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Seeing Our Own Shadows

For many in the Pagan community, Imbolc is upon us. Imbolc is the spoke of the Wheel of the Year when we acknowledge the return of the light. In many parts of the world the earth has begun to stir. Tiny shoots are breaking through the soil and reaching towards the strengthening sun, casting tiny shadows upon the earth. We too, are stretching, awakening, beginning to look forward to the longer days and shorter nights. This is the time of new beginnings and of giving birth to new ideas. With the light returning our minds stir and stretch, sloughing off the hibernation mode of deep winter. It is during this time of growing illumination when we may find ourselves seeing our own shadows.

A seedling coming out of the soil into the light.
A seedling makes its way towards the light.

While the world shakes off its slumber, we work to clear away the sleep from our psyches. The mind fogs of winter start to clear and we find ourselves looking forward to planting the seeds of new ideas and goals. Yet we find that there are shadows lurking in the liminal. We catch glimpses of the dark, unwanted parts of ourselves we wish to ignore and hide. Deep inside the spaces between the burgeoning light and winter’s darkness the shadows await our acknowledgement. Until we do we cannot move forward, cannot grow as enlightened beings. But what are the shadows? Where do they come from and what can we do about them?

Seeing our Shadows for what they are.

The shadows are our roots of pain, anger, guilt, resentment, and doubt, the things we least like about ourselves. They are the things we don’t wish see so we ignore them. hide them. We relegate them to the shadows where they lurk, popping out at the most inopportune moments. But they don’t stay down for long, manifesting themselves as fear, paranoia, mistrust and hate. What we must do is see our shadows as the roots of who we are and what we shall become, not as some hideous beast to lock away. When we take the time to step inside ourselves and flick on the light we allow ourselves to see our shadows for what they are, our allies. Then, and only then, can we begin to grow again.

How do we go about seeing our shadows? What does it take to make them our friend and ally? Time, meditation, introspection and quite often, a good therapist or counselor. Your shadows have been there a long time. They are not going to reveal themselves in a day, or two, or even a year. As witches and magickal practitioners we know that facing our shadows is a life-long process. As one shadow fades into the light another may take its place. Only with diligence, commitment and the help of others will the shadows give us their names. Once identified we can summon them, grab hold and embrace them, allowing for reintegration and healing. Tamed, a shadow changes from nemesis to ally, becoming our assistant in planting the seeds of renewal.

Facing our Shadows

All of us have to make the conscious choice to meet our shadows head on, to face our fears. It is not easy seeing our own shadows. It can be very uncomfortable and often downright nasty. But unlike Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day, seeing our shadows will not prognosticate six more weeks of a winter in our souls. Quite the contrary, facing our shadows allows the light in and spring to return. By uncovering the roots of our struggles, cleaning away the old soil and tending to them, we have made viable what once lay dormant. When we allow the light to show us our worse, we can put a name to it and see it as an ally, a friend. Now, we can begin to plant those roots where they belong, in the light of our being.

Our shadows, no longer a threat, become tamed, a helpmate. That which was shadow ceases to exist as such. Transmuted, integrated, they now become a vital part of who we are, working with us instead of fighting against us. As the Sun continues to grow in strength so shall you, warmed by the knowledge that you have survived another winter of the soul. Your shadows dispelled, you can now move forward, sowing the seeds of possibilities along your way (read more about possibilities here).

During this season of renewal, beginnings, and the waxing light, make a choice to find yourself, face those bits and pieces of yourself that need tending to. Take a deep breath, reach inside yourself, flick on the switch and search for those shadows. At times the work will be difficult, sweaty and gritty, but the benefits are worth the fight. When your spring does arrive, all that you’ve sown, planted and nurtured will dispel the shadows, allowing room for change and possibilities to blossom.

Blessed Be!

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Blinded by the Light

Fluffy bunny.  New Age wanna be. Soccer Mom. “What a Glinda”, (my favorite actually – love the Wizard of Oz). For some, these labels are considered insults. “You are too happy, too light to be a real witch.” “You aren’t like us. You are too nice,  too goody two shoes.”  I laugh in response. Really? That’s the best you can do?  Ooh, I’m so offended -not.

In my 20 some odd years in the magickal community it still amazes me why so many of us still label, still judge, another’s path.  Why do we still find a need to quantify another practitioners choices in how or what they do? Yes, we are humans and as humans we seem to find it necessary to label things in order to understand them. Have I been guilty of that? Yes, at times, as  I am sure you, my readers, have as well. But labels are just that, labels.  They do not define ourselves or our magick. How can they?

As witches, wizards, sorcerers and magical workers, we should know that labels are only a beginning, that to actually define your magick is to limit it. As we learn and grow, as we walk between worlds, we come to understand that we are everything and all.  We are both light and dark.  We are shadow and we are sunlight.  Dark and light must be acknowledged, embraced and integrated, in order to be a truly whole person, a practitioner of strength, knowledge, integrity. A walk through the dark allows our light to shine brightly. We know that if we favor one above the other we find ourselves out of sorts, unfulfilled, off-kilter, unable to perform at our best.  A practice that works with both of these aspects of our souls, our psyches, will bring a cohesion to both our magickal and mundane lives.  Integration affords us a balance that is sought after by so many but found by so few.

Once that balance has been found, we radiate light. We are serene calm, in control, powerful. We no longer find the need to push our own magickal agendas and forego trying to label others as well.  This light, this gentleness, this peace, opens us up to the aforementioned name calling and supposed ridicule of others  People often make fun of what they don’t understand, are envious or frightened of.  To these misguided, misinformed, frightened souls I say go ahead, bring it on. Shout the “insults”, the epithets, the supposed slurs to reputation and name. Make your judgements, place your labels.  Why be upset? They apparently do not know me at all.  Call me a fluffy bunny. Sure, I may resemble that remark. What those fools seem to forget is that underneath that fuzzy, cute exterior hides sharp claws and teeth.  And bunnies know how to use them.

Remember, appearances can be deceiving so be careful how you may label others. Better yet don’t label at all.  Look beyond the exterior and beware of being blinded by the light. Look beyond, For the light brings shadows. Within those shadows lies the truth… And one bad ass witch.