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The Temple Within

Musings of a polytheistic witch

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Polytheist

Samhain Letting Go: Servant

This one is kind of tied to motherhood but its roots are deeper than that. I was raised United Pentecostal and taught my whole childhood that women are the servants of the home. She has to submit to her husband and the home is pretty much her responsibility. I was also taught that women should be silent in church and I watched all the women around me doing the grunt work of running the church while the men took all of the glory. Now I’ve been a feminist witch for a long time and I do not still believe these teachings are right, at least not on a conscious level. That being said I do see how these teachings crept into some pretty hard to get to cracks of my mind. When something is taught to you from such a young age you often spend much of your adult life finding the remnants and trying to get free from them.

This letting go is about freedom and taking the time to serve myself. I feel that having a fresh empty nest is a good time to work on this. I have space now to focus on my needs and ambitions. I hope that no one thinks I’m trying to be selfish, it isn’t about being selfish it is about creating balance.

I know that my attitudes regarding all of this had a big effect on how I worked within the pagan community before I left. I came at it from a place of servitude. How can I serve the community? It did not take long for that to turn into me being taken advantage of. I can’t really blame myself, I was doing what I thought was right. Now if all things were equal and everyone had an attitude of service it might have been ok. It became about what I could do/provide for them and not about what I could get in return. All that giving is what burned me out. In the end, I was left with an empty cup. Now as I ponder rejoining some kind of pagan community I know my approach will be very different. I’m not going to be anyone’s servant. I will put my shoulder to the plough when it is needed but I will not do it alone.

All the blogging and journalling I have been doing about this is really helping me to gain clarity. I’m heading towards Samhain with a very good vision for what I need to release and what I want to bring in.

D

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Samhain Letting Go: Motherhood

I know that I will always be a mother and I love my children very much. Motherhood has been a huge part of my identity and at times it has eclipsed everything else. I’m not saying I’m ready to shift into cronehood, it more that I’m ready to shift into queendom. It is time to let go of full-time motherhood. I spent 25 years having minor kids at home and now my nest is empty. Thankfully the goddess has helped me prepare for this and because of that, I’m handling it better than expected. I can only vaguely remember my life before motherhood. It exists in this dream-like place that is pretty hard to access. Now standing in my empty nest I can clearly see the daily sacrifices I have made. They add up to a mountain of time and compromise. I’m proud of the work I have done. At times I ache inside because I don’t feel like my kids see me or know who I really am. I think some of them are still in that selfish stage of life. I wonder if other mothers wish for their kids to see them as human and not as the superhuman role that is the mother. Letting go of this part of motherhood means daring to be who I’ve always wanted to be. I have no more excuses about being tied to raising children. So much is bundled up in this. I can wake when I want and sleep when I want. I can create in the midst of feverish inspiration. I don’t have to be home or away. There is much to unpack here. Some of the reason I want to let go of this role is that my kids need me to be different now. Plus they can be a rather judgemental lot, everything I do is scrutinized and analyzed. Do we think mom should be doing that? I know that some of them worry about my political activism and are worried that I might get hurt. They worry about what kind of job I’m going to take and how it might affect the family. Just as they need me to step back and let them make mistakes and live their life, I need to start living my own life. This means daring to do the things they might not approve of. It means living for me for the first time ever.

D

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

 

Celebrating Mabon

I started my Mabon celebrations today. My house smells amazing! This morning I went out before it got too hot and collected some things for an herbal/flower mix for Mabon offerings and ritual work. Some things I collected from my garden and others were found treasures.

I also baked some delicious apples and sweet potatoes! My kitchen smells amazing.

Tonight I plan to spend time with my hubby and dog, just soaking in the gratitude. So far my harvest has been a good one!

D

Mabon Gratitude

If you search Mabon on the internet one idea comes up over and over. Mabon is a witch’s Thanksgiving. This is sort of true for me, I do tend to focus on gratitude for the harvest. This gratitude is for the actual harvest meaning all of the things that have grown on the earth over the spring and summer. It is also gratitude focused on all of the of the things I have accomplished or survived so far this year. In the spring I have so many things I want to manifest and now is a time when I can look back and see the fruits of my labor.

This growing season has not been great for my garden. We had a cool wet summer and it was hard on many growing things. My personal goals tell another story. I have experienced one of the most fruitful seasons ever on the personal front. I have blossomed in many ways and also collected lost parts of myself. I feel truly restored and my passions have been reignited. It would be nice to take all the credit for this wonderful success but that wouldn’t be honest. I think timing has a lot to do with it. The soil, sunlight, and rain in my life were perfect for what I wanted to accomplish. For my part, I kept my goals in sight, kept my cauldron hot, and made sure my self-talk was on point. For all of the blessings, I am truly grateful.

Do you experience Mabon as a Thanksgiving of sorts? How do you work with gratitude during this season?

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

September

I am so happy to welcome in September. In my mind it is fall now and fall is my favorite season.      I have been having a rough go of it lately. Mercury being retro and the eclipse season has kind of kicked my butt. This Mercury retrograde has been all about family, and no one can hurt you like those you love the most. All my wounds are mostly patched up except for one. My youngest is moving out of the house this weekend. Everything in me feels it is too soon and she is not ready, of course she doesn’t agree with this assessment. With each breath I work towards letting go. I’m trying to tell myself that mourning 25 years of being mommy can go hand in hand with embracing a future full of possibilities. As each of my kids (I have 4) moved out I knew I was getting closer and closer to the end of this chapter, now that I’m here I feel prepared but also sad. I’m hoping with Morrighan’s help I can walk through this season with as much grace as possible.

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
Stephen King, ‘Salem’s Lot

I have a feeling this harvest season is going to be a whopper! Lots going on in the world and so much going on with me. I’m not expecting anything bad just lots to bring in and even more to let go of. It’s funny how no matter how much you let go of there is always another layer to strip away. One blessing of the universe is that I always feel super energized in the autumn, so at least I will have the energy to do the work. Speaking of work, I have been having a great time connecting with my ancestors and I hope to continue that work through this season.

“O autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof, there thou mayst rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
~William Blake (1757-1827), “To Autumn”

It won’t be long until Mabon is knocking on our door. Do you celebrate this turn of the wheel? What is your favorite way to mark Mabon? I like to go out to the winery near our home and welcome in the harvest with some local wine. Hopefully the equinox will help me find some balance.

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first september was crisp and golden as an apple.” —J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Happy Witchy September!

D

First Harvest

Lughnasadh has come and gone. Energetically it felt like it blew into town with some pretty powerful fire behind it. I did some strong magick, in fact I kind of surprised myself because I have been feeling pretty low energy lately. It felt good to let my witchy hair down and to let go a little bit. My first harvest of this season has started with mint, lots and lots of mint. I am grateful! Mint has long been one of my favorite herbs.

I bought this small memo book to use as an Autumnal Book of Shadows. My intention is to use it to focus my devotion during the harvest season. One thing Lughnasadh brought in for me was a harvest of people and projects. Now I’ve got to sift through it all and decide what should stay and what should go. I am feeling pretty overwhelmed with all of the people clamoring for my time and energy. I have a surplus of projects to work on within the sphere of political activism. This is mostly good, I just have to figure out how to manage it all.

On the Pagan front, I have been meeting with folks and contemplating community. I feel the push of the goddess to get back to work. I will not lie, this scares the crap out of me! I have no idea what I am going to do but I do feel the tick tock of the clock. My goal is to get out to some community events or host one of my own before Samhain.

How was your Lughnasadh?

D

Getting Ready For Harvest

I am not digging the weather we’ve been having here in south central Wisconsin. We have had tons of rain and it is pretty humid. I think the ragweed has hit because my allergies are going insane. Late July always brings the same thing every year, a longing for autumn. Autumn is my favorite season and late summer is the season when I am the most house bound due to allergies.

One of the themes of autumn is the harvest holidays. This all kicks off in the late summer with Lammas/Lughnasadh or as I think of it Demeter’s Day. This turn of the wheel has long been one of my favorites. I have fond memories of making corn dollies with my kids and coven mates. Lammas brings to mind good meals and good times with friends and family. It also makes me think about what I want to harvest. My experience has been that each of the three fall harvest holidays grows in intensity with regards to what I bring in. This is also the time of year when I start to think about what I want to let go of. Slowly over the coming months, it will become more and more clear. Usually a day or so before Samhain I will know exactly what is required and I will be ready to throw it into the cauldron.

I think I will start my prep by doing some meditating on Demeter. I may start a list of things to harvest and release as well. Do you celebrate this turn of the wheel? I will post some pictures of my work as I move through this time.

D

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