In the velvety blackness of Lunar Samhain our coven, Sisterhood of the Sacred Veil, celebrated the Dark Moon with our annual overnight gathering. The synchronicities, both by timing and by theme, were perfect for me.
I’m currently digging down into my own bedrock in a class in which we’re exploring working side-by-side and hand-in-hand with our Shadows. The information that is pouring forth from my inner essence as a result is almost too much to become conscious of all at once, and I’m feeling spectacularly connected to the mistiest, most profoundly obscure and mysterious parts of myself.
As I engage with these experiences during the Dark Time of the Wheel, the work feels so right, important, needed, and necessary. My relationship with the Dark is ever-changing, expanding, intensifying, becoming more and more powerful as the seasons wind on. I don’t recall any particular time I was ever “afraid” of the Dark per se, but I do know there were many, many years where my relationship with it was not strong and was certainly not intentionally cultivated.
One of the things I remember really bothering me as a young person becoming rooted into the Pagan community was the “love and light only” energies I constantly seemed to bump up against. It appeared that a large expanse of people believed that “love and light” was the only answer, the only possibility, the only way to create a “positive” life, and everything not of it was disparaged, even vilified in some cases.
This didn’t fit into my worldview—I knew that everything wasn’t glitter and gems, pale beauty, and visible perfection. Difficult things happen. Paths get snarled. Houses burn down. Evil is elected into roles of great power. Loved Ones die. Dreams perish. And I had already realized that the Dark was just as natural, right, and organic as the Light…and just as essential for growth and change, perhaps even more so.
I recognized that this full attention placed upon only one part of the spectrum of life—Light—didn’t speak to me; it felt unbalanced, unrealistic and, at times, delusional. This model wasn’t my reality. Further, I was feeling an intense from the (then unnamed and unknown) Dark Goddess to answer Her call. I could find no satisfaction in love and light as the totality of my existence.
I was also sensing that part of my fledgling Priestess mission was to deepen my own connection with the shrouded, swirling Dark, and then to midwife these energies forth in ways more tempting and delightful to others. I felt called to express, in words and in actions, that there is nothing to fear in the Dark, that the Dark is just as crucial and fundamental and good and holy as the Light. I wanted to share how the Dark is fierce and raw yet also tender and soothing, that the Light isn’t the only place that holds awe-inspiring comfort—and that this is a big patriarchal lie.
Without the Dark, seeds won’t gestate, be held, or grow. Without the Dark, there is no Light. The Light and the Dark are One—not polar opposites, not either-or. The Dark and the Light are each individual sides of the very same coin. The Dark and Light exist together in harmony, as One, pushing and pulling, holding us close while also helping us to expand. The Dark is healing, kind, and loving.
The Dark is where we sleep, regenerate, refresh, rejuvenate. The Dark is the place of birth, death, and rebirth—both literal and metaphorical. Before we are born we reside in the dark of the womb, the dark of the void, the dark of the cauldron of transformation—we were formed in the darkness, the blackness, and we will return to this same beautiful inky stillness at the end of this lifetime. The Dark is the place of both endings and beginnings, of compost and breakdown, of sprouting and growth. The Dark is the liminal zone, the boundary, the threshold.
Our own personal darkness brings alchemy between seeming polarities. When we know our own darkness and ask our Shadows to transform into our Beloveds, we then become real, pure, unveiled. Our Shadows cannot hurt us—in fact, I’m learning that my Shadow sincerely wants only absolute excellence and joy for me and does her best to protect and provide safety for me. When we greet our own Shadows by our own free will at the Altar of Courage, we greet our whole Sweet Selves.
Accepting our own darkness—which includes reveling fully in the dark parts of ourselves and owning our sacred Shadows—is what makes us whole; it is what comprises the wholeness, the holiness, of our identities. Our authenticity, our very sovereignty, is encompassed and held by the Dark. This is full point of our power: coming to terms with our darkness, our Shadow, that which isn’t always pretty or nice or “light”, to master—to know—Self. Darkness can be the source of Light, of life, and all parts of us are right and valid—all parts of us necessary and valuable.
As Witches, Pagans, Magicians, etc. we need to cultivate the ability to walk in all of the worlds, between all of the worlds. To banish the Dark, to banish the Shadow, is to banish our whole Selves. We are infinite, multifaceted, and perfect as is. And the Dark is our mirror; the Dark is our holy ally.
For now, I invite all of us to contemplate our answers to these questions:
Do I have the courage to step into this sacred place? What seeds am I planting in the Dark? What am I blessing in the Dark? What about the Dark can I bless? How can I best integrate my Light with my Dark? Where do they meet? What is dying that needs to be released to the Dark? What needs to be renewed in the Dark? What cycle has ended or is ending? Who am I? What is my mission in this lifetime?
I look forward to exploring the Dark further with you, Dear Ones, in future blog posts, online, and together in ritual.
Art: 1) Priestess Sabrina Moon; All the rest) Yours Truly