“She’s got the whole dark forest living inside of her”-Tom Waits
You cannot lie to The Yaga, she will see right through your lies, tear out your tongue and feed it to the cat. She will twist your guts and cackle as she does it.
When she asks you a question, when she speaks, it is best to just tell her the truth. Even if it hurts to look inside yourself, to get inside your own head, because if you don’t and you lie to her, she will do it for you, and the outcome won’t be all the riches in the world, and a pretty dress.
Most of the Trauma’s in my life don’t haunt me like they once did, they don’t leave me clawing at my sheets and drowning in sweat and tears, they don’t appear at inconvenient times while I am at work, or in polite company. The things I struggle with most are my Anger and Rage, my Depressive episodes and my Anxiety. They have been around for a long time, you could even say that they were the “gifts-curses” given to me by some Dark Faery Godmother as a babe, that I have been struggling to overcome ever since.
It is not easy being ridden by the Hag of depression. She will keep you in bed, holding you down, you will feel exhausted, unable to move, as if a thick, soupy fog was entering into your lungs and veins. You are heavy, and thick, and full of muck. Because you cannot bath, or get to the healing vapours of water. And so you drown in muck, and fog and exhaustion.
Have you ever felt anxious about the dirt. The way that dust, and clothes, and dishes pile up? Anxiety about such a small thing- and yet The Hag rides me, so I sit there anxious, and unable, while the dishes pile up, and the dust accumulates, and the dirt, and the smells seep in. Sometimes I wrestle the hag off long enough to get the work done, but other times, especially in this heat, this deathly heat, I struggle.
And then there is Rage, biting and angry, red, and violent- hot waves of spirit breath down my neck, in my body, exploding in a mess of blood and fury- The Rage may be the worst, because it changes me in unsubtle ways.
“Our spiritual anatomy links us to the Web of all fate and life, and we are connected by deep venous threads to the land we live on. Every creature, every plant, each rock and spirit that resides in the land is a part of us. We are deeply rooted in the soil in which we plant our Witchy gardens and we are ensouled in every living or natural being. “- Nightshade – The Dark Forest
Shadow work is not as simple as going back into the past and healing the demons, it is harder and darker than that, because sometimes these things don’t want to be healed, they want to be integrated, they want to show you everything that is wrong with society, and they want you to know that to fit in with a society sicker than a bloated corpse, will only make you sicker.
But I cannot lie to the Yaga, and I am in her house, and I have to admit things and look at things which I did not want to. And so I came to my allies, the animals and the plants for help. And this is where the Dark Forest Journey Begins…
Each week, I will draw a card from The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck, and work that animal’s magic and wisdom into my life, through exercise, through crafts, through deep meditation, through research and living. It sounds simple- and because it was inspired by the Bad witch work-out it seems easy enough. But the animal spirits aren’t always nice, and their lessons aren’t always light- To learn the Medicine of my double- The Snake and of the one who rules my moon, Scorpion was to undergo a very literal Death. The lunar journeys have been a part of that, getting me closer to my wildish self, working magic of poison, bone and words. This Dark Forest Journey is only a deeper level of that.