This past week has included my 55th birthday which happens to fall on 31st October which is of course Halloween/Samhain. As a child it was fun, although when I was much younger we didn’t really do the trick or treat thing, that didn’t become popular in my area until my early twenties. Once we had children we would spend my birthday taking them out trick or treating and answering the door to give out sweets. We also had some fantastic Halloween fancy dress parties too. As our children got older we made the decision to give me two birthdays, my real one on 31st and another one a few days before which is when I celebrate my birthday rather than share it with Halloween. I am like royalty and have two birthdays! 55 seems to be one of those pivotal dates that involves lots of grown up decisions about pensions and pension funds, I do not enjoy making grown up decisions particularly ones about my pension and setting a retirement date, it makes me feel ancient!
The Cailleach strikes
This week has brought in the energies of Samhain in full force. The garden has begun to show the signs of The Cailleach’s energy. The plants were all still flowering and happy but this week they have been hit with torrential rain and a huge storm. Death and decay has set in across our garden, but that is how it should be. The Cailleach smacks her staff to the ground and the weather arrives to send the plants into decline. It isn’t the end though, the goddess is protecting them, allowing them to hibernate, to rebuild and renew ready to be reborn once again in the spring. She brings death, but in the form of protection to allow for rebirth later on.
My ancestors have made themselves known very strongly this week too, I can feel them around me and I am listening carefully.
This week has also sadly brought the passing of one of my family members too, crossing over the veil after a long illness, it has brough peace to them now. I choose to focus on very happy childhood memories with them, the laughter and the fun we had. Memories are precious.
The image is of my maternal Great Grandfather looking rather dapper.
The secret project I have been involved with went from planning to putting into the first stage of action this week and I have to tell you I am extremely excited about it.
I apologise for the vagueness, and an announcement should be made in the next few weeks. It was a huge honour for me to be invited on board and I believe it will be fabulous, at least I hope it will. It has taken a lot of work, time and effort to get to this point but I really believe it will all be worthwhile.
The many facets of being a High Priestess
In my live chat this week we talked about different pathways within Witchcraft and the chat led onto beliefs about the role of a High Priest or High Priestess. This is something I have very strong views about. My original training was in Wicca and I worked through the three degrees beginning online and then in person to complete my training and to be honoured with my High Priestess title. This process took me eight years and in that time I learnt a huge amount, from books, from mentors, from lessons and from actually getting out there and doing it. My training covered many aspects of witchcraft, spirituality and working magic but my HPs training also included learning how to mentor others, how to deal with personal issues, interactions between Coven members and a little bit of psychology thrown in for good measure.
When you run a Coven you are not just teaching Witchcraft, there are so many more aspects to it. You are dealing with people, with egos, with emotions and with personalities, sometimes it is a delicate balance. Whilst there is no formal ruling or structure that says who can and cannot start a Coven or even call themselves a HP/HPs, you need experience, not just in the Craft but also in life itself. For example I don’t believe a 16 year old person could step into the role of HP/HPs and lead a Coven, not only would they not have had enough time to learn even the basics of the Craft, they would not have the life experience to know how to deal with people. There is no short cut to experience, whether you want to aim for becoming a HP/HPs or even a proficient Witch, it takes time, effort and hard work.
I am not saying I always get it right because I don’t, but I do hope I learn from my experiences and I also have the Kitchen Witch team to smite me if I act like an idiot (yes, they are very brave to do so but yes they will if they feel I need it).
Not every person will want to train to become a HP/HPs obviously and not everyone is suited for the position either. I have met some wonderful people that hold the position and do it really well, I have also met one or two that have been full of bluff and hot air. I have also heard from a number of folk that they have found it difficult to find a good coven/grove/moot where they have felt comfortable. Personally I have found the same situation myself. One group I attended was not welcoming at all, no one greeted us, no one spoke to us and we felt like we were intruding. Another group was lovely at first, and then the power struggle for leadership hit and it all went horribly pear shaped, I left very soon after. But, there are some very wonderful groups out there too! For example two years ago myself and the KW team attended our first Pagan camp and we loved it. Right from the very start we felt welcomed, everyone was friendly and the energy was amazing and I think in those situations a lot of it comes direct from the top. The organisers made a huge effort to be present the whole weekend and to check in on everyone regularly, the effort and care for detail showed (we will be back there for our third time next year).
There will always be good and bad Pagans, because ultimately they are all human (probably), personality clashes and ego play a big part in any group situation. When you are looking for a group try and get personal recommendations from people that are already members. If you are looking for a teacher/mentor again get personal recommendations. It is also worth doing some research on the experience that the leader/HP/HPs has as well. If you meet a group and you get a hinky feeling, trust your intuition and walk away.
It is worth bearing in mind that gossip can also play a big part in any group. I have learnt the hard way not to trust anything that is spread, shared or ‘have you heard about so and so’ without hearing it from the direct source. Bear in mind that in any situation there are always at least two sides to a story and in fact both sides may wholeheartedly believe their side is the truth. Gossip and misinformation can be devastating to people’s lives, don’t always believe what you see or hear, it will definitely only be one view point of a situation and it may also have been ‘adapted’ from the original story. If you don’t see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears, don’t repeat it with your own mouth.
You are never alone
I would like to finish with this, myself and the KW team are here if anyone feels alone, lonely or adrift in the Pagan world. Please do feel free to contact us via our email/messenger, we offer our support, to listen and to help if we are able to.
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Join me for my online book launch - The Element of Water - Saturday 25th November - 7pm GMT