I recently got my hands on a copy of The Twelve Wild Swans, which is the book to own at this juncture in time. The descriptor on Amazon says, “Starhawk and Hilary Valentine, renowned leaders in the Wicca movement, use the transformative fairy tale of The Twelve Wild Swans to teach an advanced class on magic. More significantly, this is an introduction to a mature level of Wicca called ‘reclaiming,’ a model of witchcraft that blends magic, personal growth, and activism.” I picked it up because (A) I need to get with the magic making already and (B) I’m interested in a more hedge craft/hoodoo sort of magical practice. I figured that in starting here, followed closely by Trance-Portation by Diane Paxson, then I can start this generalized practice I have in my mind’s eye.
Except that on the very first exercise in the book, I’m having a problem.
The first exercise is a grounding exercise. In effect, grounding is the act of tapping yourself from this Physical Realm into the Next Realm. The book discusses the aspect of moving from the conscious level, which they call the Talking Self, into a more in-tune-with-magic-and-mysticism-and-spiritual-things. They call that self the Younger Self since, as a child, you’re more apt to believe in magic and unicorns and dragons and such things. I get this whole aspect, but when it comes to reading the lay grounds for the grounding itself, I’m at a complete loss.
“Stand comfortably, and roll and shake out your hips and shoulders, your knees and neck, so that you are loose and relaxed. Allow your attention to draw together into a glowing point of awareness behind your eyes, inside your skull. Allow this point to drop through your body, through your throat … your heart … your solar plexus … your womb … between your legs and down your legs and stream out into the floor or ground below your feet. Like roots, seeking the soil, easily down, down, down … through the foundation of the building (if indoors), through the topsoil into the earth … past the shards and bones of those who came here before us, past the water table, into the rock, down, down, down … Feel the pressure and heat of mother earth’s living body, feel the rock begin to move, soften, feel the magma power, the pulsing heart of Mother Earth, beating, warm, incredibly strong … Rest here a moment … Now begin on your breath to pull the earth’s energy back up toward your body, breathe up through the magma, ancient peoples, through the topsoil and into your feet … up your legs on a breath … into your pelvis, warm, surging up into your belly, breathing, filling your chest, down your arms and into your throat on a breath, becoming a humming sound, up and out the top of your head, where your skull was open when you were born … reaching up like branches, like antlers into the sky reaching for the sun, the moon, and the starfire shining in the dark and behind the dark, connecting to the luminous, dark powers of the sky … Let the sky energy rain back down on your body, feel the energy of earth and sky flowing up and down you, rest in the certainty of as much energy as you’ll ever need … When you’ve had enough, kneel down and touch the ground, letting any extra energy flow back, keeping what you need for yourself … when you are ready, stand up, fully grounded and ready for magic…” (pp. 13 – 14)
It’s partially visualization and partially letting go: two aspects that I have the most difficult time with.
I have become such a control freak in the face of my ex-husband. This is me, getting back at him, in a way, for being such a controlling man when I was with him: I had to turn the tables, so to speak. It’s as if I have to show him that I have complete control of my life now and I never needed him to control mine. And because of this underlying pathology, I’ve become such a control freak about everything. I’m a strong-willed kind of bitch and always have been, but it’s grown truly worse since the divorce. I mean, I can make myself sick with how controlling I have to be about everything: finances, dinners, when the car gets cleaned… Everything was minutely and finely planned out.
This is, of course, one of the first things that Papa Legba had to teach me: to let go.
And since I am still in the very center of that lesson, I’m finding it very difficult to relax enough with this exercise.
Another problem in all of that is that I live in a very busy household. I have a three-year-old, soon to be four, who is all over the place all of the time. I do not have quiet time: hell, there isn’t even private time when I go to the bathroom. I’m lucky if I can hop in the shower for five minutes without a hitch. Not to mention… We also live in a tiny fucking apartment that means that private time isn’t really had, anyway, since we’re always running over one another. It’s vexing, to say the least. Okay. Vexing is an understatement. NOT TO MENTION THE LOUD AS FUCK NEIGHBORS DIRECTLY ABOVE US WHO ARE LOUDER AT NIGHT FOR SOME FUCKED UP REASON. (As I type this, they’ve become a herd of elephants up there.)
And then, of course, there’s the visualization aspect. I have such a difficult time with visualizing anything. I write stories, for fuck’s sake. Nothing is in movie format in my head: nothing. It is all words, words, words, which is, you know, the complete opposite of visualization. I love using my words and writing scenes in my head and whatnot, but it’s absolutely posing a huge fucking problem in this trying to ground myself shit. FOR FUCK’S SAKE, I CAN’T EVEN VISUALIZE A DOT OF ILLUMINATION BEHIND MY MOTHERFUCKING EYEBALLS. How fucked up is that shit?
I’m really trying not to freak out about this. In fact, I’m trying to remain calm, cool, and utterly collected about all of this, but I’m finding that difficult as well. Practice, practice, and more fucking practice, right? It’s just like going on a diet: there is no magic cure (hurr, hurr) that can make it instantaneous. It takes time and hard work. I get that, rationally, but that doesn’t really help the irrational subconscious FREAK OUT that is going on beneath my cool exterior.
Not to mention, I don’t feel like I can move on with the practicals if I can’t, you know, fucking ground myself properly.
What the shit, man? What. The. Shit.
Everyone has gone to bed. I’m going to see if I can just get some basic breathing exercises done while I listen to… some form of music for a bit. If I can at least get somewhere with breathing exercises, maybe I can try the grounding stuff, too.