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The Temple Within

Musings of a polytheistic witch

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Freedom

Revisiting Restoration

Every Samhain I pick a word of the year. That word will guide my journey until the next Samhain. My word for this year is Restoration. I knew this word would be a tough one but it kept coming up over and over. If there is one thing I know, you should not ignore the Universe. Restoration has been hard to get a handle on. The first half of the year was not easy. That makes sense, in order to restore you have to remove dead wood and drive fresh nails. In order to restore you have to know what you are restoring to. During this process, I have spent time combing over the past and trying to recall the parts of myself that have been lost. I have examined relationships and projects I once cared about. I have been thinking about ambition, passion, and fear. Things really started to heat up around the last Mercury retrograde, then things became really hot at the last full moon in Scorpio. Since then I have been feeling really overwhelmed by the energy of this work. Do you ever feel like the gods are f*cking with you? That is how I have been feeling. I have been caught off guard in some pretty uncomfortable ways lately. These situations have been in my face and hard to run from or ignore. No kid gloves for me or subtlety. I have been asking for clarity and Morrigan has dished it up. Be careful what you ask for… Freedom has also been a theme this year, kind of running in the background. I have started asking myself, why do I feel like a caged bird, and when did I feel freedom. What was happening in my life during that time, why is that gone now, and how do I cultivate it again.

People hurt me. When they do I run from other things that I love. It isn’t the people from my past that I miss so much as the work, the projects, and the purpose. I am a sensitive soul and I have allowed aggressive people to take away my power and other things I once felt passionate about. I have to learn not to give them my power, I have to learn to tune out the haters. This might sound simple but trust me it is some of the hardest spiritual work I have ever done. An old friend described me the other day as fearless, courageous, brave, amazing, and tenacious. I was dumbfounded, I don’t know that version of myself anymore. I’m searching for her now. Morrigan says there is work to be done and I better get ready.

D

Magick Makeup

I like makeup. I don’t wear it all the time, but when I do I like the way it makes me feel. When I was a kid we belonged to a church that did not allow makeup. We were members of The United Pentecostal Church. We also could not cut our hair, wear jewelry or pants. Around the time I was 14 or so I started really being curious about makeup. I’m sure that my discovery of Madonna had something to do with this. We were not supposed to watch tv or listen to the radio but occasionally I snuck and did it. I thought I was so rebellious, now I have to kind of smile when I think about my minor sins.  I was almost kicked out of the UPC school I went to for trying to get by with clear nail polish. When I was feeling particularly rebellious I would sneak on some blush or lip gloss. They did not notice that too much, but we sure heard tons of sermons about the evils of being a Jezebel. I just could not understand how having shiny fingernails would cause a man to fall into sin. That made no more sense to me than how seeing my upper arm would cause a man to fall. The reality is none of the UPC holiness standards kept me safe from being molested by one of their ministers. The UPC church is riddled with sexual misconduct. All of the sermons about how evil everything is seems to only feed a hunger for it.

When I left the church one of the first things I did was start wearing makeup. It was a way to experiment with different personas. The church was all about making all of the women look the same. I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted freedom and I wanted to be able to express myself through my clothing and makeup. As I was putting on my makeup the other day I thought of how much the act of putting it on was a symbol. A symbol of freedom and individuality. I also thought about how much I use it as part of my magickal expression. My primary deity is Morrighan. When I am trying to embody her my makeup looks different than usual. I use makeup as armor. I wear my makeup in certain ways when I want to be left alone or when I feel I need extra shielding. I may add jewelry to enhance the effect. If I had to name the look I am going for when I want to carry Morrighan energy, I would call it Crow. Dark eyes, hair down, crow pendant and dark lipstick. You can also use makeup as ritual prep, to help you prepare to shift consciousness.

Isn’t funny how something that seems so ordinary to most people can take on a special meaning? Most people would not see the significance in applying makeup. For me, it symbolizes my freedom from an oppressive faith and god. It represents my ability to choose how I present myself and that is really meaningful.

As a side note, I have used makeup to invoke elemental characteristics as well. I’m happy to help if anyone has questions about this part of my practice.

D

In My Bones

Spirituality has always been in my bones. The idea of god has always been there, like the breath in my lungs. My child self-took all things concerning god very seriously. My parents and grandparents taught me that church and god were the most important things. I craved acceptance and approval. I feared hell and being separated from god and my family. What if they were all in heaven and I was alone in hell? The god of my child/young adulthood was an angry god, plus he kept score. Later I would come to understand that I was already separated from god. He was up there, and I was down here. He was perfect and I was hopelessly imperfect. He was bigger than life and I was nothing but a grain of sand, nothing really in the grand scheme of things.

I prayed often when I was a child. During my childhood, I worked hard for the church. I was the captain of the bible quiz team for many years. I could memorize the King-James like no other kid in my church. I showed up for nursing home ministry, Sunday school bus route, youth choir, and campus ministry. If there was a bible camp I went and I also attended a Christian school. Basically, if the lights in the church were on I was there. Did I mention how real hell was to me? I feared it, but what I feared the most was the rapture.

One of my earliest memories is about the rapture. Our church featured these horribly graphic films once a year. They were supposed to get people scared so they would join the church. I started watching them when I was three. So for about 25 years I was subjected to this over and over. By the time I was an adult there were 4 films in the series. These films showed people being beheaded by guillotine, not really sane for small children to be watching. In my day-to-day life, I feared what small transgression might keep me from making the rapture. It was mental and emotional child abuse. We were encouraged to ask god to forgive us for known and unknown sin. This idea kept me awake at night. I would sleep with my mother for weeks after watching these films.

I stayed a Christian until I was 28 years old. When I was a child I wanted to please god because of fear. As an adult, my drive was more towards approval and acceptance. In all of the years, I never felt accepted by god. We were a poor family. My parents were not really equipped to be parents. I was taught that if I had the faith of a mustard seed I could move mountains. So I would pray, pray for food, pray my mother could pay the light bill, pray my molester would go away, pray my parents would be sane and healthy, pray and pray and nothing ever changed. How could this be? I was trying hard to be sinless, and I had faith, or did I? Maybe I thought I did, maybe I was just fooling myself, maybe I did not really believe. Maybe my best attempts at belief were not enough, maybe I was beyond saving. Could it be that god had rejected me? Maybe I was unloveable, unsavable, and unable to have enough faith. He (god) was either ignoring me, or he was simply saying no to my requests.

God might say no, or at least they taught me that. Suffering made me more christ like, closer to god, suffering fostered strength. I was molested by a man in our church for two years. I was 11 when it all started. Even that was supposed to be a lesson. What had I (at 11 years old) done to cause him (a 31-year-old man) to “fall” into sin? God allowed it to happen, I had to believe it, it was the only thing that made sense. He has his eye on the sparrow and he knows the number of hairs on my head. Surely he saw it all and did nothing to stop it. My young adult self-blamed myself and figured it was somehow my fault, I was rejected.

Is it any wonder that I married an abusive man? I stayed in that relationship for 12 years. It was physical, mental, and emotional abuse. When I finally got up the courage to leave, I was told I could not break free. My deacon told me that the bible only gave me one out. If my husband committed adultery I could leave. Adultery was the only reason one could divorce in the church. He said he understood that my husband was a bully, but you cannot argue with god’s word. I could physically separate but I could not divorce. At this point, I had a restraining order against my husband. My deacon kept calling me and trying to talk me into going home.

Something in me shattered. I had no fucks left to give. I had prayed for 12 years that things would get better between him (my husband) and I. God was silent. I was broken and I told god exactly where he could go. I was done trying to be good enough. I was also done asking him for help, in my mind he was a sadist, watching but never acting. He would watch me twist in the wind and never offer so much as an ounce of help. Hell sounded better than serving him one more day. So just like that 28 years of striving to be accepted ended. I liberated myself. Later I would learn I was just at the beginning of my return of Saturn when all of this started. Within a couple of years, I got divorced and completely changed my cosmology. Finding Paganism changed my life for the better in so many ways.

This is how my feet were firmly planted on the road to becoming a witch…

TBC

D

 

 

 

Magick Manifest

Hello Witches! I hope this fine May evening finds you doing well. We finally saw some sun today! Here is a photo of some lovely flowers I found.

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I had one goal for Beltane, I had to find a way to set myself free. I was feeling heavy, weighed down by sadness and pressure. I had shrunk myself and ceased to be authentic. I was acting from fear. Afraid of being hurt if I let my true self shine through.

“Freedom
Freedom
I can’t move
Freedom, cut me loose
Singin’, freedom
Freedom
Where are you?
‘Cause I need freedom too” Beyonce

This world can be tough on those of us who don’t fit in. The magical ones, the sensitive ones, those who color outside the lines. The grind of trying to fit in when you don’t can really wear on a person. Ultimately I took some big action and quit my job. It was proving to be pretty toxic to me and I had been staying out of a false sense of duty. I knew I was going to have quit soon but I had not pulled the trigger on it yet. 

“I break chains all by myself
Won’t let my freedom rot in hell
Hey! I’ma keep running
‘Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves” Beyonce

I think all of these retrogrades played a part in keeping me stuck. My mind has been muddy and I just couldn’t achieve any forward motion. Then yesterday something shifted. The energy felt different and so I struck while the iron was hot. Just that one action caused a big change. I feel like I can breathe again. I spent the day outside with my daughter soaking up the natural world, and best of all the sunshine. There is a lot of work left to do, but I feel like I have made a great start and I can already feel a huge energy shift.

Part of the magick has been meditation. Talking with Morrigan never hurts. The biggest thing I did was immerse myself in the energy of freedom. I have danced and listened to music about freedom. I have read poetry and historical quotes about freedom. I have bit my lip and acted from my heart. A dash of this and a dash of that plus some serious intent have made manifest my Beltane wish.

What was your Beltane wish? Have you worked any juicy magick lately?

D

Dancing For Freedom

Last night I went to Zumba and it was wonderful. Dancing always makes me feel free. For Beltane my focus was Freedom and so last night I hit the dance floor and welcomed Freedom in. It felt good to not only dance but to reconnect with the people in my class. I feel like I have not been “in my body” lately. I have not been feeling enough and so dancing was a good remedy. I also created a Freedom themed playlist to remind me each day of what my goals are. Music is magick to my soul and so I know how to use it to help me with my goals. Here is the first track on my Freedom playlist!

D

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