in the shadow of
About the Author Kimberly started on her path in the Craft at the age of fourteen after realizing that mainstream religions did not fit best with her belief system. She has been involved in the Craft for the past sixteen years and has background in many of the various traditions of the Craft that are practiced today. Though she considers herself eclectic she has worked with various groups and organizations over the years to refine and hone her skills as a witch and mentor to those new in the craft. During her teenage years Kimberly learned the hardships of dealing with depression and the darker side of self. By working with various therapies and spiritual-based alternatives she began to formulate a system of acknowledging and dealing with those aspects that she so wanted to understand. Through practice, patience, support, and time she began to whittle away the things that were at the heart of the shadow-self. Today she still uses the system she developed over so many years to balance and understand the subtle shifts in conscious awareness when things in life change. Through this process she has gained a greater understanding of those things that other pagans and non-pagans alike consider “the dark places.” She hopes to bring to light the societal and pagan misconceptions of the power of the “dark” and the transformation that happens when those misconceptions are brought to the light through this book. Today Kimberly lives with her husband and dog in Massachusetts. When not taking care of mundane life, she spends most of her time working for the Pagan Education Network, creating and restructuring classes, workshops, and community-building events for the community at large. The organization, which is dedicated to providing factual educational tools to those in the craft as well as those who are just discovering the Craft, was founded by Kimberly and Amy Pierce for the purpose of reaching out to the pagan community to provide useful tools and spiritual connections for everyday living.
in the shadow of
13 moons Embracing Lunar Energy for Self-Healing and Transformation
Llewellyn Publications Woodbury, MN
In the Shadow of 13 Moons: Embracing Lunar Energy for Self-Healing and Transformation © 2010 by Kimberly Sherman-Cook. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from Llewellyn Publications, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. First Edition First Printing, 2010 Cover art: © Photodisc (for moon), © Photographer’s Choice/PunchStock (for tree) Cover design by Ellen Dahl Editing by Sharon Leah Interior art by the Llewellyn art department Llewellyn is a registered trademark of Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data (Pending) ISBN: 978-0-7387-1972-6 Llewellyn Worldwide does not participate in, endorse, or have any authority or responsibility concerning private business transactions between our authors and the public. All mail addressed to the author is forwarded but the publisher cannot, unless specifically instructed by the author, give out an address or phone number. Any Internet references contained in this work are current at publication time, but the publisher cannot guarantee that a specific location will continue to be maintained. Please refer to the publisher’s Web site for links to authors’ Web sites and other sources. Llewellyn Publications A Division of Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Dept. 978-0-7387-1972-6 Woodbury, MN 55125-2989 www.llewellyn.com Printed in the United States of America
Contents Acknowledgments . . . x Preface . . . xi
Part 1: Working within the Darkness: The Dark-moon Esbat Introduction / 3 1: Truth in the Darkness / 11 Activity 1: Testing the Darkness (Waning to Dark Moon) / 21 Activity 2: The Demons and the Light (Waning to Dark Moon) / 24 Activity 3: Experiencing the Dark with New Eyes (New Moon) / 26
2: Understanding the Dark Moon / 29 Activity 1: Identifying the Dark Moon (During the Waning Moon) / 38 Activity 2: Acknowledge Where You Stand (During the Dark Moon) / 39 Activity 3: Meditation 1 (During the Dark and New Moon) / 41
3: The Dark Circle of Power / 53 Activity 1: Creating Your Dark Circle Outline (Waning Moon) / 62 Activity 2: Manifest Your Dark Circle (Dark Moon) / 64 Activity 3: Cast a Dark Circle (Dark to New Moon) / 66
4: Reversal of the Elements / 69 Activity 1: Calling the Quarters (Waning Moon) / 92 Activity 2: Adding the Elements (Waning Moon) / 94 Activity 3: Explore the Elemental Effect (Dark to New Moon) / 100 Activity 4: Elemental Tarot Insights / 105
5: Channeling and the Dark Deities / 107 Activity 1: Holding the Power of Darkness (Waning Moon) / 116 Activity 2: Draw Down Dark-moon Energies (Waning to Dark Moon) / 117 Activity 3: Charging the Dark-moon Circle (Dark Moon) / 118
6: Working with Dark Deities / 119 Activity 1: Pantheon Reference Guide (Full to Waning Moon) / 131 Activity 2: Meeting Your Goddess (Waning to Dark Moon) / 131 Meditation 2: Finding the Dark Goddess / 132 Activity 3: Meeting Your God (Dark Moon) / 136
7: Representing and Thanking Dark-moon Deities / 139 Activity 1: The Call of the God and Goddess (Waning Moon) / 146 Activity 2: Giving Thanks (Waning to Dark Moon) / 147 Activity 3: Combining Your Ritual Outline (Dark to New Moon) / 147
Part 2: Finding Your Inner Darkness 8: Balance Between Dark and Light / 151 Activity 1: Testing Your Balance (Waning Moon) / 153 Activity 2: Great Expectations: The Shadow Mask (Dark Moon) / 154 Activity 3: Finding Your Inner Balance (New Moon) / 158
9: Obtaining Your Keys to the Dark / 159 Activity 1: Reveal Your Shadows (Waning of the Dark Moon) / 172 Meditation 3: Confronting the Shadow / 173 Activity 2: Naming and Releasing Phantom Pain (Waning to Dark Moon) / 177 Activity 3: Resolution (Dark to New Moon) / 179
10: Finding the Inner Goddess and God / 181 Activity 1: Discovery of Self (Waning Moon) / 186 Activity 2: Making Changes (Waning to Dark Moon) / 188 Activity 3: The Road Map to Success (Dark to New Moon) / 190
11: The Outer Realms / 193 Activity 1: Making Physical Correlations (Waning Moon) / 198 Activity 2: Remember, Reactivate, and Reclaim (Any Moon) / 199 Activity 3: Checklist of the Shadow (New Moon) / 200
12: Changes Made Manifest / 203 Activity 1: Resolving the Last Hurdles and Spiritual Guidance (Waning Moon) / 205 Activity 2: Support Systems (Waning to Dark Moon) / 206 Activity 3: The Final Meditation (New Moon) / 208 Meditation 4: Reclaiming the Light / 208
13: Returning to the Light (Balancing the Dark) / 213 Activity 1: Emerging into the Light (Waning Moon) / 217 Activity 2: The Requiem: A Dark-moon Project (Waning Moon) / 219 Activity 3: Consecration and Dedication of the Mind, Body, and Spirit (Weeks leading up to the New Moon) / 220
Part 3: Further Explorations of the Dark Moon Activities for Shadow Work / 227 Elemental Workings / 227 Working with a Specific Element / 228 Elemental Candle Spell / 230 Elemental Candle Gazing / 231 Dress the Part / 231 Rock, Scissors, Paper / 232 Stone Therapy / 232
Working Your Inner Landscape / 235 Sending a Messages in the Dark / 235 Devising a Sigil / 236 Divine Assistance / 237 Labyrinth Workings / 238 Balancing Energy Work / 243 Celebration of Self / 245 Divination for the Shadow / 246 Tarot for the Shadow / 246 Isolating the Shadow: Spread 1 / 247 Powers Struggle: Spread 2 / 247 Balancing the Shadow: Spread 3 / 248 Scrying the Dark Mirror / 248
Afterword / 251 Adapting this Book for Groups / 253 Appendix A: Chakra Meditation / 261 Appendix B: Dark Goddesses and Gods / 269 Appendix C: A Dark-moon Ritual / 275 Appendix D: Potions and Correspondences / 281 Essences / 285 Dark-moon Colors / 287 Dark-moon Candle Correspondences and Stones / 289 Suggested Reading List / 293 Bibliography / 295
Acknowledgments I would like to share with the readers of this book that what you are reading would have never been possible without my ever-supportive husband, my parents who have always encouraged me to be me, Amy for her gracious friendship and helping me keep my feet grounded, the coven that entrusted me to take them on journeys untold, Rachel at The Garden of One for her intuitive mysticism and safe haven, and Christopher Penczak for giving me the grace and encouragement to bring the final version you are reading to life.
Preface I was a child of no more than seven when I saw the moon above the ocean tide slowly eclipsed by the sun, turning it black as the night. When the sun had swallowed the last of the moonâ€™s light, there was a moment in which the whole world seemed to stop. The beach was a monochromatic color and the sky radiated with the strangest light I had ever seen. All around me an eerie hush was interrupted by only the sound of ocean waves. That night on the beach is when magick first happened for me. Although I did not understand the mechanics of an eclipse, I remember feeling a little frightened. I was not afraid because of what was happening, but because somewhere deep in my consciousness I was aware of the moonâ€™s power. I watched that night until the eclipse was over and the moon was once again pure white light over the foaming ocean. From that point forward the moon has held a power over me like nothing ever had before; the moon and I became partners. I am amazed that such a moment remains as clear as the day it happened. That moment absorbed me completely and I was transformed; it helped to define who I was to become as an adult and an occult practitioner.
As so many others have, I suffered some strong blows during my tumultuous childhood and adolescent years, and that is when my journey into darkness began. In my late teens, I sought the help of conventional medicine. It served me well, but it left some problems unaided. This was because, at the time, practitioners of conventional medicine did not understand my religious preferences and could not help me integrate what I was learning in therapy with my spiritual path. Some even believed that my religious preferences were part of my psychological trauma. I knew better, and once again I enlisted the aid of the moon on my journey to deeper healing. I spent a lot of time journaling, watching patterns and cycles in my life, and reading occult texts; and I began to realize there is more to the moon than meets the eye. My need for spiritual healing was greater than what I could get from therapy, so I began to put things together on my own, working to heal on the inside what conventional therapy could not. The moon has been my teacher and my solace when nothing else could comfort me. She has guided, encouraged, and embraced me, even when I could not find the strength or wisdom to do so for myself. The moon has never failed to fascinate me. In my teens, when I began to study the occult and put together a healing system for myself, I was surprised to find that the yearnings I had felt for years had very real roots in magick. I continued my studies in the occult and the healing modalities of the occult. As a college student studying psychology and literature, I learning that what I thought was a simple childâ€™s enchantment had deeper ramifications than I once fathomed. It is because of the moonâ€™s energies, her teachings, and her mysteries that I was able to heal from my traumas and grow to become the woman I am today. As I continued on and deepened my studies of the Craft, my own craft of healing became stronger and clearer. Slowly, I began to teach to other people the method I had developed for myself.
Working within the Darkness: The Dark-moon Esbat
Introduction In the Shadow of 13 Moons is an introduction to pathworking techniques that harness the power of the dark moon for the purpose of positive personal transformation. This book takes you on a step-bystep journey through the art of dark-moon ritual workings. You will explore how to use the energy of the dark moon and how to effectively connect with the dark archetype. There are thirteen full-moon cycles, and there are thirteen cycles in the wheel of the dark moon. The dark moon is not to be confused with the new moon, although, you will work with both. The dark moon and new moon are two separate entities and energies. For too long the dark-moon phase has been seen as either a time of darkness that is feared or a time of rest—and as a time when magick is void. Research into this dark phase, however, suggests that in earlier times, before the rise of Christianity, the time when the moon is waning and dark is best used for great internal workings and performing magick. People thought of the dark-moon phase as not so much a time of rest but rather a time of inner wisdom and introspection. The dark moon was and still is celebrated as a women’s mystery. Even today it remains a significant practice in the Avalonian Tradition, as well as in many others. In women’s mysteries, the dark
moon—sometimes referred to as Diana’s Bow—is a time used to find the kind of feminine wisdom that deepens the study of the crone’s ways. Male practitioners of the Craft also practice this type of work, sometimes with the crone archetype, and other times with the sage archetype. For men, the dark-moon phase is often a time to either connect with the yin half of their inner-self or to connect with the deep healing of the shaman within themselves. Ancient followers of paganism and folk magick recognized the dark moon’s power as the full moon’s opposite. Reading ancient mythologies makes it clear that the ancients defined the dark moon as a time of great and equal power, not as a time to fear. Fear was interjected later when the original stories were changed to fit into the Christianized philosophies. Today, witches who strive to regain their heritage understand the dark moon much as the ancient peoples did. They see the dark moon as representative of the crone (wise woman figure) or, alternately, the sage (wise man figure), her male counterpart. I embrace these ideas in my own practice and have studied this way for years. I also believe now more than ever that occult practitioners need to embrace the concept of balancing the yin and yang energies in their lives. Understanding that there is an equal place for both in all things, even moon workings, is a place to begin embracing balance. In the pagan wheel of life, the dark moon and the crone and sage are seen as representations of the late stages of life. It is the place where elders—the wise men and women and the great healers of the Craft—dwell. The wise people are seated there because they have gained true self through the trials of inner transformation. They may be middle-aged, older, or even relatively young in human years, but they all share an unmistakable quality; they know themselves so completely that they are not easily shaken by anyone. They do not often wear the ego masks the rest of us do. They are true to themselves as well as to those around them, and they are the ones many witches hope to someday emulate.
Embrace for yourself the power of the dark moonâ€™s wisdom, but do not fear change. In truth there is no room for fear in magick for that which is feared in the dark is only what is feared in ourselves. Understand that the dark gods and goddesses often conjure up ideas about death, remorse, or fear, yet that is not their purpose. They are wisdom speakers, teachers, and transformers. When you journey for deep inner change, the crone and sage are the gatekeepers, and they will aid you as you transform from the inside out. So challenge yourself to step onto the inward labyrinth and find the lost secrets within yourself. Find out what it is that stops you from achieving your highest potential. Transform those inner unconscious realms, manifest higher states of awareness, and reclaim your goals. Discover how to use the darker parts of yourself without fear to make powerful, positive, energetic shifts in your life. Embrace the inner magick that makes your shadow beautiful. The time is now for you to release your fear and once again embrace your power and wisdom. Take back your personal power. Embrace the crone and sage archetypes, for they have gained wisdom through experience, patience, and practice. The crone and sage see all things as they are and do not cling to social constructs and illusions. They accept that all things must die to be reborn and that old ways of knowing must be shed when they no longer serve a purpose, in order to make way for new ideas. The dark gods and goddesses will help you to unlock your own inner mysteries. Let yourself learn not to put on the shadow mask and to grow and evolve beyond its embrace. Allow yourself to glean wisdom from the dark goddess and god and be open to their lessons for you. Dark magickal work in witchcraft means to enter a state of introversion, to go within and seek out a better understanding of the self. This comes with the understanding that in order to manifest something new, what no longer serves must be destroyed.
However, shadow work does not mean that darker aspects of the self must be eradicated or destroyed. Following that line of thought would imply that aspects of you need to be permanently eradicated, which would undoubtedly lead to serious psychological imbalances. I prefer to think about shadow work as a way of balancing the dark and the light, which are intricately balanced like the dawn and the dusk, day and night, summer and winter. One could not be eliminated without seriously affecting the other. Magical work during the dark moon will help you modify, understand, and even transform shadow aspects of yourself into higher-serving energies that can benefit you through wisdom and knowledge.
Before You Begin The work you are about to embark on is one of utter truth, the kind of truth you will find only if you remove all of the masks of denial and illusion and walk into the shadow that contains both the good and bad to find your truest self. In this exploration of the shadow realms, you will search within yourself to find the reasons, motives, and desires that have caused you to manifest the current situations in your life. You will be challenged to search the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual planes and states of awareness to find the answers. It is only when you connect with the root of your inner being that you can begin to break the cycles that rule over your life. This knowledge cannot be obtained through anything external. No one can do this work for you, which makes it one of the most difficult challenges in spiritual pathworking. This is work that must be done from within your spirit. You must desire the changes you want to create and be ready to accommodate that change in your life. In this work there is no one perfect way, no rulebook, no fail-proof guide, and no one to tell you that you are right or wrong. There is only you and what feels right to you.
Through your studies you will learn to become like the crone and the sage, the wise people, and the healers. You will learn to release the energy that is attached to what no longer serves you and gain the wisdom that comes with experiencing yourself to the fullest. As with any other magick, everything begins from within and everything that is made manifest comes from that inner space. Doing the exercises you will find throughout this book will help you use magickal and spiritual practices to free up the energy associated with the shadow. You will be able to effectively transform these cycles into positive changes. In turn, this energy will manifest in the world around you an thereby create positive changes in your life. Be assured, as you travel forward, that there is no single right or wrong answer. There is only your personal inner truth and your understanding of what that inner truth means to you as an individual. Here is where you begin your journey to becoming a new lightâ€” one of permanent, lasting changeâ€”in the dark places. As you travel forward through the darkness and back into the light, you will begin to break the hold of the social, mental, and physical cycles of the shadow aspects in your life.
How to Use this Book It is assumed that you have a basic understanding of the Craft and its practices. This book does not provide instruction on the basics of witchcraft. It is also assumed that you are ready to take this guided journey into your shadow-self. If you are ready, this book will serve as a guide to help you through a developmental discovery of the dark moon and the work associated with learning about your inner shadow. I will not claim this is the only tool to use in self-discovery. Instead, I offer a fresh perspective to help you acquire knowledge while at the same time walking the sacred inner spiral of magick. What follows is based on studies, rituals, practices, and meditations that were conducted within a coven setting. From my research
that combined psychology with the spiritual practice of witchcraft, a practice emerged, which people in the coven have used to achieve a deep sense of healing and transformation. The information gathered during that time was substantiated by additional research and development and transferred into a cohesive practice that will work for solitary practitioners as well as learning circles, covens, and training groups. Within this book you will find practical information, meditation, correspondences, spell work, craft projects, and other exploratory tools to help you achieve introspection and a deeper understanding of the patterns present in your life. These tools will help to empower you as you delve into a deeper exploration of yourself and of the deeper currents of magick that exist within everyone. The ultimate goal of the book is to take you on a spiritual journey. You will reclaim your inner strength though understanding your weaknesses, and you will learn to do so without fear or judgment. Ideally, this journey will remain with you and become part of your lifelong practice of gaining new insights and healing on your personal path. My hope is that as you read this book, gather information, and reflect back on previous explorations, you will be able to embrace real, positive changes in your life. Each chapter is designed around a different topic and is filled with insights, ideas, and explorations to accompany you as you walk the path of darkness. At the end of each chapter, you will find activities that go along with the topics of the chapters. The activities are designed to be reflective tools that will help you to stay on track, explore, and experience your own shadow and dark places. Think of each chapter as a gateway for you to explore as you journey through the veil of darkness and back into the light. The journey cannot be rushed, therefore, you may find it takes longer than one year (thirteen moon cycles) to complete the work. This is not a race, so embrace your changes wholly and without
limitations. It matters not how long you need to spend in any one dark-moon phase; it only matters that you do the work with honesty and that you do it completely. Keep in mind that you alone hold the power to effect this change. You hold the keys to your success. Now then, come with me. Walk through the gates of midnightâ€™s passage, shrouded in mystery and veiled by darkness. The dark goddess and god await our arrival. The ancient divine have always been here waiting for you. You need only to speak the words and let the darkness take hold. May In the Shadow of 13 Moons serve as your personal guide to help you safely journey to those dark places within yourself.
Truth in the Darkness The comfort I found in the dark was something I relished as a child. The quiet of the evening was comforting, peaceful, and so inviting. It was a time when everything slowed down and became less distracting; it was a time of inner peace. I remember looking at the night sky and feeling at home within myself and within the universe; knowing wonder in every dark corner and shadowy forest. There was magick in the night that could only be found in the mysteries that were washed away in the starkness of daylight. Then, as I grew older, I found reasons to fear the dark. Those reasons included the things that had happened to me in the dark hours of the night. The dark had become my enemy, the time when my mind went racing with thoughts of frustration and confusion. Those fears were obnoxious and annoying. They drowned out logic, reason, and even emotion. Eventually, social conditioning and chaos took over, and the dark velvet I had found such comfort in as a child was no longer my safe haven. Instead, the dark was filled with turmoil, fear, and confrontation.
Truth in the Darkness
During that time I came face to face with my secret enemy—my own shadow. It was an enemy that stayed behind me in daylight, always out of sight from the rest of my world, yet always active in it. It was the same shadow that is feared by many other people I knew. The shadow was guilt, rage, anger, frustration, sadness, depression, and sometimes a combination of all of those things. My shadow ruled over the dark silent kingdoms; it was the unknown self that lay in wait at the end of each day. It seemed an endless cycle. I waited always for the morning to come, for life and business to distract me so I could get a reprieve from the things that haunted my nights. Eventually, I entered conventional therapy to deal with this shadowy figure; it helped, but there was something more under the surface of my skin that was begging for my attention. Even after therapy ended and I was deemed “healed,” I still felt only half alive. Another part of me felt dead. At that time I had been involved in the occult for several years. I was no longer a skeptic of the Craft, and I was studying the tarot, reading all the books I could lay my hands on, attempting to understand what it was that was missing from my healing process. While in therapy, I was able to gain insights into my mental state and feelings; however, I was less able to address my need for healing on a spiritual level because witchcraft, at that time, was still a misunderstood religious practice. So I was left feeling divided between what I had learned in conventional therapy and what seemed to still want attention beyond the surface. Things like multilevel energy fields and auras were new to me, and I had the barest notion about emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies of energy, or how they worked. I did not understand that traditional therapy was only taking care of some of my wounds while others continued to fester under the surface. It was through my occult studies that I found whole new ways to heal and empower myself. The mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual planes of existence are tied together—their energies inter-
Truth in the Darkness
Physical body Mental body Emotional body Spiritual body
wovenâ€”and they work together to form a balance. By recognizing, processing, and healing on each energy plane, things resolved on the other planes. When I combined this understanding with my knowledge of the occult and psychology, witchcraft offered up a virtual cornucopia of possibilities for me to explore. It was through these discoveries that I found a way to begin to stitch together the fabric of a healing practice that would eventually bring together, in a balanced way, the darkness and the light, which allowed me to heal and to reclaim the dark place I love so dearly.
Into the Darkness Stepping onto the inner labyrinth is the hardest step you will ever take. You must have complete faith that you have the power within you to overcome what cannot be seen. In witchcraft, the part of you than cannot be seen is called the shadow-self. It is the inner voice that you stifle, the one who haunts you but has no voice of its own. The shadow speaks through symbols, actions, and manifestations in your waking world. It speaks in dreams and nightmares. The shadow sees all things and knows all things, because it is part of you. Though you should use this knowledge to your advantage, the shadow should not be in charge or be making your decisions for you. It will expose
Truth in the Darkness
faults, weaknesses, and struggles; it is a place of total truthâ€”and it can be a harsh and unkind inner world. Many people fear this space inside their heads because they know there is no way to hide from it. They feel defeated, exposed, and at the mercy of their own inner voice. As you set your feet firmly at the entrance of the labyrinth, your fear of the physical darkness, and where that fear stems from, must be confronted. Fear of the dark can happen for many reasons, not all of them dramatic. Your fears must be faced, nonetheless, because they prevent you from gaining access to the dark. Before you can embrace the darkness, you need to be able to embrace your fear of the physical darkness and conquer this first personal shadow. As you release yourself from preconceived notions and societal views you will become like the Fool in the tarot, open to all possibilities and in fear of none of them. This is where your journey begins.
Shadow Play Many people have been uncomfortable with the darkness for so long that they longer question why they fear it. The darkness is a scary place for some because of things that happened in childhood. For others, religious conditioning may be the reason for their fear. Regardless of the initial cause, the result is fear of the dark that ranges from mild discomfort to extreme fright. The problem is that this fear can bleed into other aspects of life, especially in magick. By examining a few of these fears, you can gain a better understanding of why they exist, why they might be affecting you, and maybe even where they began. Social conditioning is probably the most common source of fears, and one of the biggest reasons people choose to enable their shadow. It compasses experiences, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that are learned through family, ethnic, religious, economic, educational, and other environmental experiences. Everyone remembers
Truth in the Darkness
reading scary stories and being told stories by parents or by elders gathered around the campfire, and sometimes, later at night, having bad dreams about those scary stories. Even today, bad dreams may occur after watching a movie or a TV show. The problem starts when your fears wonâ€™t go away, and instead become nagging fears that creep into our waking minds as well as our sleeping minds. Dreams are often about what you fear the most. Dreams make it is easy to believe that what you read about or see will become manifest in your life, or they may leave you with the feeling that you have no control over your fears or what will become manifest in your life and no power to stop these situations from happening. When this happens, you become the victim of your own fears. Confronting dreams becomes a great source of fear as people grow older, and many become masters of avoidance by keeping the TV, radio, iPod, and other devices going so that they have an external stimulus. But what are dreams really? Dreams occur when the subconscious becomes less veiled than it is in a waking conscious state. This allows you to gain insight into on your own aspects and motives that you may not have seen while you are in a waking state, so that you can see your responsibility in a situation. Dreams ask you to look at the shadow and the dark places you fear, and to acknowledge their existence. The subconscious mind uses symbols and pictures. So if you have repeating thoughts, dreams, memories or symbols, it is safe to assume that your subconscious is trying to define something for you, or it is trying to show you something it wants you to see. All you have to do is pay attention. The darkness holds the most misunderstood aspects of self and all the mysteries that are just out of reach, and just out of sight. In the dark your mind plays tricks on you. In the dark you fear the shadows that creep across your walls, the things that crackle in the dark, and the dark spaces that do not allow you to see clearly. All of
Truth in the Darkness
these things are manifested representations of your subconscious, or shadow, that is trying to communicate with you. It is human nature to fear what cannot be explained, seen, or understood within the normal constructs of reality. People fear the darkness because it means they must sleep, and to sleep is to dream of all of our hopes, fears, failures and unfulfilled expectations. Those things come out so freely to taunt you in the dark. But understanding that dreams are trying to teach you something will help you to remove the blocks you put up regarding sleep and nighttime. When you realize that the â€œBogie manâ€? hiding in the shadows is really a representation of you that you were afraid to look at because it would require you to take responsibility and make changes, you can begin to acknowledge that it is not in fact the physical darkness that you fear but what it represents to you.
Childhood Fears What about childhood happenings? These are often the hardest fears to break yourself of because they grow out of things that happened when you were at a very impressionable age, and those things set you on a specific course of understanding the dark. For example, people who tremble or break into a cold sweat at the thought of entering a forest at night are attaching some form of fear to the physical world that really exists on the mental plane. These same people might find that a cemetery is safe by day, but horrifying at night. A dark winding road can become the source of impending doom. Why does a dark forest or dark winding road cause people to have feelings of doom and gloom? Sometimes it has to do with a childhood happening. This can be a complex issue to break down, but it is a worthy endeavor to understand yourself and your personal fear of the dark. As an adult you can rationalize every fear down to reality. However, somewhere in the back of your mind, the ten-year-old child
Truth in the Darkness
still wonders if there isn’t something more to your fear. Thus, the events from childhood can have lasting psychological effects, and even though the events can be rationalized, the fears that were generated are hard to break. We can call these unfounded fears. The only way to really break them is to go back to your child’s mind and relive the events while applying your adult perspectives to them. You can actually reenact events, which may help you to realize that the fear truly is unfounded. In short, you must go back to those dark places and confront the fears of a child. Whatever the original situation or reason, those childhood fears have left a mark on you so that even if you are years away from the incident, or have reconciled them within your family, the fears continue affect you. The residual psychological imprint left upon your physical, mental, and spiritual self can affect how you handle the physical world. Some of these simple fears get adapted over time into your shadow personality. When that happens, you create minidemons and illusions, which can control you and cause physical (i.e., anxiety, heart palpitations, etc.), mental/emotional (the way you perceive others’ actions toward you), and spiritual harm. Removing the fears requires you to take notice of the fact that the root cause of your fears is still hanging around. You can do this by questioning if, and why, a situation or subject bothers you. Once this is discovered, you can deny your fears power over you through conscious self-awareness and focused intention, and prevent them from coloring your judgment.
The Predator The worst type of fear of the dark is often caused by physical, mental, or emotional abuses. These are very real and serious traumas that happen to far too many people. It is best if trauma-related fears are resolved with the help of a trained professional who can assist you in working through and resolving the abuses that transpired. These
Truth in the Darkness
types of abuses can cause deep-seated, lasting scars and fear of the dark; especially if what happened occurred in the dark or is somehow associated with night. Though this work, along with conventional therapy, can provide a great springboard, I ask that if you suffer from these types of fears, to please treat yourself with respect and care, and make sure that you are exploring them safely with guided help.
Religious Fears Religious conditioning is one of my favorite fears to conquer. Organized religion is a great catalyst for fear of the dark. Religion is the source of more stories, fables, and lectures on why you should fear the dark than any other source that I have discussed. I was taught that evil things—Satan, fallen angels, and demons—lurk in the darkness. I remember that at very a young age I feared for my life. I believed that if I stepped from my bed, the “devil himself ” would grab hold of my feet and drag me into temptation. Silly as you may think this is, the impact that it had on my spiritual perceptions lasted a long time. Further inspection of these religion-instilled fears can result in a much more realistic conclusion. In various religions, some things— drugs, sex, or drinking, for example—are considered “off limits” or “sins.” Depending on the religion in question, these sins occur under the cover of nightfall. You do not “see” drugs, sex, or drinking happening to excess during the daylight hours nearly so much as during the night when most of us are turning our backs to it, or sleeping. Although religious conditioning is designed to keep people safe, morally sound, and out of harm’s way, the conditioning can bleed over to other areas of life. It can cause people to become nervous about walking outside in the dark, or entering a place that might be forbidden at night. It also exaggerates people’s perception of what is normal and what is sinful, often blowing out of proportion what was originally intended. Pagans and occultists alike may hold on to fears long after leaving mainstream religion.
Truth in the Darkness
In all that religious conditioning is designed to do, the one thing it does not do is ask people to look at the potential of “I” in a situation. Religion does not ask people to take responsibility for being part of the sin, but lends itself, instead, to enabling people to think of themselves as the victims and to blame another person, or a demon, for leading them into that “darkness” or sin. To deal with this specific fear, you must ask yourself why you still believe it. Why does it hold power over you? Does it color your judgments of others? Why? How do those sins appear to you now, and do the teachings of your prior religion still seem valid? If the answer to the last question is no, then you must consciously work to break those habits, until you are not bothered by them.
Conclusions By accepting all of the ways in which people and influences in your environment have conditioned you, and settling those fears squarely in perspective for what they are, you remove the power the fears hold over you. You are taking that power back for yourself. Though this may not seem very magickal on the surface, it will clear the way for you to begin to work in the dark without the nagging voice inside your head chanting about failure and fear. By exploring and understanding your personal associations with the physical darkness, you release your fear of it and take back your power. You clear sacred space for yourself wherever you walk in shadow. You have firmly put your feet onto the first circuit of the inner labyrinth, reclaimed your personal power, and created a foundation for further self-empowerment. After removing the fears you have of the dark itself and putting things in perspective, you are able to see that it is not the night that created those fears. People, places, and events created those fears. By putting all of the things that hold power over you into perspective, and by redirecting your energies to where they really belong, you can begin to dissolve or at least diminish the impact they
Truth in the Darkness
have on you when you move into ritual work. This process is twofold. In releasing the hold that social conditioning has on you, you also diffuse the emotional charge that is held in the emotional plane, leaving behind a remarkable light. You are no longer in the position of the tarot Fool, but instead you are adorned in the robes of the Hermit, and the remarkable light you now hold is his lantern. This is the lantern of inner truth. Its light will be your guide; it will open new doors for you and give you a greater understanding of yourself. Eventually, this light will begin to pierce through your inner planes of darkness and make clear to you the best way to go. At that point, it will become your lantern of self-discovery and awareness. You will begin to see with your own eyes the things that had power over you becoming transformed into things that lend power to you, giving you the strength to move forward in a positive light. For our first exploration of the dark moon, the exercises that follow are designed to get you acquainted with the physical darkness and to help you release any fears of it so you can move toward building a dark-moon ritual. The guided exercises should be done over the course of a month. Sometimes these exercises are designed to give you deeper psychological explorations and sometimes magickal explorations, but they are all designed to work cohesively in a ritual setting to allow you to move toward a deep sense of healing and self-discovery. You will need a journal to write in for the exercises in this book. Ideally, it should be one that you can keep separate from other journals you use to write about your exercises, explorations, and experiences. As you stand now on the cusp of new things, embrace the darkness, wrap yourself in the Hermitâ€™s robes, and take comfort in this new light. As you step past the threshold of the gateway to your inner journey, welcome to the power of the inner spiral of the dark moon. You have begun your descent into the darkness!
Tap into the deep currents of magick that reside within you by working with your inner shadows, and bring positive change to your life. Thi...
Published on Jan 6, 2010
Tap into the deep currents of magick that reside within you by working with your inner shadows, and bring positive change to your life. Thi...