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A Freelancer’s Guide to Witchcraft

Tired of the same old productivity tips, this freelancer turns to magic when feeling uninspired.

Illustrated by Wenting Li.

Although the freedom of freelancing is rewarding, unreliable clients and low productivity can leave me feeling discouraged. I’m a freelance writer living in New York. I can email a dozen editors, but I can’t control how fast they’ll respond or if they’ll respond at all.

When work isn’t consistent and I feel like I have a creative block, I’ll turn to witchcraft for some inspiration. There may not be a fountain of high-paying freelance gigs out there, but with the use of some choice herbs and non-satanic spells, you can work some creative magic.

Pop out your candles, crystals, and spell book, and let’s browse through some rituals and practices for a freelancer in need. (This guide does not endorse the use of black magic).

Herbs

Let’s start with some basic medicinal herbs to introduce into your work week. Do not underestimate the back of your spice cabinet because you may already have some of these household items.

Catnip: Essentially weed for cats, but it’s also good for human insomnia and a bellyache.
Suggested Use: To keep your cat occupied and out of your way while you update your portfolio and website.

Elderberry: A plant, also known as sambucus, that is loaded with superior health benefits.
Suggested Use: A tablespoon of extract daily to promote a healthy immune system because you don’t have health insurance if you’re self-employed. If you do have health insurance, but your coverage isn’t great, stick to the same dosage.

Kale: A crunchy, leafy green that puts up a fight.
Suggested Use: To angrily munch on at lunch as you plan out your work week and figure out realistic deadlines.

Banana Leaf: A large leaf from a banana tree.
Suggested Use: To garnish a plate of dollar tacos because, due to unpaid invoices, you’re on a budget this month.

Auras

Every living thing has an aura, and being able to pick up on someone’s energy can feel like mind reading. If you can sense someone’s positivity or aggression, you can discover if that person is trustworthy or dangerous. There are seven auras of the human energy, but there are four reserved for the constant freelancer. These four auras are categorized as: paid, invoiced, unpaid, and hasn’t been paid in months.

A green aura will signify payment in full. The green starts in your bank account and then radiates from your skin to create a mesmerizing glow. This is an exciting aura that tends to attract people, so beware of the friend who often says, “I’ll just Venmo you.”

A pretty pink aura will represent a freshly sent invoice. You are free to float in your glory in having completed a successful project on time, and know that money will appear in to your bank account soon. This aura is welcoming and peaceful.

A yellow glow will seep from your skin if you haven’t been paid yet, but it’s still too soon to send a passive aggressive email addressing it. Your aura will grow into a dense fog of anxiety and self-doubt. This is the most emotional aura, also known as limbo.

A blood-red aura will emanate up to ten feet away from you if you have not been paid in over a month. If a yellow aura is limbo, this is hell. Animals will cower in fear, plants will wilt at your touch, and your peers will ask, “Wow, are you okay?”

Smoke Cleansing

The art of smoke cleansing traditionally involves burning a combination of dried plants, and sometimes incorporating a crystal if you’re fancy. Different combinations of plants will promote love, courage, or fertility, but forget all of that. You want to invite success and new clients into your life.

To enhance productivity and increase clients, use a combination of Adderall, fiber cereal, and your last cigarette. Light it up and wave it counterclockwise around your workspace reciting the word “vitality” three times. Refrain from checking your social media during this practice, as it will negate the entire process.

Spellcasting

Spells are recommended for more advanced practitioners, or for when the end of the month is coming up and you really need to make rent. Spells can be difficult, but with good intentions they can be therapeutic and also invite healthy creativity into your work. Before beginning your spell, clean your workspace or studio. Actually, regardless of the spell, you might want to practice this habit anyway.

Begin at your desk. If you work from home, but don’t have a desk, you can just use the space you eat in, like your foldout Ikea table or the end of your bed. This is a good time to purify the air with a quick smoke cleanse.

Evoking powers of a stronger sorcerer will give your success spell a boost. Take a framed photograph of Steve Jobs, or whoever gets you motivated, and place it in your workspace. There are a variety of spells you can try to advance your freelance career. For example, consider starting out with this basic incantation to summon profit:

Let my business card fall into the hands
Of someone with a lot of connections,
Or at least let me get some good LinkedIn profile views this week.

Desperate times may also call for a bit of dabbling in dark magic, but beware that whatever negative vibes you send out to the world may come back to you…

This company better email me back
Or I will be very upset,
And unfollow them on Twitter,
Or make an angry Facebook post about their poor communication skills.
And so it shall be.

Always end your spells with gratitude for a successful future spell.

If you aren’t feeling ready to try out freelance spell-casting yet, you may want to begin with some diet witchcraft:

Potions, crystals, and more

Add lemon, dried marshmallows, and milk thistle to your coffee each morning for one week. (Drink with caution.) Stir three times clockwise in order to receive a full inbox of new work opportunities and sincere apologies from clients for not responding sooner. Beware, if you spin three times counterclockwise, you will only get paid in Bed Bath and Beyond coupons for a month.

Crystal healing is widely practiced as a means of focusing one’s energy. Certain stones can stimulate positive energy—like jade and amethyst, which can enhance productivity and good judgement. But first, to activate your crystals, promote your website through shameless plug-ins on social media. Once those crystals sparkle, check your Google Analytics for skyrocketing page views.

Tarot card reading is a healing ritual that can help you get to know your strengths and weaknesses. Using a deck of tarot cards, you can map out your past, present, future, and all of your deep insecurities in between. The cards you draw can help you discover why you’ve been off your game or where your creative block has been coming from.

I prefer the Rider-Waite tarot deck and reading my cards over my MacBook to enhance my SEO. If you draw the Emperor, you will meet all of your deadlines and your undiagnosed depression will subside. If you draw the Fool, you will accidentally leave a bunch of grammar mistakes in an important email.

More on the struggles of freelancing:
How to Use Tinder to Get Freelance Work
I’m a Freelancer and I Hate Summer
What I Learned From Freelancing With Depression

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