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This Ostara comes on the heels of an extremely trying winter.  A breakup, health issues, household stress, and the constant feeling that nothing I attempted to nurture would ever thrive made it almost impossible to focus on much of anything at a time of year that is generally when I’m the most productive.  As we approached Imbolc things began to lighten just a bit, but it was enough to give me enough hope to ride the waves that seemed to be carrying me way deeper than I thought I could find my way back from.

Then I was asked to be a voice.  I was invited to speak to a small group of women about my experience and the lessons learned doing Good Girl and how my life has been changed by it all.  I talked for a long time, and I’m sure I said a lot of useful things, but the one thing that stuck out in my mind was the very first bullet point.

Healing is not a one time event.

Let me repeat that.  Healing is NOT a one time event.  

Well, hell, guys.  For a year I’ve been beating myself up because I thought I was failing, convinced that all the progress I thought I’d made was a lie, when really I was learning how to live again in a whole new way.  I needed to cut myself a little slack and acknowledge how far I’d actually come, even if it seemed like I’d been stumbling and bumbling my way through most of it.

I tried to keep that in mind as Ostara approached, and yesterday as the sun rose around my plane I felt it filling me with a new energy I’ve never felt before, and it dawned on me. I haven’t been failing all winter.  I haven’t been fallow.  I haven’t neglected my seeds.  For the first time in my life I went deeper into the dark season than ever before, and when I emerged I was truly transformed.  I was taken to the brink, and yeah, I had to die a little to really complete my chrysalis.  What Ostara brought me this year was not just new light or new growth but new life, new eyes, and new  breath.

Is all the stress and pain gone?  No, that’s real life.  Healing and lessons and growth don’t wait until it’s convenient for mundane life, but the choice is mine to focus behind me on the cold darkness of winter or look ahead of me to the bright warmth of the coming seasons.  The dark will return as the wheel turns, but I know I can not only survive it but pull from it the lessons of my deepest fathoms.

No, healing is not a one time event, and I don’t in any way believe it’s all over, but along with that healing I have grown to a new level of awareness and empathy, of intuition and intensity, of passion and power.  I have claimed my place in the universe.  I am ready to use the stardust with which I was born.

Mabon, the second and middle harvest, is a day of balance, sharing, and “reaping what we sow”.  It’s the time for contemplation and awareness of the thin line between light and dark.  It’s a time for valuing and conserving.

We celebrate, but we also start to look towards what needs to be completed.  What is reaching a natural end?  What projects need to be wrapped up?  What ones have run fallow and need to be let go so that we have enough to make it through the winter?

Quite often our rituals focus on celebrations to fuel us as we wrap up the tasks of our fruitful seasons.  In my case, I’ve always planted my seeds at Mabon, and the dark season has become my fruitful season.

This year Mabon hits us at the tail end of what has been an extremely rough Mercury Retrograde for most people close to me, heightening the need for balance and contemplation.  It’s hurt a lot, even by my standards, and I’ve felt all week like many of us are being set up for some pretty serious trials, but out of it I can feel the rich soil I’m cultivating for the months ahead.

As always, my Mabon solitary celebration takes a closer look at balance.  This time it’s opening me up to just how much the dark side of that light/dark balance affects me.  I’ve been meditating on how it can aid me instead of holding me back and how to go about using it properly.  Because of the retrograde I’ve been extremely raw and emotional.  Miscommunication is rampant.  Relationships are teetering.  Plans are failing.  My world is burning to the ground, and while it took more than one match, I’m holding one of them.  There’s very little light left to cling to for the season, and what there is is blinded by the conflagration.  Fire.  What is fire but light in the darkness?  What is fire if not the transformation we started at Lughnassad.  What is fire if not a chance for rebuilding.  Still, there has to be balance.  I cannot just let uncontrolled fires rage, and while the ones on the outside might be out of my control, the ones on the inside are my power and passion, and the key to not being consumed by them is to use their light to create that balance.

I decided weeks ago that the period between Mabon and Samhain would be a period of stepping back and contemplating my life and all the questions Mabon asks of us.  The results of retrograde may have shouted them in my face, but the quiet creeping darkness of the days to follow will help be find the dark places I need to reconcile myself with.  The fading light I feel around me gives me just enough to see the outline of the trials before me, but not enough to know where they’ll lead me, and that’s part of the lesson.

Mabon is a twilight.  It will help me let go where I need to in order to preserve my energy for the storms worth weathering this winter, because they’re coming.  The twilight reminds us that the deep dark is coming, and we can’t avoid it.  We must embrace the chaos of the storm to survive it, and we must embrace the unseen in the darkness to navigate it.  I have to have faith that I can.

 

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Aloha

Go now, find your balance.

Pagan Wheel of the Year

 

 

I was once told during a Mabon divination ritual to plant my seeds in the winter instead of the spring like most, and it has rang true that I am generally more inspired and fruitful in the darker half of the year.  Maybe it comes from the introspection that comes in the colder seasons.  I am less distracted by the light energy and vibrating dance of the spring and summer.  It could also be that I find my inspiration in the darker portions of myself, those places that we often try to ignore or change.

 

In the story of Persephone we see an eventual balance of light and dark.  In embracing the darkness and joining Hades, Persephone sets in motion the events that create a separation between the light and dark times of the year.  It is her journey that brings the world balance.

 

It is important that we too have this balance in our lives to reach our full potential.  Persephone doesn’t just travel to the darkness, she loved it.  She takes it in and tastes it, and in the end she returns to it again and again as a part of her self.  We too must learn to experience and love our darkness as a part of who we are.

 

When we use the word “darkness” we think of frightening and unwelcome things.  We think of violence and negativity.  We think of anything dark as a blight, but true darkness can be a thing of beauty.  The dark is “scary” because that’s when our imaginations take over, but some of life’s most magical things come from the imagination.  The dark is the unknown, but the unknown gives us endless possibilities if we can get over our fear of it.  From the dark we pull courage, strength, and inner calm.  If we use what the darkness can give us to create and grow as much as we use the light we can be unstoppable.

 

Inner darkness is a place of deep emotion, sensuality, and survival.  A place of transformation and rebirth.  Each of these aspects of our personality holds immense power and potential that can be tapped into if we can take the steps to make our own journey to our own Underworld.  I won’t say it’s not a little daunting.  Steps are unsure and footing is loose.  At first it can be terrifying, but once you’ve mapped the route and made peace with the darkness it can be a place of solace and quiet comfort.

 

Loving your darkness is about balance, but it is also about releasing fear.  Once you are fearless you are free.

 

 

 

Go now, embrace your darkness.

 

Aloha

 

The festival of Mabon marks the beginning of the dark part of the year.  The leaves are falling, the days are shortening, and the air is starting to chill.  It is not yet winter, but a fair part of the bounty has come and gone.  To our ancestors it was a lot more scary and unstable of a season than it is now, but we still carry that inherent link within us.  Yes, we can go to a grocery store for food, and we have electric and gas heaters whenever we need them, but there is still that intuitive feeling of darkness for those of us who feel the seasons.

This isn’t a bad thing.  The darkness is imperative to growth and change.  The darkness challenges us to look deeper within and rid ourselves of impediments and weakness.  The darkness forces us to face our fears and uncertainties head-on and learn from them.

I admit for much of my life I either lived in the darkness or ignored it.  The constant state of imbalance meant I was spinning my wheels when it came to any progress in my life.  Living in darkness I missed a lot of opportunities and lost my way a few times.  Avoiding it I not only neglected an important part of myself but allowed myself to be comfortable and what I thought was content.  In reality all it did was let the darkness grow, until it demanded attention.  At that point I was back at living in the darkness.  It’s a detrimental cycle to be sure.

I am still learning to not fear the darkness, to take it as it comes, and to let it go.  I am still learning to understand that in order for there to be light there must also be dark.  I am still learning to not consider darkness “bad” or “evil”.  I am still learning to accept that the path is not always well-lit, well-worn, or easily travelled.  If it were I would be getting nowhere.

This year we’ve been blessed with a lot of light, but it took us a long trudge through the darkness to get there.  Issues with partners and our marriage made us recognize things we needed to resolve to be a stronger couple.  Those same issues brought up individual insecurities and resentments from our respective pasts that needed to be addressed before we could progress in our life together.  Losing jobs and our house brought us closer to family.  On my end it bolstered me to work harder to provide for my household and forced us to learn to save and budget.  It also gave us the opportunity to pay off debts that have been blights on our credit for years.  Health problems have given me a better look at where and how I need to take better care of my body, spirit, and self in general.

It’s been a rough step in our lives together and separate,  but it’s been necessary and in a positive direction.  There’s still work to be done, and as we enter another dark season I wonder what it will bring,  but I’m learning not to fear it but to embrace and learn from it knowing I will come out a better me on the other side.  I know things will come to me as I am ready and able to handle them, and I know that my faith will get me through with a little support and love from my community and my family.

Welcome to the dark time, my friends.  What will you learn about yourself this year?

*Namaste*

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