Maven Musings – Samhain :: Reflection & Reconnecting

Samhain. All Hallows Eve. Halloween. Day of the Dead.

Whatever you call it, we all know it as the season of the witch. It is our time. Our celebration.
There are plenty of posts out there about how to celebrate Samhain. I won’t add to the pile.
Instead – this season has brought on an interesting discussion and a perspective that I rarely think or have ever thought about.
Samhain is a celebration of our ancestors.  It is a time to reflect and honor their lives. The veil thins and our connection to their spirit, their energy grows ever stronger.
MavenMusings - Samhain
But when we get down to it, it’s about death.
Death is not something I’ve ever really dwelled on until recently. I’ve never found myself particularly afraid of death.  The act of dying, sure.  That is a variable that I would rather have some kind of control over. But actually being dead has never sent me into a tailspin or made me worry about tomorrow in a way that impacts the decisions I make today.
Death is just something that happens. It is inevitable.
I can remember quite clearly the first funeral I attended. My sweet great-grandmother had passed (due to old age, nothing traumatic here). And as I watched my extended family cry and lose themselves briefly in their grief over losing her – I thought something was wrong with me.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t panic over her no longer being with us. And in that moment, I didn’t realize why my family lost themselves for a moment in her passing.
I realize now, that it is because we never knew her.
This little woman bore and raised and loved so many children and grand and great-grandchildren in her life that all she wanted was to spend what little time with us she could.
My sisters and I did not grow up with her in our lives every moment. But when we did visit, we would spend hours with her. Her home was a quiet place to play games and just be.  All she wanted when we visited was to give us our favorite candy and watch her tv shows. Those moments we did have with her, they were lovely.
But she never told us stories of the past. She never pushed us to tell her all about our plans as we grew up.  She just let us be children and play.
Now, I realize I wish she had told us more stories. I knew she had plenty of them. Every inch of wall space in her home was covered in photographs. Every space was covered in evidence of her family, of us.
There is a void in my knowledge of my history. That old adage of understanding your past to look towards your future nudges at me to fix it. To remind me to to work to understand the culture and the family I came from.
Now my husband’s family is an entirely different story. He can trace his father’s family back far into history.  His family is in books and can be found even if you skim the surface of European history. His mother’s side, well they aren’t that hard to track either.
It’s fascinating marrying into a family that knows with such certainty where they came from.  They can see their past so clearly. It used to overwhelm me.
We all wish to know where we come from. I think that is a facet of human psychology that we will never overcome. It gives us something to hold onto. It is a thread that holds our focus on living and experiencing all we can.
But looking to the future and those experiences means acknowledging that at some point, we too will be gone.
*queue existential crisis*
Life cannot happen without death, death cannot happen without life. it is the fundamental balance that occurs even at our most cellular level.
We shouldn’t be afraid of it. We should use it as motivation to live our happiest, healthiest, most authentic lives possible. To pursue our dreams and passions and inspire our loved ones to follow in our footsteps to live that way as well.
All this time I thought that I had no ancestors to honor during Samhain. But as we move closer, I find myself being called to honor what I do know or at least acknowledge that it is a connection I do want to build.

Love&light, mavens!

How are you working to honor your ancestors this season? What is your favorite way to mark Samhain and celebrate?
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Maven Musings: Authenticity and Spirituality

Thanks to the gift of the internet, it is easier than ever for people to act as if they’re heavily invested in a certain interest.
While I try to believe that most people truly show all of themselves – it isn’t lost on me that most only try to show the “perfect” parts.  Which is fair, who wants to share their pain with strangers?
The concept of “Authenticity” has been rolling around in my head all week. How do you communicate a soul shifting journey with strangers? Especially when you can barely conceptualize what it happening privately?

The fear and anxiety has been closing in on me.

I am not interesting.
Just stop trying.

What’s the point?

How dare you call yourself a witch.

How. Dare. You.

My anxiety has so many nice things to say.  It’s just lovely.

I’m late this week because of those anxieties.  It has been so long since I was in a situation where I felt unsure.  Its rare that I step outside my comfort zone.
I’m a “throw caution to the wind in situations you can control” kind of woman.  Always down for an adventure as long it doesn’t push the envelope too far. Always say “yes” if you can 100% back out.

I am afraid of people and spaces that I cannot control.

I’ve had a bit of a small-baby awakening this week addressing this exact problem of mine.
MavenMusings - Authenticity and Spirituality
If you follow MM on instagram, you know that this past weekend we shared  a booth with the always awesome Unicorn Collective* at the Denver Pagan Pride Festival.
I was making myself sick over the idea of having to share my writing and plans with complete strangers.  I can barely talk about it with people I know love and support me.

But something happened while we were there.

I didn’t shut up all day.

We met people that practically jumped up and down at the idea of this whole thing.

I overcame my fear and anxiety because I stepped out of my comfort zone. 

What a concept.

But even with that success, fear sat quietly in the back of my mind. It let me have my #bossbabe moment before it came swooping back in.
I still felt like a fake – a victim of “impostor syndrome”.  I truly fear that my path comes off as insincere because I am so new to the craft.  I have never pursued spirituality before – I just knew I wasn’t religious.

I’ve been avoiding writing about the emotional side of my journey.

 I  frequently avoid uncomfortable emotions until they bubble up and take over.

It is a terrible habit.

But there was a moment today (after wallowing in not knowing what to write) where I realized where I feel most in my power.

Thank you Universe for the wake up.

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My power is in being a woman taking the reins and finding her way.

It is in fiercely supporting the people I care for and love.

I truly just want people to happy and healthy.

I can only hope that that is the energy that I put out in the universe.

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And you can take that at face value or not. Either way, I will still send you love and hope you find the people you resonate with – the people that make you feel on fire, capable of anything and everything.
Spirituality and paganism for me is about rediscovering myself and reclaiming myself.  It’s appreciating every moment and loving myself and falling in love with my husband every day.
So – this is a fair warning to all that I’m going to be sharing some unpleasant thoughts and experiences moving forward.  I need to face and address them if I am going to grow.

Love & light, mavens.

 

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Everyday Magick: Getting Grounded

You’ve probably seen numerous pagan/witch platforms claiming that the greatest tool in a witch’s arsenal is their ability to ground.
They aren’t lying.
Mother Earth’s energy provides a stabilizing force that we can tap into to calm and pull away our erratic energies.
Being an empath, I’ve always found my energy is highly affected by those around me and situations that require a high level of emotional intelligence. I often find myself easily swayed or pulled along because I am unable to keep my feet on the ground.
While many of us, myself included, typically avoid confrontation due to the potential for negative emotions that can bubble up – learning to face and manage it is a necessity of life.

As I have grown, I’ve found it necessary to establish boundaries to protect my own energy.

Being empowered to establish those boundaries has helped me perform stronger professionally and personally.  I understand my limits and other’s motivations much clearer. Developing emotional boundaries with friends and loved ones is important to ensure you can support them in healthy ways without letting them overwhelm you.
It is difficult for me to find time during a busy work day, when I can feel myself becoming overwhelmed and flustered, to take a moment to get grounded.  I adapted some practices to fit my own needs and better integrate with my daily schedule. Because I find working out to be a calming and cleansing experience, I applied the same logic to my daily grounding practice.

Everyday Witchcraft - Getting Grounded

There are certain aspects of our day that are so routine, you could pretty much do them in your sleep. Those are the activities I save for moments when I need a break. I remain productive, but can give myself a mental break.
While I perform this task, hopefully while standing (I love my standing desk), I let my mind slowly move into an almost “tunnel vision” like space. I want my vision and the active part of my brain to be solely focused on this simple task (filing, simple payment processing, even walking to a meeting).
There is a moment when you become aware of your internal energy and can acknowledge your anxiety or worries in a way that does not cause you to panic further.
When I can feel my own erratic energy, I envision a bright rope of light extending from the base of my spine deep into the Earth. I let this light manifest however it sees fit, I do not attempt to hold onto a specific image such as a rope, or vine, etc. All that matters is that it is a constant stream of energy from you into the Earth.
As I settle into this connection, I attempt to tie the energy I release and take in with my breath. As I breathe in, I envision drawing Earth’s energy up the cord into my spine and letting it fill me. As I breathe out, I release all of the things I cannot immediately or directly control. The root of my anxiety typically comes from a space of “not knowing” or being unable to control the actions of others.
This practice allows me to center myself on what I can control and trust in my decisions.

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I’ve found this to be an excellent way to practice entering a meditative state (in a potentially uncontrollable environment), and allowing myself to face my concerns in a calm manner.
Establishing boundaries has greatly empowered my ability to judge situations in all aspects of my life. I no longer have to focus solely on making it through day by day. I have the clarity to think ahead and advocate for myself.
How do you practice grounding? Is it part of your morning/nightly routine, or do you utilize it in ritual work?
Love & Light, mavens!
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Intentions & Magick

When you’re new to this journey, it’s easy to get swept along trying to do all the witchy and magickal things you read and hear you’re “supposed” to do.
We jump in feet first and follow the moon cycles and perform rituals and develop this deep connection to the world and nature around you and do all the spells to manifest all the things, etc., etc., etc., to feel as if we are a part of this community.
I totally burned out. I didn’t understand what the heck I was supposed to be focusing on to manifest the changes I wanted in my life.
Pinterest - Intentions & Magick
But it sounds so simple, right? Just pick a thing, focus on it and it should become what you envisioned.  If it was that easy to manifest change in ourselves and our lives, we would not be having this conversation. No one would. The injustices of the world would be fixed, no one would want for anything, and life as we know it will have achieved utopia.
If you have no idea how to navigate the hard stuff that drives intentions – your emotions – you are just going through the motions.  You are not engaging the true power of your emotional energy to push things into action.
Your energetic vibration is deeply tied to your emotional and mental state.  You can feel someone’s emotions radiate off of them if they feel something strong enough.  We’ve all had that moment where we can look at a person and just based on the air around them, we know exactly how they’re feeling.
That is the energy we want to put to work.
Magick aligns your energetic vibration with the vibration of your intention. By aligning those pieces, a clearer path for your energy to manifest your goal is created. I like to think of energy as a river. Without guidance or direction, it forges its own path through all sorts of obstacles. But energy, like water, is lazy.  It will always take the easiest route.
So how do we deal with the emotional baggage we carry when we’re taught to shy away from anything remotely negative. We bottle them up and roll them under the rug. We’re told that positive attitudes are everything.  If you aren’t being positive, you aren’t trying hard enough. How could you possibly manifest positive things into your life?
Positivity in the face of difficult situations is different than truly feeling positive. 
We face crappy situations every day, feel awful on the inside and still have a smile on our face and voice the hope that things turn out okay.
What you show to the world is rarely in alignment with what you truly feel. We are the masters of compartmentalization.
Those things that are hard to accept about yourself –that is where your intentions should be focused. Focus on your growth at your pace. You can’t work on all of you and change all of the things at once.  It’s a process. Your needs are going to evolve as you do and you will never be in the same place as your fellow witches. Forcing it is superficial and will get you a half-assed result that you’ll be dissatisfied with.
As Ron Swanson would say, “Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”
So – one emotional thing at a time, maven.
Here’s how I have been working on myself:
◊ Meditation

You had to have known I would say this, right? Even 5 minutes (and I can barely make it through 5 minutes) will give your brain a moment to just chill and actually work things out. Here are some of my favorite guided meditations to get started.

◊ Journaling of any kind.

Brain dump, art, whatever helps you get your emotions out of you so you don’t bottle them away. Once they’re out, they’re out and you’ll have to face them.

◊ Self care as ritual.

I love warm showers – I use them all the time to cleanse away the energy from the day and I feel lighter. It helps me focus and recharge. I am an introvert so I NEED to be able to find ways to recharge. Recognition of actions or interactions that change your energetic state is important. It will assist with developing your intuition.

◊ Tarot or divination tools

I know divination tools don’t jive with some people but if you’re open to trying out some more insightful questions you may be surprised by what they have to say. Try a tarot challenge that is ready to go.  I struggle with finding the right questions to ask myself.

◊ Natal or Birth Charts

This was so eye opening for me. I’m an Aquarius Sun, but I have never felt like anything to do with an Aquarius was me. Reading my full chart helped me understand why I react to certain things in a particular way and why I often feel in conflict with myself or with others. Here is where I got mine for free.

◊ Read. Read. Read.

Everything and Anything. Expand your worldview. Read up on things that you’ve always initially brushed away as “not your problem” or not your culture or history. Opening your mind to accepting all sorts of information and allowing yourself to develop an informed opinion on those matters will create this beautiful layering effect. Witches always say to take everything with a grain of salt – reading  will help you sort out what you resonate with or what serves no purpose in your craft.

If you have other ideas on how to get started on spiritual growth please share them!
I have seen some notes floating around that certain practices such as mindfulness or deep meditation can be dangerous for certain mental health issues. I always want our community to feel safe – so please chime in if you have experience with certain practices not working in those situations.
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Join the Magickal Mavens facebook group!  It’s full of amazingly supportive practitioners that get it. Each week, I provide a live stream tarot forecast (and sometimes free short readings) and you’ll get access to special discount codes, promo teasers and future giveaways!
Hit “Subscribe” to be sure to get notifications of posts, updates, and other exciting announcements to come!
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