OctoberWitchery

Honoring the Beloved Dead

The Ancestors. The Beloved Dead. The Wise Crone. They are here, among us. Each of them passing along wisdom hard won. It is in our bones. In our very DNA. As the veil thins, we honor them. Those who have gone before us.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Have you felt them?

Samhain isn’t just a single day. The Season of the Witch begins, for me, at sundown on the Autumn Equinox. It lasts up until Winter Solstice. So I have been feeling the energies for weeks now. You know the energy I mean, the kind that when you walk into a room there is a familiar scent that was worn by your Beloved Grandmother. Or when you sense someone standing behind you. Yet, visually, you’re alone. A Witch knows the signs, scents, and energy that means there is a presence with them.

It is wise to put some protections in place. After all, you don’t want just any spirit waltzing through like they own the place. Honoring the spirits of place, those that have dwelled on the land for longer than your lineage has existed, goes a long way to protecting you and yours.

Just as with any entity you wish to connect with, building a relationship with the spirits of the land is important. Find out what they like (most will accept sweets, alcohol, or grains) and make sure you make your offerings on a regular basis! To neglect them unless it’s this time of year, or it’s beneficial to you, is folly. They are truly your first line of defense. They exist even on the outside of any property wards you may have set.

What to do if something enters that isn’t welcome

It’s simple, if somehow there is something that enters your home through a weakened ward, light up some banishing incense and tell it to leave. It really is that simple. Checking your wards twice a month can eliminate this minor inconvenience.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Who are our Beloved Dead?

As Witches, our Beloved Dead may not be the same as the dead of our Ancestral Blood. They may be the Witches that paved the way for us. Musicians and poets who are long gone but have touched our souls in some way. Remember, this is Witchery and the path we walk is our own.

One such Witch that I honor is Madam Helena Blavatsky. A Russian Spiritualist that was born on the same day as I, but 142 years before I was reborn to the world. If you haven’t read anything of her, you should! She is fascinating, IMHO. For you, it may be Doreen Valiente, or Mary Shelley, or any number of others.

Familial ties can be tricky for some of us. My grandmother was a saint of a woman and she always has a special place with me. Placing trinkets or pictures onto an altar reminds that some of our dearly departed went above and beyond. We remember. Veneration is a large part of our Samhain activities.

Image by Cotton Bro

The tools we use

Anything can become an instrument of ritual. It is all in the intent! A big one this time of year is Graveyard Dirt. Knowing how to properly collect it is important. If you have ancestors buried nearby, that’s where I would start. Bring 2 coins and leave them at the entrance. That’s to pay the Ferryman. Having an offering for the dead is also important. If there was a particular…spirit they enjoyed, that would be acceptable. Or a pinch of pipe tobacco. Confections may have been more their thing. So talk to family about them.

If you’re collecting from an unknown grave, vodka or whiskey seems to be the most asked for.

Don’t just walk to the grave, collect the dirt, and turn around and leave. Remember what I said about our land spirits? Build a relationship. It will serve you much better in your final outcomes.

On Samhain, sit in quiet contemplation for a while

Your Witchery will be stronger for it. Listen to the messages of the dead. Take a bit of time to speak with them. Even if they don’t speak back, they’re listening. They’re working out what your intent may be in contacting them. Eventually, they will speak back. As long as you’re working from your heart and not your ego. The Dead will speak.

Darkest Blessings on this Samhain Eve,
Ivy (and Kaycee)

Kaycee wrote a lovely ritual for us – The Dead Speak. Be sure to check it out!

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Hel’s Anthology

Ivy’s experience with Hel

When Hel made her desire to be the first monthly focus Goddess apparent, I don’t think Kaycee or I had any idea what was in store. When I was calling her in on the 1st, I felt a distinct energy shift. One unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

This lovely print is one I own. You can get yours at Elemental Otherworld

Many will lead you to believe that healing trauma “isn’t that difficult, or that painful”. That is merely surface healing. Deep healing, to become truly sovereign, to heal ancestral lines, is something wholly different. There are thing I have spent the whole month with. Now, I speak them.

Deep, truthful, long-lasting healing isn’t wine, roses and sweet song birds.

As I traversed the path to reach the entrance to the underworld and her hall, I was not alone. The landscape was beautiful, but desolate. The journey was filled with shifting shadows. Birds were high up in the barren trees and I caught glimpses of the wolves that watched my every step.

The road to healing, the truth, redemption whatever you wish to call it is littered, not with wine and roses, but blood, tears, bones, the lies we’re told, and the parts of ourselves we have cast into the aether. The violence inflicted upon women can leave us locked in a validation seeking prison of the mind.

You are enough. You always have been.

Photo by Marko via Unsplash

Seeking out like-minded people isn’t weakness. We live in a socially driven society. If someone is trying to discourage you from seeking connection, which can move our collective consciousness forward, they aren’t thinking about what is best for you. Only their own ego and the acceptance they seek.

Hel has taught me, over the last month, just how strong these connections can be. While she does take the dead who don’t die in battle, it is not only the elderly and infirm. Nor is it “the lazy”. I want you to ask yourself one simple question. What actually defines a battle? It isn’t just taking up arms, running onto a battlefield, and shedding blood. We all fight battles every day. From our mental health to the struggles of just existing in a patriarchal society.

Hel is a protectoress of women and children.

As you know, we called her in on the 1st, then spent weeks building that relationship. Everything at our disposal was utilized in that quest. The incense, oil, meditation, sigils, devotional altars, sacred black candles, were all part of that process. Each time I walked the path to Yggdrasil and down into her realm, my heart felt more at ease.

Two weeks ago, tragedy struck. I won’t go into the details, those that know me know what they are. From one careless act, a boy was left without his mother, a mother without her daughter, a woman without her sister, and a partner without his love. The ripple effect was as breathtaking as it was horrifying. This, too, is a battle.

Kaycee and I worked together that night to cast of web of protection. I then made my oh-so-familiar journey. My heart was so, so heavy. I was coming to her to ask for her to protect this child. As soon as I entered Hel’s hall, she motioned me to her. She knew my worries, she knew why I had come.

Photo by Vlad Bagacian from Pexels

When her hand stretched toward me, I gave her this small, glowing ember that I didn’t even realize was in my palm. It was the protection spell I had cast earlier. Once it was free from my grasp, a weight lifted, but the worries remained.

My own mortality was staring me in the face. I am a mother, a Mimi, a wife, a daughter, an aunt, the thought of leaving my family so tragically was enough to give anyone pause. Those thoughts sat with me for days before I could finally let it go. They now sit in the deep darkness.

That family that is forever changed? Hel keeps silent watch. Their grief is a battle. One that will take a lifetime to heal. She has my gratitude for the wisdom she has taught me. I am a warrior, but I am one of her warriors.

To read more of our posts about Hel and the work we did this month, you can find a bit of a compendium here.

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Full Moon Journey to Hel’s Hall

Image from Unsplash- Photographer Ganapathy Kumar

All the Pieces

This month, we have created many things to bring this journey to fruition. In this meditation, we put them all together. With them all working in conjunction, this is a powerful ritual in and of itself. Leaving some extra time AFTER the journey is imperative to return yourself fully into your waking consciousness. A snack of some sort can aid that transition back.

Why the Full Moon?

The full moon is the perfect time for a journey such as this one. We’re releasing the outdated ways of thinking and removing the things that do not serve our greater good. Thus it is the perfect time to descend to her hall and drink in the wisdom she has to share. It allows for us to leave behind the self we were, to emerge in that beautiful state of metamorphosis that is who we are becoming.

Hel’s Hall Journey Oil

I created an oil to annoint ourselves and our candles with to help further deepen our connection to her. As well as make that descent to her hall even easier. Both the oil and incense were used daily to deepen the work with her.

Created by Ivy

The Sigil

Some of the most powerful magic comes from sigilcraft. You can inscribe candles, draw them on yourself, draw on paper over and over as a form of meditation, or carry them with you as powerful protection. I have divined one for you, Witches, to use however you’d like. To aid you in your work with Hel.

Hel’s Sigil by Ivy

The Meditation

The meditation was a joint effort, between Kaycee and I. While I wrote it, she recorded it for you all. You will find it below. My eternal gratitude to Hel, as she guided our hands every step of the way. To help us create a meaningful ritual journey for you.

Hel’s Hall Journey. Written by Ivy Laine. Recorded by Kaycee Reeves.

We thank you so much for spending October with us. We aren’t done yet! The Dead wish to speak.

More to check out

Welcoming Hel to DGC
Check us out on Facebook and Instagram
And the official DGC Spotify Playlist

Darkest Blessings,
Ivy