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circe in the temple

A Model of Healing: Tribute to Circe Santaniello


At this time of Brighid, I’ve been working on another blog entirely. Well, to be honest I went back to a blog I started last year at this time entitled ‘Healing with the Gods’ Help,’ because that is what happened for me back in 1996/97, when I was led to heal from cancer and simultaneously found my faith. And then I have another blog on the go, which has something to do with Brighid. Maybe I’ll hammer it out by next year, we’ll see.

In the past weeks, there has been a noticeable shift in attention for me: friends, colleagues, family have been asking for prayers for their own or their dear ones’ healing. At the same time, with compatriots in an online course focused on Brighid, there has been a lot of sharing about what needs healing in our lives – physical healing, spiritual healing, emotional and mental healing.

So every day since committing to prayer for my colleague G’s cat, I have been lighting the Brighid candle on my altar, and praying to She and Isis for the healing of all who have asked. More every day, it seems.

Healed from complacency

Noticing even the seemingly ‘random’ stuff that pops up endlessly on Facebook, I shared this quote last week:

‘We want healing from illness, but it’s through illness that we grow and are healed of our complacency.’ – Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom

Healed from our complacency. Healed from our assumption that today is just like yesterday, that if we keep looking at our mobile phones we’ll be saved from the train wreck, that if we just keep moving forward without the awareness of the sharp edges all around us we won’t be cut. That quote made me reflect upon my own time ‘fighting’ cancer – mostly fighting with doctors who wanted to cut out body parts that weren’t meant to be cut out – and also made me confront the truth: We are dying, at this very moment. We are living, at this very moment. How to stay aware and awake at the point of contact between these Sacred Twins, the most foundational in our lives? How do I/we stay connected to the preciousness of this moment, to the fact that this moment is the moment to offer up our wealth and health and life to improve that of other beings’?

Circe Santaniello, High Priestess

This post is really about Circe Santaniello, a great friend, a great Witch, a huge personality, a great teacher, and the High Priestess of my first training coven, which I was part of in Seattle back in 2001-2002. Circe’s creativity and her grounding in psychology as well as witchcraft served our coven well. (I was a complete sceptic about ‘witchcraft’ if not about magic. My friend Dragonfly craftily persuaded me to go to ‘a women’s group’ and that first Dark Moon meeting, Circe led a trance in which I met Isis. It was undeniable, and real, and I never looked back.)

This is what Circe posted on Facebook this week.

Home Sweet Home

Quite simply put, I am no longer looking for a counseling job, nor any other kind of work. For those of you who do not know why I was in the hospital last week for two whole weeks, it is because I have been diagnosed with Stage 4 bone cancer…

...Interestingly the depression I had been experiencing due to lack of employment, among other situational events simply evaporated! Hey, situation gone, depression gone. This has been a welcome surprise. 

Most of my life has been about following my spiritual path and meaning. To find myself attempting to crawl on to the mainstream grid of 9 - 5 due to financial circumstances this late in life was simply exhausting to begin with let alone in this job market. Don't get me wrong, I loved achieving all I did in the past 7 years and am quite proud of myself, but I would rather be herding goats, leading ritual, snorkeling or writing. So two degrees, an LPC license, and over a year and a half of seeking a counseling job was a bit wearing on me. 

I had recently re-assessed my goals also. Psychodrama, working out, shamanic ritual work and continuing to be creative by writing and working artistically in my 3D virtual world were the things that fed me. Looking at my medical history, age and situation, I realized those were the endeavors I wanted to concentrate upon. Now I will spend my time doing several of those things all the while knowing just how amazingly successful I was working towards those other goals that had been thrust upon me. No job needed. It is time for rest and spiritual work.

Very dear friends have flown to me from all around the country to help me carrying their love and various types of healing skills. I am so very grateful for this outpouring of love and support in person, letters and phone calls. I just wanted to finally tell anyone else who wanted/needed to know what was up with me. It has been a bit tiring telling the tale over and over, so here it is.

Time to go home.”

This was the most eloquent, generous, honest, and beautiful expression of someone on the finest edge between the wrestling twins of Life and Death. And for me, the most eloquent expression of healing.

Thank you Circe. Thank you. Thank you for the magic you started in this embodied life, my embodied life, a magic I hope I can pass on to others.

At this time of Brighid, I see what we Witches do for each other and the world: we hold magic and the space for healing – that space where Life and Death go from wrestling to making love - and pass this wisdom on to others.

Candle to candle,

Flame to flame

Holding the Edges,

Chanting Her Name

Drawing from Centre,

Wise beyond Time

We make healing and wholeness

Between living and dying. 

– Fortuna, Imbolc 2014



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