I felt the death of summer this morning, and the birth of Autumn, here in New Zealand and the year slip closer to its dark half. We shall see how this deepening of the self all goes as the dark half of the year is a good time for some self reflection. It may lead to a more active practice,with formal rituals, daily devotions, and a variety of other practices, which for me in some ways is something new as I have always been less formal in my practices and devotions. Idon’t know how long this will all take, or where it will lead but it will leadsomewhere..
Currently I am reading severalbooks, Avalon Within, by Jhenah Telyndru which I started a couple weeks back,and In the Shadow of 13 Moons by Kimberly Serman-Cook which I started today. Bothof these books are books that I brought a last year but have never read. This is often the way of Pagan books for me, I purchasethem and they sit on my book shelf looking all shiny and new, with that newbook smell until until I get an urge to read them. And it is an urge, like a guiding hand orlittle voice that says you know those books you brought x months ago, it is nowtime to read them. Only this time thelittle voice also said, and quite firmly I might add, this time you will bedoing the work in said book. O.Ogosh!
Both books have a theme of selfdevelopment and use a Pagan style frame to do the work. Both books are concernedwith shadow work and working with a cycle of healing that involves a lot of looking at the self. Perhaps the words ‘deepening the understanding’ of the self is better phrasing. Both of these books use the seasons and themoon cycles as important aspects of the framework to use for this selfexploration. Gosh it’s like there is atheme or something,*coughs* or something. Self ! I do believe I will be doing some self development of sorts yes?.. *smiles*
Avalon Withins’ Author,Jhenah Telyndru is from the Sisterhood of Avalon. This book talks about a healing cycle of self healing, which from further reading on the Sisterhood of Avalon site is a stong theme of the Sisterhood tradition. This books lays out the five points on this cycle,Descent, Confrontation, Emergence, Resolution and Integration, these fivepoints are combined to create a cauldron of transformation. Much of what I have read so far uses imagery fromthe Avalonian myth cycle, that I have to admit has great appeal. I always was a fan of the Mists of Avalon byMarian Z Bradley, that book for me was quite seminal in how I understood awitch and priestess to live her life.
So far I have done several of the meditations from this book, which have worked out well, an is the descent part of the cycle. I have meet my Avalonian guide and am now becoming acquainted with the huge apple tree which is the mother tree on the Isle of Avalon. I have also just down loaded the companion CD for this book which can be found on Jhenah Telyndru site. The CD has the several of the meditations read out, so that you can play along at home. I figure this will make it easer as it can be quite difficult for me to remember where I was meant to be going and who i was meeting. I did contemplate recording these meditations myself, but then realised that recordings of me sound weird to me so it would end up being to distracting, yeah, so the CD it is.
Next up for me with this book, Avalon Within, is to visit the healing/reflective pool and see what that has to show me. Once I have done that I will be ready for the second station or point on the cycle which is the confrontation. This is where I confront who I am currently and the shadow of who I am. It is, in a word, confrontational but then that is the point. A quote from the book sums it up nicely “Confrontation is the deepest point of the Cycle of Healing, the place where the roots of our disconnection and lack of wholeness are brought to light.” pg108 The author also points out that this cycle of healing can be difficult the first time you do it, but is not as bad when you repeat the cycle and that this cycle of healing is an ongoing process. During your lifetime this cycle should be repeated many times, and I am with the author on this one. I have spend a large amounts of time on this path looking within and trying to figure out what it all means and who I am. its a thing. *grins*
With the second book Shadow of 13 Moons I haveonly just started to read it so am unable to give a fuller account. I am currently reading pg 15, so it is onlyjust introducing what the author means by Shadow and darkness. I amhowever finding the book so far quite interesting and thought provoking, in a similar way to how I am finding reading Avalon Within. There are not a lot of book reviews on Shadow of 13 Moons that I have managed to find, but given what I have read in the book so far and the one book review I also have read, I suspect that it will be one of those books that takes time for it tobecome popular, or more popular than it currently is. So I guess we shall see.
What all this points to is that it is time for me to do some personalwork. Work on who I am, where I am and what I am,deepening of the self as it were. This work will involveexploring the shadow and looking into the dark corners. I was going to say looking into the dark cornersand bring what is in there out into the light, but i feel that for the part that would bewrong. My instincts say that shadow self is as much a partof me, as that which is in the light, its just that it is in the shadow, and perhaps not something that should be in the light, unless it should. Gosh this is becoming circular. *ponders this* My guess is, this is what the current reading and workings will all be about for me to some degree. This will be a period of getting to know more about my shadow, as well asgetting to know more about the light aspect, it’s a balancing thing.
I believe the deepening of theself is something that is always going on especially for magical people, orit should be. This is something that isin so many ways cyclic, where each turning of the cycle reveals a new layer of the deeper self. Which is also like an onion with its layers. As you peel back onelayer more is revealed, and while you are peeling your onion remember that notall the layers and what they reveal should be discarded. Accepting your whole self, your darkness,your light and every other shade in between should be, as I see it, the aim of the game.
Sometimes these cycles ofdeepening the self are not consciously active or conscious for that matter and atother times they are. This time for me I have a feeling that this deepening of the self will be a much more concious thing , more mindful, and will probably involve more actions in the form of ritual and meditation. This of course comes with several warnings, don’t make shitup, sometimes it is what it is or perhaps not time to look in that dark cornerjust yet. But it is however time to activelyseek, to dare I say it get jiggy with, the active ritual side of my faith in relation to the deepening of myself.