I have been feeling a strong divide in my identity for some time now. It has started to morph a teensy bit into more of a weave that is trying to come together, but I still feel very split. There are parts of me that do not seem to jive with each other, and yet all parts feel like me. Since I have started journey work, I feel as if I cannot relate to my friends as much anymore, as if they are strangers to me, but in certain ways, I never did relate to them that much anyway. It is a strange transformation that is happening, and as has been every lesson in my life, it is slow and difficult to reach. The easy roads have never been open to me, my paths into every stage have been dark, uphill and full of briars. When I first start reading about paganism, witchcraft and Wicca traditions, I kept reading about what is referred to as the “Dark Night of the Soul”. Since my entire youth-hood was swathed in darkness and turmoil, particularly my early teens, I felt that I had already experienced that and thus wondered why I didn’t feel closer to any sort of “answers” or internal “homecoming”, as it seemed that some who related a feeling of subsequent unity within themselves or with the divine or goddess energy directly following this dark period. I had always interpreted the “dark night” as the bottom of the pit, hitting rock bottom, standing at the edge of the precipice and ready to jump. That was most certainly where I spent my teens, in the bottom-most underbelly of existence and at progressively deeper levels of my own idea of “The End”. But for me, the darkest nights were followed only by tiny shafts of light to keep me holding on, something I would not quite call “hope”, but maybe just an inner struggle to survive, a base instinct. My dark nights were not followed by bright lights and knowing. Many years of struggle, deep pain and cynicism followed that horrible time. Perhaps for some, the “dark night” turns one into a “dark knight”, one who continues on in the dark with heavy armor earned during the trials faced. I feel I have finally started to shed some of the heavy armor in order to let the light in.
The other day, I was sent some live clips of one my favorite bands from back in the day, and I had forgotten that one of their songs was the song I was listening to when I tried to overdose. When the song came on, I was filled with the memory in detail, and I had not thought of it in many years. Then last night I had another memory flood during trance, a severely painful and humiliating memory, and I could recall details as if I were re-living the memory. It was not like a gripping flashback the way I used to experience my traumatic memories when I was engulfed in the symptoms and treatment of post-traumatic-stress-disorder, but more as if my consciousness had re-entered the scene in order to heal it somehow. In the memory, as I faced the humiliation of it, I imagined my younger self standing up, kicking the person hard in the gut and walking out of the room. I recall a feeling of wanting to make that person feel as I had, to humiliate them and hurt them, and I realized that they were already debasing themselves and therefore it was not for me to worry about, and I walked out. As I did so, the humiliation of the memory seemed to subside as I imagined myself cloaked from it somehow. This is not a memory that I would have ever, ever, willingly entered (interestingly, it is the precise memory that my old therapist wanted me to enter using trance, but at the time I refused), but I feel a lightening inside myself because of this interesting experience. I have many such memories, and I might try to keep my mind open to this type of work in order to really re-live and re-shape the experiences in my mind. I think this is akin to the work that my mentor has discussed with me about entering a dream or a point in time in order to gain strength, heal injured parts of the soul, or give tools to the past person you were in order to move on from damaging experiences. I have been considering going into deeper study with her, and though I hesitate to overload myself with stuff as I am ready to begin school again, her private instruction is only once per month, and I feel a lot more ready for it than when she and I had discussed it last year.
So last night, I staved in my usual fashion. I began by listening to my mentor’s Aligning with the World Tree recording which always induces a solid, beautifully balancing feeling of calm openness in me and alights my whole body and scalp with tingles. I decided to stav with music, and listened to a number of songs, including one of my all-time favorite songs to stav to from a Maria Kvilhaug video (I’ll post it below). This particular song is so perfect for journey work. As the song came on, I started to match my voice to the recording, but not by trying, it was as if my voice were being controlled from elsewhere, but it rang and reverberated in such a way that I can only describe as if my head were an amphitheater or echo chamber, and the sounds bounced around creating an interesting circle of sound within me. I leaned my head into the stav and started to rock back and forth and had a powerful trance going. I seemed to flit from the upper worlds to the lower worlds too quickly, seeing flashes of the giant goat, the fields of great upper halls, the enormous mountain of medicine and the giants who dwell there. I had flashes of the wall of flames and the river, and I quickened my stav to rise above the water as I crossed it. I envisioned my sister’s loving dog whose health is in serious jeopardy right now, and he frolicked in the fields with the healing giantesses as my heart painfully swelled and tried to divine some way to assist, eventually just relinquishing any power or responsibility for the larger task of healing his mysterious illness to the beings that actually provide the world with miracles. I sensed that there were deep level workings going on beneath the veil of consciousness, and it is hard to describe the subtleties and shifts that I felt. I had lit a candle and burned sage before I began, and the light from the candle created a strobe effect behind my eyes. At times I felt guides standing behind me in the room. I then felt compelled to try an ecstatic posture, and I chose the one that the book opened up to by itself, which was the Olmec Diviner Posture. I chose a drumming track on YouTube to listen to and read about how to get into the proper posture. It was during this posture that the traumatic memory returned to me. Also, I kept feeling very intense grips and pulls, as if something was attempting to enter my body or share my consciousness. Very interesting. I am meeting a friend and fellow staver tomorrow, and I cannot wait to discuss all of this with her and get her input on all the woo-woo!
Here is the chillingly beautiful music by Varde Duo: “Secrets” (Liv Nome and Tor Egil Braaten) and lovely artistic video and interpretation of an interesting poem from the Eddas by Maria Kvilhaug, also known as The Lady of the Labyrinth: