Archive for the ‘spirits’ Category

reblogged and edited from my old website: Gypsyscarlett

Redbreast In the Morning

“What woke it then?  A little child

Strayed from its father’s door

And in an hour of moonlight wild

Laid lonely on the desert moor.”- Emily Bronte  1837

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— When Miss Bronte penned those poetic lines, perhaps she was thinking upon  this ghostly tale which took place in her home town:

Haworth.  February 1801-

Two-year old Joseph Helliwell snuck outside and attempted to secretly follow his father  from their home at Enfieldside to Pecket Well, where the farmer had a business meeting.  Tragically, Joseph could not keep up as his father made his way up the old Haworth Road.   He was found frozen to death the next morning upon the Moor.

Haworth.  January 27, 1849-

Four-year old Joseph Halliwell lived with his father on Far Intake Farm.  One day, the little boy ventured out and became lost.  Four days later, he was found frozen to death upon the same moor which had claimed his  near-namesake less than fifty years before.

resource:  “Strange World of The Brontes” by Marie Campbell

Walpurgis Night- observed on April 30th in Germany, Czech Republic, Finland, Estonia, Sweden and elsewhere.  A night when children light candles and play tricks on their neighbors.  A night in which Catholics honor Saint Walpurga.

Celebrated by modern day pagans as the night of witches.

“Walpurgis Night was when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroad—when the graves were opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel.” ~ Bram Stoker, “Dracula’s Guest”

Gustav Meyrink's Walpurgisnacht

“WILD HUNT (Ger. wilde or wüthende jagd; also wildes or witthendet heer, wild or maddening host; nachtjäger, night huntsman, etc.), the name given by the German people to a fancied noise sometimes heard in the air at night, as of a host of spirits rushing along over woods, fields, and villages, accompanied by the shouting of huntsmen and the baying of dogs.” from 1900 The International Cyclopaedia: A Compendium of Human Knowledge, Volume 15.

Occuring exactly six months after Samhain, Walpurgisnacht is considered to be, the “other Halloween”, as it is also a time when the veil opens between the worlds of the living and the dead. It is on this eve that German witches were said to meet upon the Brocken.  This, the highest of the Harz mountains,  famous for casting enormous shadows of a person into the mists below.   There they would pay honor to their “devil” and celebrate the coming of spring. It is also on this night that the Wild Hunt ends. The collected souls, taken by the Goddess Holda into the earth so they may be reborn.

it is a time for speaking to those on the otherside.  Of divination and magic.  Of daring a glimpse into the dark.

Goddess Holda wild hunt

Walpurgisnacht- A lovely time to call upon Hecate as she has also long been associated with the Wild Hunt.  Roaming the nights with her sacred black dogsGoddess of the crossroads, the moon, sorcery, and ghosts. She who rules in the underworld, earth, and heaven.  She, Queen of the Witches.

hecate

Goethe’s Faust: “To the Brocken the witches ride…” (“Die Hexen zu dem Brocken ziehn…”)

I shuffle the cards to clear the deck. With my eyes closed, concentrating on my brow chakra to activate the inner sight, I ask the Spirits to guide my hand to the card which represents my current state of mind on the creative writing process.
“I will shuffle nine times. Let the card on top be the current answer.”

I shuffle and turn the chosen card.

Six of Swords

bohemian gothic tarot six of wands

“Getting through a hard time calmly and quietly. Making a profound change in your life, which will take some time.” Are some of the sentences the Bohemian Gothic Tarot uses to describe the meaning of this card.

And yes, like most writers, I have gone through some difficult times with my current manuscript. There are the days when the words flow seamlessly and I bounce like an excited child as I type away. Giddy that I am a sorceress creating magic with the touch of my fingertips against the keys. There are the times when my brain is frazzled and I just can’t get the images in my head down onto that screen, and I wonder how I ever wrote two novels when I can’t even now get one damned paragaph down. More often than not, there are the okay days, when the words don’t flow, but with patience and faith, they do eventually come.

As I gaze at the picture above, I see a woman asleep, floating on a boat. The water, so symbolic of dreams. Below, is her double. Awake, and staring up at her twin. The conscious and subconscious.

To create one must go deep, deep within themselves into the forests of their mind. This is where story ideas and characters are found. Yet it is the conscious which enables us to weave tales in a comprehensible fashion. To revise and edit and make all words clear and meaningful.

It is a beautiful mental dance.

And yes, it often takes a lot of time.

And that, is all right.

The lovely DD who runs a wonderful blog (which you should definitely check out) recently wrote this post: http://fillingspaces.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/do-you-believe-in-ghosts/ which inspired me to write of an incident which occurred a few years after my nana’s mortal death.

Before I write of that incident, one should know the kind of woman my nana was.

In a word, she was a class-act.

One memory which sticks out very much happened during one of my visits home. Which incidently, was the last time I ever saw her.

During a family gathering, she was introduced to two female friends of my sister.

Driving home, the conversation proceeded as such:

“X and X are such lovely girls,” said nana.
me: “Yeah, they’re really nice.” (pause) “They’re a couple.”
Nana: “Yes, I know.”
me. “I mean, they’re not just friends.”
Nana (turning to glare): “Do you think your Nana is stupid? That she doesn’t know what goes on in this world?”

To say that shame instantly filled me is an understatement. Here was a woman who’d lived through the Depression, saw her husband go off to fight in World War II, raised a little boy alone until he thankfully came home, worked as a secretary in a school for the blind, saw presidents assassinated, men walking on the moon, the civil rights movement, womens sexual liberation, Vietnam, Korea, black and white t.v. with one or two channels expanding into cable. The Hays Code to All in the Family to HBO. Walls built, and Walls torn down. The fall of leaders, and the rise of the internet.

But she might not realize someone is gay??

Really!?

Yes, I’d insulted her.

But luckily, she wasn’t one to hold grudges.

Since she has passed, she’s come to me often in dreams. She rarely speaks, but just her presense is a comfort.

Your own thoughts many would say. But I don’t care what others think. I know.

And she’s come to me in other ways.

Some years ago, after coming home and having dinner with my husband, he broke out with “Uhm, uh….btw…uh, when you were out….uhm, that music box of your nana’s started to play on its own.”

me: “What? My nana was communicating from beyond the grave, and you’re just telling me now??”
hub: “Well, you said you were hungry.”

As one can imagine, I was quite disappointed not to have been here at the time. But a few days later, in the early hours of the night, her music box, with two white swans atop, began to turn on its own, and Für Elise began to play.

The windows were shut.
There was no breeze.
There was no banging anywhere in the apartment complex. No loud stomping.
No animals or children to have bumped into the commode.

“Nana?” I said.

There was no answer.

Only the beautiful tune we’d both loved so much.

It happened on one more occasion. Home alone, feeling a bit blue after receiving a rejection (the hazzards and realities of being a writer!) when the music began.

All I could do was say, “Thank you.”

A lovely “yay! Persephone has awoken and spring is here”- day. So did I go to a park? Stroll down the city streets to window shop? Why, no. I jumped into my clothes and headed to the nearby cemetery.

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As I wandered about, I was struck by a statue of what appeared to be of a statue of Buddha. This being a Christian cemetery, I found its inclusion interesting and quite lovely.

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My gaze then turned to the next plot and while reading the headstone, my heart sank. I was reading the epitaph for a child who’d died in 2007 at the age of seven. Included on the headstone was a photograph of a smiling, chubby-faced little boy. I won’t include that photo for sensitivity reasons and respect to his family who might not want his name and face made public in such a way. But here is a picture of another little stone included at his site:

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(“In Memory of a Wonderful Person”)

While I’m certainly no stranger to the reality of young lives being cut way too short, coming face to face with it (so to speak) by such a terse, elegant statement hit me hard. AFter paying my respects, I moved on, walking about until another gravesite called me over to it. It was a joint plot for a husband and wife, born 1897 and 1898, respectively. Both had been doctors. Then I noticed the little grave beside them. It was of their child who’d they lost at only one years- old. No other children were mentioned or buried by them so I was left to wonder if they hadn’t been able to have any more, or had purposely refrained so not to possibly face such pain again.

I wandered on, reading more headstones, noting the sites left bare, and others adorned with fresh flowers. The tended graves and the ones with overgrown weeds. Even though the graves of the children stayed with me, I left that day with a feeling of peace and gratefulness.

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Sonnet 98

by William Shakespeare (1609)

“From you have I been absent in the spring
When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.”

As Halloween approaches, I wished to continue my theme from last week.

For Italian Witches, or those who follow the spiritual path of Stregheria, the pagan holiday of Samhain is known as, Shadowfest. ( La Festa dell’ Ombra). On October 31st, the deceased return to the world of the living for three days until they depart again on the second of November.

As hosting a Dumb Supper is traditional for some witches, it is customary for Sicilians to gather at the graves of loved ones and leave them food. One of the most traditional foods to be served is fava bean soup. Since the days of the Roman Empire, the bean has been associated with the dead due to a single black mark on the white petal. Bowls of the soup are left outside at the witching hour for the spirits to enjoy, and then buried when the sunrises.

Today in Italy, it is common to eat fave dei morte sweets shaped as skeletons. While modern Sicilians also partake in sugary figures shaped from legendary heroes.*

This practice of honoring the spirits of the dead for multiple days can also be found in Mexico’s, Día de Muertos which also lasts from October 31st through November second. Skulls made of sugar, marigolds, and favorite foods are brought to the graves of loved ones. November first, Día de los Angelitos, is set aside to honor children, while the second day of the month, Día de los Muertos, is to remember the adults beyond the veil.

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* information from Raven Grimassi’s, Hereditary Witchcraft

Doorbells ringing.
Impatient knocking.
“Trick or treat.” Cute little ghosts and goblins and witches standing at your threshold, holding out bags to be filled with sweets.
While this is the image most conjure in their minds regarding All Hallows Eve, October 31st holds a very different, very sacred meaning to the hearts of many others.
Amongst other names…
Samhain (sow-en) to the ancient Celts and many modern Pagans
Shadowfest to the Strega

As the veil between the living and the dead lies at its most fragile, it is the opportune time for seances, scrying, and magic.
It is time to honor the God and Goddess.
But most of all, it is time to remember our ancestors.
We walk upon their bones every day. Their blood flows within us.
It was they who reaped and sowed, toiled in fields, built shelters, dared to dream and travel to new lands, survived and fought against slaveries and holocausts, and every day injustices.
Halloween is a night to say, “Thank you.”

And one does not have to be of any particular religion or spiritual practice to do so.
One of the most lovely traditions is to host a Dumb Supper. This may be done solo, or with friends and family in attendance.
If one wishes to host one, there are no rules. One may wish to call upon a few specific loved ones who have passed away, or their whole lineage. A general guidelines one may wish to follow would be to remember that the supper is for those who have gone before. Therefore, you may wish to cook your grandmother’s favorite meal, or dishes belonging to their ethnic background. Prayers belonging to the religion they practiced might be recited. Their favorite flowers bought. Their favorite pieces of music played.
The meal is served backwards….yes, dessert before the main course! Some even set the table in opposite fashion. In any event, once the food is served, the supper is enjoyed in silence, hence the name.

Once everyone is done, the remaining food is left overnight for the spirits to partake of their essence.
Afterwards, enjoy a night of magic filled with family, love, and remembrance.

Samhain