The Witch Reborn in Autumn: Spiritual Death and the Dance of Bones

The Witch Reborn in Autumn: Spiritual Death and the Dance of Bones September 23, 2019
Do you hear their call? The night wandering spirits of the Witch Mother’s horde beckon me this time of year, as does she, calling me to dance with them. The spirits of the land join with the fallen leaves, celebrating the season of letting go. As the leaves release the tree, so do I cast off what binds. Finding freedom in shedding a form that no longer serves us. The Dance of Bones, where all is reduced to the soul and the entrapments of the material world removed, awaits.
I am a witch and my spirit is reborn with the winds that blow the leaves from the trees. Freeing us both from what no longer serves. Hekate calls to me on this breeze, bidding me come to her cave, that dark wet womb from which I can be reborn. Each autumn is my baptism into her sacred fire. I walk with the wind towards her, the breeze fueling my own fiery walk. Weaving truth from my fire, dancing the eternal one of Hekate’s Witches. Falling forward towards my partners in the dance. Did Persephone dance with the leaves and spirits as she returned to the Underworld?

Night Wandering Spirits and Spiritual Death

The night is rife with spirits now, from the wandering departed to the land sprites. My dreams are full of creatures, mythic and imagined. I crave these spirits. They are my soul’s elixir. I drink them in, and my wildness awakes. They speak of deathwalking, the leaving behind of my corporeal self to join them in the Dance of Bones. Twisting, shaking and spinning away until all that is left is the truth. Those leaves can only find their rebirth if they are willing to release the branch and enter their temporary death. Like me, they know we must let one form die to become all we are meant to be. Our embodiment is not our entirety. Releasing it frees our souls.

The Dance of Bones

What I embrace as the Dance of Bones to others, throughout history, has been the frightening Danse Macabre. The image of death as a dancing specter that can arrive at anytime and with no notice is found across times and cultures. Woven into this dance are the psychopomps, healers and spirit speakers who willingly two-stepped with the spirits associated with death. Today, I claim the title of witch as my ticket to this dance, but I often wonder if I’m filtering this through the lens of the same Christianity that reviled the Dance of Death.

Hekate and the Dance of Bones

 Would it not be more sincere to shed their definitions, as I enter into the Bone Dance yet again? Can the modern witch exist without the comparison to that which fears us and we reject? My soul replies that my witchcraft reaches across the Christian Era to the primal source, the Witch Mother, Hekate. She is honored when we enter into the Dance of Bones. It is primal and eternal. Wild, beyond the restrictions of man. That is witch to me, and this is our season. The Dance of Bones is afoot in the falling leaves and the wandering spirits. It is time for spiritual death and dismemberment.

The Return of Our Departed Loved Ones

Musings about what I should grieve aside, I am not diminishing the suffering involved with dying and those left behind. The Danse Macabre is still feared by those who believe in the potential of eternal damnation. I tend to see the passing of embodiment as a loss, but not the end of a person’s existence. My beloved departed seem to come to me more often during the autumn. A chill in the room, a movement and then the knowing that my dad is with me.

Spiritual Death and Dismemberment: My Experiences

 When the autumn winds start to blow, they bring with them the memories of the times that I’ve experienced the spiritual bone dance. There have been at least three times when I’ve had a complete death and dismemberment in the dreamworld. If you’ve had such a rebirth, you’ll know how horrible and beautiful they are. I find them difficult to write about because they are so personal. For me, these experiences always involve First Nations peoples, who some call American Indians. Once a powerful medicine woman came to me in my dreams, drawing out the shadow demon that had me bound. When she didn’t show up for our scheduled session the following day, I was bereft until I realized that she had already done her work with me.

Wild Witch Dancing

Here at the threshold of autumn, I behold the necessity of these tribulations. How else could true initiation be reached if I was only to wallow in the shallow pool of popular thinking? Oh, yes, positivity is important, but it denies the Dance of the Bones.
Our culture avoids the darkness, fearing our shadows, while I find my truth in them. Perhaps, like her ancient witches, I am not their kind. Like Circe and Medea, I am whole yet always divided between the spirit world and the corporeal. Marked, somehow, long before my birth into this particular life. Different. A wild witch dancing with bones and spirits. To me, those who aren’t similar are the “other,” not to be trusted. However, they are the ones who provide me with the challenges I must conquer in order to claim another of my Mother’s Keys. Wisdom comes with a price. Witchcraft exacts a toll. I would never have it any other way. The rebirth found through spiritual bone dancing is wild, indeed.

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Deep Blessings,



About Cyndi Brannen
Cyndi Brannen, PhD, is a teacher and author focusing on personal development, spirituality and true magic. She is an energetic healer, psychic, herbalist, spiritual coach and mentor. Founder of the Keeping Her Keys Mystery School, she teaches and writes about the true magic of healing and personal power. The bestselling Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft explores Hekate from her ancient origins to our modern understanding through magic and personal development. True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch, based on the sacred seven principles, is now available. You can read more about the author here.
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