Everybody’s underworld is different. Mine is a dark wood full of giant trees but I can’t see any sky above me as I’m below the ground. The trunks of my trees are entwined with the roots of those above the ground, they feed them, tell them how to grow, communicate with them.
The air is warm and moist down here. At first nothing moves but if you have a closer look you’ll notice the myriads of insects crawling around in the ground and on the roots and trunks. If you listen close enough you might even hear their tiny legs making noises on the black humid earth.
I feel like within a vast sheltered cave which I can’t see any boundaries of. Water is running somewhere. For me it is a safe place that gives me serenity and peace, where the only noises come from the water and the insects and amphibious beings. Everything seems to tell me to have a little rest, to pour my worries down some creek or bury them under the welcoming roots of a giant tree within the moist earth full of bugs that will take care of the decomposing process. I like to imagine walking barefoot through this landscape, feeling the earth beneath my feet, the tickling of its inhabitants, maybe even a snake slowly sliding over my toes whispering to me whatever is on its mind.
So what to do if you are called to work with the underworld and its beings?
I have always felt being drawn to Hekate and over the years I had longer and shorter workings with her. One stood out as a very intimate experience which was completely unplanned and unexpected and gave me a huge boost forward this summer. I won’t go into explanations regarding her name, her attributes and powers. This is something that can be researched online pretty easily. It is enough to say that for me, she never seemed to be distant but caring. It is not always easy or comfortable to process great amounts of energy during workings or communications. But she makes it bearable by adapting herself to the size of the vessel. Like a drop from the ocean she still contains every aspect of herself but instead of drowning you can actually drink that one drop (which will still burn through your veins and your body and you most likely get a huge hangover from it).
On the night of November 16 she calls for the release of things that don’t serve us anymore. Obstacles, toxic parts of our past, our pain, our anxieties, our guilt, our distrust. What is it like to stand in the woods in the middle of the night of one November 16, feel the earth beneath your feet and bury your sacrifices with your bare hands and nails (I told you before this blog will get your hands dirty…) in the cool, moist ground, feel the insects crawling over your fingers, cover everything with half rotten leaves and leave some eggs as an offering there? For me, it felt like being in my beautiful peaceful quiet underworld and leaving things I don’t need anymore in my life.
But here comes the crucial point: Each and every emotion or experience I buried there – on the real material plane as well as on the inner one – had taught me something. No matter what it was, no matter how much it hurt, no matter how much it broke parts of me, still I needed it to become the person I am now. Far from perfect, but open enough to try to move on and still love, commit, hope and laugh. And acknowledge my darker parts, even if they might be scary sometimes. So I sacrificed things I don’t longer need but I also shed a few tears because they were great teachers.
In the end we are responsible for our own sovereignty. We need to decide which experiences and emotions we allow to define us, to which ones do we yield some of our personal power. If you are going to tell the story of your life you don’t have the choice what you experienced but you always have the choice in which words you describe your experiences. This is also called a narrative and taking control over one’s narrative is a deeply magickal act connecting us to our very cores.
Not allowing some of our experiences to define us might also mean a phase of insecurity because as long as we had that frame of definition we knew at least where we were at. It sounds a bit strange but if we know distrust then it makes us feel safe, which is of course nothing but an illusion because it doesn’t decrease the actual probability of being lied to. However, it provides us with a kind of comfort zone where we might not feel very comfortable but in the end we can at least say: I knew it. To actively leave these patterns means to have to build new ones, to leave our (dis)comfort zone and this requires courage and strength and being able to tolerate being vulnerable.
So burying things isn’t only a material or a magickal act, it is also the act of taking control over one’s narrative and changing patterns. With rituals like these we actually offer the greatest sacrifice, our own vulnerability and set out to claim new territories of the mind and the soul. And as these are intrinsically linked to our magick we reclaim our power that we need to explore the infinite landscapes of magick that open up in front of us.