Yes this post has very much been inspired by Halloween on the horizon ... which feels particularly special this year as we've GROWN OUR OWN PUMPKIN PATCH.
If any of you follow me on social media you'll know how exciting I've found watching my partner and his father (and myself to some extent) transforming the veg garden to its former glory. Growing all the colour under the sun, the fails and the successes, and enjoying delicious naturally grown food has given me so much needed joy this year.
And how can I not mention the foraged foods we've been lucky enough to find like giant parasol mushrooms and 'chicken of the woods', the 7 kilos of blackberries now sitting in the freezer, sloe berries for gin, and tangy damsons for jams and tarts.
A Recap on Rituals...
Now this wholesome intro about pumpkins and gardening is leading you into something a little darker I am afraid. *cue budget spooky uplighting with low grade torch light*
Over the past couple of years, (and probably, unknowingly, most of my life) I have been learning about and delving deeper into the magic of rituals.
Attendees of some of my workshops (and even if you've read one of my earlier blog posts 'Ritual or Routine') will know that the definition of the word ritual can be as simple as:
"A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence." (thanks Wikipedia)
I love bringing this idea of ritual into our self care routine - we have enough boring routines in our lives (setting alarms, brushing teeth, dishes and tax returns) without making our self-care yet another chore to tick off.
And if the word still frightens you, taking a bath with bath salts and a face mask and music is a ritual. The way you make and enjoy your favourite hot drink is a ritual. It doesn't have to include herbs and crystals to make it so (although these might elevate your bath to sacred status ;))
And to add a modern Western side note to this - the more I've learnt about the nervous system and sensory input, the more I understand the soothing, grounding magic that happens around things like scents, fire, therapeutic touch, sound and breath work.
SO, with that said, why is it that I feel - because it IS my own doing, no one else is making me feel this way - that I have to explain away, apologise for, or back track when I talk about rituals that I've fallen in love with?
I often find myself using explanations like "it's not as woo-woo as it sounds" or "I know it sounds a little out-there but hear me out" and really, all I'm doing is sharing some beautiful tools we can use to self-soothe / ground / blow off steam / connect / insert other positive feeling or outcome here....
So why on earth do I feel embarrassed or ashamed for my obsession with the moon, or love of essential oils, or belief in natural therapies?
Enter - The Witch Wound!
Now this is actually something I've only just learned about (crazy) so I apologise if you are already a little more knowledgable than myself on the subject.
I've taken these words from an article by Natalie Ann Taggart
"The witch wound' is the trauma stored in our energy bodies of thousands of people - men and women - drowned, hanged, or burned at the stake only a few centuries ago for working with herbs, or using their intuition, or following the moon’s cycles. Basically, for going a different way than conventional society would like.
Patriarchal culture has systematically invalidated feminine gifts like intuition, embodiment, collaboration, emotional intelligence, and healing."
Personally, that makes a lot of sense to me - hbu?
She goes on to say...
"This wisdom is ancient, but it is becoming mainstream enough that more and more women are feeling called to come out of the closet, share their truth (just look at #metoo), and not take no for an answer. We are becoming less and less ashamed of being who we are - powerful, emotional, intuitive creatures who hold the mysteries of creation in our being."
If you are sat there thinking - yes Rach, this is 'too woo' for me, that's ok, we're all entitled to our opinions. If you're living a contented life with your daily chores and absence of rituals, good for you. (I joke, I love and respect you all the same x x )
If your intrigue has deepened - read on for signs you may need to heal your own witch wound!
What 'Crimes' Were some 40,000 'Witches Persecuted For?
In Europe, between 1400 to 1782, this was the admissions list for women deemed to be witches, who were subsequently brutally tortured into 'confessing their dark ways' and then burned or drowned either way.
Told you it would get dark.
It gets so much darker but I'll let you go google the gory details to your hearts content if you so wish....
For 300 years, women who were:
- knew about herbs
- could ease the pain of child birth
- were deeply connected to the earth / nature
- understood our connection to source and taught others how to connect
- met in the evenings without men
- had a cat
- performed abortions
- took care of women who had miscarriages
- looked at someone funny in the market
- had a snaggle tooth
- had a hairy upper lip
- had a wart
...were all accused of being witches, tortured, and wiped out. This may even go a little way towards explaining our lack of ancient wisdom, rituals and culture in the Western world in comparison to the East??
Anyway, this list might not exactly be the toil and trouble cauldron bubbling you were expecting??
How Might We Reconnect to Our Own Healing Powers?
My three suggestions for you, this Hallows Eve, to reconnect and honour your ancient wise powerful witchy ways....
1 ~ Gather with groups of women! Be that online or in person. There is magic to be found in connection and wisdom between a group of women, issues shared and advice gifted.
2 ~ Create your own daily rituals! Ask yourself what it is that brings you joy or what you need a little more of in your life and go forth and ritual!
3 ~ Notice where feelings of shame or embarrassment arise. Lean into these sticky points rather than shying away from them. Who knows what healing may come of it...
Want More ...?
Come along to my Rituals workshop on the 31st October, 10am BST.
We explore morning, day time and evening self care rituals, using breath, movement, sensory tools, journalling and more.... with a special nod to our witch wound for this session only.
Take care this spooky season,
Love, Rachel xx