This Week on the Witch Next Door Podcast we round out our origins of divination series with a look at the Runes.
Discover where and when they were brought into being and how they are used.
Did you ever watch the movie Labyrinth? It’s a classic.
But it’s misleading.
You see a labyrinth isn’t a maze. There are no dead ends. No tricky turns.
There is just a path. One that leads to the center through the twists and turns of sacred geometry. Onc in the center the only way out is the way you have come.
This design is both simple and complicated. It has been used for meditation and contemplation for a very long time, and can be found in community and retreat centers, churches, and natural spaces.
You are invited to delve into the Gift of the Labyrinth with me on July 22nd at 9 am PT for a 2 hour workshop.
You will learn and experience:
You can register here
With Love and Blessings,
I’ve been feeling a little quiet lately.
You might have noticed a few less emails in your inbox.
Social media posts that are few and far between.
A skipped week of podcasting (or two).
I’ve been feeling myself pulled to my writing, my imagination, painting story, crafting characters and unfurling a landscape in which it all unfolds.
My creativity is a part of my magic. Perhaps it’s the biggest part even.
It’s the place that I gather my tools and energetic connections and transform them into ritual and workshop, spell crafting and altar building, potion making and manifesting.
And sometimes when my creativity and I are head over heels with each other the rest of the world fades a bit. It’s harder to do things like dishes and laundry and meal planning.
It’s harder to reach out to community. Because creativity can be such a passionate lover. It sometimes makes the rest of the world disappear.
But I want you to know I’m still here.
Still making magic.
Still crafting ritual.
Still holding space.
Just a little quieter on the outside.
Because I’m having a Summer love affair with creativity.
Write a love letter to creativity. Maybe you call this your creative self. Or perhaps you relate to this as the Muse. However you see this force in the world, write it a love letter and invite it in. Let the Summer energy fuel your own passionate relationship to creativity.
Then sit beneath the full moon or the noon day sun and read it aloud, calling out to creativity to dance with you.
Journey with Me
Step into the magic of the labyrinth, a twisting turning journey to a center. Your center.
The labyrinth is a single path that leads to the center of the structure and back out again.
It offers us a place for meditation, ritual, and contemplation.
July 22nd at 9 am PT, I am offering the Gift of the Labyrinth workshop. During this two hour experiential gathering we will,
The Solstice is still a couple days away, yet the smell of early Summer is in the air. The drying of grasses, the warming of stone fruits on the trees, the scent of jasmine and roses and butterfly bush flowers.
I love the smell of Summer. Fall is my favorite season, but there is something about the scent of the start of Summer that holds the promise of lazy hot days, extra time outdoors and vacations that hearken back to my childhood and the end of the school year.
What are you doing to celebrate the Solstice this year? The Summer Solstice marks the official first day of Summer, it is the longest day. The sun reaches its highest point before the nights begin to lengthen once more.
It is a day of celebration and marking of the coming heat of the season, the height of the growing season, and a time for play.
One of my favorite things to do on the longest day is to greet the morning sun and say goodnight as it sets (the latter is often a challenge for me). You might sing the sun up or down, dance beneath the day's birth or death or just take the time to watch the changing of the season as the light moves in and out of its moment of splendor.
This year in our Diving Deeper community we made wands to celebrate the Solstice, inviting that fire energy of the sun and the season to infuse our tools with their magic.
On Wednesday (the 21st) I will be setting out some tea to brew with my summer intentions scrawled on paper and tucked beneath to infuse the elixir with not only the solar energy but my plans for the season.
Need a little more inspiration?
Erin LaFaive of Full Circle Herbals and I cooked up a digital Celebration Guidebook that is available here
For many years at the Summer Solstice my women’s circle and I would make our way out to the ocean to walk a labyrinth beneath the setting sun and feast together.
The symbolism of walking into the labyrinth and out again invited us to move within ourselves, allow those shadowy places within to be illuminated (and perhaps transformed) and to make our way back out again as a process of integration.
The Labyrinth is a sacred and ancient tool, place, practice.
I am offering you a 2 hour class called the Gifts of the Labyrinth in which you will discover the magic of this sacred geometry.
Together we will:
Pricing for this event has been tiered.
Choose the price that supports your financial situation the best.
The Wise Woman Witchery Outdoor Retreat has been rescheduled for 2024.
We will gather Friday June 7th through Sunday June 9th in Santa Rosa, Ca for three days of magic and community.
If you are interested in joining us you can register for updates here.
With Love, Blessings and a whole lot of Summer Magic,
PS You can also build on that Summer vibe by tuning into past episodes of the Witch Next Door podcast
Summer Solstice and the Sun Card
Summer Solstice 2020
Have you ever found yourself gazing into the bottom of your tea cup at all the bits left behind, wondering what it might mean?
Tasseomancy or tea leaf reading is the topic of this week's episode of the Witch Next Door Podcast.
We explore the origins of this process and how it is done.
Have you ever walked a labyrinth?
These sacred paths are not mazes. There are no dead ends or tricks and turns to keep you trapped within.
They are a tool that represents moving within and out again. There is only one path to the center and one path out.
Several years ago I taught the Gift of the Labyrinth at one of the first conferences I offered.
I am teaching it again as a stand alone 2 hour course on July 22nd.
During our time together you will,
Learn the history of the labyrinth
The ways it can be used
Go on an experiential and tactile journey to the heart of the labyrinth
Discover the power of this magical, spiritual and meditative tool and learn to use it in your own life
Registration opens this weekend.
Friday I rocked my Boudoir shoot. It was fun, playful, uncomfortable and so very worth it!
One of my girlfriends said to me “You always do the coolest photo shoots” and without thinking I replied “That’s how I practice falling in love with myself”.
And it’s true. Practicing the magic of glamor, coupled with seeing myself through someone else’s lens, quiets the critic within. It offers true sight. It provides a window to see myself without all the filters I usually look at myself through.
When I look at myself I see one thing.
When I dress up and look at myself I see something different.
When I see myself through someone else’s eyes the vision shifts again.
And when I dress up and see myself through someone else’s eyes, I transform even more.
I feel different.
And that feeling lasts. It’s a body memory that becomes more easily accessible the more often I touch it, feel it, live it.
What tools do you use to fall in love with yourself?
Is it dressing up?
Makeup and hair?
Wearing lingerie under your regular clothes like a secret only you know?
Putting on those boots that give you a little extra swagger?
Listening to a song that gives your hips a wiggle?
Dancing like no one is watching?
Savoring the most delicious of flavors?
Or bathing in a scent that makes you swoon?
What senses do you activate to fall in love with you?
How do you feel this in your body?
What can you do to invoke this feeling on command?
My photo shoot did not heal years of self criticism.
It did not completely silence that negative voice. But it did close the wound a little more, it gave me more moments of peace in my mind and it reminded me that my body is indeed sacred and sexy and a little wild too.
It was a ritual, a ceremony, a blessing.
It was magic.
And magic ripples.
It makes waves.
And it transforms.
I invite you to create a ceremony to honor your sacred body, your sensuality, your sexy self.
Let me know what you discover.
Wise Ones, I have been deliberating about whether to write this or not. Yet it is at the forefront for me at this moment and I have a hunch it is for some of you too.
I talk a lot about connecting to our bodies and the wisdom they hold. I teach Sacred Sensuality in the Priestess Path and I work with people in a therapy setting, helping them to connect with their body felt sense and using the body as an entry point for healing.
I love the things my body can do. I love to move and dance and sweat and stretch!
And, I have shame about my body too.
Maybe it originated from being the biggest/tallest girl in my classes. Going through puberty early.
Maybe it has something to do with being called the “chubby” one. Or some of the comments I’ve received from men over the years (ex: “you're so beautiful, it’s too bad about your body”. No joke. Someone actually said this to me. Or the time one of my earliest serious boyfriends left a note on the chip bag in the cupboard that said “Don’t eat these, chips make you fat”)
Maybe it’s the media, or the culture of rock n’ roll I grew up listening to (hair bands and hard rock = a certain flavor of what sexy meant).
I am not small. Never have been. I’m 5’11” and usually around 200 lbs.
My weight has fluctuated throughout my life. I have struggled with my relationship with food (I eat super clean 99% of the time, but I like to eat A LOT, especially when stressed!). I love to exercise, but can easily get caught up in the “I’ll do it tomorrow” trap when I’m busy and overwhelmed (which is of course when I need it most)
Why am I telling you this? And what the heck does this have to do with magic anyway?
I believe in the very fiber of my being that our bodies are sacred, we are made of stardust and the elements run through us. The very fact that each of us is here is a miracle in and of itself.
And the abilities we have to move and feel in our bodies (however these exist for each person) are a universe of possibility and experience.
Yet somehow there are moments (like when my jeans feel tight) that this no longer applies to me. I can see it and feel it and say it for every other person, but for me, this is not true.
My critic kicks in with one of those familiar stories about my worthlessness. Like somehow the way my jeans fit determines my value as a human.
Since the pandemic started I’ve had a difficult time maintaining a weight in my body that feels good to me. I’ve noticed that with the onset of perimenopause this has become even more challenging. And I’ve been working my relationship with food, movement, and myself.
Right now as I type this I am 20 pounds heavier than where I feel my best (and not just because of the way I look, but because of how I feel!)
So my critic has been making occasional appearances, sometimes for days, sometimes for moments. And I keep moving and eating and working this edge.
When I had the pleasure of chatting with Angelina Caporale for the Witch Next Door podcast prior to the Cauldron Conference and heard she was offering Boudoir Goddess Photo sessions while in town I signed up. Talking about sacred sexuality was so inspiring!
I got really excited.
Then I got scared.
The shoot is this Friday. I’ve got my outfits picked out, my professional makeup appointment scheduled and complete trust that Angelina will make this experience comfortable and magical too.
I’m still nervous.
But I’m not scared anymore.
I know I like theatrics and hamming it up in front of the camera. (I mean who doesn’t like to revel in the glam?)
I know I will have fun.
My work is around letting myself truly celebrate and honor this miraculous body I live in without the critic’s voice in my ear.
After all my body is strong, and sensuous, it lets me connect with the world around me in a tactile way, to truly experience connection.
My body has held grief and love and laughter and despair, it has felt the sweet touch of my nephews little fingers and the sharp bite of my puppies teeth.
My body has run miles and miles and miles and danced and sobbed while doing burpees (that last one was just this morning lol), my body has tasted the most delicious of foods, smelled heavenly scents, experienced orgasms and sensual touch and has also felt pain, and injury. It has bled and blistered. It tells the story of my growth and travels through roadmaps of stretchmarks and saggy skin and varicose veins and sun spots and wrinkles and strong strong muscles.
So this Friday I honor and celebrate my body and my sensuousness and sexy self with a photoshoot that is really just for me (and maybe my husband too).
It is a ritual.
A ceremony celebrating desire, seduction, sensation, and the power of these things inside of my skin.
I’ll let you know how it goes (part two).
In the meantime, I invite you to celebrate YOUR sacred body.
Maybe through movement, anointing yourself with amazing scents, writing a poem about your beautiful form, savoring something delicious, letting yourself be nourished by touch or dressing up just for you!
And it is likely if she were still alive she’d be kind of mad about it.
She always said she did not want to live to 100. She said she felt tired and she didn’t want to hurt more.
She died at 95.
My grandmother was not a Witch, but she was most certainly an inspiration to my witchery. She was curious about the natural world, told me nature was her church and we marveled at the moon together.
Sometimes we would talk on the phone, her in Seattle and me is Santa Rosa and we would look at the moon at the same time, that glowing light in the sky making us feel a little closer even though 80 miles separated us.
Later when she was living here in the final years of her life we would seek out windows in the retirement community she lived in or pull over on the side of country roads to gaze at that moon in all her phases.
My grandma was a deeply influential person in my life, and she was also my dear friend. I could tell her almost anything and she was always up for an adventure.
Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her fiercely. And even still over five years since she died, her grandmaisms are spoken in our house and I talk to her and ask for guidance often.
This past month in last years Priestess Path cohort, we have been talking about and connecting with guides and allies.
These energies come to us in so many ways. Sometimes silently in a symbol or a knowing, and sometimes through words, or dreams, or even a song.
Our magical guides and allies, can be animals, people (dead or living), otherworldly beings or even a tree or stone.
Sometimes they are mentors or teachers, sometimes we seek them out specifically for guidance or wisdom.
But sometimes our magical guides and allies show up where we least expect them. In an exchange with the grocery store clerk, with a brief encounter with an animal, a quote you read or hear and even a literal sign that points you in the right direction.
We can think about guides and allies in a very broad sense, and when we do our worlds open up to even more possibility.
When we listen, watch and connect, we will discover inspiration, guidance and wisdom in places we might never have imagined.
We recognize that not all of these wise ones, are fixed. That they might come and go, or like people in our lives stay for a season, or an era before moving on. While others are stable and constant, offering a sense of true north.
Who are your magical guides and allies? And where might you discover even more guidance if you were just willing to look?
At Beltane this year I stared into a flame, asking what I needed to commit to in body, mind and spirit. What was needing to come to the surface.
The first answer came quickly. Body? Movement, Dance. This made sense. No big surprise.
Mind? Stillness, staring. Also not surprising. Expected even.
Devotion to what? As someone who doesn’t do a lot of work with deities in my own practice, I was surprised by this answer. Who or what was I supposed to be devoted to?
I rolled this word around and around in my mind. I let it take up space in my mouth as I felt the texture of it. Speaking it aloud often in the coming weeks.
The answer was not as far away as it first felt.
The devotion I was (and am) being called to is creativity and specifically to my writing.
I felt it when I picked up my pen to journal later that week. The spark and calling was pervasive as I scrawled page after page.
My practice in devotion to creativity, to muse, to the godds of writing has been long flirted with. From one night stands to months long affairs, creativity and I have had some times.
In moments it consumed me in story, late nights at the keyboard, hours with pen to paper in coffeehouses, on trains, between classes. For years I carried a notebook and wrote in every free moment I could find. Other times, (most times these last 15 years), creativity in the form of my writing has been pushed to the background as my responsibilities (and sometimes my fear) took over.
Is it different this time?
I don’t know. It feels different. But I’m pretty sure it’s felt different before. I’m also pretty sure that it's a day by day choice.
Devotion can be sweet and like love can sweep us off our feet, yet also like love, when the initial rush of oxytocin wears off, devotion can require work, focus, and even discipline.
How does devotion show up in your life? Where are you choosing to devote your time, your energy, your passion to?
If it is not already, what would it look like, feel like, be like to make this devotion intentional?
And are you willing to take the plunge?
There is so much I want to share with you!
But since I must narrow it down to this one simple and hopefully digestible letter, I will begin with the most present thing.
The little girl was dancing and dancing. Her cat eared, sound canceling headphones made her look almost as if she were an animal. So connected to her body. So present in the experience. Aware of her herself and completely embodied.
Her little 7 year old self letting the music carry her deeper within, then without, taking in her surroundings before turning back in again, eyes closed. In and out, riding wave after wave of song.
Music invites us back to ourselves. To all of ourselves.
Maybe it’s a rhythm and that seeps into your skin and invokes movement you can’t help but surrender too.
Maybe it’s a familiar lyric or tune that calls your past self (or selves) back from the depths of history, memory, another time and place.
What was the last song that demanded an offering of presence from you?
Last night I went to a Matchbox Twenty and Matt Nathanson concert at a nearby outdoor pavilion. It was amazing!
Aside from the great company (shout out to my fellow Witch in the World Irisanya Moon), the fabulous music that awoke so many of my past selves and the gorgeous Spring evening, there was that sense of connection, of being a part of something. There was a sacred timeless space created there in that theater. Each of those 8000 plus people having their own experience, creating their own memories and simultaneously hearing the same music, a common and shining thread woven through the tapestry of moment.
I have written before about music as magic, as time travel, and yet it is so much more.
It is also a time stopper, a connector, a container, a Spell.
I invite you to use this tool for your magic.
What is the energy you want to invoke? What song(s) call this forth for you?
Choose one and play it, headphones in, world shut out and let it infiltrate your being.
What happens? Take note. Or better yet, make a note. Tell the story of this transformation.
Make a playlist-
Choose a mood, a time, a self you want to connect with and make a playlist of songs to support this part of you. Let it be fuel, balm, whatever you need it to be. Listen as needed.
Share the magic-
Text a friend or loved one a link to a song that is speaking to you.
Make playlists (remember mix tapes that you made for lovers and friends?), share them
Co-create-pick a theme and invite a friend, loved one (or multiple friends and loved ones) to add songs to the playlist with this theme. (this is making magic together and creating connection, weaving your own thread through each others experiences across time and space).
Most of all, have fun. Dance. Laugh. Cry. Let the music hold you and guide you.
Last night I offered my Priestessing in the Modern World Class.
It did not go as planned.
My sleeping puppy was wide awake and ready to play.
My husband and I had a miscommunication about timing and he wasn’t home or responding to my pre-class texts about how I needed him to take over puppy duties.
But I said I was offering this class, spo I was showing up for it.
When I commit I go all in.
If I say I am going to do something, I do it.
So I taught the class.
I had an allergy coughing attack right out of the gate.
My puppy wanted off the bed where I had tried to lull him into rest and alerted me with squeals.
Once off the bed he popped on the floor and proceeded to squeal his desire to get back up.
I kept talking. Working hard to modulate my voice and cover all my main points.
When there was a pause in the meditation I scooped him back onto the bed where that little guy relentlessly chewed my clothing, my hand and intermittently the toys I kept offering him.
My attention was totally split. By the time we wrapped the class, several people had left midway through. I was exhausted and frustrated and a little undone.
We went outside where the dogs ran and I breathed and grounded and worked to recenter.
Sometimes Priestessing looks like this. Sometimes it means showing up just as you are and staying the course.
Other times it is pivoting last minute or rescheduling a commitment.
Priestessing is the act of connecting to the energies of the earth and sky and Source, and letting those energies amplify your gifts.
But what about the times you can’t connect?
What about those moments when your attention is splintered?
After all, we are human.
The answer is “it depends”.
There are moments in Priestessing/leading/teaching, where the show must go on even when distractions emerge. It is in these moments that I lean into my own strengths as a way to carry me through.
It doesn’t always turn out as expected. But then I learn. After all there is always more to learn. Especially when in a leadership role.
Allowing oneself to be humbled is a part of growth.
So last night, I grew a little more. Accepted the reminder that sometimes a last minute reschedule might be in everyone’s best interest or a delay in start time to set myself up for puppy success could have been a benefit.
And I leaned into my humanness with compassion and surrender.
If you missed the class last night you can watch the replay with puppy whines, coughing and all here.
If you want to learn more about the program or if you have been considering it and are now ready to join you can do so here.
This was the question hanging in the balance in the late Summer of 2019.
There was aBusiness Witchery Retreat being held in Florida in November of that year and I wanted to go, but it was an investment. (And it meant flying across country for the second time that year, which as you likely know by now is not my favorite thing to do)
I was waffling back and forth but couldn’t come to a clear conclusion.
I did the pros and cons list.
I processed it endlessly.
But my yes and no were absent and I was just left hanging in the unknown.
Finally while talking it over yet again, a very wise friend asked “So have you checked it out with your pendulum yet?”
You might be asking yourself why I would consult my pendulum instead of my pros and cons list.
The answer is quite simple.
The act of divination takes me right out of my overthinking busy brain and back into the knowing of my body.
A pendulum is just an extension of my energetic field. It is controlled not necessarily by spirit or source, but by that part of myself that is sometimes drowned out by the chatter of my mind.
The pendulum said YES! And I booked my flight.
The trip was amazing to say the least, plane ride and all.
So the next time you find yourself going back and forth, having a difficult time making a decision, ask your pendulum. (a dry tea bag can work as a pendulum as well), and discover what your inner voice has to say.
Both the Priestess Path Awakening Series and the Wise Woman Witchery Outdoor Retreat, close for registration May 14th.
The details for both can be found in the links.
Emily Morrison MA, MFT