Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Gift of Darkness

It is at Samhain, perhaps more than any other time of the year, that we as a culture, confront darkness. Why is this? There are a multitude of answers; because the nights have grown longer, the veil between the worlds is thin, or maybe it is because this time of year has become a cultural metaphor for the darkness within ourselves.

Samhain is a time of mystery, when the veil between the worlds is thin, yet also is the veil between our light self and dark self. It is here on this night, that culturally we confront our hidden selves and revel in them. Unabashedly and unashamed on this one night of the year we draw our masks from our spiritual selves and place them on physically, then rush head long into the dark and glorious night!

Yet there is much more to confronting our dark selves than a costume and paint. Author Timothy Roderick writes of a time, in the not to distant past when the cowan called the craft of magick the “black arts”. Black signifying forbidden. Those who would not venture beyond the light places, called it thus. As witches we should be able to walk between the worlds of light and dark, we should confront and embrace both. It is because of the shadow, that light can be seen, and understood to be light. Yet do we always remember this?

I am bout to give you a great gift..--the gift of darkness. You have lived with it all your life, yet you have ignored it, feared it, shunned it or in some other way denied it. But it has never gone away; gifts from the Gods rarely do.”

                                                           (T. Roderick, Dark Moon Mysteries)

Our darker selves complete each of us. It is the Yin to our Yang's , each containing one within the other, giving depth to our characters. If we, like in many of the new age and Judeo/ Christian religious teach, focused solely on our light selves, we would stagnate and weaken. Where would change and growth come from? We drawn not only knowledge but strength from our dark selves. We learn through challenge and adversity to become more than we are now.

The dark brings change. It reveals what was once thought forbidden in knowledge.

                                                            (T. Roderick)

By confronting and accepting our darker selves we can look into that element of our consciousness that is made of “significant fears, memories, emotions and experiences” that over the course of our lives, we have in one way or another rejected and held back from “flooding into our waking consciousness.” It is by doing this, that we can not only heal ourselves, but learn and grow. Knowledge truly is power. It is through knowing our darker selves that we can exercise healthy control and discipline for areas of ourselves that need a bit of work. Suppressing, ignoring or even trying to extract our dark selves, rather than acceptance, only allows for more extreme manifestations. All of our fears, dark memories, emotions and drives, never really go away. They only simmer beneath the surface, until they can manifest, just outside of our control.

So as the veil grows thin, perhaps rather than looking through to the other worlds, draw it aside and look into yourself. Get to know this dark side and in doing so, know yourself more completely.

Happy Samhain!