Category Archives: RITUALS & PASSAGES

Reducing, Releasing and Receiving: My New Self Care

I’m coming full circle around to where this all began more than 20 years ago, with the Mad Goddess speaking to me in my middle age about sovereignty and self care. It’s playing out so differently this time, because the landscape is new. I’m passing through another transition.

Then it was all about preparing for the empty nest, or empty next as I liked to frame it, pursuing my interests and talents, carving out my unique niche in the world, making the dream come true.

Now I’m moving through my younger old age, not yet Crone, but perhaps crossing the threshold between Priestess and Sorceress as presented by Elizabeth Davis and Carol Leonard in their model of the thirteen stages of a woman’s life,  I’m standing in a liminal doorway, crossing into the next unknown.

13 Stages of women's life depicted in a wheel

Women’s Wheel of Life by Elizabeth Davis and Carol Leonard
I suppose you could put a mystic spin on all that, but really it’s about meeting my own truth and shaping the wisdom season of my life.
I’m practicing the three Rs. I think back then it was Reevaluate, Reimagine and Reset. Now those Rs are Reduce, Release and Receive.
All of this stuff I’ve accumulated over the decades of my adult life, longed for, worked hard for, held as success, now I feel the weight of it bearing down. We don’t own our material belongings as much as they owns us. Owned in perceived value; we can’t just throw it away or donate it, it cost us hard earned money. It should all be worth something.
Our stuff owns us in the time needed to use it, clean or maintain it. It claims our space for keeping it, saving it because we fear we might need or want it some distant day. Or saving it for children and grandchildren who have no use for it, don’t want it and will give it away.
Reducing the clutter has not proven easy. There is emotional attachment to things, but I find that the memories stay even when I let the things go. I had a beautiful perennial garden, twenty-four by forty feet, raised and enclosed with wire fencing to keep out deer, rabbits and other invaders. It bloomed with fragrant roses, peonies, and lilies. Spires of holly hocks, lupine and foxglove, and carpets of phlox.
It became too much work for me to keep up with. It’s overgrown with weeds and I’ve been giving my perennials to my daughters and younger gardening friends. I transplanted a few to small flower beds near my deck. I’m transforming the space into a wildlife garden, with mostly mulched beds, garden structures, and ornaments like wind chimes and sun catchers. I’m planting a few easy care shrubs and native wildflowers to attract birds and other wildlife.

My beautiful perennial garden is not gone, it is transformed, shaped to fit my life now. The stress of no longer being able to care for the formal perennials is gone. The strain on my arthritic back and knees is gone.

I’m gathering up all the bric-a-brac I no longer need, sets of china rarely used, books I no longer open, clothes I think will fit me again (they never will), all the little chotskies filling the shelves, the collection of wrapping paper and bows—who am I kidding? I give gift cards these days, or purchase a gift bag if needed.

Cluttered room full of vintage and furnishings

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

I keep telling anybody who will listen, I want less things in my life, and more experiences, with family, friends, and even on my own. I’m releasing my material stuff and going through my baggage, setting it down, walking away.

I’m clearing the space my stuff takes up in this world and opening it to receive what comes next. It’s slow going, it takes all the courage I’ve conjured up as an Warrior and Matriarch. I’m trusting it will make my life simpler and richer.

I want to travel light the rest of my years.

 Release, Reduce, Receive.This is my new self care.


Grounding and Centering

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

For years I read and listened to the accounts of successful people who begin every day by collecting their thoughts, setting intentions, and mentally preparing for the day ahead. Nice luxury, I thought.

Recently, I decided to give it a go. I took a thirty day challenge to ground and center every morning, first thing, no excuses.

I knew if a daily practice was going to work for me, it had to be meaningful, not rote. To that end, it could be as long and elaborate as I liked; I work from home, my children are long since grown, and gone and my spouse is self-sufficient.

On the other hand, I was certain if it was too elaborate, I’d be tempted to skip it on busy mornings—like the day I was scheduled for lab work before 8 a.m. at a clinic 40 miles from my home.

Sunrise is my time of day, whether I’m up and about in the wee hours, or still lying in bed when dawn breaks, that first ray of sun cutting across the room, coming to rest on a table or dresser, awakens me.

“Light of the world, a new day dawns. Renew my spirit, awaken me.”

Those words became the first line of my morning prayer that begins my daily devotion. The prayer includes setting an intention for directing the energy I give and receive “this day” to a higher purpose and greater good. I follow with my grounding and centering cued to these words:

“Mother earth, supporting me, Father Sky, lifting me, Grandfather Sun, igniting my spirit, Grandmother Moon, lighting my compassion, guide me on my journey.”

As I speak the words, facing the sunrise, I ground my energy to the earth and extend it to the upper world (heavens, deity or higher self—as you believe). I then spread my arms outward, centering the energy in my heart. I finish by folding my hands at my heart and bowing my head. Standing in the prayerful position, I finish with my gratitude to the Creator.

Short and sweet, completed in a few minutes, and quite rote despite what I’d intended—not unlike the prayers I learned as a parochial school girl, rattled off in church every week. Yet, there are significant differences. The words of my devotion are my own and heartfelt, I am deliberately present as I speak them (in a way I wasn’t as a school child), and the memorized recitation is a mere warm-up to the real meat of my daily devotions, that being 20-minutes or more of meditation.

Busy days crowded their way into my month, more mornings that I had to be out the door and on the run early. I let the meditation slip some days, or fit it in later in the evening, but I never missed the brief, memorized prayers. It turns out, those moments of grounding and centering were what made the difference in my days.

Yes, the prayers are a preamble, enhancing what immediately follows, but the simple words, the deliberate connections, support me throughout the day. Going through the motions, speaking the words, creates a memory, a touchstone in my body and mind. In difficult moments I can call on the energy to remain grounded, centered and balanced. But even when I’m not consciously aware, the energy is there, within me.

There are numerous methods for grounding and centering, including mundane, magical, and religious. For the simplest approach, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, close your eyes and relax your breathing. Scan your body for any areas of tension, take a deep breath and release the tension on the exhale. Repeat until your body is completely relaxed.

Call to mind a calming image—it can be anything that makes you feel peaceful. Focus on the image and your breath, allowing the weight of your body to sink. Feel your feet on the floor, your thighs and back against the chair supporting you. Then imagine a beam of white, or pale violet light extending from the crown of your head. The light energy flows both ways, reaching up to the higher realm and coming back to you.

Next imagine drawing up energy from the earth, while drawing down from the upper world. Envision these meeting near your heart, then expanding out in every direction. With each inhale, see the light glowing and growing until it surrounds you, like a sphere. Imagine this light sphere in the center of body, mind and spirit, made visible and drawn out to encompass you, almost as a force field.

Image by LillyCantabile from Pixabay 

When you are finished, see the light growing smaller, until it becomes a tiny orb, nestled between your heart and solar plexus. Take three deep breaths and open your eyes.

You can envision any color you choose for your light. White contains all colors, and is also associated with cleansing and purifying. A warm yellow or golden light is healing. Explore chakra energy centers and colors for more about working with the energy meridians of your body.

Try starting your day off with your own, simple grounding and centering ritual.


Simple Ritual

As I move further along in my journey of  aging, along my path to becoming Crone, I notice that my life is less and less compartmentalized. Every aspect informs every other aspect. This doesn’t feel like an energy of diminishment, or downsizing. It feels like expansion, like the dissolving of walls, the removal of masks. It feels like integration and simplification, like becoming the one true self.

I haven’t exactly made my spiritual practice these past years a secret, but I also didn’t wear it like a tattoo. I’m still doing neither, but I am acknowledging it as a part of my complete picture. In case you’re wondering what my practice might all involve, this short video that came across my social media feed is close, although a little heavy on the ritual side even for this old Catholic girl raised in the rites and regalia of the Roman Church.

My spiritual practice is a connection to the Divine, whether called by Great Sprit, God, Goddess, Yahweh, Allah or the many names one may choose from. It is a partnership with the natural world and laws of nature that contain me in this life. It is a reverence for the existence of the Divine signature in all living things, especially humanity. It’s an ongoing endeavor to rise above ego and seek the greater good.

You can call me a witch, I won’t be offended, but I hesitate to call myself that. I’m not what you see in pop culture portrayals. Neither am I an epitome of evil, caught in satan’s grasp as most religions would have you believe. I am not Wiccan—which is a recognized religion. The saying goes: All Wiccan’s are witches, but not all witches are Wiccan. It means we don’t all practice as religion.

I like to keep it that simple. I know all the magic, how to use the props, how to conduct a high ritual—I am in fact an initiated Priestess. But don’t need any of that. I can just as easily go to the forest, or the shore or hillside and open my heart, mind and soul to the messages that will come. I can sit at my kitchen table, light a candle and listen.

I can do this, because I have learned the more intricate ways, because I have sought out spiritual knowledge on many levels, because I have done this since I was that child in Catholic school, and then that young adult who wanted to know more about other faiths, and that mature woman who wondered how and why the feminine aspect of divinity was lost. In my searching I found the common threads woven through all faith beliefs.

And now the lines that separated it all into this or that religion are dissolving and it is simply faith. Faith that there is something bigger than me, bigger than humanity, bigger than this life. It doesn’t matter what I call it or how I aspire to connect with it because when I do, when any of us does, we are woke to the knowledge that God and Love are one and the same.

But I am not through learning. I will not be through learning until this life is done, and I suspect not even then. To be a witch is

  • To Know
  • To Will
  • To Dare
  • To Keep Silent*

Blessed Be and Journey Well

A Simple Samhain Ritual

*In times and places of persecution to keep silent is for protection. But it also means to refrain from arrogance, to keep your own counsel, and most importantly, never to proselytize.

Visit My Patreon Site
where you’ll find a plethora of simple witchcrafting including a full, step-by-step Samhain Ritual for members. There’s free stuff too!

If Patreon isn’t for you, visit Simple Witchery group page on Facebook
and ask to join.


%d bloggers like this: