Melancholy as a Spiritual Practice !
I had no idea what was happening all i knew was i could somehow feel the pain of the world. It was like there was no filter between me and the soul of the world, Somehow in them lamentable days my small body held all sorrows, all sadness, all grief.
Of course at the time i had no way of describing these concepts as i am now, all i knew was that it would overwhelm and consume me totally, i would huddle up and shiver waiting until the darkness passed. Upon which i would resurface from my small hide away extremely emotionally fragile but hyper sensitive to colour and light and the agonizing beauty of life itself.
I was never the child that saw spirits, that had psychic premonitions, that remembered themselves in past lives etc, i was the Shadow boy, the one who felt everything. As stated before i had no facility for describing this process when i was younger but it has continued my whole life.
In my teenage years i dealt with it by taking vast quantities of drugs ending up a full blown heroin addict, the ultimate pain killer, that numbed out everything.
Eventually i died, not physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually i had a total breakdown and was taken to the pits of hell within myself, where i was devoured completely by intense demonic forces.
Yet here i am 27 years clean from all drugs, apart from cigars of course ha and still this cycle persists in my life and why i wanted to write this short piece.
These last 27 years have not been without intense suffering also but now i have learned to use this process to my advantage and realize that actually this descent into the underworld, this dismantling of my psyche is in actual fact part of my spiritual practice, my shamanic path.Now when the darkness comes internally i honour it, i bow before it, i offer myself to it. First with a prayer, then the great descent.
Roughly every five years my entire internal map of who i am, what the world is and how i relate to it goes through a huge alteration through this death rebirth cycle. Literally everything i think that i am is confronted and then destroyed. It is the most agonizing experience and can take months and months for me to get through.
Nowadays if i went to a doctor or shrink I'm sure they would say I'm suffering from depression and offer me medication for it, this undoubtedly would place a chemical mask over the process, it would possibly make me more functional in the world but oh so much would be lost from taking it.
If anyone reading this now is already on medication i don't want you for a second to think my experience is yours and stop your meds. You have your own path and its your destiny to figure your way through it.
I only share this as my own experience and to say that spirit not only lives in the light and the upper world but also deep within the darkness of suffering, down into the blackened bed of trapped souls, that which needs to be excavated re integrated, embraced and communed with.
Many of my now familiar spiritual allies reflect this aspect of transformation, Crow, Raven, Snake, Horned God, Ellegua Alagwana, Babalu aye etc. All of these spirits are gate keepers to the mysteries of life and death and are no easy medicine to take or Ase to align with.
I can't help but laugh at those that wish to be a ' Shaman ' etc, of course drum circles are nice, journeying is helpful and fun but when its time to pay the Keepers their due most would run screaming and rightly so, the door to the devouring mother is narrow and full corpses who thought they would come looking for power but instead ended up dead or insane.
There is however a simple practice that anyone can do to transform the shadows back into colour and that is embrace the pain and surrender to the darkness. Take time to be with yourself, identify where the pain is within you, that's the thread, the tap root that will eventually unwind the entire Dark Bundle.
Now pray fervently for guidance and fully enter into it, surrender to your suffering. I know it feels like your enemy, that instead it should be banished and broken but in truth it is your soul screaming for attention, crying from the darkness to be recognized, to be seen, to be embraced and most of all to be loved.
My experience has always been that in the fires of hell and the depths of the underworld, at the core of darkness lyes something more beautiful than can ever be imagined, more tender and sweet than any blossoming flower. It is the Great Secret to all the Mysteries, it is the seat of the soul and the pain of its birthing pangs back into the world.
Melancholy is a spiritual practice, only those that dive deep ascend to the heaven.
Bless you all on this Samhain, may the Gates enamour you to action !
Images; Jacek Solkiewicz