Nursing is a practical magic that creates internal and external environments to promote health or a peaceful death through acts that generate transformation. Ancient wisdoms and civilizations create rituals to honor life’s milestones and seasonal changes.
Samhain (pronounced sow-een) is known as the ancient Celtic festival of the dead. Celebrated on the 1st day of November, Samhain is a time of introspection, and remembrance of the ancestors.
How do you remember and honor your ancestors?
Wise women throughout the ages, healers, and witches honor the turning of the wheel of life, the seasons, and the rhythms of the natural universe.
Connecting with the moon, stars, plants, animals, self and spirit they give thanks and set intentions to create healing and the life they dream of.
Consider the symbols and talisman of Halloween. One may see that the Broom symbolizes clearing of the old to make way for new; the Owl for wisdom; the Cat for mystery of the unknown; Ghosts for notions of the other world; and Bats for transformation.
As nurses, we inherently make connections with and for our patients and families. We tap into the power of the universe, as we embrace it we realize there’s a little witch in all of us.
Magic isn’t just spells and potions; its symbols and talisman that have whatever meaning you assign to them. What are the symbols and rituals that hold meaning for you?
Healers use their powers to conjure and create by setting intentions and connecting with the inherent energies of their environments.
The nursing metaparadigm (nurse, person, health, environment) viewed through the Unitary Transformative paradigm conjures an integration of multiple ways of knowing, being and becoming.
As we honor our nursing ancestor Florence Nightengale, we hear her say:
“All disease is a reparative process…an effort to remedy a process of poisoning or decay…I use the word nursing for want of a better. It has been limited to the administration of medicines and applications of poultices. It ought to signify the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet and diet…”
How do you conjure your environment for healing? How do you create the environment for your patients to heal? What ritual, symbols and talismans and intentions do you use in your self healing and work?
As we connect to our ancestors today, let us begin to reclaim our providence and power as nurse healers.
Listen to you heart, hear the beat of the drum, the drum of your heart as it connects with the hearts of the others and the universe; conjuring, gathering and sending out powers of healing and love to self and universe.
On this day we honor the ancestors, the ancient wisdoms, where we have been and the gifts we have been given.
See the vibrant colors of the Autumn; red, yellow, orange, and brown. Smell the earthly aromas of patchouli, sandalwood, musk, spice and copal. Hear the rustle of leaves as they fall and fly.
Let your nursing be a practical magic. Conjure a spell and send your intentions off on the winds, allowing the vibrant leaves of red, orange and yellow carry your wishes of health and healing to the earth, animals and humans.
Nightingale, F. (1859). Notes of Nursing; What is it and What it is not. Barnes & Noble (2003): New York, NY (pp 1-2).
4 thoughts on “Nursing as Practical Magic”
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Beautiful work here Dr Marks.
Loved reading this. I have taken many approaches, in my nursing work, to create environments of healing. Prayer~ lots of prayer. I have taken advice from Jean Watson and as I wash my hands after a patient encounter, I pray and I wash away the old and prepare for the new encounter. When I enter a room, I make eye contact with my patient, smile and sit for a moment. I let the situation guide my next action. I always straighten up the room, dim the lights if they allow and remove the trash to rid the room of odor. I listen, and listen and listen.
Thank you for your feedback Carey and Bobbi! Love your attention to assessing and creating the healing environment with constructive presencing, clearing, blessing, praying and authentic listening! Reading environments is a valuable nursing skill; to assess biopsychosociospiritual health including seeing and sensing energy patterns on multiple levels guides the nurse in her/his next steps to facilitate healing.