The Crooked Path

Autumn leaves of various shades and hues of gold, russet and brown litter the pavements and pathways of these fair lands.  Walking among them I like to occasionally kick them up into the air, remembering those slow and carefree childhood walks to school, weekends spent gathering and playing conkers.  Life was so simple then, decisions were made for us, the rules and boundaries were set and all we had to do was follow them…occasionally.

Over the last month or so it seems as though Fate Herself has taken a carefree stroll through the pavements and pathways of my life and kicked up my neatly gathered piles of leaves casting them into the four winds.  Now as All Hallows approaches at last, the leaves are starting to settle back down to earth, I can once again take a firm grip of the proverbial rake, and begin to sort the upheaval back into tidy piles (although apparently with some changes.)

Through choice and necessity, I am not one of those Witches who can turn completely away from the mundane and live comfortably making a profit from my craft.  I have a full time job, friends, family, a partner and various other important commitments which demand time and energy.  Occasionally there comes a time when everything just gets too much for one simple human to bare and despite ones best efforts to successfully juggle all manner of balls eventually one falters and a few tumble to the ground.  It is often our efforts to correct these ‘glitches’ which can make matters worse, at times we may attempt to over compensate for what we perceive to be blunders which, 9 times out of 10, makes the situation worse and eventually we find we are no longer juggling effortlessly, instead fumbling around clumsily, trying to retrieve all manner of balls in the dark (and often more than we started with!!!)

And so it was with me not so long ago.  Having taken on too much, having tried to be super-witch, super-son, super-husband, super-student, super –everything, I eventually collapsed under the weight of such heavy, albeit self-imposed, burdens.   An almighty gust decimated my neatly raked piles of leaves and up into the air they went revealing all the rotten canker beneath.  It’s not uncommon to suffer a few autumn storms…perhaps fitting that this year is the 25th Anniversary of the 1987 great storm!

Although a harder task than it may at first seem, the Autumn Equinox is a good time to sweep everything that has outlived its usefulness away and to dig deeper into the depths of self to find what truly makes us tick.  Just as our Sacred King descends into the belly of the underworld, to be transformed, so too do we occasionally need to follow suit.  He shows us the means to recoil from what might be considered ‘the real world’ a little, to retreat from the trappings of 21st Century living and get to grips once again with that which hides buried in the depths of the earth…the heart of the matter if you will.  This is not simply a case of excavating dilapidated ruins but actually traveling down through the winding labyrinth of ego and persona into the very tomb of the soul to find the truth at the very core of our being.  Here we face questions like who am I? What am I? What do I seek from this life? Why do I seek it? And so on…tough yet pivotal and highly revealing questions!

Anyone familiar with ‘The Tower’ card found in most tarot decks will be familiar with the sensations and experiences this can bring.  Feelings of wreckage, destruction of all that was once familiar, and a sense of complete abandonment and helplessness…the ‘real world’ is shattered only to discover it was never ‘real’ at all.  No matter how hard we may seek truth, are we ever really prepared for what we find?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no…then do we then embrace it? Or fight it?

Mod Cons such as Facebook and Twitter, Yahoo groups and Blogs often serve only to perpetuate the masks we wear  and many [online] personas seldom live up to reality.  Yet sadly it is many of these synthetic personas which the majority chose to favour, often with ‘tweets’ of constant praise and let’s not forget the effortless ‘like’ button.  What they fail to realise is just how truly damaging their ‘masks’ can be to those of little confidence, low self-esteem or who simply lack experience.  I found myself falling into this trap often comparing my own craft to that of others simply because of the egos they have created for themselves and occasionally felt the after burn of “I don’t do it like that…I must be wrong!” and so on!  To the Witch who lacks confidence whether it is only a momentary blip or a constant struggle it never occurs that actually maybe, just maybe there is no right or wrong!  And many people will agree that faith in one’s self and one’s ability can take years to cultivate, but only seconds to destroy!  This blog, was initially intended to be about my craft, my path, my land and so on, yet had somehow morphed into what I thought others wanted it to be…my blog in many ways had become a reflection of my life, no longer was it about me and my vocation, it had become what I thought others expected or wanted it to be.

I boldly made the move to step away from the distractions of facebook, twitter and the blog for a while and delve deeper than I have for quite some time.  It is only when we descend into the mound and meet Him face to face looking rather cross and shouting at us to “Get Real” do we truly sit up and pay attention.   It is only when we admit change is not only needed, but essential that we truly open up to the Old Boy and see what’s been hiding in plain sight all along!

Weeks have been spent in quiet solitude, going about my business, regaining strength and resolve.  I have found myself staring at a bombed out wreckage deciding what’s worth salvaging, and what can be sacrificed and also asking myself why do I do the things I do, why do I own the tools and implements I own, why…why….always why?!   And truth be told so much has happened both inside and out that I couldn’t possibly go into every detail, in fact I can barely remember everything but needless to say it has been a harsh yet rewarding reminder of why we call this path the crooked one.  It winds in and out, up and down with peaks and troughs as does the very serpent which slithers and wraps itself around trunk and bough.  Yet it’s also a reminder that every step, no matter how painful it may be at the time, is always a step in the right direction.

The winds of change blow through the trees stripping the old to make way for the new, nature shows us that we have our rhythms just as She does, for we are just as much a part of Her as any tree or migrating bird.  All we need do is adopt Her pace and learn a little patience.  And after all, if change and growth don’t hurt at least a little, we probably ain’t doing it right!

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