Shadow Work: A Study of the Dark

I have been noticing an overall trend in new age and pagan literature to focus only on light work, on raising your energies to this so called higher plane of light. There seems to be this lingering trend left over from other religions where all things not love, peace, and charity are considered to be “evil”. As we know, the world is not so black and white. As pagans, we should know better than to think that there are such things as good and evil. Any study of nature will reveal that our universe is simply shades of grey.

What I fear, is that people doing all this love and light work will one day be left with an inability to handle situations where they have to deal with things like anger, hate, and violence. Have you ever truly felt hate or been on the receiving end of it? It’s a nasty feeling and actually hurts you physically as well as emotionally. Sure, you can try to deny it by going to your so called happy place but that won’t stop it from existing and being dealt with.

I have been reading a book on shamanism and in it, they authors are trying to show you ways to deal with what they consider to be negative feelings, emotions, and thoughts by transforming them into positive feelings, emotions, and thoughts. The core problem with this transformative process is first of all is assuming that any feeling, emotion, or thought is bad or negative. They are only bad because our society believes them to be bad but inherently they are neither good nor bad, they just are. In all honestly, we shouldn’t be trying to transform these feelings, emotions, and thoughts, we should be trying to learn to sit and deal with them.

I am a huge advocate for meditation and I have only recently been learning to journey. I believe that my foundation in meditation taught in my yoga teacher training has helped me to journey on more of a level playing field. In my journey work, I am rarely met with any negative experiences, nor and I met with anything that would be considered to be positive either, they are just experiences. It’s likely that because I don’t adhere to the concept of “sins” that I don’t carry that with me into journeys into my unconsciousness.

I know that I could receive backlash for my beliefs but I don’t believe that anything we do in this life will actually effect what happens to us when we die. Do I believe in an afterlife? I sure do. Do I believe that our afterlife will be a reflection of this world? No, I don’t. I have no idea what’s waiting for my atoms once the electrical impulses of my body stop flowing. I know biologically what will happen to me and I know that due to the conservation of energy, I as I currently am in this form, will simply cease to be. What I will become, I have no idea. I am okay with that, I have no fear of it. Death and I have become friends but it’s not like I am in a huge rush to join her.

What I do fear, is not enjoying this life while I have it. I am about to turn thirty five and I still feel like I have so much more to experience while I am still young enough to enjoy it. I have spent the last five years focusing on getting my life in order. I have leveled out my finances, become more healthy, and affirmed my beliefs. I have reached a point where all I want to do is just experience life and enjoy what it has to offer.

As some who has one foot in the realm of rationality and the other in the realm of imagination, I find that if you look at the world through both lenses, you see that there’s more to experience than just what your senses can tell you. I have tried to be the most rational, objective, scientific person but I found that there are some questions that might never have answers that science can answer for us in our lifetime and when it comes to seeking answers to those questions, I find that being subjective and imaginative is better. We can paint a picture of what it might be and dream of the day when we might have the scientific answers for it. I don’t mind using mythology and story as methods of viewing our universe and our place in it.

I love journey work and getting to spend some focused time in my subconscious to learn what it has to reveal to me. To anyone who has decided to explore journey work in their pagan practice, I will be the first to tell you that any experience that you have there, is just as legitimate any you will have with your senses. While some in the realm of rationality will tell you that it isn’t real, what you experience in your subconscious is as real as any dream that you have while you sleep. Dreams have always been an important part of my practice, it’s why my second name is “Dreamweaver”. Dreams don’t have to make sense and neither does journey work but there’s no denying that when you do journey work there is something happening inside of you and changes are taking place.

Doing soul retrievals and other parts of shadow work can be as therapeutic as going to see an actual therapist but the trouble is you need to know your own mindscape before you can begin to do the real transformative work. Many people rush into witchcraft and meditation thinking that it’s going to be some kind of magical cure that will fix you by casting spells and concentrating. There’s a saying that I like – energy goes where energy flows. This means, what you put your energy into is where your energy ends up. This means, if you want to make interest changes, you need to make both an internal and external effort to make the change, you can’t just rely on the “magic” to do the work for you. This means, that you will need to face the darkness of past events and not hide from them or ignore them. If you do that, they will just keep following you around until you do face them.

Ignoring traumas and pain can sometimes lead to large mental illness such as nervous breakdowns, depression, and anxiety. No one gets through life unscathed by events and we all have some trauma to work through. How we choose to face that trauma will dictate what happens to our minds, bodies, and souls. I am a full advocate of going to therapy for seeking assistance for any trauma you have experienced, even trauma caused by chemical imbalances in your own body. I am also a firm believer in anyone’s ability to overcome these traumas with help and courage.

Face your shadows and you will come through the other-side a stronger person able to handle whatever life throws at you. Know that there is always support out there for you, sometimes that support is your social network and sometimes it’s your spiritual network. I like to think of my spirit guides as my spiritual network, there to help me when I have internal work to do.

Advertisements

Website Migration

Hello my followers!

I have moved my main site to a new URL:

http://www.witchofthewildmoon.com/

You can find all my original pagan and witchcraft posts there.

You can also follow all of my post and social interactions on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/WitchoftheWildmoon/

If you would like to stay in touch with my other personal blog:

https://claradmunro.com/

Blesses be!

Hawai’i & the Goddess Pele

It’s hard for me to express the feeling of being in the presence of a Goddess while you are in her land. Everywhere on the Big Island of Hawai’i, you feel the Goddess Pele, she’s in all of the landscape, the language, and the people.

IMG_20180113_114947.jpg

So far, I have letting myself just enjoy being here. I haven’t sent a lot of time over thinking things while I have been here. It’s been good to just relax and enjoy all that Pele has to offer. In thanks for her welcoming us to her island, I left her an offering up at her primordial playground, the active volcano.

IMG_20180118_191440.jpg

I will be leaving the island in just a couple of days. I will miss this island once I do but it’s left me totally reset and ready to take on new things and renew my commitments to others. I have a directly for my Priestess practice and how I plan to offer my services not only to my gods but to my community. More about that to come in the next couple of weeks.

IMG_20180116_151302.jpg

I had hoped to blog more while I was on vacation but I just got so swept up in activities. I saw sea turtles, went surfing, hiked volcanoes, and explored mountains. Tonight, I will go to see the stars. Not a bad way to finish up my holiday in the sun.

Spiritsong Dreamweaver

 

Samhain: Remembering our Ancestors

We are fast approaching the third and final harvest sabbat, Samhain. November 1st marks the time to give rest to all of the autumns harvests and setting in for the long dark of winter.

In olden days, this would have marked the harvest of those animals that will not make it through the winter and the start of preserving their flesh with smoke or salt. Today, we no longer need to wait until the coming of winter to prepare our stores of food. We just walk down to our local supermarket and pick up what we want.

There are so few of us who could understand what it took for our ancestors to make it through a winter and how important it was that every member of a household do their part in making sure that everyone made it through. In my local community, we go to the cemetery and spend time with the forgotten dead. It’s impossible for us to know the lives of all those who have died in our community since its founding but we can spend time to acknowledge their lives and their contributions to our community.

On a more personal level, Samhain is a good time for you to spend time remembering those people in your life who are no longer with you. I am sure that you have lost someone close to you and whether or not it was recent or someone you never had a chance to know in your lifetime like a great grand parents, Samhain offers you that space to reach out to their memory and give thanks to them for their role in your life.

For me, there are two people who I never had a chance to meet in my life because they died long before I was even a thought. They are my mother’s parents, Bill and Peggy Mitchell. Everything that I know about them is second hand knowledge from my mother and her siblings. I know that Peggy was a swimmer training to go to the Berlin Olympics but wasn’t able to go. I know that Bill was a life guard on the beach where he and Peggy met. I wish that I knew more about them but that most of their lives are lost to the memories of those who cannot tell me their stories.

There are other stories lost to time. I don’t know why my ancestors left the shores of Europe. I don’t know what adventures they had. I don’t know their hopes or their dreams. All I do know is that I would not be here if it were not for these people.

How you honor your ancestors is really up to you. I tend to create an altar for them and I burn incense in their honor. This year, I will be doing some journey work to meet up with my first ancestors. I hope to find out more about my roots and where my pagan blood comes from.

IMG_0164

I will also be celebrating Halloween by decorating my home, carving a pumpkin, and handing out sweets to the neighbor kids who come by our door. I will put on my best witch get up and welcome the trick-or-treaters with a smile. For children, this is a special night where they get to be whoever they want to be and get candy. I loved Halloween as a child. I loved running around the houses and collecting candy.

I hope that you have a safe and happy Halloween and a peaceful Samhain this year!

Blessed Be,

Priestess Spiritsong

In the Shadow of the Moon

In the deeper mysteries of womanhood, there are subjects that are rarely talked about. One of them is the effects of the moon on our bodies. It’s no secret that women are connected to the moon during our monthly cycle. While we may not sync up completely with the phases of the moon, we have our own phases.

During the “Mother” phase of our life, that time between childhood (Maiden) and menopause (Crone), we are subjected to a twenty eight day cycle for our reproductive system. Women around the world have understood this connection for generations but only now are we able to start talking about it free and openly. Granted, there are many women around the world who suffer because of this cycle. In India, there are still some places where women are forced to live in disgusting conditions during their cycle because they are seen to be “unclean”. What a load of horse shit, I can’t believe the subjection of women is still happening in places around the world in our so called “modern age.”

I am in the middle of my “Mother” phase of my life and it’s taken be a long time to accept that my cycle is a blessing and not a curse. I know that some women hate their cycle and anything that has to do with is. To me, the cycle is deeply connection with the greater cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Every single month, I get to experience that. There’s all sorts of chemicals and hormones in my body that signal the different changes that occur. I think that understanding the science of your cycle is important in accepting what’s happening to you. I am grateful for my grade school education on such things.

I have spoken before about the Red Moon Cycle, which is a not so subtle reference to a woman’s monthly cycle. The reason we call it the Red Moon Cycle is not because our cycle literally syncs up with the lunar cycle but because it’s a twenty eight day (on average) cycle and we have our own phases within it. The science helps us to understand what hormones are active and why we go through such an emotional roller coaster during our twenty eight days. All that aside, there’s a chance for a deeper understanding of yourself in those phases.

I am not a trained Red Priestess and I don’t specialize in women’s mysteries but I do have my own way of keeping track of my own Red Moon Cycle that I am happy to share.

The Science:

Understanding biologically what is happening is the first step I took in making a greater connection with my cycle. I firmly believe that knowledge is power and the key to greater acceptance. I could go into detail about how the system works but I would rather share with you a few Wikipedia articles to get your started.

This first one is the basics of what makes women biologically female:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female

This one is about how the female reproductive cycle works biologically:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_reproductive_system

This final one is focuses just on the menstrual cycle:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_cycle

If you want a further understanding to your cycle, I recommend that you take a first year biology class that has a section of human anatomy. I would even go so far as to start researching the male reproductive cycle too. Understanding men and what’s going on inside them, only helps to deepen your connection with them. They have just as complicated hormone cycles as we do and theirs is a daily cycle as well as yearly.

Tracking:

Back in the day, I used to use a calendar to track my cycle but with the changes in technology, I use my mobile device instead of pen and paper. I use a period tracking app called “P Tracker” and I have the paid version which let’s me track different physical and emotional changes through the month. The best part of the app is the ability to leave notes about significant changes such as life events and lunar phases. The bonus to using this tracker is that I can see when my predicted ovulation will be taking place. It’s nice to had a bit of warning for that, more importantly because I use it to see if it’s a good time to be sexually active.

Journaling:

I have a journal that I created to help me deepen my connection to the Goddess where I store information like emotional events and dreams. I can look back in this journal to see if there is a pattern that syncs up with what’s going on in my period tracking app.

This past month, I had significantly more dreams about the people in my life. I think this was a way for me to death with the recently social changes in my life. I went from having regular social events that I would attend to not going to any at all. I will admit, this has left me depressed and feeling like no one wants to be around me. I can’t exactly blame them, I have not been a cheerful or positive person that last few months. This is not for a lack of me trying to shift my attitude but some days a worse than other. My dreams have not been very helpful regarding this as they tend to remind me of what I have lost and what I did wrong. It’s not self punishment but it feels like it sometimes when I wake up and know that everything is different for me now.

Dark Moon:

There is a time during my cycle which I call my “Dark Moon Days” and these are just a few past post finishing my period where I get depressed. I recognize it when it happens but there is little I can do to stop it from happening. I have learned that during this time I don’t want to cook for myself, I don’t want to see people, I don’t want to get out of my house if I can help it. This most recent dark moon days were particularly bad for me. I have recently decided to cut someone out of my life who was doing nothing but hurting me with their actions and words. I needed a few days to recover from that loss. It was heartbreaking for me to make that choice but I feel that it was the best thing for me to do. I will admit, that recovering from this choice will take longer that a few dark days and I may need to ignore my feelings of wishing to backslide on it for a while to come.

Self Care:

During the actual five days where my cycle is waning, I tend to be super introspective and attentive to my needs. I like having long baths with soothing music and candle light. I will retreat within myself and figure out what I need to do in order ready myself for the coming month.

During the days where I am waxing in my cycle, I tend to focus on the more practical day to day things like making my meals, shopping, and my work. During this time, I find that I am able to focus on all outside things like friends, family, politics, and other outside connections.

During my seven peak days, the ones around ovulation, I find that I have a surge of creative energy that does not occur the rest of the month. During this time, I will be inspired to work on creative things like writing, crafting, and playing music. I have done all sorts of things during this time and it’s hard to get that energy the other twenty one days of the month.

These are all the ways in which I keep connected to my mind, body, and spirit while I am going through my Red Moon Cycle. If you have ways in which you track or care for yourself during your monthly cycle, I would love to hear all about it.

Blessed Be!

Priestess Spiritsong

Out of the Broom Closet

There are still people out there that fear witches. I would say without any real good reason but it’s enough that some witches and pagans feel the need to hide their beliefs and practices from their friends, family, and coworkers. It’s what we in the community call, “Staying in the broom closet.”

I am most definitely out of the broom closet. I have have been since I was in college. At first, it was just with friends and immediate family but over time, I became more public about it. With the changes in technology and the adaption of social media, it is easier to be “out” as a witch then ever before. I have been writing pagan blogs for a few years now and been part of a few public pagan organizations in my community. I have no problems talking about my beliefs and practices with the public or being a public face for witches and pagans.

I can understand why some people would want to stay out of the public with their beliefs. I remember a friend who once told me that I was going to hell because of my witchcraft. I remember being really hurt by that because I don’t actually believe in a “hell” or the concept of “sin”, I believe in morality & ethics, not sin & damnation. However, that does not stop others from forcing their beliefs upon me. That being said, I know now that my friend was coming from a place of love, even if a little misdirected. One should never come to any religion or belief out of fear because fear only begets more fear. Since that time, I have come to just say, “Thank you for your thoughts of concern,” to those who attack me for my beliefs. I can tell you, it’s only happened once in the last ten year from a guy who came to Jesus out of his fear of damnation. I guess he figured just by being close to pagans, he would be damn to Hell (I always ask, is that one “L” or two?). Fun fact, the words “God” and “Hell” both come from old Norse and they refer to Odin, ruler of the Norse Gods, and Hel, the place where the dishonored go when they die.

I remain public with my pagan practice because I want to create a world where everyone can practice their spirituality without fear. I do not live in any kind of fear of what someone will try to do to me because I know that I have the laws of my country on my side. That and the confidence that most people don’t actually care what I believe and practice.

If you are still waiting to come out as a witch or pagan, take your time. There’s no rushing these things but when you do, know that there are others out there like you and will be there to support you.

Blessed be!

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver