Each August I experience this same pull to look deeply into what changes have formed in myself over the course of the year. My internal clock is set to take a mental/emotional first harvest. This post is perhaps the initial fruit of this labor. I hope that it offers insight and illumination to others by way of resonance.
Lucifer, the Light Bearer, the Morningstar, the Adversary, Hekate, the Torch Bearer, Keyholder, Lady of the Crossroads, Queen of the Witches, may your Wisdom, Knowledge, Fire and Passion enliven these words. In bright blessing and dark merriment, Lis.
My path wound up from the changeling, the odd child, the misfit, the loner. Backwards and introverted in every way, ungrounded, otherworldy and misunderstood. My family was dysfunctional and my early relationships imbalanced. I suffered depression and anxiety. I found solace in drugs and rejected all spirituality only finding truth of any sad kind in nihilism. This is not an uncommon story and I have no desire to spend a great length of words on it. Ignorance is its strongest characteristic. It is as if I stared into the abyss as a child and was never truly able to turn away. However it would be so much later in life before I could learn to integrate it and benefit from its lessons or its teachers.
I began, as we all do, accumulating my shadow content early on and I had quite the compost pile built up before I ever thought to explore it. In drugs and through relationships chosen unconsciously I played out my darkness on the stage of my life ruining myself at every turn. Destroying myself with self sabotage, destroying others with cruel and reckless behavior, choosing people that would keep me in a cycle of pain, abandonment and victim-hood, I was able to exact the only control I could conceive of. Of course all of this was mostly unconscious. Complexes I could not see ruled my life. Even as I asked myself why and blamed others and tortured myself for being the incompetent, fearful and worthless fool that I knew I must be for recreating the same content over and over again with different faces and different substances, I felt unable to escape, doomed to hit repeat again and again. Finally I lost everything.
Now I see that this is the force of darkness unconquered and unexamined. These are the Dark Gods working in the life of the ignorant and uninitiated. Dark forces that cannot be grounded and contained within the body and the psyche turn to chaos and misfortune when they are tapped unconsciously and without skillful intention.
I believe myself to be a mystic, a seeker, a spiritual traveler and it is the left hand path that I have chosen throughout my life, unknowingly for much of it. In these dark days I was calling from within, asking for the deliverance and the knowledge of the darkness, I wanted to be moved, to be expanded, to have a spiritual experience. Perhaps I thought that the light would be an end result, something to be met on the other side of suffering and hardship but we must illuminate from within the darkness. A spark, grand and unbelievable- inconceivable- must be struck by our own souls from the darkest places therein.
Nearly every metaphysical text I have read cautions of dabbling, expresses the dangers of entering into occult work without the proper mindset and the probability of mental instability when confronted with dark forces before we have the skill to embody them. It is only in the last 6 years or so that I have been actively involved in my spiritual life. Before then I was largely unconscious to my spiritual self. I believed that I was atheist, that I had no soul, no spiritual self. I can see now it was all there. Acting of its own accord. Without awareness this uncultivated depth drove me to misery over and over again. This, to me, is the embodiment of all the warnings and disclosures of every mystical practice. I pose that you need not be religious or mystical to fall prey to these forces. They are here to tempt and destroy us in order to bring about our salvation and redemption. We should not fear or turn away from the seeking but we must arm ourselves with the ability, the tools, the resources to confront the archetypes that drive us in order to become senior to our baser energies and instincts. To fear them, to shroud them in mystery and vilify them is our undoing. As it is also dangerous to court them and escape into their seductions unconsciously as one does in thrill seeking and dissipation. This is why dark deity are seen as cruel, they contain all the malevolence that we as humans can imagine, they do not suffer fools and they will grant you exactly what you are asking for.
When my spiritual awakening began I spent my time in the loving arms of a Goddess of compassion and clarity, the deity and Bodhisattva Tara of Tibetan Buddhism. She was my loving companion and I spent much time in her presence learning awareness, how to confront my thoughts and feelings without judgement or attachment and learning also what Pema Chodron calls the wisdom of no escape. Without this healing I could never have moved forward on my path and I spent several years here just getting to know the obvious in my life (inner and outer) that I kept failing to see or actively turning away from. There was a lot of forgiveness. This is why the middle path is suggested as the way, it is a gentle path that anyone can step onto and have little fear for things going sideways. This is not to say it is a simple path to follow or even master, gentle is no less difficult. Confronting self is perilous but awards great treasure.
It is said that all paths will take you there and they will. One is not any better than the other, only different. It is likely we will spend time on all paths at some point, it is human nature, I think, to meander.
Unconsciously choosing and walking in the dark I fell. Awakening and choosing love and light I learned. Now it is time for me to descend again. There are treasures to bring up from below. Now, with skilled intention and proper alignment with the deities and archetypes of the void I can mine the unconscious and integrate the lessons that I have spent precious time and meditation making myself ready for.
May you all experience illumination, may all beings realize the light within, most especially when you are confronted with your deepest darkness.
Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit. (Bidden or unbidden, God will be present.)