Developing Personalized Samhain Traditions/Activities

I LOVE celebrations and activities that surround a holiday of some sort. Walking a Pagan 5c1f00cee970e59c35cbb7ce35602bc7path and choosing to follow the Wiccan sabbats gives me several opportunities to do so and this Samhain will be my first serious one. As a solitary witch in a mixed belief marriage though, I want to keep things simple and make most of them inclusive for my husband while not necessarily pushing my practices on him.
One thing we’ve done every year for the last several years is carve pumpkins while drinking wine and eating snacks and watching a Halloween movie. This is something we will continue, but I adjusted it for myself so that as I carve I imagine the insides being all of the negativity surrounding us and my scooping them out is removal of that negativity energy. The light inside the completed Jack-O-Latern is the new positive and protective energy I wish to surround myself, my family, and my house with.
I don’t know if I will ever do a Dumb Dinner, but I love the thought of making food for Samhain involving spices and ingredients representing this time of year (so a little Kitchen Witchery in there).  I’ve also made a Samhain altar disguised as my dining table centerpiece. My husband is aware of it, but to everyone else it looks like festive decorations.
I’ve been trying to be more aware of thinking of loved one’s I’ve lost, particularly this year and keeping them close in my mind. I want to go hiking next year as a way to be close to nature during this month. There’s something about the chills and smells in the air that I’ve always loved. I did get to run in a 5K race this month and see some new areas which was great. I’d love to try visiting cemeteries and cleaning them up a bit as well.

It’s such a fun and wonderful time of the year. I love how it promotes taking time to think about death in other ways aside from being scary or sad; it’s actually been a bit therapeutic since we’ve had a lot of deaths in our family over the last two years.

Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoying the month of October and that you all have a very fun and safe Samhain (and/or Halloween).
Blessed be!

Lark

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Witchy Things – My Third Eye

Story time/randomness!

When I was little I saw spirits; primarily family members. This is not just a memory of mine, but it is something that is confirmed through anecdotal evidence from other witnesses; those being my family mostly. I don’t remember much about the first spirit I saw who hung around fairly often (my grandpa who passed a while before I was born), but my parents said that at first I was afraid of this spirit. I would get nervous and point him out, but I think I started to lighten up once my aunt figured out it was my grandpa and told me.
A couple years later, my great-grandpa passed and appeared to me the night of his death. He sat down and told me not to be afraid of “us” (not sure if he meant only my family members or if he meant spirits in general) and that,”…we will always protect you.” Then he said he loved me and was gone. This was pretty much the beginning of my spiritual path and I was only 4. My parents weren’t particularly religious and would answer any religious type questions to the best of their abilities, but they allowed me to choose on my own for the most part. As I got older, my ability to see spirits went way, but sensing them or having them come to me in dreams has remained.
I could also see auras, especially if someone was about to die. The person would have an almost ethereal glow surrounding them and a few days to a week later they’d pass. Auras aren’t as clear to me now, I really only notice them when someone is impassioned; I remember in college seeing the aura of my African American Studies professor while he was talking about a particular event during the Civil Rights Movement…it was a gorgeous green; energizing and thoughtful.
I’ve also had moments where I’ve predicted certain events within hours or minutes before it happened; this was mostly in middle and high school. My cat dying was one; he was just a kitten and had his booster appointment and the thought popped into my head,”What if my kitten died today?” I remember feeling disgusted by that thought and then feeling guilty and terrible when, later at his appointment, he collapsed and the vets discovered he had Feline Leukemia and would need to be euthanized. I also predicted a friend’s car crash (he survived and was fine), but it scared me, because again the thought,”What if they get in an accident?” popped in and I said it out loud to other friends I was traveling with. a few minutes later we rounded a corner and there was my friend, pulled over on the side of the road after being rear-ended (everyone in the van screamed, because holy shit didn’t I just say that? haha). The thing is, these thoughts didn’t actually come to me as a “what if” scenario; they were more definite, but I would word them as “what if” because I hated to think that something bad would happen like that.
As I look more into walking the Pagan/Wiccan path again, there is a part of me that is nervous to get these talents back or at least strengthen them. I had a dream last week about a family member who is currently battling an incurable and terminal illness. I was injured in the dream and the pain felt so real, it was crazy. Then I lost feeling and eventually woke up. I found out a few days later that this family member who was with me in the dream actually lost feeling in the same limb I injured in my dream and fell over. And it happened to them on that same night that I had the dream.
Now, of course, all of these things could be explained by coincidence and other random natural occurrences, but it does freak me out a bit. And while I am a little scared to strengthen these parts of me; I’m also excited to see how far they go and where they lead me.

If you have any neat or interesting stories about prophetic dreams, seeing/sensing spirits, or other third eye type gifts, feel free to share; I always love these kinds of stories 🙂
Until next time; blessed be!

Larkie

Skepticism in Paganism

snakeoilToday, let’s discuss skepticism! So obviously it should be in all aspects of life; science may be the one area I’m a bit more forgiving on if there is basically no more room for doubt due to countless, respectable peer-reviewed evidence (e.g. evolution, global warming, the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and safety of GE foods, etc.) As someone who works in science, specifically in the medical field, solid evidence is important to me. So, I am a skeptic, particularly in areas that do not have ways to neither prove nor deny themselves. Which means my faith and the ideas surrounding it can fall under my special form of scrutiny.
I believe that skepticism is an important thing to have in ANY spiritual path or religion. There are a lot of people in this world looking to take advantage of others through their beliefs and there’s a lot of just plain bullshit flying around in general, so it’s up to the individual to properly educate and protect themselves.
Now, this can make faith and spirituality a difficult thing to hang onto as you wade through hogwash, but that’s the beauty of faith right? Yes, but I will admit that if the day comes someone has definitive proof that there is no afterlife, no such thing as spirits, etc then obviously I may need to re-evaluate my belief system (and the things I experienced as a child, because…if spirits can’t be an explanation, then I’m gonna need something else). Until that day, I’ll follow my gut and hope not to get swindled.

I decided to write on this topic after listening to a podcast earlier today where the hosts discussed man-made rocks and crystals and the stone “Blood Quartz” came up in conversation. It turns out that blood quartz is actually just glass with red dye swirled around in it, but some jack-hole was selling it for a decent amount of money and claiming it had powers that could be used for all kinds of crap (protection, love, etc something to that effect). The hosts were both very bothered by this, as they should be, because this person is essentially taking advantage of those who don’t know better in the metaphysical belief world and making a good amount of money off of their gullibility. Of course, this person is free to do as they will unfortunately, but this really made me look inward a bit at my beliefs and practices and how I should protect myself from this kind of con.

Personally, while I love pretty/cool stones and rocks, I don’t really believe they hold special powers. Same with herbs and “essential oils”. Yes, the scent of lavender as incense or fresh bloom can induce feelings of calmness, but that’s about as far as I’ll allow the ‘woo’ to go; that smells can enhance or diffuse certain feelings. This is mostly because, for myself, I find it dangerous to believe certain plants or crystals hold certain powers. I think it can lead to me being more vulnerable to having someone tell me an item can or should be used a certain way and then have it turn out to be a load of bull.
Instead, I believe that everything has energy…well, actually everything does have energy, but I believe it has energy with potential. As a witch/pagan, I believe that I can use the energy in that item and focus it for what I want to use it for…or more what my gut instinct tells me to use it for. So if a stone makes me feel strong or protected, then I will use it in any craft or ritual that focuses on personal strength or protection regardless of whether or not “stone professionals” think that’s the correct purpose (or even it’s a simple agate I found outside…I love agates.)

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I am more skeptical of others and their ideas and what they try to sell me, because I don’t want to be duped. It seems to me that Paganism is an easy area for manipulators to infiltrate. Sometimes, items or rituals don’t work the same for each individual and paganism really is an individual path, so it’s important that each person is mindful of their own feelings when exploring or taking notes from someone else’s experience. The spiritual path of Paganism is so intimate and personal and I think that’s why I love it so much, but it’s scary knowing people could be taking advantage of us, so be safe out there! Take a breath and a minute to really consider what you’re being told or sold and follow your gut. It’s okay to raise an eyebrow if someone tells you basil will make you rich or moon stone will cure your depression. And please, PLEASE, don’t forgo mundane medical treatment for a serious problem in lieu of some naturopathic/homeopathic “remedy”. There’s nothing wrong with seeing a doctor AND performing a health ritual, but don’t let someone tell you rose water is more effective than antibiotics.
Seriously, do you, but take care of yourself and follow your gut. If rose quartz calls to you as a stone to promote health and happiness, then get it and use for that purpose. But if it just says to you,”I’m pretty, wear me,” then don’t feel pressure to use it in your rituals and simply find a fun outfit to coordinate it with! 😉

Hopefully I didn’t ramble too much and it made sense! Until next time, blessed be!

Tarot Card Myths and Superstitions

As I have been reading and listening to podcasts and researching blogs and other Pagan websites, I’ve come across some interesting superstitions in the craft. I am always interested in hearing/learning about myths and superstitions; I like to wonder or hopefully find out where they originated from and why. The majority of Pagans/witches seem to poo-poo the superstitions they mention, but I thought it might make for an interesting discussion. Continue reading

Exploring Pagan and Witchcraft Podcasts

As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve been using podcasts as one of my tools of rquote1esearch and education. It’s been rather hit and miss, so far though the small amount of podcasts that I have given a chance to have been decent. Those I have unsubscribed to were simply due to me not feeling the format or host.
I listen to the podcasts on my phone during my commute to and from work, also at work, and sometimes while I’m doing chores around the house. So for me the formatting and personality of the podcast producer is important. I don’t want it to be boring, but I also don’t want it to be distracting. I like thought provoking content and a personable host, basically.

So what have I sampled so far?

  • The Wigglian Way : This podcast was my first venture into the many, many Pagan podcast options. This is their main website, but you can find them on iTunes and I think another podcast site (which escapes me at the moment). I cannot give them a true review as I have only listened to one episode. I subscribed to them and multiple others as sort of taste testers and some of the others peaked my interest a bit more so I haven’t had a chance yet to continue listening. I did enjoy their first episode though, they play music which is neat, but since I’m listening more for perspective and education, it’s not my favorite thing. The hosts (Sparrow and Mojo) are very personable and well spoken, so I will definitely continue to listen and maybe give a more insightful review in the future. As far as recommendation; I would say check them out. They have really good reviews on iTunes and from what I’ve sampled, I think they’re worth a listen.
  • Pagan Spirituality Today : This podcast is really interesting and I am completely caught up with all of the episodes available (they’re also on iTunes). It is ran primarily by Kveldrida (the more recent episodes he involves his wife, Oni, and the other member of their coven, Erin, as well). It’s a podcast surrounding his personal journey and beliefs and I found it very interesting. While I don’t share the same beliefs/path, I enjoy hearing his opinions and perspectives; it’s thought provoking. It’s not updated super often (it started in 2008 and some years have one to two episodes due to life, some of which he delves into and you can hear things hadn’t been going smoothly unfortunately), but they’re trying to focus on getting episodes out more often it sounds like. If anything, I’d recommend giving the Yule 2009 episode a listen; it was very well done and I loved the background music. It made me feel very “at home” I guess and, to be honest, I’ll probably listen to it again in December 🙂
  • Devin Hunter’s- The Modern Witch : This podcast was probably my least favorite of the handful I’ve tried so far. It sounds like it would be very informative, but I didn’t last more than 3 episodes before I felt it just wasn’t for me. Of course, this is simply a matter of personal opinion, but it just had too much of a radio talk show feel for me; almost like a bit goofy and what not. That and the host, for me, came off as having a sort of negative energy (in the form of anger and passive aggressiveness, mostly). So I just wasn’t feeling it and had to unsubscribe. However, like I said, there were a few episodes that looked like they could be educational and interesting, so I’d give it shot if you were interested.
  • The iPod Witch : Some of you may already be familiar with Brook since she has a website here on WordPress. I’ve just started her podcast and have listened to about 4 episodes now and so far I’m really enjoying it. Brook is very sweet and happy sounding and comes off quite personable. She answers listener questions and reads off their feedback. She has a tendency to ramble, which she completely admits to, but I don’t find it to be distracting or anything. It’s almost like hearing someone speak candidly in person vs reading a script. There are commercial breaks where some type of academy is advertised (obviously I zone out during this time since the name escapes me lol), but it’s a decent/easy podcast to listen to so I plan on continuing catching up through her old stuff.
  • A Witch’s Primer : This podcast I’ve found to be most helpful as far as education goes. It is a lecture series run by Ariel and he does it in a nondenominational format. I’ve found it to be helpful and one worthy of actually keeping notes. He also provides guided meditations for purification and elemental work which is pretty much right up my alley. I would most definitely recommend this to any beginner or someone like myself who’s trying to reconnect after a very long hiatus.

So that’s all I’ve experienced and am currently following so far. If you have any suggestions, favorites, or comments on Pagan podcasts do let me know. Blessed be!

And so it begins…

Merry meet!

My name is Lark, I also go by Larkie, and this is my Pagan blog. I plan on using it as a journal to document my adventures as I reconnect to my old path and write down my thoughts along the way. I’ve been in the process of studying Paganism and Witchcraft for the past few months through blogs, podcasts, and am putting together a reading list of actual books on these subjects, so I’m still getting my feet wet, so bear with me and feel free to correct or add to any information or ideas I mention here (constructively, of course). Continue reading