Thursday, November 7, 2013

Post Samhain 2013: Mapping the Underworld

OK, the title alone is misleading because technically Samhain doesn’t hit until the Sun is 15 degrees in Scorpio, which is Thursday, November 7th, 2013. But for all intents & purposes, we’re already in it. It is also misleading because Samhain is a whole season, not just a day. Sure, we mark the beginning, but it doesn’t truly end its month and a half cycle till Yule / Winter Solstice or its 3 month run at Imbolc, February 2nd.

But since we are already knee deep in the energy of the season I have some things I want to share. Yes, I have been in & out of the Underworld a handful of times since Mabon / Autumnal Equinox. Hell, I’ve been in & out of the Underworld more times than I care to count in this life. We all have. So I want to share my Underworld Survival Guide in this post because, like any good tour guide, I have lived in, survived & served in the terrain.

Mapping the Underworld is only a so-so deal because it is so unique to each of us. The scenery changes so quickly when you are in it that it’s tricky to relate the landscape to one whom hasn’t consciously been there. But there are some features that are universal.

Spiritual Madness by Caroline Myss

Madness for example, is a common point of interest for the night tripper or for those who linger longer. I’m going to draw a fine line between Spiritual Madness & common insanity here, though insanity seems uncommon, it’s not really. We all have our moments, don’t we? 

But Spiritual Madness is one I see occasionally in myself & more often in the energies of those new to the spiritual path. Spiritual or Divine Madness is typified by a change in perception that destroys previously conceived ideas we thought were truth, but never were.

Imagine someone who has always felt victimized having a lightning bolt of “I create my own reality” whack them in the 3rd Eye. That changes everything. Or consider someone all of a sudden feeling the life force of a tree & experiencing the pain of watching one cut down. If they try to explain what they are experiencing to someone who isn’t so aware, they appear mad. 

So it goes with Spiritual Truth. It destroys our illusions & we often go through period where we feel crazy, but really, it is spiritual madness as your system integrates higher & higher truths.

Another big hallmark of the Underworld is facing the Shadow. Whether you address the subject spiritually, psychologically or both, it has never been an easy task to face & embrace our individual, let along collective shadows. But if we don’t, we get possessed by them. They rule us like a virus in a computer. You can tell this after the fact when you say, “I don’t know what came over me.” Which really means something buried in the unconscious came up via the subconscious & up into the conscious mind. Not pretty at all, but necessary for healing.

I refer you to the work of Caroline Myss, especially her book Defy Gravity. In this, she defines 7 Shadow Passions that are actually updated forms of the 7 deadly sins. Thankfully she also relates the 7 corresponding Graces, which act as powers of healing for each shadow. Here is the list & yes, they correspond to the Chakras as well:

Solar Plexus
3rd Eye

By tracking our shadow via the Chakras we can embrace ourselves a bit more compassionately & invoke the healing Graces. But you know, I also layer into this the 8 Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year; 1 Chakra/Shadow/Grace per Sabbat.  But, what about Samhain?

 The Wheel of the Year

At Samhain we get the opportunity to review it all & do the interior healing & maintenance needed to start fresh at Yule. This makes a lot of sense, as we die to the old we are reborn to the new, especially as the old self dies & the new self is reborn. Traversing the Underworld is tricky, but necessary for the Witch who wants to deliberately create their lives as works of art.

There are many road signs, mysteries & landmarks in the Underworld. As I said, mapping it is very personal & I could spend days illuminating the many I have found. But all of that aside I only know 1 way of healing it as you go & being elevated back into the Upper-world, as it were. That task / alchemical element is Forgiveness.

In my experience the whole process of letting go of the past isn't possible without forgiveness & the version we have been sold is faulty. Nor do I find much of a context for forgiveness in Witchcraft. No, you find more black candles & rusty nail spells than the spiritual practice of forgiveness.

That said, we can expand as magickal people into the depths of True Forgiveness, based on the quantum model of all thing being part of a unified field. This is why I turn to A course in Miracles, which presents the truth that not only are we all connected, we are all ONE in truth. In this, no matter who we appear to forgive, "All Forgiveness is Self Forgiveness."

So as I prepare myself for Yule via Samhain I will certainly withdraw my focus from this world a bit. Better that than to keep repeatedly being trap-doored into the Underworld. But should I find myself Underworld-ed, I will utilize the wisdom I have gained from previous forays there. Above all else though, I will use my alchemical power of Forgiveness to transform my interior lead to Golden Wisdom, gain the insight necessary & be reborn at Yule with my new intention for a new Wheel of the Year.

And... I will play with our new kitty.

Blessed Be & Blessed Samhain

Rev. Mark A. Lyons, President
Drawing the Circle Productions INC.
631-968-8307 @ProfWitch on Twitter

1 comment:

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