Why Are People So Afraid of the Dark?

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This past week was a thought invoking week.  My brain has been mulling over so many things.  One of those things was the result of a wonderful new friend’s post on the Weathered Wiseman Facebook page.  She had simply posted, “I am thoroughly enjoying your blog!!  I found you on The Pagan Black Book.”  I responded by telling her that I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear this and I offered her blessings upon blessings.  Later in the comments, someone asked, “Are there dark blessings?  I didn’t know that.”  I didn’t think anything about the comment.  My response was, “Everything is a mix of dark and light.  It’s all about finding balance.  I don’t just work with the Dark Goddess.  I also work with Brigid, Cerridwen, Cernunnos…I always try to work in blessings.”

This made thoughts fly through my mind like snow flurries.  Why are people so afraid of the dark?  For that matter, why are they afraid of anything that they perceive  as dark?  Is it because the darkness is so mysterious?  Is it because darkness is seen as unpredictable?  In light, you can see everything that approaches you.  In darkness, you may hear what is coming, but you may not see it right away.

This morning I experienced the truth in that last statement.  Friz and I had gone to the woods early…before the sun came up.  It was dark.  The trees were very stark looking standing in front of me.  Add to this, the fact that I have horrible vision in the dark anyway.  I picked Friz up as a safety precaution.  I didn’t so much want to carelessly step on my dog.  We sat down next to one of the trees and I leaned back and closed my eyes.  As I sat there resting, I heard a rustling.  I shrugged it off.  I figured it was a cat, possum, a ground bird…everything that didn’t threaten or make me nervous.  I continued to sit there with my head back and my eyes closed.  I felt a hand on my shoulder.  I yelled.  My trusty guard dog barked after the fact because he recognized the scent attached to the hand.  It was only after I composed myself that I realized that I had picked Friz up and run quite a few feet.

As I composed myself, I realized that the Green Wizard and his ‘not such a puppy anymore’ pup was standing in front of me.  As I stood there breathing heavily, he apologized for scaring me…explaining that he thought that I had heard him.  I told him I did, but passed it off as being noise from an animal.  He leaned down and stroked Boomer and laughed saying that I was half right.

We settled down and I reached into my backpack and handed him a couple of sandwich bags that I had filled with biscuits.  I had intended to feed the birds and animals with them, but I would bring more back later and the Green Wizard looked like he needed them more at the moment.  I pulled my black candles out of the backpack along with my crow skull (I longed for simplicity this morning and what better for the dark part of the year and the dark moon).  As I lit the candles, the Green Wizard asked me, “Why black?” I explained to him that black was for protection and banishing any negative energies.  I told him that the crow skull was a representative of the Dark Goddess, the Morrigan.

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As we talked about the different attributes of the Morrigan, I explained that many people are afraid of her and that she is seen as a dark, harsh, killing force.  He smiled crookedly and said that people have a way of misconstruing things that don’t make sense to them.  He agreed that it was fear of the unknown.  I asked him if he saw me as a dark wizard.  He laughed out loud and told me that I was the farthest thing from it. He said that if nothing else, I was a very passionate wizard with very strong beliefs and convictions.  He went on to say that my practices fall back to the ways of the ancients as far as the herbs and roots I use and that the skulls and bones I use may make folks wonder, but that the honor I give to the animals and the protection and healing magick that I use would give evidence to the true nature of my heart.

I started to ponder the word ‘passionate.’  When we think of passion, we often think of something mysterious and brooding.  Does passion come from that ‘feel-good, love and light’ part of us?  No. It doesn’t.  Passion comes from a part of us that stirs deep inside of us…it is that part of our energy that can be unpredictable and sometimes untouchable.   Our passion tends to be something that we guard closely.  It is something that we don’t give away or show readily.  It comes from that hidden part of us.  If you were to ask someone what their passion is….first, they will hem and haw….then they will nervously giggle…then they will say quietly, “No….it’s stupid.”  We are leery of sharing that deep, hidden part of us with anyone.2014-11-22 15.15.46

 

I know that some people refer to this part of themselves as their ‘shadow-self.’ I remember a conversation some years back with a friend of mine.  He was just beginning to delve into that darker part of himself.  He was starting to see himself as he truly is…a mixture of light and dark.  It was after this soul journey that his passion became more a part of his everyday life and his business began to flourish.

Searching for your passion is not for the faint of heart…nor is it for the brainless.  Wars have been fought because of passion.  Men have died at the end of a sword controlled by passion.  Relationships have thrived and been broken to pieces because of passion.  On the other side of the coin, though, new world’s have been discovered because of passion. Lives have been saved because of passion.

A dark wizard?  No, I am definitely a combination of the two.  My passion?  Magick.  Completely and fully….I love watching energies swirl around me.  I thrive on seeing what the elements are capable of.  It gives me chills when I experience the Gods and Goddesses.  Am I afraid of my dark side?  Oh no….I have learned to embrace it and walk fully empowered by it and that part of me that calls to the light.

Here is a spell I concocted to stir that passion in all of us.  All you need is some hot red pepper jelly, some cream cheese and crackers.

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I start by taking out two of the crackers, spreading them with the cream cheese (a nice big dollop)….and then heaping that over with a nice spoonful of spicy hot red pepper jelly.  As they sit in front of me, I envision that part of me that I wish to access…that passion that I have kept hidden for so long:

Both hot and sweet, I call to you.

Stir in me what I’m to do.

Awaken passion deep inside…

No more to slumber or to hide.

Dark and Light I now embrace,

And with myself come face to face.

Heat and cool now intertwine.

A balanced life, now is mine.

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Blessed Be!

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A Little Burnt Biscuit…

Let me just tell yáll. I was raised in North Carolina in the country. One of the things I remember most are those great big ole cat-head biscuits my grandma used to make. They were so good….slathered in butter with maybe a piece of ham or sausage tucked inside or just a little bit of scuppernong jam.

My childhood was jam-packed full of good old country cooking. All of my best and worst memories were always surrounded by this type of food. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, school accomplishments….all were centered around great big old spreads of fried chicken, banana pudding, hoe cakes, fat back, pinto beans and potatoes by the bucket. Everything was coated in cream or gravy or mayonnaise or a fried crust and was absolutely heaven on a plate.

Is it any wonder that when I am stressed or angry or sad or hell, even happy that these are the foods I have always turned to? Living away from family, I had to bring out the memories of the way granny used to make her biscuits. There weren’t any cups or measuring spoons in her kitchen. Everything was measured right there in the palm of her hand. Trust me, figuring out those measurements was something else too. She wasn’t real crazy about having anybody else in her kitchen…especially looking over her shoulder, so it was essentially a glean what you could as you could scenario.

Now, it’s funny that all these memories of food are coming to me now…..a week and a half after a fearful doctor’s visit where I thought I was having a heart attack. I was on my way to work and I could feel that elephant on my chest type feeling. I drove myself on in to my doctor’s office….don’t ask me why the hospital wasn’t my first thought. Well, it turned out to be hypertension…which I don’t take lightly. I had put myself into a full blown panic attack which resulted in the heart attack-like symptoms. The result of all this was having to give up all that which was sacred to me. No more fried foods, no more gravies, no more deep, rich black coffee, no more salt….having to totally retrain my taste buds.

The big thing for me was alleviating my stress. When the doctor told me that, I rolled my eyes with a “yeah right” type of attitude. He told that he was very serious and that I was going to have to become an expert at letting things go. Not all that easy for a Leo that is a very very strong fire personality. The hardest thing about all of this was the fact that food is what alleviates my stress. As I said earlier, I eat when any emotion raises its head…..it brings back happy memories.

Well, I have done really well with the diet part of all this. I did a little motivation spell when it all started, so that has helped quite a bit. The stress part has been a little more, shall we say…challenging. Of course, anything and everything that I would react to is going to happen when I am cutting out caffeine and refined sugars. Hell, that alone is like going through detox. Anything anyone said to me was like nails on a chalkboard….grating through to every nerve ending in my body. Anything that could go wrong at work has gone wrong. I have to say that, honestly, I failed most of those “don’t let it stress you” tests.

Now, I haven’t talked about my mama much, but my mama is a sweet little round woman with cotton candy hair and a smile that just makes you feel good all over. She is one of those women who hug you with their whole body. She is also full of spit and vinegar. She doesn’t take crap from anyone. The one thing that I have noticed…..even set back and pondered…is the fact that I have honestly never seen her stressed about anything. When money was tight, we just had a few more eggs that the chickens laid or potatoes from the garden. When something broke, we did without it until a new one could be bought. When she and pop fought, she was always the first one to say, “I’m sorry.” I never saw her and pop go to bed mad at each other.

I finally talked to mama last night about what was going on healthwise, and she just very matter-of-factly said, “Well, now I guess you just have to do it. No turning back, just eat what you have to and you got to stop letting things get to you. You just have to ask yourself if it’s really going to make any difference in a hundred years. Now my guess is, in a hundred years, you are going to be really old or really dead….so it really won’t matter.” Alot of wisdom comes out of that little lady.

So today, I get an email from my mama. It was the following story:

When I was a little boy, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said: “Baby, I love burned biscuits.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned.. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired.. And besides – a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!”

It slapped me across the face a little bit. I had to realize that there are things that are important and things that really don’t matter one bit. Is it really worth getting stressed out because I am standing in the midst of a rainstorm and the dog won’t pee? No. I should relish the cleansing that the rainstorm is bringing. Is it worth getting bent out of shape about something at work that can be fixed in ten minutes time? No. I should just fix it or show the person who made the issue how to. It is a lesson learned. Is it worth getting pissed at my partner for not scooping the cat litter? Again, no. I should just go ahead and scoop it and be thankful for the hundred other things he does in the course of a week.

Isn’t it funny? My mama used food to teach me a lesson. Only she would be able to do that and still keep me on my diet. Is it any wonder I love her so much…..that beautiful little round woman with cotton candy hair and a smile that just makes you feel good all over. Even across the miles she sent me one of those hugs with just enough vinegar in it to sting a little but not burn.

Blessed Be!