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MAGIC AND MIGRAINES

The first time I got a really good migraine, I had absolutely no idea what was happening. I was suddenly lightheaded and kind of confused, and everything around me looked painfully bright. It was only an hour or so later when the headache hit that I started to figure it out.

My magical teacher at the time told me that migraines are actually pretty common for folks who are expanding their magical abilities. This makes sense, because Migraines are caused by vasodilation (dilated blood vessels) in the brain, and vasodilation can actually be influenced by a range of different magical practices as simple as meditation and energy work.

On the other hand, the migraines sometimes come first. Besides pounding headaches, many migraineurs experience a range of neurological symptoms including increased perception through some or all of the senses and significantly altered states of consciousness. Whether we want them or not, these experiences can trigger different and sometimes more magical ways of perceiving the world.

My migraines got worse and worse for a couple of years, but eventually I learned a few tricks. Most of them are pretty simple if not exactly easy – things like getting enough sleep, eating well with plenty of magnesium, and doing yoga and meditation to help curb stress. I also started experimenting with the herb vervain. Vervain really deserves a post of its own, but it is a good tonic for migraines, as well as the female hormonal fluctuation that they often correspond to.

Interestingly, vervain is also a traditional witches’ herb – so it may be worth considering especially if you suffer from migraines and feel they may be related to your magical practice. You can make the fresh or dried herb into a tea, or infuse it into wine (which is a traditional – though admittedly rather awful tasting – witch-style preparation).

I rarely get migraines anymore, but they do strike occasionally. Most remedies I’m aware of are intended to reduce the frequency, but I didn’t know of any reliable and natural way to reduce the symptoms once an attack had already begun until recently. Then I read somewhere about hand-warming.

I have noticed that hot showers can often reduce the pain significantly, but warming your hands is certainly much more convenient. Not only that, but even imagining your hands warming or energetically increasing their temperature can sometimes be effective (voluntary vasodilation, anyone?).

Anyway, today I noticed a headache starting to sneak up on me, so I instantly tried this trick. I rubbed my hands together, then spent a few minutes concentrating on the energy I could sense between my palms. Other sources suggest vividly imagining warming your hands over a fire, which might be even simpler. Any way, this was absolutely effective for me today! I repeated the process several times over the next hour when I noticed mild discomfort, and my headache went away completely before it really got started.

Nothing against herbalism, witches, but this is maybe more practical than vervain. Let’s make a note in the lore.

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  • is a co-editor of BAD WITCHES. She also offers witch medicine for what ails you (along with more art and other stuff) at Dream Horse. She lives in the wilds of Pittsburgh with her partner and two children who are mainly being raised by wolves.

  • Show Comments (7)

  • Beth McDonald

    Hmmmm…this is an interesting read…..I discovered a few years ago…that sometimes….not all the time….I could picture a white long tail feathered bird sweeping across my forehead and eyes, and colors from my migraine flowing into the bird, giving it beautiful color, then the bird taking the pain to the Goddess Hecate to recycle or reuse….I can’t tell you how many times this has worked, but I’d wager a guess that it’s worked more than half the time. I’ve tried it with the bone/face pain from early childhood trauma that was never treated….the result is several masses of bone that overlapped and healed incorrectly, as well as many displaced nerves. I truly wish I could be successful ALL the time….but….I’m VERY interested to try this technique…I’ve heard it mentioned in articles, but had No idea how to do it. Thank you So much for sharing this! I’ve had more luck with this type of technique than I’ve had with natural alternatives. Some are bad enough that I can Not come into contact with them again….BUT if I could figure out why it works so well sometimes but not others….I could be free of the minimal dosages I take now. The Dr’s are amazed that my dosages work so well, I’d like to be free from ALL of it period;)

    • Laura Gyre

      That’s interesting. To be honest, I haven’t done a lot with visualization for migraines because they’re so painful and distracting, though that would probably be a good thing to try at the first sign of one coming on.

  • Beth McDonald

    Sorry to post again, I forgot to check mark to be notified of new posts or responses…lol…However, I am curious to know how you use/prepare the vervain? How much fresh or dried to use as a tea?

    • Laura Gyre

      It seems to be common to use about a teaspoon of vervain in a cup of tea. I’ve only used dried. I’ve only done the wine once and can’t easily find a lot of recipes to reference, so I’m not going to give any dosage suggestions on that…but I will say that vervain is a mild and safe enough herb that I would feel comfortable experimenting.

      • Beth McDonald

        Thank you so much! I definitely am curious to try this…I’d do the tea as well… any relief at all would get me one step closer to med free:)

  • Laura Gyre

    There are a lot of other herbal remedies that can help with headaches, also, although some of them work better if you take them regularly, as prevention.

    Kiva Rose is a great herbalist who has a piece on herbs for headaches: http://bearmedicineherbals.com/a-few-herbs-for-headaches.html

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