Choosing Paths, Seeking Dark Light

dogs running

“Rose walked in search of the Fata Morgana. The castle seemed to glow with a transparent
inner light, the color of darkness if darkness could shine.” ~ “The Twelve Wild Swans”

In the book “The Twelve Wild Swans” by Starhawk and Hilary Valentine, the authors use an old European story about how twelve sons were changed into twelve swans by an ill-fated wish by their mother. The woman, who was a queen, longed so much for a daughter, she was willing to trade her sons to have one. There are several versions of this story, depending on which European country you are in, but I’ll stick to the one that I read.

The daughter, whose name is Rose, feels the weight of her mother’s secret without knowing what it is, and sets out to put things right. When she discovers the plight of her brothers, Rose seeks a way to save them, putting herself in great danger in the process. Of course, helpers and guides appear along the way, as they always do, sometimes offering help and other times bringing on more challenges.

dog running

In the book there are three spiritual paths you can follow to accompany Rose on her journey. There is the Elements Path, a good path to start on. There is the Inner Path, which takes you a bit more deeply into an inner journey of self reflection and healing. And there is the Outer Path, where your focus moves outside yourself, perhaps to teaching or serving others. It is the path that agents of change are on. Eventually, a person will walk on all three.

Many of the exercises in the book are ritualistic in nature, which seems to be something I need right now. I repeat one of the beginning exercises almost daily. It’s a process of grounding by standing and imagining roots springing from your feet and passing through the earth. I visualize these roots meandering by earth worms and being scraped by the jagged edges of rocks. I feel the cold as I move down further into the ground, until I feel heat as I reach the earth’s core. From this deep place, I imagine drawing up strength and peace.

I know. this sounds very woo woo, but we need what we need.

As I read and follow some of the practices in the book, I’m hoping that my feelings of anxiety and jitters will pass. I’m hoping they are simply caused by too high of a dose of my thyroid medication and cutting back will be the cure. That would be simple.

dog running in a blur

I wish instead of nervous energy, I felt more like Latte, who exudes absolute joy and delight as she races around the yard, turning away from me at the very last minute. Java isn’t so lucky. Latte simply plows into her.

dog running

Which is why Java is taking cover under the branches of a tree.

I’m a lot like Java.

dog under tree

When I visited my doctor, she also suggested light therapy for what ails me. That would be a simple solution too. But then she suggested sleep medication, something I just won’t take. And there is also anti-anxiety medication, a last resort if nothing else works.

On the bright side, I’m looking forward to four days off from work for the holidays. We here in Minnesota are moving into a deep freeze, with highs in the single digits and lows down to -14º F. It will be a true test for our winter pond aeration system, which should keep the ice open and our Koi fish alive if all goes well.

pond in the winter

It may be perfect weather to cozy up inside with a good book and a steaming mug of tea, with my therapy light beside me, putting a new glow onto the world.

Or I can reflect on the idea that even darkness can emit it’s own inner shine.

Written by Maery Rose