The Forgotten Magic

Part 4

Hunting Shadows

Image by Louise Cox

Staring into the gaps in-between,

We find the things that cannot be seen.

Hiding in the bushes in the garden

and the hedgerows in the fields.

The Shadows

am I watching them

or are they watching me.

Darker than the blackest night

With sparkling eyes

that twinkle with the light

of stars burning bright.

There is a darkness that lurks in the shadows. I actually don’t know what it is but in my childhood, like some earlier explorer discovering a new species of creature for the first time, I was fascinated with observing the Shadow entities. Looking back at this as an adult, I have no idea what this was about, I actually have more questions than answers. Strange how as a child you don’t question what you do, instinctively you just do it, maybe that’s something as adults we should remember how to cultivate.

The natural world captivated my young mind and I would spend hours reading about and drawing my favourite animals. To me the Shadows are just another part of that, another creature to be studied, only it wasn’t in any book I knew, maybe I could be the first person to document it and become the David Attenborough of the unseen world.

As my curiosity grew I became bolder and rather than watching things in the garden through the window, I decided one day it would be fun to go on an expedition into the fields. The fields are literally across the road from my family home, you can see them from the living room window.
I roped my friend in and briefed her on the plan of action, to hunt down and observe the Shadow creatures.

We set off in full stealth mode across the field, treading softly as possible through the tall grass, towards a large over grown boundary hedge. The fields had long been abandoned and everything had gone feral. Once neat hawthorn hedges had become gnarled trees over long dried out ditches, where imaginations roamed free with trolls and fairies, but today we hunt Shadows.
I’m not sure I was prepared for what we encountered that day, in all honesty.

Image by Louise Cox

We stopped half way across the field as I could sense something moving just beyond the hedge. Don’t move or it will see us. Adrenaline kicked in as this Shadow was immense, watching Shadows in the garden through the safety of the window was one thing and they had been small no bigger than a man but this creature before was as big as an elephant and growing larger as it came towards us. It didn’t see us at first and I was telling my friend where it was and describing what it looked like. I don’t know if she saw what I could see that day (maybe I should ask her, we are still friends after 45 years) anyway she either did or she was playing along. The feelings of awe and panic got the better of us as the creature sensed we were watching seemed to grow denser and blacker and larger and started to move a bit quicker in our direction. We both bolted back across the field as fast as our legs would carry us.

Writing this down, it would be easy to dismiss it as my wild imagination but I know it was not. Then as now, although I have a vivid imagination I know the difference between what I project in my imagination and what is out in the world. At least, I think I do, we can all be fooled.

Image by Louise Cox

I wonder where I could walk to hunt Shadows close to where I live today, the fields near my parents house are still there but that’s 300 miles away from where I now live. There is a piece of common land not far from my house so I set off on a new expedition, along the rows of little terraced houses, through the grave yard, across the meadow that’s filled with blue flowers in spring. Till I reach the edge of the where the wilder places begin.

Ivy plays sentinel to the gateway of paths, tangled tree roots make steps down through the trees where Jackdaws chastise and Crows answer in low melodious caws. Out into the open space of common land, at least what is left of it.
I find myself on the edge of construction site, what happens to the Shadows when the wild spaces are gone.
Enticed by a circle of bright green ferns under the dark leafless branches of sleeping trees, a fallen tree lay, I sat and looked down over the view of our small sprawling town, how much bigger will it get.

Image by Louise Cox

There are tracks up behind where I sit, I decide to follow them.
Something caught my eye, shiny white and sparkling in the light breaking through the trees. Three little jewels attached to a dead tree stem. My instinct said that’s where to find what your looking for, my brain said its just some plastic caught or put by someone. It looked like the stem had been decorated for Christmas in the winter light. As I got closer it was three ivy leaves still wet with the morning rain glittering in the sunlight. I smiled to myself but beyond this illuminated signpost was the kind of gnarled old hedgerow I would expect to find Shadows dwelling. In the darkness between the leaves my mind saw the face of the Green Man sleeping but it was just an impression and although I waited and watched a while I neither felt nor saw any entities.

I did not find any Shadows that day, only hedges where they might dwell.

On my way back I followed a badger track clambering over and under the trees and came across a swing tied in the branches of a tall tree and sat again, deciding to head into town.
I found the route I would normally take blocked by the construction of new houses, another path lost. I had to follow the line of the high security fence back, and lost my bearings. Heading back onto another badger track and not knowing which way to go, sudden movement caught my eye, as a dear jumped along another path ahead of me. I followed and found my way back to the path I came in on.

Contemplating my little adventure I mused.

As the wild things are chased away by the ongoing urbanisation, the Forgotten Magic of our childhood is chased away by the trappings of our society. There are little pockets of wildlife left hemmed in, the badgers and foxes and dear surviving in an ever decreasing spaces. Our Magic is there part of us always, it just get hemmed in by life but we can make new pathways, opened up and rewild ourselves.

TORCHBEARERS: It’s Time to Shine Your Light


Image: Diggie Vitt Photography


“Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.”

J.D Stroube

I think it is safe to say that last year was a year of change, death and destruction (metaphorically and literally) for just about everyone; I know it most certainly was for myself. With these emotions and experiences there comes Shadow work, an inevitable part of our journey; facing the darker nature and emotions of/within ourselves; having to own up to our mistakes, our pain, our “shit” and still look ourselves in the mirror afterwards.

Not an easy task on top of an already complex path.

My darkness, traumas, and inability to conform are what led me to the Left Hand Path, and Magick in general, as well as having a calling deep in my Soul. I thrived in the darkness, and darker shades of gray; I loved to roam in the Shadows of myself, the otherworld and the collective unconscious trying to figure out why the dark appealed to me so much.

I immersed myself in the energy and embrace of the Dark Feminine, and swayed my hips with the Charge of the Dark Goddess; I embraced the wrath of Kali by allowing my own rage to run free, and I walked with Hekate in the Underworld staring death in the face.

I challenged fate, the Gods, and went against everything that was expected of me.

I rebelled, I lashed out, I embraced my wild nature; I raged, I screamed, I cried, and apologized not once.

But, all good things must come to an end.

After going through numerous Dark Nights of the Soul and dredging through Shadow work for over 2 years, observing and absorbing other people’s darkness and embracing my own, I can admit that I have stayed in the dark too long and now, am being forced to become my own light and shine brighter than before.

You see, I let the darkness seduce me; I got lost deep in the Abyss and have been sitting here, stuck, for weeks now—months even, trying to find a way out.

I try to remain positive and keep it all in perspective but lately it has been next to impossible to do; the recent Mercury Retrograde was the hardest one that I can remember. I remain grateful always, and make the choice every day to turn my heart towards the sky but sometimes, it’s just fucking hard to do.

During a tear-filled phone call, earlier today with one of my Sister Witches she posed a question that was so profound it has led me to write this post.

She said, “How do you create and hold space for such deep sadness and despair while still living your day to day life?” Referring the collective and personal pain and sadness that she is feeling currently.

As those words left her mouth the epiphany hit me like a ton of bricks:

“The only way out is through.” -Robert Frost

Frost’s poems have entered my mind time and time again reminding me of the lesson I am to learn or the direction I must follow. Once again, his words sing out to me.

Our society has demonized emotions so much that the majority are completely numb to the ideas of compassion, empathy and, well, love.

How can the Healers of this world cope with such odds? How can the rebels who are here to awaken the masses make them feel something, anything?

How are we, the Healers, supposed to deal with the heavy weight of sadness and fear that is being felt but also hidden?

The first step, we shine some light in the dusty corners of their Soul’s.

We all have aspects of ourselves that are like a junk drawer (not our Shadow but something more human). It’s a drawer we all have in our homes that we prefer a stranger not stumble upon and go through; finding out how sloppy we can be.

Our Soul has that same kind of drawer.

Well, it’s spring cleaning time.

This world is in desperate need of awakened and enlightened people, and I don’t mean those fake gurus who want followers; I mean the real deal who wish to have you walk your path of independence rather than follow the herd—even if that means you walk a path different from their own.

I know, I know, people on the page have tried to defend the herd as being smart; in nature, it is a defense mechanism to keep them safe from predators, a way to keep them warm, and a way to have community.

Sheep and other herd animals don’t have egos though; the Alpha males may battle it out every once in a while, but the hierarchy is set in place, and animals don’t have the awareness to question it.

Humans however, we do. And, that is why following the herd has never fared well for humans.

When we follow the herd, we lose the individuality that makes us all so unique; we lose the ability to form our own opinions because they are fed to us. It is hard to walk alone, it is hard to break free from everything you have ever known but what is the alternative? Follow blindly?

While I feel the Shadow of last year still hanging over us, the fear of the unknown, and the panic because of the uncertainty of our future, I have hope.

Some people call me naïve to keep hope alive and maybe I am; fear is no better than naivety though, but worse.

I walk in to 2017 shedding the darkness and thick skin that 2016 gave to me and step into the fire of revolution and truth.

Most importantly, I step into the fire of hope.

Blessed are the Witches, Wild Mystics, Shamans, Healers, Awakened, Enlightened and Spiritual folks of this planet; it is our torches that will guide us through the darkness.

Blessed are the light-bringers and torchbearers;

Now go light the world on fire.


The Alchemy of Life: Incorporating Light with the Dark

Baiba Ladiga

Image: Baiba Ladiga

“The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow.”

George R.R. Martin

Lately I have seen a plethora of articles about the Shadow Self and how we must incorporate our Shadow into the whole; probably one of the most important lessons on the Magickal Path. Far too many people deny their Shadow, their Darkness, only to become consumed by it in the end.

Don’t get me wrong I am ecstatic to see so many fellow writers willing to take on this topic and teach the masses that our Shadow is not our enemy, though it most certainly can be if we ignore it for too long. I have a how to (of sorts) blog in the works about the ways to bring forth your Shadow, and methods of integrating it into your everyday life.

This blog however is going to be about a group of us who I believe to be seriously underrepresented and even chastized; thrown to the side, not taken seriously, feared, mocked, and utterly misunderstood.

I am talking about those of us who were born of the dark, we are the dark, we exist in the dark, and we move most freely amidst the density of the Void.

It is important to understand that in order for balance to be maintained on a grand scale or collectively we need practitioners who do Dark Magick, just as we need those who do White Magick. Now, I know, I know, Magick itself is not Dark and it is not White; it is everything and nothing, but without those of us who solely do “Dark Magick” the balance would be tipped; just as it would be tipped if there were not practitioners who solely do “White Magick”.

I think, ideally, the end goal should be a balance of the two, or what I call a Gray mentality, but that’s not always attainable and that’s okay.

Do you hear me, Dark Ones?

That is okay.

I personally have always been attracted to dark things, even as a child, and that of course made me different. I didn’t want to be like everyone else anyways but when you aren’t given the choice to be rebellious and people just expect it or push you to become that way, it gives a certain type of power but also a certain type of pain.

I have felt both deeply and I believe my love affair with the dark has made me who I am today. My power comes from that pain, as most power does. People think that our pain or our wounds make us weak, that we cannot be “good enough” unless we heal these traumas.

Just as some wounds are not meant to be healed which is why there is such a thing as the wounded healer; some people are not meant to be balanced.

Anger, rage, a hot temper, emotional outbursts are all part of my being; they lie so close to the surface that it is sometimes next to impossible to move passed them without first going directly through them. I denied these parts of myself for so long because Women are taught not to have a voice as loud as mine, an opinion as strong, or a will that moves the stars.

I suppressed these aspects and was acting out in other ways; I was getting my fix of the darkness by living dangerously, I mean truly, truly dangerously. There are more times than I can count at this point in my life where I should have been killed because of the people I was hanging out with and the decisions I made, but here I am, and here I remain.

As much as I have a quick reaction time, and the ability to spit venom on a whim, I have love in me that knows no bounds, and a thirst for justice that cannot be quenched.

I can’t hold on to the happy/lighter emotions for very long before I slip back into the shadows, begin to analyze the world and vibrations around me, as if I know of nothing else to do. I am a worst case scenario thinker, too, but wouldn’t consider myself a pessimist. I see the good in people, it just so happens I see the really bad, too.

So, how do those of us who love this place of solitude and seclusion incorporate the light into our lives?

I am the first to admit that I fear the light and all that comes with it. I fear being happy for too long because I don’t want it taken away as it always has been, I fear being in love but I am the most hopeless romantic you will ever meet, I fear being vulnerable because I know I have a wrath that is insatiable and uncontrollable if I am hurt.

And, so, I sit in the dark alone.

Those of you like myself have to make the conscious choice every single day to raise our vibrations, we are not like other people; we are not like other practitioners.

We are the ones who love death more than life, we are the ones who choose the Daemons over the Angels, we are the ones who prefer the Moonlight to the Sun’s rays. We are the bumps in the night.

These are just some tips that I have picked up along the way, and I want to share them with you, especially because I see a few struggling to get out of the darkness just as I have been doing.

First, you have to find your truth and live in it. This is probably the hardest thing to do because usually finding your truth means destroying another’s illusion. We lose our old life when we shed our old mentality and this can be a hard transition.

When we find our truth we become unshackled from all the chains that society has put on us; we are finally free. There is a pure happiness, a pure joy that comes from knowing we are being true to no one, and nothing but our very own Soul. Through finding my truth I have learned that happiness does not mean always having a smile on my face, the path I walk simply does allow for smiles all the time, but happiness means that I am creating my own destiny by fully being present, and making my own choices.

That should make anyone happy.

Second thing we need to do is go out in nature. This is probably a no brainer to some people, but to others they may not even think about it. Just like humans there are parts of nature that are not balanced, there are parts of nature that are dark, just as there are parts that are light and of course several shades of gray. Think of an apex predator out for blood, then think of a delicate flower in bloom and you will understand what I mean.

The polarity of nature is the polarity of man.

Nature is a gift to us, by whom does not really matter, but we are meant to enjoy this gift. Walking outside and getting some sunlight for even 15 minutes can greatly raise your vibrations, while cleansing your Aura and Chakras. Walking barefoot will ground you to the Earth’s energy while forming a connection and possibly relaying messages with the Elementals and other Spirits where you walk. Walking in water, or even next to water will calm the mind, and soothe the nerves; also walking near water will cleanse any negative emotions from strong Empaths like myself.

Third thing to do is laugh. Some of you may think this is silly advice but it is so important to fucking laugh! Don’t take yourself so seriously all the time, and for me this is my biggest struggle. I don’t only take myself too seriously, I take others and life too seriously as well. It doesn’t matter what it is that makes you laugh, I mean don’t be a douchebag and laugh at another’s expense, just laugh.

I find that when I laugh I am brought back to a child-like place in my mind and heart. I find this intriguing because my childhood had plenty of struggles and there were many, many times where joy was not present but when I hear my own belly laugh I can’t help but think of the little girl I once was; the little girl that never got to fully live.

In those moments where tears are streaming down my face from a funny cat video or a baby laughing, I live for that little girl lost inside of me.

The fourth and final piece of advice I can give to incorporate light into our darkness is to love. I’m not just talking about loving other people, I mean love yourself, too. Loving someone and accepting love are probably two of the hardest things for anyone to do because love makes us vulnerable, love means forgiveness, love means sacrifice– love means a lot. I personally think we have forgotten what true love is really like, some people will live their whole lives without ever experiencing it, which is why self-love is paramount.

Give yourself the love you never had, give yourself the love you deserve, give yourself the love you so generously give to your passions; take some of it, and give it back to yourself. And don’t be scared to show your love, either. I believe regret can be worse than rejection, so say it, even if you know they won’t say it back. Sometimes those three words can make all the difference.

I have accepted myself as being a creature of the dark and I wouldn’t have it any other way but the Shadow can only be cast when the light is shone upon it.

Lesson from the Light



“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Brené Brown

I had taken yesterday off mostly because the group kept me really busy, and rather entertained, but also because I needed to do some things for myself; those things included stopping at my local Witch shop to get some supplies and crystals; I don’t often go up to the shop (it is about 30 minutes from me) but yesterday I had a calling to go, and so by myself I went.

That was a huge deal for me, to go by myself, and then to add to the hugeness of it all, I stopped at the craft store on my way home to get some jewelry supplies. It was a day for me, a day doing things that make me and my Soul happy, who cares if wire, glass viles, herbs and rocks are what make me content.

I even broke two toes on my way out the door yesterday, I taped them together, put closed toed ballet flats on, and made myself go. Obviously not the wisest decision I ever made, but man was I so proud of myself for this little accomplishment. I often get so caught up focusing on the big accomplishments and goals that I completely miss the everyday small milestones I hit.

Before I had left there were a few comments going back and forth in the group about the Shadow self (which influenced my Jung post on NR last night) and how one needs to face it, accept it, and incorporate it into the whole, or we lose out on a big part of this experience.

It was also mentioned how the shadow self can become violent, and can endanger your wellbeing, and sometimes others if not addressed. If you try to repress it, and it is ready to rise there will be a major internal conflict that is sure to boil over at some point.

In the car ride, which besides the shower is where I do some of my best thinking, I started pondering my own journey with my shadow self, and it hit me, it hit me hard…I have always had my shadow, but never my light.

I push the light away like the plague. It is almost like kryptonite to me, it makes me feel weak to be happy and carefree. I wonder what Jung would say? I wonder what Freud would say? What trigger, or moment in life caused such a fucked up mentality?

I have always been like this, looking back at childhood pictures (and there aren’t many) I notice I was always scowling; now at such a young age, with my flawless alabaster skin have a deep set crease line directly in the center of my eyebrows. I am proud of that “scowl line”—I prefer to call it my thinking line.

I am always lost in thought, always have been.

No matter what the cause though, no matter the trigger and if it is from this life or previous ones, a collection of all even, this is my current reality. I am not some miserable person though, I laugh, and crack jokes; people often say to me, “I didn’t expect you to be so funny.” I don’t know how to take that, so I smile and say thank you.

I admit I am moody, I change day to day, hour to hour, a ticking bomb most times but to know that about me is to love me because that IS me. I feel that being me, and my authentic Self, shouldn’t affect my happiness, and at times the lack of light does. Obviously.

I mean this quite literally, too, I push the light of love, joy, happiness, peace, spontaneity, lighthearted fun– I don’t ever let myself have fun! I take the world so seriously, too seriously, and I always, always have.

I blame some of it on the fact that I am awake and aware, so it is hard to see “glitter and rainbows” but the fact is, no matter how dark life gets (and mine has been very, very dark at times) there is always beauty, joy, fulfillment etc. in SOME aspect, it may not be perfect, it may not be a smooth ride, but if you look close enough the light is always there, waiting to be acknowledged. Once you tap into the light it multiplies, it grows, it’s an all-consuming presence, which is probably why it scares me so much.

I sometimes equate my darkness, my shadow to my badassery, a hang up I have, I guess.

I fear the light, to be honest, and when I find myself getting caught up or lost in those “light moments in life” I switch it off, put my defenses up, and reject the feeling. If the situation involves someone else, I will pick a fight so that they can’t love me, so that they can’t give me that feeling of (insert emotion here).

Major fucking self-realization.

I can’t change who I am, but I can become more aware and be mindful of those moments when they come because they are ever fleeting. I have to let the light in, or I am an unbalanced, incomplete being.

My mind, heart and soul heavy with shadow remind me daily that this mortal coil dies every second, so it is of the utmost importance to live every moment.

A lesson I need to put into practice.