Browsing Category

Musings

Magic Musings Ritual

The Silence After Solstice: Old Fears, New Years

Solstice 2015 - Sabrina Scott - witchbody.com

Solstice marks the beginning of winter. We welcome in the fire.

On solstice we sat together – city witches all, if not every day, at least for a song – and into the fire we welcomed release. We sung together: “Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack / A crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.”

Release.

Fire festivals do not end with solstice; it’s where they start. How else can we keep ourselves warm this winter? We cultivate the fire that makes our souls what they are. Dynamic, passionate, propelled. We move forward. We reach up.

As we sit before the fire this season – flames within our hearts and upon our altars – we can ask: how did I get here? Usually, within the deepest crevices of our souls, I think we know.

Let your body spit it out. Walk into the fire. Let the flames engulf you and make you a new shape, molten. Kick the bullshit out of you for you. This can be a weapon for you to fight those shadows in yourself. Especially the shadows of others that we tuck inside of our folds, that we keep safe because the truth sometimes feels too dangerous, too potent. We keep it, though it is not ours. We steal trouble, because we think it is love. It is not. To internalize another is not love of self; in this act our shadows grow bigger, stronger. Shadows can grow enough that we fall into them; they hold us, rock us like a baby, arms wide and we wallow. We fall into our wounds like a well. What greater victory is there than to climb up and out of the inverted tower? What better time to escape enclosure?

Sometimes fears hold onto us like barnacles.

Sometimes to push away risk is to run in the wrong direction.

Sometimes comfort is the opposite of healing.

Sometimes speaking not-yet-true speech is like silent solitude. It can preserve the mystery of creation. This talk can guard the little seeds we plant, hopeful, against inevitable storms. To know, to will, dare, to keep silent. These are the rules of the witches, if indeed we have any at all.

Sometimes squishing yourself into that new mold of who you want to be and who you know you can be feels like a violence. Sometimes it hurts. But: sometimes safety is our enemy. Sometimes that constraint is a chrysalis. But: sometimes we manifest, through the dark, through hermit-being, through incubation. Go dark.

Sitting with darkness means going into our shadows. It means sitting with our disgust, our hatred, our complete lack of feeling impressed. Our apathy, our disappointment. Our anxieties. Our fears. Now is the time to explore those nasty sides of ourselves. Sit in darkness. Absorb it all, and let it go.

How was the longest night of the year for you? Did you incubate? Did the darkness serve you? Did it gather your shadows with each stride, did it cut them loose to save you from yourself? Or did the shadow shapes stifle and smother you with your own sadness and sorrow? Did you crack the concrete open? Or did you become free from the cave? Did you bathe in embers? Were you engulfed by flame? My dear witch: did you burn?

The hardest thing to do is to come into our own power. This is especially true for survivors of abuse and trauma and pain and loss. As people queer in gender and in sex. I can only speak to my own experience, but: so it is for me. It is hard to recognize that we are amazing. It is hard to realize that we have come so far. It is hard to be excited about having so much further to go. Often, we dwell in our shadows for too long. Or we ignore them. They kill us and yet they come from the space of self-protection, so we don’t have to come to terms with our strength and how easily we have forgotten it.

It is hard to face the fire.

It is hard to let the fire be within you, to notice how it is always already alight there, somewhere.

Let the fire be within you: on these long nights, as the light grows. Let it burn strong or dim, shimmering just beyond our gaze, just past fingertips’ reach as we seek inside.

Find it.

Sometimes to be reborn you have to die.

This is one of the most basic tenets of occultism, and perhaps one of the most misunderstood.

We move through the darkness.

Burn through the night.

Solstice 2015 - Sabrina Scott - witchbody.com

Where did that shadow take you? Where were you then, where are you now? What warmth did you dig up in that dark night forest, what did you find in the dirt, that soil of our souls? Thorough nightly toil, what did you bring forth? What embers did you let into the cracks that are new this time around – cracks you made, and cracks you came to fire to salve, forge shut? What tendrils of flame won’t take no for an answer? What pyre propels you? What hearth can’t you ignore no matter how much you try to banish it from your pores? What shape is your heart? Who is each artery and ventricle? How do they fan your flame, pump you pneumatic with life?

In the night, witch, do you fly?

This is deep work.

Cut deep. Dive.

In some ways I want to force my own hand upon myself. Violent. Force the lines on my parched skin to dry mud-caked in the desert sun. Break it open so heat can cover the cave of my insides, body, soul.

It brings me where I don’t want to go but where I need. I shine the light. I am darkness and crash lightning both; flash of life and pitch dark death right after. I hold them both inside me; they are not opposites but as close as flesh and blood, root and sap, one inside the other, mutualistic sustenance. We sing songs. Ecotone melody of care and chaos, enmeshed in harsh realization.

Sometimes to be reborn you have to die.

How will you die? What parts of you will you cut free? Systematic starvation. Controlled burn.

Holy Death. Ancestors call to us. Devils made and born, without and within and full of a resolute stillness, the kind that you can find at the crossroads at three am on a Monday night. Coins at the crossroads. Dropped white petals, howling. She changes everything she touches. Spit flame daggers, kill the beasts that follow us. So we stop dead, in our tracks, finally: our own tracks. It took us one hot minute to get here.

The silence after solstice. The hum of a new year. We set our intentions, we burn that effigy – our sins, our demons, our chains – and then what? Are we instantly saved, rejuvenated, healed? Is all we need to change our lives just throwing caution to the wind and some paper into the fire? That’s when it starts. We work. We speak our truths, present and future; hope is a little match burning bright, struck gold by sheer force of will. So we have the seeds, they’re planted just below the soil surface, somber, burnt umber. Underground. Work to do. Dig deep.

The horned one balances a never-ending candle flame. Third eye lights the way. Reminders of intentions. We, too, must grow horns, notice thorns already circling our crown. We see goat Capricorn, sea-goat, now: ruled by Saturn death-god, time-keeper. As the moon wanes to shroud us with more silence, dark again. Questions bubble up in the witches’ brew. Cauldron burns, cooks. Where is our intention? Can we speak it or are we afraid?

We can calm the tides. Cultivate connective tissue. Pacify ourselves in the tempest of our own fears. Burdens weigh less when shared. But it can be hard to share, to make that leap, to trust that when we jump across the chasm of vulnerability despite how fearful we are, that we will be caught, embraced in our brokenness, little glass shards loved and cherished.

The thing about jumping, though – over the chasm – is that you also jump over a fire. So much fire this season, all burning. Waiting to be found, kindled. More fire. Are you afraid to jump? Do you trust your own muscles and tendons? Do you trust your own skin and your bones? Do you trust in your own faith? Or: do you meet this opportunity to embrace change, challenge, contingency – with hesitancy in your heart, for no other reason than that you are afraid of yourself, new flesh, formed by flame?

I want to teach my body new tricks, trust myself to learn new ways of being, to expand, explore, to hold myself up, to move into the mystery. I want to be uncomfortable in my own skin. Fast and sudden. I use the sickle; it is the season. Blade sharp, it cuts. Release into fire, steel-shaped. Part sorcery part serendipity, I create molten molds. I leave space for the mystery, and manifest. Always changing, shifting behind the scenes. This is my magic. What is yours? What do you welcome?

Home is you. Union is yourself. Moon lessons, in the silence after solstice. To breathe with a whole body is not choice but a compulsion. Inhale, in, out, unfurl spirit. Otherwise we dance with spectres, bashful and bleak. Otherwise we shimmy to rhythms learned and memorized, not felt. Sometimes it rushes forth a little unwound sigh. Sometimes an eruption. Cherish the eruptions. Notice the baby steps. Honour them.

Forge your own path and you will never lose your way.

Witches, we walk into the fire. Witches, all: tell me about all the ways you burn. How your flesh curdles, your bones char. City witches, all, at least for a song.

Last night, I sung, alone: “Echo, echo Aradia / Echo, echo Hecate and Freya / We’ll teach our children / Year after year / To love with their hearts / And live without fear.”

I think back on solstice intentions. Were they the right ones? What to do now with this silence after solstice, what to do with these minutes, days, hours before the new year is born, old gone, dead. Water cools down, hardens, makes shapes solid. The intuition of flowing water stills what molten fire forges so it is stable and firm. Nothing hardens without being honed by such spirit. Water is our wholly dead showering us with a sometimes subtle often sudden reminder of who we are. Killed, dead, rotting in flame.

Sometimes to be reborn you have to die.

New year comes.

Welcome in the light.

Tend to the fire.

Forge your own path.

You will never lose your way.

Solstice 2015 - Sabrina Scott - witchbody.com

Musings Ritual

The End of Scorpio Season: On Loss and Letting Go

image-46

Scorpio season is always hard and I have to say I’m glad it’s over. Happy December, everybody.

Loss is so overwhelming. I almost don’t have the words to process it, to make sense of who I’ve been and where I am. Bright branches full of berries get cut to the ground without warning, sap blood limns the earth, sour and brown. Scythes and sickles struck abound, stuck. And: I wonder where the straight blades are, linear decisive cuts, wills wishing for things-in-particular, unwavering. I wonder, where is that clarity now? Surrounded by barren trees, gnarled branches and leaves whose lives have dried up, died, I wonder.

The compulsion to be with others to process grief contrasts sharply with a knee-jerk reaction to be utterly and completely alone, kick even my cats out of my bedroom so I can sit on my perch and look outside with only my eyes. I vomit it up. I show it here in a way that is private public, us both writing and reading alone in our bedrooms, on our phones. We come to meet each others’ words when we are ready, when we know we have the headspace to hear. It is important to rip up my abdomen for you to see the insides. I must do this. We are all going through something. I can feel it in the air, taste it in my brittle bones. I Inhale crisp fall breath of the earth. I exhale angry heat into my cold room. I lay it out there.

It can be hard to shine when haunted by dreams of possible futures, when you wake up having heard almost-made knocks on the door, like answers to questions you never asked and only thought about. It all comes back. There are certain things I say and I know: that was so-and-so inside my flesh; a body-memory of a person I have been. I remember each moment of mannerism. Sometimes we take others into ourselves like a sickness. It makes our stomach churn, confused; we spit it back up, up. Loss.

It’s not your mind or your hands: no; process roots in the stomach; we gestate, begin to become born. Birth comes first from the belly: we ingest, we process, we churn, turn it over this way and that. Absorb it into our selves until the boundaries between one and the other are a blur. We get rid of it. We wonder who we are between all of what we take in and all that we expel. A shape, a form with our mark and those of unseen hands, too; shaped, shaping. We have let something inside of ourselves and we let it out again, like a sigh. Surrender. Let it go.

Things cut away. People, habits, places, lifelines, support systems. We lose it and it is gone, and: we lose it. Sometimes we see it float away in a stream and sometimes it’s just gone and we are left with the sudden shock of theft.

How can we find our way after loss? We can notice mystery once more. Loss asks us, please: embrace and welcome me, like an old friend. Loss, too, can be a gift, once you wade through the grieving. Loss shows us. Its power is in exposure – it touches us and we feel fleshless, more than nude. Bodies shift in ways seen and unseen; all of a sudden slipped away; gone. Left. And here we are, still. Silent.

Listen: we can find liberation here, in this hollow place. It is there, intrinsic; a whole hole can be a space made new. Our organs slip and slide, compensate: mundane aliens assembling themselves, redecorate: become home, until next time. We can concoct new rituals. Run in different directions. Defer to the mystery. And let go.

I did a reading that said:

Go deep within, alone and quiet. Face your demons: in being broken lies completion. Forgive yourself and also whoever brought you here.

I did a reading that said:

Find your flame and let it breathe. You have lost it but it is there. Find it. Find it. Let the fire carry you, warm, held: touched and untouched. You are safe.

I did a reading that said:

Don’t spend time with those who would rather you extinguish your fire so that they can feel big. In revolt and also for yourself:

Shine bright.

Magic Musings Ritual

Halloween Magic: Little Rituals, Love, and the Holy Dead

Halloween 2015 - Sabrina Scott

Sometimes doing magic looks like caring for someone you love.

I am one of those people who likes to honour holy days with quietness: silence and solitude are some of my nearest and dearest friends. Sometimes my desire for reflection, of taking the time to notice the astrological and energetic tides waxing and waning with luminary bodies fills my bones with a yearning I can’t describe. And still: someone I love needs something, needs me. Needs time. Mundane and simple, banal and basic. It’s easy to say no. But: it is also some real magic to abandon my altar and magical books and gemstones for the night. To snuff out my candles. Sometimes, when I ignore my altar and the trappings of perfect astrological timing – when I follow the mercurial currents of life – I am choosing a different, less obvious magic. I am choosing a more subtle witchcraft.

These are the things that fill my thoughts. How do we remain true to practice, to our hearts? How to prevent the fossilization of angels within our witchcraft and within our waking and walking, our wandering and wondering? I notice find tradition. Ritual, repeated. A tradition not because the paths are are old and oft-trod but because they speak and I listen. I hear with my heart.

Ritual:

For the second year in a row, I spent the first few hours of October 31st in the tattoo studio of an artist, occultist, and human I deeply respect, getting little occult-themed tattoos in red and black ink for a Devil’s night special of $66.60. I find such comfort in this, in staying up until 4am once a year, in mirth and also in reverence.

Also:

Altar cleared; re-built. Candles lit. Herbs, oils, brews; anointed objects whispers spoken, drifting in between here and there and life and death and: listening. Giving food to my protectors, those who nourish. Those ancestors I feel, room warm and tingly. Cats silent and still; they look with their whiskers and they too know the presence of the dead. Sometimes, it seems they feel it before I do.

I listen to the dead. I make space for them. I write. I see my own heart and feel my soul. I let my body become overtaken, I say words I channel I write without knowing what I will read later. I make space for them.

It’s that time of year.

At the time of this writing, just barely between the last two harvests of the season. Blood harvest. I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize that my most holy time of year – Samhain, Halloween, All Hallows, All Saints – occurs while the sun is in Scorpio. No wonder this energy is so violent, transformative: full of kind wrath and death and decay and change; no wonder our collective insides are ripped out every year right around now so we can remove the rot. If we know how to be we are reborn fresh and carry less upon our shoulders and balanced upon our heads. We cut some flesh from our souls so we can walk a few pounds lighter, back straighter, steps more confident but still whispers in the dark. We ride the current.

Waves crest; peak.

Scythes and sickles hearken to harvest. We love the flesh and blood and the dearly departed; companions with breath and without. We reap. We sow. We give thanks.

No wonder this is when we feel most strongly pushed to honour our dead, to thank our ancestors for their guidance and presence and remind them that we are still here. We place water on our altars and anoint our necks and foreheads and we ask them to speak. We strain our skin to see. We squeeze our eyes shut to feel.

After I sleep and wake and the sun sets again, I walk amongst the pumpkins, carved candles burning bright. I collect orange leaves and red ones and green.

We limn the liminal. We fill our homes with flame so the spirits can find their way, feast upon ghost corn of pomegranate, pepper, clementine. Ghost feast, share secrets. Listen: feel gratitude. Listen: flow, don’t fight. You have everything you need.

Happy harvest and holy days, witchy friends.

May your spirit be peaceful and your dead be talkative.