Growing up, I was such a skittish child. Everything that you could think of scared me. I was scared of the dark…I was scared of unknown places…I was scared of pretty much everything that I love and embrace now.
This week, I stepped into a place that I haven’t been in a long, long while. I stepped into my darker self. That place where all the things that I don’t like about myself reside. It is a place much like the pensieve that Dumbledore has in his office in the movie, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” It is that place where I put the thoughts and feelings that tend to crowd my mind…the things that ‘don’t fit’ what everyone expects me to be. That is where most of my anger and hurt and confusion and melancholy go. After all, witchcraft is all about love and light, right?
I have found that witchcraft in many ways is exactly like the churches I left behind so many years ago. We have tried so hard to keep from being a ‘traditional’ religion, that we adopt all of the practices and symptoms. We are so embracing, but we are the first to ridicule Christian holidays and the meanings that they have placed behind them. Unfortunately, that move from tradition means that we expect everything around us to sparkle and gleam…..clean of all the sediment that life can throw at us.
The fact that a lot of this week was overcast and drizzly may have contributed to my ‘darker’ side coming to surface. In describing what I have felt, I like the term that I heard a friend use a few years ago…he described it as his “shadow self.” In looking at it, that is a more accurate description. It isn’t dark or evil, it is just that part of myself that I am not completely comfortable sharing or seeing. It is that part of us that is hidden away until it becomes too restless to hide anymore. It is that annoying relative that comes bursting through the door during holidays who doesn’t really fit the family dynamic. The fear of the ‘shadow self’ comes from being afraid that we will see who we really are…or a part of us we never wanted to see to begin with.
It is in these moments that I must access the Morrigan. It is in those moments, more than any, that I need the strength for the journey…that need for change. It is in those moments that I have to remember that the shadows aren’t bad or evil….the shadows are just those parts of me that I have become uncomfortable with…that don’t fit with my everyday life. It is in those times that I go into myself. It is in those times that I have learned to access the shadows to create…to make the tools for the Craft that I need and that I feel others may need.
It seems that in those moments, I hear wolf clearer than any of my spirit guides. I hear his low howl moving higher….addressing that brooding, melancholy part of my spirit. It is also in these times that things come to me when needed. I have a friend who constantly forages the woods around her. She constantly finds animal bones and parts…..and she knows that I call on those spirits, so anytime she finds anything related to wolf, she sends it to me. I bless the bones or fur just in case the animal met with a violent end…sending it peacefully into the summerlands.
I have been wanting an athame for a long, long time, but could never find one that suited me. Last week in the mail, I received two beautiful wolf femurs and some fur. I have decided to use these to make my own athame. She also sent me the toe bones. I will use those to create runes. It is honoring the dead animal and pulling on that energy that I have felt all last week, plus it is becoming a tool for the Craft that I love so much.
As I walked to the woods this morning, I could hear Mama Crow behind me. I have learned that where one goes, the other always follows. Friz has gotten used to her. Her loud caws don’t even rattle him anymore. As we got closer to the woods, I have to admit that a part of me looked around to see if the Green Wizard had shown up, but there was another part of me that knew we would not see each other today.
I settled into the damp shaded area of the woods that I always went to. I could smell the wet, mildewed and rotting smell of leaves left from the fall. I settled in and pulled the skulls from my backpack along with candles and herbs and stones. As I lit the candles and welcomed the elements and spirits, I could feel my shadow self lurking behind me….always pacing at the edges of everything…never fully becoming a part. I invited that part of myself into the circle. It was in that moment that I was overtaken with every emotion it represented. Instead of fighting to confine that piece of me….the darker parts of me, I found that those parts were just as powerful and just as necessary as the ‘love and light’ part of me. I found that just as with intention, that it is all in the direction….it is all in the movement and force that you give your shadow self. I won’t allow that part of me to rule me, but it isn’t fair to try and put it away so I don’t have to deal with it either. It can actually be a valuable asset in energy work and other magick. Power/Magick/Energy is only dangerous when the heart of the user is not seeking the betterment of those things around him or her.
I had a dream Friday night. In that dream, my whole family shared a large Victorian house. The house was an ancestral home. In the dream, my mom and aunt were witches too. We were guarding the home against some force. I had taken Friz (the chihuahua) and Bella (the dachshund) and the cats, along with Bella’s puppies (she is spayed) into a room, and magickally sealed the room with a protective charm. My aunt put all the family (including my partner) into a room and sealed it with a protective ice spell. My aunt, my mom and me were the only ones left to guard the house. We had a tower of green ancestral candles in the main room. Ma sat on the sofa, my aunt was by the fireplace and I was by the door. A tornado-like force came at the house. It was my grandma (who is dead) flying in through the fireplace. She told us that we needed to be prepared, strong and ready to fight for all that we knew was true. Ma summoned all the fae around the house and told them to go outside and stand guard. We all took our stations and with hands raised, we pushed and shielded against something akin to a hurricane. I remember vividly feeling the sweat form on my forehead. As we pushed forward we could feel the force weaken. We gave one final push and felt the force break. We looked around and could see that we were all disheveled, but knew that victory had been won.
Victory is always ahead…..it is in accessing every part of ourselves and knowing to continue to push.