In my experience, nurturing one’s spirit through paganism/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" class=" decorated-link">self-care is an essential part of life. As a Green Earth Witch, I find a connection to my witchcraft through the plant, tree, and stone. The elements. Gardening, being near water, taking a walk, or just sitting in the sunshine on a clear day. As a solitary, I find myself alone in most of my craftwork and ritual. However, I have been reminded what a balm to the soul it can be to have face-to-face contact with my community as well.
Finding Space In The Process
In my previous post, Hekate In My Time Of Grieving, I share how my family and I have spent many weeks (well, months) preparing for the moment when my elderly mother would leave this world after a fall in Mid-May. And she did cross the veil on Friday, August 13th.
The transition toward her death became heartwrenching. I shed many tears in those long weeks as she declined. And I experienced many moments where I did not think I could bear the waiting or the loss. Even so, I would not trade one second of that time spent with my mother either.
My siblings and I spent Thursday, August 12th, believing every breath would be her last. Yet, she remained. However, the following day, as I kissed her forehead in greeting for another vigil, I felt her spirit move from this world to the next. Soft and quiet like a whisper. And her final crossing brought with it a peace and beauty that I will carry always.
Nurturing Self In Nature
My family and I planned to teach a class at Wolf Run Wildlife Sanctuary, as part of their harvest festival scheduled for the weekend of August 12-15th. An event scheduled long before we knew my mother’s time to leave drew near. Therefore, you would think it best to withdraw from such an obligation. Indeed, my husband figured I would be unable to teach due to the emotions of losing my mother (not to mention the possibility she could still be lingering at that time).
However, I committed to our part in the festival regardless of where we were in her death process. Instinct told me I needed to be there for that one day, to get away and breathe. In my mother’s passing, I became released in many ways. And the event at Wolf Run Wildlife Sanctuary provided the space to dissolve months of sadness and tension into the wild.
What a beautiful space! The land energy is soothing, the guardian spirits welcoming. The folks who run the sanctuary are loving, giving people. They have infused every square inch with good things. Spaces for ritual, meditation, and there are walking trails. Additionally, there is a large section for camping. Wolf Run has a calendar of events and offers the opportunity for the magickal/spiritual communities to use the area for a modest fee.
Fortunately, we had perfect weather that Saturday—blue sky, sunshine, and just the right amount of cloud cover. Having the opportunity to be in that space the day after my mother passed, a place infused with joy and peace, offered much-needed healing to my spirit. I encourage people to check out this gorgeous, natural space. You will find Wolf Run Wildlife Sanctuary in Remus, Michigan.
Nurturing Self Through Community
The festival at Wolf Run Wildlife Sanctuary provided another avenue of self-care as well. The chance to interact with people I have not seen in over a year. I did not realize how much I missed my community (even though there is social media and skype) until I had the chance to see friends face-to-face, accept and give hugs, and just be.
My friends who have been in covens for years were experiencing the loss of “in-person” gatherings when COVID-19 shut down the world. As a solitary and confessed “homebody” I did not really understand their frustration. For some Pagans, the loss seemed to run very deep.
But I get it now. Oh, how I have missed being able to gather for a festival with other Pagans. Having conversations. Teaching classes, listening to music and shopping the wares of the various vendors. We were not able to attend a ritual but next time I will not miss it! And to receive love and comfort from those who knew my mother had passed the previous day. Truly, it was a gift
Spending days and days with Christians as my mother transitioned? Wearisome. Having to hold my tongue as discussions of “salvation” arose? Difficult. So, the chance to be with people who understand my spiritual vibe? Amazing. While I only spent a few hours with my Pagan community that day, being in their presence nurtured my magickal soul, reminding me of the importance of community.
Nurturing Through Common Sense
Yes, we still have to be safe. Get vaccinated. Seriously! Just do it! Wear a mask as mandated or when appropriate. Do not give organizers hassles about wearing a mask, showing a vaccine card to enter an event, et al. Respect those who prefer not to be hugged. We should never assume a person is willing to hug anyway. Always ask first. And learn to fist bump or wave rather than offering a handshake. Be smart. Stay safe.
However, events are able to be held in more places now, especially if they are outdoors where social distancing is easier. This is what made the Wolf Run Wildlife Sanctuary Harvest Festival such a great opportunity to gather. Oh, and make sure events you want to attend observe best precautions if there will be food served, etc.
But if you are able to take advantage of meeting with members of your community (whether it is a festival, Pagan Pride Day, public ritual, or a community picnic) then I encourage you to do so. Again, with wisdom and safety regards for the health of yourself and others.
As a solitary, it is easy to forget how comforting being part of the larger community can be (even if you only see them at events). Also, I do know that it can be hard (geographically) for people to connect with other Pagans, Witches, Heathens, Druids, or other Magickal People. I’m just saying if you have the opportunity then why not go for it?
In the end, my hope is you will find being in a community (with common sense) and nature to be nurturing. But even if these do not appeal or work for you, do find some way to take care of your spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. Self-care is always important, especially when life takes a turn.