Recap – October 2 – October 10: Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur is a time of renewal, new beginnings, and of starting over. This high holy time in Judaism signifies the “Days of Awe.” This is a time of repentance, but not in the material sense. It is very much on the interpersonal level, focused on relationships. These are themes that we can all relate to, and fall is a perfect time to reflect, take stock of our year, to look back on what we created, reap our rewards, and feel renewed. We can look at the relationships we cultivated and reflect on them to see if we have any amends to make. Things may have been coming up for you as you’ve explored your shadow side, so now you can take this holy time of atonement to address wrongs you may have incurred on others and yourself. Really take time to reflect on where you can do better going forward based on the previous year’s choices and actions. Did you unleash the less than desirable side of your shadow on anyone this year? (It’s okay if you did, this isn’t about egotistical judgements on ourselves, it’s about forgiveness.) But now is the time to make it right.
Invoking the Dark Goddesses for deep shadow work
In our Sabbatical content, we explored the origins of the label ‘dark goddess’, and now we will continue to dig even deeper into our own “challenging aspects” as we continue our alchemical transformation. Our three dark goddesses are perfect for this time of the year, as we can invoke them to help us with our own challenging aspects, aka our shadows. I would like us to take a moment to reflect, to consider which aspects of your personality (especially your shadow) you feel would fall under the label “challenging aspects” in the opinions of yourself or others. I want you to explore how many of your beliefs regarding who you are and think you should be stem from societal belief systems put in place hundreds of years ago by the patriarchal cultures which engulfed many of the polytheistic religions and feminine-led civilizations of our ancient ancestors.
Where and when did we as women develop our moral compass? Who shaped it? Is it serving us now?
Taking an honest look at these deep seated beliefs is a massive part of our deep transformational work. Because as we move through our alchemical processes, we can’t transmute what we don’t see. It’s in denying these aspects of the self that they hold power over us. Invoke these goddesses to really explore and embrace the aspects of your own self that extend outside the current societal standards of what a woman should be, and acknowledge that these are indeed traits of powerful feminine energies, some of the oldest on the planet, as you begin to integrate and embrace your light and dark. Give yourself permission to set aside old, out-dated beliefs that no longer serve you. Ask yourself, “Why do I believe this trait is _______? Who says so?” When we really stop to examine beliefs, we often find they were instilled by someone else who meant well and passed on what they believed. And this is where we get to choose which beliefs resonate with us and which do not. It’s very transformational.
Journal prompts for Hecate, Lilith, and Morrigan
Which aspects of Morrigan do you see in yourself in regards to the shape-shifter, warrioress, or crone? Which areas can you invoke Morrigan to assist in your life? What is your response to battle or conflict? When I think of Morrigan I feel _____________________.
What do you do and how do you feel when you approach a crossroads? How do you handle the unknown when you are in transition? What aspects of the different phases of life most appeal to you? Which bring fear? When I think of Hecate I feel ________________.
Are you in touch with your divine sensual nature and sexuality? What blocks or negative feelings do you have surrounding you sexual nature? What does your inner gold look like to you? What are your fears surrounding your deepest shadows? When I think of Lilith I feel ________________.
Our October theme – The Alchemical work of transmutation
Our alchemical work continues as the Wheel of the Year pauses here, between Fall Equinox and Samhain. As we dig deep into this work, let us remember that in pagan and earth-based traditions, time is considered cyclical rather than linear, as we are taught in the present. All of time operates in cycles that mirror aspects of nature, like moon cycles, growth cycles, and gestation. This Wheel is like a calendar. And the turning of the wheel, like the turning of calendar pages, marks transition of time, and connects us to our ancestors who lived before the invention of the Roman calendar, as well as to seasonal celebrations with magical and historical meaning.
Thus, our Sanctum work finds us here, in the transitional and wonderful season of Autumn, when we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Samhain, and Diwali. Samhain is the Celtic new year and a time of connection with ancestors who are deceased. It’s the final harvest, where we pull the dead crops from the ground and we assess. The veil between our living world and the outer realms reaches its thinnest at this time of year, and in many ways the veil between our inner and outer selves is thin, too. So we turn inwards, perhaps at first peering timidly at the darkness we’ve avoided for so long. We see ourselves. Maybe we find our courage (we’ve all got it) and we pull the veil aside and take a step into the inner realms of shadow. Nothing jumps out and bites us so we take another step. Suddenly we realize that maybe it’s not as bad in here as we’ve been hyping it up to be. We feel a surge of connection to ourself in this great unknown. At our own pace we journey deeper. When we are ready, we dive into our depths or maybe we edge our way in an inch at a time until we are submerged in our own Prima Materia. As we swim through and explore the Prima Materia, our inner darkness, the world itself grows darker and nights extend their reach beyond day here in the northern hemisphere. We are in sync with the turning of the great Wheel. We have found the space of magic. True magic occurs when we align our magical work with the great Wheel and use nature’s energy to fuel our sacred practice.
Last month, we initiated the 1st stage of our deep alchemical process, and now we move on to phase 2: Purification.
The second phase calls for the cleansing and clearing of the muck and darkness we’ve been trudging through these past few weeks. Remember that in the Prima Materia, the dark space of formless shadow, we lose many of our senses and are forced to learn new ways of adapting to old challenges. We learn new behaviors which don’t fit the same old patterns. So now as we become clean, we purify or detoxify from that darkness. We seek to wash away the topsoil, the sand, the layers of clutter, in order to reveal what is underneath. It’s like when you uncover a beautiful seashell on the beach and it’s covered with sand and perhaps seaweed or barnacles. You take it and wash it clean and all of a sudden, you see its beautiful swirling patterns and colors, and it’s free from the growth and ‘baggage’ of life in the salt water.
This work is about scraping all the layers of growth off of our innermost being so we too can shine. Deep cleansing work like this is a practice and it calls for clearing the Root Chakra, so if you want to engage stone companions on this part of our journey, your best allies will be black tourmaline, almandine garnet, hematite, petalite, and other grounding stones. Remember, you went through whatever you went through. Your journey is yours, it’s shaped you, wounded you, molded you, scarred you, and taught you. Nothing can change that. You don’t have to carry around the weight of it anymore. Purifying it doesn’t diminish your journey, it just lightens your load moving forward.
JOURNAL QUESTIONS FOR 2ND STAGE ALCHEMY: PURIFICATION
What has become clear to you about your shadow while doing your work with the Prima Materia? What do you know about your shadow self? What are the darkest bits of self you found while exploring your Prima Materia?
Which of your senses came alive during this process? Did you deepen your intuition or find that your sight, or hearing, or sense of smell or taste was heightened?
Which parts of your shadow are serving you well? If you feel that none are, then why?
As we begin to leave the darkness behind, I feel _____________________.
If you were to put your light and shadow selves in conversation with each other, what would they say?
October 30th: Diwali
The Festival of Lights. A fitting name since its Sanskrit origin means “light” or “lamp.” This ancient Hindu festival is one of the most important of sacred days, known as the biggest, brightest, and happiest of Hindu celebrations. Diwali symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, and is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains all around the world.
This five day celebration coincides with the Hindu New Year (October’s New New Moon), thus it is also a powerful time for new beginnings and intention setting. Each of the five days is devoted to a different aspect of the celebration, starting with Dhanteras on the first day when praise is given to Lakshmi for her bounty. The second day, Naraka Chaturdashi, centers on eradicating laziness and evil from our lives, so that bounty is possible. The third and main night is Diwali, on which the lighting, feasting, and fun takes place. The fourth night, Diwali Padva, honors the husband and wife relationship. And the final fifth night is dedicated to the brother-sister bond.
While Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, is a focal point of the merriment, this occasion asks us to look deeper. Diwali is the time when we value true riches over transient wealth – moments when we embrace good over evil, moments when we empower hope over despair. Light a lantern on the third night, and place offerings out to honor Lakshmi, while filling your altar with lots of shining tea lights or small candles. Clean and clear out your home to create space for new abundance to enter.