Dark spirits, light spirits, red ones, and grey.
Why does shit happen, and what do you say?
I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but …
… sometimes you get a new job, and you’re all gung-ho, and it’s amazing. Everyone’s as nice as can be, welcoming, and friendly. And you get settled in, learn your way around your new duties, and you get really good at it. You celebrate. Everything is amazing, including the paycheck, the benefits, the bosses, the coworkers … literally everything is roses and rainbows.
About a year or two later, the shit hits the fan. Stress is kicking your ass, you’re bored out of your mind, and you haven’t been challenged since you switched your shift for the good of the company. Some of the perks have been taken away due to budget issues, and everyone’s disgruntled-as-fuck.
And then a new corporation buys the company. And, if you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get terminated in a round of new-ownership-layoffs, benefits change. You get more vacation time, your hourly rate goes up, “Free Friday Lunches” are reinstated, and they spring for a new workout room to be put in the basement. Hellz yah!
Guess what? You’ve been ripped apart and put back together. You’ve seen the light-happy, and the shit-underbelly, and you’ve been brought back to life. Just about everything has a cycle like this. It seems to be the natural order of things.
And working with spirits is no different.
I’m here to tell you: occult work, whether Witchcraft, or Ceremonial Magick, or any other type of stuff you do, is not easy. Even working with spirits of most types is not easy. It will fuck up your world. And then make it completely amazing.
For example: Pan is not light or dark – He’s both, and He’s neither. He is completely neutral, but He also has a side of His personality that is light, but earthy, and one that is dark, and chthonic.
On the light side, Pan is all about sex, and fun, and music, and alcohol, and dancing. He’s the Piper in the Woods, and if you’re looking for a celebration, He’s definitely your guy. Give Him a pot cookie, and He’ll have you dancing naked around a bonfire in the woods on Beltane under a full moon. And you might even have an amazing time later in your tent with a fellow Dancer-Round-The-Fire.
On the darker side of things, Pan is a meat-eater. He’s an all-out carnivore. He will destroy your misconceptions about what it means to be a man. He’ll rip you apart with His teeth, and put you back together, piece by piece. He enjoys raw, bloody steak as an offering, and when He’s around, sometimes you can smell the dark, rich, blood-soaked soil. (Think I’m kidding? Or making it up? Work this shit the right way for once, and you’ll get a very different glimpse of the Piper in the Woods.)
But, is that anything to be afraid of? No. Like most things in life, Pan eases you into things. He gives you what you came for – the drunkenness, the dancing, the celebration. But at some point, if your work is to be anything other than surface, fashionable McWicca, you’ll encounter the other side. And sooner or later, everything evens out to neutral again, as Pan puts you back together, and heals your wounds.
As another example: Four years ago, I heard the call of the Morrigan – for the second or third time. When I actually paid heed, horrible things happened. I won’t go into details, but I was sabotaged by my Director of Nursing in my then-current facility. Due to unproven allegations, my chosen career was ripped out from under me. (Don’t believe me? There’s even a book about it, called Nurses Eat Their Young. You should check that out.)
But, thankfully, due to some obstacle-breaking work with Ganesha, and the Morrigan’s nurturing side (yes, She has one, although it might not be exactly what you’re thinking), I was put back together just a few months later.
You should not be fearful of this kind of thing happening. If you let yourself be paralyzed by this fear of the unknown, you’ll never grow. Granted, it is a scary thing. Change is often scary (even though most humans are programmed to believe they don’t like change). But it’s just that excited adrenaline rush of fear that keeps you on your toes.
If you’ve been around the occult community very long, you’ve might’ve heard of something called the “Abyss.” I’m not sure where the original idea comes from, but it’s regarding the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. There’s a spot where, when traversing the worlds, that you come upon a gap. And to cross the gap, you first have to fall into the Abyss, and battle the demon Choronzon to come out on the other side, as a bigger, better, badder-ass occultist.
Think Gandalf battling the Balrog in the caverns of Moria. You know: that scene where the Balrog’s whip wraps around his ankle, and he tells Frodo and the gang: “Run, you fools!” And then he’s pulled to what seems to be his death in the pit. Notice how Gandalf the Grey returns as Gandalf the White. It’s an extremely apropos analogy for battling Choronzon in the Abyss, and coming out the other end. Or for going through a Shamanic initiation, being ripped apart and put back together again.
If you’re going to do anything but surface McWicca, you’re going to have to go through this shit. And no, it’s nothing to be afraid of.