BY TRISTA EDWARDS
I was reminded recently that winter is for reading. Yes, for us book lovers any and all the seasons are for reading but winter especially. As I write this it is currently 14 degrees outside. Blankets and books are summoning me back into the safety of my bed.
I needed the reminder. As a person constantly plagued with anxiety, I very easily forget how to relax and just breathe. That I don’t always have to be doing something. That sometimes sitting and doing "nothing"—reading, mediating, sleeping, daydreaming, breathing—is just as necessary as creating. In fact, for me, it is necessary in order to create. And, who’s to say those activities aren’t an act of creation themselves?
So let me remind you what I recently needed to re-confirm within myself, it is okay to slow down.
It is okay to give into the season and stay indoors where it is warm and snuggle in bed with your animals by candlelight with a mug of delicious tea. That if you are a creative type, you don’t have to be generating anything right now. You can use this time to absorb rather than produce. Let this be a time of inspiration collecting.
Read. Soak in knowledge and wonderful poems and stories. Delight in story and beautiful objects and books. The natural world has slowed down and you can too.
Nothing reminds me more that my being is part of the wheel of the year than witchcraft.
Here are three charming, witchy books that will get you in sync with the moon’s phases, the cycles of the year, provide literary inspiration, and reaffirm that that we are meant to exist as part of the cosmos and not detached from it.
This book is wonderful primer to those who are new to the Wheel of the Year but also a fun read and resource even for those more familiar with the Wiccan holidays that stem from a combination of rites from pre-Christian cultures like the Greeks, Romans, Celts, and Germanic peoples of northern Europe.
This book gives a fairly in-depth chapter to each of the eight sabbats—Samhain, Yule, Imbolic, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasad, and Mabon—that mark the beginning and end of the year’s seasons.
Each chapter provides ways to celebrate each sabbat with mediations, rituals, divination, crafts, recipes, etc. in addition to information on the lore, history, and celestial events surrounding each holiday.
You don’t have to follow Wicca to treasure in this book. All you need is a curiosity and desire to align yourself more with the natural rhythms of the earth.
From the Yule chapter:
"There is a Scottish Gaelic word that describes the depths of winter: an dubhach, 'the gloom.' However, the majesty of winter can be considered far from gloomy. There is time for activity, and there is a time for quietness. On the winter solstice, contemplate the beneficence of stillness and solitude. The work of the harvest is over. The change from fall to winter is apparent, and energy is conserved for days of growth yet to come. Observe the silent earth, the sleeping seed, and marvel at the lengthening of days."
Okay, so I spent New Year’s Eve soaking in my bathtub with this book. I indulged in the much-needed emotional release of a good cry and dove into reading ancient beliefs about the moon. To be honest here, I was an emotional wreck leading into 2018. I was upset with several aspects of my life and myself and spent hours crying until it felt like I couldn’t cry no more tears. I felt guilty for being so upset because I live a fairly privileged life. My frustrations were rooted in my head and heart and, in many ways, my own motivations and limitation. I had not treating myself well mentally or physically for quite a while and my general confidence had been in the gutter for months.
Soaking in the tub that night, I came to this segment in the book titled "Moon Sensitive People" and immediately saw myself:
"If you are 'full Moon sensitive,' you can absorb its energy like a sponge. Even on a night where there is no visible full Moon, you can still be affected by its energy. The full Moon has the ability to open us up even more to the saturation of negative sensations. Someone who is Moon sensitive typically becomes overemotional, depressed, discouraged, tired, easily temperamental, and has a lot of up-and-down shifts in energy at the time of the full Moon."
The author encourages readers to pay attention to their moods and disposition around a full Moon. Do you develop patterns around this phase? How do you feel around a full Moon? How do you act?
Now, you may be a skeptic to these kinds of things and that’s fine. I myself love to indulge in the poetry, metaphor, symbolism and story of this particular kind of belief. The moon is big for me. I’m a moon-type gal and I love expanding my knowledge of cosmic lore.
On New Year’s Eve we were getting ready to move in to a full Moon in Cancer (my sign) and it was also going to be a Supermoon—which meant the moon was at a point in its elliptical orbit in which it was closest to earth. Cancerians are ruled by the Moon and sometimes referred to as "Moon Children" and damn if that night wasn’t the mooniest of times for me to be experiencing a wave of emotions. It only seems natural that I turned to my corresponding element, water, (i.e., the bath) to work through some healing and set some intentions and goals to help guide me in overcoming some personal obstacles.
So skeptic or not, I believe that this book holds value in aiding you in self-awareness and taking the time to understand and confront your emotions, actions, and limitations. You don’t have to believe in the power of the Moon, you can just use the Moon as a prompt or benchmark for self-reflection.
This book is full of mediations, journal exercises, centering ritual suggestions, how to use the phases of the moon for monthly introspection, goal setting, and task planning.
The knowledge you can obtain about yourself from this book is endless. You will walk away not only with a better understanding of the energy and phases of the Moon but the phases of your own internal rhythms and desires.
This book is a gem. I want to hold it close to my chest and never let it go. I want to eat it. I want to live in its pages and have tea with every witch. I dare you not to fall in love with this book. It features thirty writers; each woman illustrated by the immensely talented Katy Horan and accompanied by a whimsical, spell-like description of fact and fiction by Taisia Kitaiskaia.
I opened myself up to these intoxicating narratives and alluring dark images and received a flood of inspiration—for poems, spells, for art projects. This book serves as a syllabus in a course on literature’s finest lexical witches in that with each writer Kitaiskaia offers a recommended reading list so you can further dig into their delicious darkness.
This is a book to flip through, start in the middle, or begin at the end. Read it wildly, as wild as the women within its pages.
Trista Edwards is a senior writer at Luna Luna Magazine. She is also the curator and editor of the anthology, Till The Tide: An Anthology of Mermaid Poetry (Sundress Publications, 2015). She is currently working on her first full-length poetry collection but until then you can read her poems at 32 Poems, Quail Bell Magazine, Moonchild Magazine, The Adroit Journal, The Boiler, Queen Mob's Tea House, Bad Pony, and more. She creates magickal candles at her company, Marvel + Moon.