The Sober Pagan

April, 2018

Fighting Depression with Affirmations, Gratitude, and the Happiness List

When you first get sober, if you attend AA meetings, you are sure to encounter the Twelve Steps. They can be powerful tools in helping you to acquiring and maintaining your sobriety but they are not the only tools in your toolbox.

Many of us suffer from various mental illnesses. Most people have some form of anxiety or depression at any given time – life is stressful, and that’s just it is. One thing I have learned is that repeating affirmations really help in combating depression. They can be a most effective tool in your fight for happiness.

But – “I’m too depressed to create an affirmation!” Or – “These affirmations are stupid! They have nothing to do with my real life! I’m depressed!” Yes, I have been in that place, too. What I have learned to do is that whatever negative thought I have and turn it inside out or upside down or backwards or however you want to look at it, but turn it – even if feels stupid, sounds stupid and you are convinced within a shadow of a doubt that it’s totally stupid and it won’t work. Do it anyway. It will work. Repeat that affirmation as part of your morning and evening meditation for twenty-eight days and I guarantee you, you are going to feel better. That positive statement will have become a part of your thinking and it will have changed you.

And keep doing it. Like a diet, when you have been reducing calories and eating healthier foods and exercising on a regular basis, when you reach your goal weight and you feel like a new person, you know that if you go back to eating the junk you were eating before you started, you’re going to regain all that weight and probably a few extra pounds, too. That’s the same with saying affirmations and all positive practices. If you stop – if you get lazy with your practice – your feeling of blah is going to return and the next thing you know, you’re going to be in a depressed state again. And maybe on the road to relapse.

(Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash)

Some people in AA say that when you’re depressed, you should make a “gratitude list”. I don’t like gratitude lists because then I have to think to whom I am grateful? Of course, most people in AA are Christian, so their answer is “God” and the next statement is to pray and give thanks to God for all these things for which you am grateful. But as a Pagan/Wiccan/Witch, I don’t really look at things in this way. Not that I’m not grateful – if I have a reason to be – like I was grateful that my friend gave me a ride to the store and I didn’t have to take the bus in the bad weather the other day – but I don’t get being grateful for sunsets.

What I do is make “Happiness Lists”. When I am depressed, I ask myself, “What makes you happy?” Of course, when you are depressed, this can be as hard as coming up with affirmations! But even when I am wicked depressed, my kitties make me happy. (Even when they are pissing me off, they make me happy!). And sunsets make me happy. Sunrises make me happy too! Seeing flowers make me happy. Smelling good food makes me happy. Books make me happy.

Even if you can’t come up with more than one or two things on your “Happiness List”, that’s OK. Hang on to that! It’ll grow as your mental health well-being grows. Add to it as you think of things that make you happy. Soon, you’ll see that you have lots of things in this world and in your life that create moments of happiness for you. This realization is one of the most powerful tools you will ever have. Put it in your toolbox and use it!

Until next month, Brightest Blessings.


About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Anxiety vs Meditation

November, 2016

Anxiety vs Meditation

I’m getting back into meditation this month. I’m fortunate enough to be involved with groups of spiritually minded people who are far more organised than I and can arrange structured workings. Without this kick in the butt I struggle to grant myself the time needed to clear and de-clutter my messy mind space.

It’s strange, isn’t it, how we can work so much harder for others, than we can work solely for ourselves… Or is that just me?



Anyhoo, I’ve done my first, proper meditation in months and it was wild, intense, and full of vivid imagery that almost immediately led to poetry. This makes me happy. But now I have the fear. What if, tomorrow, I can’t do it? What if I can’t ‘zone out’, centre myself; whatever you want to call it?

Because this happens. Sometimes, I just can’t let go. I sit and breathe and focus or un-focus, and I can’t let go of the outer world and slip into my own inner consciousness.

The anxiety that I won’t be able to let go, of course, makes this all the more likely to happen. Anxiety is a crippling, horrible force in my life, and when coupled with the fear of failure, can leave me vibrating like a spinning top; dizzy and ultimately useless.

How do I step past this anxiety, into a calm space to let magic happen? How can I calm my mind, in order to calm my mind? I have no solid answers. I simply launch myself into what I am doing and hope for the best. Only one session in, and already I am spinning and looking for what might go wrong; when everything went so right today; utterly nonsensical.

I should be proud that despite my (currently non medicated) anxiety, I have managed my first session with success. The twenty minutes or so before work left me bright and alert for the day, and excited for the following sessions. I should be high-fiving myself.

One day, perhaps, I’ll stop looking for cracks in the glass that just aren’t there.

Originally posted on Mabh’s blog, 2nd November 2015

Stones Corner

October, 2015

Ten “Stress Stones”


Having a cluster of Amethyst at hand is good for keeping negative energy away. Amethyst helps you think and act at your clearest. Wear an Amethyst pendant continuously for migraine prevention, tension headaches, and alleviating arthritic pain.

Also known as the “Success Stone”. Citrine encourages a bright outlook and promotes happiness. It attracts wealth and joy. It can help stabilize emotions and soothe family problems. Citrine is also good for improving stress-related digestive problems.
Clear Quartz

Quartz is an excellent general physical system fortifier and protector. It increases mental clarity. Hold a clear crystal at your solar plexus and breath evenly for several minutes to calm your emotions, to relax the body, to clear the mind, and to refresh your energy. Stare into the crystal to clear writer’s block and to increase creativity.

Fluorite is a stone to unblock stuck energies. For digestive systems problems use the yellow/green color combination. For pains in the skeletal and muscular system, use the blue/white color combination. For head area complaints, use the purple/clear combination. For asthma, wear the green colored Fluorite. To help congested mental thoughts, use a purple cluster in your work area, or position a cluster at your crown chakra while sleeping.

Garnet is an energy revitalizer. Excellent for strengthening the base chakra. It promotes sexual energy (for your self and partner). It helps increase circulation to the legs and pelvic area. It reduces menstrual pain when held or taped over the ovaries and uterus. Garnet can increase sexual stimulation and fertility, too.


Dubbed, “The Anti-Stress Stone”. Hematite reflects back negative energies to the sender (so you don’t end up taking them on yourself). Hematite dissolves the issues when one meets with confrontation. Tape a small piece over the leg and back areas to reduce pain and to increase electromagnetic circulation. Hematite helps balance the meridians.

Malachite is excellent for Type A personalities and for those prone to heart disease and stresses to internal organs. It helps to detoxify the liver and to increase blood circulation. Malachite is excellent for breaking up old energy patterns. Use it with Rose Quartz to soften the effects of a broken heart! Due to the possibly toxic copper content of this stone, keep Malachite away from pets and children, and do not wear it against the skin for long periods of time. This stone is for external use only.
Rose Quartz

“The Love Stone” – Rose Quartz is very protective and soothing for many issues. Place a large chunk of the stone at your Heart Center for 15 minutes to relax after a stressful day. Rose Quartz helps to unblock anxiety and to promote healing of private emotional issues. It allows one to become more receptive and open to challenges.
Smokey Quartz

Smokey Quartz is an excellent stabilizer for mood swings. It helps ground feelings of depression, and both absorbs and transmutes negativity. This stone is best worn at the solar plexus, the seat of the emotions. Smokey Quartz is excellent for PMS and cranky persons; and good for persons imbalanced due to extreme stress and burn-out. It provides a protective field for recovery.

“A Stone of Protection” – Turquoise is an excellent toner for all systems of the body. It helps prevent organs from absorbing toxins and breaking down. Wear this stone at the throat to strengthen your will and to communicate effectively. It helps to sweeten the voice and speak your truth. Turquoise helps reduce premature aging.

The Crowe’s Nest

August, 2011

We have all had it at one point in time where we are doing something and all of a sudden we feel paralyzed with being overwhelmed, fear, trepidation, etc. That over all anxiety for some situation that makes us not wish to go any further in the direction we had chosen. Sometimes, it is so overpowering, that we lock ourselves up in our homes and wish that we don’t ever have to leave again.

Anxiety is the number one mental illness in America, even surpassing depression now. So many people are scared to leave their homes because of the “chance” something detrimental will happen to them. Over forty million people over the age of eighteen suffer from some form of anxiety. Sometimes, it can be so debilitating that a person cannot leave their home, eat in a public place, or even go to school functions with their children.

When I was eighteen, I was one of those people. I had a severe case of Anthropophobia- fear of people. I couldn’t walk into a room without having the overwhelming sense that they were all making fun of me or didn’t like me. I was always running from rooms and leaving areas because of it. It was hard to work, go to school, and let’s not even mention eating out at a restaurant with my husband. My family thought it so bad that they actually had me hospitalized to try to treat me.

The hospital, in its wonderful wisdom, put me into group therapy. Can you imagine? I was forced to sit in a circle with a group of people who in my opinion thought I was crazy. They thought I was a lunatic and they wanted to plot against me to hurt me to get me out of the group. Needless to say, that was not the proper treatment for me.

They put me on medicine to help with my anxiety. I was taking a medicine that when they gave me my first dose they said, “If you don’t kill anyone in the first two weeks, you will be fine.” I am sure that the person giving out the medicine thought it was a dandy joke, but to me, this was my life. I couldn’t function to make a decent life for myself, and she thought this was just some kind of “retreat.”

Being a mother, I am constantly battling with myself to keep my kids safe, but not be so overprotective that they do not have a life of their own. It took me some time, but I worked my way though my disorder. I still have fights with it on occasion, but I am much better.  I have made friends, work with a great group of people for a meet-up, and am even working on starting to teach others about paganism. I actually can stand in front of a group of people and speak, though I have been told that the nervousness rushes off me like heat from flames. But these things are things that at eighteen were nothing close to what I would ever think I would be able to do with my life.

I have learned a few things though about my anxiety. I have also found that I am not the only one. Just in the last two weeks I have found two others that are like me, though I think they still have some work to do. I wanted to help them out with their issues, as well as work on my own a little more, so I started doing research.

One thing I learned is that passion flower was once used as a folk remedy for insomnia and anxiety. It can be used in a tea with black Irish tea and valerian root to calm the nerves. It has been good and causes less drowsiness than medication that is given regularly for anxiety.

There are also stones that you can carry that will help the body work the anxiety out. Aquamarine is a beautiful blue stone and easy to find in rings as it is the birthstone of March. Aventurine is always a good choice as well. Picasso marble, rhodonite and schorl can also calm anxiety. Green moss agate, which is easy to find and very beautiful, can also be carried around to help with it.

It is always good to mediate and perhaps do yoga. It causes you to have the ability to ground yourself in situations where you feel overwhelmed. Even simple exercises that you do on a daily basis would help. It causes endorphins to enter your bloodstream which help balance you out and makes people happy. We will never forget Elle Wood’s on Legally Blond, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”

One of the worst problems I have is my endless cycle with soda. I get stressed, I reach for my faithful friend Dr. Pepper or Coca Cola and down it goes. With that being said, caffeine should be on your no-no list if you are prone to anxiety. It does not help you at all, even though I know I feel much better. Problem with it is, it doesn’t let you sleep, which causes you to lay awake and worry even more about the issues that are bothering you. Instead of reaching for that ever faithful soda, or that extra coffee, reach for chamomile tea instead. It will help your body relax and drift off to sleep.

Upon my research, I was told about something that I found very interesting. Someone told me about “Worry time.” It is thirty minutes a day you set aside to just worry. You use that time, and that time only, to sit and worry about your problems. If you find yourself harping on a particular issue at a different time, just remind yourself that you have set time aside for that, and it isn’t the time right now.

My last suggestion is lavender salt baths. Lavender calms you. Baths have been known to cause you to relax and distress. So take that time, run you a tub of warm water and sit and soak your troubles away. The smell from the lavender as well as the water will help your body in so many ways that your mental state will learn to relax too.

Now, I am not saying that all these things will make you 100% cured. I can’t say that I am even cured that much, but it will help. I do want to share something with you though. A lot of anxiety, at least in my life, is from me. I don’t share my issues. I don’t reach out to those that love me and try to unwind by asking for help, or even by letting them know what is bothering me. I have always believed that my strife is for me to deal with and there is no reason to bother anyone else with it. But simply put, that is beyond stupid. I am only hurting me in that sense. The people that love us, they are there to help us, confide in us, love us, and protect us when they can. Not letting them into our little world, it only hurts us more. We already have way too much in life to handle, and that is why the Goddess brings them into our lives. She knows we need others to survive. We were started by living in a village, and unfortunately we have gone too far into being a solitary family unit that our village aspect is no longer in effect. We do have family and loved ones though and they want us to be there for many years. Don’t push them away, but open your mind and hearts to them. Even stubborn women like me can learn to do that.

Many blessings to you all my readers. I hope that my suggestions in here help you on your way to leading very open and productive lives. Remember, relax and breathe. Take one day at a time, and tomorrow will seem like a breeze.

Hally’s Hints

November, 2010


There is a hidden truth to being an energy worker that is often omitted from the greater scheme of things. I am yet to see it actually discussed anywhere openly and because I have experienced this first hand thought that it is about time it came out into the open.

In order to be an efficient energy worker one must be sensitive to energies. That goes without saying. However, by being sensitive and evolving this sensitivity there is a level of anxiety that follows. It is different to the emotional anxiety that can be felt that is often associated with depression. It is almost intangible however, very much present. It is uneasiness that when used in energy work heightens the clarity however; in the day to day can be a little overwhelming.

I was once told that to negate this one would only need to stand in their own truth. I thought this was all good and fine however, once I reached that state I still experienced the anxiety. I questioned if I was actually standing in my own truth and found that I was. So, how could it be that I was still experiencing this anxious sensitivity?

Again, there is a point that is omitted from this information. Throughout life we must undertake tasks that provide for us however, may not be reflective of who we are in truth. As such, what follows is a level of anxiety. That is not to say all anxiety is based on this, merely the energetic level. Examples of this may be working in jobs that pay the bills however do little to inspire. It may be being friends with those that do not align to your values however there is an obligation to be friends with them perhaps through partner association or family association. No doubt the list is in-exhaustive but this will give you an indication of what energetic anxiety entails.

Under compromised conditions because we are highly aware we are able to gauge the other party with such ability that when the information is received back it is unsettling. Consider a time where you were engaged in a brilliant conversation and it was as though time stood still. Was there any anxiety felt? Of course not, because the other person aligned to whom you were at the time.

Now consider a time where you were forced to associate with someone that you otherwise would have no inclination to do so – how did you feel? Unsettled? Anxious? Looking for an escape as well as watching the seconds passing hoping the conversation would soon end and you would be able to find sanctuary at home in a safe, cleansed environment.

There are a number of other examples how energetic anxiety can affect you. Work is a great example because many of us have or had to undertake jobs that did little for us however, it was essential to ensure that we lived, paid bills and put food on the table for our families. We would find ourselves dragging ourselves out of bed every morning, counting the hours down until we could go home and shutting off our minds in the hope that the boredom and mundane repetition did not get to us. Only to come home completely exhausted. What can eventuate is a level of anxiety; before, during and after that we put down to everything other than what it is.

There a ways to deal with this anxiety.

The easiest is to find work, friends and environments that are conducive to whom you are. Environments that are reflective of your core values and energetic self.

Given that this is not always possible, include tasks, plans and to-do’s that incorporate your energetic self. This may include:

  • Going for a walk in the park at lunchtime;
  • Putting on your IPod during your break and completing reconnecting to yourself;
  • Taking a five minute break to be creative (draw a picture, write how you are feeling, create a plan to look forward to).

Ultimately, it is whatever works in that moment.

There is a great responsibility that comes with being an energy worker and one of the most important is in ensuring that we are at optimal levels at all times. The more we are working in synergy with ourselves; the more we allow ourselves to stand in our own truth in all we do, the more we are able to achieve our purpose.

Be aware of what helps you and what does not; be aware that your gift is complemented in the awareness of how to help yourself, which in turn will assist in helping the myriad of others.

Being an energy worker is not for the faint of heart but then again, it would not be as brilliant and amazing if it was. Enjoy the journey…