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Samhain: Magick Retrieval Shamanic Ritual

Samhain: Magick Retrieval Shamanic Ritual

the house of twigs smahain catherine winther halloween thot witch

2018 has been a brutal year. The horrors that usually lurk and whisper are rising and raging, baiting fights and all-out war over that which should not be divisive: human rights and the health of our home planet. They have radicalized and weaponized compassion and cruelty, defining and bending them to their will and purpose as they see fit. And that should not sit easy in any witch’s chest.

While the above knowledge is clear, it is not easy to live with. 2018 has been a brutal year and it’s not getting easier. So, it is important that you use this Samhain to power up. To know your power and be full of it, so full that you shimmer and bleed power. It quakes in your wake and sparks under your every footstep.

It only takes a single spark to start a fire. It’s time for witches to get darkly powerful and wonderfully sparky. The harder our oppressors grind us down, the more slippery and dangerous we become. The time for negotiation and understanding has passed.

Dark witches? Light witches? White witches? No. Magick in neutral. Trumpism is showing us the evils of dividing. We must unite. Were all witches and all the power is there for us to use as we see fit. For years witches have bound and limited themselves because of fantastical moralities and fairy-tales. If you find yourself scared of certain magicks, ask yourself why? Witches have been demonized and killed for as history allows us to remember. But magick is our power, our right, especially as women. Who the fuck has the right to limit our power? If we don’t know right from wrong and good from bad we have much bigger problems than worrying about the magick we wield. So stop fretting over the details and claim what is yours… What is ours: magick. We are all witch.

Witch is both the snake and the phoenix. We do not stop and we do not burn. We are the elements, not the victims of them. But sometimes we can scatter ourselves and our power; sometimes by design, sometimes we are forced to. Much like soul retrievals there are also magick retrievals. It is time to retrieve and own all of your lost and scattered magick. Stay and read with me now as I show you how. Trust me.
On the eve of Samhain time and space fold, doorways open, and the Pleiades, the seven doves of light, shine their brightest for our protection.
When I was a child my favourite day of the year was always November first. I have no idea why I had a favourite day of the year. I used to believe it was just one of those childhood things; favourite colour, favourite animal, favourite day of the year. When I was still young I met someone who I believed to be my soul-mate. I fell in love. Their birthday was in November. I used to think that perhaps, perhaps even as a child I somehow knew that they were finally here on Earth with me and I could finally breathe a sigh of relief after so many lifetimes alone. I used to be such a romantic and sentimental witch.

After years of wandering alone I eventually found my way back to the witchcraft path and I decided to explore my spirituality in earnest. It was then I came to learn about Beltane and Samhain. In South, November first is Beltane. But in the Northern hemisphere Samhain falls on November first. But like most pagan festivals it is celebrated on the eve of the date — Halloween, the thirty-first of October. As my understanding of Samhain grew so did my love for my favourite day.

I had always wanted to move North. First it was to Ireland, then the U.K., then Switzerland, and now Canada and the U.S.A. I can’t explain why I am drawn North, all I know is that the land calls to me. I love my home in Australia and the quality of life it affords me, but my heart undoubtedly beats and resides in the soil of the North. As such, I tend to find my body is more in synch with the North, so when I can I try to spend Samhain in the North and soak up the magick of the festival that has enchanted me since I was a child.

I have been quiet on my Weaver Tarot website for a while, but that’s a story for another time. But what I will say is that in this time of silence, healing, and intense grieving, I also lost my magick. My hands were just skin and bone, dull and heavy meat-things that thumped with life but no magick. My vision became blinkered as did my thoughts. Due to my illness lost part of my vision. My dreams were grey and my heart griped and moaned. I felt like I was a burden in the world and that every step was a triumph against the hopelessness that was closing in and threatening to suffocate me.

A witch without her magick is a sorry beast indeed.

However, losing my magick was the best thing that could have ever happen to me. I will explain how I lost it, why it was positive, how I got it back, and why Samhain is the best time to celebrate its return.

Samhain is the Witches New Year. It is the night everything ends and everything begins again. The veil is thin. The dead are close and the spirits are closer; their whisperings wind through the trees and the houses. The fae dart and dance between the here and there, and the Divine lean their ears close. In some cases the Divine will step foot into our world and join in the celebrating with us. On rare occasions there can even be inter-dimensional slippage on this night.

This is our power night. This is the night witches rise.

There is no doubt, you will know and feel the magick of this night. You’ll taste it on your tongue and feel it sweep up your spine. It’s the night to finally banish what you’ve been meaning to. It is the night to conjure the greatest of wonderous new beginnings. All things finished and begun on this night, all spells and bewitchings, all goodbyes and welcomings, all ends and beginnings, will be kissed and sealed with a dark and wonderous power beyond words. The Universe itself will seal your words with stars and planetary mists and storms. Do you feel it?

Samhain marks moving into the dark half of the year. Some of my clients and students have questioned why the Witches’ New Year starts in the dark. The prevailing understanding and the understanding that I follow is that before there was life and light there was only darkness. Before time there was only the void. It was from this dark void that all life, light, and magick was born. As such, the newness of a witches year first blooms in the shadow, the secret, and the quiet of Samhain. Samhain is the witches’ womb; an inky soup of possibility.

All thresholds become liminal on Samhain thus making it easier to converse with the divine and entice magick to rise. Samhain is therefore the perfect time to reconnect with and retrieve your unique magick. As well as the air being thick with magick, your own magick will also be closer to the surface on Samhain. You’ll likely feel a friendly bristle on your neck, a gentle pulse of lightening in your palm, or even feel the call of the wild in your bones as nature sings you home and back to your roots. If you have been finding it hard to connect with your magick, or simply felt lost or stagnant on your path, this is the perfect time to honour and reconnect with your magick. Just as you reach for it, it will reach for you on Samhain night. It wants to gift you power. Don’t shrink. Don’t run. You are worthy. You are worthy of it all.

Samhain comes with even greater blessings. Any of your spiritual and ancestral kin who have died, be they human, animal, or otherwise, will be nearer on this night. This means you can cross into other worlds and they can cross into ours. They will be able to answer your questions, bring messages, and support you as you work with your magick on this night. This is why divination is so popular on Samhain. Divination tools are akin to helping you knock on an already open door and announce your presence for those loved ones who wait for you.

As you can imagine, protection is a must before you start on any of these journeys. Consider reaching out to the Pleiades. Their light will guide you and keep you safe on this night.

Samhain eve is also about feasting and bonfires. The fires bring light to the dark and afford protection and warmth. It is good practice to lay an extra place at your table for the dead. Leave some food for your ancestors on the table. Leave a small offering on your altar for Hecate or whichever goddess you feel most comfortable with. But just keep in mind, this is traditionally the night of Hecate. It is also the night of the returning God and the dark. As the light weakens and the bitter mists close in, the Goddess descends into the Underworld and the God rises and prepares for the wild hunt while the fae spill forth to create beautiful mischief. This is why some people wear masks to protect themselves during this night. The masks and costumes confuse the spirits and demons.

While it is usually Western tradition to paint anything supernatural in a fearsome light please try to understand that you are largely safe when you walk between worlds especially if you protect yourself correctly. Some say fear can attract the dark. The thing is, fear IS the dark. It doesn’t need to attract anything further in order to confuse and scare you. What usually attracts the demons is the honest desire to see them. It is curiosity and a real hunger for drama and excitement that attracts them. As such, you are safe so long as you take the right steps to stay safe and keep your intent pure. Don’t let the wildly skewed images of the supernatural and the occult close your mind and lock you in fear. You have a right to explore your ancestry without fear. You have a right to experiment and play with magick without fear. Anyone who says different is out to scam you. Ever notice how the people pushing fear also sell the solution for it?

When the feasting is done, when the towns grow sleepy and still, when the fires have seethed their last red-tongued flame and curled up into amber coals, and the only company you are left with is your own, it is time to be with your magick. It is time to call all of your rightful magick home and be whole once again.

When I talk about your magick, I am not talking about those neat witchy aesthetics that you hang your identity off, I mean the magick that is at your core. A magick that breathes life into your body and ignites your heart. It is a magick that is beyond classification. A magick that no-one can deny. A magick that we all share and experience but at the same time, is utterly unique to every single one of us. Your magick is a fluid and wonderful thing, always changing but at its very core—always the same. It is always yours, just yours. No one else’s. It was with you before you were born. It will be with you after you die. Your magick has always been and will always be forever. Eternal.

When I lost my magick it was scary and bleak. It tested my faith in the Universe and belief in myself.

Life without my magick felt grey and numb. At first I panicked and tried to get my magick back but the answer that kept coming back to me through all the divination, spellwork, and meditation was a simple ‘no’. In the end I had to accept things as they were. I was already in deep mourning and losing my magick just compounded the pain.

It was fucking hard. Not only had a lost a huge part of myself and my life along with my employment, I had also lost a coping mechanism for dealing with grief. Magick is something I am good at and it was just… gone. It all became too much and the only healthy thing I could do was to walk away, let it be, and focus on mourning. It’s not unusual to take a magickal hiatus in order to refresh and renew your powers, but this wasn’t a choice and I was already in a dark place. I didn’t need to renew, I needed to feel supported. Or so I thought.

But after a many long night and despite my raging self-pity, I did manage to find some perspective and ask myself in open and earnest way: ‘What good is a witch without her powers?’ Who was I when I couldn’t feel or access my magick? Is that all that defined me as a witch? No. A witch is a wise and powerful woman in all circumstances. While that sounds nice and simple on paper, it wasn’t. I was still in pain without my magick but I understood there may be an inherent lesson in it. My job was to learn it and learn it well.

Being without my magick is the one thing that has taught me most about my magick. In its absence and in my grief I came to understand my magick and how it impacts my life and my work. I developed a greater sense of gratitude for my magick. But more than that, the absence of my magick gave me the wisdom to see who I am and what my worth was as a person and as a witch beyond magick.

It is hard to describe what it’s like being without magick, especially because I honour all life as a kind of magick. All I can equate it to is the dark sparks of creation and destruction that pool in my palms and hover under my tongue were no longer there. It was near impossible to catch the words and feelings of spirit, and my dreams were dead. I fell asleep and woke without a single sliver of imagery or feeling from the dreaming hours. With many of my instincts suddenly falling silent there was a sense of being blind. It became harder to create and connect. My heart became unsure and of course my self-doubts ballooned. I must have done something terrible to have lost my magick. It must be my fault. I must be broken. But once I got over myself I came to understand that this may just be the way things had to be and I needed to get on with my life, no matter how hard or strange it seemed.

Witchcraft like any other path comes with ups and downs. In order to work as a witch or any magickal role in society, learning how to roll with the ups and downs of the craft is essential, from the highs of a blissful and communal Beltane fires or those precious moments where you know you and the divine are united, to those low moments where a spell just won’t work, a poltergeist is being stubborn, or a coven is imploding. Whether or not the absence of my magick was permanent or not, I had to keep moving forward. And so I did. In my sadness and my pain, I kept going and I came to know who I was without my magick. I came to know myself as a powerful witch who could still live and love and care and create even in the absence of magick. I was and will always be powerful.

I can’t say when or how my magick came back but it did, spark by spark. And as it slowly returned I came to treasure and understand it in a deeper and far more intimate way than ever before. I was far more sensitive to my magick. This allowed me to wield it in a much more controlled and precise way. My magick returned but it was different and in turn it changed me. While the process of my magick returning felt new, the magick was far from new, it was ancient, lighter, more powerful, darker, and richer. It also felt more open and fluid than before; open to change and growth and renewal. That is, hopefully, in the future my magick shouldn’t have to leave to be renewed.

As I started to dream again and I finally felt the time was right to actively seek out my magick. The following ritual is a result of those meditations and explorations along with some wise words from one of my teachers.

Magick Retrieval Shamanic Ritual

We are all moving around on this web of life together. We constantly cycle closer and further from each other and the centre. While we experience life and death in a linear fashion that isn’t necessarily how time works on the infinitely large and delicate web of Grandmother Spider. She weaves creation, time, and fate. Her web is the background to our lives, it cradles and supports us.

If you were to look closely at her web it is scattered with knots, crossings, dew drops, blood crystals etc. All over the web you can find different versions of you and your lives, past present and future. Depending on what you have been through, you can also find scattered pieces of your magick.

There are various reasons our magick gets scattered. Someone can steal it from us. We can shatter and spread our magick either because we are afraid of ourselves, or perhaps we are not ready, or perhaps we split and shatter and spread our magick so we can keep it safe from any approaching enemy. Trauma can also force our magick to separate.

We can also find ourselves in possession of other peoples’ magick and not necessarily through ill intent. While stealing magick is not a good thing, it can happen and can carry over from other lives into this one. Maybe someone gifted you their magick to help you or even to try and trap you. Maybe you mistook it for your own magick. It is also very easy to become enmeshed and tangled with other people’s magick when you work closely together.

Whatever the reason you have someone else’s magick, try to resist getting caught up in blaming yourself rather, focus on this ritual and on releasing anything that is not yours, not only for the good of others but also so you are open and free to welcome your own magick when it returns. How will you know when your magick returns? How do you know when you are home? You’ll feel it in your bones, in your blood, and in your soul. And you will smile.

Supplies: I won’t dictate what supplies to use. This is your spell for your magick. Adapt it as you see fit and trust your intuition regarding what herbs, candles, crystals etc., to use. Just make sure you educate yourself on the typical tools used at Samhain. Try not to get too complicated but at the same time have fun and get creative.

Step one: Cleanse your sacred space, yourself, and your tools.
Step two: Set up the necessary protection. Don’t forget to ask the Pleiades for extra help if you need it. They shine for you.
Step three: Find some fitting music and put it on quietly. It’s best to have something quiet with a good beat. Personally, I prefer the beat of my own heart.
Step four: Call in helpful ancestors and divine kin.
Step five: Cast your circle and get comfortable in a meditative position. If you are inexperienced I strongly suggest you have another witch with you to guide you through this process.
Step six: Focus your thoughts on releasing any magick that was not yours to keep. Send it on its way with love and if it feels right, send it with love. But stay focused. However that magick appears to you in your mind either as cords or auric waves etc., visualize them disappearing in love.
Step seven: Conclude the releasing part of the ritual by dancing with fire and shaking it all out.
Step eight: Settle into your circle again and invite your guides, ancestors, the divine to stand with you as you open yourself up to welcoming back any aspects of your magick that have been missing. Pay careful attention to the nature of what is returning and how and where. Is it a dark mist settling into your bones? A flaming crystal between your brows? Stars in your fingers? Remember! You can always say ‘No’, even to yourself if it doesn’t feel right.
Step nine: Envisage what this new magick is, is it many parts or one big part? What is their role? Do they feel old or new? How do they make you feel? What do you need to do to help these new magicks incorporate? Spend some time asking this new magick questions. If you need to write it down, have a notebook by your side so you don’t lose track or forget anything.
Step ten: Finally, consult your ancestors and the divine. Is there anything they themselves need? Feel free to debrief with them if you need to. That is what they are there for and some people will find this Magick Retrieval confronting perhaps even triggering. (Don’t forget your self-care. You are responsible for you.) Thank them for their help.
Step eleven: Close down the circle and complete the ritual by grounding yourself and your new magick with a pre-prepared honey cake and tea.

Celebrate your magick.

My magick died and was born again. It almost took me with it. As I moved through this process I came to see that split and scattered magick wasn’t uncommon but I also learned it was possible to start work on gathering all that magick back. And right now? In this world? We all need all the magick we can get.

Times have been rough and some people like myself had had to withdraw to cope. Others that have persisted in the face of adversity have found themselves exhausted. With the alt-right gaining traction in the world it is more important than ever that witches pull in all their power.

The alt-right has a long history of taking our magick and twisting it to suit their own perverse and evil agenda. They’ve done it before. They are doing it now. You know they are. You can feel it. Acid on the air. A wrongness in the light. They are the silence of God. Even as I write this, there is danger. Words are dangerous. Use them.

Know this: retrieving your magick will not only empower you, it will disempower those that are actively seeking to kill off minorities such as witches.

We have to meet the alt-right on even ground and make sure to take back anything that belongs to the witches and destroy those who would dare abuse our divine and our power.

Evil lives loud and proud in the world now. It has wormed its way in like a virus and come to bloom horribly in our faces. What are you going to do?

Samhain comes to us like a gift. This night is void. Everything and nothing is possible and permitted this night. Who are you? Who do you want to be? What is it to be witch? What is your magick? What will you become? Are you ready to be all that you could be an more?

Take back your magick. Get powerful. Stop second guessing, there’s no more time. We are out of time. The only thing left to do now is fight. And to fight you need all your power and all your magick. Go get ‘em.

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Dr. Catherine ‘West’ Winther is a retired psychologist and passionate LGBTQIA feminist who comes from a long family line of of creatrixes, witches, and wolves. Through her online coven at WeaverTarot.com she offers readings, spell-craft, curios, and counseling. Her passion is holding sacred shadow spaces and fostering alchemy through conversation. She aids healing and growth through encouraging big play, big magick, big nature, cackling, sensuality, and creativity. Freedom is our right and our responsibility. Let us slip these human skins and find our feral selves. Come roll and run through the dirt and the bones and the blood and howl at the ghosts under the Goddess Bone Moon as we listen for the star-songs. Let us remember what and why we are here, and most importantly let us remember how and why and what we love so we can bring that passion back to the everyday and reclaim our magickal birthright as witches. Get dirty. Get wild. Get horny. Get magick. Get witch.
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Dr. Catherine ‘West’ Winther is a retired psychologist and passionate LGBTQIA feminist who comes from a long family line of of creatrixes, witches, and wolves. Through her online coven at WeaverTarot.com she offers readings, spell-craft, curios, and counseling. Her passion is holding sacred shadow spaces and fostering alchemy through conversation. She aids healing and growth through encouraging big play, big magick, big nature, cackling, sensuality, and creativity. Freedom is our right and our responsibility. Let us slip these human skins and find our feral selves. Come roll and run through the dirt and the bones and the blood and howl at the ghosts under the Goddess Bone Moon as we listen for the star-songs. Let us remember what and why we are here, and most importantly let us remember how and why and what we love so we can bring that passion back to the everyday and reclaim our magickal birthright as witches. Get dirty. Get wild. Get horny. Get magick. Get witch.

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