“What can I do now? I know that it’s the dark half of the year, and Wiccans tend to shy away from spellwork at this time. What do you suggest?” my friend, Jessica, asked.
“It’s a great time for inner work,” I replied.
With Samhain now passed, we can go into the vast landscape within. We can discover things about ourselves and how the world influences us.
Many of us, at this time, do mirror work. However, this is advanced self-work and should not be tried without a High Priestess or another elder to guide you.
On the other hand, you can do the following exercises to address your inner world.
1. Meditation on Self-improvement
Meditation invokes great power. It can bring us up or bring us down.
Meditation serves as a doorway into the vast expanse of the mind. As you explore your own mind, you discover both the light half and the Shadow-Self half.
Now, in this dark part of the year, we find it to be a good time to work on the Shadow-Self.
Several years ago, I faced intense, personal self-esteem problems. (With a diligent practice and guidance of mentors, I have freed myself from much of my self-esteem difficulties.)
This following meditation really helped me when I needed it most.
May this meditation be helpful to you as you seek to shine light in the dark recesses of your mind. I offer this process, so you can enhance your self-esteem.
Close your eyes.
Breathe in and out deeply . . . Relax.
Breathe out the stress of the day.
Breathe in relaxation and peace.
You are still aware of the light that is in the room.
Now the light begins to fade.
As it fades you feel total comfort. You feel safe and secure in the darkness.
Now, a new form of light blossoms. It surrounds and wraps you in its loving energy. This light is the light of the Gods.
It is a light of love and compassion. Take it in.
As you take this light and understanding in, you can now see with the Gods’ eyes.
You can now see yourself as they see you, pure, beautiful, whole. You are a masterpiece of their creation. You were made with love, and you are a manifestation of their love. You are love.
This understanding fills you.
With this new understanding you are now ready to return to the physical world.
You know that even though you may leave the light at this time it is never truly gone.
It’s a gentle transition as the light begins to fade around you.
Slowly at first. It gets darker and darker.
As it fades you feel total comfort. You feel safe and secure in the darkness.
Then a familiar light returns, the light in the room where you started.
It gradually gets brighter and brighter.
You are back in the room. You have brought the calm and peace and happy feelings back with you.
Now, gently open your eyes.
I hope you find comfort with this meditation.
2. Make tinctures, balms, and potions from the herbs you collected earlier in the year.
This is a great indoor activity when the nights grow longer.
Infusion or Potion
What is an infusion or potion? They’re the result of soaking herbs in hot water to bring out their properties. Human beings have healed themselves through herbs since prehistoric times. I suggest the book, The New Healing Herbs: The Essential Guide to More Than 125 of Nature’s Most Potent Herbal Remedies by Michael Castleman.
Warning: only use herbs that you are certain to be food grade. Talk to your doctor before using any herb. Why? Herbs by themselves can cause harmful effects. For example, chamomile can cause uterine contractions which may lead to miscarriage, so pregnant women are advised to avoid chamomile!
Furthermore, herbs can mix with each other or with medications in harmful ways. You need accurate information before you ingest any herbs. Find credible professionals who have expertise in alternative medicine because many western medicine doctors do not have great knowledge in this area.
The simplest example of an infusion, brew or potion is tea. We drink teas, but not all potions or brews are meant to be ingested.
Second warning: Never make a potion with poisonous plants!
After you have done some research and consulted a doctor and have chosen a safe herb, you can make a tea. Heat water to almost a boil and add selected herbs into a ceramic container, like a cup.
Pour the water over herbs and place a cover to steep the brew. The cover keeps most of the steam in and this helps keep the essential oils in your potion. Then let the portion steep for about 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the mixture. We have been talking about tea; however, you can use brews for other uses. For example, you can use brews to cleanse spaces by asperging areas or by washing the floors and other surfaces with it. You may anoint things like sachets, talismans and amulets. Herbs may be used for a ritual bath. Once again, be sure the plants are safe for whatever use.
You can also use the sun to make potions. Take a clear jar and fill it with water and your herb mixture. Next place it in direct sunlight for six hours or so and then use.
You can use potions . . .
- for drinking in a tea (when appropriate)
- to wash your floors or wipe furniture.
- to augment your bath water for when you rest and soak.
Having a relaxing bath with a hot cup of tea on a cold winter night may be just what the Goddess ordered!
3. Concentrate on your bonds with friends and family.
The dark time serves well with opportunities for getting closer to friends, family, and the God and Goddess. Aim to strengthen your bonds with loved ones. Here is a recipe that will bring everyone together on a cold night.
Kay’s Lamb Stew
2 packets Knorr’s Leek Soup
2 tsp. Olive Oil
2 large cloves garlic
1 small bunch green onions
2 packets stewing lamb
3 Red Potatoes
Two packets of Knorr’s Leek soup mix, made according to instructions, in a large pot on the stove so you can keep stirring it.
Next to it in a deep frying pan, put in olive oil on medium heat. Slice up two large cloves of garlic, one small bunch of green onions, and put them in the frying pan to cook for about 5-7 minutes, just to take the bite out of them.
Then (cut up meat beforehand in small rectangles) put in lamb meat in frying pan to cook with garlic and onions. Brown meat on all sides and just enough to cook through without being tough.
Put the lamb and onions into the soup, and have it on low to simmer. Cut up red potatoes into small rectangles, and add to soup.
Then just keep the whole thing on simmer until the potatoes are done. This can be refrigerated and reheated, and it gets better with age.
* * *
In summary, Wiccans generally focus on spellwork during the light half of the year.
Now, in this dark half of the year, take advantage of opportunities to do inner work. As you’ve seen, we’ve covered powerful processes that offer you chances to grow and deepen in your Wiccan practice.
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