As a child I was terrified of the dark. There were scary things hidden in the dark… monsters, demons, things with red eyes under my bed, bad spirits, weird noises, painful nightmares, not to mention the other stuff of childhood torment.
The fear became so bad that I eventually started sleeping in my mom’s room and only moved to my own room again once moving out of that awful house.
I was still afraid of the dark as a teenager. The weird noises came back, the strange shadows, weird things that watched me as I walked from one end of the garden back to our little cottage, or from the kitchen back to my bedroom. Nightmares came, but the demons were gone. The devil was no longer laughing with his big red face in the air above my bed.
In my later teenage years, I began to find a comfort in the dark. The night was soothing. Sitting in the bed at night alone with nothing but the darkness cloaking me was comforting. I did spells in the dark, weaved my angsty magic hither and thither, but still the nightmares came. The insomnia came back and terror awoke me in the night. It was sometimes easier just to stay awake than go back to sleep. It was in the moments where others were still asleep and the night was still clinging to the atmosphere that I found I could meditate better, concentrate better and be more creative.
Once my father died I began to embrace the dark in a new way. Screaming out to the night brought me comfort. My midnight tears drenched my pillows but I always felt safe.
I started to read books on “Gothic/Goth” magic, and realised the pull that the night had over me. The night is a tangible thing, it has “mass”. You can actually feel the night descend, just as you can feel it leaving.
Later on in my studies I began to learn about Nyx and Nut, Goddesses who personified the Night, as well as my own Lady Hekate, who is the “Night-wandering maiden”.
I have now worked with Nut in my funereal/death rites, as She is the one who holds all of the spirits within Her body. She has also been of great comfort to me in times of depression and deep sadness, and I feel the soft beauty of Her in every night sky, as She falls over the Earth in Her loving embrace.
When I cast circles, often I call a circle of stars, Her body, and feel The Night and the stars cloaking me.
Going Skyclad takes on a new dimension when you are working with a Goddess like Nut. Being “Clad by the Sky” becomes an intimate and intense communion. The night seeps into every part of your body, it caresses your skin, coils up your nostrils and puts a veil over your eyes, a veil that allows you to see things which were once hidden by the glare of the sun.
Sometimes these things are comforting and beautiful. Other times they are grotesque and scary. They are no longer hidden in shadows behind the walls and plants, but confront you directly, because this is their realm, and because the veil of night has allowed you entrance, you now have no choice but to see them.
I’ve said many times on this blog that I have the worst insomnia, and that often my dreams are less than sweet and cuddly. Lately I’ve been dreaming of bones and dead things, zombies and skeletons, other worlds with headless people and sewers, dark things, things which confront me at night, things which force me awake at 3 or 4 in the morning and make me terrified of going back to sleep but so exhausted, anxious and depressed that I cry out to go back to sleep.
At night my anxieties are highlighted, they have a quiet space to voice themselves, and they are unpleasant, but I have to confront them. This is what Baba Yaga has been telling me to do, this is what Hekate has been asking me to do when she tells me to be silent and just be still, this is what Nut has been helping me to see.
I have begun reading “Women who run with the Wolves” and find it all very relevant to my fears and anxieties which come out at night, as well as my dreams of bones, skulls, skeletons, sewers, etc. This wild woman in me has been suppressed in many ways, and she is screaming to get out.
All of my Gods are telling me to just confront the damn things I’m so afraid of, change being the biggest fear and they wont stop with the nightmares and insomnia until I do.
I am at the very beginning of the book “In the Shadow of 13 moons” and it has struck a chord with me so far. I feel this book has very important lessons for me that fall in line with my devotional work with Anubis and Hekate as well as my work with Gods and spirits like Nut, Baba Yaga and the “Night terrors”.
The Night is indeed a place of comfort for me, cloaking me with Nut’s very essence, but it also a place where my fears run amok and a place where I have to eventually come to terms with my own inner demons.