“That place… is strong with the dark side of the
Force. A domain of evil it is. In you must go.“
“What’s in there?“
“Only what you take with you.“
―Yoda and Luke Skywalker
While my image isn’t a cave in the Star Wars Universe, it’s one in Ireland, the conversation between Yoda and Luke Skywalker has been a powerful one to look into. Have we taken our own journey into the perceived dark side?
When we consider that what we take with us (our own behaviours and issues), we are the dark side within the cave, and the torch that guides us out. This speaks directly to the work of integrating the Shadow self into a wholly integrated Witch.
So are you ready to get vulnerable with yourself? (Author note truth telling: I’m working through this myself, as I write it).
Recently I’ve been deep into the world of Brene Brown, and her incredible research into being vulnerable. She indicates that in order to truly be vulnerable, we must also build our boundaries because without them we are solely speaking vulnerabilities into the world with no container.
Words are power witches. So speak to the boundaries and vulnerability. Then you will carry the tools needed to enter the caves of Kalypso like Odysseus, Hekate’s Cave, the caves of Dagobah, however you name the Cave. The place in which your Shadow resides. You can integrate with it, owning your Power, or you can walk in like Luke, with the lightsaber, and cut your own head off, thinking that eliminating the shadow is the answer.
What Boundaries are we Setting?
Take some time to really mind map or brainstorm out what values are important to you. For me the boundaries that stand firm as I write this are integrity, truth, sovereignty, and reflection. As we build these boundaries, it encourages us to dig into our vulnerability. Often the things that bother us in others are where we need to look in ourselves to determine our boundaries.
Integrity. Pursuing a life that aligns with our Witch’s Soul, with our values and ethics. By journeying in to the caves of Shadow, we can find our way to integrate and understand the motivators of our Shadow self and work with it. (You can read all about working with our shadow self in The Shamanic Temple of Witchcraft by Christopher Penczak, a book that I highly recommend).
Truth. Sitting with what we know as true for ourselves, what we know as true for the community, what we know as true for our world. Write and reflect on what is true for you.
Reflection. This is fully about looking at myself and seeing what’s happening in the mirror. How does doing this help with our boundaries? Well sometimes we see how we push up against others when we might not have realized it before. Witches, this sucks. I have been there, not realizing I was up against another’s boundaries, and it has cost friendships. Clarity of what you are doing can help you build your own boundaries. We need to do this hard work of looking into ourselves and our own faults so we can then build the boundaries of what behaviours we engage in that we wouldn’t accept from others.
Sovereignty is self love by fully engaging with ourselves and embracing our Powerful Witch Nature. When we seek the Crooked Path, walking it to our own Truth, liminally living, we are Soul Seeking the Crown of Humility, our Bornless Self, and the advancement of our Witch Soul.
I’ll write more about some of the concepts I mention above, but I definitely recommend checking out what Christopher Penczak says about the Bornless Self, and Devin Hunter’s Book Series on the Witch’s Power, Spirits, and Soul. For now I’ll share some of my tips on how to enter into the cave, be vulnerable, and know yourself well. Doing so means that your Witchcraft comes from a place of Power and Sovereignty.
- Let go when it’s time, like the seasonal shift of leaves falling away, or the storms that break the branches. Like this amazing sketch from Tyler Perry’s Madea, there are times when people are in our lives like leaves or branches. We are also leaves or branches for others. Go into that cave and know yourself so you don’t stick around longer than you should, stepping on their boundaries and your own in the process.
- Trust your square squad. This is a Brene Brown concept, where you write on a 1 inch by 1 inch square, the people who are your tree roots. Those who support your growth, those who give you the space to feel vulnerable, and will speak truth to you in love. This exercise can help you figure out who falls into Number 1 above. If you have someone you thought was a root but they are a leaf or a branch for you, sit in your cave in meditation and let that hurt come out (you can do this with a square squad person as well). Name it, feel it, and move forward in strength.
- Let your witchcraft focus on the boundaries that support your growth as a wholly integrated witch. What are your core values and beliefs in life? Does your magick focus there? For example, if a core value for you is social justice, do Witchcraft activism. If the protection of the planet is your passion, focus your magick there through community gardening and working with plant spirits. I suggest checking out the Temple of Witchcraft ministry model for inspiration and correspondences as each ministry focuses on a particular correspondence related to the zodiac sign. Using that model can help you connect to more of what you are working with in the “mundane” world. Details are at http://templeofwitchcraft.org/structure/ under ministries.
So witches, I hope that you join me, and boldly step into your own Dagobah caves, carrying all that you are, and wearing your strength and boundaries, sovereignty and self love. Find your self within the cave, and love your Shadow self.
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