Grieving as a Wiccan

Lately I’ve been grieving a lot. This last month or two has been pretty hard. So today I want to talk to you about that. I’ve wanted to talk about it for a while but I wasn’t sure how to format it. So I’m just deciding to write. It may be super long or super short but I think writing this will get it off my chest. My writing style may be a bit different than it usually is, it may not be… I dunno. Regardless I hope you don’t mind.

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The Thursday before the Easter weekend I was contacted by my family, while at work, that my great grandmother wasn’t doing very well. She’s hasn’t been super healthy for a couple years now but nothing crazy. However this time was different. My mom usually tells me that it isn’t anything to worry about yet, but this time she said I might want to come home and see her. So there I was in front of my preschoolers that I teach and I just cried. I told them what was wrong and let me tell you, 4 year olds are so compassionate and loving. They loved me and snuggled me all day long. It was so beautiful. I went to see her that weekend. I live about 3 hours away from my family. My partner and little sister went in with me to see her. She had a hard time talking cause her breathing was very laboured but we had a great visit. That’s the last time I will see my great grandmother. She’s still alive though. When I went to see her she was at her home. Now she is in a hospital and has been for a couple weeks now. My mom says she isn’t the same nan we know and love and that she wouldn’t want me to see her this way. She’s in a lot of pain and is just waiting to die. Every morning I wake up and check my phone to see if I have a message telling me she’s passed. I hope she does soon so she can be at peace. She really hates hospitals. So this is when my grieving started.

Back in March one of the little girls at my preschool (we’ll call her Mabel for privacy sake) went to Florida with her family for a trip. The second day in she got very sick and started having seizures. She had to be put in the hospital. She had what they call F.I.R.E.S. I am not super knowledgeable on what it is. All I know is it’s rare, it started as a common cold, and she had seizures, also 30% of those who get it die from it. However I didn’t know that at the time. It never occurred to me that she would die. Maybe that is naive but that’s how I felt. For two months I had very few updates other than a gofundme page and occasionally something would get written on her classroom attendance sheet about it. Then I came in to work last Friday (the 10th) and was told she didn’t make it. Mabel was 4 years old. I know a dead 4 year old. I was nervous for my kids to find out. I didn’t want them to be sad or scared they were going to die. But when you’re 4 years old 2 months is a long time and a lot of them didn’t remember Mabel very well. I was lucky in that sense so instead of being sad they just had a lot of questions which was a lot easier to deal with. This last Thursday (the 16th) I went to Mabel’s funeral. I wore a pink dress (everyone was in bright pinks and purples as requested by Mabel’s family). It was one of the saddest things I have ever experienced.

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I’m telling you all of this for a couple reasons. One reason is that talking about this I hope will be a little therapeutic for me. I also wanted everyone to understand why my posting has been so inconsistent these last few weeks (also why it may continue to be inconsistent when my nan passes). But also I wanted to share how I am coping as a Wiccan (or if I’m not already doing these things they are things I want to start doing to cope).

What is helping me cope with Nan is first and foremost I know that her passing is going to bring her peace. But also I know that her soul will reincarnate and I will meet it again whether in this life or the next. I’m really trying to focus on the fact that she lived such a great and beautiful life and not on the fact that she’ll be gone.

What is helping me the most when it comes to coping about Mabel is also related to reincarnation but it is a bit different. If you’ve read my post about the signs you are an earth angel you will know that many of these people die as a child. When I think about Mabel, and the beautiful energy her soul had, I confidently feel she had the soul of an angel. Without a doubt. So despite the fact that I don’t totally understand how she died, I can understand why she died and that to me brings great peace.

However other than thinking about these things I have not done much to cope but have just not been thinking about it and it’s probably not the most healthy method of healing. Things that I want to start incorporating into my coping process that you can try too is reiki (be it self reiki or receiving reiki from someone else). I also want to pray more. As I’ve mentioned in my post about my relationship with praying , I tend to stray away from it because it reminds me of Christianity. I think grieving may be a great way for me to change that relationship with prayer because at the end of the day you can pray to whoever or whatever you want, not just the Christian god. So I’d like to reach out to Gaia and Pan more for strength and you can do the same with whoever you matron or patron is. I think meditating and grounding myself will also help me stabilize my emotions. And the last thing I want to suggest for myself and for you is divination. Do spreads to help sort through your emotions. Do spreads for how to cope. Do spreads to talk to those that have passed on if you think that will give you closure. Do a spread to see how your future will be after you’ve moved forward from this hard time.

I hope that this post gives you some ideas on how to cope with what you’re struggling with and also lets you know that even if it feels like you’re all alone and no one understands that there are people who get it (yikes that was cheesy but bear with me). Let me know down below how you use your Wiccan/Pagan faith to get you through times of grief along with any other thoughts or questions you have. Make sure you follow me here and on twitter so you get notifications when I post and when I upload videos to youtube. And until next time, Blessed Be!

 

All About Covens

First of all, what is a Coven?

A coven can be a group of Wiccans or just Witches. If a group of Wiccans, they would gather for every Sabbat and 1-2 times a month for esbats (Sabbats are days we celebrate the sun and esbats are nights we celebrate the moon) to do rituals and magick. If they are solely Witches they would gather likely on full moons and whenever else they deem fit to practice magick together. In this post though I will be talking of Wiccan covens.

Different covens practice different paths of Wicca so if you are going to join a coven it is very important that you find one that meets your beliefs. How you join a coven differs from coven to coven. In some covens you can inquire about joining, in others you have to wait to be invited. In a coven there are usually 1-2 leaders known as the High Priestess or the High Priest. The number of Wiccans in a coven is usually between 3 and 20.

There are pros and cons to working in a coven. Some pros are that you get support and companionship.As a solitary I can vouch in saying working alone can be quite lonely and isolating. Also, when in a coven you have people who you can teach you about the craft. When you are solitary you have to figure out everything for yourself. When you’re in a coven you can study to get higher degrees in the coven and eventually get the status of High Priest(ess). Lastly some people enjoy having a set schedule and a plan for how to learn. It gives them a routine and structure that they work well with.

Despite the pros there are some cons. Although some people love the structure, some people don’t. The coven will make decisions about meeting times and attendance that may not fit your schedule. Certain covens have expectations of it’s members that you may not be comfortable with. For examples how you dress in a meeting (dressed or skyclad). You will also be held accountable for keeping the laws of the tradition of the coven. If said laws are broken the coven can kick you out. If you leave your coven and start a coven of a new tradition you may have to start your training all over again. Lastly, in a coven you will be hanging out with a group of people. If you don’t like a member it’s going to be uncomfortable.

Training in a Coven

Every coven is different but in general this is usually how the process goes. So you’ve told a coven you’re interested, they invite you to attend an open ritual. When you go to the ritual you will get to check out the coven and they get to check you out. If you guys like each other and they decide they want you to join as a dedicant or a witch in training. Then someone will agree to be your teacher. As a dedicant you study the craft for a year and a day before you earn your first degree initiation and acceptance into the coven.

You will get a list of expectations that may include attendance and study requirements, promises to uphold the Wiccan Rede, and an oath to keep the coven a secret.

The coven will have a dedication ritual for you that essentially says you are committing yourself to the Wiccan path. After another year and a days study after your dedication, if the high Priest(ess) deems you ready you will be part of a ritual where you are reborn into the Wiccan path. You then will earn your First Degree Initiation, you gain the title of Priest or Priestess, and you’re officially a member of the coven. Then after another year and a day study from that ritual and the High Priest(ess) deems you ready you will earn your Second Degree Elevation and the title High Priest(ess). You are now qualified to start teaching, writing, and leading ritual. In some traditions you will be able to start your own coven. The last step is at least a year and a day after that ritual if the High Priest(ess) deems you ready you earn your Third Degree Elevation, and the official title of clergy, and the title of Lady or Lord. At this point you can break away from the mother coven, or hive off and form your own coven.

Priests, Priestesses, and Elders

Within a coven there is generally both a High Priestess and a High Priest. The High Priestess is seen as the Goddess incarnate and is the spiritual centre of the coven. The High Priest assists the High Priestess and is seen as the God incarnate. Elders are people who have all their degrees but have chosen not to be a High Priest(ess). They are the mediators and spiritual resources of the coven. They also don’t have to be old but rather just experienced in Wicca and magick.