Monday, 23 March 2015

Deeper into the Shadow Bag: Fear of Failure

A long time ago, when I was just a little girl someone told me my way was wrong, and it has affected me ever since. Last night I had a dream, a shadow dream. This dream represented my biggest fear, it spoke softly but it's words dripped with venom, I got caught up in the drama and I ended up on my knees afraid saying along the lines of "I'm a coward, it's all my fault". From a surface level it appears to be true but underneath, deep down I have been fighting tooth and nail for myself from myself. Self doubt is a most vile poison especially when you gladly swallow it and don't think twice. For a very long time I would second guess myself and always take someone else's word over my own "They obviously know better then me" and this is what I did, for the most part, with everyone. My self-trust was practically non-existent.
This has affected me as a witch as well. When I first stumbled into witchcraft (I was introduced like many via Neo-Wicca) I remembered that, for the first time in my life I had something, a one up on my depression. I cried with utter relief and sure enough it was one of the factors that helped me out of that black pit.
Recently I have started on a new path in witchcraft, that of the hedge rider. Much as I loved green witchcraft something was missing, and I found myself on the path of hedgecraft. This isn't the first time hedgecraft has appeared in myself, it has emerged a handful of time, and each time previously I was dismiss it with remarks such as "This isn't me" "I'm not doing that" "That looks scary" but when hedgecraft come around again I took a step forward. It hasn't been easy, deer lord no. In the space of about 4-5 months I have accidentally astral traveled, almost been devoured by demons, been prey of faery trickery, had dreams and visions more vivid then anything I have experienced so far, met more plant spirits, manifested my familiar spirit, conquered the mystery of my tidal wave dream, and most recently I became an oracle.
Pretty bloody intense huh? I feel that all this is only the beginning. hedgecraft has been a challenging and rewarding path. I have changed so much I almost don't recognise myself, but I love the person I am becoming. But this is not what this article is not about my new found path as a hedge rider.
The shadow dream made me realise something, I am utterly afraid of failure. Now, I'm not really how or why I fear failure, logically I know it is a part of life and how we learn and yet the anxiety that grips my heart is undeniable. This is connected to my self doubt because I simply don't trust in my own power.
I rarely do spells, the ones I do are simple one driving by a need at that time and intuition, but they're not life alternating. Why? Because I'm scared because I believe that it will fail.
Currently I am reading a wonderful book called 'Kissing the Hag: The Dark Goddess and the Unacceptable Nature of Women'  by the Emma Restall Orr. In her book Emma goes over the difference aspects (archetypes) of a woman's nature from childhood to elder. The chapter I read last night was about the Witch, and after I read it, I realised that this is the witch I want to be. At the heart of it, being a Witch is about taking control and getting what you. Emma says there are two keys the Witch is through her emotions and the forces of nature, and she is in control of both, with complete confidence. That is what I want, that complete trust in myself and my power, that is what a Witch is to me and what I will now work for to become.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Opening the Bag of Shadow: Facing my Fear of Rejection

This isn't going to be an easy post for me to write, as I type the anxiety is swelling in my chest and my ego is yelling me to stop in my track, but I must go on. I must write. Who ever said shadow work was easy?

But before I get down and dirty, I'm going to explore rejection.

I think for alot of people, rejection is seen as a negative thing, it makes us think that the because we have been rejected we are somehow unworthy of it, and of course deep down we know it not to be true, but if we have not done the work to confront this, well, we do ourselves alot of damage.
I think for most of us this fear of rejection is sparked when we're children. As child we pretty much are who we are in the purest sense of the word, we care little for what other think of us and we do simply what makes us happy, but at some point that changes, someone makes a comment about us 'you're too loud' 'you ask too many questions' 'you're doing it wrong', and that is the birth of our bag of shadow. The shadow I speak of is the one from Jungian psychology, it is the parts of ourselves that we reject and are ashamed of. Now these things aren't necessarily bad, for alot of us they are things that have been deemed 'unacceptable' by other people so we put them in out bag of shadow in hope that we will be accepted. Acceptance from other is something that is drilled into us, one must be accepted by their fellow peers and society otherwise  no-one will love us, and this is where the fear of rejection is born.

Now I'm going to take you back to my childhood:
As my mother tells me, when I reached the age to start nursery school I was alot brighter then my fellow classmates. My mother had taught me my shapes, colours, how to count to 10, how to write my name and the alphabet. I was excited to start school, I was full of questions and hungry for knowledge. I wanted to be front and centre, and to learn about everything. But for whatever reason this enthusiasm was seen as a bad thing. My inquisitive nature was met is was met with exasperation, my intense brightness was pushed to the back, and I was told my way was wrong  and that I had to do it the 'proper' way. So from that very young age I was taught that I was unacceptable, and so was the beginning of my self censorship, where I cut off, burn off, covered up, masked myself for the acceptance of other. What has it gotten me? Isolation from myself and an instilled fear of being unloveable, which I have carried with me all this time since childhood. How has this fear affected me, well, I have pretty much isolated myself from other people, I have no friends outside of the internet (though those I consider friend online are every bit as real and importable to me), I'm actually scared of people to be honest, scared of what they'll think of me, scared of them mistreating me, scared of being rejected. I make decisions that aren't necessarily good for my growth, I tend to make them based on not making waves and not upsetting other people. I keep my opinions to myself, I keep how I feel to myself, I hide from the world.

Add caption

So now I am going to tell you who is reading this all the things I hide about myself:
Hello, my name is Emma, I'm 28, I'm unemployed and still live at home. I have struggle with for years what I suspect is undiagnosed depression and social anxiety. I sleep most of the day away because I don't want to be wake and when I wake up I'm sat in front of my computer attempting to somewhat redeem myself by helping other people. I am in a long distance relationship with the most wonderful man I have ever know, he lives in California and I live in England, the beginning of April will mark 6 blessed years with him (I love you Ryan). I hide my body because I pick my skin, I believe I have undiagnosed Compulsive Skin Picking, it's a form of OCD. When for 5 years from the age of 16 I was in a relationship with a guy, same age as me, who used to molester me when it believed I was asleep, and sex with him was always painful and greatly uncomfortable, as a result I have a fear of sexually expressing myself and for alot long time I had a fear of men, because I believed that if a man found me sexually desirable they would no long regard me as a person and see me other as an instrument to satisfy their desire. I'm am not happy with my life, there are only a handful of things that bring me joy and I not long what to live this way. My dream is to marry Ryan and be a housewife, I want to cook and clean, and make out home feel warm and welcoming. I want to be a healer, I want heal the body, mind and spirit with herbs and their spirits, with the love in my heart and with these two hands. I want to be a village witch, crafting charms for love and good health, blessed newborn babies and guide the dying to the Otherworld.

So here I am, all of me and not just the part I want you to see. I won't appologise for shattering any illusions you had about me because I am done hiding, I am done living in fear of rejection, I am done you hear me DONE. So if you don't like what you see unfriend me, unfollow me because I don't care anymore, I don't care if you like me, I don't care if you approve of me. I DON'T FUCKING CARE

Because as my mother told me from a school report so very long ago "Emma doesn't relate to her peers" and you know what, good, I'm tired of censoring myself for others comfortable. So from this day on the mask is gone