Sunday, December 22, 2013

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

Now that Yule is past and the Sun King has been reborn and the Crone has transformed back into the Maiden, the time for reflection is done.  The light has now turned back outward and it is time to begin choosing the seeds to plant in the coming spring.  What challenges were you given to overcome in this darkest part of the year?  For me, this dark period brought a bit of hibernation.  For nigh on six weeks, I didn't do much visiting.  I didn't engage in too much counsel with others.  As the solstice approached (literally, a week ago), I picked up where I left off at Samhain, with the work I was doing.  Looking back, this was a very real side effect of the magic I worked at summer's end.  This will be another blog which is a bit more personal than I usually write, it seems.

On Samhain night, I performed a widdershins ritual.  I traversed into the Underworld and laid 2 precious things at Hekate's feet, and I asked her to transform them into what She needed them to be.  Those things will not be named here because of the nature of the magic, but I will talk about some of the challenges I was forced to face in this dark time.

In regards to the first thing I gave to my Lady, my eyes have been opened to many of my own struggles with it, the acceptance of it.  I have become a creature of habit in my aging and, despite the fact that I like change sometimes, I still resist change more than I let it happen.  I know (and, honestly, have known) that this particular thing is going to transform my life in ways that I simply can not fathom.  She has now forced me to face this and see it for what it is.  It is something I both love and loathe.  It is something that I both want and don't want.  It is something that She has thrust upon my shoulders and told me that I have no choice but to carry.  So, I feel this physical weight upon my shoulders now and some days it is heavier, while some days it is lighter.  She has forced me to look at my own physical, mental, and emotional limitations and I know what I must do.

With the second thing, the Lady opened my eyes to some things which I have known, and honestly, hate.  She has removed my blinders (self-imposed, of course) and poked me in the eyes Three Stooges style.  Once again, I didn't like it, but no one likes having the obvious pointed out when they are being dumb. (And, yes, I was being dumb.)  "This no longer grows your soul," She said to me.  "Why keep holding it close to your heart?"  I gave Her some vapid excuse and BAM! Poked in the eyes. Hekate does not allow me the luxury of being dumb simply for the sake of being dumb.  It simply isn't tolerated.  So, the transformation of this thing has begun in earnest, after holding on to it for so long.  It is painful, probably moreso than the first, but that pain is my resistance to letting it go and simply letting it be what it is.

This second thing has also (and maybe more importantly) opened my eyes to the nature of my own past lives, and one in particular.  I see it playing out in this lifetime in an almost identical way as it did in that previous life.  I don't know if it is simply the nature of the soul and the lessons we carry from lifetime to lifetime, or if it is a lesson heretofore unlearned by myself and/or this other person (whom I am pretty certain hasn't remembered our time together), or if our souls are simply meant to play this out over and over again as we meet throughout the aeons.  The way these things are happening distresses me as much in this life as it did in my memory, but if things keep going as they did last time (and yes, I kept up with this person's life as best I could in my last life) then things will be better than fine for this person and I will, through my sadness, be able to smile with joy at their accomplishments, just as I did before.

The nature of the darkness tends to force us into a state of blindness.  In that blindness we have to use our other senses to overcome our fear and trepidation.  Sometimes, it takes the return of the light to show us that we were never truly blind at all.  Willful ignorance is not acceptable.  Standing still is not acceptable.  Fear is not acceptable.  So, now that the god has turned his face back to the Earth, will you allow the shadows in your life to fall behind you?  Will you muster up the courage you need to plant seeds in the spring?  That is what I plan on doing.  I plan on being courageous and walking toward the light.

Brightest Blessings, Friends!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Past Lives: The Memories, What Do You Do With Them?

The past life experience and recovering memories is a topic that seems to have a revolving door kind of popularity.  It's a big thing for a while and then it isn't.  However, on some pagan paths, it could be counted as an important aspect for the practitioner.  Why?  It is important because we carry issues, thought processes, and even lessons from our past lives into our current one.  It is important because as practitioners of the Craft we strive to "Know Thyself."

I know that at this point in my life, I am struggling with a particular past life memory.  The last few days of that life spontaneously came back to me about this time last year.  While I lived an honorable life, the last few days were horrific.  I was a high ranking military official type and committed treason to prove a point.  My point was proven and I was put to death, but I did not die.  In the end, I was 'saved' by a witch and when I was well enough to leave, I wandered as a vigilante, of sorts, hunting down those who murdered me and, more importantly I believe, searching for those friends who never left my side.

Over the last year, I have had more bits of this particular past life come back.  I have recognized, in this life, those whom I lost in that one.  Yes, we have reincarnated together.  My struggle is two-fold with this recognition.  First, my honor (I think) won't let me tell these people.  I recognize that they have to remember this for themselves and if they haven't yet then they probably aren't ready to.  I also struggle with the fact that I was pretty bad-assed in that life.  I remember being nearly fearless.  My attitude was almost like, "Let's fuck some stuff up and see what happens!"  I was very principled and had no problem proving a point.

I am not like that in this life.  Am I clever?  Sometimes.  Am I cautious and calculating?  Most of the time.  There seems to be more care in this life to the effects of my actions.  I seem to be more diplomatic in this life and less 'kill them all and let god sort them out.'

So, I am exploring these memories.  I am experiencing them, seeing the action and feeling the emotions over and over and then, I am divorcing myself from the emotions and trying to look at the actions I took from a more objective place.  I am even exploring the emotions to see just why I would feel them in regards to what I did and what happened to me.

Already, it has explained some things to me, at least to some extent.  It has shown me why I have such a strange sense of right and wrong (it tends to be slightly more black and white than most people's), but it has also shown me that sometimes the right thing to do appears wrong to everyone else.  It has shown me that sometimes one must stand alone in what is right, so I appreciate more those who take a stand that may be unpopular.

This exploration has shown me just how important it is to trust those who have proven themselves time and again to be trustworthy.  Here, I mean those who own their words and actions, no matter how popular or unpopular.  More importantly, this exploration has shown me that I must be the same way.  It has shown me that sometimes the right thing to do is to shatter the illusion, whether it is created by yourself or another.  If we do the difficult thing and it is the best thing we can do for ourselves, then we have done right.  (And, maybe this lesson is a modern day variation on the 'kill them all and let god sort them out' attitude, I'm not sure.)

Now, as I figure this past life stuff out, I can see that there are lessons I still haven't learned, lessons I am still learning, and lessons I bring with me into this life.  It doesn't make the emotions I feel presently any more or less palatable, but it does give me some insight into why things are being presented to me in this life as they are.  It doesn't take the fear away, because I am not a fearless being in this life.  However, I can make peace with my choices because I know that I have made them before on one level or another.  Do any of you, dear readers, struggle with past life memories?  Do you struggle to integrate them into this life or just accept them for what they are?  I am sincerely curious.

Brightest blessings, Friends!