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Admittedly this post is long past due.  Admittedly this lesson is one I should have learned long ago.  Admittedly this is something I should have foreseen.  Admittedly, there’s still a lot I don’t know.

The window between Mabon and Samhain is always a trial for me.  It’s full of landmines…anniversaries of loss and old wounds, PTSD triggers, and every year there’s something new, but every year I come out of it renewed somehow.

I’ve written twice now about the reality of healing and my experience post-Good Girl.  Every single thing I’ve experienced in the year since the show has been a first-time experience, and not all of it has been a smooth transition.  The area I’ve struggled the most has been relationships.  My marriage is improving, but there are bumps in that road as I learn how to speak up for myself.  I got engaged in April to my partner in California, and forging a new serious commitment has shown me how much the past ten years have changed me.  It’s all helped me find pieces of myself I’d forgotten were ever important, but it’s also shown me where the wounds I started healing in 2015 were holding me back from being wholly present in any relationship.

Then there was this new relationship.  It was unexpected, intense, and an all together new experience for me.  Then I botched it.  Oops.  Admittedly there was some hardwiring that needed to be reworked before I tried to start any kind of relationship, especially one I wanted around for a while, but I didn’t know that.  I knew I’d healed a lot.  I knew I was still working on things.  I knew there was no precedent for this in my life, because I had never been this version of myself in a relationship before.  The problem was…I didn’t know how to be that person in a relationship, so I undulated constantly between a healing me and worrying about whether of not I was doing it right.  In addition, I was just starting the long process of getting the medication I needed, and knowing help for my chemical issues was coming but delayed just made all my issues worse.  Neither of us was perfect, but I will accept the parts of the perfect storm that were my fault in tainting what was a strong, healthy, happy relationship.  Lo and behold, just after Mabon we have the fight that precipitates the end, and I spend a chunk of my time trying to sort it all out.  By the end of the first round of serious journeys I realized this was just a symptom of a bigger problem, but it was a tangible one, so I could focus on it.

With this new information, a new series of introspection began.  What was this bigger problem?

As Samhain approached and I began to make my connections to those who had passed in the last year, then those who had passed from my life, the messages I got were clear.  I needed to die.  I’ve spent my entire life fielding suicide attempts and health crises.  I’ve burnt myself to the ground and rebuilt my life numerous times.  I’ve felt dead inside on a regular basis for years.  What I’ve never done is actually die.  What I’ve never done is shed the part of me that cannot be healed.

When Allen Ginsberg first met Lucien Carr and began to really discover himself they decided they needed to die, but their symbolic suicides almost ended in accidental actual suicide, and I was not ready to take that kind of clutz awareness test.  However, part of my spiritual growth this year has involved impromptu rituals and journeys.  It wasn’t pretty or elaborate.  It honestly started with a candle to make the bedroom smell pretty while I started my NaNoWriMo outline, but I quickly found myself immersed in a working to sacrifice myself completely.  You see, when I began to heal I also began to die, an aspect of me anyway, and she was still in there dragging me to the bottom.  In this vision I found myself dredging her up, drowning with her, and emerging as the person I’ve felt calling to me for almost a year.

This new me is still scared sometimes.  She still hurts.  She still bleeds.  She still loves unconditionally and wants to believe the best.  She still tries, takes risks, and she will still fail at things, but this new me is tired of dying slowly.  The worst has happened.  I’ve died, and I’ve survived it.  While I don’t know that this relationship can be salvaged, I do know it’s taught me a very important lesson about myself and several about other people, and it’s been the source of invaluable memories and love.  Does it still hurt if it’s completely over?  That’s human, and I accept that I am human, but I also accept that the world is full of possibility, and I’m tired of being afraid of it.

 

Aloha.

Go now, die and survive it.

Mabon, the second and middle harvest, is a day of balance, sharing, and “reaping what we sow”.  It’s the time for contemplation and awareness of the thin line between light and dark.  It’s a time for valuing and conserving.

We celebrate, but we also start to look towards what needs to be completed.  What is reaching a natural end?  What projects need to be wrapped up?  What ones have run fallow and need to be let go so that we have enough to make it through the winter?

Quite often our rituals focus on celebrations to fuel us as we wrap up the tasks of our fruitful seasons.  In my case, I’ve always planted my seeds at Mabon, and the dark season has become my fruitful season.

This year Mabon hits us at the tail end of what has been an extremely rough Mercury Retrograde for most people close to me, heightening the need for balance and contemplation.  It’s hurt a lot, even by my standards, and I’ve felt all week like many of us are being set up for some pretty serious trials, but out of it I can feel the rich soil I’m cultivating for the months ahead.

As always, my Mabon solitary celebration takes a closer look at balance.  This time it’s opening me up to just how much the dark side of that light/dark balance affects me.  I’ve been meditating on how it can aid me instead of holding me back and how to go about using it properly.  Because of the retrograde I’ve been extremely raw and emotional.  Miscommunication is rampant.  Relationships are teetering.  Plans are failing.  My world is burning to the ground, and while it took more than one match, I’m holding one of them.  There’s very little light left to cling to for the season, and what there is is blinded by the conflagration.  Fire.  What is fire but light in the darkness?  What is fire if not the transformation we started at Lughnassad.  What is fire if not a chance for rebuilding.  Still, there has to be balance.  I cannot just let uncontrolled fires rage, and while the ones on the outside might be out of my control, the ones on the inside are my power and passion, and the key to not being consumed by them is to use their light to create that balance.

I decided weeks ago that the period between Mabon and Samhain would be a period of stepping back and contemplating my life and all the questions Mabon asks of us.  The results of retrograde may have shouted them in my face, but the quiet creeping darkness of the days to follow will help be find the dark places I need to reconcile myself with.  The fading light I feel around me gives me just enough to see the outline of the trials before me, but not enough to know where they’ll lead me, and that’s part of the lesson.

Mabon is a twilight.  It will help me let go where I need to in order to preserve my energy for the storms worth weathering this winter, because they’re coming.  The twilight reminds us that the deep dark is coming, and we can’t avoid it.  We must embrace the chaos of the storm to survive it, and we must embrace the unseen in the darkness to navigate it.  I have to have faith that I can.

 

images (1)

Aloha

Go now, find your balance.

(Apologies for being late…WordPress obviously didn’t save my post scheduling. )

 

As the Harvest Moon passes and Mabon approaches, I feel my spirit beginning to reach for the balance that comes with the season.  Summer has been a time of adventure, love, and growth, and now it’s time to slow down a little bit and prepare for what the dark season brings.

Preparation.  What have I been continuing to spend energy on that just isn’t being fruitful?  What am I still clinging to that’s just taking up space.  (Remember this post?)  What and who do I want keeping me company for the cold, dark, introspective time ahead?  The answer to these questions make a huge difference in how I emerge in the spring.  The most important question for me to answer is just that, How do I want to emerge in the spring?  

At Mabon, the second harvest, we begin to see exactly what we will have with which to move forward.  We’ve all heard the phrase We reap what we sow, and this is the harvest where we can no longer hope for anything other than what we have.  All we can do is accept what we have created and give thanks, yes, even for what we don’t want.  Why?  Because every failure is a chance to celebrate a success, every step back is a chance to thank what has helped us move forward, and every downswing is a chance to know that balance is soon restored.  Every weakness we weed from our crops is a chance to remember how strong we can be, that this is not the first or worst winter we will ever face.  Every year we face the darkness, and every year we emerge.  The harvest of Mabon decides how we will nourish and reshape ourselves in that time.

The time between Mabon and Yule is the window through which we feel the strength of the sun diminish and begin to build up our inner strength.  At least where I live in the Northeast, it is usually the post Yule part of the wheel that is the most harsh weather-wise.  Genreally this is how life flows as well.  The joy, social glow, and distraction of the holidays will be over, and cabin fever will begin to set in.  We become frustrated with the cold, with each other, and with the state in which life has been frozen solid, knowing we’ve still got a few months before the warmth returns.  This is where our true strength is integral to our survival, here in the thick of winter.  This window between the two seasons is the place where we build up that strength and prepare ourselves.  This window is where we decide what makes us strong and what makes us weak, and we act accordingly.

So take this day to celebrate and give thanks, then take some time to visualize who you want to be when you emerge in the spring.  Decide how to manifest that you in the interim.  I have all the faith in you.

 

Aloha

Go now….balance.

 


		

Pagan Wheel of the Year

 

 

I was once told during a Mabon divination ritual to plant my seeds in the winter instead of the spring like most, and it has rang true that I am generally more inspired and fruitful in the darker half of the year.  Maybe it comes from the introspection that comes in the colder seasons.  I am less distracted by the light energy and vibrating dance of the spring and summer.  It could also be that I find my inspiration in the darker portions of myself, those places that we often try to ignore or change.

 

In the story of Persephone we see an eventual balance of light and dark.  In embracing the darkness and joining Hades, Persephone sets in motion the events that create a separation between the light and dark times of the year.  It is her journey that brings the world balance.

 

It is important that we too have this balance in our lives to reach our full potential.  Persephone doesn’t just travel to the darkness, she loved it.  She takes it in and tastes it, and in the end she returns to it again and again as a part of her self.  We too must learn to experience and love our darkness as a part of who we are.

 

When we use the word “darkness” we think of frightening and unwelcome things.  We think of violence and negativity.  We think of anything dark as a blight, but true darkness can be a thing of beauty.  The dark is “scary” because that’s when our imaginations take over, but some of life’s most magical things come from the imagination.  The dark is the unknown, but the unknown gives us endless possibilities if we can get over our fear of it.  From the dark we pull courage, strength, and inner calm.  If we use what the darkness can give us to create and grow as much as we use the light we can be unstoppable.

 

Inner darkness is a place of deep emotion, sensuality, and survival.  A place of transformation and rebirth.  Each of these aspects of our personality holds immense power and potential that can be tapped into if we can take the steps to make our own journey to our own Underworld.  I won’t say it’s not a little daunting.  Steps are unsure and footing is loose.  At first it can be terrifying, but once you’ve mapped the route and made peace with the darkness it can be a place of solace and quiet comfort.

 

Loving your darkness is about balance, but it is also about releasing fear.  Once you are fearless you are free.

 

 

 

Go now, embrace your darkness.

 

Aloha

 

English: Late Harvest

(This post is a little later than I wanted it to be, but it fits with the overall theme of the topic.  See, I’m not a procrastinator; I’m a demonstrator.)

 

We live in a world of five year plans and college prep pre-schools, a world where, at 30, I am considered too old to make new plans or pursue unmet dreams and goals.  Now, were it my dream to be an Olympic gymnast I’d agree with that sentiment, but I believe those things to be the exception, not the rule.

At Mabon we celebrate the late harvest and the beginning of Autumn.  This brings two very important things our way.

The late harvest is our last chance to stock up for the coming cold seasons.  We must decide what we can and cannot use and rid our valuable space of anything that isn’t useful or that takes up too much room in order to keep what will help us thrive through the winter months.  Setting goals and following our passions can sometimes require sacrifice and tough decisions.  There may be people who don’t support us and hold us back.  There may be other activities we have to miss and other interests that must be set aside to focus on those goals.  Dreams take time, money, and effort to be viable.  In the meantime we must be able to feed, clothe, and house ourselves.  This generally leaves little room for anything else.  What are you willing to give up to store your dreams?

The beginning of Autumn is also the beginning of the dark half of the year, which is generally a time where we turn inward.  Introspection is always my first step when reaching for a goal.  Why is it something I want?  Is it really what I want, or am I trying to fill some other void?  Is it something that can actually be accomplished?  What will it take to get me there?  I cannot begin to make real plans until my head and heart are in the right place to do so.  Imagine trying to write a novel with a litany of other things on your mind.  You will most likely end up distracted, frustrated, and incoherent.  Clearing your thoughts and structuring your life to be conducive to writing a novel before you begin is going to give you the clearest path to that end result, and your novel is more likely to reach its full potential.  When you are strong and healthy so are your dreams.  The same is true when you are cluttered and not in top form.  Take the time if you need it to prepare during this time of introspection so that you’ll be fresh and vibrant when the light returns and it’s time to plant again.

The key components here are dedication and optimism.  In today’s disheartening economy it can sometimes be hard to imagine having the opportunity to reach out of the rut of keeping ourselves alive to even attempt to touch our dreams.  Many people my age are still looking ahead to owning our first homes or having a family simply because it is not yet feasible to do so.  Many more who have attempted it are struggling to keep it all afloat or have given up.  We take jobs that pay some of the bills, and we work ourselves to exhaustion to pay a few more.  We have become accustomed to debt and failed credit checks, because we simply don’t have a choice.  It’s hard to see past the daily struggle sometimes and imagine being able to do something that makes us passionate, and the idea that we have missed our chance at a good life is prevalent.  I’m here proposing the alternative that while the conditions might not be ideal, and while it won’t be an easy task, it’s not too late to keep trying.  It’s not too late to make plans and set goals.

It’s Mabon, and it’s time to embrace the late harvest!

Go now, set a new goal!

Namaste

 

 

field crops    (DSC01374)

When you plant a seed you have an idea of what it will grow into.  You hold that picture in your mind as you watch the seed sprout and move through all the crucial stages of development, until one day it is right there in front of you in full bloom.  Sometimes the end result is exactly what you expected.  Sometimes you get something completely different, and you can choose to either appreciate it for what it is or feel disappointed. Either way you have invested time, energy, and patience to watch your seed grow.

That’s what it takes to be the farmer, but what does it take to be the seed?  What does it take to possibly have no idea what you will become or how long it will take?  What does it take to have faith that you will grow into a boon not a burden and trust the one or ones tending to you to know what you need and keep you safe and healthy?  What does it take to truly know that all the stages of your growth are important and that the end result is exactly where and what you should be?  What does it take to be confident in your knowledge of how to grow and be strong, when to push that growth, and when to let nature take its course?

At Mabon we celebrate the harvest as we reap the rewards of patient tending and take a lesson from the patience and dedication it took to sustain that which will sustain us through the cold season.  This year my message has been a hard and heavy one about no longer looking at myself as the farmer and instead accepting my place as the seed.  Where I would generally shape I must let myself be shaped.  Where I would guide I must let myself be lead.  This doesn’t mean I stop trying, it simply means I try differently.  Patience, intuition, and introspection.  Only then can I grow into something that will sustain and reach its full potential.  Only then can I nourish the world.

Last weekend we celebrated Mabon, a festival of harvest and abundance.  We are beginning to reap blessings from the hard work we’ve sown, and we are entering a time when we have to look within to assess what is growing there.  This also makes Mabon a time for cleaning out and letting go of that which no longer enriches and sustains us.  After all, if there isn’t any room for new things they will be left to the elements where most of them will wither and die, and the year’s effort will have been in vain.  In a season of duality and balance, light and dark, there must be a balance between what we store and what we release.

This year has been huge in terms of blessings and progress for our family and as individuals.  This also meant there came a time to re-evaluate what was still beneficial and good in my life.  The answer came swift and hard.  I needed to look closely at the people in my life and decide who I could actually call a “friend”.  No matter how busy my life get I consider my friends family and make it a personal commitment to make sure I never neglect those friendships, sometimes lieu of personal time and attention.  In some cases this has led to beautiful, blossoming friendships that have supported me at my weakest.  In others no matter how hard I try nothing will grow.   Sometimes something wonderful grows, but has its season and fades away.  So why continue to spend valuable time and energy tending these things that are no longer viable in my garden?

This Mabon it was abundantly clear that it was time to thank the superfluous or wilted things in my life for the needs they did fulfill in their own time and acknowledge the need to focus on not just the new, but also the consistently good things that continue to enrich and enliven me.  My next steps are big ones, and I can no longer be distracted and held back by cumbersome sentiments that no longer exist.  Only by being honest with myself and cutting them free can I move on.

It’s been painful, but it’s also been an amazing healing experience.  By tossing aside the detritus in my life I have felt more free, more focused, and more driven than I have in years.  All that extra energy is finally going forward, and the space I’ve made available is full of new possibilities.

This harvest has been bountiful,, and I have no doubt that I will continue to be blessed, nourished, and sustained in the coming season.  This is the breathtaking feeling of balance.  This is the feeling of Mabon.

Go now, harvest something delicious.

Aloha

The festival of Mabon marks the beginning of the dark part of the year.  The leaves are falling, the days are shortening, and the air is starting to chill.  It is not yet winter, but a fair part of the bounty has come and gone.  To our ancestors it was a lot more scary and unstable of a season than it is now, but we still carry that inherent link within us.  Yes, we can go to a grocery store for food, and we have electric and gas heaters whenever we need them, but there is still that intuitive feeling of darkness for those of us who feel the seasons.

This isn’t a bad thing.  The darkness is imperative to growth and change.  The darkness challenges us to look deeper within and rid ourselves of impediments and weakness.  The darkness forces us to face our fears and uncertainties head-on and learn from them.

I admit for much of my life I either lived in the darkness or ignored it.  The constant state of imbalance meant I was spinning my wheels when it came to any progress in my life.  Living in darkness I missed a lot of opportunities and lost my way a few times.  Avoiding it I not only neglected an important part of myself but allowed myself to be comfortable and what I thought was content.  In reality all it did was let the darkness grow, until it demanded attention.  At that point I was back at living in the darkness.  It’s a detrimental cycle to be sure.

I am still learning to not fear the darkness, to take it as it comes, and to let it go.  I am still learning to understand that in order for there to be light there must also be dark.  I am still learning to not consider darkness “bad” or “evil”.  I am still learning to accept that the path is not always well-lit, well-worn, or easily travelled.  If it were I would be getting nowhere.

This year we’ve been blessed with a lot of light, but it took us a long trudge through the darkness to get there.  Issues with partners and our marriage made us recognize things we needed to resolve to be a stronger couple.  Those same issues brought up individual insecurities and resentments from our respective pasts that needed to be addressed before we could progress in our life together.  Losing jobs and our house brought us closer to family.  On my end it bolstered me to work harder to provide for my household and forced us to learn to save and budget.  It also gave us the opportunity to pay off debts that have been blights on our credit for years.  Health problems have given me a better look at where and how I need to take better care of my body, spirit, and self in general.

It’s been a rough step in our lives together and separate,  but it’s been necessary and in a positive direction.  There’s still work to be done, and as we enter another dark season I wonder what it will bring,  but I’m learning not to fear it but to embrace and learn from it knowing I will come out a better me on the other side.  I know things will come to me as I am ready and able to handle them, and I know that my faith will get me through with a little support and love from my community and my family.

Welcome to the dark time, my friends.  What will you learn about yourself this year?

*Namaste*

Since its inception eight years ago my coven’s Mabon ritual has gained a reputation for being particularly poignant to most in attendance.  The ritual includes a guided meditation to the underworld for an audience with Hades and Demeter, essentially taking over the role of Persephone.  Sunday marked my second season participating in this ritual, and it had no less of an impact on me as last year’s audience.  Last year spoke of choices, some I  have made and some I that have yet to present themselves but are nonetheless imminent.  This year Demeter blessed me with courage and told me to weed out those things that no longer serve to my benefit as a follow up to her advice last year to plant my seeds.  This courage came after hades assured me that I am strong enough to weather the difficult path I have chosen, as it was my choice, as long as I tread wisely and without fear.  Hades called me a Warrior.

In my high school sophomore english class we read and discussed The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston.  At the time I was already on a slightly prematurely rocky road, and i was just starting to understand what it meant to not just survive, but to live life despite turmoil.  Still, I had not yet fully come to understand just what it means to be a Warrior.

When Hubby asked me to marry him he told me I was the woman he had always been looking for to walk beside him, fight along with him, and lead in his stead.  In the last year this bond has been significantly and repeatedly tested.  We have experienced loss, illness, financial troubles, and unemployment, but we have persevered.  Those struggles are not yet over, and we continue to do our best not to let these things affect our relationship.  Sometimes, however, the roadblock is our relationship itself.  This is when fighting for the good of our household becomes difficult.

Any strong woman can push through personal hardship, and I have.  My survival story started young.  At five years old I took full ownership of my parents’ faltering marriage and stared into the night’s oncoming headlights considering walking straight into them like an insect on the highway.  From there I learned to suppress things children aren’t supposed to know, hear, or feel.  I pushed from my memory the “tickle game” played by my mom’s one boyfriend and the “intimidation” and “which drug dealer is calling to threaten all our lives now” games played with subsequent men in her life.  My mom’s sickness and death, as well as my own inner struggles, gave me constant occasion to revisit the thoughts I’d had of “joining the night” years before.  I tried several times, lost myself several more, and eventually tried running away from it all.  Half grown but still scared, I was a survivor still fighting for her life against her life.
Like most things in this world, you can never leave the past behind, but you can use it to strengthen yourself for future blows.  In Philadelphia I’ve found myself up against hurdles I never imagined I could clear, but none I let defeat me completely.  I’ve kept my soul in the wakes of death, loss, intrusion, emotional and physical abuse, sexual assault, sickness, grief, and a storm that still rages inside me at times.  There were times I just wanted to stop fighting it and let life take its course and swallow me, and there were times I gave up and it almost did.

All these things were easy in comparison to fighting for our good when it may mean giving up a piece of myself, but a good Warrior knows there are times when the only course of action is to fall.  Sometimes our benefit lies in me accepting ideas or options I cannot fathom living with or welcoming into my home.  Sometimes what is best for us hurts me or comes as a detriment to my goals.

I continue to meditate on what it really means, at this juncture in my life, to be a true Warrior.  Do I know when to make peace and when to fight for what I need?  Do I know how to mediate?  Do I know how to heal?  Do I know how to preserve myself while striving to help others?  Do I know how to recognize the honour and worth in myself?  What else is there for me to discover about myself before I can call myself a Warrior, and at what cost will I gain the knowledge I need to continue my path?

I leave you with this, dear readers.  Look deep inside yourself and find and redefine the Warrior within you.

This is my first post about a day of celebration, and it seems fitting that it would be about Mabon. This will be both an informative and introspective post, as many of them will be that center around sabbats and celebrations. Astrologically, Mabon is the Autumn Equinox, the first day of Autumn. The day is balanced, half day half night, and we are preparing for the end of the year. As Wiccans, we celebrate the Goddess as she ages from Mother to Crone and the God as he prepares for death and re-birth. This is a day to draw family close and celebrate the harvest and tie up loose ends as we prepare for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection. This is a time to enjoy the fruits of our labour and give thanks for the bounty that will sustain us throughout the winter. Some common workings at Mabon include prosperity, security, and balance, and we adorn ourselves and our homes with the colours of Autumn, apples, pomegranates, nuts, and breads. At Mabon we give offerings to the land in thanks for the harvest, dry herbs and vegetables for use during the cold season, and make wine (or mead for us mazers). The children make corn and apple dolls and help with baking breads. As a parent, this is often the time when we start planning indoor activities, as the time for hours spent in the park and yard is coming to a close. I can generally feel the changing of the seasons about a week before the wheel officially turns no matter where in the country I reside. Being a native of Northern California, my sense of the seasons has always relied on intuition since San Francisco has a slightly different seasonal schedule than the traditional wheel has. The air smells, feels, and moves differently, and I always start to grow more introspective. For me, Mabon is a time to be thankful for friends, family, and all the blessings they bring to my life, and this year is even more special. One year ago was the first celebration Hubby and I spent with our current coven. Without this new family in my life the last year would have seemed insurmountable. No matter how hard the year’s path has been I have always had tight-knit support system to make sure I knew I was not walking it alone. Too often we are quick to reflect on the negative memories of our past, but this Mabon I am taking the time to remember the special times, learn from the trying times, and let go of the times that were just there to challenge me. Last year I was advised to plant my seeds in the winter instead of the spring and see what sprouted. Somehow I feel, and Hubby has mentioned as much, that the messages we received last year may be more appropriate this coming winter. We both have various irons in the fire, both individually and together, and this winter may be the time to actively pursue those irons and see which ones progress. The ritual we participated in last weekend told me I had too much on my plate. Maybe this is the time to see what really does not need to be there and what will be most beneficial to keep. This weekend, dear readers, is Mabon. If it moves you, take the time to pull your family close, however you define family, and think for a moment about what you have worked for and what you are thankful to have been blessed with in the last year. Above all, know you are blessed and loved. Brightest Blessings and a Glowing Mabon!

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