This post is the fifth in a series. Click here to start at the beginning, Preparation For Descent.
I have spent a day short of three weeks in the gloomy confines of The Underworld.
It is time to leave the comforting realm of the Dark Mother and return to my life in the Upper World.
A lot has changed in the time I have been subterranean.
I have learnt a lot about myself.
I have come face to face with my shadow self.
I have sat with Ereshkigal, saw her face, heard her cries.
Sometimes my experience has been painful, sometimes comforting.
But throughout, I have felt, and acknowledged, the seismic changes being wrought within myself.
This Ritual of Descent has been a time of coming to terms with my failed marriage and has helped me to reconnect with my deepest self and with what I truly want in life.
I can’t yet know the outcome of this extended working, but I will continue to document my progress and the changes in my life and in myself.
During my stay with Ereshkigal, I have grieved, I have cried, I have rejoiced.
I have alternated between fighting against the changes rising up within and embracing them wholeheartedly.
I found a safe place to feel the pain of separation, to allow myself to grieve for the loss.
I knew that coming here would have far-reaching consequences, and I know that this is why I put this working off for so long.
I knew the moment that I found this rite, that it was something that I needed to do, that my path had led me to this place.
But I was afraid.
Afraid of the changes I knew it would impose on my life.
The thing with change within the self, is that it also forces change on those around us.
For me this has been especially true, as my change involved the end of a marriage, a partnership of fifteen years.
Of course, this would affect everyone involved, maybe even force them into their own Underworld experience.
Everyone, at some time in their life, will come before the Dark Goddess, will slide into the pit that is The Underworld.
The difference is, most people will not go willingly.
Illness, injury, depression, endings.
These are all Underworld experiences.
This is the advantage that the Witch holds, in that we can harness these experiences, recognize them for what they are and go willingly.
To fight it, is only to make it harder.
You will still hit bottom, descend, come before the Dark Mother, but you will not understand the long-term benefits of such an experience at the time that it is happening.
I have been before the Dark Goddess many times in my life.
I suffered post natal depression.
I have lost people I loved.
I fell into the fiery hell that is chronic pain, an experience that tore me apart.
It was only in hindsight that I could see the many positives that came from that awful time in my life.
A time when I lost the will to live and could see no way out other than physical death.
I look back now and can see that this was an initiation, a way out of the dead-end path that my life had become back then.
Chronic pain was the Dark Goddess saving me from myself, transforming and strengthening my character, then putting me on a new path toward a better future.
Looking back, I could see it as a period of transformation.
I certainly changed for the better, coming out the other side so much stronger and with greater insight into myself and my life.
For to come before the Dark Goddess is an opportunity for great wisdom, to gain a deeper understanding of one’s own soul.
This time around, knowing my marriage had reached it’s end, I knew the experience for what it was.
I knew it would be hard, I knew it would hurt, but I also knew that the pain would end and I would emerge better for the experience.
Ritual Descent is recognizing a time of painful upheaval, but most of all, it is going toward it willingly, knowing that change is the only constant in life and something that cannot be stopped.
The hurt and process of separation is not yet over, it will go on for a time yet, but I have found acceptance with the fact that it is happening.
I also know that I have the courage to face it and to walk towards an unknown future.
I walk forward having confidence in myself, the universe and the ways of The Underworld.
It is time to Ascend.