The Heart of the Matter: a Magical Response to COVID-19

As many of us are now showing our solidarity by being on retreat I’d like to make a suggestion for some shared magical work to address the coronavirus pandemic.

This working was initially suggested by a member of the Illuminates of Thanateros and I’d like to thank that Brother for starting the process.

Many people will be already be doing magical work in many different ways and what I’m suggesting here allows for that diversity. We needs lots of approaches to address this crisis, in multiplicity there is strength.

To help link our magical work together this is the suggested sigil which has been named ‘Hearty’ for all the obvious reasons:

The sigil can be used as a focal point for various types of magical action including:

Sending vibes of solidarity, care, admiration and positive power to all those in the caring professions, teachers, medical staff and the many others who are at the front line in this pandemic.

Conjuring for breakthroughs in medicine, treatment, the discovery of a vaccine and other technologies and approaches to reduce suffering and support healing.

Sending spells to directly affect the virus to reduce its rate of transmission and severity.

Doing some classic shamanistic or trance work to enter the imaginal world and battle the virus.

Calling into manifestation those timelines in which our species respond to this challenge in ways that support better ways of living together on the planet and with all our relations (both human and non-human).

There are many other ways you could choose to work with the sigil. Your practice could be as simple as creating your own image of Hearty or bringing it up on screen and making prayers of gratitude and asking whatever spirits you work with for their help.

You could try some Tonglen practice using Hearty as the gateway image, breathing in the suffering of those affected by the virus and breathing out the alleviation of suffering through the symbol. (Only recommended for experienced practitioners who are in a good mental state.)

You could also use Hearty as a visual focus while speaking aloud to yourself or a friend (including over audio/video channels) and together create a ‘future nostalgia’. “Do you remember how it was that COVID-19, for all the sadness it brought, finally helped us come together as one people to address climate change and wealth inequality? Do you remember how we found a really effective and simple antidote to the virus and how wonderful the celebrations were when we emerged from our retreats? etc”.

An additional resource that you might want to include in this work is this soundtrack generated from the genome of the virus.

Here’s an example of a practice with Hearty, developed by a magical friend who is working in an intensive care unit, nursing people with the coronavirus:

Breathing with Good Heart

A breathing exercise/ritual. Can be used alone as a meditation or prayer using the sigil, or as part of a larger piece of ritual work. At a time when we face a respiratory disease, this focuses on breath as a tool to share collective prayer and ritual. Use the sigil, either printed or drawn in front of you, or in your mind. Imagine the sigil as a compass and use four cardinal points for each breath. You could draw the sigil on the floor and stand in it as your magical circle, turning to each direction as you perform the ritual.

Come to a still, centred state of awareness.

Place one hand to my chest, the other outstretched

“For my kin, for my kind, I will offer 5 breaths.”

In the East, breathe in deeply and say

“Inspiration – the breath of life that is Air

A consciousness higher, let us meet there.”

Bring attention to the element of Air.

In the South, breathe deeply and say:

“A breath for the flames that bring action and light

For passion for love, rise after the night.”

Bring attention to the element of Fire.

In the West, breathe deeply and say:

“A breath for the Water that cleanses and flows

For the tears, for the dreams, for the depths unknown.”

Bring attention to the element of Water.

In the North, breathe deeply and say:

“Inhale now and root deeply into the Earth

For the here, for the now, for the death and rebirth.”

Bring attention to the element of Earth.

Facing upwards.

“A breath for the Spirit that binds us as one

For unity, for truth, now the circle is spun.”

Take a final moment to allow your intention to pass into all those people, situations and objects that will help us in this time. 


Obviously whatever magical work you do this needs to be combined with physical care for ourselves and others in our community.

We’re already seeing many heartening examples of community solidarity. A friend in Barcelona tells me that at 8pm each evening people come onto their balconies to clap and cheer in support of their medical staff. Let us, as Witches, Magicians, Shamans, Druids, Thelemites and others, create a global circle of power at this time of crisis and transformation. Let us be of good heart and breathe life into this magic!

Blessings on our Great Work and Happy Equinox!

Julian Vayne

Your Very Good Health!

I don’t have perfect health. My body after nearly 47 years taking breath, has had things happen to it, and has broken in several places. A casual passer-by would never know but, I have; ligament damage to my knee, a weak Achilles tendon, currently a bad back (from sitting funny last week and spreadsheeting for three hours), and a severely damaged inner ear. Also, various other temporary aches and damaged bits come and go, along with the rounds of viruses, bacteria, and so on. My skin and bones record dozens of small scars from long forgotten injuries.

This is my normal. Having a blemish free body, unaffected by incidents after so long would be unnatural. It is a miracle I am alive at all! I marvel at how well biology does at maintaining this form I inhabit in recognisable similarity year to year, despite replacing all the cells on a regular basis.

Evolutionary adaptation takes into account this wear and tear, accidental impacts, and attacks from hostile micro-organisms. As well as repair, it has blessed us with death, and its companion, reproduction, so as to give the life force a restart every generation. Our tissues are designed to receive damage and recover from it as best as possible. Life expects us to be hurt.

I once heard a skin specialist being interviewed, who was asked what we could do to keep our skin totally safe. He said, cover it in petroleum jelly and stay indoors permanently; which he immediately followed with, of course that is impossible. Living entails a process of acquired ‘imperfections’. Like trees none of us has grown entirely according to the biological instructions we were provided with at conception, our surroundings alter our shapes and behaviours. This even applies to how our DNA instructions manifest themselves (see epigenetics).

Having experiences gives us personalities, and interesting appearances. Like trees, the ‘perfect’ human form would likely seem bland and without character.

My perfect tree

My perfect tree

Part of living is accepting that we do not remain in that mythical state of ‘perfection’, even if we are born with no obvious errors; which in itself is not something we ought to expect. Having the ability to see what we do have, in the face of adversity, to count our blessings, gives us a different take on who we are.

In a world influenced by the futile quest for a standardised perfected body image, the scars and marks of survival can loom large. For me a big step in defining myself came when I was asked by my friend (a psychologist with many years experience of counselling those with chronic conditions) what percentage of me was ‘ill’, and what ‘healthy’. I realised that whilst my internal sense of (literal) balance was flawed, it made up only about 3% (subjectively) of Me. The other 97% was in fact in pretty good shape. Suddenly instead of feeling broken, beyond repair, I felt that I had worked well at keeping what I could functional; my senses were fine, I had limbs that did what they should, I had reasonable fitness. I could do more things to make that ok part of me better, or perhaps Good; even if I couldn’t change the damaged inner ear.

And so I did. I’ve spent the last few years practising yoga, eating well, ensuring I sleep properly, and enjoying the things I can do, pushing aside the terror of inadequacy by building the abilities I have; so that when I get dizzy or have issues then the weller bits of me can compensate. This is not a perfect solution, but, as well as the health benefits, this strategy has made me feel I have influence over myself, my behaviours. A feeling not to be underestimated in its power.

On a magickal level the approach has changed my attention, which for me right now seems to be one of the defining skills of a magician; to direct attention as necessary for optimal results. And as I switched to this different perspective, I began to discover (by myself, and via information shared by others with me), possible remedies for the problem, as its import shifted to non-critical. Perhaps, by allowing the damage to be there, whilst seeing the strengths I had, this made space for the previously non-existent (in my world) herb-lore to appear?

However, I write this suggestion very cautiously. It is easy to say, ‘think positively! and all your ills will vanish!’ That is not my intention here. Our aim ought to be to acknowledge our imperfections, our normal state which means we cannot, then look for and focus on the normal we have which means we can.

My inner ear is not mendable. The surrounding biological systems and my way of life however can adapt, so nowadays when I lose balance I barely notice that my body catches me before I stagger and fall. The fatigue can be held at bay (mostly…) by factoring in rest periods throughout every day. Feeding the health, giving attention to wellness, pushing aside the trauma of not-perfect.

Recently I visited my mum, and we were talking of my university days; and I found myself glad that I had done that training, but, pleased it had been forced to stop, as I now have a career which suits me far better. With hindsight, I learnt so much from the years of pain and discomfort, those twists of my branches away from the programmed high reaching symmetry of a scientist has given me a lower profile with greater stability, and arguably made me far more likeable… though without a control it is hard to tell 😉

I would like to encourage those readers who have health issues, whether intrinsic or from external sources, to make a slight shift in perspective, and (in a Pollyanna way…) play the game of rejoicing in their abilities.

Accentuating the positive can drive out the negative. Directed attention does miraculous things to the bodymind. We notice what we look for; seek out your strengths, and you might be amazed at how those weaknesses atrophy.