Self-Love Rituals for the Season of Love!
When did you last connect with yourself? When did you recently set aside time, whether minutes or hours, to take stock of your mental, physical, and emotional self? If I were to ask what aspects of yourself you'd like to change, chances are you’d have an immediate answer. But if I then asked when you’re planning on making those changes, it’s likely you’d say ‘When I have the time,’ or ‘When I have the energy,’ or ‘Once I have X, Y & Z sorted, I’ll try to get to it then.’
In our busy lives, self-care regularly gets nudged to the end of the to-do list. Yes, taking a bath/walk/meditation/yoga class would be wonderful, but there’s laundry/cooking/work/family to take care of first, and they’re more important.
But self-care is important too, because at its core, self-care is about self-love and self-respect. We all want to be the best we can be, and invite more positivity into our lives. Think about it this way; like attracts like, so if you want to be a positivity magnet, you need to start with yourself, by loving yourself.
February is the month of love, but you won’t find any Valentine’s cards with ‘I love me!’ in pink glitter (more’s the pity). To honour our individual selves this month, be your own Valentine. Whether you have five minutes, or an hour, engage in self-love with one or a combination of these simple rituals. When you deliberately nurture your physical, emotional, and mental health, you’re honouring yourself and creating a better environment to invite more of the good stuff into your life, and who can say no to extra good stuff?
Tarot is a wonderful tool for self-love practices. Packed with symbolism, it’s a great way to uncover hidden aspects of our lives, so grab your favourite deck for these first three rituals, or if you really want to pamper yourself, research and buy a new deck specifically with self-love in mind. You can journal along with these rituals too, so again, choose a journal that fits with your self-love theme. It’s important to connect with your tools as you embark on this self-love journey, so take the time to select with both your heart and your head!
On a daily basis, shuffle your deck while asking one question, then draw a single card. Here are a few question prompts to get you started.
What I love about me today is . . .
What action should I take to love myself more today?
What positive attributes of this card are reflected in me?
How can I bring more self-love into my day today?
Take a moment to sit with the card and absorb the images and messages it brings. You can journal your thoughts, or simply take note of the keywords on your phone so you can reference them at any time. Leave the card in a place where you can see it throughout your day, or bring it with you as you go about your business. If discretion is needed, take a photo of the card so you can quietly check in with it when appropriate.
At the end of the day, take another moment to consider how you and this card vibed with each other. How did it encourage self-love? Did it prompt the discovery of an aspect of yourself you hadn’t previously considered? Journal your thoughts. You might like to start a list of ‘Things I love About Me’ so as you continue your daily draws, you can keep watching your amazing attributes growing.
This ritual invites you to go through your entire deck (tarot or oracle) and select the card/s you feel reflect self-love, or the card/s that encourage you to embrace more self-love.
With your cards chosen, get comfy, and consider why you chose these cards, and how they can encourage you to welcome in self-love. The following prompts will help get your thoughts flowing:
What aspects of each card represent self-love to me?
How can I take on this aspect to give myself more love?
What attributes does this card reflect that I hadn’t considered present in myself?
What attributes of this card do I strive to invite into my life?
Where am I reflected in this card?
You can journal your thoughts as you go through each card, or again, take note of the keywords where you can access them daily to keep reminding yourself of your self-love commitment.
Create a plan of action around your chosen cards. For example, if you’ve drawn The High Priestess, or the Queen of Cups, perhaps a simple daily meditation will help boost your self-love. The 8 of Wands is a card of action, so perhaps more physical exercise. Pentacles reflect career and work, so you could consider learning a new skill, or changing your job if it’s not serving your best interests. If potential changes seem too far-reaching at first, try not to dismiss them, especially those that will nudge you out of your comfort zone. Come at them with baby steps and see how far you can go with introducing change or new practices into your life.
Place your chosen cards where you can see them daily, carry them with you, or snap a photo if it’s easier. You’ll know what best fits your situation. If you want to think bigger, create a vision board with the chosen cards. Place this board where you’ll see it regularly, or again, take a photo.
Stuck in a dull meeting? Sneak a peek at your cards or vision board photo and remind yourself that better things are out there waiting for you! (Just don’t let the boss catch you.)
You can work with your chosen cards for a day, a week, a month—however long you like. The idea is to embrace positive aspects of yourself you hadn’t considered before, and open yourself to ways in which you can increase your self-love. If you’re new to tarot and don’t yet have a grasp on the card meanings, that’s not a problem. Simply pick out the cards you feel reflect self-love, and focus on the card’s imagery, and why you were drawn to each particular card. The cards are merely a starting point for you to get under your own hood and get your engine running on the fuel of love. (Vroom, vroom)
You can use tarot or oracle cards for this ritual. Once again, you’re going to select one or more cards that represent self-love or aspects of love that you wish to bring into your life.
For each card chosen, craft your own mantra. For example, if you chose The Empress card, you could say; ‘I am happy and fulfilled,’ or ‘I am creative and loving.’
Here are a few more examples.
2 of Wands: ‘I embrace growth in my life,’ or ‘I am open to opportunity and expansion.’
8 of Pentacles: ‘I am diligent and patient with my work,’ or ‘I am perfecting my craft daily.’
Ace of Cups: ‘I am compassionate,’ or ‘I am open to new emotional beginnings.’
You’ll need to take some time for this ritual, but once you’ve chosen a mantra for each card, you can pick and choose which suits your mood or situation on a daily basis. For example, if you’re fed up with work, and craving a change, a mantra like ‘I am open to opportunity and expansion’ would be of benefit.
It’s time for a hug! For this meditation, you’re going to imagine yourself in a beautiful, peaceful setting. You might like to picture a forest where you’re surrounded by whispering trees, or on the shoreline, looking out at the sparkling ocean, or perhaps you can see yourself in a garden brimming with blooms where you’re serenaded by birdsong. Wherever you choose, in this magical, serene setting, you’ll be giving yourself a loving hug. And while you’re being warmed by this self-embrace, you’ll also be reminding yourself what it is about you that you love! For example; ‘I love that I find inspiration in music.’ ‘I love that I always smile and say hello at the checkout.’ ‘I love the sound of my laugh.’ ‘I love how I see good in people.’
Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed for 5 to 10 minutes.
You can set the ambience by lighting a candle, burning incense, or playing gentle music. Find a comfy position, on a chair, lying down, or sitting on the floor—wherever feels right—just ensure your back is supported, and the temperature is comfortable.
Once comfy in your chosen position, close your eyes and begin by picturing yourself standing before a door.
Inhale deeply, imagining the air being drawn in through your bellybutton, and slowly filling your lungs. Hold it for a few seconds, then release on a slow exhale through your mouth.
Picture your stresses rushing out with that breath, evaporating like misting breath on a frosty morning.
Repeat the deep breaths three times, then return to normal breathing, focusing only on the sensations of your breath passing in and out of your nostrils.
When you feel ready, reach out, open the door, and step into your setting.
You might like to sit, stand, or lie down in this place, but take a moment to look around and see, hear, and feel your surroundings. Give yourself a few moments to experience the setting through all your senses.
Wrap your arms around yourself, in both the actual physical and imaginary sense, and fill that hug with lots of warm, loving vibes. As you fill your cup with the comfort of this hug, list all the ways in which you love yourself.
Enjoy your hug for as long as you like, and once you’re ready, give a final squeeze and an ‘I love you’ then leave your setting behind by passing through the door and closing it behind you.
Return to the present with mindful blinks.
If stealing these few minutes at home isn’t possible, you can try this meditation sitting on a park bench, a quiet corner of a library, or even your local place of worship. While you might not want to be seen hugging yourself with abandon in public, you can fold your arms and press your hands to your sides so that you’re still applying loving pressure in lieu of a full hug. You can also sneak in a quick hug and an ‘I love me because I . . .’ while standing in a queue, watching television, or sitting on a bus.
A Box of Love
Grab yourself a pretty box, jar, a pouch or any kind of container. If you’re crafty, have fun decorating it so it takes on your wonderful personality. Next, get yourself slips of paper and a pen. You’re ready to go!
Every day, write down one thing that you love about yourself. Fold your paper and pop it in your container. As the days pass, you can dip in to your box, jar, or pouch of self-love and take one of your slips with you for the day as a reminder of your amazingness. On the days where you’re feeling less than, a little reminder of why you love yourself could be just the pick-me-up you need. Keep it going for as long as you like, knowing there are infinite reasons to love yourself.
We all have little habits we’d like to break. From plain irritating quirks to habits that could affect our health, ridding ourselves of this behaviour returns a sense of control and the satisfaction of achievement.
To start, choose a candle. White is a great, but if there’s a specific colour you’d like to use, go with that. Ideally, you want a candle that you can light for a few days (or more) in a row, so my go-to of a tealight won’t cut the mustard for this ritual.
Using a tool with a sharpish point (something like a knitting needle) carve the habit you wish to break along the length of your candle. If you don’t want to carve the actual word, you could use just the first letter, or a symbol that you feel represents the habit.
Place this candle on a safe surface where it won’t be disturbed, and make a commitment that every day you’ll strive to break this habit using the candle as a yardstick towards your goal.
Each day, if you want to set the scene, you can play music, light other candles or burn incense before you begin. You might like to meditate on breaking this habit before you begin, or, you can just get straight down to business with no muss or fuss.
Light the candle. Sit with it, picturing yourself with the habit broken and how that change will serve you for the better. Choose a mantra to go with your intention, something along the lines of: ‘I am . . . now that I no longer . . .’
For example: ‘I am proud to show off my nails now that I no longer bite them.’ ‘I am feeling healthier now that I no longer choose sugary snacks.’ ‘I am sleeping peacefully now that I no longer scroll through TikTok until 2am.’ ‘I am now more confident that I no longer engage in negative self-talk.’
When you’re done, snuff (don’t blow) out your candle. Every day, return to repeat the ritual, noting that as your candle burns and the carving disappears with it, so too does your habit. Aim to have the habit kicked to the kerb by the time your candle burns out completely.
An Altar to You
Okay, so the idea of creating an altar to worship yourself may make you want to cringe, but believe me, you are worth worshipping. We’re all created by the Divine, and are therefore of the Divine, so don’t be shy about honouring that divinity within.
There’s a little more prep work involved in this ritual, but this activity is important in itself as it makes you focus on the wonderfulness of you.
Start with a photo of yourself that you like. You can frame it or leave it loose. From there, gather items that represent you. Think about your achievements; medals, ribbons, and awards are great items to place on your altar. What about the things you like? Crystals, shells, feathers, flowers, plants, animals. Find representations of these too. Next, think about your hobbies, favourite books, music, movies etc., and whatever aspects of these fire up your joy, add these tokens too. What about your job? What aspects of your work make you happy and deserve representation on your altar?
Once you dive into the gathering, you’ll uncover all the different aspects there are to you. Gather as many tokens as you like, knowing that whenever you see them, they’ll remind you of your awesomeness.
Create a space for your altar. You can use a wall shelf, a bedside table, a shelf inside your wardrobe, a window sill, or maybe even a shoe box if you want to keep your altar private. Regardless of the space you select, make sure it’s clean. You might like to clear the space with incense or music, you can even just clap your hands to rid the space of stale energy. Place your photo first, then set up your items in a pleasing way. Add a candle, incense, or any other extras you’d like.
Once it’s ready, light the candle and say hi to yourself, taking a moment to look at each item and how it represents you. You can visit your altar at any time. Take a photo so you can carry it with during the day. As time passes you can add new items, or replace others. How you work with your altar is up to you! You can also treat your altar as a gratitude shrine, by adding items that represent things for which you’re grateful. If a full altar isn’t possible, you can still gather items and place one or two where you’ll see them every day. You can swap them around depending on your mood.
Whether it’s an altar brimming with self-love tokens, a single tarot card on a shelf, or a shrinking candle signifying the breaking of a habit, there are lots of different ways you can embrace a little self-love every day. I hope these rituals have given you inspiration to appreciate yourself more in this season of love!
Have you a self-love ritual already in place? If so, I’d love to hear how you embrace your fabulousness! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And don't forget . . .
Before I go . . .
I know you all know, but I have to say it anyway: Don’t leave candles unattended. Don’t light them where there may be a risk of you, your property, or anything else catching fire.
Also, avoid cheap candles that melt too fast and send black smoke into your environment. Soy and beeswax are the safest and non-toxic, so avoid paraffin candles if at all possible. Now, go give yourself a hug.