I got dumped last week by my (now ex) boyfriend. Did not see it coming, nor am I really okay with it. But c’est la vie, right? I’ll be fine in a few weeks, but for now I am a tad miserable.
On my many, many reflections on this incident, I can’t help noting the irony of being let go and being forced to let someone go during this particular season. The weeks leading up to Samhain are all about releasing. Get rid of everything you don’t want or need for the new year. Old habits, old clothes, and old girlfriends, apparently.
Releasing is one of the hardest things a person has to do. I think this difficulty is intrinsically tied with the idea that because you let something or someone go, it is dead, lost, and gone. That is far from the truth. That thing or person is always going to be a part of you until the day you cross over. Part of your history, as it were.
But it is also necessary for new things to take hold. One of my roommates this week said something that really struck a cord. As epic as this love was (and it was, trust me), the next one will be bigger and better. This idea has given me a sense of hope, which is just what I need even at my lowest moments.
So if you have things you need to let go of in this Samhain season, I encourage you to do it. You never know what might happen.
PS: For any of my readers who also have recently broken off a relationship or trying to release anything in their lives, CharmingPixieFlora has two videos that helped me a lot, posted below.
© Ariadne Woods
- Keep in Good Health: There are thousands of things you can do in this area of your life. Get the proper yearly screenings. Take a walk a half hour a day, everyday. Limit the amount of processed foods and increase good, nutritive recipes. Research and consult your doctor or holistic professional about supplementing your diet with vitamins and herbs. If you have chronic conditions, keep up with the most recent research research. Even consider getting a few sessions with a mental health professional to learn how to combat every day stressors. Become an advocate for your health.
- Read: Expand your horizons in the Pagan world. For example, don’t know anything about Asatru? Start looking at blogs and read the Eddas.
- Develop a Skill: Get really good at reading runes or tarot. Or making altar cloths. Or drumming. Or whatever! Make sure you keep up with this practice. And skills are like presents, the more the merrier.
- Space Clear: A lot of shy people and introverts I know space clear in some way, regardless of religious path. It is a method of creating a safe environment. Research a good version for you. I am personally a fan of using a sage mist, incense, and bells in a very personal ceremony.
- Decorate for Sabats and Other Holidays: Mabon just ended, but why not start gathering supplies for your Samhain altar and a variety of other home decorations? Switch things out depending on the sabat. An easy way to do this is to buy flowers based on the season, such as mums for this part of the year.
- Meditate and Journal: Develop a strong practice for facilitating self growth.
- Listen to Podcasts: As my readers who have been with me since the beginning know, I am a huge fan of podcasts. As I write this, I am getting caught up on episodes of HerbMentor Radio (if you’re an herb person you’ll love this one). There are tons of great ones for a variety of interests.
- Become an Expert: If you find you really jive with a practice or lore or skill, REALLY delve into it from as many angles as possible.
- Garden: Work with the Earth. Develop a proper sowing and gathering schedule. Consider planting herbs and medicinal plants as well as flowers. If you live in a city, look into community gardening or work with houseplants.
- Get Out in Nature: So you’re not a hiker or camper, neither an I. But get out there and see the world the Goddess cultivates for us.
And if you reading this list and thinking great but I am a social person, look out for my next post…
© Ariadne Woods
Covens aren’t for all witches. Sometimes being solitary is the only option due to age or access problems. In other cases some people have had bad experiences in Pagan organizations. For whatever reason to not be a part of a coven (or to supplement your spiritual education outside of your grove), there are a variety of activities to do to further yourself.
- How to Educate Yourself: A lot of being a solitary pagan is dedicating a portion of time to learning. Covens often have a structure to educate the neophytes, but this is not the case for everyone else. The best advice I can give is to read widely and regularly. Internet, books, and magazine articles provide a full picture of a variety of topics.
- Meditation: There are a variety of reasons for taking up a meditative practice. Studies show meditation’s effects to combating stress and anxiety (I encourage you to do your own research on meditation’s benefits and the reduction of chronic conditions). If you are not one for sitting in the same position for fifteen plus minutes, consider taking up an active practice.
- Mad Skills: Herbs, divination, stones, spell craft, essential oils, herbalism, pottery, silversmithing, first aid, cooking, gardening, jewelry making, aromatherapy, blogging, ritual creation, basic sewing, space clearing, beer brewing, etc. Become an expert in as many things as possible.
- Networking: Even though you are not part of a formal organization, there are still thousands of witches, Pagans, and Wiccans to befriend. Online communities on Tumblr and WordPress are rich and engaging. If you are more interested in face to face interactions, look for public rituals and get togethers at local pagan stores or The Witches’ Voice.
- Pagan, Wiccan, and Craft History: Got to know where our traditions come from, right? Drawing Down the Moon and The Triumph of the Moon are great books to start.
- Public Service: Working in your community is something I strongly believe to be an integral part of expressing thanks for what you have been given in your life. To start it’s almost Mabon the witches’ Thanksgiving, so consider donating food to a local food bank.
- Your Rights: Research the witchcraft laws in your state and the national precedent of religious freedom and expression as it relates to your school and workplace. The more you know, the better protected you can be. If you haven’t read Pagans and the Law, consider picking up a copy.
© Ariadne Woods
I feel pretty confident saying all modern Pagans love the old stories. We get a thrill with how much they permeate everyday culture. Parents tell myths to their kids, and some pantheons get covered in school. Art museums are loaded with sculptures and paintings depicting deities and heroes. They’re everywhere!
Yet just like any other faith, Pagans develop personal feelings and interpretations of myths and legends. For me, this is especially true regarding my conception of Persephone and her stories Because she is my patroness and I work with her a lot, I spend a lot of time thinking through the implications and morals behind her tales. Like after being married for a while, she didn’t mind Hades so much. I didn’t read that anywhere; I just know it in my gut.
Yet I would never, ever express that as truth about her as a deity to anyone else. Why? Because that is how I perceive her. But other devotees may not get the same vibe from her.
Personal gnosis is purely self interpretation. It has nothing to do with the mythology. Expressing personal thoughts about these stories is natural, but the key is to distinguish the difference.
For example: “So therefore for a portion of the year, Persephone dwelt with her husband. And in my view after time passed she grew to love him.” Not “So therefore for a portion of the year, Persephone dwelt with her husband. And then they lived happily ever after.”
See the difference?
This concept is especially true for comments made on Tumblr, WordPress, Facebook, and other online outlets. Because there’s no face-to-face discourse, it is easy to lose the respect for the person you are talking to.
So next time you find yourself talking to fellow devotees, approach their interpretation with the respect.
© Ariadne Woods