Stones for the Season: Samhain-tide

Stones for the Season: Samhain-tide

by Sarah Lyn

Stone has a beautiful language. Anyone who has ever had a rock jump out at them has heard it. Pick me! Pick me! Before you know it, you have either slipped it into a pocket, or you find yourself holding it in your hand, uncertain of how long it has been there. Do you remember stuffing rocks in your pockets as a child? How they were each a tiny treasure all their own?

Do you remember how you saw their magic before you knew what it was?

Deep stone sleeps but the more surface it gets the more connected it is to us and our life cycles. Some rocks just want to introduce themselves and have a conversation. Some rocks do bite and want to be left alone. And some rocks have been looking for you to take them on a quest to some unknown corner of the world they have only heard about in the whispers of the deepest bedrock (even if that’s just your front yard).

[ALWAYS respect places that ask you NOT to take their rocks.]

The Trio

Labradorite, amber, and black tourmaline

Different stones I encounter have different energies to them. Some energize me and some ground me. Each sabbat, I put together a trio of stones to focus on for that season. It’s divination to me. I reach out into the web and see where we are in the world, creating a recipe of stone allies, and then I send that energy back out into the web.

It’s not the same grouping of stones every year. I will work with these ones in my nightly meditations until the next sabbat, sometimes individually and sometimes as a group.

The stones I chose for Samhain this year are Amber, Black Tourmaline, and Labradorite.

Amber is fossilized sap from ancient forests. I have seen it mostly in rich amber hues, but I have also seen versions of it that are blue, red, yellow, and black. It is light to hold and transparent. A lot of the inexpensive stuff on the market right now has been heated and formed in molds. It still passes amber tests, but the age of the inclusions in it are suspect. It has history in it and it strengthens the magic in my Work.

Depth and fortitude, is what it says to me.

Black Tourmaline gets heavy use in my home. It is great for taking negative energies in and transmuting them into positive ones. It is a power boost to any spell I work. It is a good stone for people uncertain about spirit visitations at this time of year and a good talisman for sensitive people.

Trust yourself. Do your Work, it whispers steadily.

Labradorite is a Feldspar mineral that can look like a dull brown lump of rock. Certain cuts of it display a wide array of iridescent colors; yellow, red, blue, purple, etc. This stone is a journey stone. I call it the Samwise Gamgee of the quest I am on, called Life. I have pieces I have been using for twenty years and they have grown and evolved with me. Whenever something calls for deep Work I turn to this stone.

We got this. Let’s see what’s out there, it says.

These stones, together, become sentinel magic workers, quest guardians that walk with you as you discover what waits for you come Winter time.

For Advanced Work

If you want to go deeper into the season? Use fossils. I can’t say that enough. My favorites? Ammonites and Petrified Wood. To touch something that was once alive, millions of years ago, when you can tap into its energy…? I have had some of the deepest and most visceral ancestral connections through the use of fossils.

Ammonite and petrified wood

A Grief Balm

Rose quartz and howlite

If your heart is heavy with grief this season, I recommend keeping some Rose Quartz and Howlite nearby. Rose Quartz is a soft pink crystal with soothing energy. Howlite is white with grey veins and eases anxiety and claustrophobic feelings in crowds. A fun fact about Howlite is it takes dye well, and most of the inexpensive ‘turquoise’ you see on the market is dyed Howlite.

[Notes from Sarah Lyn: I never purchase rocks from people who do not know where they are sourced from. It’s important to know where your rocks come from so you can make informed decisions about where to put your money. For those of us buying tumbled stones at rock shows, we’re picking up the chips of what has already been cut from the earth, we are not part of the demand of the mining world. But know where your stones come from.]

All photos © Sarah Lyn

A Spread and a Spell: Tarot for Winter Work

by Irene Glasse

Within the pattern of the Wheel of the Year, Winter Work is a specific area of self-work we engage in during the dark months of the year. As the lessons and wisdom of our time together at Twilight Covening settle within us, we turn our attention to the path ahead. My own Winter Work generally runs from Samhain to Ostara, but there’s a lot of room for variation. Winter Work is often spiritual or magical, but it can also be related to career, family, mental health, or the home.

Tarot is so much more than a tool for looking into the future. It can also be used to support a project or direction in life. Here are two ways you can use Tarot to enhance your Winter Work: a spread and an altar working.

As I contemplated my own Winter Work this morning, I realized I could use more information, and turned to my deck. The layout I developed is called the Inward Spiral Spread, and should be usable with any sortilege-based system – Tarot, runes, oracle cards, Kahina stones, etc.

The Inward Spiral Spread

Begin by holding the divinatory tool you’ve chosen to use and think about your Winter Work. If you already know your area of focus, visualize what that might mean in practice and how it will impact your life. If you are still settling on your Work, visualize the turn of seasons ahead of you.

Then, beginning at the outer edge of a spiral, lay your cards down:

The Inward Spiral Spread by Irene Glasse

One: Your Winter Work, or an aspect of it that needs to be focused on

Two: What is slowing down your progress or getting in the way of your Work

Three: What information/resources you need to access to support your Work

Four: The next step to take

Five: How to best support your Work within the rest of your life

Six: A message about your Work I’ll share my own reading with you so you can see how this spread can play out:

One: My Winter Work: The Four of Swords: Deep rest and solitude. The need to listen to my inner voice rather than the many voices that surround me. I’m dangerously close to burnout and need to do some reevaluation/prioritization as well.

Two: What is slowing me down: The Two of Swords: Indecision about how best to proceed. Both mind and heart need to have a say here, and consciously sitting with this fork in the woods (and all its pros and cons) is necessary in order to determine the path forward.

Three: What information/resources I need: The King of Wands: I need to delegate more in order to create space for my own Work. I’m surrounded by people who can help, I just need to ask for assistance. My vision is what’s needed, and some of the busywork I spend time on is getting in the way.

Four: The next step to take: The Ten of Wands: Prioritize tasks and spend energy on the highest-impact ones. My workload is heavy, so targeted application of energy is important here. And, just do the Work. Get started now.

Five: How best to support my Work: The Star: Know that this Work is a time of renewal, of recovery after pain and challenge. Prioritize activities that are spiritually anchored, include rest or beauty, or are uplifting in nature.

Six: A message about my Work: The World: This Work is the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, and will place me in a very empowered position when it comes to choosing what comes next.

A Winter Work Altar Practice

Another way Tarot can support our Winter Work is by acting as a focus point on our altars. Select two cards from your deck. The first card corresponds to where you are right now. Choose a card that resonates with how you’re feeling. The second card corresponds to where you will be once your Winter Work is completed. Try to visualize how you will feel and what your life will look like on the other side, and choose a card that resonates with that visualization.

Place both cards on your altar, with the first card, the one representing you now, on top so that it completely covers the other card. In the coming days, when you visit your altar, slide the top card (now) to the side a little bit, beginning to reveal the future card underneath. Perform this action mindfully, contemplating both where you are now and where you are headed.

In time, the cards will be side by side. Sit with that balance as your life begins to change through your Work.

Then, day by day, slide the future card over to cover the starting point card. Again, perform this action mindfully. Feel the way your Winter Work is changing your life. Feel how far you’ve come. Consider how best to continue supporting this transformation.

When the future card has completely eclipsed the starting card, take a moment to celebrate how far you’ve come. Then, evaluate: where are you going from here? If you feel like your end goal card is not quite where you are now, start the cycle again. Choose a new card for where you are now and either the same card for your goal or a different one if the shape of that goal has changed for you. Then, begin the pattern once more.

If you find that your Work is complete, congratulations. Shuffle your cards back into your deck and reset your altar for whatever magic is next for you.

May your Winter Work be nourishing, healing, and transforming. May the deep roots we send down this winter stabilize and support us. May we emerge in spring time better and brighter, and ready to connect with community as our best selves.

Find more of Irene’s work at