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The Temple Within

Musings of a polytheistic witch

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Ancestors

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

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Samhain Letting Go: Fathers

I’m going to do some blogging about Samhain and letting go. The first thing on my list is fathers. In the simplest form, my father and all of the things he did to hurt me during my childhood and young adulthood. My father loved me, of that I have no doubt, but it was a very selfish kind of love. I feel like I have dealt with most of my issues with him but there is still a bit of work left to do. There are still ways in which I see his influence in how I see myself and my value. He was the first man to abandon me and because of that time and again I sought to find men who would do the same thing. Within my shadow lurks my father telling me time and again that my value is my beauty and that my intelligence (perhaps the trait I value most in myself) only exists because of him. I’m smart because I’m his daughter, I’m physically strong because he taught me to be, and I’m pretty because he was so handsome. Nothing came to me because of my hard work or because of my thoughts, that belong only to me. With this Samhain, I hope to root out the last of that pain and finally be able to no longer hear his voice in the back of my head. This is deep shadow work. My dad influenced both the things I like best and the things I like least about myself.

After all that it is time to turn my attention to my kid’s fathers. Looking back I see them as choices made from a place of desperation. Both of them brought destruction into my life and they both continue to lash out at me. They have been backseat drivers with regards to all of the work of parenting. Not around to do any of the heavy lifting (or spending) but always there to comment on my appearance and whatever life choices I might make. If the kids had success it was in spite of me and if they had troubles it was because of me. I have made a pretty big effort to remove them from my life, but still, they sit on the sidelines and heckle. My goal is to really let them go now that all of the kids have left the nest. I’m done receiving child support from them and so that cord is cut. Like my father, this is a rooting out of the last remnants of their influence. When they say things about me that are hurtful or untrue it still stings. It may be asking too much for that sting to go away but I’m gonna try.

All this matters so much because I’m stepping into a new phase in my life. No more kids at home and freedom to choose what I want to do and with whom I want to do it. Shadow work is afoot but I’m not worried, with the gods and my ancestors on my side I know I can do anything.

D

 

My Month With Anu

My month with Anu has come to a close and I am very grateful. It did not play out as I expected. I thought it would be a month full of ritual and meditation. What it became was a month of connection with my ancestors and a new appreciation for where I came from. Many puzzle pieces in my life came together quietly and simply. Working with Anu opened my eyes making it easier for me to see what needs to change. It wasn’t jarring or overwhelming, it was a gentle recognition of the places where I have lost myself. I don’t want to give too much away as much of this is deeply personal. What I can say is I feel stronger about trusting my intuition than I have ever felt. Ritual is wonderful, but it is not the end all be all of my connection with the divine.  Sometimes she whispers to me on the wind and no candles are required. That is what my Samhain experience was like this year.

D

Preparing For Samhain

Today I sat down with my journal and a very sharp pencil to try to make some sense of Samhain. Usually what happens is I have no idea what I want to do and then it all comes together in the moment. As I put a pencil to paper today everything just came pouring out of me. I have been spending a lot of time communing with the ancestors, thanks to Anu, and so I have been revisiting the past. As I have reached for the past I feel the past reaching forward towards me. As the veil is thinning and thinning I feel like I can almost reach out and touch them. Memories surface of napping with grandpa in an olive-green chair with a green leafy pattern on it. Every other piece of furniture had plastic on it, it was like grandpa and his chair were real and the rest was cold and fake. Great grandpa did not have a comfy chair. His chair was wooden and hard and his lap felt bony and breakable. I would sit with him and sing songs in exchange for candy. Both grandpa and great grandpa had deep pockets filled with candy. To this day when I taste a butterscotch candy my mind travels back to them. They were not in my life for a very long time. Great grandpa passed when I was 11 and he was 98. Soon after my grandpa moved to Florida. These two men were the only positive males in my childhood. It makes sense that as the veil thins I would sense them here. I’m sure they were complicated men but in my child’s memory of them, they are simple, good, and accepting.

My word for next year (Samhain is my new year) is restoration. I feel that I have much to restore within. This word was the first seed on my path to understanding what my Samhain work would be. I also intend to return to working with the Queen archetype. I worked with her a few years ago and kind of fell away from it, or so I thought. I realized today that I have read so many books about so many queens and even if I wasn’t understanding why I was still working with the queen. This morning I revisited that archetype and looked at her light and dark aspects.

Now I only have to decide what the formal working will be. I know I need to clean house and get rid of some things in order to make room for fresh things to come in. I know it will come to me when the time is right.

D

The Full Moon

I am thankful today that the full moon is on the way out. I feel like I got my butt handed to me by this moon. Right now I am trying to be grateful for fresh insight and clarity. I have a feeling this Samhain is going to be a doozy. Big changes are afoot and I can feel the energy shifting all around me. My month of devotion to Anu has been going well but not as I expected. She has inspired me to connect with my ancestors and figure out who I am. When you’re a wife and mother it can be so easy to lose yourself in your roles. This week my focus is on starting to identify what I want to let go and bring in for Samhain. My lesson from the full moon is being awake can be hard to take, but I’d rather be awake than asleep.

D

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