Currently I am reading several books, Avalon Within, by Jhenah Telyndru which I started a couple weeks back, and In the Shadow of 13 Moons by Kimberly Serman-Cook which I started today. Both of these books are books that I brought a last year but have never read. This is often the way of Pagan books for me, I purchase them and they sit on my book shelf looking all shiny and new, with that new book smell until until I get an urge to read them. And it is an urge, like a guiding hand or little voice that says you know those books you brought x months ago, it is now time to read them. Only this time the little voice also said, and quite firmly I might add, this time you will be doing the work in said book. O.O gosh!
Both books have a theme of self development and use a Pagan style frame to do the work. Both books are concerned with shadow work and working with a cycle of healing that involves a lot of looking at the self. Perhaps the words 'deepening the understanding' of the self is better phrasing. Both of these books use the seasons and the moon cycles as important aspects of the framework to use for this self exploration. Gosh it’s like there is a theme or something,*coughs* or something. Self ! I do believe I will be doing some self development of sorts yes?.. *smiles*
Avalon Withins' Author,Jhenah Telyndru is from the Sisterhood of Avalon. This book talks about a healing cycle of self healing, which from further reading on the Sisterhood of Avalon site is a stong theme of the Sisterhood tradition. This books lays out the five points on this cycle, Descent, Confrontation, Emergence, Resolution and Integration, these five points are combined to create a cauldron of transformation. Much of what I have read so far uses imagery from the Avalonian myth cycle, that I have to admit has great appeal. I always was a fan of the Mists of Avalon by Marian Z Bradley, that book for me was quite seminal in how I understood a witch and priestess to live her life.
So far I have done several of the meditations from this book, which have worked out well, an is the descent part of the cycle. I have meet my Avalonian guide and am now becoming acquainted with the huge apple tree which is the mother tree on the Isle of Avalon. I have also just down loaded the companion CD for this book which can be found on Jhenah Telyndru site. The CD has the several of the meditations read out, so that you can play along at home. I figure this will make it easer as it can be quite difficult for me to remember where I was meant to be going and who i was meeting. I did contemplate recording these meditations myself, but then realised that recordings of me sound weird to me so it would end up being to distracting, yeah, so the CD it is.
Next up for me with this book, Avalon Within, is to visit the healing/reflective pool and see what that has to show me. Once I have done that I will be ready for the second station or point on the cycle which is the confrontation. This is where I confront who I am currently and the shadow of who I am. It is, in a word, confrontational but then that is the point. A quote from the book sums it up nicely "Confrontation is the deepest point of the Cycle of Healing, the place where the roots of our disconnection and lack of wholeness are brought to light." pg108 The author also points out that this cycle of healing can be difficult the first time you do it, but is not as bad when you repeat the cycle and that this cycle of healing is an ongoing process. During your lifetime this cycle should be repeated many times, and I am with the author on this one. I have spend a large amounts of time on this path looking within and trying to figure out what it all means and who I am. its a thing. *grins*
With the second book Shadow of 13 Moons I have only just started to read it so am unable to give a fuller account. I am currently reading pg 15, so it is only just introducing what the author means by Shadow and darkness. I am however finding the book so far quite interesting and thought provoking, in a similar way to how I am finding reading Avalon Within. There are not a lot of book reviews on Shadow of 13 Moons that I have managed to find, but given what I have read in the book so far and the one book review I also have read, I suspect that it will be one of those books that takes time for it to become popular, or more popular than it currently is. So I guess we shall see.
What all this points to is that it is time for me to do some personal work. Work on who I am, where I am and what I am, deepening of the self as it were. This work will involve exploring the shadow and looking into the dark corners. I was going to say looking into the dark corners and bring what is in there out into the light, but i feel that for the part that would be wrong. My instincts say that shadow self is as much a part of me, as that which is in the light, its just that it is in the shadow, and perhaps not something that should be in the light, unless it should. Gosh this is becoming circular. *ponders this* My guess is, this is what the current reading and workings will all be about for me to some degree. This will be a period of getting to know more about my shadow, as well as getting to know more about the light aspect, it’s a balancing thing.
I believe the deepening of the self is something that is always going on especially for magical people, or it should be. This is something that is in so many ways cyclic, where each turning of the cycle reveals a new layer of the deeper self. Which is also like an onion with its layers. As you peel back one layer more is revealed, and while you are peeling your onion remember that not all the layers and what they reveal should be discarded. Accepting your whole self, your darkness, your light and every other shade in between should be, as I see it, the aim of the game.
Sometimes these cycles of deepening the self are not consciously active or conscious for that matter and at other times they are. This time for me I have a feeling that this deepening of the self will be a much more concious thing , more mindful, and will probably involve more actions in the form of ritual and meditation. This of course comes with several warnings, don’t make shit up, sometimes it is what it is or perhaps not time to look in that dark corner just yet. But it is however time to actively seek, to dare I say it get jiggy with, the active ritual side of my faith in relation to the deepening of myself.