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selva oscura
my brain is strange and unsettling
sometimes i just leave it that way
sometimes

ritual instructions: gather
  • your body (clothing optional)
  • private space where you may work unobserved and uninterrupted, to specify
  • in order of preference: a dark room/a room that can be reasonably darkened/an opaque scarf/your eyelids
  • a candle (one with a meaningful personal history preferred*)
  • some manner of purification (breath, storm, dirt, weeping, rosemary, juniper, sage, palo santo, egg, rattle, singing bowl, bell, salt water, florida water, black tourmaline, metal consecrated toward this purpose, emphatic gestures, intention spoken in a commanding voice)
  • an image related to you if not of you
  • anointing agent (blessed water, holy smoke, properly diluted (!!!) essential oil, condition oil, perfume or nearest approximate, voice)
  • a moment in time when your sister will probably not attempt to call on the house line and contingencies should this occur, because it very possibly will, you and she are connected on many subtle levels; she has a number of the very capacities driving you toward this behavior: just a lot of very different application methods
  • a moment in time
  • a mirror


  • put your phone in airplane mode. unless you plan to use your phone's technology to document some aspect of this ritual (i frequently record) put away your phone. i understand. it is an act of faith. i understand. who knows who could be calling. who knows what the president might do. put your phone away, regardless, please. you will be reunited shortly. comfort yourself with the knowledge: this is a magical act.

    enter your space. prepare your body. perform those tasks you perform to initiate ritual: purify, ground and center, make circle. take charge of the space. return your attention to the task. return your attention to the task. return your attention to the task.

    light the candle. notice the flame. be with the flame. gaze at it. stare at it. look at it. what's the difference? look at it with your eyes focused. look at it with blurred vision. look at it with your eyes closed. how does it change? move from side to side, tracking the flame. move from side to side, not tracking the flame. examine the flame's boundary: where does it end? examine the flame's boundary: where does it begin? after looking at the flame for several seconds, close your eyes and witness the remainder of that flame as it disintegrates. experience this flame as another awareness in the space with you. understand that you are not alone.

    with that knowledge, take up your image. be with your image. gaze at it. stare at it. look at it. what's the difference? look at it with your eyes focused. look at it with blurred vision. look at it with your eyes closed. how does it change? examine what separates you from this distinct image: how are you different now? examine what bonds you with this distinct image: what remains the same? after looking at your image for several seconds, close your eyes and witness the remainder of your image as it disintegrates. what do you notice first? what do you release, last? what do you anticipate seeing when you again open your eyes? experience this image as another awareness in the space with you. understand that this distinct image possesses its own distinct life cycle, that this image will experience things you will never experience, that you have experienced things this image will never even know about. think of what has happened since the inception of this image. consider the memories that surface in this process. choose one such story and tell it to your image. after you are finished, listen for and give voice to the story with which your image responds.

    understand that you are not alone.

    using the anointing agent, bless yourself. anoint the top of your head. anoint the bottoms of each foot. anoint any place in-between that you feel called to anoint. remind yourself you are loved. remind yourself you are remembered. thank that which brings you to this blessing and at least begin to forgive, with any trauma-necessitating qualifiers, something that may have taken you from it. name names. or: don't.

    take up the mirror. this might be difficult. acknowledge the difficulty. forgive the difficulty. remember the flame, here in the room with you. remember your presence, here in the room with you. do you want to understand your reflection in the mirror in the manner you understood the flame and your image? do so. do you not want to understand your reflection in the mirror in the manner you understood the flame and your image? don't. the important function for this moment is to experience the mirror's reflection as another awareness in the room with you. the important function for this moment is to remember that you are not alone.

    acknowledge and thank the flame, then extinguish it, meditating for a moment on how the energy shifts. if the room is dark, proceed. if the room cannot be darkened, cover the mirror with the scarf. if you could not source a scarf, close your eyes.

    covered or uncovered, your eyes closed or open, gaze into the mirror. open yourself to the function of reflection. understand that it is happening despite the obfuscation of your vision: if you in the darkness of this space is not being reflected, then the scarf. feel for the action of reflection in space and time. know it is there. how does it feel? what does it mean? what words come to you, in this intermediary space of seeing and being seen? speak those words. speak this truth. speak it until you have spoken it through.

    when it is time, return. thank everyone and everything that needs to be thanked. wriggle your toes. breathe in awareness. speak your name, three times, out loud. remember what you've most recently eaten. go eat something else. when you're ready, retrieve your phone and check in with the post.

    TRANSPARENCY MOMENT: this ritual is very much like rituals i have done and even borrows parts from other workings (for example, i've engaged in variations of that flame witnessing exercise since i was 14), but i haven't technically performed this ritual yet. i intended to describe an experience i had on beltane (may 1st) but it crumbled in my hands (true to form!) so i dropped into that failure, trance wrote for an hour and came out the other side with this. i expect to run it in the next couple days; this may inspire modifications. wouldn't it be funny if one of my readers tried it before me? almost as funny as finding out i actually have a reader!**

    i know, i know. understand you are not alone

    ______________________________________
    *i have a lot of these
    **BWAHAHAHAHA (sob)
     
     
    music: tunnel singer - rememberance