Samhain – Walking Through the Gates

Beloved love within
Let my thoughts become thy thoughts
Let my wish become thy wish
My actions, thy actions;

Let thy love become my love
Let thy love become my love

– Hazrat Inayat Khan

Every year for Samhain I do work on manifesting what I want in the coming year.  Along with this work I draw a tarot card to gain insight on what kind of energy I can expect to work with until next Samhain.  This year I drew the three of wands.

On my initial look at the card, it seems to echo the work I invoked in my ritual – to manifest the Beloved within.  I chose this work because of a recent, near overwhelming, desire to be in partnership.  I feel I am finally ready to fall crazily in love with someone.  I find myself wanting to meet the person who will walk with me through life, hand in hand.  To this end, a friend suggested that in the meanwhile I continue the deep work of cultivating the Beloved within, noting that when we work on ourselves and become our own beloved we tend to attract the partner we had been so deeply desiring –someone who sees the Beloved within us and becomes our beloved embodied in another.

To do the working of manifesting the Beloved within I decided to create a poppet of myself.  This is a big deal.  I don’t typically do crafts like this and have been blocked from these sorts of projects in the past.  I usually do spell work through collage.   This work needed something else, collage just didn’t feel right.  . It needed to be able to really take on a form that would I could charge to represent myself.  So, I gathered supplies to sew a poppet.

I took longer than I usually do setting the altar up.  I set out tea for my spiritual ancestors, cream for the Fae, a small offering of fruit for all the spirits, a skull to represent my ancestors of blood. Along with honoring ancestors I also honored where I come from: a rock carried from my favorite swimming hole in Arkansas with me to Florida sat in the center with the Star Goddess candle on it, antlers set behind it, a crystal dug up from the Arkansas mud by my aunt, and buttons given to me by my still living grandmother were scattered on the table to represent the women of my line.  I also set a stemmed glass on the table, one of two remaining from a set of 5 given by a then coven sister some years ago at Yule. This glass representing chosen family lost not through death, but through choices of diverging paths.  I also placed a yoni made from clay by another previous coven sister to represent the gate of life.Then there were the usual items of candles, athame, black mirror, singing bowl, tarot cards along with craft supplies for the poppet.

Across from the altar I placed a huge silver mirror with candles at the base to give some light. This simple act speaks volumes for me.  I’ve struggled with body image my entire life.  Yet, I chose to place a huge mirror across the altar.  I do my Samhain work wearing only the cords from my mystery school.  To see my image reflected in this way during this particular work was very powerful…and beautiful.

After casting the circle I called in the guardians, my ancestors of spirit, blood, and passion, and the Fae.  I felt called to name one ancestor of blood who has been on my mind lately though I never met her and know nothing about her – my grandfather’s grandmother.  I plan to ask him about her when I go home for Christmas.  Then I began to work on my poppet.

She’s simple and took hours for me to hand sew despite being so simple.  My first attempt was a body complete with arms and legs.  It was a flop.  I realized poppets don’t have to look exactly like the person, it’s okay to be more abstract.  While sewing, I reflected on what the notion of the “Beloved” means to me, the idea of divine love, the love of GodHerself. I occasionally wrote a few words down that seem to capture a piece of the essence I hope to cultivate: grace, faith, compassion, love, passion, and so on. When I opened the bag the yoni was stored in, an old key I’ve never seen before fell out.  I took this as a sign and the key went inside the poppet, along with rice and the words I had written down.

Throughout this process I spoke with my ancestors and Gods about my intention.  I named how easily the desire for finding a partner can turn into obsession and asked for their help to ward against that.  I also asked for information from them about how to work with cultivating the Beloved within.  4 hours of conversation, singing, dancing, meditation, and sewing.  I had no idea so much time had slipped by.  I didn’t feel tired until after charging my poppet.  Then, exhausted I drew my tarot card, opened the circle, and went to sleep.

I am still not very good at interpreting the tarot.  My above reflection that going solely by my feelings on seeing the image that it reflected the work of manifesting the Beloved within was my only insight.  Today I looked up the card and found it confirmed, especially here.

The interpretations seem clear – the journey was alone, strength, success, and virtue are present and one has learned to rely on oneself.   There is a firm foundation after a long climb and an expansion and bright future.

The work continues, as always.  One ritual does not suddenly manifest the Beloved within me.  It’s a relationship, and like all relationships they take time, effort, and appreciation.

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