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The Wheel of the Year is the engine that drives NeoPagan practice. Explore thw magick of the season beyond the Eight Great Sabbats.

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Going Deep

Last week we had the first true cold snap. We've had cold and snow so far this season, despite the warm weather that lingered long into November. But this was the first time we'd had a good hard freeze and as it does every year, this day caught me off-guard. It's really not that cold, compared to how cold it can get, how cold it will get soon. But this was first time, after months of warm weather, that the bite of Winter asserted itself. The wind was full of flying ice, and a lovely snow, dense but not very deep, seemed rather threatening.

The energy of Samhain and the darkening weeks that follow tells a simple message: shore up for Winter. The Sun's transit through Scorpio teaches us the paradox of “addition through subtraction.” Scorpio drives us to cut away whatever is non-essential, what no longer serves, what drains and does not replenish us. The call is to cut away the superfluous, the distracting, all the things that keep us from getting quiet and zoning into voices that do not echo the noise of our larger culture. These voices speak to us from our deepest selves, they carry the wisdom of our ancestors and Guides, they blossom with our imagination and visions. It takes incredible focus to hear these things above the din of the larger culture, especially now as we head into the end of the year holidays.

Once we dispense with what is non-essential, once we get started on battening down the hatches in preparation for very hard weather, we are able to tune into and really hear these voices. And in this stillness, in the dark and the chill, we can rest, we can renew ourselves.

In the lengthening gloom of a waning year, we tap into a rich store of buried treasure, we drop into the deepest sources of knowing and feeling that we can tap. I begin now, in the dark, to really see where my spiritual and magickal practices reside, where they thrive and where they falter. I assess how committed I have been, have I put in the time necessary, have I followed through with my promises? I assess my practices, what's working for me, what's challenging me. Do I need to send more time in front of my altar or on my mat, or more time in study and acquiring skills, or out being active in the community? Where I am being called, what do I want and what am I avoiding? We all need to ask these questions at times, and the answers are not always comfortable. But they are instructive and powerful and for Witches, they are gateways into the Underworld, the uncanny places where our own Shadows reside. We cannot deny or ignore them for long. What we discover in the dark of the year allows us to approach our magick, and our lives, more powerfully, with greater clarity and compassion.

 

Any moment, the shrill din of the holiday season will crank up. And soon we will be celebrating the return of the light on the longest night of the Year. It's a beautiful time of year> But before that happens, I love steeping in the dark. Tonight being the dark of the moon in the waning time of year, could there be a better moment to just sink into it, to just let go and accept what I've done, what I have not done, the ways I failed or succeeded. I accept all the year's business, kissed by Fortune or not. And I rest, because the Wheel keeps turning and even this dark night will end.

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Leni Hester is a Witch and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her work appears in the Immanion anthologies "Pop Culture Grimoire," "Women's Voices in Magick" and "Manifesting Prosperity". She is a frequent contributor to Witches and Pagans and Sagewoman Magazines.

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