Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Celebrating the Season of the Witch

As days grow cooler and shadows lengthen, as green gives way to brown and bronze and gold, as crows call and bats wheel against a softening twilit sky, then the witch blood stirs and rises as our season comes alive.

It seems only natural to want to seek our own kind this time of year, a process that, paradoxically, is both easier and harder than ever before. Easier, in the sense that I can, for example, open up my Tumblr and see several hundred apparently kindred spirits; harder, because meeting such people in the flesh is a challenge in an era when it's no longer necessary to leave the house or risk contact with strangers to seek the mysteries. Lately I'm feeling the differences between now and The Way Things Were when I first got in; can curmudgeonly, cat-accompanied croneliness be far away?

Terry Pratchett has famously suggested that the natural size of a coven is one, and most days I'm inclined to agree; still, even the most fiercely independent of us can feel the tug of kinship's bonds, and the sweet melancholy that walks in hand with the thwarted desire to share in such a meeting of minds.

(This is absolutely a topic I plan to pursue further, though perhaps not here. In due time, in due time...)

So what is a lonely witch to do, here in the heart of the October country? Fortunately, the options abound this time of year.

  • Witch up and get outside. Explore the beauties of the natural world so abundant this time of year. Make contact with the spirits of the land. Feel for yourself the shifting of the tides, the thinning of the veil, the turning of the wheel. Most of all, feel yourself as a part of all of these things.
  • Find a festival, sabbat, or group with whom you can guest for the holiday. Particularly at Samhaintide, there are ample opportunities to visit circles and events, from Pagan Pride Days to sabbat-specific festivals. Step beyond your usual comfort zone (though of course keep yourself safe in so doing) and investigate something new, keeping expectation out of it as much as possible. It may end up disappointing you -- or you may end up making a friend or having a memorable experience to treasure.
  • Commune with the ancestors, not only your own blood relations but the blessed dead of your chosen tribe. Honor your elders and teachers who have gone before. Make offerings, visit graves, create shrines, tell stories, keep their names and deeds and memories alive (what is remembered, lives).
  • Do some witchcraft. If you really want to meet like-minded people for future celebrations, why not do some work to that end? Devise an appropriate spell (say, to attract witchy friends, to find a coven to work with, etc.), cast it, then get to networking. Utilize local resources like shops, Facebook groups, Meetup.com, and others to help you broaden your horizons.
Most of all, revel in this, the season of the witch, in all its spooky, magical glory! I have some fond memories of going to my parent tradition's old Samhain gather (and a few other memories that make me mildly stabby to this day). Every year you'd see a lot of people you didn't know and more than a few you wished you didn't, some old friends you were glad to see and, once in a while, new ones you were happy to meet. I'm looking forward this year to celebrating with as many of my current lineage as can manage to get together; and I wish similar happy shenanigans for all of you.

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