As I Descend
By: Shirley Lenhard
On the last full moon, on October 13, 2019, I did a simple ceremony of fire and release and I let go of some fairly old, self-deprecating tapes that I had been playing to myself for a very long time. I am facing fears daily that I have allowed to stymy my growth and that have quite honestly kept me in a place of stagnation for far too long. “As above, so below” was my first writing prompt heading into the darkness and I recognize the similarities between that phrase and my dilemma of reconciling what is inside of me with what I portray outwardly. That has been a stark realization for me and one that I am grateful to recognize.
Every year, as I descend into the dark days to reflect on the year that has gone by in a blur, I begin to review the “13 Goals of a Witch” that I discovered when I first started out on my path, and was reading Scott Cunningham books as quickly as I could find them in the strict Southern Baptist area I was living in at the time. They are as follows:
1. Know yourself.
2. Know your Craft (Wicca).
4. Apply knowledge with wisdom.
5. Achieve balance.
6. Keep your words in good order.
7. Keep your thoughts in good order.
8. Celebrate life.
9. Attune with the cycles of the Earth.
10. Breathe and eat correctly.
11. Exercise the body.
13. Honor the Goddess and God.
These goals have been the vehicle that brings me back to my center when the descent begins. This year, I have decided to take each in its turn and journal as I go inward. The first writing prompt for me this year was “As above, so below” and my next 13 writing prompts, one for each week between November 1 and February 2, are each of the 13 goals, in their turn. This is going to be a particularly interesting and revealing year of seed work for me as I delve deeper than I have in other years on my journey toward my own spiritual evolution, self-empowerment, self- actualization and personal responsibility.
Beginning with “Know yourself” my plan is to use my handmade Book of Shadows to journal the entry, write my thoughts on my initial impression of the goal at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week, reflect back and journal on precisely how close I may have been from my initial impression or how far off I was from that entry. This first week will take me to places that I have long blocked, boarded up, and neglected. It will require me to tell myself the truth about my feelings and opinions about myself. I am outwardly a confident and loud person. Reflecting on who I am and knowing myself more intimately than any one else knows me, there is a reason for my bravado and loud personality. It could be that I am boisterous as a defense mechanism. It could be that I am loud and overly comedic because I do not wish for others to perceive me as insecure. I was of the notion that I don’t care what other people think of me, but will this prove out to be factual? I don’t really know because I haven’t even begun the process of really knowing myself just yet. I will, though. I will know myself well enough to plant seeds of change and inspiration and, for now, I must ready myself for the dive headlong into the coming 13 weeks until Imbolc.
For me, the process of journaling is a ritual in and of itself. I cast a circle, I light candles, I have a writing altar that I set up and, for me, ceremony is necessary to keep my focus on the ritual of writing things so intimately revealing. I use a special pen, I pass my book and pen through a blend of sage, mugwort, wormwood, and lavender that I made for this ritual. Now that I have a sage holder from https://www.earthwarrioressentials.com/ (which I did not even know was a thing) I cannot wait to use it rather than propping up a burning bundle of dried herbs! I will begin this process of self-discovery and, hopefully, come through each week with something to
share and contemplate for the next week’s writings. I hope that the dark days usher us all across the threshold toward understanding who we are, what we want, and directly into that which will bring about our highest and best good. Until next time, be well and be blessed and make every moment count.