30-Days of Samhain 2020: Day Twenty-Three

Happy Halloween! Happy Samhain!

Finally, the veils have opened and the way is clear to seek the lessons of this season and explore the deeper mysteries of death. I have several options for your work today:

Videos: 1. Samhain Ritual performed on Oct. 28th. This ritual used the energies of a Waxing Moon towards today’s Full Blue Moon of astrological Taurus. We coalesced the energies of the Retrograde Planets of Mercury, Mars, Neptune and Pluto. Please note that on this date Mercury was retrograde at 0-degrees Scorpio. Today. with its retrograde motion Mercury stands in the astrological mantle of Libra. A fitting transition of bringing the depths that arose from Scorpio’s mysteries into the harmonious vision of balance and beauty that is Libra. (approx. 45mins)

Please have these items available for use during the ritual. What you will need:

  • 1/dark colored candle1/light colored candle
  • small cup with spring water
  • small cup of strongly brewed black coffee- only 1/3-1/2 filled
  • please print out (download below) and cut in circular fashion around the edges of the attached sigil. We will be using this as part of the ritual….

Access the ritual here: A (pre) Samhain Ritual of Reconciliation

2. 5-Minute Full Moon. The monthly shortened version of a personal and contemplative honoring of the Moon’s energy. (approx. 5-7min.)

Join me on this auspicious Blue (the second in a singular month) Moon in astrological Taurus. The power and strength of manifest intention for right mind, right action, and right thought fill these bountiful waters of Mother’s fullness.

Access 5-Minute Full Moon here: 5-Minute Full Moon in Astrological Taurus

And….

3. A Personal Ritual of Scrying appropriate to Samhain’s gifts…

For many one of today’s activities will include some form of divination as means of connecting with the energy and potency of today. The Moon is a Blue Moon-the second Full Moon in a given month and in the astrological sign of Taurus. The strength and stability of this Earthy sign will support your efforts in this water scrying offering. It will become the manifest container of Earth that cradles the illumined waters of gnosis and connection. So, settle in and open this Samhain day to receiving answer to your query…

Suggested Audio you may wish to use to accompany your scrying:

Weaving My Ancestor’s Voices by Sheila Chandra
Any quiet and contemplative music that soothes

You will need:

  • Three candles- one for either side of the bowl
  • A dark-bottomed bowl
  • Water
  • A journal and pen
  • A space where you will not be disturbed for approx. 30 minutes

Place the bowl on a surface that is tall enough for you to peer down into it. If you are sitting, use a low table. You want to be able to look from above down into the water. Place two of the candles on either side of the bowl. Place the third candle directly behind the bowl. Pour enough water into the bowl to rise about 2/3rds of the way.

Dim the lights and reposition the candles if necessary so they are not directly reflected in the bow. They should provide back lighting, but not be a distraction. Take a few deep breaths, acknowledging your physical body in the space of your choosing and the surroundings. Take several more deep breaths, now envisioning that your space is filled with peaceful energy and that only that which is positive and for the highest good for all will be held within.

Take another deep breath- if you have chosen a piece of music to accompany this session begin it now- and quiet your mind and any distracting thoughts. Breathe deeply- and hold the intention of allowing your sight to be opened and whatever visions wish to present themselves to fill the energy of the water.

Adjust your gaze as you peer into the bowl. Soften the lids and allow the impressions to flow.Continue to breathe deeply and fully simply remaining open to the experience. Remain in this state of intention for as long as you wish, but no more than 30 minutes.

When you have engaged for some time, begin to restore your clarity of hard focus on the bowl and candles. Offer the space of gratitude to what you have experienced and breathe deeply feeling lungs expanding against ribs. Return your focus to your surroundings and fully engage your senses in the physical experience. Breathe deeply and extinguish the candles, restore the lights and write down the details of this experience.

Read more about Divination and Scrying here:
30 Days of Samhain: Day Nineteen
Cornerstones of Magick: The Hall of Divination

Read more about astrological Taurus here:
The Magick of Taurus

Keeping it Real: Full Moon in Taurus (last year’s Full Moon)

As we continue our journey towards astrological Samhain, tomorrow’s post will be a sharing of images and thoughts from tonight’s ritual: Parting the Veils!

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Sigil for the Samhain Ritual – October 28.2020

A downloadable copy of the Sigil you will need to print out for the (pre) Samhain Waxing Moon Ritual that was celebrated on October 28.2020.

Please have these items available for use during the ritual. What you will need:

  • 1/dark colored candle1/light colored candle
  • small cup with spring water
  • small cup of strongly brewed black coffee- only 1/3-1/2 filled
  • please print out (download below) and cut in circular fashion around the edges of the attached sigil. We will be using this as part of the ritual.

Access the ritual here:

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30-Days of Samhain 2020: Day Twenty-Two


Just in time for All Hallow’s Eve! A Visual Pathworking of meeting Hecate at Her crossroads and choosing your path of transformation. Enjoy!

Click here to accèss on my YouTube channel-Journey to the Inner Chamber:

A Meeting at the Crossroads

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30-Days of Samhain 2020: Day Twenty-One

The Wisdom of the Bones

I’m a winter baby and I love the cold weather. I love the darker days. I love the longer nights snuggling under blankets and nesting in. This time of the year calls me deeper into my physicality. There is a cold that settles deep within my bones and it doesn’t matter if I turn on the heat or put on my clothes because this experience is not a physiological occurrence. This is not because of the change in weather and the fact that I have arthritis.  No, it is much deeper than that. I have come to recognize with its persistent regularity at Samhain’s tide, that this is a form of preparation…….

Continue Reading the Article Here:

The Wisdom of the Bones: Samhain’s Calling

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30-Days of Samhain 2020: Day Twenty

Entering the Hall of Divination

Gaze into that
Which holds the key
Reflecting back the
Treasure of answer to me.

Wood and wax
Crystal and flame
The truth revealed
The heart’s desire
Thusly named.

This post is part of a series entitled Cornerstones of Magick. In this series you begin by creating your Temple of Magick and build specific Halls within that align with the disciplines of magickal practice. This seemed like an appropriate post for today’s 30-Days of Samhain. This time of the year, we return to the tools of seeking intuitive sight and wisdom from those beings and sources surrounding. And, with that intention we reach towards the tools that will awaken us to the mysteries of Divining…

You stand in the Center Hall of your Temple of the Wise, taking a moment to look around once again at the beauty of your space and the life that is beginning to flow through it. You breathe in deeply taking in the smells of this space, a hint of Frankincense burning and the mixture of wood, marble and more. You are now ready to begin filling your Hall of Divination. Here, you will practice the art of scrying, tarot and more. Here you will open all of your senses to the information that always surrounds and is available.

This is a journey of learning about yourself, because until you fully know the inner landscape of your own being you will never be able to completely understand the unique process that is your way of making sense of information received and information shared.

You step towards the fourth door within your Temple and note that its color, pattern and substance appear to be shifting and changing. You take a breath in and a pattern and color take shape on the door. You exhale and it changes color, pattern and texture. You take another breath and it seems to respond to this contraction of breath, ebbing and flowing from one vision to the next.

This is your first lesson; the lesson that all information constantly changes in response to our interaction with it. To be able to draw from this flow what is useable now, you will need to learn how to identify what is viable, what is other people’s stuff and what is imagination taking hold.

Take another deep breath and this time, clearly formulate what you wish the image of this door to be. Continue breathing holding this intention, until all of the parts come together and you reach out, pushing the door open.

You hesitate for a moment, afraid of what may be found within. It is dark and smoky and you can barely make out what is contained within. No need for fear abut the unknown. The unknown comprises each of the “next” moments that we experience daily. They move so quickly and this state of their being is so transparent that we don’t perceive them in this way. But, truly, we do not know what the next moment may bring, and even so, we do not fear it. We just move through our day. You step through the doorway and time stands still, the reality of the moment dissipating as the smoke clears and you see a large round bowl in the center of the room……

Within this Hall of Divination we will explore the various tools of Divination and learn what our method of discernment is. Some are visual receivers, others hear, others feel or have sensation and others receive downloads of information, much like the abstract format of a computer print out.

Review Lesson 10: Divination and Spell Work (Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path). We will refer back to this lesson as we fill the library of information in this Hall.

You begin your building in this Hall from the perspective of Earth, and making use of the elements within Earth are great tools of connection. Water, is a primary conduit of information. The waters of the earth and within our manifest form ebb and flow in accord with our celestial Mother Moon. Our emotions rise and fall as we interact and information flows from our bodies connecting all of us.

This first exercise is one of water scrying. Scrying or to descry by def:

a : to catch sight of
b : to find out, discover
c: to make known; reveal

We peer into the reflective surface of the water and hope “to catch sight” of the answer to our query. Don’t concern yourself with having to see right away. That is not the point of this exercise. Experience and practice will open you more deeply. So, consider this exercise a first “exercise”……

Divining the Waters of Insight

Explore more of Cornerstones of Magick here…

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30-Days of Samhain 2020: Day Nineteen

The Gift of My Ancestor
A Tarot Spread for Samhain

Samhain is ripe with potential for honing your psychic skills and divination plays nicely as a tool of fine tuning. There are many tools that can be used for divination, but Tarot is one that is at the very top of the list in versatility and access for learning. Today, I am offering a specially created Tarot spread to be used to seek answer to a query you have for an ancestor.

What You Will Need:

  1. Your favorite deck of Tarot Cards. Rider-Waite Tarot is the deck most used for beginning study and deepening your interpretations;
  2. A solid color scarf or piece of fabric to be used to lay out the spread;
  3. A small candle (optional) or two;
  4. A small crystal (optional) of choice that you associate with as opening your psychic senses. A small quartz point is a generic choice.
  5. A drink and small portion of food favored by the Ancestor you are reaching to for answer. Have a second portion of each for yourself to be eaten as a point of communing and gratitude to your beloved after the reading is complete. These should be placed nearby, but not on the reading cloth.

About the Spread:

You will use Five (5 )cards for this spread. Five was selected for its numerologic significance as being a number of change and transformation. It also aligns with the five alchemical elements of air, fire, water, earth and the sixth, of Spirit.

Air represents mind, thought, breath and flexibility. It is the only element that cannot be visualized. We see the by products and effects of air, such as the curtains blowing or the breeze across our body, but we do not physically see air.

Fire represents the will and resultant action that is catalyzed by that will. Fire stimulates us to create and stirs us to quicken what we wish to fuel with passion.

Water represents the heart and emotions. The depths of intuitive sight bubble up as we “feel” our way through experiences. Water has no boundary or shape of its own; rather it takes on the form or shape of the container that it flows into.

Earth represents all that is manifest, physical and corporeal. Earth is our body and the body upon which we make our home. Earth is the final manifest product that Air (Mind) creates that breathes into the Fires (Will to Action) that begin movement towards the goal that is birthed in the space of Water’s (Heart) and intuitive knowing.

Spirit is the imminent part of our being that is the source of our divine nature. Spirit contains the four alchemical elements within itself, acting as the synthesis of each one’s higher form and essence.

Additionally I’ve pulled the energy of “as above, so below”  using the six pointed star that is comprised of two triangles; one pointed upwards as above and the other dipping down into manifestation as below.

Using this energy, Cards 2 and 3 straddle the mid-point of synthesis where the triangle of Spirit and Manifestation intersect. So, their reading encompasses what is received in both layers of expression.

Ready, Set, Go!

If you have a nice piece of fabric or scarf that is a solid pattern (to avoid distraction) use that to lay your cards out. You may want to add a candle and feel free to add a small crystal (I like to use a clear quartz point) to place on the cloth and use to open my awareness.

Select your favorite deck to use and shuffle the cards well. This serves a dual purpose of ensuring that the order of cards will be random and you will also be embedding your energetic imprint into the deck. Once shuffled, take a moment to hold the deck in both hands, speak your query out loud or silently and breathe the energy of your intention into your deck. Place the deck on the surface of the cloth. Divide into two piles and reassemble putting one on top of the other.

Turn your attention now to the ancestor you wish to commune with for your answer. Draw up the image of that beloved on your inner screen with as much detail and clarity as possible. Imagine them sitting across from you and guiding the energy of your card selection as way of reply to you. When you feel the blessing of their presence, audibly say…
… “thank you for your wisdom and joining me”

You are now ready to select your cards. Without looking at the cards, select 5 cards from anywhere in the deck and lay them face down as below:

Place the remainder of the deck off to the side and out of the way. Pause for a moment and then turn each card over, one at a time, moving in order. When all are facing up, begin reading your cards, focusing on what their intention and placement is. You may wish to take a picture of the spread for future reference and write down your interpretations in a journal so you can piece it together later.

Note: Although traditionally accepted, I don’t usually do reverse card (upside down) readings of the card. If a card is turned over and is upside down I just place it upright. If you prefer to read the cards as they present upright or reversed, honor what you are used to.

The Intention of the Cards:

CARD 1: EARTH/THE PHYSICAL – Where is your place (or gift) of anchor?

This card is rooted as the point of the manifest world (“as below”) and represents what in the physical world keeps you strong, grounded and stable.

CARD 2: AIR/MIND – What will serve as my blueprint (or plan) of design, originating from my spiritual self (or path)? and What will serve as my blueprint (or plan) of design, originating in the physical world?

This card straddles the manifest and the spiritual and receives two spaces of use. The answer given to this query will play out in these two aspects of yourself- the spiritual and the human. The synthesis of answer comes from the ability to draw from the plan that originates from your higher self and blends with the human self to manifest a product that will serve all aspects of your being.

CARD 3: WATER/HEART – Where will I find my passion in the spiritual world? Where will I find my passion in the physical world?

This card also straddles the manifest and the spiritual and receives two spaces of use.
The answer given to this query will play out in these two aspects of yourself- the spiritual and the human. The synthesis of answer comes from realizing that will to action is fueled by your hearts desire and passion for what you wish to achieve. The intuitive sight received from the heart of the spiritual self and the passion that evolves in the birthing waters of what you offer your heart to.

CARD 4: FIRE/WILL – What action must I take?

This card is rooted in the spiritual self (“as above”) and emanates from the higher self. The answer to this query will be fused in right action and in accord with the highest good for all.

CARD 5: SPIRIT – THE ANCESTOR and WISDOM SHARED – What will be your gift to me? and How will I honor you?

This card represents the essence of the ancestor from whom you’ve requested help. The two questions represent the reciprocity of gratitude. The gifts received in reading the other 4 cards provide the foundation (4 is a number of stability and foundational effort) and align the elements of self that will act upon the wisdom received.

When you have completed all five cards and are satisfied with the information received, be sure to spend some time “hanging out” with your ancestor and thank them for what was shared with you. A toast and favorite food, shared with your ancestor, is an excellent way to end the reading.

To Learn More About Tarot:

Audio Course:
Live Presentation of a workshop presented on the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Handouts, images and audio available.
A Walk Through the Major Arcana

Card Interpretation if you are new to Tarot:
Aclectic Tarot – a good online reference site

To Learn More About the Alchemical Elements:

A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path: The Natural World

Video: 13 Days Walking the Witch’s Path-The Natural World

The Elemental Connection

The Elemental Year: Aligning the Elements of Self
R. Fennelly. 2013 First Edition

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30-Days of Samhain 2020: Day Eighteen

The Ancestor’s Cauldron
A Pathworking of Communion

I would like to invite you to join me on a journey of seeking wisdom from the ancestors. The pathworking  may be used anytime to deepen your connection, but it is particularly useful as a tool at Samhain and during the time between that flows into the Winter Solstice.

You will want to find a comfortable space where you will not be disturbed for approx. 20-30 minutes. I would suggest that you have a small object that belonged to or represents your beloved ancestor to hold while experiencing the pathworking. This will set up the intention of reaching out. You may also light a candle if you wish.

When you are ready, you may either read through the transcript below or click on the link to access an audio recording. Blessings on your journey…

audio –The Ancestor’s Cauldron
(you will be redirected to Teachings on the Path at Bandcamp)

Transcript -The Ancestor’s Cauldron

Find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed and sit comfortably allowing your breath to establish an even and relaxed rhythm. Make note of any tension you may be holding in your body and as you exhale gently breathe that tension out; allowing it to drop around you like beads of water. Allow any thoughts that wish to have your attention to be acknowledged and then gently let go to pass as leaves in a gently flowing stream. Draw your consciousness up to rest in the space of your third eye and mid-forehead. See in this space a blank inner screen. You are sitting as observer and you take note of a small blue dot of energy that is central within that space. As you continue to breathe deeply and fully you see that the blue sphere is expanding and coming to fill the entirety of the space in front of you. You feel the energy of thousands of tiny blue dots comprising this veil of mist and you issue forth the intent of communing with your Ancestors and seeking their wisdom. You take a deep breath in. As you slowly and gently exhale you step through this mist and emerge to find that you are standing in the center of a moonlit forest clearing. You see the silhouette of tall shapely trees just ahead of you and can smell the fragrant burning of wood wafting through the air.

You offer up a call of invocation to those ancestors you wish to help with the opening of your intuitive sight on this journey. Before the last utterance of name and word is issued you see that an opening has appeared between two of the largest trees just ahead. You walk towards the opening in the trees, passing through a gossamer like veil of multicolored energy. The particles of this veiling are very refined and the sensation is one very much like that of a piece of the softest silk as it is gently drawn across your skin.

As you move forward you now see the flickering of light and the smell of wood burning growing stronger and brighter with each step you take towards this light. As you reach the edge of the trees you see that there is a small clearing centrally located and surrounded by another circle of smaller trees. There appear to be shadowy forms creating a circular shape. As you move closer, you can make out the shapes and forms seated near each of the trees and instinctively know that these are the ancestors you have called to aid you in your working.

A fire is crackling and hissing in the center and offers its light to this darkened space. You move towards the fire and see placed just in front of it a large cauldron sitting atop a very large and round tree stump. You move towards the cauldron and see that it has been filled with water that shimmers from the reflection of fire and candlelight. You look around, hoping to see more clearly the face of those observing, but they are cloaked in a veiling and you don’t have the clarity to see. You hesitate for a moment, unsure that you should be in this space and just as you are about to turn to walk away, you feel gentle yet firm hands on your shoulders. Words fill your mind, not spoken in audible manner but more of a telepathic knowing. You are told that you are welcome in this space and that they have been waiting for you to ask for assistance and guidance. You feel a bit more pressure and come to kneel in front of the cauldron.

You close your eyes and take a deep breath in and pull to the center of your consciousness the question that you have. This question has long been held in the deep recesses of your awareness. It is important now to your future growth and you are in safe space and supportive company that it may freely and have its own will rise to the surface. Holding firmly to the intent of this query, you take another deep breath in and as you exhale you breathe out and into the waters of the cauldron. A swirling of violet mist briefly surrounds you, the cauldron and the flames and just as quickly dissipates as images begin to form on the surface of the waters.

You feel excited and energized at what lie before you and breathe deeply to calm and steady your sight. As the images become clearer an inner dialogue begins of question and answer as to the nature of what you are seeing, how it may be applied and the relevance it has for you at this time. Spend some time gazing deeply, listening purposefully and taking in the sensations that are moving through you.

As the last image and words of explanation fade you feel the energy of what you have experienced rising up and moving through you informing all aspects of your being. It is as though you have drunk an elixir of warm liquid and you feel calm, centered and very much aware of all that is around you. You look into the cauldron once again and see that the waters are shimmering in reflection of the fire; their deeper mysteries cloaked until the next opening and parting of the veils. You rise up and feel more firmly anchored to the earth beneath and connected to the sky above. You turn away from the cauldron and look around at all that surrounds you.

One of the ancestors rises and approaches you. He takes a spark of flame from the hissing fire and holds it before you. He tells you that this is the spark of flame that is held within all living beings and that this flame is what fuels the desire to commune with him and other beings of his kind. It is this flame that opens you to the deeper mysteries you carry within and will warm and light your journey of introspection as the days grow darker and the winter chills the air. He bids you take a deep breath and pushes the glowing flame into the center of your being. There is no discomfort, just a rush of energy and the sense of acceptance and acknowledgment of like attracting like. Everything appears to glow more brightly now and as you look around at each of the faces of the ancestors you called to witness and guide this working, they come into crystal clarity. Take a moment to acknowledge each and offer up gratitude for their blessings and inspiration.

When you have completed this offering, you take a deep breath in and as you exhale the space around you fades. Each inhalation and exhalation dissipates more of the detail and energy of the space. You feel a lightness and exhilarated warmth moving through you and you know that this is a space you will revisit again at the next parting of the veils. You close your eyes and return to the space of being observer of the inner screen within your consciousness. You breathe deeply and think for a moment on your experience, recalling the images and words that were offered in answer. The last memories pass through and you sigh deeply into the next breaths. Each breath brings you back to the physicality of your being, the space in which you began this pathworking and the sounds of life around you.

May the blessings of this communion with your Ancestors carry you forward through the year to the birthing of new light and inspiration at Yule and beyond.

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30-Days of Samhain 2020: Day Seventeen

Who Are the Ancestors?

Samhain is particularly ripe with talk of the ancestors and honoring the dead and often is an integral part of the celebration. The term “ancestor” is used in different ways depending on the intention and your personal perspective. Today’s post is about who the ancestors are.

Generically, the term ancestors has come to mean those of your lineage, either biologically or culturally, who were at one time incarnate human beings. These are those from whom we claim a legacy in some way and if familial in nature, share the common thread of family history as well. These souls would also be known as ghosts or spirits of the departed. For this writing, this is how I will use the term ancestor.

The practice of honoring our familial ancestors has been around for aeons in one form or another. Sometimes that honoring spread out to be inclusive of an entire tribe or clan, each and every individual considered to be a familial ancestor; so deeply embedded was the energy of collective community and shared experience.

Every culture has its own ways of celebrating the departed, such as Dia de Los Meurtos in Mexico or Central America, Ari Muyang in Malaysia, Chuseok in Korea; Pitru Paksha in India or Obun in Japan. In each the central theme is one of remembering the legacy left to the living and setting aside a special time from the mundane and routine tasks to gift their ancestors with blessings, food, gifts and more. Some are single day events, others last for days on end and many of these practices are part of the funerary rites and extend into the daily activities; seeing the departed as always present in spirit.

These celebrations are joyous and reverent events that not only celebrate the human life of the individual, but often incorporate the journey of the Soul in its non-corporeal form. Masks, lanterns to light the way for the ancestors and grave side feasts are all part of thinning the veils between the living and dead and demonstrating that the dead have not been forgotten and are ever important to family and friends who benefitted by their life.

For many in the pagan community, Samhain offers opportunity to reach across these veils and sit in the company of their ancestors. These are some components that you may wish to incorporate into your Samhain celebrations:

* Setting up an altar that contains pictures and things that were special to your beloveds in life. Perhaps a favorite cigar, candy, perfume, piece of jewelry, etc.

* Wearing something that belonged to your beloved, such as a piece of jewelry, favorite sweater, etc…

* Going to a special location that our loved one enjoyed such as a park, restaurant, museum, etc..

* Setting a plate for your loved one at the table and offering a toast to their joining you for your Samhain meal. A more elaborate version of this is the Dumb Supper. Our coven has had Samhain celebrations that incorporated the Dumb Supper in it. All brought tokens of their loved ones and a picture. The picture was placed where each individual was seated. Drink was offered up to each loved one and the food was blessed in their honor. The entire meal was eaten in silence, listening to the conversations and words of the dead as they graced us, and when finished all left in silence carrying the memory of the experience out into the mundane world with them. It was a very powerful ritual and one that can easily be done for a family or just yourself and your loved one.

* Dedicating a new experience or way of being to your loved one such as: being more mindful of your health in the coming year because that was a concern of your loved one for you or having a more positive attitude in honor of the beloved who always seemed to have a smile and kind word for you.

You may find that after trying some of these things during this season that you will want to keep a small (or larger) ancestor altar in your home in a special place. This becomes a place to interact with and routinely honor your ancestor year long. Whatever you choose to do, remember that we are who we are in part because of those who loved us (whether biological family or not). So don’t limit the thought of an ancestor only to those of biological heritage. That is only one piece of a more complex puzzle that is our human existence. And, at some point when that existence loosens its hold, we will become the most honored ancestor of those we love.

An excellent resource for learning more about the distinction between ghosts, Ancestors, the Mighty Dead and more:

Spirit Speak:Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine by Ivo Dominguez, Jr.

Ancestor Altars

Pictures, Ideas and More

Today’s post follows yesterday’s about Samhain and ways to honor our beloved departed ancestors. As promised, I have pictures of various ancestor altars to inspire you. Begin by realizing that whatever you decide upon as the space of holding your ancestors near and dear will become sacred space dedicated to them. Whether this becomes a permanent fixture or an annual event the intention and simply the act of constructing a space of honoring is an act of devotion. The creation of sacred space and what I described as an act of devotion are all things we are familiar with in terms of our interactions with Deity or celebrating a Sabbat. The same is true, and in my opinion, even more so, because we are calling the memory of our deceased loved ones in a dynamic way of engagement that transcends the separation of planes of existence.

The pictures I’ve selected are a very few samples of what this sacred space could become. The picture below gives you a sampling of items that could be incorporated into how you set-up your altar.

Remember:

The important piece to creating a scared space in offering to your ancestor is intention. The size of the altar does not really matter. Making use of furniture surfaces can be a space saver…

For some, incorporating pictures placed on the wall and then adding to this is a nice way to have more than what could be accommodated simply on a table alone….You can also add to what is existing and permanent by including feast foods….

A temporary space will serve as well, such as a small end table that can be decorated in accord with the season, the beloved’s birthday, anniversary of death or any other time that you wish to do a little more….

Tip:

Simplicity does not mean lack of care. Some of the most meaningful ways I have honored my grandmother and mother have involved very little “stuff”, but were abundant in the love that moved through my memories and was returned in reciprocity by the nearness and reach of connection and gratitude I felt.

A mantle or a book shelf can be decorated and dedicated to your ancestor..

Tip:

It’s always a nice idea to add food as part of the celebration. Sitting and having your meal with the beloved’s place set affirms that they have not been forgotten, nor have the times when talking while enjoying a good meal were treasured times together…

And, always remember that the most precious of altars you dedicate to your ancestors is yourself. You carry all that is needed by them and yourself to honor them with every breath, step and action you take. Be mindful and grateful for those intangible, yet very palpable, gifts they have left as legacy to you. Call up the image of them often and surround that image with love, just as you may have done with a hug in physical life. Audibly say “thank you” when the seeds of inspiration or the solution to a problem seems to appear “out of thin air”. It may have been a beloved gently whispering encouragement.

All journeys lead back to the source of their origins. In this case, that source is all who came before you, just as you will become the source for those who follow..

The gorgeous image used for this post is a piece of sculpture by Italian sculptor, Antonio Corradini! If this is not otherworldly, I don’t know what is…

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30-Days of Samhain 2020: Day Sixteen

Deep Into the Belly

Into the Belly

Samhain calls us into deepening our connections as corporeal beings. Everything becomes denser, richer and more palpable. These sensations extend out into our surroundings and the place of our home on this planet. Let’s move deep into the belly of our world. Lets move deep into the core our our essence…

“Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why do we look up for blessing-instead of around and down? What hope we have lives there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.”….Ursula K. Le Guin

Down into the belly of the earth I seek myself. My blood warm and pulsing, flowing like sap in the veins of a tree that has seen time through the eyes of the season. I breathe and leaves billow out from limbs long and lanky. I breathe and ripples run through the sweet smelling earth. I breathe and the ground vibrates, knowing who I am. 

Deeper, deeper still I dive into soft dirt and pass tiny roots of withered flowers and cut down grain. All a purposeful sacrifice. Ashes to ash and dust to dust, the interminable cycle begun. Will you return my loves? Will you rise once again as light and warmth, sun and heat call you from this desolate slumber? 

I move with ferocity, anxious and unrelenting in my destination. Flesh falls away and bone and sinew become entangled and interwoven in this dance macabre of my desire’s yearning. Small droplets of water pool around me. Small pools in this subterranean world that are barely the dew on ground’s brittle grass. I blink with eyes no longer seeing the light and moistures floats across silent gaze. 

What will you give me? What will I become? My will is strong and so all that surrounds me in my devotion to you dissipates in the wake of my expansion. You who is known as Gaia, the Great Mother, Mother Earth and so many names that are pale in comparison to who you truly are. Life’s blood, sap and water all infused in human and topography entwined in lover’s embrace. Dirt and leaf, mountain and rock all molded as the form of humanity’s corporeality. 

Can you feel me reaching into your body? Can you feel my devotion as I have tenderly nurtured and cared for your life as prana ran through me strong; breathing life into my earthly form? Will you open to receive me as devotee, as particle  of your being, as child of your ever changing  existence? 

I feel the heat of your body, your heart’s beat thumping and throbbing filled with darkness that is the womb of all life. I feel the tides moving within as I sink ever more deeply into the cradle of cosmos mirrored in the galaxy of your axis. Stability is found in what moves juxtaposed to expected course. You have taught me that the mysteries are held in what is seen in plain sight, not in the seeking for abstract illusion bound by time’s illusory confines. You have filled me with the antithesis of being and cultivated the slightly askew perception that holds me true to creation’s demands. 

I sink even deeper into what many would say is the great space of disappearing, the abyss, the threshold that stands as violent gate of release. But I have never felt more potent, more powerful, more filled with creation’s life! I surrender into the flow of your molten core and light tempered by the darkening waters of fertile womb that envelope it. All of me streams out into paths and oceans, sparks and flame, crystal and ash. It and I are one and in this shaded veil of darkened light we pulse and flicker as one light. One catalytic stream of Divinely emanated flash that pierces the great darkness above and seeks its mate. 

There is nothing and there is everything held in the potential of what lay within your belly. Deep into your belly of quickening. Deep into your belly of transmutation the seed finds its Source and readies itself to be birthed anew. You sigh and in the great exhalation I am propelled upward, a tiny stream of core’s heat, ascending, arising seeking the memory of a form that was once and could be again. 

I am carried on streams of darkness; streams of tiny droplets that feed infinitesimal cells of vibration, light and movement. I am cradled in warmth. I am bathed in rain. I feed from the decay of another whose journey is just begun in seeking what I have known. I will nourish and tend to what grows and awaits birth in the belly of a mother. Our souls and light will touch and the cycle will begin anew with the child’s first cries. 

The earth vibrates, the Great Mother exhales and I arise; a tiny delicate sprout of Gaia’s blessing. 

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30-Days of Samhain 2020: Day Fifteen

Painting by Autumn Skye Morrison

The Call of the Crone

Today we are at mid-point in posts for 30-Days of Samhain 2020. What better way to mark that occasion than in honoring the Goddess as Crone of Wisdom. This writing is one of experience and surrender. The experience is in holding the intention of being receptive and an active participant in basking in the gifts of the Divine Feminine and the space of death and rebirth…….

The air is full and heavy this time of the year as the veils thin and the spirits walk among us… some offering guidance and assistance and others being mischievous and stirring up an already potent mix of energy trouble. There is a distinct and growing crispness to the air as the weather offers a preview of what to expect in the coming winter months, and leaves crackle underfoot reminding us that summer’s moisture has given way and the dryness of death is near. As a Witch, the changing of each of the seasons echoes through my body and in response my perceptions and attitudes about what each change will bring sharpens and narrows to an intentional and purposeful focus. In particular, Samhain hangs heavy in my thoughts and the opportunity to reach a little deeper into my own state of mortality and transformation looms large.

Each year at this time, I make a silent commitment to being more fully present and alive in my daily activities. This is, in large, my antidote to feeling the pall of death and an active reminder that this state of manifest, physical life will follow the natural order of things and return to the finer state of a non corporeal vessel. Food takes on a deeper level of enjoyment. Family is drawn closer and self-care takes priority over spreading myself too thin. Long walks surrounded by the beauty of Fall exercise my physical body and stimulate and open my senses in a broader way.

I spend time in deeper reflection during my meditations and just as the days become fuller in energy and imbued with the visual palette of Autumn, the hues and intensity of my time spent as the Hermit turning within takes on more complexity. Each inhalation becomes an exercise to draw up those parts of myself that reside in the shadows that occasionally come to the surface of light, but for the most part are as fleeting and ephemeral in quality as the spirits who walk among us. Each exhalation is a chance to release those that are not productive or embrace and enliven those that will serve as the primal compost of what I choose to quicken in the Spring.

This retrospection is guided by the call of the Crone and the draping of her mantle upon me that I am so keenly aware of at this time of the year. The Goddess Cerridwen calls to me in whispers of wind and rustling leaves and the temptation of wanting knowledge of a more transformative nature seems at times overwhelming. So, I sit and wait patiently as the Crone reveals what she will to me. In this state of waiting, the time passes in a non-linear way and at some moments seems limitless in what is held. My breath becomes slower and deeper and the mundane world seems to fade into the background as time appears to stand still. There is no fear as the Goddess points a bony finger beckoning me to follow her as we begin the descent into the caverns of an underworld that is of my own making. There is only a deep feeling of peace and at oneness with all of life and a sensation of being more alive in this space of death.

The path moves downward at sharp angles and footing is unsure as firmly pressed dirt gives way to gravel. The sensation is one of traversing a misshapen spiral or labyrinth, energy and flow of movement all dancing in a discordant and circular nature. I feel myself being pulled along, caught in the current of this winding steady flow. I am alone in the growing darkness.

I take a deep breath in and then pull up all the courage I can, exhaling with an even deeper breath that releases any fears I may have. I take a few steps forward and the ground beneath has an unexpected softness to it. It moves in rhythm with my step, giving way with each footfall, but nonetheless gently supporting my weight. All my senses come to full alert and I move forward, nudged along by pure instinct. I realize there is no way of knowing what direction I am moving and this place has a feeling of being non-linear in nature. I stand for a time in this quiet space of darkness, allowing its energy to enfold me and its peace to fill every fiber of my being. Curiosity soon takes hold and the desire to explore even deeper wells up.

I hear a rhythmic pulse of sound that nudges me forward. It sounds like the gentle inhale and exhale of breath; it is the sound of air as it fills lungs and gives life and then is released back into the atmosphere. The sound increases, and I find myself breathing in unison with it. I open my mouth and call out to Cerridwen. I can feel Her presence all around me and HER breath is hot and foul. She smells of Death and Her challenge is that of facing the death of my weaknesses and the decay and stagnation of a life that is not infused with the passion of pure existence. She whispers my name and asks what I will offer in sacrifice in order to have one drop of her Cauldron’s liquid.

I breathe deeply and think on what compelled me to enter this place. I have no words and the challenge is more than I had bargained for. The realization that knowledge is hard won. True wisdom comes not from merely the desire for it, but from the relinquishment of what we cling to most fiercely thus allowing the space to be filled with the gifts of the Goddess. I breathe deeply and reaffirm my Life and the greater wisdom gained from the courage of stepping into the shadows.

I call out again to Cerridwen. My voice stronger and more assured in the knowledge that I have changed the inner landscape of my underworld. I breathe deeply and open my eyes, the energy of the Crone still wrapped about me. The call of the Crone echoes throughout me and I am reminded that this final harvest of Samhain is a call to the wisdom of the darkness. I will carry with me the knowledge that it is only in the embrace of the shadow that true gnosis can be found and in its final reaping is brought to the brilliance of Light that shines in all who heed the Call.

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