Magick Lesson: how to be cozy in your skin
Welcome to the Yule Tarot Blog Hop: Find Your Cozy! Hopefully you have arrived here from Arwen’s post at Witches & Pagans. If not, you can check it out afterward by following the “PREVIOUS BLOG” link at the top or bottom of this post.
I started this post with my go-to deck which is the (sadly out-of-print) Victoria Regina Tarot. It was not the first deck that came to mind when I heard the theme was to “cozy.” But when the decks that did make the cozy list didn’t turn up any writing ideas, well, the Victoria Regina it was. This deck is like an old friend to me at this point and isn’t that what cozy really means? After all, it’s the only deck that seemed to jump on board with the topic that came to mind for this theme.
What does it mean to get cozy in your skin?
Back in grad school, I taught myself how to conduct my own body heat. What’s great about learning to use your own body heat to stay warm is that you become less reliant on environmental factors and stand a greater chance of getting cozy anywhere. When I consulted the Victoria Regina as to how to go about sharing this with you, it seemed to think that I should simply explain the steps I took in figuring it out. This way you can pick and choose what works for you. As I go through my thinking process, you might catch elements of science or yoga in the mix, but I was studying neither at the time. Like a good poet, I gathered information from any random source that crossed my path and pieced it together in a way that suited me. Because of this, I can’t explain this strictly in terms of science, or yoga, or anything else and I don’t particularly care to. If you have the expertise to share these types of insights, though, I welcome your comments!
Our focus cards:
9 of Cups: I can think of no better card than the 9 of Cups to illustrate the idea of being cozy in your skin. This card is often associated with having your wish come true and captures the essence of complete contentment. Use this card (from any deck) to focus on your goal of obtaining warmth in the midst of a cold day.
Temperance: My personal relationship to the Temperance card is mostly reliant on this particular deck as it brings to my mind an act of alchemy. Even the traditional image of the angel exchanging the contents of two cups has this quality to a lesser degree. Use this card (from any deck) to focus on the channeling of your own inner magick.
5 of Coins: Dressing In Layers
I developed arthritis at the age of 14 and this made me particularly sensitive to the effects of cold weather. Among the tips that were passed my way was to sleep in a sleeping bag to avoid morning stiffness. A sleeping bag works by capturing your own body heat and insulating you with it.
Clothes do the same but are generally made of more porous material and so much of the generated heat is lost. You have likely already heard the advice to dress in layers to keep out the cold. Because comfortable clothing is prone to losing heat, the next layer catches what is lost, and the next layer catches what is lost again.
So, on my first cold day of living in Colorado, I diligently piled the layers on and headed out. I came to notice, though, that the bulkier my layers got, the colder I felt. For some reason my layers were not working as effectively as I felt they should.
6 of Swords: Releasing Your Heat
Still cold in my layers, I also realized that day that I had my shoulders pulled up to my ears. Ever find yourself doing this in the cold? I think it’s a pretty common gesture, no? But I found it was also not an effective way of staying warm and began to wonder why I was doing it.
My theory is that this pulling up of the shoulders and all around tightening of the muscles is an attempt to prevent heat from leaving the body. Do you see where I’m going here? For layers to work the way they are supposed to, the heat needs to leave the body. That is the only way the layers can become filled with heat and thereby provide warmth back to the body.
That is the only way the layers can become filled with heat and thereby provide warmth back to the body. Now, I don’t know for sure if tightening the muscles actually stops heat from leaving the body. If this is proven not to be the case, we can look back on this as a simple visualization technique and I’m fine with that.
So, step one of the magick had begun: relax your muscles. A simple task, but not something one tends to do instinctually on a cold day. It is a natural process for the body to generate heat and release it–you need only to stop fighting the process and you do this by relaxing the muscles. Have a little faith, as you relax into the cold, knowing that with this act the cold will thus bring you warmth.
4 of Wands: Drawing Out Your Inner Fire
Around this time, someone shared with me the idea that I could warm up my own body. I was told that the heat is held in the root chakra at the bottom tip of the spine. I could have led with this, but I don’t think this bit of wisdom would have been nearly as effective for me had I not already made the observations described above. However, I will now offer some steps for an effective meditation applying everything we have discussed so far. You may want to have someone read this to you slowly as you practice or record it for yourself. Once you get good at it, you will be able to do this out walking on a cold winter’s night.
Mediation for Warmth
(Be sure to do this when you actually want to feel more warmth.)
- Take a comfortable seat. Notice where the base of your spine meets the surface on which you sit.
- Close your eyes or allow them to gaze downward about a foot ahead of you. If you like, you can place your focus cards–the 9 of cups and the Temperance card–on the floor in front of you.
- Pull your shoulders up to your ears and then release them.
- Scan your body and do your best to relax each part.
- Notice the temperature of the air where it touches your skin or reaches through your clothing.
- Imagine a small fire at the base of your spine.
- Imagine on each inhale that the fire grows strong and bright, fueled by oxygen.
- Imagine on each exhale that the fire expands and grows larger.
- Continue breathing this way until slowly, slowly the yellow fire has filled up your core and then your limbs.
- Notice the temperature of the air and note if it feels colder or warmer then when you started.
- Begin to feel that you have so much heat in your body that it emanates from you skin.
- Imagine the heat filling up the space between your skin and your first layer of clothing and the next and so on. If you are practicing this in bed, continue to the layers between your clothes and your sheets, your sheets and your blanket, and so on.
- Notice the temperature of the air against your skin.
- Continue until you begin to receive heat in return from the air.
- Thank yourself for this gift as you gently open, or lift, your eyes.
6 of Cups: Sharing the Gift with Others
If you found that this worked for you, you may be wondering if you can extend your heat to others. Of course, if you are in a small room with someone beside you, they will likely benefit simply from being so close to you. In fact, what confirmed for me that I was not just imaging all this was when a friend brushed my hand after coming in from the cold one day and remarked with surprise at how warm I was. The other people with us all compared and agreed that I was the only person whose hands were warm immediately after coming in from the cold. So, if you are out walking with some friends, you may be wondering how you can help them.
I did find that I could effectively extend my heat to another and I did this knowingly exactly once. The thing is, as with any type of bodywork or energy work, you should really get the other person’s permission first. But I was a bit overzealous and immature and I attempted to extend the above meditation by imaging a bubble around me and my friend. Just as I had extended the heat into the layers, I extended heat into the bubble I’d created.
Running short on time, I told my friend what I was doing before it had had any visible impact. Unfortunately, this person didn’t like the idea and insisted that it couldn’t be done anyhow. It struck me then that a key factor in this technique is faith. I suggested to my friend that if they had faith in me to do it that it would work. And at that, it did work. But as I said, they did not appreciate this gesture at all.
The mind is a funny thing. Despite my friend not wanting to accept my gift, they did. I believe this was from an innate curiosity that took over and that wanted to see if it could work. Their momentary faith in me was a stand in for faith in themselves as they took themselves through all the steps above in what seemed like an instant. In my experience, anyone who is open to this technique will likely want to learn it for themselves rather than have you do it for them. Feel free to share.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Did this work for you? Is this something you do already? Do you have a scientific explanation for what is really happening when I am imaging myself fill with fire fueled by breath? Does the whole things sound kinda silly?
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you are enjoying the Yule Tarot Blog Hop: Find Your Cozy! Please continue on to Jay’s post at Sacred Healer by following the “NEXT BLOG” link at the top or bottom of this post.