This post is the second in a series.
Click here to read the first post, Preparing For Descent.
My circle is cast, the Quarters have been called, Ereshkigal is here with me, her presence is strong.
A dedicated candle burns on the altar, representing the torch of Hekate, my guide, my friend.
The most precious parts of myself and my life are laid out before me, in carefully chosen symbolic objects.
For now they are still mine, but not for much longer.
I feel sad, in anticipation of the losses to come.
This ritual is powerful, the most meaningful I have yet experienced.
What I am feeling is hard to describe.
I struggle to find the words, as I commit this moment to my journal.
This day had been special, beautiful and bountiful.
The sun was shining.
My daughter had written me a heartfelt letter.
I had received some random messages from friends.
Leo, my dog, was happy and full of life, his eyes shining with joy as we walked in the sun that morning.
Now it is time to turn away from the beauty and wonder of this life.
It is time to face the darkened entrance to The Underworld.
The First Gate
At the first gate, I am to give up my crown, the most visible part of who I am.
I stand before the gatekeepers, my role as mother and nurturer in my hands.
Mother is such a huge part of me.
I had given birth to my daughter at the age of seventeen, she has been by my side for almost half my life.
She is my daughter, but she is also my friend and confidant.
We have always been close.
Mother too, encompasses my beloved animals.
My dog, my horse.
The ones that bring purpose and companionship to my days.
I love them dearly.
To pass through this first gate, I must relinquish these things, the ones that I love most.
I take a step forward, in this dim and cavernous place, and this part of me is gone.
I place the photographs of my daughter and my dog, in the chalice upon the altar.
I no longer have my daughter, my Leo, my Deal.
I am struggling to imagine my life without them.
Drew is seventeen now, almost grown.
Would she be ok now, without her mother to guide and provide for her?
She is not quite independent, on the threshold of adulthood.
She still needs a mother, still needs me.
My Leo, my little boy.
He cannot be without me, he is a constant by my side.
I know he would fret if I was to die, he would miss me so very much.
The loss of this, my crown, is a physical pain.
I feel it in my chest and stomach.
My life is barren and meaningless without them.
How do I go on now, having lost the central part of my life?
My heart aches.
My life lacks love and purpose.
The Second Gate
With a heavy heart, I move onwards and downwards toward the second gate.
I approach this gate with a precious piece of jewellery around my neck.
This is my originality, my quirkiness, the things that set me apart from the masses.
I remove my necklace and place it within the chalice.
I take a step and stand before the keepers of the gate.
This loss is easier to bear than the first, but it is a huge loss to who I am.
My originality. My daring to follow my heart and be different.
I am now plain, I fit the norm.
I no longer dare to do things that will make me stand out in any way.
My dreadlocks are gone. My alternative style of dress is no more.
My interests in the quirky and offbeat are gone.
My life is plain, bland, boring, without these things that make up who I am.
This aspect of myself makes up more of me than I had previously thought.
I don’t wear these things for fashion, shock value or to look ‘cool’.
I wear these things because they speak of the person I am.
I feel halved, less. I feel incomplete and somehow lighter.
I no longer pursue the things I enjoy.
I consume the mass-produced dross like everyone else.
There is nothing that makes me stand out.
I am no longer true to myself, or have any interest in doing so.
The Third Gate
Feeling incomplete and adrift, I come upon the third gate.
I now relinquish my home, my sanctuary, the little patch of earth that I have made my own.
I hold out my key and it is taken from me.
Relinquishing my home hurts almost as much as losing my family at the first gate.
This house is no longer mine.
I strip the rooms I have put so much of myself into, until they are bare.
No trace of myself, my family, or of our life here is left.
All of the things I have collected over the years are gone.
I stand at the gate for the last time and shed tears for my loss.
The trees we planted. The years we spent making this house our home.
No longer mine.
Other people live here now, I am no longer welcome.
The home I wanted to keep in the family, now belongs to another.
I have nothing that physically belongs to me any more.
I have no roof for shelter, no four walls that keep me warm.
This house is no longer my home.
I turn away and I descend.
The Fourth Gate
I come upon the fourth gate holding my pentagram.
This is my craft, my faith, my beliefs, my power.
Hekate, who has provided me a guiding light and divine comfort thus far, is now gone.
I am alone in the darkened bowels of the earth.
I give my craft and I no longer believe in magick, in deities or gods and goddesses.
I no longer mark the turning of the seasons, or experience the joy and magick of Beltane and Samhain.
Gone are the candles, sweet-smelling incense and fragrant herbs and oils.
Gone are the tarot cards, crystals and stones.
I no longer keep journals or create books of magick.
There is no belief in the purpose of hard times. I am bitter and angry at my loss and pain.
I find no magick in nature, the sun and moon are no longer divine.
My learning, studies and hard-won wisdom, all gone.
I have no interest in assembling and maintaining beautiful altars.
Magick is silly and childish, I have no business with it.
My power and spellwork no longer give me hope.
I give my faith, my power, my magick and with it, I give my hope.
I feel nothing, I am bare and hollow.
What is left to fill my life now?
I feel barren.
I blow out Hekate’s glowing flame from upon the altar, my guide and my friend is no longer with me.
I no longer believe in her or her many wonders.
Out go the candles I had lit for the guardians of my circle, my belief is no longer there.
The magick and energy leaves my circle. My sacred space is surrounded only by a dark anti-matter.
I am barren, without magick, without power, without hope and joy.
The only one left now is the Dark Goddess and there is no turning back.
The Fifth Gate
I approach the fifth gate with resignation. I feel as though I have nothing left to give.
But Ereshkigal is not done yet, there is always more that she can strip from me.
Already I feel naked and raw, though I still wear my robes.
As I come upon the gatekeepers, I hand over my journal.
Here, at the fifth gate, I give my intellect, my mind and curiosity.
I give up my words, my seeking of knowledge.
I give up my beloved books and my writing.
I give up study, the occult, tarot, astronomy and astrology.
None of these are left to study, I no longer have interest or belief in magick, nor the wonders of the universe.
I give up my blog, words that no longer interest me, nor give me pleasure.
I feel numb, bare.
I feel physically cold at this point.
I feel as though I have nothing left of me, the woman who approached the first gate in her finery, no longer exists.
I am a shell, a husk, yet there are still two gates before me.
The Sixth Gate
I come before the sixth gate with my wedding rings upon my finger.
I take them off and I hand them over.
They no longer hold any meaning, they are not cherished.
At the sixth gate, I give my marriage, my husband.
This one isn’t so hard. It should be harder.
But really, I have already lost it, well before I came to this place.
This is just recognition, an admittance that my marriage has failed.
I no longer have anybody in my life, I am truly alone.
The emptiness inside me grows.
I am surrounded by darkness and it is so very cold.
It feels like this is the end of my life, it is the end of my life.
I am old and I am totally alone.
There is nobody to care for, nobody to care for me.
All I have left is my strength and courage, to face this, to see this through, yet I know I have no choice now.
There is no going back.
I can only descend.
It feels like the end.
The Seventh Gate
I come upon the seventh gate, shattered, fragmented.
I am dying. I am cold. I am alone.
There is only darkness here, within and without.
I give my strength, my courage, my will.
Here, I give my body, my life.
My existence is all I have left to give, and she will take it.
She will take it all.
I strip myself naked of my robes.
I lay on the floor before the altar in total darkness.
I am broken.
I can’t get up.
It is too much to care.
There is no point in caring, no point in feeling, no point to anything.
My life is over, the spark of my existence is snuffed out.
Everything is gone.
Everything is hopeless.
I give myself to Her.
There is only Her.
There is only Ereshkigal.
It is done.