Hi! We're Arianna and Katie and we like casting spells and giving advice. So we're combining those interests here, in Witches' Counsel, where you can send us any problems, hang-ups, fears, etc., and we will do everything in our ~power~ to help. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So my boyfriend and I have been dating for over two years now and our relationship is feeling serious at this point. I am in college, and as is expected with that I am constantly surrounded by drugs and alcohol. I am not a person who has any problems with these. In fact I would very much like to explore this safely while I am young. My boyfriend on the other hand is very against ANYTHING drug/alcohol related. I tried to make a compromise with him, since he finds it so horrible, to try smoking once and promise to never touch it again. He still got aggravated at the thought and refused to make any compromise. I don't particularly like having to ask for permission in the first place and even more so being the only one willing to make a compromise. How should I approach this situation with him again? Also, does this imply that he doesn't approve of my life choices in general?
As two witches with semi-narc-ish pasts (let's just say one of us was briefly a D.A.R.E. role model), we appreciate that your letter gives us a reasoned, moderate perspective from the side which we've often found ourselves bumping up against. So often our popular narratives about experimentation with drugs and drinking are extremist — the after-school TV special in which our typically chaste hero/heroine makes friends with the wrong kind of kid, and winds up puking in the principal's office in the middle of the day. But it's not always like that! Young people drink and do drugs sometimes and mostly they end up alright.
We'd be remiss (and irresponsible) if we didn't say that consuming alcohol and other drugs (hard drugs in particular) is not without risk, and that we don't condone anyone's breaking the law. That said, we both have. So no judgment here. You've explicitly stated you want to try these things safely, or at least as safely as you can. If you're going to do them at all, that much is important.
So! About the boyfriend. We totally understand how it feels uncomfortable having to ask "permission" to do something. Nobody wants to feel like a misbehaving child in their romantic relationship. And the truth is that you don't have to ask permission — but you also have to know that certain things you do might upset your boyfriend, possibly to the point that he'd want to end the relationship. Sacrifices are part of most (if not all) relationships. It's just up to you to decide which ones you want to make. Because while we think your position here is totally, 100% valid, we think his is too. He doesn't have to ever do drugs or drink (though he might, eventually!), and he doesn't have to be OK with it if you do. Have you talked to him much about why he's so against these things? The more insight each of you has into the other's position, the easier (hopefully) it'll be to reach some sort of agreement, or at least understanding.
Most (though not all) young people with a strict anti-drug/alcohol policy will soften up over time — particularly in college. It's hypocritical, but most of us become at least somewhat more tolerant of other people's use once we've used these substances ourselves. Which isn't to say you should pressure him, because that never works out well! It's just something to maybe keep in mind when you're weighing how long you want to wait for him to come around, and how willing you are to entertain the possibility that he may never.
So, here's what we want you to do, magic-wise. We have two empathy spells from Dorothy Morrison's Everyday Magic for you — one to increase your own (not because we think you're less understanding, but because it never hurts to be more so), and another to let go of any negative energy you pick up from your boyfriend — because even if his position is legitimate, he shouldn't make you feel inferior for yours.
Goddess Mother of compassion,
Help me now to understand
How others feel, so I can help them.
Guide me with Your gentle hand.
Bring to me their true emotions,
Bring their dreams, their hopes, their fears
Bring their hurts, that I may soothe them,
Bring their laughter and their tears.
Help me be more empathetic
To the needs of others, please,
And help me nurture all around me.
As I will, so mote it be!
To Remove Negative Energy From Others
Visualize a tiny hole in the small of your back. Mentally "move" the negative energy down toward the hole and let it seep from your body, and envision it evaporating into the air around you. When you feel that all the negative vibes have left your body, imagine closing the hole.
Good luck, Hippie, and if you drink (or whatever), please do so responsibly.
My friends have been through many personal tragedies lately; our group seems so isolated and lost. I am a sensitive guy, and have seen and felt many issues arising. Is there a way to help them remember the good times, and guide them back to a group as a whole? Thank you.
We're so sorry to hear that you and your friends are going through a rough spot. Your letter doesn't include many details, but the core of what you're describing is something so real and universal: no matter how you get there, it can be so hard to see yourself rising out of a low when you're in it. So, some thoughts: try to be proactive. It's natural that some people, when in a depression, isolate themselves — but that doesn't mean they don't want and appreciate company or support. It just means you might have to push a little harder to give it to them. Maybe your friend doesn't feel like going out; what if you bring her dinner at home? You feel like they can't remember good times past; focus on making the present a little better. And distractions are allowed! Watch a funny movie, go to a concert, play a round of mini-golf, read something inspirational— do whatever you guys love to do, or try something new. It might feel like going through the motions, but the whole fakie-it-til-you-make-it trick is a cliche because it works.
Equally important, though, is the act of taking care of yourself. Your struggle is no less real than your friends'; you say that they're the ones who have been through personal tragedies, but witnessing that kind of pain in a person you love is a tragedy in its own right. Your sensitivity is a rare and wonderful asset, but it might to take you to a place where you expect yourself to fix your group. That's an unrealistic and unhealthy expectation, so keep checking in on yourself. And if you ever feel like your friends are in a state that makes you worry for their health or safety, don't hesitate to reach out to professionals, like I'm Alive.
We've got a couple things to help with the blues, one that we did and one for you to do, both amended from Everyday Magic. On our end, we took a white candle and colored it black with a felt-tip marker. We lit the candle, and said:
Flame cut through sadness, deep
Melt it down and make it weep.
Grant me power to re-emerger,
From its grip, I leap and surge.
We watched the candle burn with intention, until white wax appeared.
If you want to do something at home, you can get yourself some lemon oil and kunzite or blue agate stone. Rub the oil into the stone and say:
Kunzite/agate, stone of mellow hue,
Dissolve this sadness, I beg of you.
Take its power and transform its strength
Into positive energy I can use at length.
Then rub the stone against your temples and heart.
Hang in there, and take care of yourself!
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