Here We Go – The End of the Darkness, Return of the Light – The Winter Solstice

Words have not been a release lately. Not like usual. There has been a lot of inward and hidden processing going on, and I haven’t felt words just waiting to be poured out. I have stopped working on my book, well I stopped about two months ago, and have yet to pick it back up.

Words are not the safe space I’ve previously known for working out and processing the shit within me. This is a new space for me to be in. It doesn’t feel familiar and sitting down to write this today is the first time in months I’ve felt words waiting to flow out through my fingers.

A lot has happened, but I also am not entirely sure what exactly has happened. Today I feel so deeply the final descent into the darkness as we approach the Winter Solstice in a week and a half. I spent the entire month of November buried under my own illnesses and those of my children. I believe the final count of drs visits and ER visits ended up with 5 drs visits and 4 ER visits. It nearly broke me seeing my children so sick and feeling so helpless to “fix” them. We were hit so hard with viruses that I felt like we were all drowning under them.

My mother wound was ripped open during that time. My younger selves felt fear and abandonment, crying loudly as I struggled to take care of my own children and then myself. They have been loud and continued to be loud until I started realizing it was them who was causing the extreme physical anxiety I have been feeling and the immense sense of loss that has been utterly overwhelming.

I can feel this sense of being in a space of waiting. “Just wait, it’s almost time” keeps swirling around me. Just wait, it is almost time. This waiting is being surrounded by the last of the weight of this year settling on my shoulders. I can feel how much my younger selves and current self is tensing up for January. I am deeply hoping to not repeat the past 4 January’s health emergencies.

January of 2019 saw me heading in to an emergency CAT scan on January 31st (my youngest’s birthday) with the whispers of cancer surrounding me. April 2019 saw me heading into my 6th surgery in less than 4 years. It was also the most helpful and most significant surgery. It also revealed that what I had suspected about my body was true. My body was in serious near fatal shape and with the help of the specialist I saw, I am no longer at the risk of having a single blood clot ending my life. The summer was full of self discoveries and at the end of the summer, I came face to face with the teacher I’ve been looking and longing for. The teacher at whose feet I will be sitting at and learning from for 9 months come January 2020.

My body feels wrecked. It feels worn out, and I feel an exhaustion that reaches to my soul and makes it difficult to breathe. I feel like the things within me that no longer serve are dying off and it’s a painful process. It is an isolating process. Especially as I am finding words are not my friends right now. My partner reminded me last night about just how significantly improved my health has become since a year ago. Even though I don’t feel it. It’s so hard to see progress when I’ve been in this chronic battle for so long. The past week has been particularly difficult with having some massive hormone crashes and trying desperately to ward off a panic attack. I remember so vividly how utterly sick I felt a year ago. I don’t want to go down that path again, I don’t want to feel like my body is dying.

A year ago this month, I chose my words of the year for 2019. My word for 2018 was Reckoning, and whoa was it a year of reckoning. When I faced 2019 and considered what it was that I was bringing into the year, the words *Dancing* and *Triumphant* came roaring in to me. As usual with the words I choose, those two were almost thorns in my side as I traveled down the path of 2019. But the pure beauty of holding those two words with me is the realization of how deeply and wholly I found myself laughing with joy and feeling truly happy with who I am and what I’ve become. For the first time in my remembered life, I have been able to truly feel happy and laugh with joy this year. It makes me teary eyed just thinking about how that feels in my bones. It is a certain kind of healing where words tend to fail.

The word *Jubilant* came to me a few months ago and I wrote it down feeling fairly confident it would be my word for 2020. I felt like maybe it was a good segue from *Dancing & Triumphant.* But things have shifted. I have been preparing for this transit into the new decade for the past three months in particular. Since just before Samhain, I felt the deep pull to “just wait, it’s almost time.” And as friends have started talking about picking their words for 2020, it became clear quite quickly that Jubilant was most definitely not my word.

As I’ve turned my gaze back on 2019, the heart wrenching despair I felt at the beginning of the year stood out, as well as the sobbing relief it transitioned in to after my birthday in April, and then the moments of actual pure joy and happiness made me just want to experience that more. I faced a second round of childhood sexual abuse memories coming back in August, and I am still here and feel more whole than I ever have. I have a burning in my spirit to fight even harder and with more precise purpose for those who do not have a voice. I feel that anticipatory burning of “just wait, it’s almost time.” My soul, my body, my heart is on fire and ready to explode with a dragon’s roar. Despite the heaviness; despite the tears and loudness of my younger selves fears and anxiety. I am waiting and it is almost time.

I am waiting yes, but I am also preparing – physically and spiritually. We already have several massive changes and shifts lined up for this next year. And they are going to be big changes, changes that will probably threaten the peace for a bit until we get settled. But I am actually hopeful. I feel hope and expectation of being blessed and having my awareness being expanded of what it means to feel joy and happiness. I want that, and I want to claim those beautiful things for myself, my children, my spouse, and chosen family.

So as I’m sitting here writing out this post, my two words for 2020 have burst upon me like a thunderclap.

* Burning Hope *

For someone who struggles with hoping for fear of things going wrong, this feels like an detonation in my heart. I am choosing to lay aside my fears and the fears that were confirmed as a child, and I am choosing hope. I am choosing to face the future with anticipation and excitement as I wait to see what Fate brings me. I am choosing to believe that I can do this, I can keep healing from the trauma wounds and abuse scars of my past. I am choosing to believe my younger selves and to give them all the gentleness and love we never received as a child. I am giving them the hope that as ripped so viciously from us.

I have no plan for when my next writing offering will be. I am allowing things to shift and move around me, and as this space isn’t providing much room for written releases, I am not turning to this space as much right now. But that being said, thank you for reading and following along when I do write!

Here’s to a brilliant, bold, and explosive shift into the new decade! It’s going to be an absolutely powerful shift!

Releasing Magick – Samhain

Here in Colorado, we just got a second snowstorm in October. We only got a few inches but every tree and bush was covered in whiteness. As I drove my oldest to school this morning, surrounded by the whiteness and the cleanness of the snow, I felt a peace settle in my spirit.

I have felt so chaotic for the past few months. I had a little bit of a breather in June, but then it all went to shit again as we shifted in to July and it’s been nonstop since August. As we approach Samhain in just a week, I can feel the spirits stirring around me. October holds a lot of pain for me, but it also holds a lot of hope and goodness. It’s a strange push and pull, happiness and sadness, joy and pain.

I’m leaning in to the peace that Samhain is starting to shift for me. And I’m grateful for that shift. I still feel unresolved on some things, but I know it is merely this moment is not a moving forward moment, it is a time of holding and waiting. As I spoke with a friend about this, it’s that feeling of taking a breath before a dive, but it isn’t time yet to dive into the water. That intake of breath, but not time to release yet.

Samhain is called the Witches’ New Year. It is the beginning of a new cycle around the Wheel of the Year. It is another fire celebration and it is the end of the harvest festivals. For those who are still new to the Wheel of the Year, Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) is also known as Halloween. It is also considered one of the Sabbats of the year when the veil is thinnest, Beltane being the second.

That being said, Samhain is the preferred time to specifically honor ancestors, it is time to save and hold space for those who have passed on before and who are ready and willing to give guidance when asked. Samhain is the time to officially put away the last strands of summer and open your arms to the coming darkness of the winter.

With winter already starting to encroach on Colorado, it’s easy to shift into the “winter is coming, the darkness is here” mode. But for everyone else, enjoy the fall leaves, recognize the cycle of life as the trees shed their leaves so they can hibernate for the cold and dark winter. It is time to release and shed anything (and anyone) who is no longer serving you. Whether that be energies that are insisting on dragging you down, or old habits or harmful mindsets you need to break, now is the time to prepare to do that. The most powerful time will be on the 31st as the darkness of night falls.

How to do this? How do you shed and release?

Well, here are a few ideas.

Tarot –

If you are not sure what you need to release or shed, laying out a tarot spread can help you gain clarity and name what needs to be let go of.

This is a helpful tarot spread to get you started with!

Candle/Fire magick –

As we shift towards the darkness of winter and the physical darkness of the shorter days, longer nights, lighting candles is a good way to still hold space for light and breath in your space.

Performing a candle releasing spell would be an easy way to release those heavy things that need to go. As Samhain will be on a wa

Items you need for candle releasing spell:

  • Candle – white
  • piece of paper that will burn easily
  • black ink pen
  • pot or plate to catch the ash of the burning paper or the paper can be burned in

Instructions:

Write down all of the things you’d like to release. These can be anything you feel is not serving you.

Light the candle and recite these words as you light the paper with the candle flame.

“With the burning of this paper I now release what does not serve me. Through releasing this, I am asking in the things that do help me. I now forgive and release everything and everyone from past and present who needs forgiveness and release. I ask for the universe to witness this release. So Mote It Be.”

Sit with the ashes of the paper and allow the candle to burn all the way down. Witness and hold space for this releasing.

Burning Bowl Ritual –

This is an alternative to the candle spell above. Take a few pieces of paper (or however many you need) and write down something you are releasing on each piece of paper. Roll or crumple up the pieces of paper and put them in a fire safe container. You can use the same releasing recitation above for this spell as you light the papers and allow them to burn to ash.

With both of the spells/rituals above, take the ashes from the paper that was burned and either bury them in your backyard far from your house, or flush the ashes down the toilet. Either way, make sure you complete and finish the spellwork.

Moving on to honoring ancestors, there are several ways you can do this.

  1. Tarot reading
  2. Dumb supper
  3. Ancestor altar

I feel like there are so many ancestor tarot spreads out there, I’m not even going to link to one. Use Pinterest or Instagram, or create your own spread! Let your cards and ancestors guide your hands.

With the Dumb Supper, as I have never done this, here are a few links for how to go about creating one. I will say that this can simply be done by setting a place for an ancestor at your table.

Links for Dumb Supper ideas –

https://witchoflupinehollow.com/2018/10/21/honoring-your-ancestry-with-a-samhain-dumb-supper/

https://moodymoons.com/2018/10/21/dumb-supper-what-it-is-how-to-host-one/

Ancestor Altar –

This is fairly straight forward. Creating altar space in your home simply means having a specific spot on a shelf or table that holds respect and honor for whatever the altar. For an ancestor altar, this could look like pictures of your ancestors, items or food they liked or were common from wherever they are from (if you want to go back that far). Whatever you feel is honoring and respecting your ancestors, do that.

I have not done a whole lot of work with deities that are connected to Samhain. I know Persephone is connected, as is Cernunnos. But I still need to do some more research about the deities and their connection before I feel confident writing about it.

I am personally very excited about Samhain this year. I am actually really dressing up for the first time and I cannot wait to show off my costume! I think it is probably going to be way overboard, but I am not sure I care at this point. My spouse and I are attending a witchy halloween party tomorrow and despite the cold right now, I am very much looking forward to it!

Bringing it on HOME – random updates and interaction with the Divine Masculine

Samhain is 13 days away. We are officially shifted into the darkness. I am feeling a little more present in my own mind and body this week than I did for all of August, September, and the first half of October.

Just after the last new moon at the beginning of the month, I joined in blood magick with a moon sister and we held protection over the Red Tent circle. That night as I fell asleep, I was suddenly aware of something trying to break through my defenses. There was a malicious intent and with how exhausted I was, I knew I didn’t have the defenses in place to protect myself.

In stepped in two beings I never would have expected to come to my aid – a roaring fierce Griffin (yes, the eagle headed lion) and Horus, the Egyptian God of War and the Sky. I have purposefully NOT worked with any Gods due to how badly I have been hurt and ripped to shreds by the masculine.

But as I wrestled in my mind to stay ahead of whatever was trying to destroy me, I watched as Horus and the Griffin posted themselves in protection for me. In fact Horus was so respectful and honoring to me and told me that however I needed help, he was there to give me aid. I was blown away and given much relief watching these two beings come to my aid and fight for me. I have felt nothing but great respect from Horus and his desire is to be an aid in whatever way I need. I am cautious because I am still not actively seeking Gods to interact with, but this moment with Horus is shifting my mind.

I have started three different posts in the past two months. Trying to find words for what is the chaos inside of me. The chaos has had a drive, it’s been breaking me from the inside out; breaking down misconceptions, breaking down the lies I still carry burned into my bones.

I have fought, and won, through another round of memories returning. I have sat with the youngest of myself and listened and felt what she had to give me. I have sat with siblings whom I never thought I’d ever seen in person again. I have spent time with my powerful moon sisters and performed protective blood magick together with one. I faced an intense wave of suicidal ideation – the darkest things have gotten for me in 5 years. I sat with another star-sister and we strengthened our companionship through using our words and backing up those words with our actions.

I have fought the darkness that is disassociation and am still struggling to gain ground with that one. It is a sly beast that cannot be pinned down. I have sat with having my fears confirmed and feeling the gut wrenching heartbreak knowing that the pain and horror I had felt years ago was true.

I am feeling very inward turned right now. Contemplating all that has happened this year. Remembering those who have been cut out of my life, remembering those I have stood up to. Thinking about what it means to be counting down to the end of the year and then the beginning of a new decade. 2020 feels like it will be an intensely powerful and significant year. There is a lot of work I, and many others, are doing right now to prepare for what this next year is going to bring.

I am excited to be starting two classes in January where I will be sitting at the feet of a Druidess elder and learning from her. I am excited about choosing a new place to lay our heads and moving there in February. There is a lot of change coming, and it is change that I am choosing to bring in.

My heart rate jumps a bit thinking about January because I’d really really like to have a January where I’m not fighting for my health. But I am choosing to believe that I am stronger and more prepared and can handle whatever comes my/our way.

I don’t have much else to say, I’m going into mental hibernation for the next few months. But I am still here. I am still fighting. And I will not stop until all of the battles have been won.

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!

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

Rising in the Fire, Moving on, & Owning my Holy Wild

For almost a year, I have been digging deeper into the spiritual wild within me, and allowing that tiny spark that’s been trying to burst into flames to do so. I am learning so much more about myself, the power I carry, and the way my wounds, scars, and darkness are giving me life instead of sucking the life from me.

I am aware of how much I am shifting, especially this year. I had a break through a month or so ago and suddenly realized how many people have and are still gas lighting me. I realized how much I had been pulled under by their manipulations and this deeply rooted loyalty I have for my friends. I have, in the past, been willing to overlook a “friend” using and abusing me, because I’m there for them, and they must be going through a rough time. But no. Just N.O. That is not okay.

Over a year ago I went through a hellish health circumstance. I lost a lot of people of whom I thought were my friends. One of those being someone who decided that because my health issues were their worst nightmares, they selfishly told me that I couldn’t talk about anything I was going through because it was too triggering for them. Oh, they were so good. I would never go against what someone says is their trigger, and they knew that. But I was made to feel like I was so much less than because I was going through what they considered their worst nightmare, and heaven forbid I even dare to mention anything that I’m feeling or dealing with, it was just too much for them. Oh but, no it wasn’t personal. It sure as eff was!! Just for the record, any time anyone says “oh it’s not personal” you had better be aware it absolutely is. That is a cop out phrase and it is a classic gas lighting technique. It is meant to make the person being told that it isn’t personal feel that they are the only one at fault, they are the reason for the conversation/issue/problems. It removes ALL blame and responsibility from the other party…usually the person who should be blamed and should be taking responsibility for their own actions and what they have done to harm the other.

Yes, I am still quite angry, but I called this person out on their shit, and I was able to walk away despite their attempts to gas light me and shame me and name me at fault for all of the issues they were dealing with. I have learned to see the loyal people and the worthy people who are allowed into my life. I have learned to be brutal and cut those out who are sucking away my life force with their gas lighting and victim blaming of me. I am not the person I used to be, I am not someone who you can take advantage of anymore. I don’t usually put my foot down, but when I do, you had better be sure that’s it, I’m not coming back.

I have made many mistakes, many instances of trusting people I never should have even given the time of day to. But like many who have gone before me, I have learned from my mistakes and as I open myself up to the energies moving within and around me, I am receiving so much more power and ability to protect myself and those I love.

I have been reading, slowly, a book called The Holy Wild by Danielle Dusky.

I’m only a chapter in, and already have underlined multiple sections, but I wanted to quote one part I underlined that was extremely validating and rejuvenating to read.

“This is me, and I have survived my birth by fire. My hair is knotted, and my cheeks are stained with the tears of lost innocence and bitter disdain. I am untying the knots that kept me tethered to a life I did not want, to names I did not want to be called, and to the notation that a woman is an unchanging, steady touchstone for all who need her.”

The Holy Wild – Prayer of the Underworld Goddess Returned: My Muddy Wings Are Wide – Danielle Dusky

I am leaning into a deeply resonating rhythm that is asking me to let go and let my wings unfurl. I have talked before about being of the shadows and holding more darkness than light within me. I am not only fully accepting that part of myself, I am finding so much power and strength within those scars; the scars I once saw as shameful, but the scars I also confusingly knew were badges of courage and strength, but no one would acknowledge that.

I am a WITCH, I am a Goddess reborn, I am a Shadow Carrier, I am a Shaman in the midst of her Shamanic Initiation, I am a weapon against the shame that tries to keep us silent.

I was driving up to my company’s office on Monday and passed by what are called Hogbacks. They are literally MASSIVE shelves of rock formations that have been pushed up in a protective way in front of the foothills of the Rockies. As I watched them pass by, this vibrating thought came to me – those are Gaia’s protections. Those formations are protecting the beauty that exists behind them, She formed a literal wall of protection around magickal land. The next thought given to me was that I am also a protector. I have been given many tools of protection of myself and of those around me who are dear to me. And the only reason I am able to be a protector of others is because of the quote below.

“…this Goddess who risked it all to save no one except herself.”

The Holy Wild – Danielle Dusky

I risked every single thing to save myself and pull myself through the multiple levels of hell I’ve been through. And because of that, I have been given tools to deepen my connection and understanding of the Earth, my connection to the Moon, and the spirits and energies who exist around and in us and I am willing to help bear the burdens of others coming through those hells.

I feel like I am at a crossroads, yet again, and this time, it’s which magickal path is calling the loudest. I finally have time and mental space to give it serious thought and decide confidently on the path that is mine to walk.

Blessed Ostara – Spring Equinox – Full Moon

Welcome to Spring!! And welcome into Aries season.

Yesterday was Ostara/Spring Equinox and I spent the day cleansing my space and preparing a feast for dinner last night. I did four things in particular for celebration of Ostara –

1. created/painted/filled a wooden intentions egg,
2. cleansed my front door and drew a protection sigil under my front mat,
3. made low carb, dairy free, grain free, and sugar free hot cross buns and Greek seasoned brisket for dinner, and last but not least,
4. sat with my Ostara Tarot cards last night to receive the messages I need to keep in mind for this next season.

Wishing or Intention Eggs

I followed Moody Moons’ directions for creating the wishing or intention eggs. I wasn’t able to find fillable wooden eggs in time, so I ended up going with a medium sized wooden Russian doll. Sure, it doesn’t really have the right “egg” shape, but I honestly wasn’t bothered by that.

Above in the picture are all of the items I gathered, besides the little piece of paper I wrote my intentions on, for the wishing eggs.

  • 1 wooden egg/cylindrical wooden container
  • biodegradable glitter
  • spring colored paint
  • burlap ribbon
  • medallion or old earrings

I worked on the egg throughout the day, finishing it as the moon was rising and stuck it in my window that receives full moonlight during full moons. Feel free to check out Moody Moons’ post about what she did with her eggs!

my egg this morning after the full moon last night.

Front Door Cleansing/Sigil Drawing

A few months ago I finally found a string of bells on a rope that is now wrapped around my front door handle. These bells are intended to help protect and make it more difficult for negative energy to enter the sacred and safe space that is my home. But in an effort to increase the protection around my front door, I made eggshell chalk from powdered eggshells and created a protection sigil.

I have struggled with sigils before and felt like I couldn’t draw well enough to create my own. I decided that this protection sigil and ritual was important enough to me that I would try again. So I sat down Tuesday afternoon and started working on the phrase I wanted to use.

I’ll do another post specifically about sigils another time, but for now, here are some pictures of what my process was.

The phrase I chose is “This Space Is Protected.” I then went through it, crossing out every vowel, then took the remaining letters, crossing out all duplicate letters. That left me with the letters “T H S P C R D.”

As you can see in the paper to the far right of some of the pictures, I had started playing with the letters and trying to create a sigil with their shapes. The pieces of paper with the progression of the sigil are when I started realizing how the sigil wanted to flow and I allowed my hands to follow the instincts I was being given. The sigil surrounded by four crystals is the finished sigil. I knew I needed the “S” to be most prominent. The “S” stands for space, sacred, and safe. All things embodying the root of the sigil.

Yesterday morning as the bright sunlight warmed my front door, my 4 1/2 year old and I cleaned and wiped down the front door. I lit a bundle of sage and used the smoke to help clear out the space. As I prepared for drawing the sigil, I unwrapped my eggshell chalk.

Honestly, I will be creating a different recipe for future eggshell chalk. The recipe I had was pretty decent, but the chalk itself was completely stuck to the paper I had wrapped it in. But enough of that, moving back to the ritual!

Note about eggshells – eggshells are considered powerful and can be used for protection charms. By crushing up cleaned and dried eggshells, you can use the powder to sprinkle along your windowsills or doorways, or to dust your hands with before dealing with a negative person/situation/energy. It isn’t a bad idea to keep a small jar of powdered eggshells in your witchery cabinet or shelf.

I took my finished sigil and careful drew it under the space normally occupied by my door mat. My front porch is slated rougher wood so the chalk did not want to show up on the wood. However, it did leave a scratched in sigil and I believe that sigil will be there for as long as we live in this place.

I carefully replaced the mat and my 4 1/2 year old and I stood on the mat over the sigil and held our hands up to our chests as we sent our energy into the sigil to activate it. My kiddo really loved being able to help me out with the ritual and it was a sweet moment as we stood there in our bare feet, the sun warming up our toes, as we activated the sigil together.

LC/DF/GF/SF Hot Cross Buns

One of the traditional foods for Ostara is Hot Cross Buns. But, due to my now extensive food restrictions, I can’t eat a traditional hot cross bun. Off I went to my faithful Pinterest boards to see if I could find a paleo/dairy free/grain free recipe. I found this one, and actually had all the ingredients!


Low Carb Hot Cross Buns – Ditch the Carbs

Icing

Instructions

Low Carb Hot Cross Buns

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the eggs and mix.
  3. Add the boiling water and mix until evenly combined.
  4. Roll into 8 equal balls and place on a baking tray.
  5. Bake in a fan assisted oven at 180C/350F for 20-30 minutes until golden on the outside and cooked in the centre.

Icing

  1. Mark each hot cross bun with a cross using the powdered sweetener confectioners/icing mix and water paste.

I actually used a small digital food scale when measuring out the coconut flour and psyllium husks, but there is an option over at Ditch the Carb’s recipe to have US measurements.

I made a few changes – first being, I used powdered psyllium husks, and second, used a mixture of cinnamon, ground cloves, and cardamon for the mixed spice. I also added cacao tidbits into the dough instead of raisins or chocolate chips. I was a little hestitant using coconut flour but I honestly can’t taste the coconut at all! I used up the rest of my Swerve sweetener between the 2 tbsp the recipe calls for, and then grinding the rest in my mortar and pestle to created the powdered sweetener for the icing.

When the buns got out of the oven, they were surprisingly fluffy and while they have a fairly typical psyllium husk kind of chewiness, day old buns actually taste amazing! Just be aware that they aren’t going to taste like normal bread. But if you’re like me and haven’t eaten “real bread” in quite a few years, then these will taste quite heavenly!

Ostara Tarot

A sister-goddess tagged me in a post on Instagram for an Ostara tarot spread and I decided to go ahead an use the layout instead of just laying the cards out as I usually do.

These are the three cards I pulled from my Ostara Tarot deck

For the Egg, I pulled The World.

For The Seed, I pulled the 2 of Swords.

For The Sun, I pulled Justice.

All three of these cards spoke heavily to where I am right now, and even more so to where I’m moving to. There have been a lot of closing final doors, ending what I thought were friendships, and shedding unneeded situations and responses. I can feel the fires within starting to blaze brightly as we have crossed into Aries, are at the beginning of the Astrological year, and many new things are coming forth.

Blessed Spring my loves, thank you for reading.