Mothers Who Can’t Love

Content Warning: sexual abuse, rape, incest, emotional abuse

Three and a half years ago, I published a book about my childhood, deconstruction from Christianity, and how I had begun transitioning into the mystic. Barely a year later, I was hit with a massive wrecking ball – memories of having been raped as a child by my own father returned.

I know I’ve had another book sitting in me and waiting to be written. I am two years from those memories returning, and I know it is now time. For the past week I have been starting to slowly re-piece together my story in book form. By doing so, I have realized just how much I wrote about having been sexually abused but not consciously being aware of the truth. I used to hold the believe that my mother was just as much of a victim as I was against my father’s abuse. When my memories returned, an entire story line burst open. A story of how my mother never loved me. How she bent over backwards to make sure I hated my life; hated myself. A story of how she used every opportunity to take her jealousy and disgust of me out on me.

I had all the pieces of what she did to me, but I couldn’t see the whole picture. I was missing the thing that tied it all together; my childhood rape. I thought she was just lashing out at me because of how my dad treated her. The trickle down effect, ya know?

Through my mother’s treatment of me and the things she’s said to me, I thought I was just a despicable child. I knew there was something wrong with me. I knew I was disgusting and I was terrified if she actually could see into my mind. Besides, she constantly reinforced the idea that I was a disgrace to her.

As the missing memories began to fill in the gaps in the story of my mother’s treatment of me, I felt like I had been sucker punched. But also deeply validated. I firmly believe that she knew that my dad had raped me. But instead of standing by me and fiercely defending and protecting me, she took her disgust and anger at what he had done out on me.

I have no memories of my mother being affectionate to me. I have no memories of receiving hugs from her or feeling safe and warm or feeling protected. It was me against the world and my own house wasn’t safe.

And yet, I somehow am managing to not repeat the same cycles with my children. They are teaching me about giving and receiving affection just like I am teaching them that it’s okay to say no and to protect their boundaries.

Acknowledging and holding space for the damage my mother’s abuse caused is difficult. I’m doing it anyway, but I am holding space for my younger self’s heartbreak. It’s taken over 2 decades for me to get to a place where I’m okay with my body. I don’t feel like it’s the disgusting thing my mother always said it was. I love the shape of my curves and the fact that my body has created two new lives. I cry though for the pain my younger self experienced daily, and the self-doubt and belief that she was the cause of all of the family’s problems. My heart wrenches as the echoes of that pain still touch me to this day.

I wrote several thousands pages in the new book yesterday. I woke up yesterday morning at 4:40am with the last words of a dream ringing through my head. My mother was in the dream, but I was separated from her the entire dream. There was this weird kidnapping scene, I was with a sister, but not one of my sisters in this life time. We managed to escape and made it to where my mother was supposed to be. We were met by a personal assistant kind of person who kept going on and on about a bunch of weird details. I finally stopped her and asked her where my mother was. She just looked at me and said “oh, she’s dead.” To which I then woke up.

This is the not the first dream I’ve had of my mother dying or being at death’s door. The feelings that ripped through my body as I lay there in bed trying to process was of tearful relief. I believe the dream was pushing me forward to finish these last layers that exist in my mother wound. I felt like I was walking around with a bleeding and gaping wound on my back yesterday. I did a Lion’s Gate tarot spread yesterday, got some amazing cards and direction, but felt prompted to pull a 9th card.

I pulled the 9 of wands – the card of the final challenge, battle. The card of picking yourself back up, wounded and broken, and still continuing to fight to victory. It’s a fire card too and I certainly felt that burning fire ripping through me, burning away the pain and leaving the ashes behind for something to start anew.

So I’m standing tall, pulling myself up and facing these wounds and the deep dark pain. I’m going to do my younger self proud and give her the respect and space she always deserved but never got.

The Celtic Ogham – 3rd & 4th Aicme

For the first two aicme sets, check out my previous post! 

A complication about learning the Ogham has again surfaced. Due to there not being a lot of information about Druidic practices, there is even less information about their alphabet; The Ogham. No one (currently alive) know who or how the first Ogham were created. There are, like many other aspects of Druidic practices, myths and stories, but nothing known for sure.

It is said that the Celtic God Ogma was the one who created the symbols. But even that is not a straight forward story. Something I was able to find just today through my research was that the 5th Aicme is actually not considered an actual part of the Ogham. It was a much later addition and I’ve noticed that the few Ogham sets I’ve been able to find do not have that 5th Aicme. I’m in the process of getting the 5th Aicme made by the person I bought my original set from.

That said, here’s the 3rd and 4th Aicme.

The Ogham

3rd Aicme

Vine – Muin – M

This stands for Vine or Muin and the letter M.

Divination Meaning – Harvest. Successful completion of a project. Celebrations.

Reverse Meaning – Indulging in excess. Intoxication.

Magickal Meaning – Prosperity magick. Bringing goal to fruition.

Ivy – Gert – G

This stands for the plant Ivy or Gert and the letter G.

Divination Meaning – Breaking down barriers, perseverance and persistence.

Reverse Meaning – Feeling constricted, restrictions, ruthlessness.

Magickal Meaning – Luck, overcoming obstacles.

Broom – Ngetal – NG

This stands for the tree Broom or Ngetal and the letters NG

Divination Meaning – Healing. Sweeping away negative energies.

Reverse Meaning – Illness or disease. The need for healing.

Magickal Meaning – Emotional balance. Cleansing rituals. Banishing negativity.

Blackthorn – Straif – ST, SS, Z

This stands for the tree Blackthorn or Straif and the letters ST, SS, and Z.

Divination Meaning – Division, conflict. The need to establish healthy boundaries between yourself and others.

Reverse Meaning – Allowing yourself to be open for an attack; emotionally or physically.

Magickal Meaning – Establishing boundaries.

Elder – Ruis – R

This stands for the tree Elder or Ruis and the letter R.

Divination Meaning – knowledge from experience. Moving forward, sheding old habit. Transformation, the end of one cycle, beginning of a new one.

Reverse Meaning – Regrets. Holding on to the past.

Magickal Meaning – Faery magick. Transformation.


4th Aicme

Pine – Ailm – A

This stands for the tree Pine or Ailm and the letter A.

Divination Meaning – Initiations. Birth and death, beginning of a new phase in life. Foresight and farsightedness. Clear view of a situation.

Reverse Meaning – Not seeing situation clearly, blindness, inability to see truth.

Magickal Meaning – purification magick. Clear sight. Divination.

Gorse – Ohn – O

This stands for the tree Gorgse or Ohn and the letter O.

Divination Meaning – Sexuality, passion, love, relationships.

Reverse Meaning – Lack of passion in relationships, career, or projects.

Magickal Meaning – Love magick. Invoking Sun Gods/Goddesses. Gathering information, uncovering the truth.

Heather – Ur – U, W

This stands for the plant Heather or Ur and the letters U and W.

Divination Meaning – Healing. Creating sacred balance. Love and fertility.

Reverse Meaning – Being out of balance. Imbalance; physical or emotional or spiritual.

Magickal Meaning – Healing and love spells, fertility.

Aspen – Eadha – E

This stands for the tree Aspen or Eadha and the letter E.

Divination Meaning – Overcoming doubt and fear. Overcoming obstacles. Inner guidance.

Reverse Meaning – Being paralyzed by doubts and fears.

Magickal Meaning – Banishing negative emotions. Honoring the dead.

Yew – Ioho – I, J, Y

This stands for the tree Yew or Ioho and the letters I, J, and Y.

Divination Meaning – Death and rebirth. A time of transitions and change.

Reverse Meaning – Grief. Inability to accept change.

Magickal Meaning – Transformation magick. Honoring ancestors. Summoning spirits.


I have yet to firmly plant the 3rd and 4th Aicmes into my brain, but I am starting to realize just how much tree magick influences my thoughts and my life. I am noticing the kinds of trees as I’m driving around and remembering what the trees stand for and their magickal properties. Honestly, learning the Ogham has impacted me more than any tarot deck I’ve picked up and I kind of love it.

Recover – Restore – Reclaim

Potential Trigger warnings - childhood sexual abuse, trauma. 

I just passed the anniversary of my childhood sexual abuse memories coming back. As it was last year, this year brought another layer of memories and trauma remnants I had to sift through. There’s been an awareness that’s awoken within me as I’ve peeled the layers back. As that awareness has grown, the more I’ve felt the uneasiness and shifting that happens as I confront the toxic pain within me.

I am becoming more and more convinced that the longer you hold on to, or continue perpetuating the generational cycles of trauma every person holds, the more sick and more “messed up” you’ll become. This is not an option for me. I am doing everything I can in the present moment to shed and release and end the cycles of abuse and trauma. It is nothing anyone else can do for me. It has to be my decision and my choice to step into the tangled up mess.

I’ve known for a while that a massive shifting was coming and I knew this week would bring it. I’ve been gearing up for the shift and I knew it would be a difficult battle – but a battle I would win as long as I willingly entered the fray. I felt things starting to move over this past weekend and two nights ago it reached its peak. I still have one more significant thing to move, but what I did two nights ago was absolutely incredibly healing.

I chose the bath, as I don’t have any other body of water to use as a medium, and settled in to face what was coming. I chose to use a vehicle of Dragon Shakti Breathwork to allow for me to enter that transcended realm so I could do the work I needed to do. It didn’t take long to drop in, but I remember having a moment of “do you really want to do this? You are passing the threshold and there will be no turning back.” My immediate response was a resounding YES. I have learned that to hesitate, to allow things to stew, is how things are not processed or released.

The journey I was embarking on was a soul retrieval ritual. I was stepping outside of time and traveling to the aftermath of having been sexual abused as a 4 year old. I knew a piece, a rather large piece, of my soul has been ripped from me and left there. I have felt her missing and have felt lost and disconnected and split within myself. The more aware I become of my own spirit and the way it is intertwined with the magick around us, the more I’ve felt that massive missing piece.

Spirit and my ancestors and their magick was with me, pushing me forward, and guiding me to where I needed to go. I was going in to battle and it was a fight I was willing to face. It took but a moment to find her and enter that moment. She was sunk in the corner of the room I remembered, curled in on herself, lost and broken. We have spoken before when the memories first broke through two years ago. But this meeting was for the purpose of bringing her home and restoring our soul. I held her in my arms and sobbed over our pain and the destruction that happened in that moment. I cannot go into details of everything we talked about or what she told me, but when I asked if she would come back with me and help me restore our soul, she said yes with two conditions. She released her hold on that place and returned with me to this current place in time. She has brought such a sense of joyous wonderment and has restored joy within me that has been lost for a very very long time.

One of the conditions she gave me was that I forgive the man who had done this to us. I have struggled with the entire concept of forgiveness for the past decade. That word and action was used to manipulate and guilt me as a child. My ex-father, yes the man who sexually abused me, would yell at us with those demon possessed eyes on the way to church, demanding forgiveness. Forgiveness was a hall pass. If someone said “I forgive you” then there was no responsibility taken for what was done. It was the clean slate without having to change behavior.

But my heart has been shifting towards that word lately. One of the things I need to be able to do as I go through this Shamanic initiation is to forgive and bless those who seek to harm me. It’s seeing and acknowledging the human and the pain others hold. Forgiving my father for what he did to me is one thing, forgiving my mother is another and one I will have to approach at another time when I am ready to finish facing that massive wound.

I exited the bathtub feeling deeply released and feeling a new sense of life within me. I felt for the first time that I could truly forgive the man who wrecked so much havoc on my life. My younger self had already given me the words so I gathered up my cauldron, a piece of clean paper and a pencil with the crystals I had used during the soul retrieval.

This forgiveness does not mean that I will be allowing this man back into my life. This forgiveness means that I see and acknowledge his own wounds and it was through those wounds that he harmed me. I created the sigil you see above as a further releasing and way to add more power to my forgiveness. I do forgive my father for the damage he caused to me. I forgive him for ripping me to shreds. I forgive him for acting out his own pain on me. I do sincerely hope that maybe one day he can forgive himself.

As I watched the paper burn and watched that sigil disappear in flames and smoke, I knew it was done. A weight has been lifted and it is done.

And So It Is.

Asking For The Return of Moon Blood

Potential Trigger warnings - Menstrual blood, childhood sexual abuse, trauma. 

Two years ago the memories of what had been done to me as a child of the age of 4 came back. It was a few of the most excruciating and clearing months I have ever had. I felt like I had finally gotten all of the pieces of the puzzle that is my life, all while being almost destroyed by layers of shame, guilt, and pain from what had been done to me.

When I received my first cycle at the age of 11, my very very first thought at seeing blood in my underwear was “not again.”

Sit with that.

An 11 year old girl, the oldest and first child in her family to get a moon cycle, and that’s what she first thought.

“Not again.”

From that moment on, the sight and pain of my cycle arriving always brought terror and horrific nausea and pain. There was nothing “good” about it. Nothing pure, nothing healthy, or releasing.

Seeing that moon blood when we were trying for our first, and seeing it for 20+ months in a row was heartbreaking and depressing.

I used to daydream about never bleeding every again and despite how extremely difficult pregnancy was on my body, both times I carried a child were the best since I didn’t bleed for a blissful 9ish months.

I chose an elective surgical procedure a year ago this month which included my OBGYN burning away the entire lining of my uterus. So I wouldn’t bleed. Because of that childhood trauma, and then being made fun of from the moment my ex-mother found out that I had gotten my first period, removing that physical blood was 100% the right decision.

But.

Things have changed.

Two months after having the endometrial ablation done, I attended an incredible gathering that brought about my {re}initiation into the Pagan. The entire gathering was surrounded by challenging and breaking down the taboos about bleeding and moon blood and creating a beautiful healing perspective on what that blood means. I spent almost the entire time there crying because it was the first time I had ever heard of moon blood being a GOOD thing, a beautiful thing, a releasing thing.

See, the womb holding body is cyclical. As we move through a cycle, we start with a shedding of everything that we drew within ourselves and releasing of any energies that need to leave. Through returning that blood to Gaia, we are completing a cycle of life and death and rebirth. Just as the moon goes through her cycles in the sky, our bodies mimic that rhythm. To honor and acknowledge the power of our moon blood is to return to the ways of old when wisdom flowed freely and our ancestors knew the secrets of releasing and shedding.

I’ve been holding uneasy space for memories of my childhood sexual abuse over the past 3 weeks, and this week in particular is when the memories started fully breaking through 2 years ago. And for the first time I’m asking for that return of my blood so I can fully and deeply release the last memories and pain from my past. I feel the need to really press in to this. My desire is to create a sigil to draw over my womb while I go through a ritual of asking the Dark Goddess for my moon blood’s return. I will post more when I’m deeper in to this asking.

I believe in the power of the Divine Feminine and restoring wholeness. I am remaining open to whatever this return will look like.

The Celtic Ogham – 1st & 2nd Aicme

I felt it would be neglectful to ignore the Celtic Ogham as I am leaning into my Celtic heritage and origins. I ordered a lovely Ogham set from an Etsy Shop in Wales, it did take a month to arrive, but it was worth the wait!

I was first exposed to the Ogham (pronounced Oh-mm) in one of my favorite Dark Goddess books, Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess – Invoking the Morrigan, by Stephanie Woodfield.

There is a whole section on divination which of course included Tarot cards, but the Ogham are the primary source of divination mentioned. The Ogham is believed to have been the Druids’ alphabet which is intriguing in and of itself as the Druids were known as teaching and practicing their art only verbally. It is difficult to know where or how exactly the Ogham originated as the Christian/Catholic priests erased or considered the verbally spoken myths and beliefs irrelevant.

Traditional Ogham sets have 25 symbols, but mine only has 20. I have noticed that they are separated into sets of 5 called aicme (pronounced ack-meh), namely for how the symbols are drawn. The first 5 are drawn with lines going towards the right, the second 5 with lines going towards the left. The third set of 5 has the lines at an angle going from left to right, and then the fourth set of 5 has lines crossing in the middle. The last set of 5 are unique individually and don’t seem to follow the same pattern at the first four sets. Something very important to understand about the Ogham is that is it drawn or written from the bottom up. So when drawing the symbols, you start on the lowest part and work your way up. Same when writing with the Ogham, a word is put together with the first letter at the bottom and the last letter at the top. See in the example below.

https://www.claddaghdesign.com/custom-jewelry/a-guide-to-the-ogham-alphabet

I have honestly only really learned the first 10 Ogham. This is because I am taking my time learning them and trying to commit them to memory. There is a lot of energy that each Ogham holds, and frankly, I don’t want to miss any of what I need to learn. A sort of frustrating thing about ancient divination practices is that there isn’t always a lot of continuity. I am finding that to be true with the 5 different aicme, some of the names of the trees they represent aren’t consistent, but it appears the letters each symbol stand for are.

So without further adieu, here are the first 2 aicme of the Ogham

The Ogham

1st Aicme –

Birch – Beith – B

This stands for the tree Birch or Beith and the letter B.

Divination Meaning – New beginnings, a fresh start. Renewal and birth.

Reversed Meaning – Let go of the past or you will remain stagnant.

Magickal Meaning – new endeavors. Invoking the God Lugh.

Rowan – Luis – L

This stands for the tree Rowan or Luis and the letter L.

Divination Meaning – Protection, being shielded from harm.

Reverse Meaning – Vulnerability to danger or negative influences. Strengthen your defenses.

Magickal Meaning – Protection Magick

Alder – Fearn – F

This stands for the tree Alder or Fearn and the letter F.

Divination Meaning – Good counsel. Intuition. Wisdom from the Otherworlds. Inspiration.

Reverse Meaning – Ignoring good advice. Not listening to your intuition.

Magickal Meaning – Seeking wisdom from the Otherworlds.

Willow – Saille – S

This stands for the tree Willow or Saille and the letter S.

Divination Meaning – Psychic flashes. Influence of the moon. Secrets revealed. Intuition.

Reverse Meaning – Being overwhelmed. Need to control your emotions. Emotional upheaval.

Magickal Meaning – Psychic work, enhancing psychic senses. Moon rituals.

Ash – Nuin – N

This stands for the tree Ash or Nuin and the letter N.

Divination Meaning – Transformation and change is possible. Magick and shape shifting.

Reverse Meaning – Not taking control of your circumstances, feeling powerless.

Magickal Meaning – Transformation magick, creating change in one’s life.


2nd Aicme –

Hawthorn – Huath – H

This stands for Hawthorn or Huath and the letter H.

Divination Meaning – Overcoming obstacles, challenges. Love and complications.

Reverse Meaning – Obstacles have to be dealt with, not ignored, or trying to take the easy way out.

Magickal Meaning – Calling on the Faery folk. Overcoming obstacles.

Oak – Duir – D

This stands for the tree Oak or Duir and the letter D.

Divination Meaning – Strength, endurance, strong foundation, resilience. New doors opening.

Reverse Meaning – Misusing strengths. Weakness.

Magickal Meaning – Money magick, prosperity. Seeking Wisdom.

Holly – Tinne – T

This stands for the tree Holly or Tinne and the letter T.

Divination Meaning – Challenges/trials. Being under attack. Take action, defend yourself.

Reverse Meaning – Running from life’s challenges. Going around the problem instead of facing it.

Magickal Meaning – Protection Magick

Hazel – Coll – C, K

This stands for the tree Hazel or Coll and the letters C, K.

Divination Meaning – Ancestral wisdom. Wisdom being passed on. Inspiration.

Reverse Meaning – Ignorance, disillusionment.

Magickal Meaning – Manifesting wishes and desires. Seeking wisdom.

Apple – Quert – Q

This stands for the tree Apple or Quert and the letter Q.

Divination Meaning – Regeneration and Healing

Reverse Meaning – Needing to take time to rest and regenerate your strength.

Magickal Meaning – Healing. Honoring the ancestors.


I am still working on learning Runes, but the Celtic Ogham has pulled my attention in deep. There is such a richest with this form of divination and truth be told, it pulls me in more than Tarot does. But instead of rushing into getting all the “right” tools and clothes or what have you, I am thoroughly enjoying taking my time. I am finding that the Ogham that I have learned so far are really sticking in my struggling memory.

Introducing – Shadow Rose Herbs & Co.

Shadow Rose Herbs & Co.

Websitehttps://shadowroseherbsco.com/

Shophttps://shadowroseherbsco.patternbyetsy.com/

So for the past few weeks, I have been working on and building up a new “business” venture. I say “business” because while yes, I will be selling herbal remedies, it is also something I am creating to hold space for those of us with deeply rooted trauma and to facilitate that healing.

Shadow Rose Herbs & Co was born a few weeks ago when I wrote down a list of 8 different business names. I then showed that list of names to a handful of people and asked them to pick the one that stood out the most and/or fit me the most. Every single person picked Shadow Rose. It, ironically, was the very last name on the list. It was the name I had written down after about 10 minutes of just staring at the list waiting for the last name to come.

My relationship with the rose has been tumultuous. I used to love the look of roses when I was a child, and the very first flower my partner ever gave me was a singular white rose. When we finally got to go on our first official date, he brought me a dozen white roses. But, the moment he walked in the door, my mother grabbed the roses and said “oh are these for me??” I was made fun of for liking roses – “you just like them because everyone likes roses.” I decided I kind of really hated roses.

But, the rose has continued to show up for me. Dried rosebuds was the first dried herb I ever purchased. It was the first thing I knew I needed to add to start creating my dried herb pantry. Then two months ago, I attended the Red Tent and the entire ceremony was about roses. That’s when I finally started giving in to the incredible depth of beauty AND darkness roses hold.

Whenever I started into creating a new space – whether that be a new blog, business idea… – the name is always first for me. The name is the foundation on which I start building. A month ago, 4 different people asked me multiple times why I wasn’t making and selling the herbal remedies I was using on myself and for my family. This came after several other people had asked me the same thing last year. With my health finally being a place where it’s not at the forefront of my mind, and my job has cooled down as well, I felt like it was time to start really pushing forward with opening an herbal shop.

So why the name I chose?

I was struck by how much darkness and shadows roses hold. Sure, you have the beautiful bloom and almost everyone just sees that, but have you seen the thorns? Have you see how intensely protective the rose bush can get? The thorns make it impenetrable, impossible to enter to the center of the plant. It is said there is lore of the rose being a symbol of carrying secrets. The rose holds a lot of history in legends and lore from many cultures.

The Shadow part of the name has to do with the darkness of the thorns but also symbolizes the darkness and shadows I carry being the survivor of childhood sexual abuse and childhood trauma. That is a massive part of me and one of the things I hope to do with Shadow Rose is create a safe space and products for supporting healing that kind of trauma.

Rose is to present the beauty and light that the blossoms bring to anyone who sees the rose. The vibrancy of different shades and sizes of roses. The rose is a multi purpose herb – the petals and buds are incredible to work with, but when the rose blooms die and form rosehips, this is another part of the plant equally beneficiary.

Roses aren’t just about beauty. Roses represent love, faithfulness, warnings, darkness, shadows, perseverance; roses are good for soothing and support heart grief, and bring peace with their scent.

I am still working with a sister on creating the logo for Shadow Rose Herbs & Co, but I do have an Etsy Pattern shop up and running, and a few products already ready for purchase!

Revisiting The Wheel of The Year – Mabon, Samhain, Yule, Imbolc

In this post, I’ll cover the second 4 Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year – Mabon, Samhain, Yule, and Imbolc. Feel free to go back to my previous post! Quick note first though; Beltane came up really quickly for me, and I wasn’t able to pull anything together for the actual day. The following weekend however I did a Beltane ritual with an incredible group of women. We did a ritual fire jump, and included a shedding and reclamation ritual as well. It was so beautiful and amazing to be celebrating such a fiery and powerful Sabbat with such fiery and powerful sisters. I have come to the conclusion that Beltane is best celebrated when you’re in a group instead of by yourself. Because of the incredible shifting that happens on Beltane – the move from sleeping and slowly waking up to Spring to turning it up to full blast and wildly celebrating fertility and new life and igniting the fires of passion that will carrying us into Summer – you need that joined community passion and excitement to bring life to the rituals.

Mabon – Fall Equinox, September 20-23

Mabon is my substitute for Thanksgiving. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anymore, and damn it feels good to say that. Mabon, however, is a wonderful celebration of that last shift from Summer to Autumn heading towards Winter. It’s that time of year when the last harvests are starting to come in, the planning for the winter months has started, and it’s really a time to celebrate all that you have been given. As the days and nights are equal in length and hold a balance, look to restore that kind of balance in your life.

Some of the ways we have celebrated Mabon is creating a huge feast and inviting friends over to celebrate with us! This past September, I made a butternut squash soup, round roast, and a homemade pumpkin pie. It turned into a great evening celebrating and enjoying the company of friends. I can’t wait to plan this year’s Mabon celebration.

Here are some ideas for what you can do to celebrate Mabon!

  • Go apple picking
  • make a Mabon altar
  • cleanse your home for the fall
  • have a thanksgiving-ish feast with friends/family
  • take a few moments to yourself, or with your children, and write down the things you are grateful for

Samhain – sunset on October 31st to sunset of November 1st

Samhain – pronounced sow-en – the official beginning of winter season, the “darker half” of the year. Samhain is often associated as being a festival of the dead, and is considered one of the times of the year when veil or doorway to the Otherworld is opened and supernatural beings and the souls of the dead may come through and visit our world.

Samhain is actually the opposite Sabbat to Beltane. Beltane is the other “veil is open” Sabbat, but for some reason isn’t as associated with a festival of the dead as Samhain is.

In honor of the doorway being opened, Samhain is a really good time to honor your ancestors and spend some time looking over the past year and setting goals for the winter. Samhain is also the time to be aware of what you need to shed and what need’s be let go of that is no longer serving you. Allow the changing of the seasons to guide you.

Something that’s helpful to consider as we move into the darkness of Winter, especially when SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a factor, is how are you going to fill your home/space with light and warmth as darkness and death happens outside? Winter is a season for hibernating and allowing for rest and rebuilding strength for the return of the light at Imbolc.

Yule – Winter Solstice – December 20-25

The longest day of the year has arrived and with it means we are that much closer to the light and warmth returning! Yule, being in the middle of winter, is a time for gathering with friends in the warmth of your home, and celebrating being together. Ironically, the majority of Christmas traditions have their roots in Yule. Including, but not limited to, decorating trees, exchanging gifts, singing songs, drinking mulled wine, and reaffirming hope of Spring returning.

With having children, I am hoping to be able to plan ahead this year a bit more, and include them in some Yule celebrations. Here’s a good article about some things you can do with children.

This past Yule felt really transformative for me. Instead of feeling pressure from extended family to be there and attend their Christian church Christmas celebrations, we were able to do our own things and be at home and be together. My oldest and I picked out the decorations for our real pine tree and he helped me decorate it. It was so special to be able to do that simple ritual together and have him feel like he was included. He also picked out the other decorations I had around the house and for the first year, it actually felt really celebratory and like we had something to celebrate. My oldest even told me that we didn’t have enough decorations. It really helps having a child who is so eager to celebrate something!

Imbolc – Candlemas – February 2nd

Imbolc – pronounced im-bulk – is the Celtic Goddess Brigid’s Sabbat. Imbolc is the rekindling the Spring fires, the return of the light, and the beginning of life returning. It’s the time for seeds to be started, for the acknowledgment that we are reawakening after a long winter! Brigid is a Goddess of Fire and Light, a Sun Goddess, and is one who holds powerful healing and birthing of life in her hands.

It’s a traditional practice to create a Brigid cross on Imbolc!

I spent Imbolc this year planning out my container garden and trying to figure out which herbs and plants I wanted to plant.


Practicing and celebration the 8 Wheel of the Year Sabbats is a habit to work up to. It’s definitely not going to be an overnight switch. It’s taken me 4 years to celebrate the different Sabbats, and I’m still not where I want to be in terms of what I do for each one. So be patient with yourself if you’re just starting out. It takes time to build up this practice, and what is also helpful, is to find a coven or group of friends to celebrate with.

I spend a lot of time researching and collecting rituals and ways to celebrate each Sabbat on my pinterest board.

Feel free to look around, and maybe even start collecting ideas for your own celebrations!

Rising & Released – Shamanic Initiation

PC: https://www.thaizer.com/festivals/the-mass-sky-lantern-release-at-mae-jo-chiang-mai-is-not-the-yi-peng-festival/

A week ago, I woke up from a procedure that corrected a severe vein issue I was born with and that had been compounded after two pregnancies and multiple health issues. I woke up to my spinal headache being gone, and it hasn’t returned, and I felt like a massive weight had been lifted and intense pressure had been released.

I have been dealing with chronic health issues for more than 2/3 of my life thus far. Through the past 4 years in particular, though, I have felt a drawing to a close, an ending building and approaching. As I began to repeat a health cycle this past January, for the first time, I could feel that the ending was truly here. This would be a year of resolution and I was going to finally have answers with my health.

I had the opportunity to sit down with a dear sister-goddess and she stopped me in what I was saying and asked if she could tell me something. She looked me in the eyes and said “this is your shamanic initiation.” I felt immediately validated while being equally stunned for a few seconds. What she told me has permeated every particle of my being – it completed the shifting my mindset has been doing with my health.

I have felt the shift in my mindset happened over the past year. The shift began to seriously happen when I finally chose the spiritual path I was going to move forward on. Viewing my health struggles as part of my shamanic initiation brought several questions to mind.

  • What if chronic pain is the signal that we are all missing to dig deeper into our spirituality and listen to what the Spirits are calling us to?
  • What if chronic pain/health issues are the outward signs of needing to heal our minds then our bodies?

Now, please, hear me out – I have dealt with chronic pain since I was 10 (or younger…my memory is fuzzy during those ages), I am not making light of chronic pain. I am only speaking from my own experience, and voicing the questions and observations that has given me.

I have been in intensive counseling/therapy for the past 6 years. I have had 3 different therapists, and each one has helped me break through some significant things. But with each year that has passed as I’ve written about what has surfaced, as I’ve processed and worked through the shit that I have experienced, the more drastic my health issues became and then they have been slowly been resolved. Every time a major puzzle piece mentally/emotionally has fallen in to place, I’ve dealt with some of the worst flare ups I’ve faced, but they’ve also resolved and faded, and I have never felt that pain again.

I am beginning to believe that my chronic pain has truly been leading me on a deeper and darker path that I only suspected at the beginning of my chronic health journey. I have always felt like my life has a very specific purpose, but I could never put my finger on what that purpose was/is. I believe I am only just now starting to enter that part of my path where the knowledge of where I belong is coming to me.

When that venous pressure was released a week ago, it felt like that final release on a place on tension that had been building all of my life. I just entered my Saturn Return, and I can feel major parts of my life are lining up and falling in to place. I truly believe I could not have gone through surgery a week ago if I hadn’t done the work I have in the past year. I had to release and process and change my hold on a lot of things. Physically releasing the physical pressure in my body was last thing that needed to happen before I could take the next step forward.

I’m excited about what’s ahead of me. I have started a few things in the past three weeks that I’m looking forward to writing about on here. But for now, I am reveling in the incredible release my body is still experiencing despite aches and pains from having had a procedure.

Revisiting The Wheel Of The Year – Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lammas/Lughnasah

When the last millimeter of my foot left the ground in Maryland, just over 4 years ago, and when the first millimeter of my foot touched ground in Colorado, I experienced a DRASTIC shift. Being a military child growing up, I’ve lived many different places. But when I came to Colorado, it was and still is the only place that I have ever felt 100% truly at home.

One of the things that shifted was the leaving behind of traditional holidays. I discovered The Wheel of the Year Sabbats and started trying to figure out how to work those into my life. Things didn’t flow very smoothly the first two years I tried to follow the Sabbats. Mainly, timing was just not right.

For the past almost year, I have been able to celebrate and fully dive into the beauty that is worshiping and celebrate the shifting seasons, the Equinoxes, and also honoring age old traditions that hold so much richness and beauty. I’m going to cover the first 4 Sabbats in this post, and then do another post with the last 4.

Ostara/Spring Equinox, March 20th

Let’s start with the beginning of the astrological year – Ostara, the Spring Equinox, which usually falls around March 19th through the 21st. Ostara is the return of the Light and marks a new beginning and a time when things are fresh and new.

I recently wrote about how I celebrated this year’s Ostara here. It was the most gorgeous day this year and I really felt everything magnified by the Full Moon that night. It was certainly a special day and I believe I saw something that the last time there was a full moon on an equinox was about 19 years ago. I think. Don’t quote me on that!

As I’m on a restrictive diet for my health, it is always difficult to come up with substitutes for the traditional dishes served for the Sabbats! But this year, I found a recipe for grain free, dairy free, and sugar free hot cross buns. And oh my, I have made them 3 times now and found that the buns make great sandwich holders. This kind of sweet and savory mix.

Here’s the recipe I used!

Another way to see Ostara is as a replacement for Easter. A lot of traditional Easter celebrations contain traditions and rituals first used for Ostara. Like the emphasis on Spring, the pastel colors, eggs, even the hot cross buns. I did two other rituals during the day on Ostara this year – one being filling a wooden egg with intentions and letting it soak up the Full Moon’s rays that night before setting the egg on my altar to rest for a full month until the next Full Moon.

The second ritual was creating a protection sigil and drawing it under my front door mat. Read my post about Ostara for all the details!

Beltane – April 30th/May 1st

There is a particularly rich magick that surrounds Beltane and it is hands down the Sabat that I am most excited about. There’s a passion and a fire that comes with Beltane, and it’s significant turning point as we head towards summer. I honestly feel like deep magick happens the night of April 30th, and then as the sun rises on May 1st, in comes the celebratory May Day events and rejoicing that Winter has officially and completely ended.

It’s difficult for me to name everything I feel with this Sabbat, but maybe this year I’ll be able to process and really be able to describe why I love Beltane. I haven’t decided what I’m doing to celebrate Beltane this year, but when I do figure that out, I will definitely be sharing!

Litha/Summer Solstice – June 20-23

Litha is the opposite of Yule, which is the Winter Solstice. Litha is celebrating the longest day of the year, the day when we get the most amount of sunshine. This is a Sabbat of celebrating the life and light of summer. I actually haven’t done a whole lot of celebrate Litha in the past, so again, I don’t have a whole lot of examples on what do for this Sabbat!

Lammas/Lughnasah – August 1st

Lughnasah (pronounced Loo-Nah-Sa) is the beginning of the harvest, the time to start preparing and looking towards the return of the darkness as winter approaches. There is a cautiousness with this Sabbat as it is a time split between the beauty and light and vivaciousness of the summer and the coming full harvest of everything that’s been growing. I like to celebrate this Sabbat by creating a fall/harvest wreath for my front door and spending some time in reflection of what my goals are for the rest of the year. Lammas/Lughnasah always feels like we’re turning a corner to me. August is usually the month kiddos go back to school, we start heading into fall activities, and it’s the last ditch effort to enjoy summer.

I used to, before I had to completely cut grains out, make a braided loaf of bread that day as well. This year for Lammas I’ll probably figure out a way to make some sort of braided or special bread.


Something I will be incorporating into the celebrations of the Sabbats this year is creating my own incense blends for each Sabbat and also doing unique tarot spreads. The beauty of celebrating the Wheel of the Year is that there is no requirement for actually doing anything for any of the Sabbats. It is solely up to you for how much you celebrate or don’t; how much you put together, or if when the day rolls around, things just aren’t working, that’s okay too.

There is something deliciously rebellious about breaking away from traditional holidays and returning to the deep roots of this earth.

For anyone wanting to explore more, please feel free to browse through my Pinterest Wheel of the Year board!

Reclaiming the Magick – breaking free of the garden

It’s been almost a decade since I started leaving behind the religion of my childhood. Well, it’s truthfully been a lot longer than that. I never truly belonged to those confining and abusive beliefs. My spirit even then knew there was more than this.

Like I shared in my previous post, I am working my way through a book called The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman, by Danielle Dulsky. The first section is about being a Priestess of the Wild Earth. One of the things that has struck me hard is the talk of realizing the garden – the too-small life, the place that confines and deceives – is no longer the paradise it’s been promised to be. The garden has been put in place by the patriarchy to contain and silence the Wild Feminine, and the strength of being we hold within ourselves. She, Danielle, describes what it’s like to have that first glimpse of something isn’t quite right, or that this isn’t home.

She brings in and introduces the archetypes of Lilith, Inanna, and Persephone-Kore. These are typically called Dark Goddesses, but as one who is full of shadows and lived in the darkness for so long, I see these goddesses as so beautiful and wise and powerful. During my first full initiation into the Pagan almost a year ago, Lilith came to me in a vision and reminded me that she has given me wings to fly with, I only need to open them.

When I was baptized into the Christian belief system at the age of 7, fear tactics were used to get me to say the right words. The man who sexually abused me told me what to say, fed me the right answers, and then was so proud when he dunked me under and brought me up out of the rushing waters of the Rappahannock river. I simply just wanted to belong. I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to feel that the stirrings in my spirit had a purpose. As an incredibly perceptive child, and now very intuitive adult, it was extremely confusing trying to follow the religious path laid out in front of me by people who were narcissistic hypocrites. This was my garden.

Like Lilith in the Garden allowing the wondrous snake to hand her the forbidden fruit and waking up to the dreadful illusions around her, I had my moment of awakening.

Like Inanna and Persephone, I too descended into the depths of hell to retrieve my broken and lost spirit.

I followed the rules. I was the perfect daughter. Both done out of fear of not measuring up, fear of being a disappointment, fear of being rejected. My soul and heart longed for more though. I discovered writing at a young age and by the time I was 17, had written hundreds of heartbroken poems. I am a musician/pianist, and I spent hours releasing all of the energy that had built up through my fingers dancing over the ivory keys. My fingers, my spirit, held immense amounts of magick, but it didn’t fit into the path given to me.

I felt the sorrow and grief constantly caused by instinctively knowing something wasn’t right, that this was not all there is to life. But I never had cause to break free until scales suddenly fell from my eyes, and I bit into that apple for the first time. I actually know the E X A C T moment those scales fell – it was the moment I first laid eyes on my now spouse. My guides told me in that moment, “keep an eye on this one. Your souls are intertwined and you both will need each other for what is to come.”

From that moment forward, we were pounded on by all sides by those who were determined to break our bond and destroy our joined spirits. I had suddenly taken control of the path *I* wanted to follow, and a lot of people did not like that. But it was too late, I had already taken a bite, my eyes had been opened, and the garden had turned into a dull and dirty place. I was ready to leave and start my journey away from the confines of what was determined to break and silence me.

That was almost 10 1/2 years ago, and my spouse and I are still closely tied to one another, our souls having survived absolute destruction and storms determined to tear our very beings apart. But that was the start of my awakening. My reclaiming the magick that beats so strongly inside me.

I am planning on going back through the first section of The Holy Wild and go through the various prompts suggested in the book. For now though, I know I have stopped wandering and I am honing in on my Wild Home.

picture credit – http://stregatree.com/product/working-with-lilith-goddess-of-transformation/?v=7516fd43adaa