Guided Meditations from Your Favorite Villains

Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? You’re not alone. We all have times when the tasks we need to accomplish by the end of the day are piling up, and we’re fighting with our partner/parent/an orphan with a lightning-shaped scar and we’re late for a meeting/picking up the kids/our beard-trimming appointment with Mr. Smee.

If you think you’re busy and stressed, imagine what it’s like being one of pop culture’s most notorious villains. So much responsibility, so much Internet outrage to manage, so little time to center yourself and breathe deeply.

The five villains below have, after initial reluctance, started meditating regularly to improve their concentration and lower their cortisol levels. Here are short guided meditations written by each one.

Voldemort

Imagine you are walking through a dark forest. It smells like rain and unicorn blood. Breathe in through your mouth to a count of five, and then out through your mouth to a count of five. Don’t breathe through your nose. Nose breathing is stupid. Keep walking through the forest. Picture a basilik slithering alongside you. Murmur to it in Parseltongue. If your mind wanders, focus on counting Horcruxes. Bring each Horcrux into your mind’s eye and sit with it. Revel in it. If negative thoughts arise, think of all the people who care about you. Imagine each person one at a time—picture what their mask looks like, and their cloak. If you’re still distracted or agitated, bring your attention back to your breath and focus on the physical sensations of your body. Think about how nice it is to have a body. Remember when you didn’t have one? Remember when you were a rat? Remember when you emerged, long-fingered and victorious, from a scalding cauldron in a graveyard? That was triumphant. Remember that little shit Peter Petti—no, no, better not to go there. Think about your favorite curses. Yes. Remember: you are the heir of Slytherin, and no one can take that away from you. Not even Harry Potter.

Gaston

Look into a mirror. Not a magic one—you don’t want to see anything freaky in there. A normal mirror that shows you your face. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and flex one bicep, while staring at yourself in the mirror. Good. Now exhale through your mouth and flex your other bicep, while continuing to stare at yourself in the mirror. Think about everything in your life that you’re grateful for. You don’t know how to read, for one. That’s a good thing, because women are writing books now. Another good thing: they just made a live action movie about you, and you look great. Really great. A fourth good thing: Belle is going to marry you, as soon as you rescue her from the beast. Now imagine yourself in a peaceful place: outside the beast’s castle, trying to ram down the front door with a giant beam. People are yelling and carrying torches. It’s chaos. But no one is reading, and you look fantastic. Breathe in, savoring their energy and their love for you. Breathe out, and smile at yourself in the mirror. Remember that at the end of the day, attractive people always come out on top.

Wicked Witch of the West

Think about the driest place imaginable—say, a desert. A parched desert, with cracked earth and maybe a few nice, spiky cacti. Picture yourself in this safe place, far far away from all of the water. Your large black hat gives you shade and keeps your skin from getting sunburned (yes, green skin burns too). Now tense all of the muscles in your feet and your legs, from your pointy shoes to your stockings, and then release them. Think about your shoes. Are they ruby red slippers? No? Why not? Dorothy, is why not. Think about all of the spells you would like to cast on Dorothy and her strange friends: the scruffy little dog, the bigger dog that thinks it’s a lion, the piece of scrap metal from the junkyard, the giant sack of straw that walks and talks. Remember throwing fire at the scarecrow. That was fun. Well, until the water. Don’t think about the water! Focus on the all of the monkeys who love you. Or at least, depend on you for food. Think about your sister, who kind of liked you. Until Dorothy squashed her. Drats! Back to the desert. Imagine being very, very hot, and count flying monkeys until your heart rate settles down and you drift off to sleep.

Captain Hook

Settle into a comfortable position. I personally prefer a chair on the deck of my pirate ship, but if a pirate ship isn’t available to you, a chair in a normal room will do. Imagine a relaxing, rhythmic sound—not a clock ticking. Anything but a clock. The sound of Mr. Smee’s pitter patter as he prepares to shave your beard, perhaps. Imagine your feet are soaking in a bucket of hot water. Feel the hot, soapy water melting the grime and calluses on your dirty pirate feet. As you close your eyes, take your hook and twirl your mustache. This repetitive motion should soothe your nerves, and make you forget all about crocodiles. Think happy thoughts: Peter Pan and Tinker Bell bursting into flames. Crocodile stew. Yelling at Mr. Smee. Crocodile handbags. Kicking the Lost Boys out of Neverland for good. A crocodile treasure chest. Now, practice gratitude. Think about all of the ways that your hook gives you an advantage—you don’t need a skewer when you’re roasting marshmallows. No one makes you join the ship volleyball team. If you lose a mitten, you don’t need to buy a new pair, because you only needed one anyway. Now open your eyes. Is there a seagull on top of your head? If not, good. Mr. Smee did his job right this time.

Darth Vader

If you’re wearing a mask and want to take it off before you settle into the practice, you can do that now. I never take mine off. Now start breathing loudly and heavily. If this is how you normally breathe, try to breathe even more loudly and more heavily. This type of breathing is called Death to all Jedi. If you like to use mantras when you meditate, this is a good one to repeat to yourself in the pause between the inhale and the exhale. Inhale: Death to all Jedi. Exhale: Death to all Jedi. You get the picture. If it’s helpful to you, imagine the face of someone you care about, like a Sith master, or a son. Maybe not a son, in case you also have a son who is a disappointment. Breathe in, and hold your breath for a count of five, thinking about all of the lightsaber battles you’ve won. Breathe out, thinking about how great the dark side is. Remember when you were Anakin and you weren’t on the dark side, and didn’t have the mask. You were much less cool. The mask makes the look. And now you’re done. No more time for meditation—time to fight Jedi. Namaste.