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The Temple Within

Musings of a polytheistic witch

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

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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

Stength

I know I have not been posting much lately. I feel bad about that because this blog matters to me. I have been absent because I have been busy with the task of restoration. Morrigan has been my muse and Bridget has helped me strike my target over and over. I decided that since I’m moving a bit slower today, head cold, I would sit down and pound out an update.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned through this process is the more fully I become myself the more my strength is revealed. My current struggle is with my voice. I feel like I am acting from a place of power and I’m seeing some wonderful results. When I start to struggle is when I need to raise my voice to be heard or when I need to speak up in disagreement. I have been doing some pretty intense political organizing on the grassroots level and let me tell you it can be hard to be heard even when you are all on the same team. Add to that being a woman and being Mexican American, and you can start to see how it might be hard. The universe is putting me in situations where I have to fight to be heard and it has been pretty challenging.

On the up side, I have been enjoying life more and I feel like I’m well on my way to meeting my goals this year. The wheel keeps turning and soon it will turn towards harvest. I have a feeling my harvest will be bountiful and challenging. I just had my 47th birthday and I think this might be one of my best years yet.

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

May Is Here!

May is finally here and I am so happy to see this month. The skies are much less gray and gloomy. I have had the opportunity to be out in nature and that is always good for the soul. Beltane was a quiet one this year but I’m not complaining. I was able to rest and call in some good energy. My focus this month has been on calling in male energy. I have fallen out of the habit of working with male deities. I only realized this morning that the full moon will be upon us in a couple of days. It falls in Scorpio which is not the best placement for me. My head is buzzing with ideas for the full moon but I will need to proceed with caution.

My Morrigan tools are still a work in progress. The doll is finished and now I am working on a wand. I’m also about to start another piece that will act as a trivet for my altar. Lastly, I am focused on Morrigan’s shapeshifting aspect. I have been rereading and working through Stephanie Woodfield’s book “Celtic Lore and Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess, Invoking The Morrigan.” There is so much juicy stuff in there! All of this work with Morrigan has reminded me of the power I have and has encouraged me to work more magick.

I have nothing earth-shattering to report. The world has continued to turn and I continue to try to connect to Spirit. I will post some new photos soon!

D

Morrigan Doll

I made a Morrigan doll per her request and I kind of love it! It was a process considering Mercury is retro and so I struggled mightily with the simple task of sewing. Now I plan to move onto the task of making a Morrigan wand. I found a lovely stick I want to use it for that purpose. I feel like I have been infused with energy and inspiration. Along with that, I feel like my connection to the divine is wide open. This often happens leading up to Beltane so I’m not super surprised, but I am delighted. I’m trying to take advantage of the energy boost while I have it. Breakthroughs are wonderful and I’m very grateful right now.

D

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