National Holidays…

As we head towards Halloween I often start to feel the changes in the atmosphere as the pagan day of the dead drawers near. Being a Wiccan it’s an important day for me and many others, yes there’s the fun and celebration but also a serious side where the veil between the physically living and those who wait to guide us, thins and communication is heightened. For me, Halloween has always been a big thing, growing up with a fascination of all things goth, witchcraft and those of the big beyond. It is a time for celebrating our connection with the spirit world and the fact that one day we may just be there and it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Christianity has of course bastardised this holiday to the point we don’t actually get a holiday for our day of the dead. The mere idea that we celebrate death, to Christians has been misinterpreted as devil worship resulting in the counteracting All Saints Day to follow on the 1st November. But they have it so wrong.

If we take a look at our holidays that are governed by Christianity these days they are all originally Pagan celebration times. Christmas is the answer to our Winter Solstice, when we celebrate the shortest day and the beginning of a new cycle into spring. Easter or should I say Ostara is for celebrating new life on the Spring Equinox, hence we have colourful eggs as a traditional gift. No Jesus is didn’t bring us Easter eggs, the pagans did. The eggs are to symbolise life, you write your intentions on your egg and plant it in the earth, and then on the Autumn Equinox (harvest festival anyone?) you see if you kept your promises to yourself, you reap what you sowed.

Then May Day was originally the coming of spring (we plant a lot of our flowers around then) and Whitsun the celebration of Flora, our goddess of beauty, flowering and beautiful women, in some interpretations the celebration of ancient roman prostitution, it’s a fertility thing, the man plants the seed and we celebrate the flowers. Every holiday has a pagan origin, but in order to stamp out our roots the Christians renamed and took them from us as part of the conquering of Britain by the Roman Empire, the Romans (pagans themselves with similar beliefs) harnessed the fanaticism of Christianity and set them forth upon us to help conquer. And didn’t they do well?

So paganism, Wicca as we now often call it, a peaceful celebration of our earth, okay not scientific but symbolic of the cycles of nature, was taken and squashed by a stronger force of believers offering salvation with even less scientific backing. Offering miracles of life after death, water into wine and walking on water, yet accusing all in its path of witchcraft and putting them to death. Anyone starting to see the irony here?

So for me, I’d like to see us take back our celebrations for what they really mean. I don’t find Christmas offensive, but I do find it sad that kids are never taught the true origins of our symbolic offerings. Nobody ever discusses that the men on May Day represent the sowing of the seed. Nobody tells our children that our Easter eggs are to represent the fertility of our growing world and intentions. The Harvest festival is about celebrating our harvest because we are a farming nation and of course reaping what we sow in life too.

And your Christmas tree, offers protection from the darkness and bad spirits on the darkest days before the Sun God begins to make his return from the underworld to start life afresh after the solstice. So when I say I’m a witch, that I carry out rituals to make myself feel at peace, I’m met with suspicion, but really I’m just following the roots of the many humans before me, celebrating the earth I was born to live in, giving my intentions to the universe just like a prayer to make something good out of what I’ve been given. We are not the only ones who have such celebrations, take a look around the world at the beliefs that predate the monotheistic religions and you’ll see similar patterns of celebration, all reflecting the surroundings, the cycles of life and the belief that death, the beyond is not to be feared. Perhaps if we took on the views of our ancestors we’d spend less time worrying about the inevitable and enjoy the world that we’ve been given. We’d celebrate fertility and beauty instead of making it shameful. I definitely wasn’t put in this earth to be virtuous, I was put here to live and be happy in doing that. So I’m making Halloween a new national holiday, a holiday for the so called strange to celebrate their differences, a holiday to celebrate that we’re all alive and will one day be dead so we’d best enjoy living rather than worrying about judgement. And if I’m wrong, well I guess I’ll see you in hell, it sounds more fun there anyway, and white really isn’t my colour…

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Little Miss Worry Pants

Isn’t it funny when you get that feeling of dread in your stomach that something’s not quite right? So, I’ve been seeing the one who makes me forget for a month now and his text replies are sporadic, he’s already warned me, and to be honest that’s okay… normally… but today, it isn’t. Silly isn’t it?

I guess this is half the problem with today’s dating world, I have no idea what rules anyone is playing by. Some people want commitment straight off the bat, some people assume it’s there so say nothing, others assume it’s not and say nothing, then the rest, you know how it goes. So today I’m in the limbo of, where the heck are we? We’ve kinda had conversations about, can you be good… blah blah… to me that insinuates exclusive, but does it?

Apparently according to the dating blogs, you have to make a man chase you, but I’m really not into that. Apparently the girl should never chase, that’s how to loose a man in sixty seconds, so what the hell do you do when you like a guy, need a bit of reassurance but don’t want to hound him? What ever happened to being able to say it like it is?

The last time I saw him, we had a great night. Neither of us are used to sleeping in a bed with someone else so actually sleeping next to each other was strange. But waking up next to him was lovely.

When I left he was sweet. Oh dear! I have got myself in a mess, I know what I’m doing, I’m overthinking again, and when I do that my imagination goes into overdrive!

I’ve managed to be a bit distracted at least tonight, I did a Tarot for a lady who needed some help. I do every now and again for practice and I love it. I think it really helped her and if the advice of the cards is followed she’s going to be happy. Now I know myself that’s easier said than done… I get readings all the time, I follow the advice until I start to worry again.

I think as my intuition is heightened tonight I’ll do my own reading. My last reading in this guy told me he’s in the process of sorting out his life, but he will do and if he takes things slow not to worry, he definitely is getting feelings too but isn’t going to tell me just yet. I guess we’ll see. It’s hard to tell with an online Tarot reader who is and isn’t genuine, so I do mine live. I want the person to see what I’m seeing and that there’s no trickery here.

My intuition is also telling me to stop worrying. I know in days of darkness, like the last few my inner voice can take over and push my intuition off centre. So I wonder if that’s what’s happened here.

There’s actually no change in behaviour from him, he’s not doing anything different, it’s all me, in my head. It’s different to last time when I really was actually being ignored, I think.

I’m going to take the high of helping someone and put the energy into writing tonight. The book has been a little neglected, perhaps that’s what’s actually getting in the way. I’ve been given advice that I need to learn to do my own thing, and I normally do. So, no more dwelling. What will be will be. If he doesn’t ever text back, well that’s okay, that’s on him. The universe has a funny way of presenting life lessons sometimes, and every now and again it will repeat until you’ve learnt it properly. Perhaps that’s what I need to do. Learn this lesson. I cannot wait forever for someone to contact me, if the universe presents opportunities then I will take them. But until then, perhaps I just need remember that I really am happy being myself, no more changing to become someone I’m not, I’ll walk my path, it meanders a little, if someone’s path crosses or happens to run parallel then great, but I’m not changing it this time…

Cleansing ritual

It’s nearly the Autumn Equinox and the urge to cleanse my life gets bigger by the day. I think back to the equinox in spring and remember planting my egg with my intentions written in it and I have achieved most of them I think. I have moved job, giving myself a better career. I have worked on my relationship with my daughter and that’s getting better, okay it was never bad but some closeness and trust was lost during her hospitalisation and needed to be rebuilt. I am still working at some, I have started to write my book. It’s a fiction based on events of reality that have happened in the past. This blog, that was one of my intentions. I try to assess how much I’ve accomplished when I’m having a bit of a dark slump that seems to have happened this week. It’s not always obvious to people who see me day to day but I feel it in the tension of the tightrope I walk trying to stay on the even keel of holding down the day job, carrying out mom duties whilst trying to solve the issues playing continuously in my mind that I struggle to get rid of.

There is a large amount of symbolism in Wicca but it serves a purpose, the rituals mean I’m doing something physical with the un-physical and sending them back out to the universe to come back as a positive. I need to burn some memories to cleanse them today. You can delete old photos from your phone but they remain in memory and the only way they can truly go is to print a copy and burn it. That’s what I’ll do today.

Going though my loft to clear it earlier this year I came across old photos and negatives these got burnt, not just thrown away. It was the only way to get rid for good. The same with birthday cards from my daughter’s dad that I’d kept over the years. I can now never believe that the words he’d written were ever meant and therefore they had to go. So paper gets burnt, possessions that can be of use get given to charity and the energy is released so that it can come back positive. There’s science in burning, as the molecules are broken down by the fire, the breaking of the bonds, the energy that makes the flames changes the energy that was stored within, the energy that created the words or the image, and cleanses it into something better, the ashes buried, it can feed the plants, the energy cycle is complete. I do this with everything that has caused me hurt in the past.

Yes perhaps a little crazy for some but it works for me. The cleansing continues with a clear out of possessions in our house. Broken things, stuff you don’t need. The feeling of release when it’s left my possession and is gone is therapeutic.

I will dry my sage and burn it later, ask for protection and draw my salt water pentacles on every window and then the cleanse will be complete. My house has changed dramatically from the one I bought out from my daughter’s dad. Nearly every piece of furniture replaced. Every wall repainted. The graft of doing this myself has been another therapeutic activity, it took away the feeling of loneliness and gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment as each job got finished. Carpets pulled up and floors painted. Walls painted over to create a dramatic change from the house that stood before.

Perhaps it will be only when the cleansing is complete that someone new can come in and stay. I often wondered if the fact this has been my house through everything intimidates new guy’s in case my past is not fully left behind. But there is no past left in the house. It’s hard to imagine the past that occurred here. Perhaps the recent past lingers still and so that’s the part I’m going to cleanse today. The photos of him that remain in my archive folders that I couldn’t quite get rid of. I already deleted every text, every conversation, everything he touched is washed, cleansed, it’s purely the last little bits in my mind. But now it all has to go. Two full moons and new moons have passed since, time to get ready for the equinox so that the cleanse will be complete. Then as we close down in preparation for the solstice when the death of the year happens and the newness can really begin I will be ready.

The energy in the air is sparkling with anticipation today. Ready and waiting for the last bits to go, it’s down to me now to put the past fully behind me. It’s with sadness perhaps that I say goodbye to the summer, a summer filled with some big disappointments in some ways, and yet also filled with some amazing new starts. I was disappointed in his failure to keep his promises, disappointed to leave a company after a long time of service with such a bitter taste in my mouth. But then I was perhaps focussing on the wrong things. I’ve been welcomed at the new place with open arms. There are new men and potential promises, we’ll see how that goes. Now the future is totally open, as I prepare for the shorter days, the dark mornings that have in the past few years worried me, I’m not as worried as I was before. The dark voice has been kept at bay, the dark nights will unleash my creative mind. The dark mornings will be difficult but will be okay. This time last year I was starting to feel trapped in a relationship that I had no control over, this year I’m free. Free is better than trapped, alone is better than trapped. There isn’t anything that I regret, there’s just no point. Regrets, like the eight of swords, blind you from the way out of your dark place. So I’m opening my eyes after my cleansing and focussing on what’s to come. The reminders of the recent past will be gone for good so the I can continue to build on the dreams. No more beating myself up, no more standing in my own way. This little urban witch has got work to do so she’s better get started…

Spells

When we say the word spells it conjures up all sorts of ideas depending upon our experiences of life. From the witches in films like ‘The Craft’, or ‘Hocus Pocus’, to devil worship and sacrifice, and things much more foreboding. I got into ideas of using spells in my teenage years. And grew my knowledge of Wicca dabbling in other ideas such as Hinduism and Buddhism on the way. My ex partner was a Buddhist so during that relationship my curiosity around Wicca took a back seat as I tried to conform. That wasn’t terrible as Buddhism itself brings a good life template into which you can live peacefully, but it wasn’t quite for me and something else was always calling.

I can’t really define myself as a witch, I don’t know what qualifies you to become one. I have no wish to join covens, sacrifice virgins or wear a big black cloak, actually the cloak would be cool I guess. Imagine it streaming out behind me as I ride my motorbike, or flowing as I stomp around my office like Darth Vader bending developers to my will, yeah that could work. Might just buy a cloak.

So what is it I do and what does it mean to me? Well I follow the seasons, the weather, the full moon cycles. The moon has an effect on us all and this is scientific, the gravitational pull of the full moon at its strongest actually affects the distribution of fluid in the brain and gives us fresh energy. We all know the word Lunatic, based on the ideas of the full moon effects. The waxing of the moon from new builds our energy day by day and the waning allows us to say goodbye to that phase as the energy is conserved to start a new. Just look at the tides of the sea and you will understand the power of the moon upon all who dwell here. The cycles of the earth or similar the Winter Solstice being the day where the earth is dead but awaiting its rebirth tomorrow. Over the years I have often wondered if the reasons for seasonal affective disorder are as much about the transfer of energy from the living things to the potential energy of what’s to come. Hence we feel tired and feel the need to hibernate through the dark days till we’re ready to emerge as the butterfly from its chrysalis. I personally feel it quite strongly and will find that my activity during the winter months slows down as I conserve my energy for the newness of spring. The summer solstice, the pinnacle of the energy that we feel when we live the longest day and reap the rewards of the energy we’ve been growing up until that point. And then the wind down back to the Winter again. But we have hope because we know that regardless of where we are in the cycle there is hope after the darkness.

The equinox of spring where I write my intentions and commit them to the earth to achieve them by the equinox of autumn. When I make that commitment I always remember the egg on which I’ve written them and how the substance of the egg is now feeding the flowers planted over it and my achievements grow as the flowers do. I have told the universe my wishes for myself and the universe grows my wishes when I’ve told it what I want.

So that for me is a spell. A spell is a prayer, a wish, an intention. It’s not going to send green beams of light at the intended target or blow up the nearest building or anything so dramatic as that. My spell is my prayer. I follow a ritual, I cleanse, I recite, I offer, I have gratitude and when I have gratitude to universe delivers. It’s really quite as simple as that. The ritual of the spell gives me focus to allow me to clearly state my intentions. Rituals are as old as time itself, all humans do them, they are most apparent in monotheistic religion today with the incense and the ceremony of the weekly gathering or worship. My spell is just the same.

When my ex partner left my house once and for all my daughter and I cleansed the aura and it instantly felt better. The burning of sage, the invitation to the winds to take the negativity away and the protection of the elements drawn in salt water on my windows gave us a fresh start. The ritual simply balanced the energy in the house where negativity was dwelling in the walls from the sadness and the fighting and set it free to become neutral energy again. Plants that were flagging started to flourish. Animals behaved better, became calmer and less stressed. The cleansing whether psychosomatic or real had a positive effect on us all.

When I feel bad about myself I write down the negative thoughts and I burn them and bury the ashes. By burning the words I release the energy and by burying the remains I plant new positivity. It’s a simple process and it makes me feel better. I don’t need a man to forgive my sins, I forgive my own short comings and move forward refreshed. My words being my confessional ritual.

I burn candles of certain colours to encourage my wishes, to invite the spirits to guide me on my journey. The candle is a message. Red for passion, White for purity, Pink for love, Green for wealth and Black for endings and new beginnings.

Just with anything involving energy you must treat it with respect. You wouldn’t rewire your house without first turning off the electric, and it’s the same with the energy that you wish to harness, use it for good and you will receive good back, send curses and bad intentions out and you will get the same back. If you use the energy for careless means you have the potential to cause harm to yourself and others so make your intentions clear and think them through before carrying out your ritual. Like the missionaries who travelled to Africa to ‘convert’ and ‘improve’ the lives of the natives they in turn caused harm for generations to come, still evident today, because their intentions may have been good but the practice ill thought through and the lack of understanding of the culture they were attempting to indoctrinate upset the balance causing more harm than good.

So this is my little story about finding my path, perhaps a little less followed today but a path as old as the earth itself. The harnessing of energy to make my intentions known to help me achieve my dreams. The universe feels the energy we give out and gives us the same right back in spades. There’s enough energy for everyone, it’s how we use that energy that defines whether we are happy or sad. When we remember that, we turn our lives around, it can be done in a second. The suicidal thoughts disappear, the disparity of loss, because we know it’s just a part of the cycle, and we’re either growing or dying or both and that’s okay…