Shamanic Yoga Institute


The Decent

I love each season for its unique beauty but I have a kinship with Autumn. I can feel the descent into the dark from the radiance of summer deep in my heart and rather than being terrified, I feel at home here. I imagine that it is the magic of Persephone returning to her love woven into my bones; where the divine feminine meets the divine masculine and she goes into the dark of the womb, into the void itself to do what she does very best, magic.

Persephone’s legend is complex and the versions are many. I like to think it is a tale of a maiden awakening to her sensuality and power, her mother searching for her in grief like any mother would but also how the crone may mourn the juiciness of youth. The part I choose not to acknowledge is the role Hades has in tricking her, abusing her, assaulting her. I want to stop telling these stories so that women are helpless, vulnerable, and weak and men are perpetrators, dominators, and violent.

In fact, in my meditations and journeys, the gatekeeper of the Uhupacha or underworld Huascar, is one of my closest allies. In life Huscar Inca is most known for the Incan Civil War when he and his half-brother battled over Cuzco and the Incan Empire. In the end he lost, and shortly thereafter the Incan civilization was decimated by Spanish Conquest and disease. In life it is said Huascar was the keeper of the medicine teachings and when he died, he took those teachings to the underworld.  

What is the underworld exactly? A metaphor for the subconscious, an alternate reality, part of the imagination…I think that it would depend who you asked. In my mind, it is a sacred place of power, shadow, and death. It is the place of beginnings, all the things you are and are not, it is ripe, fruitful, and empty. It can be dark and feel like nothing, and yet full of everything at the same time. We journey there for medicine teachings, and enter only with Huascar’s permission. 

It is also the place of Shadow. We use this term Shadow as a way to describe all the things we are that we have turned our backs on in ourselves. They are identifiable as the things that we do not like in others, but really they are all the pieces we disown about ourselves in an effort to shield ourselves and cultivate separation. But we are not separate, we are everything, the good, the terrible, and the perfect. There is a lot of talk in culture about ‘Shadow Work, ’ I think you could postulate, this is what Medicine People have been doing for millennia. Healing on one level with herbs etc. and on another by removing entities, clearing energy systems, and getting people to stop turning away from themselves and meet themselves with love.

A very potent way to claim back all your personal power, all the power that you have given away across time and space (this is everyone), is to come eye to eye with yourself. We feel disrespected, where are you disrespecting yourself? We feel unloved, where are you not being loving to yourself? We feel judged, how do we judge others? This is how we clean up our river, say all our sorrys, all our I Love Yous, and live without stain. How do we move through the fear of being abandoned? By not abandoning ourselves. Claim all your disowned parts, gather them around the fire, celebrate them in the night, dancing under the stars. Hold them as you would a child. Say yes to your beautiful humanness, to letting go of perfection, of getting it right. Say yes to being worthy, to being enough. This season invites you into the dark so you can identify where you have abandoned who you are. Get up early and read by candlelight, walk under the light of the moon, be in these liminal spaces where your eyes deceive you and you can feel into the animal of your body. Rest. Take baths. Nap. You are the universe here in human form, delighting in what it means to be in this body, at this time, in this space. It’s complicated and it’s easy. It’s beautiful and it’s messy. Go into the dark, meet fear with the deepest of love, and dissolve your boundaries against yourself. Say yes to all of it. It’s yours, and it’s waiting for you to claim it.

  1. Allen, Lorie (2013). The Shaman’s Path: A Guided Journey to Discover Your Healed Self. Author House. Bloomington, IN USA

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