Updates: Nov. 7th, 2016

Things have finally slowed down enough for me to sit down and write. I’ve spent several weeks away from my blog and YouTube despite a number of plans I’d had for various projects. The Universe, it seemed, had other intentions for me.

My Wylde Hunt Challenge fell short. I didn’t quite get off on the proper footing, and each attempt to keep it going sort of followed suit. Many of my personal creative projects fell to the wayside as well. I’m a little bummed. Autumn is usually such a productive time for me; this Autumn felt like a bit of a train wreck.

On the New Moon at the end of September, I decided to perform a ritual to cut away a lot of the negative aspects of self that were destructive and causing me suffering- old patterns that no longer served me and where I would like my practice to go.

The ritual consisted of me creating sacred space. Within it, I called upon the Hunt, on Herne as its leader and my patron, and upon Yew- the black dog and guide that has been in my dreams and meditations since this summer. I asked them to help me ‘hunt’ down those parts of self, to slay them, and to help me carry them away in the days to come so that I might move on from things which are no longer serving me. It was part shamanic journey, and part physical. The poppet I had made to represent that which I wanted to ‘hunt’ was destroyed, and lain atop my clan tartan scarf (to reflect ancestral ties), and a little bundle of dried cedar and lilies from my home. It remained there for a week, until I could finally burn them and bury them in the earth in the ravines.

The evening I set out to burn them, things got very strange. The Hunter seemed a bit angry, aggressive- quite truly terrifying to me at the time. Some items I meant to burn and bury wouldn’t, and I was really quite confused and frustrated for a while following what was supposed to be the conclusion of my ritual… Now that I’m looking back, I’m seeing that there was a period of darkness that was necessary before rebirth was possible: just like Samhain marks the witches’ New Year, but we do not see that change and that return of light until much later.

In the couple of weeks between that rite and Samhain, it felt as though everything just fell apart. I had a temporary falling out with a close friend, another longtime companion went to prison; my family cat was put down; I made decisions that tore me apart until I was finally able to admit them… I fell behind on school work, on personal chores, and especially in my practice. Some of it wasn’t resolved until a couple of evenings ago. Sometimes, you just need a friend to drag you into the woods with a sage bundle and mead until you end up coming to the conclusions you need.

Things aren’t perfectly fixed, but they’re getting better. I really feel like what I need to power through the rest of this school year has finally come. The Hunt no longer feels threatening, the shadows that needed addressing have been addressed- and those that needed to be have been laid to rest where they belong. School work has still been keeping me busy, and I’m therefore hesitant to make promises of any further projects or regular posting until the semester has reached its end.

I’m looking forward to the Winter months- and hoping they hold a much smoother time than Autumn did. Plans have just been begun for Yule with the witchy tribe, and I’m feeling a lot better about making it through this semester and onward towards graduation and beyond.

Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful Samhain, and that the months to come are full of magic, love, and prosperity.

Forest Blessings,
Rachel

P.S. For the month of November, I will not be offering my tarot service on the Full Moon. I’ve got too many things due between now and the Thanksgiving Break to do so. I’m very sorry I forgot about it for October and will not be able to do so for November. I should be returning with it come December, though.

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Autumn Equinox & The Hunt- Reaping & Release

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The Autumnal Equinox, or Mabon, is only a few short days away now. One of my earliest memories of this particular sabbat is of my old high school group clustered in a tiny grove of pine and cedar trees, moving counter-clockwise to banish any remaining ‘funk’ before we descended into the colder, winter months. After all, who wanted to head into darker months holding onto a bunch of negativity? I think we’d gotten the rite from one of the Sweep novels, to be completely honest, but something about it felt strangely poignant then, and still does now. As the leaves redden, deaden, and fall, so too should any of the negativity that I’m holding onto before the dark of Samhain and Winter arrive.

It is a time for laying to rest that which does not serve me, and for acknowledging that the part of the year had come when my creativity’s peak is reaching its end. Between Beltane and now, I generally have a great deal of motivation for different projects, adventures with friends, making physical things, etc. Mabon marks a turning inward. From here on out, until that time comes once again, my focus is more inwards, more on personal work than on outward creativity.

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But the equinox is equally about calling to me the strength I’ll need to journey on through the darker months as well. The coming months are usually more deeply reflective; they reveal many things about myself, and can be trying in ways that rest of the school year is not. These are the days when I’ll need those deep reserves of inspiration, motivation, faith, etc.- particularly when my path feels stagnant.

This year, as I’ve been working more specifically with the Hunt, I’m planning to call upon them for assistance. I’ve explained in blogs and videos recently that I work with them as sort of psychopomp-like entities. They can assist when things feel as though they’re going nowhere. Within the next couple of days, I’ll likely be doing a small ritual to honor them and begin this process.

Wishing you all the best in your own reaping and laying to rest this harvest season,
~Rachel

Projects for the Fall 2016

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Autumn is finally here. The weather is starting to get cooler and more rainy, little patches of red can be seen amongst the vastness of the Grand Valley Ravines, and the sense of change and that darker part of the year can be felt in the air.

The autumn is quite literally my favorite part of the year, partly because my inner goth-kid/tormented-soul-artist loves the gloomy weather, and partly because of the deep spiritual lessons that can be learned during this season. It is a season of transformation, of vibrant expression, of death, release, reaching inward to those places that are in need of healing, in need of communication, in need of acknowledgement. It’s the deep, raw, shadow-work-y part of the year, and often where I get the most done in terms of my personal practice. Whereas summer is a vibrant, busy, explorative and creative time, autumn is like the phoenix song: a blazing, meaningful, time of the year where the biggest and baddest of the magical stuff gets done for me.

This year, I’ve tried to organize the chaos that usually ensues a bit, and I’ve narrowed a focus for what it is I actually want to work on through this period. My monthly tarot readings on the Full Moons will continue through this time, as will my normal blog updates and YouTube postings. However, I also plan to have one or two special projects going along the way as well.

autumn-wylde-huntThe first of these projects is what I’m calling “The Autumn Wylde Hunt Challenge”.  Basically, from the Full Moon this month until the Full Moon in October. For that period, I’m going to be focusing heavily on The Hunt, its place in my practice, how I relate to it at this time of the year, etc. etc. My posts during that time will be (for the most part) about these topics. They’ll be personal gnosis, folklore, history, poetry written by me, etc. I’m also making it a goal during this challenge to take a walk in the woods each Friday afternoon. I’m going to try and come up with a specific aspect of the Wylde Hunt to focus on for each of those walks- and do some blog/vlog reflections on them once they’ve been completed. I think it will really help me to cement my practice involving them, and figure out things that do/don’t work.

And of course, the October New Moon is just before Samhain. So, my second project (it’s still in the works in my head right now) is to utilize the waning moon energy, between the October Full Moon (10/16/16), and New Moon (10/30/16), to really play into that descent towards Samhain. More on this will come as it gets closer to that time.

I’m also debating (from a completely non-witchy standpoint) picking up on Inktober this year, and trying to do daily ink drawings throughout the month of October should I find the time to do so. Maybe I can tie it together with my shadow work plans and my Wylde Hunt challenge. 😉

At any rate, there’s lots coming up that I’m hoping to accomplish this fall, and I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Blessings,
Rachel

A Whispered Return

You know me by the redd’ning leaves-
That touch of ice in the dawn.
Your every inch of being stills
In that brisk moment of my gaze- then… gone.
Ragged breath from ragged creature drawn-
Sharp.
In the knowing that my time is nearing,
And is that lustful anticipation or fearing that
Comes with the end of Cicada’s song?
You know that when the sunlight weans
I will ride in windy throng.
And each falling acorn in that clearing
Staccato.
Startling.
…Calm,
Draws you, begs you, calls you on-
To rest there on silken, fallen leaves.
Lie your head upon the moss-
For I am the truth the forest breathes,
He who in those shadows sees,
The whispered name amongst the trees,
The tingling in your spine that knows:
The Hunter comes again to call.