Signs and Portents, Therapy, and Full Moon Madness

Updated: Jan 18

Katie Gerard recently posted a fabulous blog article on Patheos about the difficulties of navigating between clairsentience (when your intuition is telling you something is unfolding), and when it’s a trauma response, or hyper-vigilance. When you’ve grown up around emotional unpredictability or early life dramas, one of the responses to trauma is to respond by feeling your way through situations with an almost uncanny, supernatural ability to sense feelings, under currents and subtext. As someone who has spent the last 18 months in active therapy as a response to some pretty traumatic life events (no sympathy required), I’m learning a new language. I’m having to put on pause my natural tendency to feel my way through situations, and I’m questioning everything. What I once knew as signs and portents, I am now questioning – am I just seeing what I want to see, is it real? When is the sub-text just a figment of your imagination?

It’s common for witches to have a really disturbed night when there is a full moon. Senses are heightened, dreams are more vivid, and your unconscious mind is on hyper alert, add a full moon in cancer to that one, and it’s a really uncomfortable experience. Student of mine who work in mental health or the NHS have talked in class about the strange activities that increase when there is a full moon – A&E admissions go up, psychological disturbance increases - and in the outside world, animal companions are often more restless. It’s not surprising that we take the root of the word lunacy from our moon. When we work planetary magic with the Moon, the qualities that we invoke are cyclical - dreaming, of plumbing the unconscious depths, psychic ability, clairvoyance, hidden fears. But also fertility - and not just in women - all cycles rely on the moon, farmers often still plant and harvest by the moon phase.

As witches we rely on our sense of some level of psychic awareness. I’ve spent 20 years training on this path, first as a solitary, and then through active, guided study with mentors and teachers. At the College of psychic studies where I studied psychic development and mediumship, also in my NLP training (where I learned that really what’s happening is that your unconscious mind is reading the signs at an exponentially faster rate than your conscious mind can process them through body language). And then there’s my coven training, where it becomes second nature to cast the runes, lay down a tarot spread, or scry with a candle or ink and water. But sometimes, existing in the subtext is also just indicative of trauma response. So when is it psychic awareness, and when is it trauma?

I think this is a question I don’t have the answer to yet. I am currently learning a new language. I’ve uprooted myself from my place in London, where I knew where I existed, what my purpose was, what my role was. (And that role still exists, albeit at a distance). But returning home isn’t all that straightforward. It’s not as easy as uprooting yourself and just existing somewhere else, and it’s taking time to put down roots here. Meanwhile all this unconscious stuff comes up from the depths and needs picking through and resolving. Added to this I am now between creative projects (waiting for the outcome of the PhD amendments on the novel and thesis) and covens are not meeting due to lockdown restrictions. The two stabilising forces in my life are currently on pause awaiting outcomes which are out of my control.