In his book Crossroads: The Path of Hecate Greg Crowfoot writes ‘Hecate calls out to us to acknowledge our past mistakes and our past pains. She urges us to learn from them, to seize back our lost power and then cast them away.’

This has become one of the primary aspects of my current magickal practice as a witch. I am acutely aware that I have an entire reservoir full of psychic energy which has been blocked and held back by frankly useless feelings such as shame, guilt, fear and emotional pain.

Some people are more squeamish than others. And there are those who are able to take bold actions, cast dark, malevolently targeted spells, and not lose any sleep over the intended results. I am way too sensitive, and not being brave enough to fight on the magickal plane has led to many (quite needless) sleepless nights. A doormat is not an acceptable item to be.

Regaining one’s Personal Power – and subsequently one’s courage – is crucial to evolving as a witch. As we build our knowledge, hone our skills, develop our abilities in the Craft, we should not forget those inner resources which have been left unrecognised, neglected or repressed. Parts of us which are broken, crushed, twisted out of shape due to psychological/spiritual trauma and injury. They need to be repaired, restored, re-set.

Florinda Donner postulated the technique of Recapitulation to Carlos Castaneda in The Eagle’s Gift. It entailed reviewing one’s life down to the most insignificant details in order to release limitations, the better to move on into new realms of being. Not necessarily in terms of self healing per se, but rather a way of gathering strength as a Warrior of Total Freedom. But it could be used for purposes of self-repair. One might work out past conflicts and troubled events of personal history to liberate spiritual/emotional power. Castaneda advised finding/creating a specific place for doing this act of Recapitulation. Building a type of cupboard to stand in, even lying in a coffin…)

He recommended that the process be done by first writing down a list of people/ experiences, and going through it, unlocking particular events. There is also a series of breathing exercises to facilitate the un-trapping of energy.

For more information this is a useful web-site.

Pin-pointing where power has been caught, weakened or lost can mean searching through many levels of being. Much of our worst experiences are (seemingly) in the more mundane world. Family, relationships, health, work, money and so on. But in the magickal realm we as witches have had spells which seriously backfired on us, sometimes total ‘crash and burn’; misunderstandings in the astral world which need to be straightened out; the damaging personal results of intense psychic attack and concentrated hate-thought-forms.

According to the Buddhist writer Charlotte Kasl the highest vibrational attainment a human can reach is 700. And that is for the most advanced of spiritual travellers, those who are close to Nirvana. For most people being able to hit 400-500 is exceptional and ecstatic indeed.

The person who is suffering from acute shame and guilt and depression can be experiencing 2. And as 0 is physical death then they are basically barely alive. Many are their own judge, jury and executioner. They no longer function in any viable way and often actively create circumstances of punishment, self-sabotage and destruction.

For a black magick practitioner these low frequencies would be exactly where the ‘action’ is. To destabilise, to break, to fracture, to diminish or implode. Often working upon individuals who have never been much bothered by the abstract idea of a genuine conscience or any kind of recriminatory self-reflection…

I am very interested in Gestalt psychotherapy. Reaching back, ‘time-travelling’ to unhappy, power-sapping situations in my life I try to objectively examine their components. Time, location, participants, cultural factors. Then adding in the perspective of ‘What was happening in terms of the supernatural, the occulted, the magickal?’ (Though some events have been total Chaos, a confluence of strange, disturbing, confused and disruptive sources.)

I also realise that if I had not had those messed-up situations, the hurts and the stupid decisions, I would not be the person/witch I am. Life experience – and lots of it – are gifts really. But there are long-held patterns and misconceptions which become simply annoying impediments. They need to be brought to closure. In order to be happier, more effective, to be of better use to those people we wish to help.

Tuning in to the past too much can be pointless, for sure. Forensically analysing every foolish thing we have done is perhaps a waste of time. As life is all about making mistakes. But Recapitulation is a potent form of psychic cleansing. It is worthwhile.

For myself I just try to unravel/untangle the knots of old apprehensions and anxieties which are relevant to me as I exist today. In order to be more confident and centred. To be aware that even small changes in behaviour, from how I used to act, can influence situations for positive and clearer outcomes. Magickal or otherwise.

Also, having another witch bless you, or help you over a particular hurdle/blind spot, is an amazing boost. To have a whole coven directing healing forces your way must be incredible.

Magickal recapitulation has actually made me more aware of Spirit. That in the midst of personal dramatic scenarios, many only worthy of soap operas or the worst reality tv shows, Something was there. Watching, guiding, protecting.

So now I imagine the harsh, critical words, the toxicity of poisonous psychic encounters, the slow blades of betrayal and rejection, all turning to vermilion powder and ash. Dark bruises healing and spreading out their colour into the bloodstream as spiritual energy. Breaking the husks of the Past and casting them away.


Andrew J, Scotland


Gestalt therapy is an existential/experiential form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility, and that focuses upon the individual’s experience in the present moment, the therapist–client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person’s life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation.