Thursday, July 08, 2010

Even If We're Just Dancing In The Dark

In Kissing the Hag: The Dark Goddess & the Unacceptable Nature of Woman, Druid priest Emma Restall Orr writes:

[D]arkness is not evil; it is simply the not knowing. Throughout the history of our people, as far back as stories allow we see evidence that some have explored the power of the dark. In the long barrows and passage graves of Britain and Ireland, five to eight thousand years old, we find clues as to how peoples reached out to understand the forces of darknesss and death that loomed over them. . . . [I]t isn't just courage that is needed. Courage often comes with limited sensitivity. It takes a mindset that is willing to perceive and accept the unknown, the unknowable, that which is almot unthinkable, and find a language to explain [that] to those who can't.

Looking into our own dark places (part of the work of a Witch) is, I think similar. Courage is needed, but also an ability to come back and translate and explain to our Talking Selves -- our active-in-the-world rational selves -- what it is that we've discovered in the dark. And then to figure out what to do about it. I find that, when trying to help my Talking Self to use what I've learned in the dark, sitting in meditation helps. Journaling helps. And then, letting the images, dreams, odd phrases and feelings just sit (maybe my grandma would have said "letting them gell") is what really helps.

Picture found here.

How do you help all of your "selves" to integrate wisdom about your dark spaces?


Aquila ka Hecate said...

I form a circle with my selves - represented by my ancestors, deities and spirit animals - and as we sit holding hands we tend to drag those things hiding in the dark places into the light of the centre of the circle.
This is something Black Panther has underscored for me - get them out into the light - summon the damn things if you have to - and stare them down.

Terri in Joburg

Hecate said...


I love the idea of forming a circle of selves; I'm going to try that.

Thalia said...

I don't drag anything out unwillingly; that's a fast way to harm myself I have found. I don't know about separating talking and non-talking selves either; in my experience they will all talk, so long as I let them know I am willing to listen.

Mostly I go with my one trusted Guide and look, and be calm, and don't force myself to go someplace where I am afraid. Because I already deal with so much fear that pushing absolutely will traumatize me. So I respect that.

It helps, also, to remember that whatever I have 'found' in the dark in the past has, 1. never been all that scary, really, 2. only ever been looking for acknowledgment—not even acceptance, oddly enough, never mind asking me to take action, and 3. always been something I already knew, and had always known.

I have also found that blogging is much more useful to me than journaling. Because in writing a blog entry, you have to make it make sense to someone not you. And that forces you to put things in order and really look at it and work it out.

Thalia said...

'The unknown, unknowable, and the unthinkable' make it all sound so menacing. It is merely the unconscious, which does things differently than the conscious mind, making its workings by definition 'unknown,' 'unknowable,' 'unthinkable.' I mean I do believe it can be interpreted by the conscious mind, but that takes a certain level of articulation and persistence I can't always manage. Sometimes I can, but it's much easier to fall back on art. Poetry, I think, more specifically, is the bridge. Sometimes the strange metaphor is the exact description.

Also, Terri, 'summoning the damn things' just feels so wrong to me (which isn't to say it's wrong for you). I get much more done when I assume that all parts of me are allied, and that I am always on my own side, even if it may not seem so at first. It has always turned out that I am.

I'm not concerned with trying to find a 'use' for what I've learned; I trust that will happen naturally, because once I can see it and acknowledge it it becomes part of me.

Dialoguing with dream characters, and active 'imagination' has helped me a lot. Mostly just talking. Like with a any friend, communication is key.

Anyhoo. :)

Marya said...

Hi Terri -- I do a fair amount of dragging myself. Some of those gritty feral shadow selves would rather lurk than talk.

And the dreams are such a good way to stay with Unconscious promptings during the day.