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01 November 2015 @ 07:24 pm
alien observer  
labyrinth of lights, photographed by sylvan on 10/31/2015

so that was one hell of a samhain ritual.

one of my witch sisters texted me yesterday afternoon, looking for someone to cast for saturday's public-facing ritual for the local reclaiming group. i've only previously been to our little group’s secret gatherings, as i don't typically do well combining energy work with groups larger than ten. i’ve always been a strong receiver and, while i haven’t taken the pee test or anything, seem to demonstrate as an empath. at the muggle wtf appreciation level, my social anxiety can make group work awfully messy, especially if there are strong extroverts and senders in the mix. which there were. some of my closest friends are strong extroverts and senders. but i thought, sure, i'll go, i'll cast, it'll be good to get out of myself a little. i didn't know that there were going to be more than thirty attendees, most of them total strangers and extroverted enough to beeline to the local reclaiming group’s public-facing samhain ritual.

the dark and dirty truth of it is i don’t feel like i’m particularly good at being a witch. my practice is scattered to the four winds. i’m certainly more cohesive than i was at twenty, but still sometimes ramble around philosophies, cherry picking, forgetting myself, forgetting the macrocosm, using techniques opportunistically and occasionally scaring myself out of going deeper. some of that probably indicates a need to expose myself to more practitioners and structured experiences. more of it would benefit from a strengthening of focus and discipline, building up the muscles, especially around altered states. i haven’t been able to induce trance sober since i was a teenager. i’ve tried every safe technique i could find and a few unsafe ones, too, with little success. the closest i’ve come has been working with binaural entrainment, but even that’s been failing me, lately. the issue has become increasingly depressing and feeds into my avoidance of group work. there’s this grinding dissonance, almost audible, almost physical, feeling like the big fake pretender in a candle-lit room full of practitioners readily able to will themselves into ecstatic states.

most of it, though, is my lack of confidence. i don’t have the energetic heft of my witch sisters, who can trance out and bring (almost) everyone in the room with them, instantly call up libraries of chants and techniques, and improvise invocations that take my breath away. mostly it’s my endlessly clumsy awkward, the sticky tongue and unsteady shoes, those matters that have always haunted me. it’s a little like trance induction: i understand the idea of confidence, but only conceptually. i’ll get halfway into an invocation and run out of words. i can never remember the pre-fabs. i shake shudder and stagger. the idea of being charged with doing a ground and center or leading one of the more verbose group trances fills me with terror.

so. here i am, purposed with casting circle for a group of six friends and many strangers. wondering how long it is going to be before i am sprawled on the floor snorting like a piglet while my poorly cast circle wobbles off down the street and god, what if putting a trance-impaired individual in charge of creating sacred space for a group trance negatively impacts everyone’s experience? that’s like, thirty people i’ve failed, most of them total strangers. it’s a good thing the room was so unbelievably gorgeous, with the walkable labyrinth (password for 2015: LABYRINTH) of rope lights, red string, and battery candles or i might have bolted from the yoga studio.

like i said, i can’t do the words, so i improvise with sound and movement. last night i brought my singing bowl, fond companion of nineteen years, chimed at the quarters and attempted to draw an invoking pentacle with the bowl in my hands, an idea that generally looked a lot more cool in my brain. still, it seemed to get the job done. to open, i walked in a circle droning the bowl and it was fine, nobody got killed or exploded or anything. i am pretty damn good at directing energy, after all.

saturday morning i dreamed i was holding my forbidden son in the room where he’d been born. it was a messy room in a messy house full of messy people who were confused and angry with me, usually the case in dreams i’ve had about pregnancy and childbirth. what was not typical was my contact with the newborn. usually i black out as labor pains start or wake up after giving birth and the child is gone. people came into the room to yell at me or order me around and i’d just stare them down, then return my attention to the infant. at the end of it i sat nursing him, heard someone coming up the hall and i willed the door to close, from that moment forward only admitting people who wanted to share the moment, not attempt to take it from me. the door closed. i woke up.

at the end of the ritual, which, yeah, was quite a ritual and i’m not quite in a place where i feel right describing it, we were each invited to take a card or two from the group’s box of misfit tarots as a portent for the coming year.

my second card was the empress, backed with a chartes LABYRINTH.

fingers crossed that’s all allegorical, ‘kay?
music: dark muse - saturation
translucentflowerfalls on November 2nd, 2015 07:03 pm (UTC)
dreamt last night that I was telling someone about how I could go into a trance state through dancing, which is not something I've actually been able to do since college. So yeah, the ability to direct energy through sound and movement is important!

also I managed to forget about samhain? somehow? and how that used to be an important night of the year for me. thank you for the reminder. I'm going to go burn some things.
selva oscura: hope is the thing with the feathersanonymousblack on November 4th, 2015 01:58 pm (UTC)
i've caught little glimpses of that in working my bellydance dvd, though i'm sure an aerobics video is a faint echo of what's possible for people who actually know how to dance. ;-) i've also definitely--well, i've been able to do a little sober trancing, lately, and the methodology certainly involves movement, but that's a discussion more for a friends-only post. also not appropriate activities for a public-facing local reclaiming group ritual.

one of the worst aspects of troubleshooting my trance induction problem is how often when you search out the internet to find experts being all, "some people are resistant to hypnosis. aren't such people annoying?" like it is categorically a choice i am making, not the result of decades of trauma-triggered hyper-vigilance. which is one theory. the other is a little more fuzzy and goes back to the idea of being a writer. the commentary track is always running. i'm always stringing together words and sticking them on experiences. in order to trance, you need to let that go. for a substantial period of time, you have to let it go.

one of my witch sisters thinks it's one of my "guardians at the gate" (just a quick blurb there, but you should also see endnote 18 at the bottom of the page), possibly some karmic lesson i need to learn in this lifetime. which is what spiritual injury often is. yeeha.

hope your burning of things went well!

Edited at 2015-11-04 05:02 pm (UTC)