My favorite email list continues to discuss working with the shadow. I have continued to my own reflection, and here is part of my reply. This will be an opinion laced, not necessarily factually based, opportunity to share as I challenge others to even more thinking...ready?
Following the most sexually and emotionally abused period of my life (age 32-34), I emerged very damaged. Obviously had a great deal of healing to do, which also made me prey to Jeremy. Indeed, if I were to examine the patterns in the weave of my life threads, he was my opportunity to work out the abuses perpetuated by my previous ex-husband and He-who-shall-not-be-named (and a few others).
As Cameron has described, Jeremy was a man who presented as intelligent, gifted, articulate and charismatic. He became the "Atlanta Daddy" to my best-friend's children. He became the best buddy to my own children. He became the Summoner for our grove's Priest (kind of like the Maiden to a Priestess...he tended the fire, handled the candles, and was the ritual minion). He was groomed to become the grove's next Priest. When all of that exploded, he went on to become a youth director for a Unitarian Universalist church in the Atlanta area. He also molested the daughter of his hosts where he lived. He performed such inappropriate magic as burying ritual blades on the property, concealing items beneath my son's their daughter's bed, creating jewelry for the kids the youth group to wear, etc. As a result of all of these crimes, he was ritualistically warlocked. In essence, if not fact, by three groups.
Definition of terms here: (as I understand warlocking): To warlock someone is to declare them in public an oath-breaker. Each group involved had a different way to do this.
The Grove of the Unicorns called a counsel of 3rd Degrees and Elders (I wanted to participate, but lacked credentials). Their ceremony, as I understand it, was to cut Jeremy, who was a first-degree in their tradition, off from the magical source of their tradition. (I'm stumbling for words here, so if anyone as a better way to phrase it, please do so. Nightwide? Gaia?) His priestess bore the karmic responsibility of his initiation. She was not well physically before all of this. Following what happened (he lived in her home for a year, part of the time taking my son with him), she never recovered. Nor has she been able to truly face what happened, although she has made amends to me, as best she is capable. The priest, healthier of body and spirit, even more so. They later came to understand that the took my son from me (he was fifteen).
Our eclectic group gathered at my best friend's house. Best friend had offered by son and I the opportunity to stay with her after Jeremy cost us our home (literal). Jeremy had helped to put up a wall in her dining room to create a bedroom for Aaron. When the group met after the fall out (2 years had gone by), they ritualistically removed the wall and purified the space. Within the wall were things both mundane and magical, material and astral, that do not bear speaking of here.
The third ritual was performed by the UU's and I only have second knowledge of it. Following an intervention to stopped his host's daughter from leaving to go to Alabama with him (remember, she was underage), the property was searched. All talismans, blades, jewelry was found and ritualistically taken care of. Parents/children affected were contacted and cared for. The UU church circulated official notices of his face, name and description as a warning in case Jeremy turned up to work his evil somewhere else.
Jeremy's clinical diagnosis is bi-polar with disassociate episodes. He is also, in fact, a sociopath, or psychopath in common terms. Because our souls can always be graced with healing, I will not call him evil. But I will say he was quite capable of evil action.
Again, my personal opinion... Certainly Jeremy afforded many people opportunity to face their own shadows. In my case, I had to learn to handle people in authority (learn to stand up for myself), people who talk badly about me and believe the worst, to define my own realities despite what anyone else said, and more. However, I am not the kind of witch to forgive and forget. I continue to cope with the losses he cost me. While my oldest son does not speak to me, I will never forgive his costing me both my sons. That cost has become generational because I do not have contact with my oldest son nor my grandchildren (I do talk with my daughter-in-law regularly, so I know they are okay). Nevertheless, the time for retribution has paced.
I guess what I am getting at is that we can take catastrophic life events and garner soul lessons. But there's a point at which chaos happens. Sometimes other people's soul lessons, other people's karma, other people's evil deeds, run right over us. Was it retribution to participate in rituals to warlock Jeramy? Probably. But that's also justice. And responsibility. And remember that emotion is a powerful tool of a witch. So those warlocking were done with witches with heightened emotion as they called on the Gods and Goddesses.
After my own personal ceremonies for healing, I ceased working magic regarding him. On the other hand, one grieves as long as one must. And I will grieve the loss of my oldest son and grandchildren until they either are back in my life, or until I die. For me, if I stop grieving, I'll stop loving. So it's not possible.
I think I could have learned those shadow lessons in far gentler ways. I was warned about him, but didn't listen. I needed financial help at that time to keep custody of my children. I put my desire to be a mother ahead of common sense: ( Not an uncommon thing for women who have children and no means to support them alone.
As a result of all that has happened, I have come to believe that initiations, and subsequent degrees, are vital shadow work. When we descend into the abyss and confront our authentic selves, we face our shadows. Sometimes we do that spontaneously, often we do so as part of the pathwork within Wicca (a reason to be part of a coven--we need community to work through these issues with).
As we draw closer to divinity, we do our shadow work and discover the blessings, lessons, and transformations within its darkness. I believe that we face our shadow selves, we consciously attune with the parts of our shadow that need to work consciousness. And once attuned, become a part of everything we do. I think of my inner shadow as that part of self where authenticity and wisdom reside. And when I am silent and still, I can attune to that part of self and know what I must do.
Okay, getting way to esoteric. I hope I haven't lost too many people with my rambling. I am in that space where words aren't quite enough to convey meaning!