I approached this path with a good deal of trepidation. My usual practice is consistently more Upperworld than Underworld, and the last two years of my life have been very much tinged with Underworldly energy. Most of it, I didn’t really enjoy. When I looked at the options available, I felt this was the only path for me. It called to me, whether I wanted it or not. Skipping merrily however, I was not.
Looking around the group, there were certainly a few familiar faces and there’s always comfort in that. Our teachers, Raven Edgewalker and Caduceus were the reassuring guardians of this path. They engaged the group with ease and expertise, just the right amount of humour and gravitas that is required for self reflection and underworld journeys.
During this first day, I was drawn into a vision, guided into the heart of the concept of Devotion. There were elements discussed covering Devotion to Deity and Devotion to Self, something which I give very little thought. My vision notes read-
An apple tree, sparrows fluttering around, pecking and squabbling over the fruit on the branches. One of the tiny bodied birds caught something in the centre of the apple and drew it out. It was a blade without a hilt, needing to be reattached to something new, forged into something.
I also had a very clear image that appeared to me, of the connectivity of my chakra points, from my Heart, to my Third Eye and up to the GodSelf, to the Crown, stretching into the heavens above, connecting my heart, my thoughts, my soul to themselves and to the divine. It was the core of devotion to Deity in my heart that connects to the fire in the head.
It also made me think of this Tea Party song from when I was a teenager, Fire In the Head.
After this work was completed, we moved into small groups and we were challenged to work in silence (after brief discussion) to create an altar in devotion to Ereshkigal. We talked about how we felt devotion was tied to creation, to expression, which has always been something that called to me. In devotional act to the Dark Goddess, we created an altar of many parts. Some of us chose to paint our skin with symbols and sigils, one of our group wrote a song, we built a small cairn of stones from the land, in honour of her ties to the earth. Working in silence was profoundly powerful. For me, it offered focus and narrowed down the world to a concentrated effort of creation in honour of something incredible, complex and divine.
I have to admit, I was excited at the concept of having homework, and some of it turned out to be a little more challenging than it first appeared. Raven spoke about integrating things into daily practice and we were asked to consider our self care regime, our ability to look into the mirror and express love into the eyes of the reflection gazing back at us. Challenging business for sure. Ongoing work, even after returning home for me…