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Raven (yes, really), a pagan, homeschooling mother of two -- one teen, one tot -- shares her adventures in parenting from a pagan perspective. Watch her juggle work, education, parenting, cooking, gardening, and . . . how many balls are in the air now? Sometimes they fall, and sometimes she learns from her mistakes. You can, too.

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In Shadows

Though we've moved beyond the longest night, the winter prevails upon us a time for darkness and reflection.

Since mid-November, when the air filled with the scent of wood smoke and the days were growing ever shorter, the darkness has been heavy on me.  I worked hard to celebrate the light's return at Solstice and made many children smile from homemade gifts and books, which was delightful for me

Yet the dark remains as a pervasive reminder that everything is a cycle.  To me, each life is a spiral that winds its way ever upward toward enlightenment.  Each time we coil around in a new loop, we sometimes find ourselves relearning old lessons or being reminded of our humanity.  Sometimes we even slip a little backward.

The darkness, as we know, is still a necessary part. Just as the moon wanes, so do we. And I've learned over the years to embrace these times when I feel less connected to my higher self and my goals, when I must face silence when I would have communion.

I apologize to readers who have enjoyed my writing in the past -- for two months I have turned inward and found nothing to say, for the silence was vast.  I wanted to reach out to the stars and share my experiences, but had nothing profound answering back. Writing about shallow topics for Sage Woman feels like a betrayal, so I said nothing.

In the darkness I left a community that touched on the spiritual parts of myself, and yet it was a different community and a dear friend who relit the candles within.  My friend said, "Write whatever you feel compelled to write.  Even if you feel it has no value, someone out there might benefit from it." 

So, as we greet the remainder of January, I would ask you heed this advice.  To know that even what you have to offer seems trivial or insufficient, to someone else it may hold great worth and be exactly what they needed. Do what you can, and the effort will be noted.

Embrace your own darkness, honor it with dance or song.  Spend time sitting in the dark and silence, and thank that part of you that holds anger, sorrow, envy, and guilt.  These are not easy things to hold, and at times these parts of ourselves can be a strength or the motivation we need

Find ways that allow your rage to hold space in the world without being destructive to yourself or others.  Find ways to express your sorrows so that they can be released.  Open yourself to the guilt that weighs you, acknowledge mistakes, and move beyond them so that they cannot hamper your actions, only guide them.

When moving through the dark, whether a difficult time in your life, a disconnected feeling, or simply the winter blues, remember the light will return.  If you can, be a spark or candle for others who feel lost in shadows.

Soon spring will be here, and with it, the reemergence of light and the call to action.  

I use this time to make plans for the year -- in the garden, out of the home, and adventures I want our family to have.  I let my sorrows carry me, my mistakes guide my choices, and transmute my anger into energy to see my tasks to fruition.

It's not an easy time to be a mother when walking through personal darkness, but having someone holding your hand, no matter how small, inspires courage and the reminder that joy can be kindled in the darkest of hours.

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Raven lives in a forest with her two homeschooled children, partner, and several demanding cats. She enjoys performing, cooks a mean burger, and is obsessed with farming, but has yet to adopt a goat. Her publications are listed at


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