It is hard to believe we are at the start of harvest season. Last week I saw the first corn stands start to pop up around my home. The sunflowers are in bloom reminding me that my favorite part of the wheel of the year has arrived. I love Lughnasadh and usually we have a feast and games out in the yard to celebrate. This year things are much quieter and it makes sense given the kind of year it has been. This year has been on the fallow side. Early in the year I was still swimming in grief and so I did not plan much past survival. A couple of days ago I sat at my journal and tried to write down what I thought my harvest might be for this turn of the wheel. It was a struggle but after a bit I began to realize that my harvest is abundant. Sometimes things grow in our lives that we did not plant and they end up being a blessing. Other times we plant things and we do not even realize what we are doing.
Just a couple of weeks ago I saw something happen that I never believed was possible. It was the compilation of 5 years of work and when it came to fruition the outcome was greater than anything I could have ever wished for! Wrapped within this victory were smaller blessings that when put together amounted to a life changing experience. Ever since then I have been lighter and I feel more like myself than I have felt in a long long time. Another unintended harvest came in the form of more self-compassion. I’ve learned that I am really lacking in this area and this has lead me to work on it and slowly I am getting better. Lastly I am a new grandma! Now I know the baby isn’t really my harvest but I feel like I gave a pretty hefty assist. 😉 Having that sweet baby to love has really brought some much needed light into my life. When I start stacking all of this up it amounts to a lovely harvest and I am grateful.
Today I’m planning to bake some bread in honor of Demeter and the corn god. I will light a flame for Lugh and maybe throw some wishes into the fire. It is going to be a quiet, solitary celebration but still powerful in its own way.
I have been laying low. The astrological energy has felt too chaotic! Now that the full moon and eclipses have passed I feel a bit more balanced and able to focus on some spell work. During these oh so lovely Mercury Retrogrades we are often drawn into nostalgic thoughts about the past. If you are like me some of those memories are not the greatest. During these retrogrades I often ponder what in my life I might need to banish or let go of. This could include outdated ideas, habits started long ago that need be released, or even relationships that have run their course.
Over the last 6 months so many things have risen to the surface of my consciousness. It has been a hard time but I am grateful that something good has come out of it. So many patterns have been revealed to me, things that are ultimately harmful and standing in the way of my goals. Things that keep me trapped in pain and things that started way back when I was a child. They all seem so obvious now but before I could not see them. So I’m going to throw all that in the fire and allow the fire to destroy/banish what no longer serves me. It seems so simple but I know it isn’t. Often it takes more than one pass to truly banish what needs to go and sometimes when it burns away another layer is exposed. When this happens it is important to be gentle with yourself, breathe and remember that we are only human. You can always go back to your cauldron and toss that thing into the fire as many times as it take. It is a process. For me this is all about making room. Making room for all of the growth I know is coming and the harvest that follows.
I woke up this morning and I felt a profound shift in the energy around me. To say that Beltane fire blew in would be an understatement. I am sitting here with the biggest grin on my face, the kind of smile that spreads to every part of your being. This month is also the last month of my current solar year. I have been reflecting and seeing the past, present, and future all at once. 51 was a terrible year for me on all fronts. I have high hopes for 52 and my work during Beltane season will be all about setting the stage for a good solar year to come. The soil of my heart feels kinda depleted and maybe not quite ready for the growing season to come. I am aware that I need to feed myself with good things so that I have the energy and ability to manifest my goals and desires. By the way, witchcraft is not just about manifesting your goals, it is about desire. Do you know what your desires are? I struggle with this. Even thought I have been a Priestess for many years I still struggle with the programming of my upbringing. This programming taught me that desiring things is wrong. Desire was a word associated with greed, sin, and impracticality. I have spent much of my adult life trying to let go of this way of thinking. I feel that as long as my desire is not hurting anyone it is good to seek after it. Sometimes we get what we desire and sometimes we do not but when we do it is so sweet.
Here are some of my desires:
I’d like lots of good, deeply restful sleep.
I’d like to cultivate more witchy friends.
I’d like to feel good in my body.
I’d like to transform into a more confident version of myself. More sparkly and joyful.
If you have been reading here over the winter you are aware that I have been struggling for months. It has been brutal. Just when I start to feel as though my feet are under me again something happens to knock me back down. Yesterday The Morrighan reminded me of a time when I went through something like this before. This feeling of being stuck and not knowing what to do has been clinging to me and no matter what I do I cannot seem to break free from it. When this happened before the gods prescribed a sabbatical. I took a full year and I did not serve within my community in any way. This sabbatical was in the realm of my work within the Pagan community. During that year I chose to be quiet, to turn inward, to meditate, and to do copious amounts of yoga. It was hard and I felt like the soil of my life was being turned over and over. When I emerged after that year I found my perspective had changed drastically. I was rested and for the first time in a long time my cup was full.
I do not believe that I need to take a step back with regards to the spiritual realm and community there, this time it is more about the mundane world and all of its expectations on me. I need to take a year to rest and live slowly, allowing things to flow and happen naturally in their own time. This is not a year for striving. My word of the year is Choose and so I am choosing to be more intentional and more focused on me. What do I need? What do I want? What lights me up?
I told my friend the other day that I feel stuck, like I’m in the birth canal between the womb and the outside world. I have been trying to force myself out and it has not been working well for me. I think the message from The Morrighan is to let rebirth happen naturally in its own time. I’m only hurting myself by trying to force the process. One would think I would know this since the focus of my practice is on death, rebirth, and transformation. I think I became caught up on this because usually this process flows easily for me but now it is a struggle. I’ve got to let go of control and allow the Universe to do its work. It will happen and when it does I’m sure it will be amazing!
If you have spent any time in Neo-Pagan circles you know that many of us work with the new moon when we want to start a new project or set fresh intentions. When I want to set a fresh intention I usually light a tea light and whisper my intentions to the universe. I almost always work with Artemis when I’m doing this work. If the work I’m desiring to do is more involved I will do some simple candle magick. I have created some ritual oil that I use to dress my candles and once that is done I will carve my desires into the candle. Sometimes I use a taper but if the work is bigger I might use a pillar candle. I carve my name, my desire, and usually a rune that can assist me in my work. This is how I work simple candle magick and depending on what I’m trying to accomplish I will make it more layered and complex.
My process is to clean up my ritual space, cleanse it with smoke or basil water, and then bless it with rose water or in some other way. Sometimes I might bless it with song or a tone, it really depends on what I feel the Universe is asking for in that moment. After that I will start my new moon intention work. Because I work with Artemis I will light her candle and take a moment to honor her and ask for assistance then I will light some cedar wood as an offering. After this I light my candle and then sit with it for a bit. This can be a silent process or I might have words to add energy to the candle. I might ask for help from the elements. Usually I invite them in with a song. The key to all of this is to let your energy flow and do what feels right to you. Let your higher self be your guide.
i hope this is helpful for those of you who might be new to the craft. I’m not saying this is “the way” it is just my way. I’m always happy to talk about this with you if you have questions!
A couple of days ago I wrote a little about the foundations of my practice. At the very root of my practice is lunar magick. Today I want to share how I cleanse my space. This can be your general living space or your temple space. The first step is to clean up. If it is my general living space this means cleaning up whatever mess might be around. If it is my temple space I will clean up any old offerings as well as the general cleaning. I like to use my ritual broom to sweep out any nasty energy. It really helps if you can open your windows or doors as you usher the negative energy out. I give extra attention to electronics because they tend to be a way for outside energy to be transmitted into my space. Next I will burn herbs to freshen things up. I grow my own sage and it works well, but it is not the only thing I use. I sometimes use Juniper due to my Scottish heritage and other times I use a home blessing mix I have created especially for my space. During the warmer months I might use basil water which is basically basil and lemon. This makes the whole house smell super fresh. It can also be lovely to use in the winter if you want to bring some summer energy into the cold months. I just pour it into a spray bottle and spray it in any area that needs cleansing.
After I’m sure everything has been cleansed I will spray rose water in my temple space as a blessing of the space.
Sometimes you might find that you do not have the tools you need to get the job done. During those times you can always use your hand to sweep the negative energy out of your space. I have also used a bell to cleanse my space. Just ring it all around your house and do it with the intention of cleansing and it will work like a charm. When all else fails you can use your body or even just use your mind to do the work for you.
I’m happy to answer any questions you might have regarding this part of my practice. I’m also willing to troubleshoot with you if you are struggling to feel your space is truely clean.
Happy Tuesday Witches! I have started a Patreon and you can find me here…https://www.patreon.com/Templewithin . I am so excited to start this new journey and I hope some of you will join me over there!
Imbolc has come and gone but I am still celebrating the season. There have been times over the last few weeks when I thought I would never reach this point. I have chosen to be gentle with myself as I work through my grief. I spent a few days working on a vision board for the growing season and as I focused on that project Bridget was with me. She inspired me but also challenged me in ways she hasn’t in the past.
I bought a tri-fold board for my project and layed it out so that on the left I could focus on healing, in the center were messages from my gods/goddesses and then on the right is how I plan to move ahead. I floated through the project with ease and then when I arrived at the middle section I was overwhelmed with messages from my guides. Some of the messages were old as the gods reminded me of words we have had in the past. Some of the messages were channelled in the present and my pen flew across the board trying to keep up. The Morrighan was loud and clear and oddly wordy. I have found she tends to communicate with me using an economy of words, but this time she was more expressive. Bridget wanted to once again remind me that she would be happy to help me heal. All in all it was a good experience. I cleansed my space and blessed it. Since Imbolc fell so close to the new moon mixed in were things like refilling Hades shot glass and cleaning up my altars. The day brought some gentle light as expected. I wished I could say I’m feeling recharged and ready to tackle the world. One thing I did get from the day is clarity. The Universe showed me all the ways I have not been caring for myself and that I really need to focus on that right now. Healing is what needs to grow in my spiritual garden this year.
I had this realization that grief is home right now. Meaning this is where I am living right now and that is ok. It is a season just like so many that have gone before. I’m out of balance and I know that so I am trying to cultivate some fire energy and also as a stretch maybe some air. Right now water and earth are ruling and it is not particularly healthy for me. I have been working with wolf energy and the message there has been to eat when I’m hungry and sleep when I’m tired. This is not a time to push, save that for after Imbolc. Speaking of Imbolc, I have been trying to think about it a little but my brain is so fuzzy it can be hard to concentrate. Right now I am palming my carnelian and it is bringing me some comfort.
I have always enjoyed the quiet stillness that seems to come along with Imbolc. The stirring of life below the surface, in the belly, and its gentle awakening. I’m seeing it as the flickering flame at the end of tunnel. I know the light is returning and soon this season of mourning will end. Brigid has been whispering in my ear this morning reminding me that she is a Goddess of healing as well as a Goddess of the flame. I think I need to spend some time with her to get back on my feet.
I intend to do some writing about my Imbolc plans but it might be a week before I get to it. Do you celebrate Imbolc? What plans are you making?
I ‘ve not been posting here and in fact I haven’t been writing much at all. I recently went through a very profound betrayal. It was the type of event that shakes you to the very core of your being. It was the sort of rare event that made me reconsider my craft and my devotion to my gods. This just doesn’t happen and it surprised me. In the midst of all my pain a new deity appeared on the scene in a very intense way. Fenrir appeared. Things have been shaking up in my spiritual life for a few months now. Not long before Fenrir appeared Hades and Loki showed up. Each had their own message but Fenrir seemed to be arriving to speak to me about survival and fighting back. He spoke to me about being old friends and at first I wasn’t sure what he meant. Over the last few weeks I can see clearly how he has been there all along and I just couldn’t see him.
I am not the type of person to show tons of emotion. I can seem cold and logical like many Geminis do. But my Cancer rising brings tons of water and undernearth my tough shell is an ocean of feeling. During this crisis I had been trying to keep my composure and I also had not gone to my temple space even once. A friend suggested allowing myself to truely grieve. She said to scream, cry, and rage if that is what I needed to do. So I stepped outside of my normal way of being and let all of my sadness, grief, and rage flow out of me. In that moment, I felt Fenrir, as I raged my body wracked with pain, standing beside me was this wolf howling along with me. When it was over I felt calm and stillness. A realization washed over me that I needed to let this energy flow, holding back the dam was keeping me from communicating with my gods.
Once my enengy was flowing freely I was able to approach my cauldron to work some magick. I knew I needed to reinforce some boundaries and do some protective work. When I finished I felt calm and back in control. For weeks things felt like chaos and I felt out of control. One minute I would be fine and the next would bring tears or anger, now things felt calm and I felt like I could protect myself.
I spent most of the holidays feeling numb. Now I look forward to Imbolc with hopes for the future. As the light returns and grows I am not same as I was before. I have been seeking a rewilding and it came, just not in the way I expected.