October is perhaps one of my favourite months and what’s not to love, what with the spectacular show that is Autumn?
I love the cold fresh mornings with glorious sun rises and falling leaves in rusty tones but I also love the murky, misty and damp mornings where the smell of the sugar beet hangs in the cold air (there’s a sugar beet factory on the outskirts of town and the smell of beet in the air is a sure sign that autumn is in full flow). And then there’s Halloween at the end of the month as well as many a witches favourite celebration, Samhain.
I adore Samhain as well but for me the whole month of October is when I begin to feel more closely attuned to the spirit world. Perhaps this owes itself to the fact that in my small part of the world October is the month where the dying back of plant life begins in earnest, migratory animals have long gone or have arrived whilst native species prepare for the long winter ahead and and the nights are noticeably longer and colder.
October is also mushroom foraging time and Sunday just gone I spent an hour or two in the woods foraging wild mushrooms with a friend who taught me some much needed identification tips. As well as a couple of edible species, there was a wide array of poisonous varieties including the incredibly beautiful and incredibly poisonous amanita muscaria, better known as the fly agaric. The nature of mushrooms as well as the folklore associated with them only serve to highlight that closeness of the spirit world at this time, if only to me at least.
With all of that said then, this month is when I am most active in terms of spirit work.
Spirit work is not all Ouija boards and seances, though there’s nothing wrong with those things if they float your boat, but there are many ways in which you can incorporate spirit work into your own practice. Working with the genius loci, the spirits of place, is a large part of my craft and as an animist I see the whole of the natural world as imbued with spirit. Even within busy towns and cities, places have spirit and are imbued with the essences of what has gone on there. How many times have you gone somewhere and felt something?
Working with the genius loci can take many forms but simply spending time outside in silence, letting impressions and sensations come as they may, is as good a place to begin as any. It’s also about taking care of those places, for our relationship with those spirits is a symbiotic one. We must be willing to put in the work, it is the only way. Sometimes that work might be time spent in quiet contemplation but sometimes, more often than not, that work also means having to get our hands dirty, but hey, that’s part of the fun!
So let this month be the time when you dive into spirit work and enjoy everything the season has to offer, but remember it’s a two way street. Happy October witches!