Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Samhain to Yule --The Journey Inward
Article ID: 15269
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 476
Times Read: 2,453
RSS Views: 9,842
Author: Maire Durkan [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: November 18th. 2012
Times Viewed: 2,453
In my last post, “When the Crone Pays a Visit, You’d Better Pay Attention, ” I related my Samhain experience of a mandate from the Crone and a deceased family member to “wake-up” and start the new year with a difficult and necessary spiritual house cleaning. As anyone who has found himself or herself in my predicament knows, this is no easy task. Shadow work, which could also be defined as soul-searching, is really a quest to find, acknowledge, and/or root out doubt, guilt, baneful thoughts/intent, self-loathing, and old grief (just to name a few lurkers in my own dark places) .
Soul-searching N: A penetrating examination of one's motives, convictions, and attitudes.
A deep or critical examination of one's motives, actions, beliefs, etc.
Adj: displaying the characteristics of deep or painful self-analysis. -- (Collins English Dictionary; Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003)
Soul searching is fraught with danger and sacrifices, but also with self-knowledge and positive transformation. As in any quest, the goal is to grow from the chosen initiate and become a hero/heroine. We are, in a sense, on a quest to save ourselves from all that holds us back and keeps us form realizing our potential and doing the work we are called to do in this incarnation. It’s hard to make spiritual progress. It hurts to forgive and to ask forgiveness. It is hard to commit—to become the hero/heroine of your spiritual quest.
In Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the central character’s primary purpose is to separate from the ordinary world and sacrifice him/herself. To answer the challenge, complete the quest and restore balance. The balance I restore (see, I’m thinking positively here!) within myself will be reflected in my words and deeds and will (in a small way) resonate across many planes of existence. My personal shadow work will involve ritual, meditation, and journeying to speak to my totem spirits and guides. It will also involve reaching out and making changes in the way I interact with the physical world.
Quests also involve mentors, guardians, and guides. My mentor is the goddess as The Crone. From our first encounter, she has provided motivation, insights and training. The Crone is a tough coach. She tests me, and expects hard work and commitment. But she also believes that her guidance will have positive results.
Soul searching is a transformative process involving many steps. Much to my solar Leo’s chagrin, my Virgo ascendant insists on asserting itself here. Stripped down to bare process these steps are: initiation, selection, exploration, formulation, collection, and closure. Because linear time is irrelevant to beings from other planes—and a mandate from a goddess is a very big deal--I have a strong, feeling that this quest is likely to be cyclical in nature and go on for a very long time. As I continue on this journey, I will share my progress. But for now—what I share involves: initiation--my recognition that I have been selected to complete my quest; selection--my selection of an area I need to address; exploration of the sore spot in order to gain new personal knowledge; and formulation, when the seeker starts to evaluate gathered information and a focused perspective begins to form.
For me, walking in nature is a meditative process. I learn a great deal by being attentive to what I see and perceive physically and spiritually. I look for synchronicity (another Jungian term describing the alignment of universal forces with one's own life experience) . I take in what I can and, later, meditate upon "coinciding" events or alignment of forces in the universe to create an event or circumstance. Part of my quest involves becoming intuitively aware and acting in harmony with these forces.
The wrath of Hurricane Sandy and the cold fury of the nor'easter that followed have --ironically-- been followed by mild, spring like weather--much nicer weather than we will experience in March and April. But the silence of the woods, the barren limbs, and the shorn stubble, and the sun setting before five o'clock in the extreme southwest reminds me that the Brandywine Valley is locked in The Crone's embrace.
It is a Saturday in mid-November when I walk into our woods. The woods are so still! The breath of plants, birdsong, and the powerful energy of growth have stopped. On the surface, like a blanket of snow, the earth is still. A flock of black birds perches upon bare limbs--dark, silent silhouettes. Two women on horseback greet me and bemoan the overcast. I rather enjoy the muted sky and the silence. This is an excellent atmosphere for the shadow work, which The Crone has charged me to complete.
I clamber over the tree brought down by Sandy that keeps most people from taking this path; walk on past unharvested soybean fields where I stoop to pick up the blood-red and pumpkin orange berries of bittersweet. Attentive to the changes of this cycle, I ground and center before turning a sharp left and walking down the steep path into the heart of the woods. Into the now barren womb. This is the realm of The Crone. The wise woman who understands the reality of letting goes of stripping away. The leaves are all but gone. The forest floor is carpeted with their fading golden and ruddy glory.
As I walk the leaf-strewn path I speak softly of all that I lost--my mother, father sister, brother--of all the old wounds that cause me to wake and cry silently in the middle of the night. I say, “I acknowledge you. I loved you. But you are gone." or "You hurt me, " and (most difficult) "I am guilty of inflicting this wound." There is grief I must release or be forever chained to the past, hurt that I must acknowledge and release like leaves that flutter to the earth to be renewed in soil and new life.
I walk and touch old griefs. If I have done all that I can to heal a painful event—I must let it go. If there is something I can still do—some swallowing of pride—some contact that would help heal a wound—I must think about how I can accomplish that task. Are these hurts monsters to be defeated? Some are for sure. Some, like my estrangement from my only brother, are griefs that I must acknowledge and accept.
There is beauty and truth in the severity of this season, as there is beauty and truth in the severity of self-examination. Bare, smooth silver limbs of beach and the rough, scored limbs of huge tulip poplars are exposed. But there is harmony and stillness after the great storms of November passed.
Here is rest. Here is silence. Every curve, knot, and twig--seemingly dormant--yet here too is life! The silence is palpable as I leave the path and walk up the rise to the majestic tulip tree. This is my friend. Its deva calls to me. I place my offering of bittersweet on a cairn of stones that I have built up over the years as an offering to the nature spirits of this sacred land. I run my hands inches away from its surface and feel its heat --the energy it has stored deep within.
I run my hands downward toward its roots and feel the pulse and energy increase. Here is the hidden treasure--the heart and source of the tree's life. It beats deep beneath the earth and deep within the bole of the tree. I place my hands upon its rough, deeply scored bark, close my eyes and feel and visualize the pulse of life--steady and deep. I hail the presence of Tulip Tree and ask its blessing. As I open my eyes I feel the air pulse and shimmer. Rarely have I felt so at peace--so lightened. My offering has been acknowledged.
I walk up the hill, turning once to look back-- knowing that I have to move forward. I climb the rise leading out of the woods. As I reach the woods borders and look toward open meadow--I freeze. My eyes lock on the eyes of a solitary white tailed buck that stare at me as intently as I stare at him. Synchronicity.
Is the buck a new totem animal that I need to journey to for guidance? He is the Horned God--the God of joyful virility, radiating power and life force--even here in the Croning months. But he is also cautious, poised, recognizing and avoiding perceived danger. As he turns and bounds back into the woods, he reminds me that the life force is never far from us—but we must be poised and aware. I will take all of this in—meditate, journey, journal and continue my soul-searching shadow work.
Location: WILMINGTON, Delaware
Other Articles: Maire Durkan has posted 2 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Maire Durkan... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).