(reprinted by request)
I’ve been talking to pagans for more years than I can currently remember. Hearing their ideas and thoughts; letting their energies flow through me, enriching my own experiences as a pagan and witch.
The one rather common factor among new pagans is their overwhelming sunshine. By that I mean, the light of their newfound belief system permeates every pour. The glow of freedom of soul shines bright in their eyes. They hint at a super nova of the spirit. They are ready to take on the world and shout about their wondrous pagan delights from rooftops all over the world. And I delight in each ray of Sacred Light. I draw it in and let it wash over me, refreshing my soul.
As we live pagan, breath the oxygen that is paganism, we realize that the shadows hold magic for us, too. Great magic. The magic of the night. The dark that cloaks us in its velvety embrace becomes more and more a focal point with many of us.
I am often asked how I feel about this shadowy realization in many of our lives. I do notice that the query usually comes from pagans who have been pagans for a very long time. The Light is still bright in their eyes. But something deeper has blended with it. An acknowledgement of another part of their being. An embrace of a “darker” side to their nature.
Don’t get me wrong… I refer not at all to “darker” being in any way connected to what some call Satanism or any related topic. We do not believe in Satan therefore we cannot practice a system based on this character.
By “darker” side, I mean that we come to recognize the night as holding more and greater mysteries than we have perhaps ever realized. The gods of night and darkness hold power. The methods of interacting with them or the darker aspects will differ in nature. They will draw from a deeper sense of the psyche. A possible pull from something stored in the memory banks of your existence. A recognition of memories blended from many lives…many experiences.
I believe in the principle of opposites. Many have written their thoughts on this. Kant and M.R. Cohen to name a few. The principle of opposites teaches us that to know one, we must also know the other. At the very least, acquaint ourselves to the best of our ability. In the knowing of the other, we can know the essence of the one.
As it is with our darker nature. Explore it. Enjoy it. Don’t lock it away. Use healthy boundaries just as you do with other things in your life. But don’t brush the shadows away because you think that as a pagan you must maintain a constant “light and sunshine” approach to life. There are many rich and safe ways to enjoy your darker side.
I have many ways of expressing this side to my nature. I do many night and dark of moon rituals. I use the night to enhance the work I do. I breath in the shadows and enjoy the velvety dark. I belong to several role playing clubs. My characters are always vampires and this provides a safe outlet for that part of me. I read voraciously and one subject I always read deals with Kindred. I write fiction and gothic poetry to feed that part of my nature. I enhance my environment and myself with gothic touches and atmosphere when the mood strikes. And I allow myself the luxury of the power of fantasy. It feeds my soul and melds the opposites to a blended whole.
Copyright J Thompson