of.
Be in the body that’s making blood and lymph and other juicy enzymes and hormones while you sit.
Just be in this body that’s shedding and regenerating, reproducing cells and carrying on your ancestral legacy in your DNA.
Feel all parts of this flesh and bone, inner and outer. See if it wants to say anything to you.
Thank Goddess you’re finally paying attention. I have things to tell you.
Something hurts. You need to pay attention.
Take better care of me.
When you’re done, write down what this ritual felt like to you. Remember: the more you do it, the more things will wake up.
Intuition Vs. Thinking
Listening to your intuition isn’t just for psychics, mystics and metaphysicians. “The best leaders harness the power of intuition – and it helps them make smarter and faster decisions.” (https://www.businessinsider.com/best-leaders-harness-power-of-intuition-make-smart-fast-decisions-2019-12 ).
I love that there’s research on this! I love the fact that there are CEOs out there somewhere who confess to using intuition in the board room. That would be way too woo to admit not so long ago. https://chiefexecutive.net/new-research-says-ceos-should-follow-their-intuition/.
I’ve talked to a lot of women who’ve escaped “Corporate.” They saved themselves by jumping out of that patriarchal, brain-based, hustle and grind where intuition seems like the last tool anyone uses. But I’ve been reading about companies dedicated to offering resources to help business leaders use their intuition. Maybe there’s hope for Corporate after all? (www.OxfordLeadership.com).
Whether you’re in a business setting or not, obviously don’t stop thinking logically in favor of all intuition all the time. Use both. Linking your reasoning brain with your intuiting belly will make you stronger: a more powerful woman at everything you do, and if it’s your goal, a more powerful witch.
Here’s Ritual #2… But First a Word About Ritual
Ritual doesn’t have to be holy or church-y but I definitely don’t mean the trivial “rituals” of your morning coffee and bathroom habits either.
- sacred and also down-to-earth.
- local and personal.
- a way to straddle the line between this world and the others. (I normally would say, “this world and the next,” but with all the talk about the multiverse and everything happening all at once, I’ve expanded my thinking.)
- a way to get a higher (or if you prefer, deeper or wider) perspective.
Ritual #2 Squeezing the Juice of Your Day and Night
This one is in two parts. One part you do at night right before sleep and the other you will do in the morning, right after rising.
At bedtime climb into bed with your notebook, breathe for a moment, and lightly let you mind wander over your day. Then, write down what was memorable, things that stick with you. Insights. Arguments. Jarring surprises and ordinary thing you don’t know why you remember. If you get stuck, imagine squeezing the day like an orange, beginning from the time you woke up until this moment of sitting in bed with a pen and notebook.
- Do I see connections?
- Why did that happen?
- What would be useful to know about today?
- Are there patterns?
- Are there obvious recurring themes?
- Messages I’ve been ignoring?
Close by letting go of the day and your associations. Just let it go. Simply closing the notebook is often all you need to do.
In the morning, write down your dreams or dream fragments. If you don’t remember your dreams, review the night. How did you sleep, what woke you up? What went bump in the night?
Two important things here.
- The act of observation of your days and nights allows you to “see.” Intuition hides in the cracks but valuable signs and symbols are all around us. This daily practice teaches you to look and eventually, to see.
- The magical technology of writing connects your body, mind and spirit. Holding a pen, even typing into a tablet links up body and brain. That’s harmonizing. Plus, writing gets the worries, ideas, thoughts out of you and onto a safe container: paper. And that’s a huge, tangible relief. When you look at it later it has less power over you. You can see it more objectively with less emotional attachment.
As you work with these tools, you’ll feel more calm, centered and confident. The noise of the world gets quieter, other people’s opinions pipe down. We feel less stress, less need to compare ourselves with others. Here’s a ritual to help with that.
Ritual #3 Dis/Spell Outer Voices
When you first rise, shower immediately or thoroughly wash your hands and face. As you do, imagine washing away old influences, past decisions, things you regret or didn’t think through. Maybe you’ll think of a choice that came from an unreliable source, like culture or an old school friend.
Picture washing all that ish away, fresh-faced.
When you are done, look at yourself in the mirror, put your hand on your heart and say, “Today I will prioritize my own inner voice over any other.”
Then, to whatever extent you can, disengage from exterior input for the day.
- Keep your own counsel. Obviously if you need help with something, ask. Wisdom is knowing what you know and knowing what you need.
- With lightness and without apology, banish opinions and advice from others today.
- Ward off gossip by refusing to engage in it yourself.
- Elevate above the petty and negative voices around you. It’s easy to nod and chime in with griping. It makes us a part of the group which is an ancient survival mechanism. But you’re magical. Today, you “never explain, never complain.” (A saying made popular by the Queen Mother.)
- Gently, without confrontation, remove negative talkers from your circle. Respectfully let them go today. If it feels good you can make this permanent. Do it slowly by allowing more time and distance between messages until you find polite emojis are all that’s left.
- Turn off the news.
- On social media, avoid conspiracy theories and snark. When you feel a negative vibe, scroll past.
- Remove social media apps altogether today if you have the fortitude to handle such a challenge. Do you feel loss or boredom or FOMO? See how long you can go. You can always re-install them.
- Replace the time and energy you’ve saved with any one (or all) of these easy things:
- staring into space
(Please note: daydreaming is more creative and constructive than intention-setting or other forms of “manifesting” in spite of what our teachers in school said about it.)
At the close of the day journal how it went. What was challenging? What felt liberating? What will you continue tomorrow?
Intuition is Spiritual Medicine
Intuition isn’t ONLY about the body. It goes deeper if you’ll allow me some woo: intuition opens up your spiritual perception, connecting you to the Divine, the Field of All Potentiality; to God/dess as you have come to know Her/Him/It. Intuition is “immediate spiritual communication.” (www.wiktionary.org.)
That’s the energy that gives you the wisdom to make those “smarter and faster” decisions.
Of course this idea of the sacred nature of intuition probably won’t go down well with everyone. The U.S. Navy has spent billions of dollars to understand how intuition works and how to “maximize the power of the sixth sense for operational use.” https://time.com/4721715/phenomena-annie-jacobsen/
Sounds progressive but if I suggested ritual can help with the “operational use” of intuition I’d get laughed out of the board room.
Centered and Sacred
The next ritual will center and ground you.
Just by giving yourself this gift of time and space – even if you don’t do the whole thing – is an act of taking back your power.
By “taking sacred space” I mean allowing yourself to create a place and time set apart from your ordinary day.
It can be literally anywhere: an altar you keep up all the time, a tablecloth on the ground, a corner of the counter in your kitchen.
It can be literally any time. We are rushed and busy in general and if you are a care-giver, a parent, an employee, a business owner, or anyone who has a zillion errands to run and phone calls to return, it gets intense. It is a radical, magical act of self-love to declare a stop, just for yourself, even for a moment.
While there are ley lines and high-energy places on this big, wide earth and harnessing their vibration is amazing, you can enter into a dimension of magical possibility right there in your own home. Creating an altar and performing a ritual removes you from the ordinary. In a ritual space you can hear yourself feel.
Ritual #4 Taking Sacred Space
To Do: Prepare Your Altar
Find a small space to serve as an altar and clear it. Wipe off dust or the morning’s coffee.
Use a candle, a crystal, a flower, a piece of jewelry, anything that is meaningful to you to make your altar personal and sacred. Place your object(s) on the space you’ve cleared. (If you’re lighting a candle, be sure you have matches handy, but keep them off to the side – don’t put them on the altar.)
If you have a specific question you want to consult your intuition about, you might want to find something that symbolizes your question or your ideal outcome. Put that symbol: maybe a coin, a photo, a holey sock, or whatever it is on the altar.
Next: Prepare Your Environment and Yourself
Turn off the distraction of the screens, silence notifications, ignore social media.
Sit, stand or kneel at the altar.
Light the candle if you have one.
Consciously decide this time is just for you, an honoring of your own wisdom and an acknowledgement that if we slow down, there is more of us to consult. Claim the power of time and space. You deserve it. It belongs to you.
Say out loud, “This time is for me. Let me rest, let me see.”
(Just as an aside: you’ll notice how many spells in Witchcraft call for rhymes. It’s a memory aid, plus working out your own rhymes helps you refine your intention and focuses your energy into your spell or ritual work. Rhymes require you to concentrate and there’s enormous power in that.)
Next: Deep Listening
Put your hands over or just under your navel and breath, feeling the rise and fall of your belly as you do. It might take a minute to feel your breath get all the way down to your abdomen. Most of us rely on the shallowest of breaths. Stress, anxiety and trauma all limit our breathing to our upper chests as if we don’t deserve the length and depth of a full, long, deep breath of life.
As chatter arises in your brain, imagine that it sifts down from your head through your body — down into the pool of your belly.
Repeat this a few times: Thoughts like sand through water into your belly.
Keep feeling your hands rise and fall.
As the thoughts, doubts, feelings travel down, your body filters out the unnecessary ones. The words become fewer. There is more space between thoughts.
You become a still pool with all the thoughts and memories and ideas washed away on the tide of your breath. You might find some clarity or insight. Consider it.
Keep your focus on the belly, and when you feel the sensation of a clear pool,
ask the question you’ve come to ask.
Stay listening for as long as you have time for.
When you are ready, whether or not you received an answer, give thanks for the time and the space to be quietly to yourself at a safe altar of your own making. This is invaluable; don’t skip this step.
Nobody knows how their intuition will come to life when they start practicing. But, slow down, make more of your spaces sacred, tend to yourself and see what you start noticing.
What a Coincidence!
Let you intuition show up like magic – it sure doesn’t always show up on demand. (Not even when you’re very well versed!) Watch for signs and symbols. Are there odd coincidences that might be giving you clues? Believe me, this stuff pops up into consciousness hours after we register it.
(Quick example: one of my beloved symbols is the owl. Recently I decided to begin a program to do some deeper spiritual work. What’s the logo on the top of the practice’s sign-in page? Yeah an owl. I didn’t notice that for three days after filling out the form. And, keep in mind I am ALWAYS looking for signs and shit.)
What Competes for Your Attention?
School. Work. The needs of others. Your guilt for taking time for yourself. Obligations. Media. To do lists. Inertia. Apathy. Overwhelm? The distraction of the Screens! You gotta admit screens are attractive magic: endlessly entertaining, changing at a swipe of your finger if you crave the stimulation. Media outlets spend billions of dollars to keep you glued – they’re great at it!
I bet you can probably easily procrastinate THIS RITUAL! But, it’s good for realizing and releasing all forms of distraction and resistance over time if you keep practicing.
Ritual #5 Banishing Resistance Energy
Sit at your altar or other safe space and light a candle for focus. There are 4 steps:
Step 1: With your eyes soft, look all around you and count 50 things you see. Example:
- The color red on the wall
- The trees out the window
- The squirrel in the tree
- My thighs
You’ll find that you stop naming them after a while and just count. When you’re done with seeing, move on to…
Step 2: Close your eyes and count 50 sounds you hear.
- The loud car on the road
- The bird outside
- The chair squeaking
- The dog’s stomach gurgling
If it gets hard, just wait. If it gets easy, imagine projecting your hearing wider and farther. Extend your hearing to a radius of three blocks, or six blocks, or a mile.
Step 3: Turn inward and count 50 things you feel.
They can be emotions or physical sensations.
- My own stomach gurgling
- The sinking sensation of remembering something I forgot
- Itch on the back of my leg
- Hot flash
- Feeling like I’m going to explode with boredom
Become very aware of the body and all its signals, including the chemical ones of digestion, emotion, respiration.
Step 4: Stop Counting and keep feeling.
Settle your attention within and see what you notice. Take all the time you need. You might experience a sense of release: tears, a sigh, or yawn. You might have a sudden insight or idea or feel like you’re pointed in a slightly different direction. Most often something will become obvious, as though it’s been staring you in the face for some time.
You’ll find repeating this progressive focusing technique for 21 days (or more) will quiet your mind and raise the voices of your body and intuition, both. There’s definitely information for you in there. It may come from your belly or from your senses and all the things you normally don’t see or hear (you can add taste, smell and touch too).
Your Wild Inner Voices
Intuition isn’t always something that needs quiet or wants to be coaxed out like a scared kitty.
Sometimes we have wild inner voices charged with excitement, connections, possibilities. We want to run and play, shout, share, tell people about the ideas. I’d say trust that but I have also heard “all excitement is suspect.” If you are neuro-divergent, as I am, sometimes brilliant flashes of insight can be a little manic or frenetic. Observe and allow your energy to settle into something more peaceful. Sometimes as you calm, they’ll fade away altogether and that’s okay.
Sometimes we feel worried, less-than, competitive and sad. We get down on ourselves and tell ourselves negative things. “Give up.” “What’s the use?” So, how do we figure out what is our innate wise voice and what is unreliable at best and unhealthy or unsafe at worst? How can we tell when we’re getting true information about something that might be coming our way?
If you’re just starting out, anxious thoughts are probably coming from your head, past trauma, fear, or habitual thinking. If you believe you’re having a premonition about something terrible and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, that’s not Spirit. Spirit guides with love, not fear.
For example, weeks before the pandemic I started storing away extra groceries. I just filled up bins in the cellar, calmly, without panic or really knowing why. Boy, did that come in handy! My intuition didn’t put fear in me. Just a hunch to prepare.
You might get small nudges that don’t feel wonderful. For example, you might get a twinge of guilt, and realize you have amends to make. Intuition points toward inspired action and finishing unfinished business. The more you clean that old ish up, the more direction and guidance you will get for great things going forward.
If You’re Just Starting Out
If you’re just starting out, my rule of “pinky finger” (you know the “Rule of Thumb” refers to the size of stick a man could legally beat his wife with in the 18th century, right?) anyway, my guiding principle is this: if the voice or message you hear is threatening or ominous, that’s anxiety, trauma or society. All of these can be very scary.
If what you hear is fun, playful, full of possibility…if it makes you curious and excited, or relieved and inspired or motivated to take action…if it feels like a solution or an interesting linkage of heart and head, that, I would say, you can trust.
If you hear something cautionary, serious, something that gives you pause and makes you re-think a decision, pay attention. Your intuition isn’t going to threaten you however. There’s a difference between scaring you silly and pointing you away from an unsafe or unhealthy situation.
(Of course trained and experienced psychic practitioners have done discernment work over years and years to trust their guides and symbols. The guidelines you’re getting here are to help the novice, advanced beginner or intermediate level Belly Witch.)
# 6 A Ritual for Discernment and Decision-Making
(Scroll to the end for a word about candle colors. There are correspondences that matter in ritual and spell craft. See below.)
For the Discernment and Decision-Making Ritual you’ll need:
- An herb or other smudge stick or incense. (Remember using sage is not the most sustainable or ethical choice even though it used to be the obvious herb to burn for ritual cleansing or smudging. Be aware of the source of your ritual elements.)
- A large white candle
- A small black candle
- A small candle in a color of your choosing (see below)
- Paper and pen
- Symbols of joy, love, abundance, happiness; or a color that represents the outcome of your desire.
How to set the altar:
Place the three candles on your altar:
The large, white one in the center, representative of Divine Guidance, Wisdom, Love and Blessings. Surround this candle with things that represent beauty and abundance to you: flowers, coins, shells, grains of sand, jewelry, etc. Or, which represents your desired answer or outcome.
Put the small black candle left of center to represent all that you are releasing, everything that gets in the way of your knowing. Black is for banishing the tendency to choose wrongly, and all decisions of the past that you may regret.
Place the other candle to the right of center. Remember the color of this candle is whatever feels right for you. It represents your desired answer or outcome.
How to Perform the Ritual:
Cleanse your space and yourself with resin, mugwort or another favorite herb of your choice.
Light your center candle.
Close your eyes and imagine that you are surrounded in a bubble of healing, white, Divine light.
Sit and breath, grow still.
Write down the question you bring to the altar today.
Fold it and place it between the banishing (black) candle and the colored candle.
Light the black one and say something like:
I let go of every bad choice I’ve ever made.
I let go of blame.
I let go of shame.
Disappointment, I release.
I release the past, so it does not repeat.
Of course, write your own rhyme if you want, using this as an example
Light your colored candle, stating clearly why you chose this color and what it represents to you
I light this candle for my question here.
May it come now, let it be clear.
Sit and listen within and let the candles do their magic. Never leave them unattended. If possible, let the small candles burn out on their own. If you must extinguish them yourself, wet your fingers and pinch them out or snuff them rather than blowing them out.
Leave the paper on the altar and in a few days re-read it and see what answers have come. They may not make much sense at first so live with them for a while before judging this experiment/ritual a failure.
Your Intuition and Magic
I never understood how in a movie about magic, namely: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, there could be an exchange like this one about intuition or “just knowing.”
“But mere mortals DO possess the gift of “just knowing!” That’s what I always scream at the TV screen when that scene comes on. But here’s how you CAN astonish with your intuitive gifts.
- Don’t privilege thinking over intuition. Consult both on EVERYTHING. (Try it for a week. EVERYTHING!)
- Never deny or disbelieve your gut feelings – or yourself. What would it be like to trust yourself COMPLETELY?
- Sacred space is yours to make. There’s no HOLIER ground than your kitchen counter.
- Listen for guidance by quieting the noise all around you. Don’t SACRIFICE yourself to your screens.
- REFUSE to let your inner wisdom get drowned out by whatever your gremlins are saying or by all the loud messages of media and the marketplace.
You CAN raise the magical, holy, useful and practice power of intuition, and I hope you’ll try some of these rituals to help you do it.
If you have (kind) comments, please leave them. If you would like more helpful spells, exercises, writing prompts and mystical rituals, you are invited to sacrifice your email on the altar of even more Belly Witchery!
Sharing Love and Blessed Be,
P.S. Here’s the note about candle magic:
There are plenty of places you can find lists of correspondences (what various colors, elements, precious stones, etc stand for) when doing spell work. I always say your own preferences and leanings are best. For example, if you are working on a relationship issue, red, pink or white candles can symbolize love. But, if purple floats your boat, that’s fine.
If you have a decision about a job or an opportunity around money, obviously green would be a good choice, or whatever your currency color is. But, you could also use orange for creativity and possibility.
If your decision is physical, about your body, for example, you could choose brown (a skin color) earth, groundedness, and rootedness.
If the question you’re bringing to the ritual is about something theoretical, heady, of the mind, thought or intellect, light blue is good, but you might be sparked by yellow for its enthusiasm and freshness.
P.P.S For any of you who find yourselves doing magic at night, take a look at my book Midnight Pages: A Mystical Workbook for Writers, Night Owls and Insomniacs, available as a “write in me” PDF format on the website and in big, glorious paperback and Ebook, both on Amazon.