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Every year on Samhain, I light a candle for my departed loved ones and to honor my ancestors. I don’t do anything fancy or ceremonious. I keep things simple. I find that for most rituals, simple is the best for me.

This year was no different. Before the trick or treaters came, I spent some quiet time at my altar, invoking the spirit of the season and lighting candles, communing with the Elements and the Goddess and the God. I asked to be open to receiving messages or impressions from departed loved ones. Just like every Samhain, nothing happened.

Now, I have experienced the dead. I have felt and ‘heard’ ghosts numerous times. I have interacted with fae and animal guides and others that I simply have no name for. I’m very sensitive to things the 5 senses don’t pick up. So, why do I never hear from my dead loved ones? Samhain night I almost always sleep like a rock. No dreams. No feelings or impressions.

I have thought about making my Samhain ritual more complicated, adding herbs and crystals to give it extra oomph, but will that really make a difference? Part of me feels like there’s a reason my loved ones don’t communicate with me, but what is it? Maybe it’s because even after all these years, thinking about them makes me cry? Maybe because I have a lot of guilt associated with the two I want to hear from the most? Is it because I’ve never specifically called to them on Samhain? I just leave the invitation open for any of my departed loved ones or ancestors. If that’s the case, though, why has no one ever communicated with me? Or why have I never been able to sense them near me?

Has anyone else experienced this or had different experiences during Samhain?

I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the last few days so I thought I would share it for the start of the week!

Bright blessings!

 

The last year or so (maybe even two) I have felt more and more disconnected. I endured three years of worsening mistreatment at my job. It included bullying and ‘lack of hours’ type scheduling leaving me for weeks at a time without a shift. I truly loved my job, despite the treatment, as I worked with animals as a Licensed Veterinary Technician. I helped them heal, I calmed their fears, I cared for their bodies (and I like to think for their souls, as well). I comforted clients who had to say goodbye to their beloved companions and I was there, comforting and loving, as we sent suffering animals on their way to peace. Through all of that, I was bullied and mistreated at work and quickly experienced a type of caregiver burnout. I believe in being open and honest and was told by my boss that he, too, was an ‘all cards on the table’ type of straight shooter. That was a flat out lie that I quickly learned, but couldn’t do anything about. He lied and connived and manipulated all of his staff and if you weren’t a favorite (which I quickly wasn’t because of my dislike of lying to other staff members as he asked me to do on numerous occasions and my staunch reluctance to engage in ‘office politics’) he badgered and tormented you. My other issue there was that my coworkers were his niece and daughter and then later a woman who had worked for him in the past, but didn’t have my certifications, that he brought in to replace me but didn’t actually fire me (hence the ‘lack of hours’ I was told every week when I was forced to call in looking for work). So, with his other employees being family, I didn’t have anywhere to turn (even though he treated them in varying degrees the same way he treated me). I did mention a few of my issues to the office manager, but she just blithely stated that she didn’t think that what I mentioned was happening and implied I was reading too much into the situation.

Now, you might be saying at this point, “Why didn’t you just quit and find another job?” Well, by the time I had decided I needed to leave that place, my confidence in myself had been greatly diminished. I had gone into the job vulnerable to start with (I was still very much in the early stages of grief over the loss of my beloved dog, Shadow and my grandmother) and had just been stomped on and demeaned so much by someone I had initially looked up to (my boss) that I felt worthless and incompetent. I’ve discovered in the medical professions not many coworkers will hold your hand and be comforting to you or just generally care about you at all.

Fast forward to 2014 when my mother, who had a stroke a few years prior, called me and said she wanted to move closer to me because her husband at the time had left her in the middle of the night. She was unable to do a lot of basic things for herself and needed help. I immediately said that I would help her and after a few months of planning, she moved up near me. This gave me the courage to resign from my job as I now had a ‘good reason’ in my mother needing my help.

For the next year I helped my mother. I took her grocery shopping, to doctor appointments, out for drives for fun, and so on. I helped her shower and prep food. As she progressed through a consistent schedule of physical therapy (something she had never had before) she became able to do more things for herself. She was able to shower alone, to prep food herself, and to do her own laundry and basic household cleaning. Through it all, however, we were constantly fighting. If the right decision was to turn left, she would immediately without hesitation turn right.

My mother and I have a very complicated relationship. She was an alcoholic for most of my childhood and all through my teenage years. I can count on one hand how many times she beat me as a child, but it isn’t the frequency that makes abuse. She was verbally and emotionally intimidating and I lived in an almost constant state of fear of her or of the outside world because she constantly drilled it into me that outsiders couldn’t be trusted. To this day I still have moments when I expect my husband (who is the most gentle person I have ever known) to turn to me and start screaming at me (something he has never ever done, but something my mother did all the time; she was wildly unpredictable)

When I turned 18, I ran away from home and lived with my dad. My dad and I had issues, as well, but we talked them through and our relationship is solid now. My mother, on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge her drinking problem. She has been sober now for quite a few years, but that doesn’t erase the past. It doesn’t erase my need for resolution. I have since realized I will need to find resolution on my own, but that’s another story. So, because of my pent up, unresolved anger with my mother, I found myself butting heads with her, sometimes purposely in a redirected aggression sort of way.

Eventually, caring for my mother and having that history with her that I can’t talk to her about, broke me down. I was going through not only caregiver fatigue once again, but also dealing with roiling resentment and issues I couldn’t resolve. My body gave up and I got incredibly ill. I had borderline pneumonia (my half sister pointed out that lung issues can come from unresolved grief) and was bed ridden for almost three months. I got ill in late September/early October of last year and didn’t recover until February of this year. I have never been so sick in my life. I hope to never be that sick again. If I hadn’t been so weak, I would have been terrified at the time. I couldn’t breathe and had to use inhalers. It felt like I was dying.

When I recovered, I discovered that my mother had gotten back together with her now ex husband and within a few months of my recovery, they moved back across the country and out of my life. Right or wrong, I was relieved and grateful. She is a person I simply cannot have in my life. She is toxic for me.

It has been a few months since all of that and we are entering my favorite season of the year, Autumn. I feel more alive and rejuvenated this time of year than any other. So, I am hoping to capitalize on these energized feelings and move forward with healing myself. I read Practical Protection Magick: Guarding and Reclaiming Your Power by Ellen Dugan and it has helped me see some things I did wrong in the work situation as well as how to work on the psychic yuck I have clinging to me. I have been so swallowed up by negativity this past year or so that I didn’t even realize it. Isn’t it amazing how that can happen?

So, I’m working on clearing the negativity from my life. I have even created my first permanent altar and it has made so much difference for me. I used to just have one that I would set up if I needed to do a spell or ritual, but to have a permanent one feels so good. I’m working on being happy and am on the road to health and hope to be blogging regularly again soon.

Blessed be to everyone and may you find balance and healing in your lives!

What is the difference between Paganism and Wicca? What is Witchcraft? What does it mean to be a witch? This article by Marietta over at her blog Witchy Words does a nice job of simplifying the differences and the definitions to help you know the basic definitions of these so commonly used terms.

Do you agree with her definitions? What do these terms mean to you?

 

Mother Nature

This is so powerful. I love this.

 

I have always had an altar, but I was never sure if I was really doing it ‘right’ or not. I just followed my instinct. This article by Laura Weber over at EWAO is really good at not only explaining why an altar is important, but how to make your own. She breaks things down so the idea of making your own altar is less daunting. (Give the article a moment to load, it took a minute or two for me)

I hope this inspires you to try your hand at making your own altar this weekend! Blessed be!

Spring Cleaning

I don’t think I have ever been more happy to see Spring than I am this year. While Winter hasn’t been the worst I’ve lived through in Michigan, it has been extremely cold. Yes, we get cold, but this has been extreme for my area of Michigan. We were seeing -30° wind chills and having multiple days in a row where you were in danger of frostbite if you stayed out longer than 10-15 minutes. Yuck!

The temperatures are up in the 30’s-40’s now with a few extremes in either direction, but mostly staying above freezing and all the snow in my yard is completely gone! I’ve been opening the windows on the warmest days and airing out the house. The cats love it.

There is a special energy unique to Spring and that is what has charged the ‘open the windows, but keep the heat on’ fever in this house. Now is the time to wake up, refreshed and charged and ready to take on… well, everything! Part of that energy is Spring cleaning. By cleaning our house, we are raising the vibrations of the energy around us. ‘Cleaning’ doesn’t just mean the physical removal of dirt and grime, though. It also means organizing, rearranging, and donating or throwing out things we no longer need. This article talks about ways to raise the vibration of your home.

This time of year is also perfect for cleansing your home of negative energy, another good way to raise the vibration of your home. Here is an article I wrote about a stealthy way to cleanse your home/room if you need to hide things like that.

If you’re out of the broom closet, live alone, or don’t mind people seeing you cleansing your home, another good and simple way is to smudge with sage or incense. Sage, dragon’s blood, lavender, and vervain are all excellent for dispelling negative energy and have protective effects. Frankincense and myrrh are both good for raising spiritual vibrations.

Now, go out there and:

From Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh