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The Temple Within

Musings of a polytheistic witch

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Depression

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

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

 

Winter Warrior

Winter is the time of year when my inner warrior is the most visible. Strength is required to get through the long Wisconsin winters but that isn’t what I’m talking about. I have lived here my entire life and so winter is not a big deal.

Covered In Snow

I’m talking about battling the beast called depression. So far I’m doing ok, keeping my head above water and engaging in the fight, ask me again in February and you might get another response. My inner warrior goddess keeps pushing me forward and I’m trying to keep up. On the other hand, I have Aphrodite telling me to engage in self-care and Bast is trying to entice me into dancing. I think there is a part of me that doesn’t want to slow down to take care of myself because I’m afraid I might lose my momentum and become stuck. This is the time of year when I focus on balance the most, it is also the hardest time for me to find balance. My emotions are either all over the map or they are turned off completely. Heart chakra magick is often needed to keep me from shutting down.

I know this isn’t the most uplifting post, that isn’t my intent, my intent is to be as real as possible. Being a witch isn’t all fairy dust and magick wands, sometimes it is a gritty battle to keep standing. Right now my heart chakra might be a bit overstimulated, I feel deep wells of water threatening to overflow.

Today I plan to take care of some household tasks and then I think I will work some magick to help me feel less out of sorts. A hot bath to soothe my nerves, a fire in the hearth to warm me, and some hot chocolate to sweeten the day. Later I have an opportunity to be social so that will help too. Tomorrow I’m going to my dance fitness class again and so Bast will be happy.

If you are fighting SAD or just regular depression know that I am right there with you. I’m happy to share tips for getting through this rough season.

D

Skadi Season

Now that most of the holiday season has passed I’m turning my attention to Skadi. I started working with her a few winters ago and have worked with her every winter since. Depending on if you are looking at the Old Norse or Old English her name means either “harm” or “shadow.” This is perfect for me because I work with many shadow or so-called dark goddesses. I see her as a perfect winter deity. She helps me get out of the house and into the snow when all I want to do is stay inside and isolate myself. I suffer from depression and anxiety and it gets much worse in the winter. I use a light box to help with some of that, working with Skadi helps the other part. She is a giantess and is often seen as a patroness of winter survival and activities. I tend to meditate on her when I am out in nature or even when I’m just walking the dog around the neighborhood.

This year I want to focus on her in an even deeper way. I plan to leave more offerings and deepen my magickal work with her.  Her energy comes to me in a couple of ways. She feels like she is helping me with being hardy and able to keep it together during the darkest months, but she also seems to have an energy of fun around her. She shows up when I’m throwing snowballs at the dog or running in the snow when we are playing. Maybe that play is all a part of the survival aspect. For the first time this year, I have an image of her on my altar so that helps me maintain my focus. I also do other things like wearing special makeup or jewelry in honor of her.

Working with a figure like Skadi can be a challenge because there isn’t much info about her out there. In some ways, this can be a really good thing because it forces you to find your own way. Do any of you work with Skadi? I would love to hear how you incorporate her into your witchy goodness. Do you have other deities you work with exclusively n the winter?

D

Little Things Add Up

The last couple of days have been hard. Nothing major has happened but I have been having some low-level depression. I find in times like this it is important to have rituals. At the start of each week, I work two rituals. One of them at my altar and then one at the hearth. I have also been writing in my Autumnal BOS every Monday. This helps to keep me from getting too far away from my practice due to having depression or just because I am busy.

I celebrate the wheel of the year and I find that this practice helps in that area too. Often I hear people talk about how they have neglected their practice and then can’t jumpstart it again. Jump starting at a turn of the wheel can really help. Holidays are fun and can give you the inspiration to get back on track. Even if you are not feeling it you can start with decorating. There is a wealth of information on the web (Pinterest/Tumblr) about decorating for each turn of the wheel. You can do a fun witchy centered Mabon craft to help you get back into your practice and it might even lift your spirit. I find the more I do the more I want to do.

Remember gratitude. Gratitude as a practice can be part of your witchy ritual. Write in your BOS about what you are grateful for. Leaving offerings for the gods can also be a part of your gratitude practice.

Food! One of the best parts of celebrating the wheel is cooking. You can celebrate with seasonal food and maybe share it with some witchy friends. Cooking can be magick if you do it with intention.

Find your balance. Balance can be pretty hard to come by in our modern world. Working to find balance will make your practice better and can help to revive a witchy practice that is filled with cobwebs. For me, this means shutting off the TV or laptop and making the choice to meditate or write in my BOS. Sometimes it means cleaning my altar space or getting out into nature.

Letting Go. Harvest season is a good time to think about letting go. Samhain is coming just around the corner. Start writing about what you might like to let go of and see what bubbles up.

Little things add up in your witchy practice. Depression and daily life can take us away from our craft and then it can be hard to navigate back. It is ok to start small, it is ok to use the holidays as a way to jumpstart your practice, and every little action counts.

D

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