Samhain Blessings

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Today is Samhain. It is one of the most important of the 8 Sabbats, as it is the Pagan New Year. The wheel of the year has turned full circle and a new year begins.

The word Samhain means ‘Suns end’. It is pronounced Sowin.

Leaves fall and the trees become silent and skeletal against the darkening skies. The sap which rose in the spring and made the land fertile and green, now returns to the roots of the earth, where it will wait silently until the warmth of spring and rebirth draws it back to the surface. This is the eternal cycle of death and rebirth, not a rigid straight line, but rather a continual cycle, season by season, year by year.

Samhain is the third of the harvest festivals, only this isn’t a harvest of crops or grain; it is the harvest of flesh. It was the time of year when farmers and families would slaughter cattle and preserve the meat to last through the cold winter months.

Samhain is a festival of death as it is the death of the year and of the waxing Sun. It is also the death of the earth when plants, seeds, and acorns are now slowly descending underground to ready themselves to be reborn come Spring. Animals will begin to hibernate, and the earth will appear barren as it sleeps through the winter months.

Earth energies are being pulled inwards at this time. We should also be looking inwards at ourselves. Contemplate the year we have had and what lessons we have learned, whether they were good or bad, and what can we take from them and use in the future.

The God of the waxing Sun descends into the underworld, opening up the veil between the two worlds of the living and the dead. At Samhain spirits can commune with the living and visit us. We remember our ancestors and the people and pets who have died. We honor them by placing pictures of them on our altars and invite them to join us. We should also adorn our altars with seasonal fare such as fallen leaves, twigs, acorns, nuts, turnips, and pumpkins and offer these as gifts to the Triple Goddess, who is now in her crone phase. She is the wise dark mother of knowledge and days past.

Although a time of death, Samhain is also a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. It is a time of ‘out with the old and in with the new’. It’s an excellent time to look forward to our future.

On Samhain we should light a fire, as this is primarily a Celtic fire festival where the villagers and towns folk would light giant bonfires to say goodbye to the God of the waxing Sun and to thank the Goddess for her harvest of gifts bestowed upon the earth. There would also be big feasts with stews, corn, and breads, and we would give thanks for the people in our lives and show gratitude for all that we have, and give thanks to the people who are no longer with us and invite them to join us at the feast.

Light a candle tonight and put it in a window facing West to light the way for our lost loved ones and invite their spirits to visit us.
Today is a great time for divination, for doing Tarot reading and looking to the future, asking ourselves how we can improve our lives and move forward for the coming year.

Have a Blessed Samhain & may the God and Goddess watch over you.

Written credit: Various

Photo Credit: Wicca Teachings

Developmental Editing by Lisa Marino

Fall Equinox

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Today is the Fall Equinox, when night and day are exactly at equal length. It is also one of the eight Pagan Sabbats called Mabon. It is named after the God Mabon. He is the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron.

Mabon is mainly a harvest festival, it is the last harvest before winter comes. In old times it would be a time to start stocking up on fruit, wheat, corn, and grain for the winter months ahead.

This is a time of transformation. The great wheel has turned as we pass into a new season and say goodbye to Summer. Earth is going through a major shift where darkness will now start to take over light as the nights get longer and days get shorter. Cold will start to take over warmth and death will start to take over life. Plants will wilt and trees will start to lose their leaves, fields will become baron and grey. Wild animals will begin to gather food for the winter months before going into hibernation.

Mabon is a time of thanksgiving. We thank the God and Goddess for all that we have and thank them for the harvest. The sap of trees returns to their roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the fire of autumn, to the flaming reds, oranges, and golds. We are returning to the dark from whence we came. The Goddess is radiant as Harvest Queen, and the God finally dies with his gift of pure love with the cutting of the last grain. He will descend into the underworld, his last day on earth will be Samhain, when a gate will open between our world and the underworld. We enjoy the abundance of fruit and vegetables at this time. We should adorn our altars with pumpkins, nuts, corn, wheat, squash, fruits, and other seasonal fair, and any falling leaves or acorns we may find to honor the season and to thank the God and Goddess for the wealth of harvest bestowed upon us.

Mabon is also a transition for the Triple Goddess as she goes from her mother phase to her crone phase; her final phase from her journey of the year.

The Fall Equinox is a time of balance, of both light and dark. It is a time to look within ourselves and balance our thoughts and emotions, and find balance in our lives. To embrace our dark and our light, as one cannot exist without the other. It is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Mabon reminds us of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. As we go into the dark half of the year, we also know that Spring and Summer will be upon us again.

Hoof and Horn, Hoof and Horn
All that dies shall be reborn
Corn and Grain, Corn and Grain
All that falls shall rise again

May your Mabon be memorable & your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing.

Written & photo credit goes to: Wicca Teachings

Edited by: Lisa Marino

Autumnal Equinox

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Today is the Autumnal Equinox when night and day are exactly at equal length. It is also one of the eight Pagan Sabbats, Mabon.

Mabon is mainly a harvest festival, it is the last harvest before winter comes. In old times it would be a time to start stocking up on fruit, wheat, corn, and grain for the winter months ahead.

This is a time of transformation. The great wheel has turned as we pass into a new season and say goodbye to Summer. The earth is going through a major shift, where darkness will now start to take over light as the nights get longer and days get shorter. Cold will start to take over warmth and death will start to take over life as plants wilt and trees start to lose their leaves, and fields become barren. Wild animals will start to gather food for the winter months and hibernate.

Mabon is a time of thanksgiving. We thank the God and Goddess for all that we have and thank them for the harvest. The sap of trees returns to their roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the fire of autumn, to the flaming reds, oranges, and golds. We are returning to the dark from whence we came.

The Goddess is radiant as Harvest Queen and the God finally dies with his gift of pure love with the cutting of the last grain. He will descend into the underworld, his last day on earth will be Samhain when a gate will open between our world and the underworld. We enjoy the abundance of fruit and vegetables at this time. We should adorn our altars with pumpkins, nuts, corn, wheat, squash, fruits, and other seasonal fair and any falling leaves or acorns we may find to honor the season and to thank the waning Sun for the wealth of harvest bestowed upon us.

Mabon is also a transition for the Triple Goddess as she goes from her mother phase to her crone phase, her final phase from her journey of the year.

The Autumnal Equinox is a time of balance, of both light and dark, it is a time to look within ourselves and balance our thoughts and emotions, and to find balance in our lives. To embrace our dark and our light equally, as one cannot exist without the other. It is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing.

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Full written credit goes to Wicca Teachings. Full editing credit goes to Lisa Marino.

Photo credit: Various. 

As Real As It Gets

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WARNING: Potential Triggers

I’m a ridiculously intuitive person, which has the tendency of scaring people if they aren’t used to it. I live my life paying attention to the same things most people ignore. However, it is virtually impossible to ignore your body and mind when they’re screaming at you. No matter what bad thing it is that you may be going through, it is sometimes important to take a step back, allow yourself to feel what you feel, without apologies, and regroup tomorrow.

For the majority of my life, my purpose wasn’t clear. I don’t know if I ever considered the purpose for my existence. I had so many responsibilities, and I openly admit that I took them on myself. When most people would have been taking care of themselves for their “most selfish years”, I was taking care of two sick parents. I was dealing with burying friends and loved ones, and so it took until maybe this last year for me to say “Enough!” and begin focusing on myself. I now know that it’s not selfish to be focusing on myself at this point in my life, it’s survival.

I’ve been through some awful things, a lot of which I try not to focus on. There’s a saying about not looking back or you’ll only manage to hurt your neck. In many respects, that is true. I gain nothing from reflecting on pain, but I do gain something for having survived all of it. I know that I can get through the horrible, never-ending cycle of suffering, I know I can come out the other end a far better person than I was today, but it’s not a choice one ever wants to make. It’s “kill or be killed”, so you have to regroup and “kill”, even if only metaphorically.

In times like this, a lot of people turn to religion. I am not hardcore religious, but I am spiritual. I pray several times a day for the peace and the concept that someone Higher is listening to me. That someone Higher cares. Through trial and error, I have found that most people care about themselves, and they have no room in their mind or heart for anything or anyone else. I’ll never understand it. The average person cares about five people, or less. Are we such a selfish, self-absorbed, self-centered society that we take no time at all to care about the person next to us? I often hear myself say that if a situation does not directly affect me and/or those I love/care about, then I cannot put forth the emotion to worry about it. The point though is that I actually love and care about other people. I’ve spent a long time placing others before me, and I still do it at times, but ultimately I don’t have my head up my ass. I find it easy to be emotionally present for others, and a lot less easy to be emotionally present for myself.

I’m sick of my internal dialogue because it’s so abusive. It’s something I call “self-abuse”. You’re cutting yourself apart as if you were actually cutting, but there’s no blood, the wound is entirely internal and it grows daily. You wouldn’t even feel it if someone dipped you into the Dead Sea, because you’re already a walking wound of agony.

I can point out positive things in other people, but when it comes to doing the same for myself I usually say “I’m loyal.” and when asked how I’m feeling I often say “I exist.” I will never lie and say “I’m fine.”, because then I’d be lying to myself. I’m not fine. I’ve never been less “fine”, but because I’ve been through so many “not fine”, “not okay” times, I would rather not pick at the scabs, so to speak. How much negativity does one need to focus on before they become batshit crazy and hurt someone, or themselves?

I will never lie about often feeling suicidal. Never. I will never pretend that darkness doesn’t coat aspects of my life so thickly that it’s hard to see the light. I will never say it is a topic that is “off-limits” or “taboo” because the fact of the matter is, not everyone acts on their thoughts, but those that do aren’t weak. It takes an immense amount of strength to say “I’ve had enough pain.”

Many people advocate for “assisted suicide” for terminally ill patients, but what do we advocate for when a person cannot be healed in any way, shape, or form, through no fault of their own? Do we pretend the issue doesn’t exist and go off into our own selfish bubble? Do we say “That’s not my problem?” Do we walk away? Do we ignore it?

So many people have been unable to see the signs in a loved one and have later been devastated that they chose to end their own life. Instead of thinking about how much pain THEY had to be in to go there, to reach that point, all I ever hear is “How could s/he do this to me?”, “How could they leave me behind?”, “Why didn’t s/he tell me?” Bringer of honesty: It’s NOT about you. 

It amazes me how people don’t look closely at situations or loved ones. It blows my mind how people choose to see the surface, and nothing more. It behooves me how few people ever say “I’m here for you, no matter what. And I will NOT judge.” Once a person commits suicide, people can lie ’til the cows come home, but they are absolutely judging. If you’re unaffected by the deeply personal pain of others, you aren’t human.

It is important to check in with those we love. It is important, and crucial, to look deeper. There will still be times when you will not see what a person chooses not to show, but there will also be times when a hug, a hand to hold, a kind word, a moment of inspiration, a thoughtful phone call, or card will pull a person back and show them that they mean something, that their life has value and purpose.

This will be painful for some people to read because they choose to avoid brutal truth. This may be painful for suicide survivors who are still left asking themselves “Why?” As a person who thinks about it deeply, I have very few reasons for not acting on my feelings. Those reasons become less important each day.

I am touched by the people who genuinely reach out to me in love or friendship. I am touched by the people whose actions say “I’ll always be here for you, no matter what.” But those moments, and people, are few and far between.

One day I may not be able to rely solely on my self-talk to pull me back. And the excuses you might very well hear in the wake of that will be: “I work 60+ hours a week, I have no time to talk.”, “I never returned her phone call. I feel TERRIBLE.”, “I didn’t answer her text message.”, “I stopped speaking to her because she was too honest.”, “She was so young, smart, creative, and beautiful…I don’t understand. She had her whole life ahead of her.”

No one will say “She was in so much pain, she couldn’t take it anymore and I understand.” No one. And that is truly fucking sad.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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