Burdens of others—as many as you have
3 quarts unspeakable heartache
1 heaping tablespoon of ugly thoughts such as
doubts, fears, and regrets
101 compost worms
Purified tears, enough to fill a small vial
Renewed hope—all that you can muster
2 ounces lemon oil
1 bundle of sage
Skin scraped from an old scar until it bleeds
1 laundry basket you don’t mind losing
1 gallon mason jar
1 durable vacuum ready for the afterlife
1 spray bottle
Step One: Neatly fold burdens from others and place in a laundry basket you don’t mind losing. Light the first match. Set burdens on fire.
Step Two: As the laundry basket burns, combine three quarts unspeakable heartache and one tablespoon of ugly thoughts into a one gallon mason jar. Let it stew until bitterness wafts from the container, approximately a lifetime. No wait—that’s too long. Give it a minute or two.
Step Three: Pour the 101 worms into jar and let them feast until jar is full of compost.
Step Four: At this point, your laundry basket full of burdens should be ash. Vacuum up the remains of the things you wish people hadn’t asked you to carry. Let vacuum sit.
Note the First: In some cases, those burdens try to reform themselves and reattach to you. If that is the case, you need to release the guilt you feel when you give yourself permission to prioritize your wellness. There’s plenty of room in the vacuum for guilt too.
Note the Second: If you don’t feel guilt then good for you. You probably weren’t raised Catholic.
Step Five: Cry. A lot. Shed enough tears to fill a small vial and then put a stopper on it. You don’t want to go overboard. Get it out of your system and move on. When you’re done and have slept it off, combine the tears purified under the unconditional love of a full moon with lemon oil and the renewed hope you gained while dreaming. Pour elixir into a spray bottle. Shake well. And shake again.
Note the Third: You might use regular hope but renewed hope is stronger, more potent. It has survived brutal heartache and terrible blows to the soul. If you want the spell to work, use the thing that won’t die.
Step Six: Spray that shit everywhere until all you can smell is lemons and unblemished possibility.
Step Seven: Remember the vacuum bag of burned burdens and burgeoning guilt? Throw them in the gallon jar of what is now compost and worms.
Step Eight: Take the second match and use it to light the vacuum on fire. It has held too much for too long and is ready for the afterlife.
Step Nine: Once everything has burned to a crisp and your mason jar is full of nothing but worms and reincarnated regrets (they are better for being dirt), take the remains—to be clear: worms, dirt, ashes—out to your garden. Fold them into the heap that is your compost. Turn widdershins twenty-one times or in whatever direction you want however many times you want.
Step Ten: Watch as the worms find their home in the earth and the dust settles.
Step Eleven: Take the last match and the bundle of sage. Light that bitch on fire. Lick the flame. Absolve yourself. You are only responsible for you. Taste the flame again to remember how good it feels to let things go. Swallow the match and commit the sage to the compost.
Step Twelve: Walk into your home. Smell lemon oil and the small green shoots of new life.
Step Thirteen: Close the door to any unwanted burdens that come knocking.
Step Fourteen: Scrape the skin of old scars across the threshold to remind yourself why you did the cleansing spell in the first place.
Step Fifteen: Repeat as necessary.
Final Note: If you have to repeat this spell more often than you brush your teeth, ask yourself why you need to suffer. Then stop. Do you really want to spend your life crying into vials to make more purification spray? I mean, do what you have to do, but you’ve done this enough times that you know how things inevitably turn out. Better not to take on the burdens in the first place. You’ll keep more laundry baskets that way. Vacuums, too.
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