When you open yourself to the Gods, the Dead, and the Spirits, when you weave magic and develop *ghos-ti- with your Allies, it is only a matter of time before the Darkness weeds its way in. The signs of war were unclear to me until I’d read how others had pieced together these various happenings and omens. Do I believe Midwinter brings Doomsday? No. Am I afraid? A little. It’s hard not to be when you realize just how impotent your magics are against the Darkness that creeps behind the corners, that watches you while you sleep, that invigorates the gods of war, that draws out mischievous spirits like poison from their hiding places, that makes even the gods of darkness and death and the guardians of the Underworld and the Ways Between insure their worshippers know the boundaries and find strength in their faith, that makes a normally confident Witch frightened her wards won’t hold. I don’t believe in “Light” and “Darkness” as opposing forces, in “Good” and “Evil” as being the Powers at work in this war (if I did, I’d be a Christian). I don’t know what the Enemy is, or why: just that it is wise to take note when the omens converge, as they are so pointedly doing at this time; and that it is not for nothing when the Gods request the worship of so many.
I’ll begin with a confession: I am one of those folks who can spend a whole day enthralled when History or Discovery Channel run their 2012 documentaries (but I can be likewise fascinated by an episode on Jesus or cryptozoology; my brain is a sponge for absorbing unusual history and “occult” information). I likely know more about various prophecies, ancient warnings, and modern interpretations than is good for me–and I have probably spent more time devoted to studying them and forming my own conclusions and assumptions about what this Midwinter will bring than I ever spent doing college-work.
Lately I have been trying to push these thoughts aside, to not concern myself with things to come but what I can do now. And yet a recent spiritual awakening of mine came through wanting to prepare myself for whatever it is to come, to build deeper relationships with my Allies and better know the other realms, should the Solstice carry us into a new age of consciousness, as many believe. But with so many various omens converging at Midwinter, and the heightened communication from and recruiting by the gods (in my case it is primarily gods of death and the hunt and guardians of the Underworld, and surprising contact from gods who have never seemed interested in me) it becomes difficult to ignore.
The Mayan Long Count Calendar of 13 baktuns (which began in 3114 BCE) ends at the Solstice, but speaks positively about the end, or what is to come. The Christians speak of Doomsday and “Revelations,” of Judgment dividing Yahweh-worshippers from the damned. The ancient Egyptians warned of terrible turbulence the last time Venus did a loop-di-loo round Sirius, which will occur again this year, as will “the death of Venus.” Modern astronomy shows us that the 2012 Winter Solstice Sun will converge perfectly with the exact center line of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Hopi tribes of North America predict that the Fifth Age will be heralded by an even in our solar system when the Earth will birth an Egg and be crowned in the galaxy when Pahana the lost White Brother will return–when the Blue Star Kachina, Sirius, makes its appearance in the heavens. Others believe that Mother Earth will reclaim Her body in a sort of modern Deluge, like Edgar Cayce (who is very much celebrated where I live); others predict a polar shift or geomagnetic reversal. Many speak of a coming battle, fought in other realms but which we will be more conscious of in this world than we have been in the past. Many Pagan individuals have been contacted by gods of war and told to make themselves ready. I have, until recently, believed primarily that the Gods (called extraterrestrials by some) will walk the Earth again, as They did in ancient times, and that we will enter a new era.
I started thinking about this again a few days ago, however, after reading various posts on the subject. I had no idea that I was not alone in experiencing the various phenomenon discussed by these writers, including:
Increased recruiting by the Gods. I have never been reached out to by so many deities in my life. Hekate, Hera, Aenghus, Cernunnos, Artemis… all have been stretching out Their divine hand to me and asking for sacrifice in return for generous gifts and a strong sense of allyship. There have been others, too, who have been whispering to me on the wind, mainly darker gods of death and time who have been too long forgotten and feared, whose worship is not prevalent in modern Paganism. Never before have I actually had so many deities desire to be a part of my life that I had to decline. (They risk stroking my ego; I feel like us modern worshippers have become pretty hot commodities.)
There is a great darkness nearby. I have felt it and so have many others. Yesterday, for instance, I felt drawn to purchase a beautiful pot of black calla lilies, having no knowledge of their association with death until several people told me they found them rather morbid. I couldn’t see it: I was enamored. But they brought Something or Someone into the house with their dark blooms. Without explanation, the pot tipped several times, and I received so many other omens yesterday afternoon in regard to this plant that I actually said aloud the third time they tipped and spilled dirt all over my carpet: “Well, that’s a sign.”
When I made a midnight libation in my crossroads garden, I didn’t just sense beings coming and delighting in it: I had the unmistakable feeling of being watched. I don’t turn around after leaving an offering, but this time I walked without turning not just for that reason, but because I feared seeing what was following me.
Two hours later, when my dog and I lay down to sleep, neither of us could. I was stricken with something akin to terror, despite my greatest attempts at never feeling fear when dealing with spirits or gods. But I was so afraid of whatever Else was in the room with us, watching me from the other side of the bed, that I dared not move nor turn around. After maybe 15 minutes of this impenetrable fear, I finally jumped up and turned on the light. My fear and the Being’s presence dissipated a bit with the light, but only slightly. I thought for a crazy moment that maybe I should allow Them to talk through the Tarot, but I already knew what answer I would receive: Death.
I sained and smudged the room, closed the window I realized They had come through, and followed Them about the room as they tried to hide in the shower, behind my shoulder, and elsewhere, but my magic was nothing compared to Theirs, despite perhaps toning down a bit of Their power in my space. They looked at me in the mirror; They sat in my altar chair on my Spirit Blanket (which is still eerily enchanted by Their energies) and watched me in bed. So I got up and did the Tarot reading I had considered, shuffling thrice and drawing Their message: and of course it was Death, exactly as I knew it would be. I touched some blackthorn oil to my Third Eye and throat and spine so that They might show Themselves to me and speak with me. I lay down again, warding off my fear and praying I wasn’t dealing with an astral vampire (with which I have had enough negative dealings for a lifetime) and opening the doors to feeding on me in my sleep as the Being flew to the ceiling before extending itself over me like Nuit over the earth. I dreamt of plants and Saw Them in hooded black cloak, reminiscent of the classic image of the Grim Reaper, but more eerily still, of a shadowy cloaked figure I have been doodling since I was a child.
Along with the Darkness has come an increase in spirit mischief. I thought I was the only one experiencing this until I’d read the posts linked above and the comments left there. Like many others, I find dishes break without explanation, have tricks played on me by the Spirits, am followed and teased by them. Sometimes it is playful, but sometimes it is too much. Yesterday was one such day when things went too far.
It seems all the deities need a bit more of our strength and worship than usual. When I sought what the Being in my bedroom last night wanted of me, I was unable to discover Their main motive, but did glean the desire to be given some of my strength and power. Bigger and bigger offerings are asked of me by my gods–nothing extreme or impossible, but I am told by Them not to skimp.
Strength is an aspect of another recent trend: the gods of war and strength are recruiting heavily, as well. Northern gods have been opening the doors to Their worship to me for the first time, as have various gods of warcraft. These deities have never played a (visible) role in my life, nor have I ever been particularly interested in Them; but now Athena shows me the glint of Her sword, Warriors teach me Their battle-cries, the Tuatha Dé Danann show me the tactics that won Them the war against the Fomhoire, and War-Crows entrance me with the darkness of Their feathers. But strength has become a growing theme, it seems, as I and many other worshippers have noticed.
Only Time will tell us why.