The Thin Veil
It took Samhain for me to see how much I’ve changed. Through my practice I have learned to be less reactive, more present in the moment and closer to the things I hold dear. All of these things have helped my psychologically, taming my PTSD symptoms and have made it easier to breathe. Last Samhain, I was so desperate to make a connection that I was hunting for acorns, for ingredients in a ritual while I was having a wretched migraine. I was so sick that I remember standing in front of the microwave, heating up soup and it wasn’t working. I was looking at my body through binoculars, it felt like someone else was speaking through me.
These disassociative episodes, rarely happen anymore, even when I have migraines. My panic attacks have also dwindled significantly. I’d go so far as to say I’m not depressed most of the time. It’s an enormous relief. Especially to be able to walk, somewhat comfortably and to be present in the moment.
Walking through Portland at the end of October, a witch can’t help but to notice two things: everything is magic and everything is either starting to die or get ready to sleep. This transition was not lost on me when I lived in a dirtier city that had less of the wild insisting on its right to exist. Trees lost their leaves, grass lost its color.
Here herbs, flowers, bushes, trees of all kinds abound. So many trees drop their fruit on the ground that it is covered with acorns, walnuts and horse chestnuts, just waiting to be stuck in the pantry of a chipmunk or squirrel or simply to rot. The leaves are so abundant and so varied that the gesture is massive like a macrocosmic Van Gogh. The flowers, too, shed their petals, the edges becoming brown and rough. The heads of roses hang. The herbs and bushes loose their greenness, the chlorophyll waning. Things are drawing down.
It’s Samhain. Also it’s Halloween. Babies are dressed as pumpkins, kids become Luke Skywalker, the Joker, tiny little witches with green skin and big noses. Most of these things don’t resonate with the holiday for me (I always dressed as something dead) but the kids are cute.
I joked that I went as a witch. It’s a lame joke from Charmed but I think it’s kind of funny. Because so much of being a witch includes small unnoticeable things–crystal jewelry, tiny pentacles the way we talk about things sometimes that only other witches would pick up. Rarely do I carry a broomstick and it is always when I’m sweeping things.
This year, I didn’t have the time or energy to celebrate this Sabbath the way I feel befits it. But I feel closer to it than I every have. This past year, my connection to my spirituality has deepened significantly. I have been communicating with my deities daily and they communicate themselves to me in very clear ways.
I wanted to do something small, even though this last couple of weeks has been stressful and harried. I am housebound with a partner recovering from surgery so I smudged and I prayed and welcomed the sleepy, restorative winter, what will be, I hope the final stretch of healing for both of us (we were in a car accident a year ago and it was the final straw for bodies and psyches that have been sick with stress).
I prayed to deities whose ears were pressed close to the veil that on that night becomes so thin that voices can pass through without much force. I felt for sure that my prayers were heard.