This post is the third in a series. Click here to begin reading at the beginning.
Today I pick up as I left off.
I am at my altar, stripped naked of everything I was, everything I held dear.
I cast circle, but differently, darkly.
It burns like indigo fire, this boundary, a boundary that is the earthen walls of The Underworld.
I wash this space with the salty, murky depths of the ocean, the tears of The Underworld.
I smudge with the transformative fire of the Dark Mother.
I ask Ereshkigal to be present, as I do Her work.
I don’t call the Quarters, I have lost the ability, I just seal with Elemental pentagrams.
My circle is strong, but it is Her circle.
This is Her place.
This is Her time.
Again, I feel that sense of looming dread.
Yet, it is not enough.
I must go deeper, return myself to the broken and stripped state of passing through the Seventh Gate.
That state, that when I reached it, was oh so familiar.
I have certainly been here before, at Her feet.
So many times have I been here.
Today my work begins.
The reason I am here, to get at the naked truth of my life, my current circumstances, my shadow self.
To delve deep into my soul, to understand who I am and what I want in life.
Anger, frustration, sadness.
Why are these feelings so dominant in my life right now?
Repressed anger, repressed feeling.
I am here to sweep away the debris and uncover the root of my problems.
This is the business of The Underworld, the Dark Goddess.
This is where understanding and wisdom of the self resides.
This is where I reconnect with myself, my soul.
This is where I face the cause of my problems, my unhappiness and dissatisfaction with my life.
My marriage has fallen apart, yet I don’t know how I feel.
I don’t know why I feel so angry, so lonely.
I don’t know what went wrong.
I am here to find understanding of my deepest self.
I am here to find my soul.
In the gloomy confines of The Underworld, I feel comfort and safety.
This is a dark place, yet I feel safe, surrounded by these subterranean walls and the arms of the Dark Mother.
This is a safe place, to face all those parts of myself that I have long repressed.
Repressed hurts and resentments that are now affecting my life, my enjoyment and gratitude of life.
In The Underworld I write.
I put pen to paper and write whatever comes to hand.
I fill my journal with automatic writing, my deepest mind, heart and soul given free rein.
It is hard to read back through it now, I don’t read it all.
It is painful and sad and having been dealt with, I see no point in going through it all yet again.
Now, it feels like I am reading the writing of another, I don’t relate to it anymore.
It is not my pain.
It is a distant memory of another’s pain.
I wonder how I held it all inside myself for so very long.
I understand why I had become so very unhappy.
This is an understanding of the ways of the Dark Goddess.
She bares her sword and prunes us back of all this dead wood.
All those old wounds, wounds that we still carry around inside of us.
Hurt that we would prefer to hold to, because it is a known factor.
To let it go is to give into change.
Change is flinging oneself out into the void of uncertainty.
Her ways are painful, but in the long-term, Her ways are healing and rejuvenating.
Some of the things that come up in my Underworld writings surprise me.
These are the things I was not aware I still carried with me.
Things I thought I had handled and dealt with, that had come back to bite me.
The more I write, the more I uncover, the more I understand the blanket of depression and resentment that has covered me.
I write of a thing that hurts me and spiral inwards toward something else, zero in on the root cause.
I find many layers of anger that need to be excavated and sifted through, to find the real problem within.
I work many different methods of shadow work down there, but for me, writing was definitely the most effective.
I write about my marriage, trying to uncover what has gone so wrong.
Within, I find the person I want to be, my ideal self.
A lot of my writing leads back to self.
I find why I am so unhappy in my marriage.
I find that I no longer love him, that he no longer loves me, that I no longer want to be in this marriage.
I find that I was in denial of these facts for a long time.
I was in denial because I was afraid to face the unknown.
I find that I want to be free to live my dreams, become the person I want to be.
My marriage has tied me down into a person I no longer am, someone I don’t want to be.
I realize rather early in this process, that my marriage is over.
I can’t fix it alone and I am the only one even trying.
I give up on my marriage, my Husband that does not know me.
I give up on it so that I can grow, become the person I want to be.
I have spent so much of my life tied to another, the idea of being alone is both a little frightening and exhilarating at the same time.
Can I live life as a single woman?
Do I have the strength to live without another to fall back on?
I discover that I do.
I uncover a deep well of strength within myself.
I uncover many things about myself that I didn’t know were there, things that were lost or forgotten.
I explore the woman I could be, the woman I want to be.
This woman is not tied down, by a marriage that has been over for a long time now.
I discover my marriage has been unrecoverable for years, I was just to frightened to face the consequences of that.
But now I discover I am ready to cut the cord and free fall into an uncertain future.
Having already done this ritually, I find that the prospect of doing the same on this plane, is no longer so daunting.
A valuable skill I learn in the Underworld relates to anger projection.
Projecting your own anger and feelings onto another.
With a bit of analysis, I have found I can learn something about myself and my hurts and disappointments.
I have learnt that you can’t change others, but you can change yourself.
Therefore, projecting your own feelings onto another is an exercise in futility.
It is far more productive to look at these feelings in relation to self.
Here, an opportunity to grow and change for the better is found.
I have also learnt the wisdom of the Dark Goddess.
She is hard to face, especially for the first time.
It is human nature to avoid Her, to run from Her ways.
But in coming to meet Her, on Her own ground, I have found many treasures.
Diamonds hidden deep within the earth.
Her ways are painful, her sword of truth is tumultuous change, but with this she offers the gift of transformation.
Indeed, that is what I found down there, transformation and the will to change my life for the better, no matter how painful it might be to do so.
I had come face to face with Ereshkigal, that dark and fearsome Goddess.
I found her within the things that I had hidden, even from myself.
I found her in the ways I had contributed to my current situation and the old wounds I had carried around with me for so long.
I did a ritual with a mirror and I saw her face, twisted and distorted.
I stood before her, I learnt of her ways, I found her within myself.
I ended up spending longer in the Underworld than I had originally planned to.
When the date of my planned ascent arrived, I knew I wasn’t ready.
I had not yet embraced Ereshkigal.
It was only when I took responsibility for my life, all the good, and most importantly, all the bad, that I felt I had finally united with her.
I had to stop blaming others and embrace my own choices and decisions.
The choices and decisions that had led me to where I was, that had shaped my life to date.
To acknowledge that I could be my own worst enemy.
Knowing that I carried the Dark Goddess within me, I found that I could work with her, rather than the polarity of light and dark tearing me apart, I could unite the two.
I could take all this negativity and put it to rest.
Only then could I use the power of the Dark Mother to improve my life and to achieve my dreams.
I could be my own worst enemy, but I could also be my own best friend.
With the unification of light and dark, Inanna and Ereshkigal, I found the person I most wanted to be and the power and strength to make it happen.
Only when I felt I had achieved this unification, did I feel I was really ready to make my ascent from The Underworld.
I also realized that I needed this extra time to allow myself time to grieve, to acknowledge the loss in my life.
Being in The Underworld during this time gave me a safe space to grieve, to feel my hurt and pain.