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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Psychic Work

I used to be much more religious in high school. I needed the ritual, the sense of normality, some hard edges to define some of the psychological and spiritual mess I was going through. I created my own traditions and rituals, based not on some sense of what the chain bookshops told me, but what felt reasonable and natural to me.

My rituals were grounded in old, recorded traditions. Some were quite contemporary, but made sense. I left offerings of food: bread, honey, milk. Imagine my delight on leaving out a glass of mead to find the whole thing overtaken by ants and tiny sweat bees. Some of these rituals were exercises of memory and focus. I would say a certain prayer when I would first see the sun, I braided white threads around my wrist to remind me of a certain prayer or deity.

I am not nearly as dedicated as I was then, but perhaps I don't need to be. I still keep my altar space deliberately in an obtrusive space so that I don't merely pass idly by: I must notice and appreciate it. I do extensive dream work.

Working with dreams has given me extensive psychological and spiritual growth. Sometimes, the dreams themselves are portentous, other times they allow me to come to a conclusion or realization of an issue that is affecting my growth. Other times they are spiritually revelatory (at least for myself). This isn't to say that it's all smiles and rainbows "down there". Much to the contrary, most of my dreams are harrowing nightmares and lessons in the bizarre. However, I have come to understand even before reading "Women Who Run With the Wolves" that the Dark Man of dreams is not a portent of my doom. He is not my enemy: he is myself. And he is not myself.

The Dark Man has always appeared as a trickster, one who I cannot gauge his overall goal, but for the present seems to be a guide. For many this is not the case, the Dark Man is their personal tormentor. I believed that for a while as well, but after analyzing certain details, I've realized that the Dark Man (whether trickster or tormentor) is your guide to the underworld of dream.

This dark guide doesn't care for your state of mental exhaustion, so by allowing the dream to take shape how it will, I have learned that he is showing me the horror of myself. This horror might not be a lesson of itself, but take the circumstances. If there is a nightmare theme that persists with a certain intensity, it means there is some issue your psyche needs to work through. The Dark Guide is there to show you to the door, but he cannot open it for you.

You will give yourself greater capacity for psychic work only once you give the Dark Guide the tools he needs to show you the way. He will always show up during times of psychological duress, when things are complicated, messy, and dreadful. He is not a devil, but wears the mask of one to force you to see the horror in your psyche. Dreams are the safe zone to get the most dangerous psychic work accomplished in the least amount of time. By enabling the Dark Guide to help you help yourself, he will escort you to greater dimensions of yourself.

The rapturous, blissful, bizarre, and monstrous: you are those things you dream.

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