The scents have returned, bringing with them the same dreams and symbols. We do not wish to be understood as a form of conquest, they tell me. The magick is that you smell us at all; the awareness that you sense our presence is what we seek.
We speak slowly yet intensely, hearts lost in each other, tenacious old lovers, and longtime friends. We talk about everything; everything is uncovered. There’s an easy intimacy, a safety and comfort, but also a realism and sense of practicality.
In one of the dreams, I am in an corridor of intersections beneath the ground, much like the underground streets that link to the metro system and lower floors of a mall found in some colder cities. It is filled with commotion, busy humans walking with purpose to many places. I stand at the centre, aware of my own direction, but curious about the other paths.
Magick is not just about protection, cursing, curing, conjuring, and exorcizing. These are useful qualities that Magick possesses, and of course any practitioner is drawn to these, as life can be hard, and we all need as much help as we can get. Yet, much like in saying that sex is only for reproduction, to reduce Magick to these expressions robs the intimacy that is shared between the witch, the land, the spirits, and the energies. I have asked myself, is it my own idea to cast a spell, or is the energies around me that have invited me into this splendorous circle? Is Magick the reminder when we are walking in wild and lonely places, that the shared experience with the Unknown is the greatest love-making of all? What of each smoking altar, each candle lit, oil applied, flight taken, chanted words, and sacred vision? I desire to be seen by the Unseen, as much as I yearn for Them All. And occur it shall.
The Winter is a season like no other. She is demanding, unforgiving, unyielding, yet, she also is raw, tender, and intimate. Her face may look like the Crone, but her inner landscape is greener than any Spring.
As I was writing this approaching Winter Solstice e-gathering, The Hidden Valley of Rest, the vision continues to show me a landscape that invites descension. A slow, attentive, and gentle one, that may seem rocky at first (due to our resistance), but one that grants a stable clearing when you reach the bottom. This sweet valley holds the pause our bodies have been asking of us, this valley is a space where we can attend to ourselves wholly.
And yet, this Valley of Rest is mostly hidden. Our eyes are too affixed to the summits of the mountains that surround it; our feet keep propelling us forward to newer heights, our stomachs hungry and seldom satiated.
No spell can make us rest. Only we can choose it.
Being able to recognize when we need solitude and rest, as well as granting ourselves the permission to go there, is compassionate and necessary work that resources us to navigate life, challenges, and the trying emotions / sensations that may come.
If stress, activity, distraction, overload, stimulation, or heartbreak has displaced you, step into this Hidden Valley Of Rest this Winter Solstice night.
Descend into quiet.
Descend into slowness and stillness.
Descend into giving yourself the attention you crave.
Descend into the sacred darkness.
Descend into the space in-between.
Descend into listening.
Descend into a deep sigh of the heart and mind.
Descend into a cradling.
Descended into a protected circle.
Descend into the trust that we can rest.
A single flame can light a million candles.
And when all the candles are gathered back together, each one flickering out, there’s only one flame that they all return to, the flame Unseen.
There is only one Fire. It is as old as the first flame that has ever been lit. This Element is older than any of us. When we sit by Fire in the dark, we are experiencing union with the Old One and the Spirit World.
In many myths found across time and space on this Earth, there is a story that goes something like this:
An initiate intending on retrieving something precious to them, leaves their Summer, their Sun, or their Light, and descends into their Winter, Death, or Underworld, and unwittingly becomes a cost (sacrifice) paid to make the retrieval possible. No friend, stranger or enemy can help them on this journey. It is via the act of separation that makes space for a reunification. After three days and three nights, that which is precious becomes embodied into the initiate and the initiate “ascends” into a new form. There is oneness shared with the Unknown. They are at once Known and Unknown and these meanings are at once meaningful and meaningless. The initiate is initiated, and is seen as Divine.
The story of the Winter Solstice holds the entrance to this cycle, to this journey. This ritual is unique, and universal at the same time. And hence why it’s necessary to rest first, to rest along the way, and to rest as we emerge out of it. The story has finished before we have even begun; such is any great cycle.
I don’t know what it means to say Season’s Greetings or Happy Holidays anymore. It is at once void of any real meaning, and so full of real meaning that it is difficult to know where to even begin.
So if we could suspend the usual greetings this time of the year, I wish to share with you what’s been on my heart (and body), and some words from the Spirits of this Season:
May whatever place in the cycle of Winter you find yourself in, that you are resourced.
May you allow yourself to hear, to speak, to see, to be seen.
May your body’s and other physical needs be met.
May you relish in the beauty of meeting others, human and more-than-human.
May you lean on the witches in your life, and may they lean on you.
May the Fire be forever ablaze in you, granting light and warmth.
May you dream.
May you make meaning.
May you simply be aware of the spirits’ loving presence.
May Magick be with you.
So shall it be.
Following the spirits,
Animist Spirit-Medium and Founder of Ceremonie
Join us for The Hidden Valley of Rest: A Winter Solstice E-Gathering on Wednesday, December 21 from 6-8PM PST. Recording included for all ticket holders. Early bird savings until December 7. GET TICKETS
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