A teacher told me once that we get to make three major descents into the Underworld of our lives. Perhaps, at the outer edge of age in this body, I will delineate in that way. But for now, every visit to Persephone’s Land counts. And it feels important to say it publicly that this is where I have been.
It’s the time of year for it; that spiraling, labyrinthine walk into the depths of the heart and mind. Our mythology calls for it, as the days grow shorter here in the Northern Hemisphere. We get a little freaked about that still, and fill our time with lights and shopping to stave off what lurks in that darkness. We celebrate the return of the Sun/Son.
Another teacher said to trust the re-emergence. This feels true; I give myself permission for the journey, because I know I can come back. And come back with treasure. Today I want to share with you a little of those jewels… tis the season, right?
Descent can look like this for me; a quieting and slowing of external engagements. Moving away from my connections and contacts in the outer world, to focus my gaze on my inner landscape. To do the bare minimum of work, housework, connecting with others. I spend time in bed, cocooned in warmth. I take a lot of baths. I don’t return phone calls or emails. I miss commitments or bail on them. I don’t reach out for support, or let anybody know what’s going on. This year, because of all the somatic awareness I’ve been working so hard to develop, I was also blessed with the guidance of my body. My body was all about releasing trauma.
While trauma held in the body may seem like a mysterious, looming and unbeatable foe, it is my experience that once accessed, it can quickly move through the body towards release. The more you’ve got, the longer the release process will take, but it’s do-able. The thing about it is that even if you’ve dealt with the issue that caused it in the first place in talk therapy, and it’s no longer a trigger, the trauma can still be there stored in the tissues of the body. It’s gotta come out. In my studies of Somatic Experiencing, one of the best ways to help it release is to shake the body vigorously.
My body guided me through the process, and it was indeed a bit messy, but end result is emergence, so stay tuned for that. Not only emergence, but coming back with a new level of embodiment and understanding. This time, part of my process included a sleep disorder. Night after night, I awoke ten to fifteen times. I would wake with a start, be fully alert, and in my body feel something like urgency. After trying all the usual stuff people try for sleeping, and nothing working, and with exhaustion and sleep deprivation impacting my life, I started shaking. It was more like feeling compelled to it; I would wake, stand, and shake my entire body for several minutes, and then feel the discharge and be able to quickly return to sleep. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Night after night, for six weeks or so. It was pretty brutal.
The other component that was happening was a lot of moral inventory taking. Looking deeply within to determine the accountability I have in one of the relationships that created much of the trauma. And here’s where the treasures come in. Although I didn’t feel like a victim, I was pretty in love with my blame story. And I learned that blame is a hook, that it always attaches to a victim story at the other end. Blaming and victiming are always about power.
I learned that I get to choose my hooks, and I can learn to release them. (It’s a lot of work!) Family of origin is full of hooks. Relationships are full of hooks. To be free and untethered, I have to remove those hooks.
Removing the hooks is about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a verb, not a noun. It’s an active process of sending good or neutral thoughts and energy to the person you are working with forgiving. Every time the story replays, noticing it and gently removing the hook. Finding compassion for the hooks, and the way they keep us connected, albeit dysfunctionally. Loving the body and the Self enough to risk unhooking. Seeing what the relationship is beyond the hooks.
I think there are other hooks besides blame as well. A working definition of a “hook” would be any situation that blocks our highest consciousness, and keeps us trapped in stories of hurt, anger or fear.
(I realize this is long and rambly, and I’m not going to edit it very much for the realness factor.)
The shift for me into re-emergence came in the hot water of Sierra Hot Springs, where I’ve had several life-altering revelations over the years. You might want to go there if you haven’t. It’s this: I could choose to forgive. Just let it go. Be like “Yeah, okay, that was hard, and I lived through it.” I could choose to recognize that we are all hanging on by a thread, and doing our very best, and no one is EVER going to be able to get it right. We are all fucked up, human, imperfect and yet it’s okay. That that person is just another struggling human, not the Dark Lord. There was this moment in my body where I GOT it on a somatic level, what just letting go would feel like. I haven’t done it yet, but I’m much closer than I was before.
And that was kind of it. I released a bunch of trauma. I did a shitload of moral inventory. I got on a body level the connection between blaming and victiming. I had a revelation about forgiveness. And now I’m back online.
I re-emerge to find: There are shifts in that particular relationship already. I have more space in my body for new things. My dreams are powerful again. I’m having more pleasure in my body. Magick is happening all around me. My friends are annoyed with me. I feel excited about the end of the world, and the birthing of the new one.
I pray my explanation of my process serves you in some small way. Blessings on the return of the Light, and Safe Home on your own inner journeying.