Tag: pagan

Samhain

Samhain

October 31 – November 1 (Northern Hemisphere)
April 30 – May 1 (Southern Hemisphere)

Throughout the world, Samhain is typically known as Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve is celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere. Historically, this was the last day of the calendar year to the Celts. It was a time when grazing days for cattle were over and the herds were either put away for winter or separated in preparation for slaughter. As such, Samhain is closely linked with death. Farmers have taken the last of their crops and gave the excess back to the Mother for the New Year. In Wicca, Samhain is the third and final of the harvest festivals. It is a time of death in the Earth when the final crops have been harvested and saved for the winter.

As the death of the Earth, Samhain is also a time for honoring those who have gone before us. The veil between worlds is thinnest during Samhain, and that allows for communication with the next world and receiving messages from our ancestors. Samhain is also called the Witch’s New Year. It may seem strange to have the beginning of the year in the fall, but it makes sense when you think about it deeper. This is a time of death, not only for the crops and herds but for the days as well. This is the time of the year when our days grow shorter and nights grow longer. It gets colder as well, in most places, and we know change is coming. Things are dying, and with dying comes change and new beginnings. We think about our hopes and dreams for the coming year and allow for our deaths (whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or otherwise) to bring us hope for a new beginning.

At Samhain, our beloved Goddess is in her Crone form and begins her descent with God into the underworld. She is the Old One who brings us wisdom from the year that has passed and allows us to let go of the things that are holding us back. Our beloved Lord is in the form of the Ancient One, following the Goddess to the underworld to recuperate and be reborn. The Ancient One, much like the Crone, brings us wisdom beyond our years and a knowledge of life after death.

There are many things you can do this night to honor the gifts that have been given to you by the God and Goddess as well as honoring the lives of those that have come before you. It is typical to celebrate with a feast of some sort and a ritual. However, not everyone knows their ancestors, or not everyone has anyone they know who has passed on. This is ok because even though you may not know who they are, they are still out there. This is a time of the year for them to roam closest to the veil and easily pass on messages to their kin (you!).

Samhain Correspondences and Associations

  • Life Cycle, specifically death
  • Last Harvest
  • Fall Colors (orange, black, red, yellow, etc.)
  • Pumpkins
  • Divination

Samhain Celebration Ideas

  1. Ancestor Altar: Decorate your altar with items passed down from your family, photos of passed on loved ones, and images of things that remind you of your ancestry. Meditate in front of your altar, taking time to be silent and receive messages from the beyond. If you have a Samhain feast, leave a plate of food and some drink on the altar as an offering to the deceased spirits of your ancestors, the God, and the Goddess. If you want, you can also leave an offering outside for the passing spirits who are making their journey to see their own loved ones.
  2. Light a white candle and place it in the window. This is believed to help guide the spirits when the veil is thin, so they can find their way in the darkness.
  3. Dumb Supper: Now, I know this one sounds a bit strange, but hear me out. If you don’t know what a dumb supper is, I’m going to explain it to you. A dumb supper is not a stupid dinner, as it sounds. It is simply a supper prepared and eaten in total silence with an empty place setting (or two, three, etc.). In total silence, the dead, as well as the Lord and Lady, are invited to feast with you for the evening. The meal is made, and places are set, including plate(s) for the physically empty seats. It is a time of reflection and communication between the living and dead and should be eaten in total silence. There should be no talking between guests, as this interrupts the spirits who will join you. As such, it is not a supper for children unless they can maintain total silence throughout the dinner.
  4. Take a nature walk! Experience the cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth for yourself in the beauty that is nature. Take a hike through the hills if you can, or go to a local park, and observe the changing scenery around you. Reflect on the time that has passed since the start of Spring and know in your heart that the death of the plants happens to make way for new life to come forward!
  5. Meditation for Samhain is also a wonderful way to celebrate. Essentially, you hit the “pause” button on life for a second and take the time to reflect on your life so far. Have you accomplished any goals recently? Have you let go of things that were holding you back? Has part of you “died” to make way for something better? Sit in a quiet space and meditate on these questions and any others that may come forward.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Image from Pixabay

Sometimes, practicing your craft and your faith will require hiding in plain sight. This can be for several reasons, but the most common is safety and professionalism. Now, I’m not talking about kids hiding things from their parents or guardians. That’s a different topic and one I will touch on at a later day. I’m talking about needing to hide your faith for specific job-related reasons, or public related reasons.

Do you work with the public? Do you live in an area that is predominately Christian? Do you have a mental illness that makes certain situations hard for you? There’s nothing wrong with needing to keep certain things to yourself to keep you safe, both mentally and physically. If you’ve grown up in an area that is mostly Christian, you might find this strange. In most Christian faiths, it is frowned upon to hide your faith. They expect you to shout your love for their God from the rooftops at any given moment.

That’s not always the case with Paganism and Wicca. If you have a job that requires discretion, it may be best to hide any jewelry or tattoos you have that might pertain to your faith. If you fear for your safety in any way, do not proclaim your faith just to do it. You should never put your safety on the line for your faith.

So what are some things you can do to hide in plain sight?

  1. Wear inconspicuous jewelry
    • Typically, people don’t pay any mind to random symbols that don’t hold a lot of weight. I have a necklace that has the triangular symbol for the element of water. If you didn’t know what it was, you would just think it was a pretty piece of triangular jewelry. Don’t deck yourself out in pentacles if it isn’t safe to do so.
  2. Meditation
    • Meditation doesn’t have to denote any faith at all, and I’ve found that it tends to be safe in most places. If anyone asks about it, you can say you’re doing it for spiritual or mental health reasons.
  3. Practice glamor magick
    • If you wear makeup, glamor magick is something quick and easy you can do on a regular basis. Your lipstick can be enchanted to help you speak with confidence. Your eyeshadow can be enchanted to help you see through murky situations. And best of all? Everyone will just think you’re wearing makeup!
    • Don’t wear makeup? This can be done with any piece of jewelry, handbags, etc. It doesn’t have to be makeup, it can be anything that you wear on your person regularly that wouldn’t bring any unwanted attention.

Do you practice your faith or craft in hidden ways? Leave your suggestions in the comments or reach out to me via e-mail or social media!

Odin

Odin


“Brunhilde knelt at his feet” by the German painter Ferdinand Leeke

Odin is the most powerful God in the Norse pantheon. He is sometimes called the all-father, but in fact has many names as he has taken on many personas for various occasions. He is associated with the day Wednesday. This is because the word Wednesday comes from the word Wotan, which is another name for Odin. Therefore, Wednesday is “Odin’s Day”. Odin is associated with many things including healing, death, wisdom, and the runic alphabet.

Odin is capable of shape-shifting into any animal or human form that he wishes to take, and it is said that he speaks so softly that anyone who hears him knows what he says is true.

Odin also has several animal companions. This include his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, his two ravens named Huginn and Muninn, and his two wolves named Geri and Freki. Sleipnir was a gift from Loki and can travel as fast in the air as he can on land. His two ravens are a spiritual aspect of Odin with their names meaning thought and memory. Every morning Odin sends them out into the world, and every evening, they come back to him and tell him all they have learned from their travels in the nine realms. His wolves, Geri and Freki, are always by his side. Their names mean “the ravenous” and “greedy one”, respectively.

One of the most prominent myths surrounding Odin is his self sacrifice and hanging on the tree Yggdrasil to gain the knowledge of the runes.

“139. I ween that I hung | on the windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded, | and offered I was
To Othin, myself to myself,
On the tree that none | may ever know
What root beneath it runs.

140. None made me happy | with loaf or horn,
And there below I looked;
I took up the runes, | shrieking I took them,
And forthwith back I fell.

141. Nine mighty songs | I got from the son
Of Bolthorn, Bestla’s father;
And a drink I got | of the goodly mead
Poured out from Othrörir.

142. Then began I to thrive, | and wisdom to get,
I grew and well I was;
Each word led me on | to another word,
Each deed to another deed.

143. Runes shalt thou find, | and fateful signs,
That the king of singers colored,
And the mighty gods have made;
Full strong the signs, | full mighty the signs
That the ruler of gods doth write.

144. Othin for the gods, | Dain for the elves,
And Dvalin for the dwarfs,
Alsvith for giants | and all mankind,
And some myself I wrote.

145. Knowest how one shall write, | knowest how one shall rede?
Knowest how one shall tint, | knowest how one makes trial?
Knowest how one shall ask, | knowest how one shall offer?
Knowest how one shall send, | knowest how one shall sacrifice?

146. Better no prayer | than too big an offering,
By thy getting measure thy gift;
Better is none | than too big a sacrifice,
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
So Thund of old wrote | ere man’s race began,
Where he rose on high | when home he came.

The Poetic Edda by Henry Adams Bellows

According to Northern Paganism, there are many ways you can honor Odin in your home and life. His colors include grays, dark blues, and black. Symbols that are sacred to him include ravens, wolves, and spears. If you want to have an altar dedicated to Odin, it is suggested that you have at least one of the following: a tobacco-filled pipe, the Nine Sacred Herbs, and Runes. Odin enjoys good quality alcohol, and you can honor Him by donating your time or money to any veterans organizations.

If you want to learn the Runes, that would also be a wonderful dedication to Odin given the fact that he sacrificed part of himself to gain the knowledge of the Runes for the Nine Realms. Learn the Runes and dedicate your hard work and learning process to Odin.


Sources
The Poetic Edda by Henry Adams Bellows
Northern Paganism


Thoughtful Thursday

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I’ve thought about this before, but I don’t think I have one solid answer because there’s so much that I want to know. We know that history is written by the victor, and most often, the victor tainted the story of how things happen. I’d like to go back in time to witness the building of Stonehenge. It has always been a mystical place to me that one day I hope to visit. Seeing images of Stonehenge during the Solstices gives me a strange sense of nostalgia.

It would make my scientific brain happy to see how they managed to build such a great monument. The physics and mechanics that had to go into standing the stones upright and stacking the stones on top have to have been phenomenal for their time.

It would make my spiritual heart happy to speak with the ancient peoples and ask why it was built. What was their purpose in building such a beautiful monument that aligns perfectly with the Solstices? Was their a greater purpose? Were they called upon by a local spirit or deity? My heart just yearns to know, even though I know I never will.


What is thoughtful Thursday? This is something I created to give everyone a chance to dig deep into their spiritual selves and answer some questions that require a bit of thought. How do you participate? Well, you can comment here, post about it on Instagram, or use the question as a prompt for your own blog post! Whatever you write, drop me a link in the comments! I would love to read it!



Next week’s question: How do you define your faith? Be as specific or vague as you’d like!


Tarot on a Whim

Tarot on a Whim

Some days I pull a Tarot card in the morning just because, well, I feel like it. This morning’s card was a positive affirmation for where I am in my life and where I want to go. The Nine of Cups is often called the wish card because it shows you that your wishes are coming true, but it’s also a reminder that things are changing constantly and, to get where you want to go, there is always work that needs to be done.

I’ve always got several ideas popping around in my mind for my website, business, and podcast. My problem is that my day job takes a lot out of me sometimes, as well as raising a child to be happy and healthy, and sometimes I have no energy to work on the things I want to do.

This morning was a good reminder that I still need to put in the work to get where I’m going.


The Wiccan Rede: Things to Remember

The Wiccan Rede is one of the core tenants that Wiccans follow. It states “An’ it harm none, do what ye will”, and is open for interpretation depending on your path and tradition. Just because it is a core tenant, though, doesn’t mean there isn’t some confusion about it. Here are some things to consider.

  • Rede does not mean law.
    • The word “rede” comes from the Old English word
       ræd, which means counsel or advice [1]. When you quote the Rede to someone, which you should only do if you are 100% positive that person also follows the Rede, remember that the Wiccan Rede is not a law in Wicca. The Rede is a guideline that Wiccans follow, and for that reason, is up for interpretation.

  • Sometimes doing nothing is worse than doing something.
    • If you’re applying the Wiccan Rede to every aspect of your life, and not just the magickal part, you need to take into consideration the fact that your inaction can be just as harmful as your action. I’m going to use an extreme example here, because I think it makes the point a little easier. Keep in mind that sometimes situations in life are not this black and white.
    • Say you’re driving along the highway and you witness an accident. The car that crashed looks pretty bad and rolls at least once. And you keep driving. You don’t dial the emergency number and you don’t stop to see if the driver and/or passengers are ok. In this situation, your lack of action can lead to devastating consequences for the people in the car that crashed. This example is extreme, and I would hope no one would do this.
    • The Rede can also lead to some ethical dilemmas. For example, say you notice that a coworker whom you get along with is stealing supplies from work. You’ve tried speaking with them, but they deny what they’re doing even though you’ve witnessed it first hand. You don’t want this coworker to get into trouble or get fired, but you know that what they are doing is wrong. So, do you inform your superiors and, in the process, potentially hurt the employee in one way or another? Or do you let the coworker continue what they’re doing and possibly hurt the employer? And, if you let it continue and the superiors find out anyway, will that also affect you if they find out you knew? Does your answer change depending on the workplace? It is an international corporation? Is it a “mom and pop” store? Does your answer change depending on what the coworker is taking? Are they taking pens and paper? Or are they taking toilet paper and extra food left in the fridge?

  • The Rede is only eight words.
    • Despite popular belief, the Wiccan Rede is not a long, many-lined piece of prose. There are several works published that include the Wiccan Rede in a longer form, most of them adaptations of The Rede of the Wiccae by Gwynne Thompson, who founded the New England Coven of Traditional Witches in 1972 [2]. The only part of the prose that is the Rede itself is this: “An’ it harm none, Do what ye will”.

  • The Rede is not as old as you think it is.
    • The first recorded use of the Wiccan Rede that I can find in any research is that of a speech given by Doreen Valiente in 1964. I can’t for the life of me find a copy of this speech because I’m interested in it for several reasons, but many people believe that the Rede is based on more than one other person’s writing. It is even believed that Doreen Valiente took words from Gardner and made them more, archaic sounding, for lack of a better word [3].

  • The Rede is not for everyone.
    • This is something that I see all the time and it bothers me as much as the people that are on the receiving end of it. As Wiccans, we know that other Wiccans should follow the Rede. It is part of our practice and faith. However, there are others out there who practice witchcraft who are not Wiccan, and therefore do not have to follow the Rede or any tenants of Wiccan faith. Witchcraft has been around far longer than the faith of Wicca, and we cannot expect, nor should we, that every other witch out there will be Wiccan. Do not, under any circumstances, throw the Wiccan Rede at people when they talk about hexing, cursing, jinxing, or any other form of magick that would be frowned upon in Wicca. It is rude, disrespectful, and extremely ignorant to do so. You can disagree with their path, that’s fine, but do not pass judgement on someone else because their practice and faith are different than yours.

Sources
[1] https://www.etymonline.com/word/rede
[2] http://www.nectw.org/
[3] http://www.waningmoon.com/ethics/rede3.shtml

What makes an altar?

I was sitting at my altar this morning, just for a few minutes, taking a quiet moment to myself before I left for work. It occurred to me that my altar doesn’t look how I wished it would, but that’s ok. There’s a lot of extenuating circumstances around my altar and why it looks the way it does.

I don’t have candles or incense on my altar. There’s a few reasons for this, mainly allergies to fragrances and the fact that I have a cat. My mother, whom we share a house with, has an extra sensitive nose and extreme allergies to a lot of fragrances and botanicals. I don’t have candles because, frankly, I don’t have enough room for more than what I have there.

Instead, I simply focus on the fact that I’ve got my cloth calendar handing on the wall, my Goddess figure, my tarot cards, and a few crystals. The things on my altar are things that mean a lot to me and remind me of who I am and what I believe.

We see a lot of intricate and beautiful altars on social media. You know the ones. They *scream* aesthetic, with their beautiful flowers, many colors, and all the tools. I guess I made this post here to remind you that, no matter how long you’ve been practicing, your altar is personal to you and your deities. It can be as elaborate as you want or as simple as you want. This is your reminder to not chase the aesthetic of an intricate altar and, instead, do what feels right between you and your Gods.


Creating a Consistent Practice

SOURCE: FLICRK, CREATIVE COMMONS

We’ve all been there, in the time when you have no time. When life gets too hectic for you to keep your wits about you, let alone practice your faith. When each tick of the second hand on the clock is a reminder that you’re running out of time, and your to-do list just keeps growing. You’re not alone. Most of us live life this way, passively moving from one task to the next because it just has to be done. But the truth? You have control over how you spend your time. Time is a precious gift given to us, and we need to relearn how to use it the way our ancestors did. And they didn’t even have to think about it this hard!

These steps here can be applied to any aspect of your life, not just your practice, and I actually believe that is the best way to start. So buckle up and prepare to revamp the way you think about your time and how you use it. 

Lists

A list is a great way to stay organized and remember the things you need to get done for a certain day/week/month/etc. However, I think the lists we make these days are doing more harm than good to our productivity, consistency, and mental health. We are used to creating lists in no particular order, just listing off things that need to get done and crossing them off when they’re completed.

Change the way you make your lists. Prioritize! Sort the list of things you need to do by importance, and give yourself room to not complete everything if necessary. Do you really need to get that thing done today, or can it wait until tomorrow if you necessary? Once you get used to prioritizing your tasks, you give yourself permission mentally to not feel like crap if you don’t get everything done because you know that you’ve left yourself room for the more important things.

Routine

Learn how to set yourself up for success. Routines are not only good for you in terms of knowing what’s going to happen daily, it is actually good for your brain. Creating a routine has several benefits. These include structure, consistency, building good habits, increasing efficiency, becoming better at what you do, and saving a lot of work and time later. If you think about it, it all makes sense. For example, if part of your routine means you spend 20 minutes a day cleaning your house, it saves you an entire day of cleaning later if you were to instead not clean a little every day. Little by little, a little becomes a lot. When creating a routine for your religious practices, think about the things you want to do daily to help bring you closer to your faith and work those things into your routine. 

Set Realistic Goals

You can’t be consistent with anything until you know what you’re doing, and having a clear set of goals is the perfect solution. This can apply to anything, but especially so with your religious practice. So, what are you trying to achieve? Why do you need to be consistent to achieve these goals? Make sure these goals are something you can achieve! Be realistic in your expectations. You’re not going to magickally make a million dollars overnight. If that’s your overall goal, identify the smaller goals that will get you there and build your routine around that. 

Create a Schedule

You might not be able to have the same routine everyday, but part of your routine should be creating your schedule. When you know what you’re doing for the day, it is much easier to be consistent, achieve your goals, and become better at whatever it is that you’re doing. In this way, you can block out specific times to work on your to-do list as well as time for yourself and your religious practices. You don’t need a fancy planner to create a schedule. A simple notebook will do just fine. Just be sure to leave yourself the time needed for your practice, and stick to your schedule. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Crystal Healing

A Beginner's Guide to Crystal Healing

Crystals and natural stones have been used in the art of healing for thousands of years. Some of the oldest amulets from a natural source date back 30,000 years and are made of baltic amber. Humans have an affinity for pretty things, and stones and crystals are no exception. These healing and protective crystals were worn as jewelry, sewn into clothing, and placed around the home. As talismans and amulets, they were banned by the Christian church after the death of Christ, but that doesn’t mean that the practice itself died out (1).

How does it work?

Crystals, like everything else in this physical world, have their own vibrations. Some vibrate at a higher frequency while others are lower. Likewise, your body and different body systems work at different frequencies. When one body system is off, the vibration and frequency is off as well. The crystals pair together with the vibrational and energetic frequencies of your body to help heal and repair you mind, body, and soul. There is a well known IBM scientist named Marcel Vogel, who did a lot of research on crystals, their energy, and how they are affected by thought and breath. He learned that when exhaling from the nose in short bursts, accompanied by thought towards a quartz crystal, he could affect the shape of the crystal as it formed under a microscope (2).

So how do you start?

If we take the work of Marcel Vogel to heart and know that our thoughts and energy affect the things around us, it is entirely possible that the opposite is true. You must first open your heart and mind to the possibility that crystals can help you heal in one form or another.

Once you have opened your mind and heart, it is time to pick the crystals to suit your needs. There are a few ways to do this. My personal favorite is letting the crystal choose me instead (I wrote more about that here). You can do this by closing your eyes and holding your hand above different crystals. Feel the energy and vibration from the crystals and choose the one that resonates the best with you. I’ve found that my body and energy vibration knows what I need before I do, and allowing my own vibrational energy to choose the crystal that reacts with it works better for me. Another way you can do this is by researching the different crystals and stones available to you and choosing the one you think you need. Different crystals have different properties and can be used for different things based on their vibrational frequency and energy inherent in them.

Popular Crystals and their Properties

*Amethyst – One of the most popular crystals for healing, amethyst is perfect for anyone who needs some balance in their life. Amethyst is known to bring calmness and focus to the mind, stress relief, and stimulates motivation and memory. Physically, amethyst is thought to balance the hormones, strengthen the immune system, and help keep you sober. The name actually comes from the Greek word “amethystos”, roughly translating to “not drunken”.

*Clear Quartz – Clear Quartz, or Crystal Quartz, is a powerful healing and and meditation crystal. Its vibrational frequency and energy make it the perfect stone for protection and balancing of energies, both physically and spiritually. Crystal Quartz can be used to enhance psychic ability and is easily adaptable, allowing for “programming” with intention to be used for the desired effect. Physically, Crystal Quartz is said to promote healing and balance as well as stimulating the immune system.

*Rose Quartz – Widely known as the crystal of love, Rose Quartz is the perfect crystal for those suffering with heartache. Rose Quartz encourages unconditional love of the self as well as others. It stimulates peace, forgiveness, and compassion for those around you. It is also used to stimulate the wearer’s sense of self-worth as well as healing emotional wounds. Physically, Rose Quartz is thought to stimulate the circulatory system, increase fertility, and protect against miscarriage.

Some final thoughts…

Although healing crystals do work, it is worth pointing out that crystals should not be used exclusively for healing of any ailment, physically or mentally. I always advocate for using alternative healing methods in conjunction with modern medicine. It is also good to point out that some crystals and stones should not be worn directly on the skin, ingested, left out in the sun, or get wet. Please be sure to do your research before embarking on any alternative therapy.

Sources

(1) The Problematic Status of Christian Amulets
(2) Marcel Vogel: Dreamhill Research Facility
(3) 10 Popular Healing Crystals

I Need to Say Something

I Need to Say Something

I don’t have a passion in life. Simply put. This might not be Wicca related, or it might be. I don’t know at this point. I’m basically writing this to get it off my chest because it is something that weighs very heavily on me most days. With my 27th birthday coming up in the next few days, that feeling is getting heavier. I’m not where I want to be in life and, growing up, it was always pounded into us that we should know what we want to be “when we grow up”.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a job that I’m good at that I even have a degree in. But none of that matters. That just proves that with hard work you can keep moving forward. I’m missing that spark in life. That thing that gets me riled up and excited. I’m stuck in a cycle of sleep-work-repeat and I don’t know how to get out of it.

There are things I enjoy doing, and I pick up an interest in other things along the way. Once I reach a certain point with those things, I begin to lose interest in them and they fall by the wayside. I want to eventually make a career out of the spiritual and crafty things I can do, but I’m also a person who is terrified of failure. So much so that if I won’t try something new if I know I won’t be good at it, or if I even think I won’t be good at it.

I can crochet really well. I can knit ok. I can embroider ok. I can read tarot ok. I can meditate ok. I can give great advice most times.

I’m just blabbering on right now, but I needed to get this off my chest. I haven’t uploaded a new video on YouTube in a bit because…well, I haven’t recorded one, because I want the content that I post to be worth posting. I don’t want to put out crappy content, and I’m not entirely happy with what I’ve uploaded so far. See, I’m a perfectionist, and it really sucks when I have so many things and ideas I want to do, but no real passion for any of them, no matter how much i enjoy doing them.

Anyways, thanks to the handful of you who will read this shit-post lol

Until we meet again,

Megan

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