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

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Harvest Season Part 1

My favorite season is underway! I love harvest season and the closer we get to Samhain the more excited I get. Lammas brought many wonderful little harvests. The biggest one being friendship. I struggle with female friendships and to be honest I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t the case. I decided on Imbolc to work on cultivating quality female friends. I planted that seed and went about finding friends by being more vulnerable and open. My natural state is to be pretty guarded so this is hard work. Plus I want quality relationships and not just tons of new people.

I also harvested opportunities. Opportunity was my word of the year a couple of years ago and it has been a long process to bring it about. Finally, at Lammas, I was able to bring in a bountiful harvest of opportunities. I’ve been able to have many new experiences and meet tons of new people. So many doors have been flung open. One of the best parts of this has been traveling. I’m not traveling far out of town but enough to feel like I’m gaining a fresh perspective.

All in all I’m very happy with my first harvest and I can’t wait to see what Mabon has to offer. For Lammas, my husband and I did a small ritual and cooked tons of yummy food. Corn cake is a Lammas staple in my house and my family loves it.

Summer Soup

Corn Cake

I have purchased my autumn Book of Shadows and I have been writing in it often. I use it to journal about the season and the rituals/spell work I do. I start thinking about and preparing for what I want to let go of at Samhain. I also start to think about and write down words that might be my word of the year next year. Right now I’m leaning towards Ambition, but that could change a million times between now and then. Usually about 3 days before Samhain I become really still and quiet and at that point, it all comes together. What I need to let go of and what word I want to bring into the new year.

Mine is the yellow one!

I am also reading Dark Goddess Craft by Stephanie Woodfield. It is all about shadow work. I have been chomping at the bit to do some more shadow work but I’ve been putting it off until harvest time. Now that harvest is in full swing I’m ready to start facing down all that lurks in my shadow.

How was your Lammas? Do you celebrate?

D

Shadow Work

I have been engaging in some deep shadow work. That is why I have not been posting here very often. This work is inner child work combined with present day work. I’m actually glad to be doing this work and I recognize that it is part of the restoration work left over from last year. I feel like I’m nearing the completion of a very long cycle. This cycle has taken me from child victim to survivor to warrior to teacher. I’m finding that at times I feel overwhelmed with gratitude and other times the burden feels so heavy and hopeless. I’m also having one of those moments when I can feel something big coming, but I’m not sure what it is. I’m trying to not let the fear of what it could be overtake me, I’m trying to believe in the possibility that it could be a good thing.

Thankfully I have Morrigan to help me deal with all of this. It is comforting to know that as my bones break and my heart cracks open she is there to help me put myself back together. I’m looking forward to Imbolc and the light it brings but for now, my focus is on dark shadow magick. While doing this work will be rewarding, in the end, it really takes everything I have within me to do it. This means I have to make sure I’m taking time for self-care so that I can be ready for the next battle.

Wish I had something uplifting to post today. This is real life witching. It isn’t always light and love, sometimes it is nitty gritty and down and dirty. For now, you will find me down in the mud, in the mess of my shadow.

D

Dreams

One feature of Mercury Retrograde is the tendency for the past to punch into the now. This has most certainly been happening to me. I have had three or four really disturbing dreams over the last week. They all feature people from the past. Some of them from the waaaay past. These dreams all seem to linger long into the day. I can’t shake them off and that tells me there is something to learn there. I have also been experiencing some pretty big shifts in perspective. Some of these changes would be liberating in a sense, but they would require me to let go of some long-held beliefs. These dreams are nudging me towards holding people responsible and at the same time forgiving them. Maybe I am at a place when I can extend compassion to the person who laid waste to my childhood? This is big shadow work! Strangely, I am not afraid. I learned a long time ago not to run from my shadow. I think I have found the first thing I’m going to throw into my Samhain cauldron.

Have any of you experienced dreams of this nature recently?

D