Lessons in Magick: The Dangers of Shadow Work

 

I have been wanting to write this as a blog or Facebook post for a long, long time; the urge has increased over the last few months, and finally I am sitting down to write after a long hiatus.

I feel like people don’t read blogs anymore. They want bite sized information, they want quick read memes with cute font, they want 30 second Reels and TikToks.

People don’t want to take the time to read anymore, or so it seems.

The thing is, that’s the only way you will learn anything, from me at least.

I am a writer. I bleed on the screen for the world to see and that will never change; I bleed on pages, too.

My pen is my sword, my words are my fire.

Back to the topic at hand, and I am just going to get right to it:

Shadow Work is dangerous, and I wish more people would talk about this.

Don’t take that statement and think I am suggesting avoiding it, no, no.

NO SPIRITUAL BYPASSING ON MY WATCH.

Shadow Work is 100% necessary. The integration of Shadow is 100% necessary.

Did you know that I consulted a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist when creating my Shadow Work Course for The House of Twigs? For reasons I learned from them I didn’t dive too deep when giving assignments because I do not know where someone is on their journey and real, irreparable damage can be done.

I had to be sure that I was not leading folks to danger, or worse to the or a space where they re-traumatize themselves.

I see the term Shadow Work thrown around like it means not a goddamn thing, and I am perplexed because it is NOT TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY.

If you want me to be honest, like really honest: Shadow Work is more dangerous than Evoking Spirits.

Why is this conversation not being had more?!

First, let us define Shadow Work for folks who may not be familiar.

Shadow Work is a Jungian (Carl Jung) Psychological concept that our Persona is who we strive to be and show to the world, but our Shadow is who we are, or at least what makes up most of who we are.

Like the moon has a hidden side so do we.

That is the Shadow.

The hidden aspects of ourselves.

In Jungian Psychology it is our Persona first, our Ego is center, Anima/Animus and Shadow last.

The Spiritual World, not just the Witchcraft Community, have taken this concept and morphed it into their own thing.

Therein lies one of the main problems.

You can’t tweak the concept of Shadow Work.

Regardless of your opinions of Jung himself as a person, his work remains a masterpiece and masterpieces are not altered. They are especially not to be altered to fit some narrative the creator had no intention of it being used for.

Jung was a Psychoanalyst and he did nothing, NOTHING in the shallows; this is deep, deep, heavy work.

Then there is the whole issue that Shadow Work itself is an Egregore and taps into a Collective Unconscious that cannot be altered. There is also the Personal Unconscious.

Archetypes exist in the Shadow and they are: Sage, Innocent, Explorer, Ruler, Creator, Caregiver, Magician, Hero, Rebel, Lover, Jester and the Orphan.

Intense, right?

Shadow Work is alive, it’s constant motion.

Ever changing and evolving as we add more experiences and information to the Collective Unconscious.

It’s not just your Shadows, it’s not just your work.

You are tapping into immense power, and immense emotion.

Then there is the end goal which is the integration process and that is a whirlwind.

Do not diminish these dangers.

Working with Shadow is extremely beneficial, but it brings up a lot of shit that you have buried, things you might not even be aware of (there’s that Unconscious part); it can bring up and stir up Collective emotions that are not even yours to unpack.

There are so many variables, so many potential outcomes.

Be mindful when suggesting Shadow Work as if it’s a walk in the park.

It is not.

Be mindful when venturing down the path to Shadow Work.

It is full of perils.

Know your limitations, find a support system of some kind, and do not push yourself.

Your psyche is powerful and it’s strong, but it is not unbreakable.

Be gentle and fierce. Be aware and alive.

And don’t take yourself too seriously, or your Shadows.

You can laugh, you can love, you can ease your way into the Work and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Lux in Tenebris Lucet

LESSONS IN MAGICK: How Do I Do Shadow Work?

A lot of people talk about doing Shadow Work but they don’t explain how to do that. I’ve been doing Shadow Work since I was a teen, never realizing that’s what I was doing. I simply wanted to deconstruct things that I saw in myself that I knew weren’t healthy for me overall. Some I held onto longer than others as a crutch to protect myself until I was in a good place. Some I simply chose to never let go for whatever reason.

If you’re struggling with how to do Shadow Work, here are some prompts to start delving into yourself. Be 100% honest with yourself. It’s ok, no one will see this but you. But it’s important to really call yourself out on things. It’s the only way to get to where and who you want to be.

This is something I’m doing in order to be mentally and emotionally stronger to continue my path in La Regla de Ocha or as it’s commonly known, Santeria / Lukumi / IFA. I don’t want any internal things holding me back from where I will eventually be. External influence is one thing, internal influence is one you can work on intensely.

So here are the prompts. I wish you luck and healthy behaviors. Don’t be afraid of what you find within yourself. This is how to crack yourself open and remove that which doesn’t serve you well.

Shadow Work Prompts

* What are your triggers and what caused them?
* Is there anyone you hold a grudge against? If so, what is holding you back from letting go and moving on?
* Do you feel misunderstood? If yes, what misconceptions do people have of you?
* What do you dislike about yourself most?
* What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done and why did you do it?
* Are you happy with where you are in your life? Is there anything that you can do to improve it?
* Was your childhood negative or positive? Outline the most prominent memories that you have of your younger years.
* What is your relationship like with your family? Has your connection strengthened since you were a child or has it gotten worse?
* What are your parent’s best and worst personality traits? Do you see any of them within yourself?
* Who are you closest to in your life and do they positively reflect who you are? Are you holding on to people that don’t deserve your time and affections? Are you honestly happy in your relationships?
* Are you comfortable in your skin? If there is something that you would like to change about yourself, what is it and why?
* Do you lie to yourself to avoid addressing your fears?
* What characteristics and traits do you dislike in others?
* When are you hardest on yourself and why?
* What emotions do you tend to avoid?
* Do you enforce boundaries with others or are you the type to let people cross lines?
* How did you deal with trauma in the past and what do you do to combat it in the present?
* Are you 100% yourself around others? Do you put on a persona or mask to blend into the crowd? Do you know who you are?
* Do you forgive yourself when you have done something wrong? When you make mistakes can you move on from them or do they continue to hurt you?
* What are your toxic traits?
* Are you happy to be alone in your own company? Do you use other people to fill a void?
* Do you respond well to constructive criticism? Are you over-sensitive to any form of feedback?
* Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable in your romantic relationships? Do you put up walls around yourself and your partner or are you completely open?
* Do you accept yourself as you are?
* What is your deepest, darkest fear?
* Is there anyone in your life that you are competitive with? If yes, what caused this rivalry?
* Do you feel as though people respect you?
* What is your biggest regret and why?
* Do you have any unhealthy attachments or habits? What are you doing to curb them and why have you continued to entertain them?
* Do you practice self-care? Is there more that you could be doing for your wellbeing?

Source:

30 Shadow Work Prompts

LESSONS IN MAGICK: Dark Night of the Soul

Dark night

“When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trail head any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

I haven’t written a blog since May, and even now as thoughts run through my mind, and ideas are filling up the memo pad in my phone, I find I simply can’t get the words out.

I don’t want to sit here, and as Hemingway said, bleed.

But, bleed I must.

Naively I had reached a point in my path where I was comfortable, not just in my personal life, but my Magickal, too.

The Universe doesn’t like comfort.

We don’t learn, evolve, grow, change inside comfort.

Now, before you say anything, obviously comfort as an emotion or supportive act is necessary in life.

However, comfort in the form of stagnation and failure to thrive is something else entirely.

I was the latter.

I was stuck and didn’t want to admit it.

For months I remained this way, allowing life to just pummel and victimize me until I had nothing left, until nothing was left except my shell.

The shell of who I used to be.

Of what my life used to be.

I had to grieve what was lost, I had to mourn who was lost, I had to feel all the pain that comes from massive, chaotic CHANGE.

Dark night 2

I slipped quietly into a depression, a pit of darkness to protect myself from what was happening around me; a way to keep my trauma at bay.

Trading one monster for another.

The entire time I was in the abyss, mourning the loss of……so fucking much, I found myself comforted by two quotes:

“All the Gods, all the Heavens, all the Hells are within you.”- Joseph Campbell

And,

“Wherever you go, there you are.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn

The first quote has been a “go to” of mine for many, many years now, and it takes on new meaning as the seasons of my life change.

This time, it returned me to my Hindu roots, and forced me back into daily practice and Puja.

I am both a Luciferian Witch and Shaivite Hindu, and I don’t care if that doesn’t make sense to you.

Campbell’s quote is the epitome of both Luciferianism and Hinduism.

The second quote, well that one is a bit more complex and required deep Shadow Work.

I am a master at escapism.

I don’t always do it, obviously, as I know how unhealthy it is, but *it is* something I do.

My Psychiatrist says that it’s my trauma response, and I can see that—a defense mechanism, but it’s detrimental to my health, my growth and my energy.

dark night 3

“The only way out is through” -Robert Frost

You can’t escape shit because when you come back, it will all still be right where you left it.

Not only will your problems be there waiting, but you will be there waiting.

At the end of the day, who do you have to sit with?

Who do you have to be okay with?

Who do you have to be on good terms with?

You.

dark night 4

You must sit with yourself.

You must be okay with yourself.

You must be on good terms with yourself.

This world creates enough war and conflict, the last thing we need to do is take that on and internalize it as some normal part of the human experience.

Yes, to a certain degree internal war and conflict are necessary; it’s part of the complexity of duality and Shadow.

But the immeasurable scale which we see war and conflict within the collective, and within ourselves is taking its toll on humanity.

It’s taking it’s toll on what it means to be human.

The key to being human is to live a life that is authentically true to who you are.

No other life is worth living or dying for; no other life will do.

To thine own Self be true.

LESSONS IN MAGICK: The Plutonian Healer

Pluto

 

“Each of us has his own way of emerging from the underworld, mine is by writing. That’s why the only way I can keep going, if at all, is by writing, not through rest and sleep. I am far more likely to achieve peace of mind through writing than the capacity to write through peace.”

Franz Kafka

Spirituality is a commodity sought high and low by people of all socioeconomic statuses, gender and sexual identities, race and so on.

And, it has been this way since the beginning of time.

Many people still cling to monotheistic religions, billions in fact, but there has been a wave, an uprising of non-traditional (they were once traditional) philosophies and practices being adopted by people all over the world.

Just like people feel let down by their Government and desire to break the two-party pretend democracy we have been living in, hence the rise in Socialists, Communists and Anarchists; people feel let down by their religions of youth and/or culture, so they are turning to Witchcraft, Nihilism, Atheism, Paganism, Wicca, ATR (African Traditional Religions) and every other path that is not the “big three”.

The psychological breakdown is that people want to be shatter the status quo in the most extreme ways possible. Which is, sadly, why there has also been an uprising of hate groups, and far right extremists pushing nationalism.

When people break free, or as I say, wake up, they are often wounded by their past and carry deep trauma from having to suppress certain aspects of themselves to fit into the box society, and in this context, religion put them in.

A Spiritual Awakening is a process of dying and coming back to life over and over again, it’s grueling work and not for the faint of heart.

As with all other areas of Spirituality, there are those who wish to romanticize the process, make it all love and light, unicorns and butterflies, and I can’t speak for all 7+ billion people on this planet, but I know I speak for a good chunk when I say, for many of us, it’s everything BUT love and light.

There are gurus galore who want to take you on a retreat to Bali, Costa Rica, Joshua Tree or India for an extraordinary amount of money, and through Tantric, Shamanic journeys, or whatever, they connect with the Source of love, Divine light and *poof* you are healed.

You will feel lighter.

Your trauma will melt away.

Your vision will become clearer.

You will become Spiritually Enlightened and Awakened.

While I am sure these retreats and this process may help some people, and/or perhaps may even be part of the overall journey, there are a great many folx who don’t need love and light, they need darkness.

They need the comfort and discomfort of the Womb.

They need a journey to the Underworld.

They must dive into their psyche and collective conscious (and unconscious); dangerous places for someone in recovery from religion and indoctrination.

Enter the Plutonian Healer.

Skull

Pluto is the God of the Underworld in Roman mythology.

In Astrology Pluto is death and rebirth (renewal), it’s the journey of going beneath the surface—it’s transformation, change, and the key to our inner most secrets; some secrets that we may have locked away from ourselves without even knowing.

Pluto, like Saturn, is a brutal but necessary teacher.

And, often it’s an energy that many people cannot, or don’t want to tackle alone and that’s valid.

It’s okay to need or want help.

It doesn’t lessen your personal power—you’re still doing the work, you still must face those Shadows and Demons, and traumas, no matter if someone walks with you, they can’t do the deep Plutonian work for you.

“You can lead a horse to water but can’t make them drink” comes to mind.

We can show you the way, but we can’t do the work for you.

The choice is always, always yours.

The power is always yours.

I have a love/hate relationship with the word “healer”.

What does it even mean?

Does it mean this person is superior?

*ego talking here*

“No one rules over me! Ahhh!”

*raises fists*

But, seriously, sarcasm aside, what does it mean to be a healer?

For me, as I have grown on my path, grown as a person, as a practitioner and shed my skin only to truly enter my skin, I have realized I am a healer, and superior to no one.

My experiences allow me to be a buffer for people to bounce ideas off; they can look to me, and others like myself, and say, “they made it through the darkness, they immerse themselves in Shadow Work, and I can, too.”

Maybe someone needs me to hold their hand while we navigate the dark together, maybe they need my torch to help them find their way, or maybe they need me to help them ignite their own torch by reminding them of their inherent personal power.

Pluto 2

The Plutonian Healer is the dark mirror embodied: we reflect deep abysmal truths.

Just like some healers (and people) find comfort in the blissful energy of light and love, I find comfort in the depths of darkness, mysteries and shadows.

I don’t “heal” in any kind of traditional manner.

I take people on a journey to the Underworld.

I exist in the shadows, inside liminal spaces so that I may understand them better and pass the lessons along. Again, not doing the work for anyone, but being a guide, a map, a path, a light in the dark.

A torchbearer.

And in these times of unrest, unknowns and uncertainties, it’s more important than ever for people to understand not only their own darkness, but the darkness of the collective.

With so many focusing on love and light, things have become unbalanced and it’s time to reign the darkness back in by understanding it better; thus, mastering it.

And, the only way to understand it is to journey through it.

Remember, you are the light, it is the darkness that you seek.

Lux in Tenebris

LESSONS IN MAGICK: People Don’t Owe You Sh*t

Sh 2

image source

“Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.”

Criss Jami

We live in a “give me” society, so is it shouldn’t be surprising that this mentality has seeped over into the Magickal community.

Yet, here I am shocked and dismayed at what I have been witnessing lately.

Don’t get me wrong, freeloaders are not new to the Craft, but it does seem like their numbers have increased.

Add in the fact that a lot of newbies don’t want to put in the work; they want the title of Witch, they want the (often stereotypical) aesthetic of a Witch, but they don’t understand the verb Witchcraft (thanks Nikki for putting that so eloquently).

It’s true.

Witchcraft IS a practice.

Sure, it looks different for everyone, but this path requires work.

Your path requires you to put in the work.

You can read, and read and read, collecting all the information you can find (ie. Armchair Occultist);

You can ride on the coattails of someone else, and their experiences;

You can bounce from practitioner to practitioner presenting them with some sob story and asking them to do your bidding for you;

But, eventually, the Laws of Magick will force your hand, and you either shit or get off the pot.

You either put into practice the art of Magick, or you back the fuck away slowly and don’t try to make Sacred traditions trendy ever again.

I am obviously wound up writing this post and it’s because I am seeing a lot of entitlement lately.

On top of that, I have been witnessing paranoid people claiming every unpleasant event in life is Magickally related. I have also seen people asking for energy/thoughts/good vibes/assistance on a regular basis.

I want to address these topics.

Throughout my writing career I have expressed my opinions on these subjects individually, but there is a need for this to be said in one place.

This is one of my pieces where it could be received in a few ways, and I am sure I will ruffle some feathers; I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t.

Remember, if anything I say offends you, ask yourself, “Why am I offended?”

Your feelings have everything to do with you, and nothing to do with me.

I am but a reflection.

Hand

image source

First thing first, Witchcraft is a lifestyle.

For some people it’s a look, too, but at the core it’s a practice that we live, and breathe.

Philosophy varies from person to person, our Craft will as well, but the one thing that Witches have in common across the board is that they put in work to create the outcomes they want.

We play with the web of Wyrd.

We manipulate energy and bend it to our Will.

We are powerful, formidable creatures.

Knowing how much power we wield, it drives me nuts to see Witches who refuse to put in work. Not only do they refuse to put in work (for whatever reason) when work is required, they run to another Witch, and expect them to do their bidding.

We now are dealing with entitled, lazy Witches.

I absolutely love to help others, and I love to share my knowledge, but I will not, in fact, I refuse to do anyone else’s work for them.

I will help when needed, I will offer tricks and tips, but your path is yours to walk and the work is yours to do.

Stop looking for handouts.

Nobody owes you anything; not the world, not your job, not your fellow Witches.

Stop expecting Magickal work to be free.

You pay for services on your car, your home, your body, but when it comes to services for your Soul, you turn your nose up at it.

Or, you try and pull the “well, Witches of old never charged.”

We are not Witches of old, we are Modern Mystics and we have bills to pay.

Stop expecting results with no effort; that’s like expecting a reaction (outcome) with no action (intention).

You’re smarter than that.

Stop expecting Magick itself to be free.

Nothing is free.

Stop playing the victim.

You are only a victim if that’s how you write your narrative.

Own your shit. Face your shit. Transmute your shit. Level up.

It’s what the rest of us are doing.

You can’t take and take and take from people with zero regard for their well-being, and their own struggles.

We all have our battles to fight.

Don’t get so high on your horse that you believe yours are more important.

Ripple 2

image source

Secondly, life sucks. I am a professional pessimist, but even if I wasn’t, life would still suck. This is a fact that we must accept.

There are countless variables in play all around us at any given moment, to think we can or do have control over it all is insane.

Sometimes shit happens.

There is no profound lesson.

There is no Magickal attack.

There is no villain.

There is no “Karma”.

Life sucks.

Life is also crazy beautiful and amazing and should be enjoyed but if you think that every bump you hit in life is somehow Magickally related, you are going to be a paranoid, frantic, no energy having wreck.

Everything we do is Magick, but not everything done to us is.

So, take a deep breath, go with the flow.

Accept what is, don’t dwell on what isn’t.

Believe in yourself.

And, trust the process.

Rootsimage source

Third, I have been noticing people in groups I am, even people on my friend list who are constantly asking for energy of some sort. Whether it is good vibes, Magickal assistance, thoughts or whatever, their life is always in turmoil and they always need help.

I have an unpopular opinion that every single one of us is an energy Vampyr in one way or another, and if you look closely at the people around you, you will see what I mean.

I mean, *everything* is an energy exchange.

Like I mentioned above, I have no problem helping someone out—if I have seen they have put the work in.

I prefer people who need my help to approach me with nothing but brutal honesty, and transparency.

However, if it becomes a trend, or a common occurrence, it raises concern.

Why do you constantly need help and/or energy?

Why is your life constantly in turmoil?

Getting energy is as easy as walking outside and standing in the sun. I mean, it isn’t considered the Pranic center in Ayurverdic tradition for no reason; it’s a battery.

Use it.

We all need help occasionally and I am not knocking that AT ALL, but it shouldn’t be a regular thing. I shouldn’t be signing onto fb and seeing the same 10 people asking for energy because of *insert overly dramatic huge life event*.

Meanwhile, myself and everyone else I know have their own shit going on.

We are all trying to navigate the waters of life, and more times than not I am drowning right alongside some of the people I help.

So, I help where I can and feel the need to, I draw boundaries when it seems suspicious.

I separate genuine from the fake.

The people who have given up completely, or the ones who feel too entitled to get their hands dirty are the ones I can’t and don’t assist.

Refusing to get your hands dirty is worse than giving up because it means you won’t even try.

I am the first to admit that my life is chaotic, and messy, but so are the lives of everyone I know. For this reason I try to show compassion and empathy at all times.

We all have overflowing plates;

Life is about learning to balance it all.

RECLAIMING MY POWER: My Battle With Mental Illness

Mental

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

FOR AN UPDATE ON MY STORY, CLICKhere.

It’s no secret that the more personal I am on my blog the greater my personal gain is.

It’s almost like the deeper the wound and redder the blood the more the Gods take note and I start to reap the benefits of intense Shadow Work.

I don’t believe that the Gods are rewarding me, per se, but I do believe there is a correlation between facing oneself, speaking one’s truth and gaining freedom.

Real freedom.

The kind that can only be won by going to war with yourself.

You will know it when you experience it.

And the Universe will bow at your glory.

As much as I love writing, and love what I do, it’s hard work. It’s hard to sit down and face myself, face my thoughts, and my reflection.

It’s even more complicated when there are two sides to my being, and a constant battle raging internally.

You see, I have mental illness.

And it’s my belief that this is more a gift than curse.

I do not run from my madness anymore, and the reason for that is my practice and Shamanism (no, I am not on the Shaman path).

It was only through losing my mind that I gained any type of real perspective on life, the world or myself.

I ran into article after article, and book after book about the Shamanistic view of mental illness; the words that I read gave me power.

More than that, they granted me permission to take my power back.

I always knew I was different, such a cliché overused sentence but it really can’t be described any other way.

Although, I was able to lead a normal life until I was 25; I worked a normal job, at times I worked two jobs, and had a very active social life.

Then it all came to a screeching halt.

I have always been able to see beyond the veil and Spirits; my sight has always been available to me. I was a practicing Witch for many years, but I did not blossom until I died.

And that’s exactly what happened, I died.

Death

The old me did, anyway.

The whole mental breakdown itself happened pretty quickly and it caught not only me but my family by surprise. My Mom was the main witness to my “switch being turned on”. She said my aura changed, and I began to “vibrate” with a “dark matter”. She has even noted that my eyes, and facial features changed.

This switch of mine is usually hit because of emotional stresses, but it can be caused by low blood sugar (hangry!), anger which is more like rage, and because my fight or flight was tripped. If I am threatened that button is absolutely going to be hit.

I have come to call it my trauma trigger.

My trauma trigger is survival mode, it’s how I have survived for so long after all the abuse and pain I have experienced.

It reminds me of this quote by Ebonee Davis:

Ebonee

My mental illnesses showed up after I started to experience Chronic Pain, went through my hysterectomy and had a back injury.

Also, at the time I had recently gotten out of a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.

My life was a series of cataclysmic collisions of epic proportions.

In hindsight it seems that I experienced a soul wound because a piece of me left when I “woke up” to my true nature: chaos.

I compare myself and my world to Chaos because that’s what it is, that’s what I am;  yeah it sounds poetic but that’s really coincidence.

My mind is chaotic, my personality and my soul are too.

I am slightly neurotic, a perfectionist and obsessive about some things.

If my Cancer sun and Capricorn rising tell you anything it is that I am a contradiction, and there are literally two sides to me; I fight myself every second, of every day.

I admitted myself into a private mental health institute in 2010 and I wouldn’t change that experience, but I can tell you that I will never be locked up again.

After my little stay, I ended up being on 11 medication the ones I can remember are: Lithium, Adderrall, Risperidal, Klonopin, Minipress, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify and Gabapentin; I can’t remember the other 2. I only remember the number being 11 because when I started to “come back to self” I noticed that 11 was a prominent awakening number, and it was the Universe’s way of telling me to snap out of the sleep society put me in.

The signs are all around us, we must know where to look.

Those medications 8 years ago are why my thyroid has shut down and I have autoimmune issues now; the stress that the medications, along with my underlying health issues caused was too much for my body.

I have heavy amounts of a specific antibody in my blood now which causes a slew of health issues (Hashimoto’s).

I also have antibodies for what is known as “drug induced Lupus”. My Rheumotologist told me that I am not currently on any medication that would cause this, and he believes it is permanent damage from before.

Why am I telling this boring fucking story?

Because I am bringing my biggest demon to light and calling it out.

I am naming it and claiming it.

Once I do this, there is nothing that anyone can use against me.

And, I want people to know they aren’t alone battling their mental illness.

I want to remove stigmas.

I want people to know:

Mental illness doesn’t make you less than.

Mental illness doesn’t make you unworthy.

Mental illness doesn’t make you unlovable.

Mental illness does not define you.

Glass

My official diagnoses are BPD 2 (Bipolar Disorder 2), PTSD, ADHD, OCD, and Anxiety (Agoraphobia, General Anxiety and Social Anxiety).

I have done every type of therapy imaginable, and still to this day must manage myself with routine, coping skills, and mindfulness practices. My Spirituality has helped me tremendously as well.

Doctor’s didn’t help me, they drugged me and those poisons put in my body have damaged it permanently. I have been medication free, other than herbal supplements, for 5 years now.

Just because I do not (cannot) take medication does not mean I am anti-medication for everyone. I believe that modern medicine has its place, and I believe fully in the power of the right combination of medicine; it just wasn’t how my story was meant to be written.

When dealing with your health always listen to your body, always listen to your gut.

And, make sure you have an Advocate who can speak LOUDLY if necessary for you when/if Doctor’s and the system try to intimidate you.

Throughout the whole breakdown/awakening my life was in an uproar and I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt WORSE as time went by; then I started to become aware of the (serious) medication side effects.

The constant brain fog, sleep disturbances, weight gain, mood imbalances, etc. were unbearable.

I went through the worst withdrawal’s getting off those medications, and a majority were done at home. I did however seek out professional help for the benzo withdrawals because those are dangerous to come off alone.

My decision to detox at home was absolutely not a safe thing to do and I don’t recommend it, but the medical world had let me down, and I was not going to turn to them. I did my research, and then shut myself in my room and battled through; I had family around just in case.

And, again, I don’t recommend anyone going off their meds (it’s usually a sign of a manic episode to want to discontinue meds, but that was not the case for myself).

I let my Psychiatrist know what I was doing, after the fact, or well, during the act, but at that point there was not much he could do. I was never considered a threat to myself, or others, therefore I could not be forced to do anything. I was of sound mind and body.

My Doctor was the best, too.  He gave me a lot of my power back because it was through him that I found my way to discovering how mental illness is viewed in the Spiritual world.

If he had not pointed me in this direction I would be dead, and there is no doubt in my mind about that.

I didn’t write about this sooner because it’s a hard topic to talk about but also because I thought people would think less of me; that my word and wisdom would no longer be taken seriously (if it even is now) and all the negativity attached to mental illness would at once become attached to me, and that was a weight I could not bear.

So, I ran from it, but now I own it.

My mental illness does not define me; my power resides in my madness.

There is a fine line between sane and insane when it comes to this path, and I like to play jump rope with that line.

Two things I learned most from being mentally ill:

1. Change your perspective, change your life.

2. Crazy is relative.

Here is one of my favorite mental health articles:

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/08/shaman-sees-mental-hospital.html

WITCH, PLEASE: The Art of Not Giving a Magickal F*ck

Eyes

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“When we dislike someone, or feel threatened by someone, the natural tendency is to focus on something we dislike about the person, something that irritates us. Unfortunately, when we do this–instead of seeing the deeper beauty of the person and giving them energy–we take energy away and actually do them harm. All they know is that they suddenly feel less beautiful and less confident, and it is because we sapped their energy.”

James Redfield

For the last few years Shadow Work seems to be my entire existence; whether it is battling through my Shadow, the collective Shadow or helping to guide others through their’s, Shadow has been ever present all around me.

I am so aware of Shadow Work that it became a Course for The House of Twigs: School of Ritual.

A lot of people seem to think that because there is a beginning to our Shadow journey that there, too, must be an end.

But, is there?

In my opinion, no.

Just like I believe our Kundalini awakening to be a life-long event, after the Serpent’s initial rising, I believe Shadow Work is also life-long.

Once you have seen, tasted and existed within the depth of Shadow, there is no going back to the shallows of mundane life.

There is no more smiling through fake bullshit to avoid conflict or confrontation; there is no more biting your tongue to make someone else comfortable; there is no more apologizing for taking up space in this world; there is no more playing small in any regard.

Shadow Work demands us to step into ourselves and our power because the most important keys to collect on our journey dwell in abysmal places.

There is no more pretending because our Shadow simply does not allow us to do so.

There is no room for lies, masks or inauthenticity, only truth.

Shadow Work is about the understanding and acceptance of ourselves and our feelings, thoughts, emotions, actions and desires.

The key to this gritty work is honoring the less positive aspects of ourselves and our nature and learning to reconcile them.

panther

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I am going to digress for one moment because there IS a point I want to make with this piece, but you need a bit of backstory.

I have written about Witch Wars, and how ridiculous I find them to be; often they are meritless, ego driven temper tantrums with Magick involved, and they can be disastrous for both target and Magickian.

The target could potentially be faced with a Magickal attack; the Magickian will have to deal with the excessive use of energy, and if casted with too much uncontrolled emotion, they will have to deal with what I call “Magickal kickback”.

It isn’t karma or some three-fold law, it’s the idea that if our intentions are not clear, our mind not focused, and our aim not precise, the energy created could bite us in the ass.

I can’t believe I am about to use a gun analogy, but it’s effective for painting the picture.

A gun is a weapon, it can be used for protection and defense, but at the end of the day, it’s main purpose is to maim and/or kill; in many ways this is how baneful Magick should be viewed and respected (think of it as a last resort, not a first option).

Some of the higher-powered guns on the market have serious kickback (recoil) and can even blow your shoulder out of socket if not held properly.

So, yeah, you could still hit your target and harm them, but you also harmed yourself.

Get it?

I have seen the degree and frequency of Witch Wars lessen in recent months, but what has taken its place is almost as bad.

There seems to be a lot of petty gossip, evil eyes and hate being thrown around.

And, it’s all meritless; just like Witch Wars.

When we don’t like someone, why do we have to dramatize it?

Why do we have to become the victim in our own narrative to justify not liking someone?

When I don’t vibe with, or like someone, I am honest with them and myself about it.

I have had it backfire in my face a few times because people really can’t handle not being liked; it’s as if they would prefer the drama and gossip just so they can have something to hold onto.

“Well *this* is why they don’t like me. That bitch.”

Otherwise, they just can’t accept it.

I have had people try to ruin my career because I was open and honest about not vibing with them; I clearly explained my feelings, wished them well, and they still wanted to bring me down.

Talk about petty.

There are tons of things in life I don’t like, and no one ever asks for in-depth, psychological reasons as to why.

There are certain foods, clothes, textures, seasons, animals, crystals, herbs, you name it; there is literally SO MUCH that I don’t like, and it’s accepted without question.

When it comes to people though, we can’t just say, “Oh, yeah, I know them, we aren’t friends; just didn’t get along but I wish them well!”

It simply isn’t accepted.

People start digging, fishing, stirring and conjuring to the point where sometimes we take on this created drama as our reality.

What sense does any of this make?

Key

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And, this is one of the keys to not only Shadow Work but to Magick:

It’s okay to choose yourself over others.

Read that again: own it, accept it, live it.

Then understand this:

It’s okay to admit you don’t like someone.

It’s okay to not quite know why, either; always go with your intuition– your first instinctual thought.

I’ve become friends with some of the people I didn’t initially like; I’ve talked about my theory of this many times in the past. As a defensive reaction, I don’t usually like authentically strong Witches upon first meeting.

On the flip side,  I’ve seen my intuition nail the character of a person to a T and without exaggeration, it saved me.

Everything is energy, and Witches are some of the most energetically complex creatures created; to expect that we will always get along, and like one another is naivety at its finest.

To protect yourself, your space, and your Magick, you must be choosey with who you allow to get close and see your inner workings of Self.

Accepting that it’s okay to not like someone because their energy rubs you wrong is the epitome of Self Preservation.

Talking shit and projecting your insecurities because you don’t like someone, or they don’t like you, is the epitome of childish.

There’s enough space for us all to exist.

I generally am polite when confronted by people asking why I don’t like them, why we became distant, or why I won’t accept their friend request; I try to always be consciously aware of the words I use with others because, in truth, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

So, I lessen the blow with positive affirmations, and then lay it on them that our energy just doesn’t compliment each other’s.

But, the clear and simple answer is:

Because I don’t have to.

I don’t have to be friends with everyone.

I don’t have to like you just because you like me, or because we have mutual friends, or interests in common.

I don’t have to like everyone, and neither do you; it’s unrealistic to think otherwise.

We are responsible for the protection of our energy.

We are also responsible for the words we speak and actions we carry out.

Ask yourself,

Are you proud of your words and actions?

Are they warranted?

As Witches we are even more responsible for our words and actions than the average person because we carry Magick.

We ARE Magick.

And Magick can both heal and harm.

Choose wisely.

(Thumbnail Image: Marius Sperlich)