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The Temple Within

Musings of a polytheistic witch

Samhain

Over the weekend my coven and I celebrated Samhain together. It is our first Samhain season working as a group and so this ritual was very special. The ritual was beautiful and impactful. The weather was seasonable and mostly dry. We were able to spend time outside by the fire and make some special memories. 

Our ritual space

During our ritual time we honored the Crone and threw things into her cauldron. We toasted the New Year and talked about our dreams for the future. We created this spiral of lights so we could spiral in and out, each one of us having some one on one time with the goddess. 

The wine was flowing

One of the coven members gave a fantastic presentation on the Crone. We each chose a Crone’s token from a bowl on our way out of the circle. I drew the rune Fehu. 

The Crone’s Fire

We ended our evening with Pizza and a group viewing of Practical Magic to add a little fun to it all! We filled up on brownies and other sweets. At the end of the night I was exhausted but full. My cup filled by time with my coven and time with the Crone. 

Me and my Sweetheart

I am currently on a stay-cation. I’m using the time to turn inward and focus on the season. Tomorrow is Samhain/Halloween and I plan to spend time with my family. I’m hoping the weather holds so we can go to the corn maze. I’m still battling depression and so this time to slow down and breathe has been very helpful. 

D

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Turning Towards The Dark

Samhain Altar

It is that time of the year again. I love October! My Samhain/Day of the Dead altar is all set up and it makes me smile every time I see it. Because my ancestors are both Celtic and Mexican my altar reflects both parts of my heritage. I try very hard to create an inviting atmosphere for any ancestors passing through to stop and be with me for a spell if they wish. 

October brings so many gifts, my first hot chocolate of the season, first hot apple cider, and pumpkin everything! The trees are at their peak and covered with bright colored leaves. Everything around me is beautiful and yet there is a dark gloomy cloud following me around. SAD has hit and I have a feeling this year is going to be a bad one. I’m not sure if it is worse this fall or if it just seems worse because I’ve had such a good spring and summer. I’ve spent most of the growing season feeling super energized and inspired. Now I’ve landed on the ground hard and I’m scrambling to get it all under control. It has been creeping in for a couple of weeks but I thought maybe I was just having a natural reaction to the dumpster fire happening daily in U.S. politics. I finally realized over the weekend that this is the real thing and I better start dealing with it. 

Truth be told I like the dark time of the year. Spring and summer are hard for me due to allergies and asthma. Once we have had a nice frost I feel like I can breathe again and I kind of come alive. I know that as we turn towards the dark time of the year we are turning towards Samhain (my favorite turn of the wheel) and the winter holidays. I like gathering with friends and family for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Solstice. I like hibernation and cozy afternoons by the fire. Sadly all of this wonderful comes with a war against depression. It is a battle I fight yearly and if you fight it too here are some things that might help…

If you work with gods/goddesses keep communicating with them. I tend to isolate and I stop talking to everyone including my deities. Share with your deities. If I have a cookie or something else delicious I will leave an offering. It might not seem like much but that simple act can help keep your connection alive in the hard times and also remind you that you are never alone. 

Light up your home! If you like candles burn them often, if you can’t burn candles keep your home well lit. Open the shades and meditate on the beauty of the natural world. Try to position yourself where you can get some natural light and if you need it use a lightbox. Maybe consider working with a deity associated with the sun and see if that helps to brighten things up.

Do something nice for someone else. It can be easy when you are depressed to become very self-focused. Plan a get together with some witchy friends and watch a movie or read tarot cards for each other. Whatever you like to do is fine. A great topic of conversation during the dark months is gratitude. Get together with friends and talk about what you are grateful for and maybe make a group offering of gratitude. Leaving an offering for the wildlife in your neighborhood would be greatly appreciated during the hard winter months. 

Carrying some stones on your person might help. I recommend Smoky Quartz for absorbing negative energy, Citrine to help put your brain in a more positive place, and finally Rose Quartz for healing and to soothe your nerves. I find that both Lavender and Lemon Balm help me when I’m struggling. I also use orange essential oil in my diffuser to keep my spirits up. I like brightly colored candles for any magick I work around depression. So a bright orange or yellow candle would work best for me. If soothing is what I need then a lavender or light green colored candle works best. Make your magick work for you, these are only suggestions, use what speaks to you personally. 

I’m missing my mother. 

Turning towards the dark and shadow work is a part of every year for me. The key is to not get stuck in the darkness. When I spend time at my altar it can be easy to become sad and lonely. I miss my mother very much. When I find myself in this place emotionally I try to let myself feel what I feel and then let it go. I chase the sadness with all of the good memories I have of my beloved dead. Sadness is normal but I also know that they would not want me to dwell in that sad place forever. 

How are you handling the season? If you have depression how do you deal with it? Do you use magick to make it better? 

D

Mabon Moments

My coven and I celebrated a lovely Mabon together. This is our first year working together. Some of us have worked together before and others of us are new to witchcraft and to each other. 

Mabon Apples

I planned a simple but meaningful ritual focused on gratitude, harvest, and turning towards the dark time of the year. As we get to know each other on a deeper level our rituals are becoming more and more impactful. 

Beautiful Grapes

We were lucky to spend the day together. We learned some about the season and some associated deities and we had a discussion about the coming full moon. We also talked some about the shadow work we are all engaged in. After ritual we ended our day with a feast and the wine was flowing. 

Ritual Moments

Starting tomorrow Samhain planning will be in full swing! I’m not complaining because I love planning for Samhain more than any other turn of the wheel. I am glad that my coven and I had a chance to share this happy celebration together before we turn our hearts towards Samhain. 

Five Pointed Star

I am grateful for my coven and everything we have shared together so far this year. We have grown closer and everyone has put in so much hard work. My hope for Samhain is that we will become even closer and continue to grow together even into the dark season of the year. 

Bounty

My hope for you is that you’ve had a wonderful harvest season so far and that it continues on into the Samhain season. Did you celebrate Mabon or Fall Equinox?

Mabon Harvest

My coven and I will be celebrating Mabon on Saturday. It has been a really tough week and so I have been looking forward to having a day with them to decompress and focus on the harvest and honoring the gods. 

This morning I spent a lot of time with my journal thinking about what my Mabon harvest would be. The main thing that bubbled to the surface is a  renewed love for my role as Priestess of my coven. This has been a summer of sifting and trying to figure out who I am now that all of my babies are out of the house. I’m harvesting clarity. I feel that Morrigan has reminded me why I chose this path and also how I cannot be separated from this part of myself. I’m not sure if that makes sense to any of you, but I feel like my devotion to her is a part of me at the deepest core of who I am, it is unchanging and has weathered all manner of storms and transformations. In a time when I have felt unsure about what kind of work I want to pursue and what my role should be with my adult children, my relationship with Morrigan has remained a constant. That is a great comfort.

It will not be long now and we will be thrust into my favorite month of the year. The forecast indicates that today may well be the last warm day of the season. I’m ok with that, I am ready to cool down and turn inwards. I have a feeling more little harvests will become apparent as we get closer to Mabon. If anything comes up I will share it with you.

Harvest Season Part 1

My favorite season is underway! I love harvest season and the closer we get to Samhain the more excited I get. Lammas brought many wonderful little harvests. The biggest one being friendship. I struggle with female friendships and to be honest I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t the case. I decided on Imbolc to work on cultivating quality female friends. I planted that seed and went about finding friends by being more vulnerable and open. My natural state is to be pretty guarded so this is hard work. Plus I want quality relationships and not just tons of new people.

I also harvested opportunities. Opportunity was my word of the year a couple of years ago and it has been a long process to bring it about. Finally, at Lammas, I was able to bring in a bountiful harvest of opportunities. I’ve been able to have many new experiences and meet tons of new people. So many doors have been flung open. One of the best parts of this has been traveling. I’m not traveling far out of town but enough to feel like I’m gaining a fresh perspective.

All in all I’m very happy with my first harvest and I can’t wait to see what Mabon has to offer. For Lammas, my husband and I did a small ritual and cooked tons of yummy food. Corn cake is a Lammas staple in my house and my family loves it.

Summer Soup

Corn Cake

I have purchased my autumn Book of Shadows and I have been writing in it often. I use it to journal about the season and the rituals/spell work I do. I start thinking about and preparing for what I want to let go of at Samhain. I also start to think about and write down words that might be my word of the year next year. Right now I’m leaning towards Ambition, but that could change a million times between now and then. Usually about 3 days before Samhain I become really still and quiet and at that point, it all comes together. What I need to let go of and what word I want to bring into the new year.

Mine is the yellow one!

I am also reading Dark Goddess Craft by Stephanie Woodfield. It is all about shadow work. I have been chomping at the bit to do some more shadow work but I’ve been putting it off until harvest time. Now that harvest is in full swing I’m ready to start facing down all that lurks in my shadow.

How was your Lammas? Do you celebrate?

D

Summer Solstice Blues

Fairy Tree

My birthday often falls on the Summer Solstice and this year was one of those years. My friends and family gave me a lovely day and I am so grateful for all of the love.

I have been feeling pretty depressed due to what is happening politically here in the United States. I am an activist and so my days are spent trying to make the world a better place. I work to help good people get elected, I call my elected officials, and I volunteer for organizations that further causes that I believe in. My heart has been heavy because my daily work makes it hard to not be tuned into what is happening all around me. For the first time in my lifetime, I am scared for my country and worried that we will not bounce back this time. There is a heaviness all around me and this has made it hard to raise the energy needed to celebrate The Summer Solstice.

For days I was trying to figure out what to do and tying myself in knots. Then I heard the voice of the Goddess tell me to rest. She reminded me that harvest is coming and there will be lots of time to work and celebrate. On the Solstice, I took a social media break and that helped a lot. I did my best to only look at birthday and solstice wishes and let the rest go. It was good and needed. I spent a long day with friends and family. We ate good food and laughed a lot, we had a few drinks and I slept well. My simple act for Summer Solstice was to leave some cheese under this wonderful tree we found out hiking yesterday. I saw it and it looked like a fairy tree. I crept up and left a small food gift and tiptoed away. It was an offering and a thank you for helping me to keep going during the dark days. My lips were silent (unusual for a Gemini) but my heart was quietly reaching out for connection.

If you are a witch, empath, or priestess please take care of yourself. I am a Gemini who likes to live in her head and my heart has been bursting at the seams with sadness and rage. I have had to work hard to allow myself to feel but not become stuck in all of the sadness. Take time to recharge your spiritual batteries, rest, and turn off your social media for a short time if you need to. There is no shame in feeling scared, angry, sad, or anxious. Lastly, remember you are not alone. I’m here, reach out if you need to.

D

 

Beltane

Beltane Tree

I had a really lovely Beltane. Our coven celebrated our first Beltane together and it went wonderfully. We are small in numbers but we still had a good time. The magick was flowing and laughter and dancing happened. I’m so glad that I decided to put this coven together. The first steps were hard and scary but the pay off had been big and good.

My private work for Beltane went well too. My husband and I tried to get outside and be close to nature but the weather really did not cooperate. We had rain storms for most of the day. We were able to get a short hike in. I did some divination and personal magick and left it all feeling very inspired and grateful.

I’m ready for the next turn of the wheel. I am a Summer Solstice baby and so I’m just a few weeks away from a new natal year!

D

 

Ostara-Reconnecting With Pleasure

Yesterday was Ostara. My husband and I had a lovely little ritual. In my attempts to connect with this turn of the wheel something bubbled up. I struggle to connect with joy and pleasure. The seeds of this problem start in my childhood. My hope is that I will be able to take advantage of the Ostara season to reconnect with joy and pleasure.

During my childhood morality was assigned to every choice. Was it ultimately good or bad? Godly or sinful? A piece of cake might be delicious but you must be mindful of not being a glutton or of eating too many sweets. A day in the park playing was all fine and good but be sure to get that homework done and look out for strangers. All of this may seem minor but every choice was followed by the idea that god was watching and keeping a list of your wrong choices. I no longer believe any of that but the messages still speak to me when I’m enjoying something too much. This thinking has made me hyper-vigilant and when you are in that state of mind joy cannot come forward.

Yesterday during my ritual planning and during the ritual itself, I tried to let my inner child out to enjoy the fun. Right now I’m working on joy and I’m hoping to lean into pleasure for the Beltane season. Ostara energy is perfect for letting out my inner girl! I’m going to take more time to play and seek out the things that make my heart sing.

Art Brings Balance

If you have been reading my blog for awhile then you know that balance is always something I am striving for. I have been engaging in some pretty intense shadow work for the last few months and so to balance that out I have been working on some art projects. Art always makes me feel better.

Fertility Art

This project was inspired by Molly Roberts over at HerSpeak. I created this to serve as a backdrop on my altar. My plan is to use it during the fertility holidays coming up. Layered in the background are the Goddesses that made up my solstice garland. I wanted to show the fading of winter and the coming forward of the spring. I had so much fun creating this piece. It really helped me to get in touch with my inner child.

Over the weekend I cleaned up my altar space and decorated for Ostara. I love all of the bunnies and eggs. I used an old Ostara tree decoration that my kids put up every year as the centerpiece of my altar.

Ostara Altar

I’m grateful for this cheerful space to remind me that I cannot be all shadow all the time! As we move from Ostara into Beltane it will become more adult focused.

My shadow work has been so good. I feel like I am being transformed every day. It is good but it is not easy. I have a feeling the spells are going to be flying off my fingertips on the next full moon?

D

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