My Discovery of Shadow

A few years ago, I felt a huge pull to leave my home in Philadelphia. Something was calling me and I could not shake it. I knew I wanted to dive in deeper to myself and my spiritual work and the calling was to create the space in order to do so. I convinced my Syracuse-born boyfriend (now husband) that we should leave the magnetic city for an Amish centric town called Lancaster. You could imagine the work I had to put into convincing him that Lancaster is, "Cool & Up and coming." Luckily, he saw how important this was and how I would not easily let up, and he agreed to move our busy worlds to a comparatively smaller town. 

Once we moved, I felt a shift in my work as a market manager for a craft brewery. I REALLY wanted to leave even though they were a great group to work for. The night I decided to tell a friend I was done, he told me to wait it out. I really didn't want to take his advice, but I knew I needed the money, so I sucked it up. A week later, they let me go with a hefty severance that would allow me to stop working. Divine intervention was doing its best. 

I was excited at the potential to not have to work for any one, but I have to admit, going from jet-setting, busy work days to being home was a huge challenge. As with any career-driven woman, I believed that most of my value came from what I was doing in my work. I was well respected, well known, competitive, innovative, I constantly pushed forward. What would I be without any of that? I had to learn how to stand still.

In my stagnation, I went to see an oracle reader that I trust. He said I would be shedding who I was to step into someone new, that a belief of who I am would no longer be, but I would be walking toward a beach only to find myself in a desert. The reading perplexed both of us. Lots of cards that rarely showed up with each other. I had a Cranial-Sacrial session where the practitioner pulled me aside and asked, "Is there a belief you're holding onto that you need to let go?" "Yes!" I replied. I just wasn't sure what that belief was! On top of the dreams, signs, animals spirits showing, I was swirling around this idea but could not for the life of me pinpoint it. In retrospect, it all made the most obvious sense, but that's what retrospect is: 20/20.

So there I was. I made the move, I made the space. But I had to learn to be still. There were so many business ideas, so many tears, I was pushing people away because I did not understand my value in my most Authentic Self. Shit, I didn't even know who she was or what that meant! Then Hecate started showing herself to me. I have to admit, I didn't even know who she was. She found herself into conversations I was having, TV shows, I even dropped my phone once and when I picked it up, a page of her was on the screen. So I started to work with her doing all of my ritual work in the dark. The dark...something I had been afraid of my whole life. As a kid, I would hysterically cry if there wasn't a night light. As an adult, I didn't learn how to sleep in the dark until the moment I worked with her. 

During this time, my car had been hit 3 times while it was parked or stopped. It seemed like a nightmare, but your car always represents where and how you are getting thru life. Each time It made me STOP whenever I was becoming a busy body (mostly because my car wasn't drivable). But each time, I got a check. The second time I was hit, my car was at the mechanic for 2 weeks. With nothing else to do, I wandered on the internet which ended in me finding a lender that would help us buy a house. We didn't have money, we didn't know how to do it, but out of nowhere we got a check that would cover our down payment, we found the house, we got the approval, and we moved in. The lesson? Be still and the payoff will come. 

After another ritual, I had a conversation with a friend about relationships. He asked, "How did I know when I was ready to give up autonomy of self?" and I said, "I gained the most autonomy when I felt the sort of love I felt when I met my husband. If someone can love me unconditionally- during the bad & good and at my worst and best, then I know I am not alone and that if I fall he is there. So it made me want to be a better person and take inventory of who I actually am. Being in a loving relationship is the most autonomous I have ever been because I and surrounded with the strength of love." and so it clicked. Relationships with others are a reflection of the relationship with self. If I want to be better because of the love someone has given me, I must love myself enough to nurture my wounds and shadows. I honestly never thought anyone could love me this much and it took a long time to finally realize that I deserve love. That was it:

I deserve love. All of me.

 I have so much shadow around my self worth. I grew up under the poverty line where mental illness, struggle, and lack of education reigned. I was given up as a child and used as a bartering chip between my mother and father. I was abused, unwanted, and never good enough for my step mother & father.

My dad only respected people who achieved rank (he was in the army, but we can use that metaphorically  as well) and loved material things: luxury cars, watches, anything that represented status, even though I was in second hand clothing. He gave women gifts and played with their emotions. My step mother would lock me in a crate in the basement so she wouldn't have to deal with me. She used to keep my clothes packed in a suitcase, and when I did something that she didn't like, she was drive me far away and drop me off saying she would never tell anyone where I was. My mother was heavily dependent on men. They always took precedent over her kids. She once told me that she tricked my dad so that she could have something of her own, but she wasn't that interested in me.  Only a couple of years prior, I found out that she gave me up as a baby (not as a 4 year old as I originally thought) just by flipping thru pictures my grandmother had. It was devestating. Theres a huge moment that lingers in my memory when I hadn't seen her in 4 years. I was waiting in my grandmother's yard thinking she would cry and hug me just as grandma did, but she just said hi and walked right past me. 

So there laid all of the affirmations I had taken on. Never feeling wanted, not good enough, “Nobody loves me,” is something I would constantly say as a little kid. I learned that I never wanted to rely on a man for my income and self worth. I didn't want to become a dead beat mom. I didn't want to struggle. So I worked hard..I fought..I hustled. I rejected others before they had the opportunity to reject me.  Out of my personality and work ethic, I was respected, which felt like the closest thing to love. I was wanted by different companies. And while I wasn't working, I would emotionally pushed my husband. I would make up ideas in my head that if I wasn't the fiercely independent woman he fell in love with, he would leave me like everyone else did. My stability, freedom, and value were so wrapped up in work and being tough. SHADOW SHADOW SHADOW. 

Throughout my life, I have always done spiritual work. I always tried to be better, try to get closer to my spirit guides and the divine, but I never took the time to get closer to my Authentic Self. It takes true love and trust to open that closet door and peak into it. We spend so much time putting pain to the side just to push through. But it was this point that helped me realize that if I had the love of and trust in the universe, in my guides and the energy around me, it was time to oblige and give that trust and love to myself. It was time to pull out each shadow and unravel each vine it had tied onto my DNA. It was time to knock down the walls that I had built around myself, and shine my heart open. It was time to learn that it is ok to be vulnerable and learn how to be gentle with myself. It was time to go back and nurture my inner child. It was finally time to work with shadow.

HECATE: When you hear the goddess calling you, you should follow her and her hounds. She is the goddess of transitions, the crossroads, the keys (as in, key to self, key to success, etc.). She guides you through darkness. On her temples' entrances it says:

"In darkness, light"

It is important to listen and pay attention to signs. Everything represents something: my car- how I'm moving through life, Hecate's name being mentioned everywhere I turn- was her calling to me. Be aware of synchronicities, repeating themes, and feelings of being pulled. These are the strongest ways spirit communicates with you. 



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