As we delve into the dark half of the year, we are also encouraged to explore the dark part of ourselves, but what do we mean by that? The “dark part of ourselves”? In society generally, speaking of our “dark side” is most commonly equated with something evil, something bad, something dirty or brooding or painful. This isn’t what we mean when we speak of our “dark side” in Druidry. Rather it is what is hidden away, left in the shadows of ourselves, unseen or unrecognized. To work with the dark part of ourselves is to look within, to contemplate what we are not bringing into the light of awareness. In the dark part of the year we spend more time in meditation, contemplation and sensitivity to our inner being.
The dark is not evil, it is what is unseen or hidden. Darkness in nature is not evil, so why would darkness within ourselves be evil? The night time is a wonder of sparkling stars, a glowing moon chasing the clouds, cool breezes, calls of night owls, the chittering of bats, the song of crickets and croak of frogs in the creek… It is the soft and soothing time of sleep and dream – a time to look within and to work with the subconscious world of symbols. Through the year the dark time is the winter, where we might feel inclined to spend more time inside; to head out a little later if we can and come home a little earlier. The home is an important place in the winter time. The hearth at the center – the heart of the home is tended to warm and comfort us.
We too need to reflect these aspects of nature that are dark as we explore our own darkness. We look within to our inner world of dream and meditation for clues of what we hide within. We spend more time in the inner sanctum of our body that is the home of our spirit. We become more aware of our inner being, perhaps through yoga or another form of conscious body work. We tend the hearth at the center of our being – our hearts – asking what it is that we need to feel warmed and comforted in this time of darkness and cold. How can we nurture ourselves and encourage what is hidden within to come out towards the light that we tend? It is a time for self-care and taking time to allow what is hidden to come forth.
What is hidden may well be emotions we tend to associate with “darkness” – grief, sadness, depression, pain, worry, doubt, fear, stress, trauma, loss. But we see them as dark because we have not allowed ourselves to feel them for so long, not because they are evil, unwanted or unacceptable. These feelings are very real and we need to work with them, bringing them love in order to bring ourselves healing. In working with them we bring them to the inner hearth, we warm them, we allow them, we tend to them with love and acceptance, asking what we need to heal and helping ourselves to find that. We might also recognize that what we hide is not what is generally associated with darkness. What we find hidden deep within may be love, vulnerability, passion, gentleness, uncertainty, a desire for approval. Our dark side is what we deny ourselves; what we hide away for fear of judgment or being undeserving. This will be different for each of us.
Looking into the dark side of ourselves is a practice of deep authenticity; being honest with ourselves and speaking our truth. In Druidry we work with this energy in our Druidcraft. The Bard works to reflect nature, expressing their authenticity and with connection to Awen. They speak their truth in poetry, storytelling, music, and art, and through this help others to heal too. The Ovate works through their own darkness so that they can also guide others through that journey of healing the inner self, using ritual, magick, and medicine to guide the process. The Druid becomes aware of this healing process as it is needed in the wider community, bringing the healing of themselves into relevance for the circle, society and the world.
As we descend further into the dark half of the year I wish you a blessing: may the darkness comfort you like a soft bed under a night full of stars and mystery; may the moon’s blessing shine down on you; may the dazzling darkness of your inner being bring you a deep awareness of who you are, how you can heal, and what healing you can bring to your community through deep authenticity and self-expression.
May the Awen be with you.
What does the darkness mean to you?
How will you take a journey into the darkness of your own inner being?
What within you needs to come to the hearth to be warmed and comforted?
How will you express your journey so that you can help others to find healing too?
If you’d like to know more about Druidry and connecting with the energy of the place where you live, you can read more about it in my book Australian Druidry: Connecting with the Sacred Landscape.