A Relationship With The Divine
As the wheel turns to fall I am reminded about what a busy season this really is. Everyone including humans are stocking up for winter and preparing to go into the dark months.
So too can we do this spiritually by gathering the resources we need and setting aside some much needed time to reflect and build a relationship with the Divine.
Samhain can be a good time to gather resources in the form of insights from our ancestors and deities, to reflect on in this time of darkness. Even the palms of children hold guidance for us, when we're open to learning.
This issue offers some counsel for these gathering of resources.
It's a magical journey, with your Self awaiting you at the end of it. Enjoy the traveling!
With Brightest Blessings,
Table of Contents
- Feature Article - A Relationship With The Divine
- Wicca Tips - Samhain: Turning Within
- Quote of the Month - Starhawk on Religion
- Energy Field Barometer - Lightening Up With Food
- Ask The Priestess - Palm-Reading and Your Child
- Next Issue - Yule
- Word on the Street
There's no new events for this issue, so I'd like to share how the last event went.
The Wise Woman Weekend
in September was a soul-nourishing experience, as always.
In the company of wise women of every age and inclination, for three days, with ritual and spiritual practices and body work and psychic readings . . . . I look forward to this rejuvenating retreat all year!
This year I again offered palm-readings in the "Oasis." This is always a treat. I meet wonderful people, and have the opportunity to honour the Divine in human form in a very immediate way.
I live to inspire people, encourage their strengths, bring compassion and growth to their weak areas, and help them find their purpose in life.
Palm-reading is one of my favourite ways to do this. And I enjoy the feeling that I've made a difference in someone's life, brought some light to their struggles and confusions. I always feel honoured to be able to Serve in this way.
And I offered a workshop again, a new one: Down to Earth Tools for a Spiritual Life
. For 3 hours, in the Chapel, we explored many powerful spiritual tools
that are simple to do and can fit into any life . . . things that can make all of life a spiritual practice
, rather than an hour set aside here and there.
The Divine Mother Prayer Dance
was a highlight, as we invoked the Goddess and dedicated all our actions and speech to Her. It was delicious to spend the time in the company of so many aspects of the Divine Feminine!
If you missed the Wise Woman Weekend this year, think about coming next year. It's a gift to your heart.
Plus, I'm sure to be teaching and palm-reading next year as well, and I'd love to see you there!
A Relationship With The Divine
In the West, the generally-accepted relationship with the Divine has only one possible form - with limited potential . . . that of children to Divine parent. "Our Father who art in Heaven," etc.
This is a very restricted role, with little opportunity for spiritual maturity or personal empowerment.
Fortunately, there are many other possibilities . . . . Read More on A Relationship With The Divine
Samhain: Turning Within
Samhain, or Hallowe'en, is the turning point of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. This is the most important day of the Wiccan year: The Great Sabbat
It is pronounced SOW-ain, SOW-een, SOW-in, or SOW-n, rhyming "sow" with "how."
Since modern Witches use the Julian calendar on a daily basis, many of us celebrate according to the calendar date: October 31. According to Mike Nichols in the 8 Sabbats of Witchcraft
, "the actual cross-quarter day is deemed to be "when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio, an astrological 'power point' symbolized by the Eagle."
Samhain is a Celtic word that means "Summer's End," according to generally accepted etymology, and the word (or a derivative) still means November in Irish & Scots Gaelic. The outward movement of the year's cycle has come to a close, and the inward journey into the power of the dark has begun.
Having established its roots, we're now going to veer off from Celtic history and into Wiccan beliefs. I wish to be completely clear that these are two different things. No one really knows what the Celtic religion was, and there are numerous sticky points when trying to relate our Wiccan practices to Celtic history. So, now that's been said . . . .
We still celebrate Hallowe'en, of a sort. And many of its symbols make sense when looked at from the spiritual perspective.
Bats, for instance, are a shamanic symbol, representing the transformational journey to the underworld and back again. Owls symbolise knowing all secrets: past, present, and future. The image of the Full Moon behind bare black branches signifies the ongoing cycle of life, hidden behind the visibly dying Earth. And black-clad witches, well, read on . . . .
In Wicca, Samhain is the end of one cycle of seasons, and the beginning of the next . . . hence, it is the Wiccan New Year.
Christian mythology has the beginning of the year coincide with the new growth of the sun. as. As Wiccans, we are aware that all birth actually begins in the darkness
; the hidden growth happens long before any sign of it rises into the light. We could even say that the new crop begins with the clearing away of the old stubble . . . the cleansing of the old is the beginning of the new.
That's Samhain: the dark of the year which eats the remains of summer's life. All things belong to the Dark Goddess at this time, returning to the Earth to be transformed into new life. Any fruit left on the branches on this date belong to Her, and are not picked.
Samhain is a day outside of time, as the New Year is in many traditions. At Samhain the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest. Communication with our beloved dead - and with the Divine - is easiest to accomplish.
So there are three main themes to Samhain celebrations
- Honouring and visiting the beloved dead
- Divination for the future
- Descent to the underworld, to transform unwanted patterns
These days Samhain has largely merged with "the Day of the Dead" type celebrations, such as the Mexicans and ancient Egyptians observed. With a Wiccan twist, our Circle usually makes a "Journey" to the Isle of Apples, to meet with a loved one or mentor on the other side of the veil for tea and a chat.
Another tradition is to set up an altar for your beloved dead whom you wish to honour and remember. Set up photos and mementoes, and a candle (black, white, or orange) to light their way. Put out some of their favourite foods and drinks. If you do this with other people, you can each tell stories about those you care about who've gone before you - family, loved ones, animal friends, role models, etc.
And Samhain is a perfect time for scrying, reading tarot or runes, or any other divination method you use. My spouse and I generally do a reading for the upcoming year. (Make notes . . . it's informative to look back on this later!)
A Descent to the Underworld can be a very potent practice. I wouldn't recommend doing this without an experienced Guide, unless you've done it before and know that you can be safe and grounded.
However you choose to celebrate it - or even if you don't - the Samhain season has a potent energy that reaches out to touch us all.
A somber acceptance of winter's inevitable season, an awareness of life brief and frail, a quiet mourning for what we are asked to release in the ongoing dance of surrender that is the mortal world . . . Samhain speaks to the most challenging and most powerful of all spiritual practices . . . that of letting go.
Chants for the season include:
Dark Goddess take us in;
Let us be reborn.
Dark Goddess, Sacred Friend,
Help me trust to let things end;
Turning tide and Moon phase
Help me to let go, with grace.
I wish you the best of the season.
Ask The Priestess
Palm-Reading and Your Child
I'd like to do palm-reading with my child's palm; is this appropriate? And if so, should I worry if I find something "unpleasant" there, or is it likely to change as she grows?
Mother in Memphis
I have long been fascinated with palm-reading with children. I've undertaken a bit of a "study" with some kids I'm close to, to see how much the hands themselves may change.
The jury's still out, but it does seem like the hand can change remarkably. Even the shape of it, and the fingers. -- I'd love to hear if others have experience with this.
Palm-readings do change, even on adults. In particular the dominant hand can transform radically, in short order.
Standard palm-reading wisdom has it that the non-dominant (usually left) hand shows the karma or sacred contract or what we've come to this life with, so it doesn't change.
But whether we experience what is written there, is entirely dependent on life choices and inner beliefs. And this is what the dominant hand shows, changing from year to year -- what we are doing with the "hand" we're dealt.
Is there a cause for worry? Never! Worry is negative magick!
Instead, if you see something of concern, look more closely. In palm-reading there will almost certainly be other signs in the hand that can mitigate the unwelcome sign, and certainly some potentials that could be nurtured which can help relieve the risk or get them through a trying time with minimal damage.
For instance, if you see a significant break in the life line, you can take positive actions to help increase health:
- eating healthy organic non-GMO foods,
- having an active lifestyle with your kids,
- encouraging emotional growth,
- teach them to enjoy life and have fun,
- give them respect,
- encourage an active social life,
- keep them away from second-hand smoke, etc.
And perhaps more important, you can teach them to visualize themselves as strong, healthy, and happy. And you can empower that reality too, with your own visualizations. The Divine Light Invocation
may be the best way to promote health -- certainly I found it so.
And then, do some positive magick to help them -- a spell or protective amulet.
All this is infinitely more effective than worrying!
And lastly, even though this is a real challenge, remember that your children are here with their own sacred contract, their own life mission
. We're given the hard stuff to help us learn, and even our children have the right to the trials of life that shape and strengthen them.
What I'm saying is go ahead, read their palms. But don't take it too seriously. What you see is likely to change as they develop.
And palm-reading CAN give you some valuable guidelines to aid their growth.
For example. . . If you see a tendency towards intense anger, you can make sure to demonstrate skills for dealing with anger. If you see that they are extremely sensitive and artistic, you may choose to cut them some slack if they do poorly in math - knowing that they are not here to do things that require heavy math . . . and to make sure they get lots of help when they're starting.
I like to gain whatever insight I can into what a child's strengths and weaknesses are, so that I can adapt to encourage the best in them.
With this intention, I think it's perfectly safe, and even wonderful to do palm-reading with your child. Approached with the proper frame of mind, it can be a gift to everyone.
Thanks for asking. Bright Blessings to you!
Do you have a question you'd like an answer to? Email the Priestess and your question could be answered in a future issue.
(Note: questions may be edited for brevity or clarity. No real names will be disclosed. For reasons of legality, all questions become the property of Wicca-Spirituality.com.)
Quote Of The Month
Starhawk on Religion
Religion should not be a set of earplugs to deafen us to the cries of children, nor a sedative to ease our consciences as we survey the graves. Religion should challenge us to be more than we are, to deeper levels of compassion and love than we have yet reached. -- Starhawk
Spiritual Rebirth Barometer
Lightening Up With Food
Have you noticed a shift in your eating pattern?
A number of people have confirmed this experience. It seemed to begin in late August or early September, and manifested as significantly reduced appetite. Also a shift in appetite: heavy foods, junk foods, and sweets were simply not very tempting. For some weeks, many people were eating very lightly.
And this was going on for a number of us during the Wise Woman Weekend, so it wasn't just a lack of temptation or food. And it seems especially odd since this is normally a body's "stock up for winter" period.
This field was startling in the extent of disinterest in eating, but after a few weeks or so it leveled off to simply eating less, with occasional forays into a good stiff feeding.
And now it seems to be increasing again: eating only small amounts, little sweets, etc.; however I haven't confirmed that with people at large.
What's it all about? On an energy level, I believe we're "lightening up." Humanity is beginning to shed some of its mechanical responses and automatic defenses. Most over-eating or eating unhealthy foods comes from those causes.
We're becoming more real, more alive. . . and more engaged with what we really
want. Our bodies are speaking and we're listening more, perhaps. Or we're less willing to be distracted from our deeper desires by feeble substitutes. In a way, I'm saying the same thing in different ways.
It's also physically lightening; people are shedding excess weight.
I'm reminded of purification rites, before transformational experiences. Like Hallowe'en bats referred to in the Samhain Wicca Tips article. . . . Is it coincidence that this experience is preceding Samhain?
It will be interesting to see what might be coming next.
Notice or suspect an energy field going around? Can you confirm this reading, or shed more light on it? Please let us know, and we can share your insights with others.
Our exploration of the Wheel of the Year continues, with Yule: Celebration of the Mother of Light
. . . . See you then!
Word on the Street
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