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!

You can find DGC on Facebook and Instagram and you can find Revelations of a Witch on Facebook and Instagram as well as on the web

Hel’s Anthology

Hel: Anthology and Correspondences

Hel is the Norse Goddess of the Underworld (her name means ‘hidden’), psychopomp and ruler, with celebrations at Samhain and Yule. Her zodiac ruler is Scorpio and thus ruled by Pluto (also by Mars, it is said that Pluto is the higher octave of Mars). It is in the darkness, such as the final closing of one’s eyes in bodily form, is where we find her ready to guide us.

Other Correspondences

Number: 9
Plants/Trees: Cedar, Elder, Elm, Juniper (berries too), Myrrh
Animals: Raven, Dog, Serpent, Wolf
Stones: Jet, Obsidian, Black Agate, Onyx
Direction: North
Rune: Haglaz
Lineage: Father – Loki, Mother – Angrboða
Siblings:  Jörmungandr and Fenrir


My favorite print of Hel, you can pick one up from BlackForestForge

There are many in the Norse community who do not believe Hel to be a goddess, but a place for the dead who had not met their fates in battle. Others, due to her parental lineage, believe that she cannot be a true goddess. Semantics aside, we can turn to 9th and early 10th century texts, sagas, and poems from the likes of Þjóðólfr and Bragi Boddason to find references to Hel as a Goddess of death and the underworld prior to the Christian conversion era (Abram, 2003). While most of what we have comes from The Eddas, Abram (2003) outlines how some of these stories were impacted by the incoming Christian doctrine and led to the likes of Snorri making changes to the myths if only to make them more palatable.


Photo by Vlad D. via Unsplash

Reclaiming Herstory

Hel was brought to Odin, along with her siblings once the Gods found out of their existence. It had been foretold that the offspring of Loki would bring about destruction. Odin shackled Jörmungandr and Fenrir, while casting Hel away to Niflheim as the ruler of the place of her name (Hel). Or so the stories have claimed.

Passed down through the lens and voices of men, of those who won wars and could write history as they saw fit, they neglected to mention she took her throne in The Great Hall at her time of choosing.

She then gave Odin his Ravens, Huginn and Munnin, giving Odin the ability to see deeply between the worlds of thought and memory (Billinghurst, 2021). She became the Queen of the Castle, of the Great Hall, and a warm hostess for those who died of illness and old age. She is a Goddess in and of herself, she is ruler and psychopomp, hostess and judge, warmth in the coldest place, both living and dying at the same time. As we all are.

Her magic is in transformation, of letting go to allow space for what inevitably is required of us to evolve. Something must die for something to live, it is the great pattern of nature. She is the guide who can walk us through the darkness of release and bring the warmth that allows something else to thrive in its place.

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.

References

Abram, C. (2003). Representations of the pagan afterlife in medieval Scandinavian literature. Doctoral thesis. University of Cambridge.
Billinghurst, F. (2021). Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms. Moon Books – John Hunt Publishing.
Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences

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

You can find us on Facebook and Instagram and you can find Revelations of a Witch on Facebook and Instagram as well as on the web

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.

The incense blend

Kaycee created a beautiful incense to begin the month and build our relationship with Hel. I have used it every day since I made mine, to deepen my connection and be open to any messages received.

Created by Kaycee

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
Preparing for Hel’s Hall
Check us out on Facebook and Instagram
And the official DGC Spotify Playlist

Darkest Blessings,
Ivy

Hel's Hall

Preparing for Hel’s Hall

This October, we are diving in and preparing for an experience in connecting with the Goddess Hel. We start by understanding her story, her correspondences, and the deeper language of symbols through research. While we have read many books and researched articles on Hel (including scholarly articles), we encourage every witch to take a personal interest in doing their own research before journeying to Hel’s Hall.

The Black Sacred Candle

Before continuing, make you sure you have gotten to review the free 3-part series on the Black Sacred candle starting here.

I find Hel to be dichotomous in many ways, like the dark moon: the time between the end of the last lunar month and the beginning of a new one. As such, I find that the dark moon is the perfect time to create the Black Sacred Candle (BSC) for this Lunar month. To begin creating your BSC, make sure to create the Hel’s Hall Incense in the infographic below.

Side note: Dried Juniper Berries and Star Anise can be a little difficult to grind, so I personally put some in a bag and use a hammer to smash them. I also used Cedar essential oil.

I encourage you to play around with the ingredients as this is a powerful blend.  It does not take much to create your BSC, but I have enjoyed having the extra to use as incense on my journey to her Great Hall.

Additional Items for creating your BSC:

  • Oil of choice
  • Obsidian chips
  • A few additional Juniper berries
  • Aluminum foil (we will be using the oven to get the candle warm so items will stick)
  • Non-stick parchment paper

Directions:

  1. Take a piece of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap your candle in) and place it on your workspace.
  2. Take a piece of non-stick parchment paper (about the same size as your aluminum foil) and place it on top of the aluminum foil. Trick: Fold the edges of the aluminum foil over the top of the edges of the parchment paper to keep it from rolling!
  3. Place a few obsidian chips on the parchment paper and sprinkle a few Juniper Berries there too.
  4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  5. Anoint your candle with your chosen oil.
  6. Lightly coat your candle with the Hel’s Hall Incense you created. Caution: Please make sure there are no large chunks of plant material as these can be dangerous or ‘pop’ during candle burning. As always, please abide by all fire safety rules.
  7. Place your candle onto the parchment/aluminum foil on top of the obsidian chips and Juniper Berries, wrap your candle, twisting the ends, and place in the oven.
  8. DO NOT LEAVE THE KITCHEN (lesson learned the hard way), turn your candle every 2 minutes (this took me about 12 minutes total).

An Altar Space for Hel

Hel is both a Goddess and a place (like I said, very dichotomous) for those who have died from sickness or from old age. This underworld association is also transformative for the living. This leads me feel that she is a chthonic Goddess, so I created an altar that can be near the ground and moved easily by using a picture frame.

The great thing about picture frames is they allow you to create a background and I chose to create a very special sigil.

I placed my BSC on the altar, some Juniper Berries, Obsidian chips, and a couple of cards that came up for me this week. I added the Hagalaz Rune at the direction of Ivy and it really pulled it together in a big way!

Photo by Author

Want to learn more about what is going on Dark Goddesses Collective?

For our October plans click here.

To see Ivy welcome Hel into our space, click here.

You can also find Dark Goddesses Collective on Facebook and Instagram

A candle and a key,

Kaycee

Feature Image Credit: Pixabay

October at Dark Goddesses Collective

Here at Dark Goddesses Collective, part of the work we do is to re-claim the Goddesses of power. To speak their stories through our own eyes, meditations and workings. As well as through the eyes of scholars that have cast off the patriarchal slant placed upon them.
Remember, it is power WITH, not power over.

Usage rights purchased from Shutterstock by DGC

For the month of October, we have some deeply meaningful work and wisdom to share with all of you

Our theme for the month is: The Dead Speak. – Wisdom and practices all about honoring and connecting with our ancestors. Ancestors of both our lineage and those chain breakers who have gone before us.

Our Goddess of the month is: Hel – She is both Goddess and place. She receives half of the dead in Hel, which is in Niflheim. She was cast there by Odin and given authority over 9 worlds. It is Hel who is said to have gifted Huginn and Muninn to Odin.

Some of what we have planned:
A Ritual of Releasing – Using a poppet filled with all the things you wish to walk away from to be born anew, a firepit, and a call to Hel to welcome her into the space of Dark Goddesses Collective. This will be video recorded on the evening of October 1st and will be placed here on the blog as soon as it is uploaded to Youtube.

An incense blend for the month to honor our Mighty Dead as the veil thins.

Using the Sacred Black Candle in the month of October – Mini workshop article.

Meditation(s) and/or channeled messages via audio.

The Dead Speak Divination method.

An article on Hel, herself, her history, the areas she resides over, ways to connect with her to heal the shadow self.

Setting up Chthonic altars to our mighty dead, with different examples.

Honoring our dead and the spirit of land. Protocols for visiting graveyards, connecting with our ancestors, collecting earth for our work in the year ahead, and offerings to the land as payment.

As the month progresses, other work may present itself. So be sure to subscribe to our blog feed for new posts. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

A candle & a key,
With Darkest Gratitude,
Ivy & Kaycee