Wellness Tips for Eclipse Season + Reading!

What is ‘Eclipse Season’?

What we call ‘Eclipse Season’ is the period of time that the solar and lunar eclipses happen. Eclipses happen in pairs, over a period of a lunar cycle, but the effects last for months and beyond. There are at least 4 eclipses per year, and the signs they happen in change every 18 months or so.

Eclipses are like super-charged new moons and full moons. They are more intensely emotional and function as a gateway of spiritual, mental, and emotional growth, often coinciding with big endings and beginnings in our lives.

Everyone will experience each eclipse differently, depending on how it hits your astrological chart. Some folks will have major life-changing events happen, and others will feel a more internal, subtle shift. From an astrological perspective, whatever changes happen during an eclipse can leave their mark for months or even years to come.

An analogy I heard and resonated with about eclipse season is that it’s like standing on one side of a large chasm and crossing a rickety swing bridge over to the other side. As you walk, the bridge slowly disintegrates behind you and once you are on the other side, you can never go back to where you were before. The changes are on some level, permanent.

The other astrological perspective is that during eclipses, whatever happens was meant to happen. The changes are not initiated by our conscious actions and intentions, but by our higher self, the divine, fate or whatever you wish to call the larger forces that be. We are not in control of the situation. All we have control over is how we respond, process and navigate on an internal level. It is for this reason that I recommend focusing on wellness in mind, body, heart and spirit during this time, leaving space for integrating, healing and processing.

Staying Well During Eclipse Season

During eclipse season, time can feel like its moving a lot faster or slower than usual. A week can feel like a month has gone by because we are processing so much more energy on all levels. Our emotions are usually much closer to the surface, and more intense. The gravitational pull of an eclipse can cause higher tides and tidal waves in the ocean, so imagine that same forces affecting our bodies!

You may also experience restless nights, trouble sleeping and more vivid dreams than usual. I find taking melatonin or valerian root helpful for sleep during eclipses as well as all full moons.

You may feel more easily exhausted, burned out, or a sense of rootlessness and anxiety, as it can kind of feel like the ground is shaking under our feet. You might feel a bit ‘buzzed’ or like the energy around you is crackling.

Those of us living in the big city will often notice more chaos around us- accidents, violence, emergency vehicles, increased noise, etc. If you are an empath, highly sensitive person or introvert, you may feel overwhelmed by all the energy around you. It is important to practice grounding and protection during this time.

Many find grief an emotion that comes up with eclipses, since there is often some kind of ending taking place within us or around us.

Staying well during eclipse season requires us to give ourselves a bit more space and flexibility in our schedule in order to process. Take some time to meditate, reflect on your life, or journal before bed. Go to bed earlier than normal. Eat high-nutrient foods and don’t skip your vitamins or supplements. Exercise can help you stay grounded as well as process the excess energy flowing through you. Other grounding activities such as cuddling with pets, gardening, plant care, spending time in nature or body care, such as a massage or movement is very helpful.

If you are feeling overwhelmed as a sensitive, intuitive or empath, I recommend you read about my suggestions for energetic cleansing here, and my suggestions for energetic protection here.

Should we do spells or rituals during an eclipse?

I think it really depends on a lot of factors, such as what type of ritual you are planning, the energies of that particular eclipse and how it affects you personally, whether it involves other people and what traditions you practice. So, I can’t give a definitive answer. I come from an astrological perspective, and much of the caution around spellwork at eclipses stems from Astrology, a very ancient practice that is still thriving to this day. It is not some new idea born from Witch Tok, despite what some memes may say. Over millennia, astrologers observed that eclipses bring chaotic energies and irreversible changes. Caution with magick as well as mind-altering substances is sensible advice in my opinion, as many folks are feeling more emotional and off-balance than usual, which can have adverse effects that last.

I personally don’t do any spells or manifestation around eclipses, but I still do my daily grounding, prayer, cleansing and protection rituals. I also find it a great time to do divination, self-inquiry, journaling, reflection and take some extra time to check-in with myself and my life.

Eclipses are a potent healing gateway, a time to pay attention to what is emerging for you and open to the greater forces that be. It is helpful to listen to the needs of your mind, body and spirit at this time.

A Wellness Spread & Reading for this Eclipse

The lunar eclipse happens on May 16th at 12:15 EDT in Scorpio. The Taurus-Scorpio energies at play are about worthiness, money, shared resources, intimacy, sex, illumination of that which is hidden and deep transformation. This particular eclipse is making a tight square with Saturn, which means it may challenge us to accept limitations, negotiate boundaries or cultivate greater maturity. This eclipse may also bring some sort of release or ending, which can be painful. It could also feel like relief, and an opportunity to accept things as they are so we can move forward with greater wisdom.

Let’s see what the cards say about navigating these energies! Below is my 5-card Wellness Spread that I offer in my Wellness Readings. It is great whenever you feel overwhelmed, frazzled, scattered, burned out, or feel out-of-sync in your body and mind. It will help you address your needs on all levels and feel more centered.

My Wellness Spread

For this reading, I used The Gentle Tarot by Mariza Ryce Aparicio-Tovar. The interpretations are mine but I include quotes from the author as well. You can use any deck you resonate with for this spread. As you shuffle the cards, drop into your body, heart and soul. Let the feelings arise. Ask to be guided towards your wellness and wholeness in body, heart, mind and spirit.

This is what I’ve pulled for you today, dear reader, for this eclipse:

Body: Seven of Wands

1.Body- Seven of Wands: Stand up tall and root your feet onto Terra Firma! You are more powerful than you’ve allowed yourself to be. Carry yourself with conviction and connect to that flame within that burns bright and wild within. You are strong, resilient, wise and know where you stand. Embody your inner fire. Let your passion move you, and give your anger an outlet. Anger can both heal and destroy, the raven reminds us to use this energy wisely. Try movement and sounding to release stuck frustration. Listen to the needs of your body and tell others what you need. Command and embody respect. This starts from within- from healthy self-respect for your own body, its needs, desires and limitations. You decide what energies you let in. You decide what’s right for you.

“Command your energy and cast it with integrity where it needs to be- this is called conviction and it is healthy. You know when something is right or wrong. Don’t fear fighting for it. You are powerful. Together we can change the ways of the world.”- Mariza.

Heart-Nine of Wands

2. Heart- Nine of Wands: Are you feeling the need to protect yourself right now? Perhaps you are struggling with trust. What is your heart telling you about who or what you can trust? Are you feeling safe? How can you adjust your boundaries in a healthy way to protect your tender heart but still be able to receive the love and healing you need? The lynx is a wise feline who’s wildish instincts keep her safe. Perhaps your inner lynx is asking you to pay attention to how you really feel about a situation. Maybe something isn’t quite as it seems and your heart is telling you so. Listen to that wildish wisdom in your heart, it will not guide you astray. Safety is the precursor to any genuine connection, healing or opening, so if safety isn’t there, protection and boundaries are a must.

“It is okay to guard yourself. The world is what it is and not all people are worthy of your trust.” – Mariza.

Mind: Flower of Thunder

3. Mind-Flower of Thunder: Engage your wisdom and objectivity. Look at your situation with the clarity and breadth of the eagle. Eagle is an amazing huntress and knows how to see the big picture as well as zoom-in on her prey. You too, can move between the big picture and laser-like focus if you choose to. Your higher mind is aligned with your sense of what is right, true and honest. Cultivate truth and honesty. Are you being honest with yourself and others? Don’t be afraid to cut to the truth of the matter. Communicate clearly what you desire, what you see, what you know. Are you living in tune with your ethics and principles? Speak from your heart- share what you stand for and all will flow from there.

“The energy of this card is one of bold, clear communication coming from an experienced, loving, powerful heart.” -Mariza

Spirit: Seven of Cups

4. Spirit- Seven of Cups: You are at a special place in time where many opportunities present themselves. Your spiritual path has perhaps come to a crossroads where you can choose your own adventure from this point forward, or you are at a juncture where you can choose a libation of nourishment to support you on your path. You have options before you, however it is important that you remember that not everything is as it seems upon first glance. Take a moment to reflect on what it is that truly serves your spiritual growth, rather than reaching for the shiny thing in front of you as a reflex. Look a bit deeper. Take some quiet time to listen to the whisperings in your heart and soul. Then, when you look at the opportunities or offerings before you, you will choose from your deepest truth and authentic soul desire.

“I embrace my gifts and the options that surround me. Instead of being scattered or spread too thin, I am ready to choose and I go all in.”- Mariza

Integration: The Tower

5. Integration- The Tower: Sometimes, the world is in chaos and it seems impossible to gain steady ground, stability, hope or serenity. During times of upheaval like these, what flame still flickers in your heart and soul, keeping you here, helping you wake up every morning? What small things can keep you grounded in the moment? Times of change and crisis are the destruction of illusions, the disintegration of the wobbly structures and outgrown narratives that can’t hold up to the power and truth of this moment or who you are anymore. They must give way to a better system, a better container for all of who you are becoming and what the world is becoming. Change can be really scary, and its ok to feel anxious, weird or out-of-sync. It can also bring feelings of grief as the old passes away, and we aren’t quite sure what new will emerge. But remember that this time of transformation is about creating a more authentic life. As the integration card, The Tower reminds you that all that you are feeling right now is due to some deep internal changes happening, right down to the cellular level, so be patient with yourself and allow some space and time for integration of all that you are processing. Eventually a new world and a new you will emerge, perfectly in sync. Trust the process.

“Amidst the chaos, there is deep knowing, humility and trust in their facial expression. The figure depicted here is androgynous, all labels and boundaries aside. Burn old ideas and allow the true to emerge. Start fresh. Allow restrictive ideas, unhealthy relationships, and toxicity to be stripped away.” -Mariza

How do these messages land for you? How do you support your wellness during eclipse season? Share in the comments!

Would you like a more in-depth, personalised Wellness Reading with me? I offer the above spread in my Wellness Readings, which can be done with the Gentle Tarot or The Goddess Oracle. See my Tarot and Oracle Readings page for details.

May you be well resourced and adaptable during these intense times. With love and warmth,

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Your Magick Lies Within You- Walking the Solitary Path

“…Know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.”

 -Charge of the Goddess adapted by Starhawk.

I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. Always wanting to understand more about human nature, the universe, how we’re all linked and what makes it all work. I love that life is truly an eternal mystery that one can never fully figure out and yet it’s so fun to try.

I’ve explored the traditions of many cultures and sought the wisdom of many spiritual teachers. Yet, my path keeps leading me- painfully and patiently, towards myself. Through many difficult experiences, I am repeatedly guided to my own inner compass to lead me down a path that is authentically my own and doesn’t look like anyone else’s or fit neatly into any one tradition. It has only been through following my instincts and doing my inner work that I have found the peace and acceptance I once sought outside of me.

Perhaps you are also on a solitary journey, or maybe you dream of being in a coven or communal situation. Each of us has our unique path and I am not here to say one is better than the other, only to share a bit about my experience and journey, knowing that yours will be unique to you.  

Issues in Spiritual Communities

I used to love the feeling of ‘belonging’ that being part of a spiritual community brought. It felt like I was part of something meaningful, and it somehow validated my spiritual beliefs in a world without churches for my pagan beliefs. I often felt that I needed to belong to a spiritual community to validate myself as a spiritual person. I thought belonging was the necessary foundation for my growth. That magick had greater power in a group. I learned over time that this was an illusion. My participation in groups often came with a price. Over time, I was gradually less willing to pay this price.

Always seeking to belong to a spiritual community came to a point where I was sacrificing important parts of myself to belong to the group. In order to stay in it, I would have to give up my own values or authentic soul needs for growth. I would struggle to find a compromise, to preserve the illusion that the group was supporting me spiritually, even when in reality, it wasn’t. I just longed to belong.

Many of us drawn to living a spiritual path have a strong sense of devotion, combined with wounding and trauma that makes us long to belong and feel loved- making it easy for us to give our power away to others. We often need to work on cultivating better boundaries.

My fave astrologer, Jessica Lanyadoo recently said- ‘devotion without boundaries is martyrdom’. This rang true for me, as my shadow work has shown me this is something I’ve had to work on. Catholicism runs strong in my lineage, which formed a tendency to put my personal power in the hands of the Divine or the middle-person who represents them. To place servitude and faith above all, to the point of sacrificing one’s own independence can cause resentment deep inside. This also runs through the fabric of society itself in many ways since these values are embedded within dominant culture due to colonization, which forced not only Christianity, but patriarchal, capitalistic structures on Indigenous peoples.

In the past, I have given some of my spiritual power away to those I felt must know better than I, must be more spiritual somehow or hold some mystical powers that I don’t have. Because that’s what I was conditioned to do.

Sabrina’s ‘dark baptism’ where she attempts to join the Church of Night on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Over time, I felt my integrity being compromised more and more in spiritual groups because they weren’t in alignment with my personal ethics and boundaries. I tried to keep better boundaries within myself and still participate in the group, but in certain settings, this was either impossible or a deal-breaker in being part of the group, because of the lack of boundaries and respect for individuality within the group itself. 

It doesn’t help when spiritual teachers fall into the common ego traps that humans tend to do when in a position of power. Some lead with the belief that they are spiritually superior to others and some wish to be treated as though they are deity rather than human. Some lead with over-confident bravado, but in my experience, its more common to find teachers expressing false modesty, using deception and manipulation to keep up a humble facade.

Spiritual bypassing is another very common issue in spiritual communities. Our idealized version of what it means to be spiritual is often non-human and pain-avoidant. Social inequities and individual realities are easily glossed over with platitudes, performative gestures and glamour to distract from a lack of accountability and willingness to do the deeper work.

I like when teachers remember that they are simply human and don’t have to become some idealised image of what they think a spiritual leader needs to be. I like when a teacher owns their own shit and does their deep shadow work. This is something I keep reminding myself to avoid falling into the same trap.

My challenging experiences with spiritual groups and leadership clarified the essence of my own core values, ethics and showed me that I needed to forge my own path.

Individuation & the Solitary Path

In many ways, choosing the solitary path mimics the healthy individualization process one undergoes when growing up and becoming a separate person from their family of origin.

Anyone who’s been in a spiritual community may notice patterns of family dynamics that are transferred onto the group. In Christian faith it is tradition to call the priest ‘Father’ and the congregation ‘brothers and sisters’. A similar familial structure is reflected in pagan groups as well. One example of which is calling our pagan coven-mates ‘sister’ or ‘brother’ and giving a parental role and name to the teacher, such as ‘Mother’ or ‘High Priestess’ or similar. This replication of a family dynamic can bring a sense of camaraderie and spiritual family, but it can also bring up all kinds of challenges.

It can be interesting to get curious about correlations between our spiritual community and our family of origin. Are we hoping for a childhood wound to be healed through this new ‘family’? Are we experiencing the same toxic behaviour from our spiritual ‘sister’ that we experienced with a sibling? Or the same patterns from our teacher or high priest/ess as we have with our parents or other authorities? Can we learn and grow through these relationships, or are they stifling our growth?

Spiritual community can be fertile ground for patterns from our childhood to arise and the roles we fall into to be repeated. This can make it a great place to heal and transform these dynamics. However, it can be rare to find a community that is actually capable of holding space for this or modelling healthy behaviour. It is for this reason that I’ve worked with my own therapist over the last decade to sort these issues out within myself and am learning that a solitary path is more conducive to my growth.

My experiences haven’t all been negative, however. Though sometimes painful, I have grown through unhealthy group dynamics and have also experienced the joy of spiritually growing in safe space and humble teaching.

In my experience, some of the best support I received was from my teacher Daniel, who empowered me to find my own direct connection with Spirit and to trust my own intuition. He modeled ways of being in community and leadership with personal integrity. He helped me connect to my innate wisdom, held space for all of who I am and listened intently to my concerns or issues. He was willing to be human, lead from the heart and learn from his mistakes, which is something I respect and admire.

Taking our Power Back with Self-Trust

You see, I’m a bit of an eternal student. I love the learning process, meeting new people and feel empowered by knowledge and skills. I also feel learning from others and gaining knowledge is an important part of our spiritual path.

However, my habit of constant learning came to a point where I realized it’s been a way for me to escape living my own truth and avoid trusting my own intuition.

It’s taken me decades to fully trust my innate wisdom, passed down through my DNA, my spirit guides and dreams, which proves to be very accurate. I have strong gut instincts about people, places and things, but for the longest time I would override those instincts and question everything too much. It can be hard to distinguish between healthy discernment and self-doubt sometimes.

The divine flows through all of us, and we can all have a direct relationship with the divine, without an intermediary. Sure, a teacher or facilitator can help us access our inner wisdom, and it is often necessary to connect with a guide at some point on our path.

But we don’t necessarily need a teacher, group, a priest/ess, a temple or church, or a coven to grow spiritually or make powerful magick or validate who we are or what we believe.

All we need is the willingness to discover and live our spiritual values. To walk our own path as it authentically unfolds. To become receptive to the wisdom within us and discover the magick that flows within our veins. To take our dreams and intuitive hunches more seriously. Connect with nature and remember that we are nature too. Pray and serve from the heart, with feet on the ground. Remember that we are surrounded by helpful beings in the spirit world and natural world that are simply waiting for us to tune in.

If you are thinking about a solitary path, I’d say:

  • Remember that you are never truly alone. We are surrounded by the divine all around us and it flows within us as well. There are other solitaries out there who may wish to connect. (Me!)
  • You don’t need to follow an established path to validate your spirituality. You can trailblaze, and create a path that feels authentic to you.
  • You don’t need to be part of an established group or spiritual community for validation, either.
  • Learn what you’re drawn to. Educate yourself on the traditions and wisdom you’re interested in and follow your inner compass towards your ethics and integrity.
  • Knowledge doesn’t equal wisdom. A balance of knowledge, deep inner work and experience creates wisdom, and this takes time.
  • Not all that glitters is gold. Use discernment when navigating spiritual offerings and remember there’s a lot of gloss, glamour and deception out there! Especially on social media.
  • I highly recommend therapy of some kind to compliment the spiritual path. It is good to have an objective, outside party to help keep us grounded in our emotional work and able to discern what is ours and what is not, someone to hold us accountable. Spiritual bypassing is all too easy and common, which encourages our shadow or inner child to run the show, instead of our integrated, healthy adult self.
A collective of rocks, each one’s uniqueness makes the whole more beautiful

If you’re part of a spiritual community or group that you feel happy in and are growing through, then that’s great! If you’ve found a teacher who you resonate with and enjoy- amazing! If you prefer a traditional route over trailblazing- that’s awesome! Do what works for you. It’s not about one path being better than the other, but finding our own way towards growth, whether that is alone, in a group or a combination of both.

Even though I am a solitary witch, I also have community I share my witchy lifestyle with, in small doses. At every sabbat, I hold Hearthfire Circles, which are open to the public and encompassing of diverse beliefs. I’m not part of a coven and my circles are open to all genders, paths and levels of witchy experience. They are a great way to connect with other magickally-inclined folks without a major investment of time or energy. We strive to hold safe and inclusive space and enjoy ourselves very much! You can learn more about them here.

You may also be interested in my Reclaim Your Magick Sessions. These are 1 on 1 Earth-Based Healing sessions to help you cultivate your intuition and spiritually resource you by connecting you with  animal, plant, crystal and tree allies. Learn more here.

Xo

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

What is an Animal Ally? Relating to Our Animal Kin…

I remember being a little girl, at my grandparents’ trailer home in rural Manitoba, obsessed with the deer head mounted on the wall. I would stare at it, look into its eyes, and swear it was alive, that it still held a spirit of some kind.

I would ask to be lifted up so I could pet the deer. I could feel its power, grace and nobility. Admiring this amazing creature, I wondered how or why it had to be killed. I felt that maybe it was watching over me.

Years later, when my grandparents moved into a house, I remember they had a large tapestry of deer in the snow in the basement where I would sleep. It brought me so much peace and comfort, to stare at the tapestry, watching the deer, imagining I was with them in the snow. It helped me fall asleep, as I would lay on a mattress right across from the tapestry.  

I don’t know if these memories were the beginnings of my long-time connection with Deer as an animal ally, but I think they stick with me for a reason.

The Circle of Life

My grandparents on their farm in Manitoba in the 1940s & 1950s. Upper left photo is of my grandma hand-feeding a deer.

My grandpa was a hunter, butcher and farmer, yet he loved animals more than anyone I knew. He would always take the time to teach me about the animals around us, getting me to slow down and take the time to really observe the behaviour of a bird or squirrel, in a way I never did on my own.

My grandparents relied on the land to survive, and in rural Manitoba that isn’t an easy feat. Their relationship with nature was much more intimate than mine. They understood the cycles of life and death. They simultaneously loved and adored animals, while having no qualms about taking their lives if needed.

This is an ability I was spared from learning in my life, having grown up in the city of Winnipeg, I never relied on hunting or farming to survive. I had the privilege to eat according to my ideals and sentiments, choosing to be a vegetarian and vegan for over 14 years. Now, I’m a flexitarian, as my chronic health issues have shown me that my body requires me to eat a certain amount of meat. I do so in humility and gratitude.

I think about my grandparents and my mother growing up on the farm and I feel lucky to have been given the chance to live a different life. But I also feel maybe I missed out on some important wisdom their lifestyle carried.  I am not sure how I would handle a lifestyle of raising and killing animals so we and others could eat. I am so grateful for those who do this so I can survive and be healthy.  

Me and my grandpa (pepere), 1982.

I don’t judge anyone for their dietary choices or lifestyle, as I feel there’s no room for that in this world of inequities, diverse religious and cultural traditions and health complexities. I’ve done all the diets, for all the reasons. I’ve been in a lot of different shoes. I see all the sides.

 I do, however, feel there is much to learn from our animal kin. Cultivating a relationship with them is something special and sacred and reminds us that we too are part of the same family.

When we are strongly drawn to an animal, or if one keeps showing up in our lives, it can be worth getting curious about them. Research their eating habits, survival instincts, how they approach relating and family, and see if they perhaps carry qualities we need to cultivate within ourselves or learn to access or express in our lives. Getting to know them can help us get to know ourselves better. They can help us embody our animal self and deepen our connection to the natural world.

Deer in my Life

Deer are very common here in Canada, especially white-tailed deer. Yet, despite how common they are, it always feels like such a blessing to actually see one.

As the quiet, gentle spirits of the forest, seeing a deer always brings me a sense of humility and honour. I feel one of deer’s messages to me is to embrace my sensitivity. Deer are always keenly aware- able to sense even the slightest movement or faintest smell of predators.

I also feel the symbolism of the antlers reaching up and out are like antennae to the spirit world, giving deer a special attunement to frequencies that we are not aware of in our usual daily consciousness. When deer shows up, I take it as a reminder to attune to the subtle realms more consciously. Take the time to be silent, still and listen. Pay attention to my surroundings.

Pretty much every time we venture up north to camp or stay at a cottage, we see deer. Often, we see 3 at a time, which makes sense as my husband and daughter and I all feel a special connection to them and travel together. We have often felt an intuitive sense of where and when they are nearby, and then they show up!

I remember a beautiful workshop where my daughter and I made our own deerskin drums. Myself and a few others were struggling to cut the hide. My daughter was a natural, however. The teacher mentioned that cutting the hide required a special gentleness and attunement to the deer spirit in order for it to be cut properly. I was gripping too tight, applying too much force, so it wouldn’t cut. One of deer’s messages to me is always to be gentle, lighten up. I eventually got it.

My daughter cutting the deer hide with ease.

The drum making process overall was a good experience in aligning with deer energy. Now every time I drum, I honor the deer spirit. I see her in pretty much all of my journeys, songs and meditations, guiding me between the worlds.

Deer Goddess- Elen of the Ways

One aspect of deer that I’ve experienced in my journeys is myself as a woman with deer antlers, like some sort of deer priestess or deer lady of the woods, spending time with a herd of deer. I also often see a female deer with antlers showing me where to go.

At first I thought, how can a female deer have antlers? I later found out that female elk/reindeer have antlers. But it felt like something more than elk. It felt like it was something bigger. This curiosity led me to discovering an ancient European/British antlered goddess named in modern times as Elen of the Ways.

My Deer/Elen of the Ways altar. Statue by Philippa Bowers.

Apparently countless women have seen this female antlered deer/ female deer goddess show up in their meditations and journeys too. Elen is still quite enigmatic, her history found in bits and pieces here and there. However despite the lack of strong documented history, she remains in the consciousness of many. She is often seen as representing the Earth Mother and is a guide of pathways and ley lines. I have been slowly connecting more to her and understanding her role in my life.

Often seen as ‘fairy cattle’ in Scottish mythology, deer are often considered a connection to the Otherworld. The Celtic Lord of the Wild Hunt, Cernunnos is often depicted as a man with antlers, surrounded by animals. He is the spirit of the forest, of fertility and the wilderness, a guide between worlds.

Deer in many ways are a bridge for me. They are a connection to my family here and their history on these lands, as I mentioned in the beginning with my grandparents. They are also connected to the traditions of my British and Celtic ancestors across the ocean. They also bridge this world and the spirit world.

Deer, being a traveling animal, helps me to feel comfortable traveling– in spirit as well as in life to create these bridges in my spiritual practice, mind and body. Sometimes they are simply a reminder to get out and walk more often.

Deer is a long time friend who I feel is an ally- a spirit that helps me align with my soul’s growth, healing and renewal, who helps me to navigate life’s challenges.

‘Spirit Animals’, ‘Totems’ & Cultural Appropriation

From The Gentle Tarot- by Indigenous artist Mariza Ryce Aparicio-Trovar

I feel it is important to recognize that while animistic practices and animal reverence exists globally, beliefs vary from culture to culture and tradition to tradition.

Due to colonization on Turtle Island, Indigenous beliefs and practices were illegal until 1978 in the US and until 1951 in Canada, and therefore out of reach for many Indigenous folks. Many are only just beginning to reclaim these ways, which is necessary for healing.  

Sacred practices regarding animal medicine and family clan traditions managed to survive and still exist today in Indigenous communities. Unfortunately however, mainstream colonial culture has appropriated and distorted these traditions.

The word ‘totem’ is an anglicised word for ‘doodem’ in Annishinaabemowin, which speaks to the family clans symbolised by an animal and holding deep meaning and tradition. The term ‘spirit animal’ is often associated with Indigenous culture, however seems to have emerged as a modern term stemming from 1990’s Wicca and pagan circles.

Quizzes, memes and t-shirts in mainstream culture using the words ‘spirit animal’ and ‘totem’ are usually fluffy and disrespectful- saying ‘Justin Bieber is my spirit animal’ or ‘pizza is my spirit animal’ and nonsense that depicts a spirit animal as simply something you resonate with, identify with, think is cute or appealing. The use of the word ‘totem’ gets thrown around, meaning anything from an animal persona (I have heard of the term ‘fursona’ or even ‘Patronus’ as a replacement), to an animal you happen to really like or resonate with- but none of these are the same as a doodem.

You can learn more about this here and here.

It is important to be aware of your own relationship with animals- the symbolism and context of the traditions you follow, your own lineage and personal experience, and not co-opt or make light of  Indigenous sacred traditions!

It is also important that as we connect to these animals in our own environment, we are aware of the laws and customs where we reside. Carrying an eagle feather- and even keeping found feathers of most common bird species is actually illegal in the US and Canada if you are not Indigenous. Using feathers in ways that mimic Indigenous customs you know nothing about (like headdresses, smudge fans, prayer fans, dreamcatchers, etc) is disrespectful and appropriative.

As part of the natural world, we must recognise our place in the ecosystem, and be aware of our privilege, power and relation to others. This can be hard for us humans, because, well, we act more like animals than we like to admit most of the time! Yet, we have the capability to tap into empathy and compassion in a way animals don’t.

I feel that honouring our animal kin by becoming aware of our own ‘animal instincts’ can help us become more accepting of ourselves and each other, in a way that can prevent us from acting from a place of repressed or distorted instincts. It is up to us to find the balance between our inner animal and our human self.

What animals hold spiritual significance for you in your life?

What traditions or beliefs do you have regarding animal allies or messengers?

How do you honor animals in your practice?

If you are interested in exploring your connection to an animal ally more deeply, you may be interested in my Reclaim Your Magick sessions! These are 1 on 1 sessions to help you connect with healing allies in the plant, mineral and animal world to help spiritually resource you for stressful times.

Thank-you for reading,

xo

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Spring Equinox Spread + Reading!

‘Tis the season of growth.

Growth can be uncomfortable, exhilarating or downright painful. It can be all of these things. Spring urges us to be brave, bold and take action on our instincts to move forward. In order to live the life we wish for, to make those dreams we incubated and flirted with through the winter come true, we need to take action to help them take hold and grow.

Sometimes this process isn’t clear- we don’t always have a strong vision on what it is we are moving towards, but we may have a sense of what has lived its purpose and smell the scent of change in the air. We may already be walking towards that new place within ourselves but haven’t even realised it or seen evidence of forward movement yet.

Like a bear emerging from its cave, we can sometimes take a while to adjust to the light, realise where we are, and what we need to do. I’m not a morning person, so I often feel the sleepy bear vibe this time of year.

In this process of emergence, we may need to say a final goodbye to something, someone or some part of us that is holding us back. It might be time to clean out the closet- literally and metaphorically. It might be time to more actively seek out what our heart has been longing for silently, in the background, while we went about our daily business of simply surviving.

In the spirit of the season, I have created a Spring Equinox Spread to help you nourish your growth process. It can be used to help you grow a specific creative idea or venture, a relationship or a new way of being within yourself. This spread can be done with your own Tarot or oracle deck. I also have done a reading for you below!

As you shuffle your deck, focus on your ‘seed’- the new venture, vision, project or aspect of yourself you wish to manifest. Feel in your heart what you long to manifest. When you are ready, lay the cards in the order below. The spread will guide you in nourishing and growing your goal!

  1. Soil-This cards speaks to your foundations, the ‘soil’ your seed needs to be planted in. It shows you the nourishment requirements. It answers the question- What nourishes the roots of this goal? What foundations are required for this to work? What is needed to sustain this growth? This is the most important card in the reading, as you can’t get a healthy plant with unhappy soil or neglected roots!

2. Breaking Ground- This card shows you the approach to taking action, overcoming obstacles and moving forward. This card speaks to the process of breaking out from under the soil and reaching up. It answers the question- How can I meet the challenges to growth that I face? What action can I take now to encourage forward movement? When you face an obstacle to your goal, this card speaks to the recommended approach to dealing with it.

3. Stability- This card speaks to how to stay centered and focused on the goal. It helps you stay aligned with your purpose and inner strength. In our growth process, we might feel pulled in different directions or wonder if we are truly doing the right thing. It answers the question: How do I sometimes get off track and how can I stay on track?

4. Inner Growth- This card reflects the evolution and growth process that is happening within you. It may be what prompted this venture in the first place. It may or may not be something visible to others or even yourself. It answers the question- How am I changing? What is this venture teaching me?

5. Outer Growth- This card reflects how your inner growth is affecting your self-expression or your relationship with the outside world. How you connect with others, how you behave. It answers the question- How is my behaviour shifting from this process? How am I growing as I walk through life? How is this process affecting my relationships? This is what is visible to others.

Below is the reading I have done for you using the Goddess Power Oracle by Collette Baron-Reid, with my own interpretation:

  • Roots- Hestia- Goddess of the hearth and home Hestia is here to remind you that your seed’s roots are nourished with a strong home base. Where do you call home? Do you feel at home within yourself? Do you feel comfortable in your skin or try to run away? Do you feel nourished by your environment? It may be time to clean and beautify your space so you can function better within it. Maybe a new coat of paint, or a new colour scheme that reflects your authentic self. Or perhaps it’s time to move to a new dwelling that better reflects who you are and where you want to be. Nourish your roots and foundations by making a space that is yours. Create a physical space or an altar dedicated to to the new you or the venture you’re embarking on. Reflect the beauty of who you are and what you want in your environment. You will better manifest your goals if you have a strong home base- within yourself and around you to nourish them from.
  • Breaking Ground- Elen of the Ways- Deer goddess Elen makes us aware of patterns and shows us new pathways forward. It is easy for us to get stuck in unhealthy habits that hold back our growth. Elen is here to remind you that in order to overcome any obstacles you are facing, you need to notice your patterns and habits. If you don’t like what is in front of you, change how you’re going about things. Notice the patterns and habits you’ve created in your daily life. Are they serving your goal? Are you using your energy efficiently? Are there patterns of self-talk or self-sabotaging thoughts that prevent your forward movement? It’s time to take action by creating new pathways that serve what you are trying to manifest. Is there a path you haven’t tried yet? It may not be the well-trodden path you’re used to. Look around you and see what paths lead toward your goal. If there isn’t one, create a new one!
  • Stability- Maya- Goddess of Illusion reminds us that we need to see things as they really are instead of how we want them to be. We may go off track when we fall into wishful thinking, or see things through an outworn lens or story. This story could be of the essence of ‘poor me’ or ‘I never…’ or ‘I always…’. Or, when we invest in an illusion. Clarity is what keeps us stable, growing and on track. Get realistic and clear about your goal, your intention, what it is you are aiming towards, or your ‘plant’ will not be able to sustain itself. What illusions do you entertain around your situation? Do they serve your growth or inhibit it? What changes within you when you choose to see the situation as it is? Stay on track by looking beyond the veil of gossamer and staying present with what is.
  • Inner Growth- Freya- Goddess Freya brings the message of Radical Acceptance. Much inner growth is possible through this, when you accept yourself and your situation fully. Maybe you’ve had some disppointments, conflicts and battles and feel you’ve come out the loser. Maybe the setbacks have eroded your faith in yourself or dampened your warrior spirit. We can’t win every battle. Life inevitably leaves us scarred from our experiences. Our scars become part of what makes us who we are. We don’t need to accept cruel behaviour in our lives, but we need to accept that it happened to us and here we are now. It takes bravery and courage to accept what is. This inner shift may or may not be visible to others around you, but you will feel much lighter and at peace when you make it. This venture may spring from a newfound sense of wholeness and acceptance within yourself. It will teach you to appreciate all aspects of you.
  • Outer Growth-Shakti- Transformation- You are changing, and it this is reflected in your relationships and how you relate to others. The life force generated from this growth process will radiate through you in new ways, drawing new connections to you. You may surprise people around you with your energy. It is shifting every day, and you may feel a bit awkward sometimes. Just keep trusting that this change is needed and part of your growth process. You are reaching out to the world and changing everything you touch with a bit of magick. You are a divine being full of creative power to change the world. This this is beginning to radiate outward and will transform your life in many ways. Your growth serves as a way to transform the lives of others. You are transforming the world around you simply by being yourself.

Your growth and renewal is imminent, but like anything in nature- it is a process. Be patient with it, and trust that while sometimes we can grow in leaps and bounds, it most often happens one step at a time.

This Spring Equinox/Alban Eiler/Ostara, may you see with clarity, as the dark and light are in balance. May you thrive and grow in beauty and strength.

Blessed Be,

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Oh My Goddess, I’m 40!

As I near my 40th birthday, I have been taking stock of my path over the years, and how my relationship with the Goddess has changed.

In many ways, it hasn’t changed, but my embodied experience of her has.

The Goddess’ energies of Maiden, Mother, Enchantress and Crone have danced in my life in many ways at different times in my life. I noticed each aspect holds a unique experience of embodiment for me.

Stages of Life

I feel the energies of Maiden, Mother, Enchantress & Crone can be experienced by anyone at any stage of life. Generally though, there are lessons pertaining to each aspect of the Goddess during specific stages in our lives. We may experience these aspects more physically, emotionally or psychologically.

From Georgina Catling’s Yoni Oracle Deck

It is a rough estimate, but generally our ‘Maiden’ years range from our teens to late twenties. This is where we are experimenting, finding ourselves, placing our own self-discovery and independence to the forefront. We may resonate with a Goddess who expresses these qualities of independence and adventurousness at this time of life.

Our ‘Mother’ years may span from the late twenties to early fourties. This is the stage where our focus is on nurturing relationships, creative projects, careers and/or family. We may connect with a Goddess who expresses these nurturing and creative qualities at this time of our life.

Our ‘Enchantress years may span anywhere between the late thirties to late fifties. This is about magic, transformation and authenticity, a time where we often need to reasses our life and make changes that reflect who we really are. We may find a Goddess at this stage who helps us to navigate change at this time.

The ‘Crone’ years may begin around 60 and beyond. This time is about embodying wisdom, acceptance, cultivating our spirituality and inner peace. A goddess who helps support this within us may resonate at this time.

I feel it is possible that any type of goddess can show themselves at any time in our lives that we need them and their lessons and gifts. They don’t have to follow the pattern I outlined above. My experience did not follow the pattern, exactly.

This is a little bit about my journey, which centres on the physical, embodied experience I’ve had in relation to these different aspects of the Goddess…

Maiden- Finding Her

In my early 20s, my sense of the Goddess was outside of myself. At first, she was elusive, an energy that I was trying to find within myself but struggled to connect with. At that age, due to social conditioning, I felt my body was not my own. Representations of the feminine who I was supposed to emulate and look to for guidance were either hypersexualized or repressively ‘virginal’. I did not know or feel that I was Goddess-like or even wanted to connect with her.

Then I started to feel a connection to the Goddess through her guise as Earth Mother, which made her more tangible and real to me. I felt her whenever I was in nature. Her imperfections helped me feel at ease with my own. I felt I could rest in her arms if I needed. I felt I could connect my body to hers. I could see her everywhere, and feel the healing balm of her stability, nurturance and beauty wherever I was.

A Cedar’s womb

I was practicing and teaching yoga at this time. I found myself subtly weaving my relationship to the Earth Mother into my practice and my classes. Yoga helped me to reclaim my own body and worthiness. This naturally fit with my relationship with the Earth Goddess. In an attempt to be more in tune with nature, I went off the pill and my natural cycles began, but they were extremely painful and debilitating.

The Earth Mother expression of the Goddess served as a calming tonic to my womb troubles, which weren’t so bad, at first. I began to consciously construct a practice around this. I was drawn to pagan books and began to learn more about witchcraft, the goddess, following moon cycles and celebrating the seasons. Doing this helped me reclaim my cyclical nature and see the reflection of the earth and cosmos within my body, even though my cyclical experience was sometimes painful.

I soon found I was also drawn to a darker aspect of the goddess- the ones who help us go through the underworld. Goddesses like Inanna, Kali, and Persephone resonated.

My womb pain began to increase steadily despite the support of the Earth Mother. I did not know at this time that I had endometriosis. I took up bellydancing and followed my instincts to dance and use movement as a pain-transmuting practice. I found a balance between the deep, transformative, Dark Goddess and the grounding, gentle Earth Mother Goddess. I honored these aspects of her nature through movement, dance and natural forms of healing.

Me dancing in the forest

Mother- Embodying Her

At age 25 I became pregnant. It felt that this was a new stage in my relationship with Goddess. It was a very embodied experience of her energy, and specifically her power. My pregnancy and birth went well. The strength of a warrior is needed to become a mother, and I felt a new level of embodied feminine strength and fierceness through this new role.

We always think of the Mother in her nurturing aspect as gentle- baking cookies, cuddles and soothing words or lullabies, however she is also the fierce protective mama bear who would kill to protect her child and die for them.

I cherished and honored the ability to carry life and birth my daughter. I was so lucky to be able to conceive and give birth with my condition. I was blessed with an amazing child. But like for any mother, the intense self-sacrifice necessary to raise a child began to wear on my body and soul.

Me & my daughter 2009

It came time to take back some of my sovereignty and independence in order to balance this intensely giving energy.

Around 30, my womb health began worsening quickly and steadily. I was tired, anemic and in pain much of the time. I was struggling, taking evening classes, studying to be a natural health pracititoner. I was trying to build an avenue of work for myself while also being at home with my daughter. My body, however, was telling me I needed to get more serious about my womb health.

I eventually developed endometriomas (endometriosis-related cysts) on my ovaries and became so debilitated I could no longer walk or go to the bathroom without intense pain. My mental health suffered as I swung between anxiety and depression. After years of trying all forms of natural healing modalities and spending hundreds of dollars on natural health practitioners, I realised I had to take this condition more seriously. In my early 30s my doctor sent me to see a specialist and finally get surgery.

It was around this time that I was called into relationship with the Egyptian goddess Isis.  Goddess of magick, motherhood and healing. She is also a Queen, her name meaning ‘She of the throne’.  She was with me to help me reclaim my sovereignty, and to heal my womb.

From Marashinsky & Janto’s The Goddess Oracle deck

Isis was always quickly at my side to bring me relief when I needed it. I remember one night I was in severe pain. (My endo pain was often worse than my labour pains.) This was one of those times I wasn’t sure if I could make it through. I called on Isis to please heal the pain. I felt/saw her merge with me. My body began to shake vigorously until the pain subsided completely. I went to sleep peacefully.

I developed a faith in Isis that was strong, tangible and powerful. She reminded me that I could heal. She also helped me reclaim my inner sovereignty as mother and wife- she told me that I could hold love and boundaries in my heart at the same time. This was a new concept for me, but essential to learning to take care of myself.

At age 33, I finally had my surgery for stage 4 endometriosis. I felt so much relief, but still had some pain and bleeding issues, which were likely related to adenomyosis, a cousin to my condition. I had to take medication to keep the severe pain and bleeding from returning.

Enchantress- Deepening Into Her

In my mid-thirties, my relationship with Isis went into the background and I found myself in situations that tested this newfound embodied ease and integrity that came with no longer being in chronic pain.

My medication kept me much more mentally stable and I was able to see with more clarity and calm what I wanted and needed. My daughter was older and more independent. I had a lot more energy at my disposal. I had newfound confidence in taking charge of my life. I saw clearly what needed to change.

Irish battle goddess the Morrighan came to me in these years, passing me her sword to cut unhealthy ties and habits from my life. She was a force to be reckoned with. Working with her changed me deeply. She showed up whenever I felt intense fear, vulnerability or needed to stand up for myself.

The Morrighan

The Morrighan is a goddess I would classify as having strong transformational ‘enchantress’ energy, and she showed up when I started to feel a deeper need for authenticity and authority in my life. My marriage went through a deep restructuring at this time, and thankfully it survived.  My relationship with family and friends also met with this sword. The Morrighan helped me set boundaries and value self-protection. I learned how to honor myself and create what I wanted instead of being a victim.

Without the limits of pain on my mobility, I began to run, lift weights and build muscle, coinciding with the internal strength I was developing. The Morrighan helped me embody a new level of fitness, fierceness and inner sovereignty. This felt a necessary experience in order to navigate the Enchantress years- which are all about transformation. This is the stage of life I feel I have been slowly entering.

Crone- Becoming Her

I am not in my Crone phase of life yet, but Cerridwen, most often depicted as a Crone goddess, has made herself a strong guide for me in the last couple years.

Cerridwen first made herself tangible to me when we went on a trip to southern Wales in 2019. On that trip our daily plans kept shifting due to weather, unforeseen closures and other nudges from the universe. We ended up wandering into the most beautiful, unexpected and quiet places.

Yews at Capel-Y-Ffin, Brecon Beacons, Wales.

It was these quiet moments at wells, caves, and in Yew groves where I felt an aspect of the Goddess that was deeply needed. A deep, ancient, wise grandmotherly energy. A mystical, all-encompassing , dark feminine energy that I still can’t fully describe. It feels like coming home to my soul.

My meditations at that time kept bringing me to sea caves and the shores of a beautiful lake, where a wise, older woman was always stirring her cauldron. She was simply there, waiting for me to visit. She would let me release what I needed into the cauldron, or she would share a bowlful of something from it to nourish me. Sometimes she wanted me to peer into it and simply ‘see’, or scry.

It wasn’t until some months later that I realised this was Cerridwen calling me, which coincided with the pandemic.

Cerridwen has an energy that helps me to surrender and embrace necessary endings in life. This has been helpful through all the chaos and uncertainty of the pandemic.

My relationship with Cerridwen has been like the calm eye in the middle of the storm. It helps to centre me, as well as let go of my attachment to how I want things to be. She dissolves these things in her cauldron, asking me to open to her deep, wise presence within me.

My painting of Cerridwen

For the last few years, my medication has caused several symptoms mimicking peri-menopause and menopause. These complaints are minor compared to the intensity of the pain I used to have, so I am very grateful and accepting of this. But it hasn’t always been easy, as I am not quite peri-menopausal yet.

The combination of this somewhat menopausal experience in my body, understanding chronic pain, raising a teenager and being married to an older man, means I sometimes feel I have more in common with women older than me than women my own age.

While later than previous generations, many folks my age are just settling down and starting a family now, or maybe just starting to feel the body’s limitations creeping in. Caring for their aging partner may not have crossed their mind yet.

Aging is something I hope to do gracefully and well. Something I will accept more and more with time. There are lovely older women in my life that I admire. I hope to carry Cerridwen’s Crone wisdom with me into the future, navigating my Enchantress years with her .

For now, I honour all the ways in which the Goddess has danced with me and continues to teach me.

How do you feel you embody Goddess energy? Is it something that has changed over time? How has your relationship with Goddess and your body changed as you grow older?

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Tending to our Inner Hearth + Meditation Video

What does ‘coming home to oneself’ mean?

What does it feel like to truly belong and dwell within our physical body?

What ignites our inner fire, the central core of our vitality and wellbeing?

These are questions I contemplate regularly, but especially around the time of Imbolc and early spring, when we welcome the return of the light around us and ignite our inner spark of inspiration within.

As a work-at-home mother with a history of severe chronic pelvic pain, my healing journey has led me to spend a lot of time trying to feel a sense of belonging in my own body, while also creating a nourishing home for myself and family. This also coincided with my path as a Hearthwitch, tending to my inner Hearth as well as the Hearth of my home. I unwittingly became a keeper of the hearth- within and without.

The Hearth of the Home

The hearth is traditionally where the fire is lit and is a place for cooking, nourishment, gathering and belonging. Before electricity, the hearth was a central source of sustenance and therefore was the centre of the home.

Modern houses with fully equipped kitchens are still often built with fireplaces inside, which is a testament to how important the hearth is to our sense of being at home- physically and emotionally.

Just think of how much we love to have campfires in the summer. Even though we have electricity, our primal instincts crave the warmth, gathering and sense of ‘coming home’ that sitting around a campfire brings.

This isn’t to say that to feel at home, one needs a fireplace or a firepit. Every dwelling has a spiritual centre- a hearth in which people feel drawn to gather, to feel nourished, to settle. This can even be the corner of a small bachelor apartment or room. It is important though, that in order to truly feel nourished by the hearth that it is tended to and taken care of.

As a Hearthwitch, keeping my home is a sacred practice. I have a fireplace in the living room which serves as the sacred hearth of our home. The entire home is designated as sacred space, and I tend to each room in this way, but the living room is a point of gathering for sacred ceremonies, so I pay special attention to the energy in that space. It has strong healing energy that helps restore us at the end of a long day, even if we are just watching Netflix. Its energy always helps bring us deep within ourselves, feeling safe, held, and supported.

Just like in a house, there is an energetic hearth within each one of us, which allows us to feel at home within ourselves, wherever we may be. Just like the hearth in a house, it requires tending.

In one’s own abode

The energetic hearth within is connected to our womb space and pelvic bowl.

The sacral chakra resides in the pelvic bowl and is named ‘Svadhisthana’- meaning ‘in one’s own abode’.

I love the feeling this depicts, the feeling of being truly at home within oneself and one’s body. I resonate with its connection to the pelvic bowl- the womb being the first home each of us experienced before we were born into this world.

In my womb healing journey I explored the depth of my triggers and wounds that lay in the pelvic bowl, physically and energetically. It took years of unraveling the emotional and energetic blockages to create a sense of comfort being in the body I have.

I can now say that I mostly feel at home in this body, even when it is uncomfortable, and alongside medical treatment, much of this has had to do with tending my inner hearth. The process of learning how to truly dwell ‘in my own abode’, in a metaphorical sense.

What is the Inner Hearth?

Like the warm flames of a fireplace, this is the part within us that lights up with excitement when we are passionate about something, the place we feel our inner spark or desire to create something, the place we feel alive, with warmth, passion and vitality.

It is also the feeling of being comfortable and at home within ourselves. Sometimes the hearth flames run hot and high when we are feeling very passionate, sometimes they are gentle low flames or glowing embers when we are feeling calm, comfortable, warm and radiant.

Our Inner Hearth can be felt in many ways and many areas of the body. It isn’t limited to the pelvic bowl. You may feel this sense of ‘home’ and warmth in your abdomen, heart, or even in your head.

The Irish Hearth Goddess Brighid is sometimes depicted with flames coming out of her head, associated with inspiration and spiritual connection. So, we are not limited to feeling our inner hearth within our core- the head or crown centre may also light up when we are feeling inspired with new ideas or spiritual awareness.

From the Goddess Oracle by Janto-Marashinsky

Where in your body do you feel a sense of being settled, centered within, and at home in yourself? What activities help bring you into this state of being? What makes you feel you are no longer at home within, or outside of yourself?

When we Leave Home

It is important to note that trauma and wounding can make it challenging to feel at home within our body. Dissociation is a normal trauma response and many of us have reasons why we cannot really feel at home in our body. Honor yourself, your unique body and history. As I mentioned, my healing journey has been about healing these wounds, which has taken years. Feeling outside of my body was the norm before that. It can be helpful to work with a therapist or trauma-informed embodiment practitioner to help heal.

If you are an empath, a sensitive person or a bit of a people pleaser (as I have been much of my life), you may notice that certain people or activities pull you out of your sense of ‘home’ within. For instance, if you work with people closely, you may find yourself jumping out of yourself to attune to their needs, communication style, or rhythm of doing things. Many of us do this unconsciously, and often do it to meet others where they are at in order to help them, or get closer to them. Perhaps, whenever you fall in love you become whomever the other person wants you to be or sees you as, instead of dwelling within yourself.

These are just things to notice and recognise. Cultivating a healthy sense of self, boundaries and inner awareness are all part of tending the inner hearth.

Inner Hearth Meditation

I created this meditation to support my inner hearth and yours. It serves to re-ignite your inner strength, passion, inspiration and light you up from the inside. It is especially helpful if you feel down, heavy, uninspired, unmotivated, scattered, ‘outside yourself’ or if you simply want a pick me up. Try it out!

May you thrive and glow with the strength of your inner light,

Xo

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

9 Ways to Protect Your Energy- For Sensitive Souls

During the winter season, the darkness and cold means we are vulnerable not only to harsher weather and viruses, but also negative energies. When we lack Mother Earth’s abundance of medicines and the sun’s warm rays to nourish us, we need to shield ourselves energetically and feed our hearts and souls with some extra love and care!

What is Negative Energy?

Negative energies can come in the form of harmful thoughts, emotions, intentions, rogue entities and spirits. We can essentially pick up these energies just as we can pick up viruses from one another. We also can send these energies to others- either consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes energy isn’t necessarily negative at first, but if it collects and stagnates it can become harmful. Energy must continuously flow so it doesn’t get stuck.

Much of how we pick stuff up and carry it has to do with our energetic immune system, which is similar to (and linked to) our physical immune system.

Energetically, our thoughts, feelings and emotions are intimately tied to our body. Generally, feeling emotionally low can increase our likelihood of feeling physically ill, and vice versa. So, it is important to take care of one’s body and health as a form of energetic protection.

Empaths, Sensitives & Intuitives

It can be hard for the sensitive among us to live in this world. For years we grow up thinking something is wrong with us, that we are flawed or weak or somehow less capable than the average person, when really, we are processing a ton more information on more levels and this requires an extra level of personal responsibility and self-care.

You may be an empathic person, which means you pick up others’ emotions easily and may carry them as your own. You may feel easily overwhelmed when with other people and burnout when in a crowd. It is important if you are an empathic person to create and maintain emotional boundaries and learn to strengthen your inner sense of self to prevent sapping your energy or forming co-dependent relationships.  

You may be energetically sensitive person and find that you feel the vibes in a place or coming from people very easily. You may be more sensitive to your environment than most people, responding strongly to stimulation like noise, light and activity. You might find that you are sensitive to the energy around you, but it isn’t necessarily on the emotional level, like with an empath.

If you are an intuitive person, you may be empathic and/or sensitive, but you also are attuned to the spirit world. Perhaps you see or sense entities and spirits of those who have passed on, perhaps you are psychic and see, hear or feel things others cannot. With this added layer of awareness comes an added vulnerability to ill-intentioned spirits, so protection becomes very important.

Energetic protection is important for everyone, but it is especially for sensitives, empaths and intuitive folks. It is also important for those of us living in big cities surrounded by lots of people, or those who work with people in vulnerable situations or life and death situations.

Being Responsible With Our Energy

Almost everyone at one time or another has felt negative emotions or had negative thoughts about someone else—it is human nature. But as we grow in self-awareness, we need to be careful of how we direct our energy because our thoughts, feelings and intentions affect our environment. We can often reach another person with our thoughts and intentions, causing actual physical illness or make them feel unwell, anxious or depressed. It is very important that we not only protect our own energy, but that we be aware of how our thoughts, feelings and intentions affect others. If we feel strong hate or anger towards someone, sometimes it can help to write down how we feel and then burn the paper afterwards, asking that the energy be cleared with no harm to anyone.

 It is important that we continuously work on our own healing so that we are less likely to direct blame and hatred onto others and instead tend to our own unhealed wounds, trusting that this will be much more effective than lashing out.

Shielding and Inner Strength

When it comes to energetic protection, I feel it is important to protect ourselves as well as our home space. Living as a sensitive, intuitive and empathic person means that energetic health becomes a lifestyle built on habits.

Protection is a combination of shielding negativity as well as cultivating inner strength, positivity and power in oneself.

Shielding habits are about warding off negative energies, kind of like wearing a mask to prevent viruses from entering. Cultivating inner power and strength is akin to taking care of your body and immune system so that if a virus enters, it can be transmuted more effectively.

Energetic Protection Habits:

There are many ways to protect ourselves energetically against all forms of negative energy. The things in this list are habits I try to keep regularly, as part of my personal energetic hygiene.

Being an empathic, sensitive or intuitive person can be a lot of work simply to maintain oneself! Its ok if you don’t do any or many of these things, even just trying one of them can make a difference.  I don’t do all these things every single day, but they are part of an ongoing rotation and used on a regular basis:

  • I call on my spirit allies and guides to be with me.

I call them and feel/envision them there with me when I am in a dicey situation or place. I have one in particular that comes to my side and works very well at deterring negative energy coming from people in my environment with harmful or dangerous energy. I also call on Cerridwen, the Goddess I work most with, as she has a very protective presence.

  • I visualise an egg or orb of light all around me that is sealed with a protective black smoke.

I know some people imagine an egg of pure white light, or a colored light or substance that they resonate with. I found the light wasn’t enough for me, but when I imagine black smoke swirling around the egg of light, I feel better protected. I have done this in public situations where I felt unsafe, and it works pretty fast to move the negative energy away from me.

  • I do a grounding practice.

This is part of my daily energetic hygiene, so it is always done before I leave the house or do anything important. I do a grounding meditation to connect with the earth, sea and sky, to feel the divine in my body.  I connect with the land I live on, its ancestors and give thanks. I smoke cleanse with herbs I grow in my garden and hold a local rock in my hands and place it on my heart to feel my rootedness to this land. Being grounded is essential to being protected. Having a relationship to the land ensure you will be looked out for and be in tune with the ebb and flows of energy in the environment.

  • I wear a lot of black and crystals! (I know its a cliche, but it works)

I wear black pretty much all the time. Black is a strong protective color that helps to ward off negativity.

I also like to wear colors that help to strengthen my inner power and vitality. For some folks that might be a bright color, but for me it is black again, as well as purple or plum or green.

I also like to wear protective jewelry. I have different symbols I wear that I charge with intention. I also wear crystals, such as obsidian, onyx, black moonstone, smokey quartz, auralite, labradorite, selenite and others that help ward of negativity. I also like to wear crystals that ground and energise me, such as ruby, garnet and black tourmaline.

  • I use plant medicines

I like to carry cedar or spruce in my purse when I go out to protect me and my belongings. I have a little leather pouch I put plant matter in.  

I create aromatherapy sprays using essential oils that carry qualities that I wish to embody and surround myself with. If I need to stimulate my sensual side, I might use rose, orange or geranium. For calming, lavender or chamomile. If I want something more shielding, I might use a blend using evergreens and cloves, or if I need grounding, I might wear patchouli.

I like to drink nettle tea when I am feeling my power is a bit low or am vulnerable. It is very nourishing to the blood and due to its prickly nature, has a protective energy. Ginger tea is also a good one to strengthen one’s inner fire.

There are many ways to use plant medicines, including teas, salves, ointments and tinctures to help strengthen your immune system and protect energetically.

  • I prioritise exercise, sleep and eating well

I fuel my inner vitality with exercise, nutritious food and enough sleep. Exercise that includes physical strengthening and core exercises is especially helpful in creating better boundaries for empaths. I make sure to exercise daily, as I easily become ungrounded if I don’t. I eat intuitively and do certain cleanses and take vitamins as needed.  I am a night owl, so going to bed early is challenging for me, but I always aim for 8 hours sleep.

  • I feed my heart & soul

One way I feed my heart and soul is by simply listening to their whispers and feelings. My heart is nourished by spending time with my pets and loved ones, listening to music, dancing and writing. My soul is nourished with walks in nature, spending time near water, communing with the Goddess at my altar, and doing devotional practices, crafts and rituals.  

  • I work on keeping healthy boundaries

If we find ourselves habitually drained after an interaction with someone, it might be an alarm bell to place better boundaries for ourselves or distance ourselves from them. It might mean that we need to limit our time with them, say no to some of their requests, or explain that we only have so much energy today and can only handle ‘a’ or ‘b’ but not ‘c’ at this time.

A lot of us are spending more time online on social media, so it is important to place boundaries in this setting. I have been unfollowing people I need to distance myself from, leaving groups I don’t like, deleting accounts that I don’t use and focusing my energies on the connections that nourish and inspire me or challenge me in growth-oriented ways.

I find that boundaries are also about keeping my inner power strong, so this means that I need to take regular time out to be alone so I can re-align with my own energy. I find that throughout the day, I need to check in with myself because I tend to get too involved with others’ emotions and issues.  

Taking a 5-minute break to just check-in with yourself- in mind, body and emotions can help keep you centered within.

  • I do regular energetic cleansing

Every day I smoke cleanse and/or use my besom (witch’s broom) to clear my energy and my space. I always open a window and pray and give thanks to the spirit of the plant medicines for transmuting the negative energies that may have clung to my aura or are sitting in the space.

I take regular salt baths. I alternate between using either epsom or sea salts and essential oils in a nice hot bath. I find this is especially helpful for the empathic part of me, because water resonates with the emotional body and this is where the gunk can collect energetically for empaths. Water helps the emotions to flow and clear beautifully!

I take a shower after spending a lot of time in public around a lot of people and I just want to clear the day’s energetic debris.

How do you protect yourself as an empath, sensitive or intuitive person? What do you struggle with?

What strengthens and nurtures you in body, mind, heart and soul?

It has taken me my whole life to figure out the unique needs of my nervous system and energetic constitution, with lots of trial and error! Some of what I suggest may work for you and others won’t. We are all unique. Experiment and see what works for you.  

One thing I have learned is that protective habits are best weaved into one’s lifestyle. When they become part of our daily routine, we have a good foundation to stand on when things get rocky in our lives. Picking one thing and sticking to it can make a bigger difference than doing several things irregularly.

May you be well-nourished and protected in the weeks to come my sensitive soul!

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Who is the Goddess Cerridwen?

Cerridwen is a prominent figure from Welsh mythology revered by druids, witches, and pagans all over the world.

She is known as a mother, wife, shapeshifter, witch, healer, powerful initiatrix and bestower of the Awen– the divine force of flowing inspiration that permeates all existence.

Cerridwen has been the source of inspiration for bards of history through to today, as she is believed to brew the Awen in her magickal cauldron and bestow it upon those who wish to channel it.

She is therefore instrumental in the creation of art, song, poetry, music and all forms of creative communication.

Cerridwen is also a Goddess of spiritual initiation, transformation and change. Her myth depicts the process of her initiating a young boy named Gwion going through several stages of death and rebirth, eventually transforming him into Taliesin, who grew up to be the great Chief of Bards.   

She is sometimes referred as a goddess of Inspiration, the Mother of Awen and the Keeper of the Cauldron, for her cauldron is a vessel of great power and change.

Cerridwen’s Myth in a Nutshell

Here is my brief version of Cerridwen’s story (derived from ‘The Tale of Taliesin’):

Cerridwen was married to Tegid Foel and lived in Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) with her two children- a breathtakingly beautiful daughter named Creirwy, and an ugly-looking son named Morfran (meaning ‘sea crow’), which she later changed to Avagddu (meaning ‘utter darkness’). Cerridwen loved her son dearly, but like any mother, she worried about him.

She wanted so badly for her son to have the respect and opportunities in life he deserved, so she set about creating a potion that would bestow him with great powers of wisdom, inspiration and prophecy to give him hope for a better future.

Cerridwen was well versed in the practice of magick, and so spent time collecting the appropriate herbs, while assigning a young peasant boy named Gwion Bach to stir the cauldron and a blind man named Morda to tend the fire continuously for a year and a day- this potion was quite a commitment!

It was also a very particular potion in that once three drops of it were consumed, the rest of it became poison.

Gwion and Morda worked tirelessly, and Cerridwen mustered all her magickal knowledge and energy for this very special brew for her son. Eventually, she became tired and had a little nap.

During this time, three drops of the hot potion splashed from the cauldron onto young Gwion’s thumb. Instinctively, he brought his thumb into his mouth to soothe the burn.

Upon ingesting those three magickal drops, Gwion was immediately filled with the magickal abilities and wisdom intended for Avagddu- he could see the past, present and future with complete clarity. He knew Cerridwen would be very angry and seek her revenge.

Soon after, the cauldron split and broke open, spilling the now poisonous remains of the potion onto the land, where it flowed and killed horses nearby.

Cerridwen, awakened by the commotion, saw what had happened and in a rage, she began to chase Gwion Bach.

Gwion, now possessing the ability to shapeshift, took the form of a hare to run quickly away from Cerridwen. But Cerridwen was more powerful and took the form of a greyhound in pursuit.

As she got closer and closer to Gwion, he panicked and as he came to a body of water, he quickly transformed into a salmon, swimming as fast as he could. But Cerridwen then took the form of an otter and quickly gained on him.

Gwion then rose out of the water, taking the form of a wren, flying through the air. But Cerridwen took the form of a hawk and again began to catch up quickly.  

As Gwion flew over a mill, he decided to turn himself into a grain of wheat and hide amongst a large pile of grain, thinking Cerridwen would never find him there.

However, Cerridwen was very determined, so she transformed into a black crested hen and proceeded to eat each and every last grain of wheat there, swallowing up Gwion into her belly.

She was relieved and satisfied to have gotten her revenge.

However, things did not go as she planned. By some biological oddity, the grain of wheat that was Gwion implanted itself like an egg within Cerridwen’s womb and began to grow.

‘Ceridwen’ by Christopher Williams
(c) The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

When Cerridwen realised she was pregnant with this new form of Gwion, she was furious, and couldn’t wait to kill him once he was born.

Nine months later, Cerridwen birthed the most beautiful little boy. When she peered into his radiant face, she was overcome with love and could not bring herself to kill him. But she could not keep him either, after what had happened with the potion. So instead, she placed him in a coracle and set him out into the sea to meet his fate.

The young baby floated out in the sea for months or some say years, until one day a Welsh prince named Elphin was fishing for salmon and noticed something unusual caught in the nets. It was the coracle with the babe in it.

He brought it in, and when he saw the baby’s face, was overwhelmed by his brightness and exclaimed ‘What a radiant brow!’ In Welsh this was Taliesin, which is the name he then took. Taliesin eventually grew up to be the most famed and talented bards in history.

Cerridwen’s Character & Roles

This myth is so rich and full of symbolism, far too much for one blog post. However, these are some key things that stand out for me in regards to Cerridwen:

She is a protective mother, who wants the best for her child

She is a witch– (swynwraig in Welsh), as she is very skilled in herbs, potions and magick.  

She is an initiatrix– She pushed Gwion through stages of spiritual growth and evolution- through the shapeshifting animals of land, sea and sky. Then he is consumed into the great dark womb of transformation through her pregnancy, after which he is reborn into a completely new form.  

She is a transformer and incubator of energy, like the cauldron itself and the womb. There is a strong theme of transformation, incubation and rebirth throughout the story. There are three ‘wombs’ in which this takes place- the cauldron, Cerridwen’s womb and the coracle.

She is Mother of the Awen– She is connected to the song of the universe- the flowing inspiration that moves through all things, which enables her to make such a powerful potion as she did, bringing all that knowledge, wisdom and magickal ability to Gwion Bach in an instant.

She can teach us lessons around control & surrender– There is a strong theme in the story of surrendering to a power larger than ourselves. Cerridwen’s best laid plans, skills and intentions did not prevent her spell from going awry. Something bigger was at work. Her plan to kill Gwion was also twisted by fate. Gwion himself thought he was just going to obediently stir a witch’s cauldron when in fact, what awaited him was a massive initiatory journey of death and rebirth.

Cerridwen in my life

Marashinsky & Janto’s Goddess Oracle deck

I have only been working intentionally with Cerridwen since spring of 2020. Interestingly, that was the beginning of the pandemic. I had felt her presence before that, particularly on a trip to Wales, but I hadn’t put a name to her yet.

On my path, I seem to have periods of time where a deity calls me- I see or sense them in a vision, meditation journey or place, and feel very drawn to them. I work with them for however long I am meant to- to learn their lessons and integrate their energies into my life.

In some ways, starting a relationship with a new deity is like starting a new intimate relationship with a person. I go deep, I let the relationship transform me and my life. It may be long term, it may be shorter term. But I am touched forever.

It makes sense that Cerridwen would call during this collective time of such upheaval and change. We are all in her cauldron, in some way or another. We’ve had to surrender and let go of things, parts of ourselves, and people. We’ve been pushed out of our comfort zones and initiated, tested and challenged, like Gwion.

Working with Cerridwen has brought me face to face with my fears- of persecution, of rejection, of the unknown. She has helped me transmute them and liberate myself, layer by layer. She helps me to trust myself- my connection with the Awen and my skills as a witch. She challenges my love of knowing, stability and control- she has been eroding my need for certainty and transmuting it into a deepened acceptance and trust in the unknown.

Collette Baron-Reid’s Goddess Power Oracle

Cerridwen beckons us to see the beauty in the unformed potential that exists deep in the darkness of the cauldron and embrace this potentiality as fuel for new life.

Working with Cerridwen also seems to activate my voice. I would not consider myself a confident or talented singer or poet. I also struggle with much caution and fear in communicating my truth. Yet, whenever I meditate with Cerridwen, I am always compelled to sing and sound. She seems to love this, as an offering. She also doesn’t let me stop writing, communicating and standing in my power. She ensures that the truth be communicated, in service of the Awen. I thank Cerridwen for keeping me an open channel for the Awen to flow through. For being my protectress, my wise guide and teacher and my dark mother during this potent time.

I will share more of my experiences with Cerridwen and my journey with her in the future. For now, here is a simple song prayer I made up and sing to her:

  • Cerridwen
  • Sing to me
  • Mother of Awen
  • Teach me the Mystery
  • Cerridwen
  • Mother and Crone
  • Lady of the Deep
  • You dwell in my bones
  • Cerridwen
  • Shine your light
  • Hold me by the hand
  • In this dark night

-Serena

*If you are interested in learning more about Cerridwen, I highly recommend Kristoffer Hughes’ book: Cerridwen-Celtic Goddess of Inspiration.

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

What is a Witch?

I have been asked by folks- how do you know if you’re a witch? What defines a witch vs a spiritual person who’s into herbs, nature, crystals and energy?

This is a very good question! I don’t have a definitive answer, simply because I don’t feel I have the right to tell someone else whether they are truly a witch or not. But, I can tell you a bit about my experience and share some thoughts about it that may help you define it for yourself.

The witch as archetype

The definititon of what a witch is can vary from person to person and culture to culture. It has changed over time as well. It is interesting to me how witchcraft comes and goes in popularity. But overall, it seems to be steadily rising and gaining acceptance in dominant culture, which I feel reflects peoples’ need to feel empowered and connected to something deeper and meaningful in their relationship to the material world, self and others.

Some of us have grown up pre-Harry Potter era, where fairytales and myths depicted witches as dangerous, child-eating, power-hungry, jealous and ugly-looking older women who were always up to no good.

However, there are also expressions of the playful, sweet, mischievous and even housewifey witches, such as in the show Bewitched.

As a teen in the 1990s we had The Craft, Charmed, Buffy and Sabrina which catered to an audience our age, emphasizing the rule-breaking, adventurous, non-comformist aspect of the witch archetype.

The witch archetype seems to encompass a variety of expressions of ‘female’ power- She can be seductive, maternal, dangerous, non-conformist, with the ability to both heal and destroy. She can be old or young. Witches aren’t limited to the woman-identified, either. There are male, non-binary and trans witches, it can be an identity for anywhere on the gender spectrum.

The witch can change their reality at will, and either work in harmony with the forces of nature or discover the consequences of working against them.

Scene from the 1996 movie The Craft

Ultimately, it seems the archetype of witch has much to do with power. Specifically, the power to transform, create and destroy. Culturally this has been associated with the feminine, and a cultural fear of the feminine- in the form of women specifically.

The witch as an archetype challenges us to take charge of our reality and empower ourselves. In a society where some are automatically given more power than others, it is often those with less power who find solace and strength in the witch archetype- because they can identify with having others’ fears projected onto them, and strive to defy the suppression and oppression that is set against them.

Fear of power

Because of the history of the witch hunts, and the patriarchal/colonial agenda to strip women in particular of their power in society, there is a general fear in us, especially those who identify with the feminine- of our own power.

This may mean we don’t trust our intuitive senses, our body’s natural cycles or our ability to heal, create, or transmute energy.

We may fear and suppress our own inner wisdom and authority so as not to threaten the status quo. We may remain small and invisible and silent for fear of being cast out, or taken down by those who feel threatened or jealous.

There is a sort of silent agreement that gets passed down through generations of women that in order to survive, we must stay small, be good, tow the line. That looks different depending on the generation and culture you grew up in. But in essence, it is the same message.

Many of us are carrying a fear that if we reclaim our intuitive, creative wisdom and power, we will be met with abandonment, ostracization or even death. If we come out of the broom closet and call ourselves a witch- because we embrace the liminal, magickal lifestyle, we fear that on some level, we are threatening the status quo and death could result.

Myself and likely other folks following a pagan path feel need to break from these generational narratives that are no longer sustaining us, nor the generations to come. This takes lots of time, sensitivity and patience. For many witches, this is a big part of what the path demands from us.

Fear of power is also sometimes the reason folks choose not to identify as a witch, because it is loaded with projections and generations of this fear, and they just don’t want to carry that. This is valid. But it can also be the exact reason one chooses to call themselves a witch, as an act of reclaiming and redefining for oneself who they are. In redefining the meaning of witch-by living it on one’s own terms, one can transform the baggage behind the title for the generations to come.

What does the word witch conjure in your mind?

Depending on the environment you grew up in, you may have a vastly different idea of what a witch is compared to someone else. Take a moment to reflect on what comes to mind when you utter the word witch?

Often, it is a combination of representations of the witch archetype you’ve been exposed to throughout your life.

If you are a spiritual, nature-loving, magickal person who is wondering whether you should call yourself a witch or not, there are a couple questions you may wish to ask yourself:

What does the word ‘witch’ mean to me?

What aspects of my associations with ‘witch’ do I embrace or feel uncomfortable with?

How would I define the word ‘witch’ for myself?

And finally:

How does my spiritual practice and lifestyle resonate with my definition of a witch?

What led me to identifying as a witch

I had always been a sensitive, intuitive child, naturally talking to invisible spirits and listening to the wind and trees as friends. I sensed the power in crystals and rocks. I had a strong ‘knowing’ of what was going to happen sometimes, and easily felt the hidden truth in people and situations. I felt the presence of ancestors and guides around me. I wished upon stars and dandelions, looked for 4 leaf clovers and lucky pennies.

As I grew older, I became obsessed with tarot cards and astrology. I believed in the power of visualization and intention. Through my mind-body studies I discovered the power I had to heal and transform my body, my energy and how to manifest my intentions.

But it took me some time to identify as a witch. To me, being a witch was a lifestyle. There was a structure, purpose and commitment to it.

In my teens and 20’s I started unpacking some of the Catholic beliefs from my childhood. At 13 I refused to go through my confirmation, and that felt really good to me, because I felt no connection to the church. As time went on, I realised that I felt more connection to a Goddess presence than a God one.

I didn’t feel a connection with one particular goddess but started praying to ‘Goddess’ and feeling what that meant to me. I grew that relationship over time. It has gone through many forms. I now acknowledge some of the gods as well and generally consider myself a polytheist, but still tend to favour the goddess in many forms. Deity however, may or may not be part of a witch’s path, as we are all unique.

I knew I had a deep connection to the land around me, but I wasn’t very intentional about it, more just open and sensitive to it. So, I started cultivating an intentional relationship with the natural world around me, bringing offerings and talking to specific trees regularly, listening to what they have to say about themselves, life or my concerns.

I started celebrating the solstices and equinoxes and cross-quarter days, learning of the traditions behind these celebrations.

It was when I started purposefully observing and celebrating the witches’ sabbats, communing with the moon and land intentionally and regularly, that I started to feel I was a witch. A big piece was doing rituals. Even simple ones, such as daily smoke cleansing or preparing a healing bath. The difference was that I was doing these actions with awareness and appreciation of the energy of each herb, oil, current moon phase as spirit allies and weaving that with my intention to create a specific energetic quality and outcome. I was co-creating reality with the world around me.

Also, for me, embracing all of the aspects of the archetype of ‘witch’- all the shadow parts and fun parts- was empowering and strengthening to my sense of witch self.

I reclaim and embrace the word witch as my own. My inner cackling hag, seductress, mischief maker, raging feminist, green eyed monster, as well as my medicine making, nurturing, healing, and creative witch are all parts of me that I accept.

Some witches do a lot of spellwork. Some do none. When I do formal rituals and spells, it is usually to heal myself around challenging situations in my life.

 Mostly, I weave magickal intentions, words and rituals into the rhythm of my daily life. This is part of why I consider myself a Hearthwitch, as I tend towards the less glamorous, more folky type of witchcraft, centered around my home and inner hearth. I also have called myself a Womb Witch, as much of my practice centered around my own womb healing for some time. I follow my intuition and value the freedom to follow the beat of my own drum.

Many diverse pagan paths

There are many pagan paths that honour nature, energy and magick in different forms, and not all Pagans consider themselves Witches. Some are Druids, Warlocks, Wiccans (Wicca is a specific modern Pagan religion), Heathens, Priests or Priestesses. There are Folk Witches, Green Witches, Grey Witches, all kinds of witches under the witch umbrella. Some may be a combination of these, some prefer to call themselves Pagan or simply spiritual. There are folks who combine christianity with paganism as well. Some prefer the community spirit of temples, churches and covens, while others prefer the freedom of being solitary.

Here are some take aways:

You don’t need to call yourself a witch to be a magickal, spiritual or nature-loving person.

In calling yourself a witch, you are not bound to any narrow definitions or archetypes from pop culture or myth.

There are many diverse pagan paths and titles- you may feel something else is more suitable for you.

Reclaiming the word and title of witch can be an act of empowerment and intergenerational healing.

As this interesting article by Time magazine states:

This is also why being called a witch and calling oneself a witch are usually two vastly different experiences. In the first case, it’s often an act of degradation, an attack against a perceived threat.

The second is an act of reclamation, an expression of autonomy and pride. Both of these aspects of the archetype are important to keep in mind. They may seem like contradictions, but there is much to glean from their interplay.

The witch is the ultimate feminist icon because she is a fully rounded symbol of female oppression and liberation. She shows us how to tap into our own might and magic, despite the many who try to strip us of our power.

We need her now more than ever.”

I hope that gives you some ideas to consider. What do you think about calling yourself a witch?

May your path be lit with the wisdom, wit and curiosity the witch is famous for.

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Why I started The Cauldron Goddess

Perhaps you’re like me and have felt kind of isolated and alone in your path as a witch, a pagan or spiritual person. Perhaps you are still in ‘the broom closet’ and not sure about being open about who you are yet. Maybe you’ve been out of the closet for a long time, but the path’s been super lonely or challenging.

Or perhaps you don’t consider yourself a witch at all, but your sensitive spirit comes alive in nature, and you wish to delve more deeply into that nourishment you receive when you slow down and connect to the cycles of the seasons, the celestial bodies, the earth, air, fire and water, the animal beings of the planet.

You perhaps know you are intuitive but sometimes don’t trust this part of yourself.

Maybe you are feeling some uncertainty or are going through a transition and wish for some guidance from your higher self.

Whomever you are, welcome and thankyou for coming by for a visit!

Things have been isolating in general over these long months of pandemic crisis. Many witches, pagans, and spiritual folks don’t have churches or temples in mainstream society. We are forging our paths and communities without much social support, in many ways, our very existence goes against the grain of colonial, patriarchal culture.

I am mainly a solitary witch, and happy being so, but sometimes, it can get a tad lonely. Even though I am in a big city where lots of other witches live, each of us has our unique path. Even if we are part of a group, our spirituality tends to be a very personal, individual thing. Some of us thrive when we are free to follow the beat of our own drum. Some thrive when in community. Some of my biggest lessons have been about the strength and empowerment that comes with forging my own path, and participating in community endeavors in small doses.

There is a fine line between solitary and lonely. It’s ok to dance that line sometimes, I feel it is part of the journey.

Truthfully, when we are on this path, we soon discover that we are never really alone. We are surrounded by allies and friends in the trees, rocks, animals, sky beings, ancestors, and spirit guides that surround us.

Even though I am solitary, I hold small community gatherings- the Hearthfire Circles– and try to attend events as well. As an introvert, I often find large events overwhelming, so I prefer smaller ones. The urge for community is often a strong desire in us witchy people and this exists alongside a need for solitude- to commune with nature, do our internal work and to rebuild a relationship with Spirit that is free of doctrines that do not resonate with us.

Part of why this urge for community it strong in me, and I feel in many other spiritual folks, is that we remember the old ways singing in our bones.

On a deep level, we remember living in sustainable community structures- in sacred connection with the land and each other-in reverence for all life. We remember the ways of folk magick, land-based practices that honour the cycles of the moon and seasons. We wish to return to more authentic, meaningful connections with others and ourselves. Perhaps we wish to revive the traditions of our ancestors- or at least, reclaim them in a new form that honours the present reality and the future we wish to create.

Our current culture under colonial, white supremacist, patriarchal capitalism can make creating a life like this quite challenging.  

There are layers of oppression that have wounded many generations of us that takes a while to unpack and heal, and there are many obstacles in the fabric of our modern culture that makes us choose between the survival of our body or the survival of our soul. It also emphasizes the survival of some folks at the expense of others.

‘Community’ now is a word used rather loosely. It can pertain to one’s Instagram following, Facebook group or membership to a corporate entity. These are fine ways to connect, but they often lack the depth, intimacy and real-life energetic exchanges between people that we instinctively crave. We are also contending with barriers such as white supremacy, patriarchy, cis-heteronormativity, and all the ‘isms’ pervading not only the mainstream but pagan spiritual communities as well.

My wish, my motivation behind my spiritual practice and The Cauldron Goddess, is not only to reclaim my own power as a witch and wise woman, but to help others do the same. I wish to be part of the change I wish to see in the world. It’s kind of a big ask sometimes, but the path demands that we stay awake and aware of the world around us, and the power of small steps to eventually make big impacts.

I feel that my own practice, my writing and both my in-person and online work are some of those small things that can send magickal ripples out into the world.

Pandemic Burnout & Nourishing the Spirit

Over the pandemic, like many of us, I experienced recurring burnout. It was my constant companion, with peaks and valleys of anxiety and depression. I am privileged enough to have been able to see an amazing therapist through it whom I’ve been seeing for many years now, and I’ve had the freedom to do the healing work necessary to cope.

A lot of old patterns and stories were triggered this year, and I have been releasing them and healing them ongoingly.

What I realised over the pandemic is how essential my spiritual practice is to my own wellbeing and how necessary it was that I nourish my spirit in order to be be present for my family and clients.

My witchcraft practice reminds me that I am not alone, that I am part of the sacred flow of life around me. It also teaches me to honour my sensitivity and protect myself energetically when the world around me becomes too much.

Nourishing my soul had taken a backseat to duty for too long. Instead of heeding the call of my spirit, of taking time to process who I was and what I really needed in the moment, I continued to prioritise work, duty and the mundane without the magick. I was scraping the bottom of the bucket to the point where nothing was left for my clients, my family, myself, no one.

Prioritizing my spiritual practice has become a lifeline, and so re-centering my energies onto the things I love and bring me joy- witchcraft, writing, tarot and my circles is how I am filling up my cauldron again.

Ultimately, The Cauldron Goddess is for me- a way to keep my energy focused on what nourishes me, and in turn I hope it be a source of support for you too.

Womb Healing

My background and experience is in mind-body therapies and womb healing work.

For most of my adult life, I have struggled with endometriosis and this set me on a long journey of healing in mind, body and spirit. For the last 5 years, since my surgery, I have been gratefully pain-free and slowly rebuilding myself a new life that finally doesn’t centre around chronic pain. With my newfound energy, I did some things that were on the backburner during my 20s and early 30s.

I got a driver’s license, went to college, started working out and eating some of the foods I enjoyed but couldn’t eat due to my condition. I traveled and started to work with womb healing clients 1 on 1 in a deeper capacity because I had the energy and experience to make a difference.

Until that energy bottomed out.

At first I thought it was just the pandemic and all the personal challenges that came with it. But it slowly became clear that it was more than that. I knew my soul was urging me to move on from focusing on womb health. The time had come to shift into focusing on my spiritual life more.

Womb wellness was always a part of my life, and always will be. But I’ve been changing, my path has been changing, and my work has to change with it. Cerridwen called me. My spirit called me to focus on my sacred craft and practice. The cauldron, which among other things is symbolic for nourishment, containment and the womb, was calling me to explore it in new ways.

My womb space healing work continues now, just in a different, more expansive form. The Cauldron Goddess is an extension of this work, but with a focus more on the spiritual aspect. It is now in a form that can benefit anyone with or without a womb, with or without a womb health issue. It is about nourishment, self-care, and soul-care. All of which benefit the womb space, if that is something you need.

But I am moving beyond the physical womb itself to focus on nourishing the spiritual womb, the inner hearth.

The Cauldron & The Hearth

My intention is to  create an energetic hearth with this blog and offer my services as a cauldron of nourishment for your soul.

This has been my practice as a Hearthwitch over the years- creating a sense of nourishment, safety and sacredness within my self. This then naturally extends to my home, family, clientele and community.

Taking the role of sacred space-holder, of empathetic listener and intuitive guide is my pleasure and passion. This role is nourished by my own spiritual and creative practices.

I have basic counselling, trauma and social work training that I feel is an important asset to what I offer as spiritual healing facilitator and tarot reader. I strive to create that safe cauldron for you to tune into your own intuition and self-healing abilities.

I will be sharing about topics like Tarot, witchy healing tools, sacred crafts, navigating the transitions through life-death-rebirth cycles, and all things related to my path as a hearthwitch, womb witch and devotee of Cerridwen- Goddess of inspiration, transformation and Mother of the Cauldron.

This isn’t my first blog, nor will it be my last. Its purpose is both a hearth for my thoughts, feelings and personal journey as well as a cauldron of teachings, tools and inspiration for your own journey. My hope is that in reading this, you will feel less alone, and more inspired!

So, come and sit down by the hearth with me, relax and nourish your intuitive, creative, nature-loving, witchy soul.

If you’re feeling comfortable, please reach out and connect with me for a reading, come to a circle or sign up for the Cauldron Collective newsletter below, and you’ll receive The Witches’ Wheel– a free ebook with info on the Witches’ sabbats and moon phases with affirmations and journal prompts for your own practice.

xo

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.