Honouring our ancestors

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Flower offerings on the altar, alongside Maman Brigitte from the Dark Goddess Tarot and an icon of Mary

Today is Samhain. Today is the Day of the Dead. Today is a New Moon in Scorpio. It is a time of potency, and a time of magic. It is also, a time to honour our ancestral lineage.

Our modern world, with its constant future-driven deadlines and technological advances, has little time to spare for our collective past. Yet, as a practitioner of natural magic, as a pagan, tarot reader and astrologer, knowing my past, where I come from and what sustains my roots in this physical and psychic world, is as imperative as the air I breathe. Andย I find myself, a Romanian born kiwi now living in tropical Australia, at a cross-roads in my magical practice.

It’s more of a conundrum, I suppose, and it essentially boils down to this: what traditional practices do I make use of, what do I apply from the rich lore handed down over generations (and what do I discard), now that I live in a place that is so foreign to my cultural background, but also that is essentially uncharted territory from the perspective of modern magic and witchcraft, most of which is based on English or American traditions.

As a simple example, take Samhain, an autumn festival, which is now being celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere – however, down south, most of the pagans, witches and those immersed in the rhythm of our natural world, are celebrating Beltane, which is a spring festival, in line with the climatic (seasonal) changes that apply “down under”. But let me take even this one step further, and note that to be honest, in this part of Australia (north Queensland), there are only two seasons: winter (dry) and summer (wet). You can see it’s starting to get murky, for to me, the practice of natural magic is a practice rooted in your own current environment, and a knowledge and awareness of that environment is critical to your success – particularly when you start to work with herbs, with the crystals and stones of your own ground, with the waters that flow in your region.

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Flowers and Frankincense (Star of Bethlehem) on my altar prior to craft work

And so, I found myself pondering these matters yesterday in preparation for my ritual work today, and came to the conclusion that I need to do what feels right for me (versus what a book dictates). In line with this, the New Moon in Scorpio confirmed this to be an auspicious time to honour the dead, specifically my ancestral lineage.

With this in mind, I collected a mix of flowers as an offer to the dead. These were all collected on the morning immediately prior to the ritual, and grow easily in my garden: nasturtiums, dill, marigolds and Mimosa pudica (sensitive weed).

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Burning incense: frankincense, myrrh, sage and lemon myrtle

I also offered fresh water and incense, and burned a variety of herbs for protection and magic. I acknowledged my ancestors, and thanked them for their guidance and blessings. There is no set ritual wording I use for this – it is a fluid, flexible dedication that comes from the heart, in the spirit of connection and reverence.

Once done, I spent some time shuffling the cards and doing an Ancestral Lineage tarot spread, which I will share with you next time for it’s too long to go into detail here. Suffice to say, it left me a little stunned to read (in a good way!). I literally felt the magic envelop my room as I was dealing the cards, always a good omen that my dedication was acknowledged.

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Ancestral Lineage Tarot Spread using the Haindl Tarot (to be posted in the next instalment)

Finally, I went for a walk and collected sensitive weed. I will also post about this in a later post, but essentially, I am trying to work with what I’ve got, for both medicinal and magical purposes. It’s a thorny plant, so I figured it goes well with that Scorpio Moon energy ๐Ÿ™‚

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Collecting sensitive weed (Mimosa pudica). This is, as the name suggests, labelled a “weed”, and yet its medicinal uses have long been recorded and recently proven by science.

Wishing everyone all over the world a safe and magical Samhain / Beltane / Halloween / Day of the Dead, and New Moon in Scorpio.

Blessings,
Monica

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New Moon in Virgo : Ritual and Sound Healing

tea

I greeted the New Moon in Virgo early on in the day, making a decent brew of herbal tea. The ingredients (above) consisted of raspberry leaf, nettle, calendula flowers, oatstraw and a little bit of thyme. I haven’t really researched whether they complement each other well – I’ll leave that for when I get into some serious study – but nonetheless, I think it’s a good tonic.

brew

The final product isn’t as pretty as the dry ingredients, it looks a bit like mud water, but I’m happy with the taste. Thyme has a lot to answer for in the taste section, given the rest of the ingredients can be considered rather bland (not for me, though!).

So, the New Moon in Virgo was a time for contemplating what I want to start, or bring into my life, health-wise. Virgo is certainly attributed to health and healing and it is a sign of “service” i.e. service to the community, service to others ,etc. I wanted to spend some time contemplating what new actions or pathways to incorporate into my life that resonate with Virgo energy. I did this first by making the aforementioned tea, then retreating into my tarot room and lighting up candles, incense, and a new smudge stick.

Lavender and white sage smudge stick
Lavender and white sage smudge stick

The main idea with the smudge stick is to bring in more focus and sacred energy into my space. It is also a cleanser, and I use it to cleanse both my room and myself. This is done simply, carrying it around the room, and circling around both myself and the room I work in.

smudge stick smoke

It can get pretty smoky so if you intend on doing this, make sure you have good ventilation available. I keep my rituals pretty simple. The main thing, is to be genuine, and focused. Fancy words or rhymes I care not for. Ritual for me is really a prayer to the divine, asking for help, guidance and blessings, while giving thanks too.

Here are some of the actions I wish to bring into my life (after the previous post on my doubts about following some healing vocation path, this was a welcome affirmation):

– Yoga: oh, I am a master procrastinator. I should know better. I do know better. I don’t just “believe” in the power of a yoga practice, I know what it can do. I came off anti-depressants, tranquilizers and sleeping pills all at the same time, against the advice of my doctor (who sternly advised me if I did so, I would be on them for the rest of my life). Possibly I should have followed her advice, since at the time, I promptly fell into a crevasse and the world darkened like never before. Stubborn being that I am, I pushed on through, day by day, barely living, yet vowing not to touch the stuff ever again, even if it meant death. And then I saw a newly opened yoga studio around the corner from where I lived, and the rest, as they say, is history. I was so lucky that it was a small studio practicing in the lineage of Svastha yoga, and the focus was on breath and pranayama, as much as on correct alignment of asanas. That journey is another story onto itself, but for now, all I’ll say is, I need a regular practice, and intend to stick to it.

– Nutrition: this is a Virgo specialty. I’ve been pretty good, and intend to get better. I am seriously considering giving up bread, though for now I am happy to bake my own stuff… More herbal teas, less processed foods, that kind of stuff.

– Study: I’ve been slack here, really slack. I’ll be putting a couple of hours after work towards this, even if it’s just reading an astrology book or doing some tarot meditations. Speaking of meditation:

– Meditation: this one goes hand in hand with Yoga. Best time to do it is early morning, so a 6am wake-up time is on the cards ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think I’ll be really grumpy for a couple of weeks…

smudging

As it happens, the very night of the New Moon, I attended a sound healing workshop as part of a local Wise Women Circle. And you know, all of my previous doubts melted away to the sound of gongs, crystal bowls, drums, bells, and more. The sound healer is a Swiss lady living in a beautiful rural setting, where she has a studio dedicated to her practice. It was divine.

After we all had a play with the various “toys” (I want to make my own drum folks, this much I know!), we lay down, closed our eyes, and were guided through a sound healing session. The only lights were a few candles, the only sounds came from nature, wind, and the divine bowls and gongs, masterfully synchronised by the healer. I cannot emphasise how good it is to surround oneself with like-minded folk, to know that the path you are on is shared by others, even though the healing practices differ.

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I left feeling both rejuvenated and inspired. I love discovering and being part of an active group of extraordinary women, all beneath the thin veneer of mainstream tourism, mining and sugarcane agriculture that dominates the local landscape. Long may this path continue.

Many blessings,
Monica

Altar smudging
Altar smudging