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The Temple Within

Musings of a polytheistic witch

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Depression

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

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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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