In most of the indigenious people's teachings I've encountered, an aspect of becoming more spiritually aware involves what is known "dark side" journeying or going into "The Void of Great Mystery". It can be a frightening prospect for most of us, to face the unknown of ourselves in a spiritual way. It is also vital to growth, expansion and enlightenment.
I have been in The Void many times on my path. I stayed there for two years once, wandering and lost--I am a stubborn little cuss, sometimes, and resisted it mightily. Now, I respect it and (mostly) embrace it. It has been a experience of depression, wandering, confusion, startling clarity, multi-dimensional awareness, elation, high spiritual acceleration, physical illness from resistance, kundalini fire, self-love, self-loathing, unmitigated terror, blandness (that may have been the worst--when nothing seemed to matter), heart-stopping fear, self-revulsion, and incredible creativity.
This mysterious space has been, at different times, gloriously full of creative potential and reeking of putrid, horrible thoughtforms. These thoughtform energies were all mine, no matter how terribly lecherous or incredibly brilliant they were. This place of all potential is known, in Native-American tradition, as "The Void". The Void is where we send our thoughts of fear, resentment, guilt and shame; it is also where we create our most important life works and generate the knowing of our greatest joys.
The Void is our journey of remembering who we are (embracing all aspects, even those that seem dark or negative, as part of what makes us Divinely Human) and reclaiming our spiritual heritage. It is a willingness to walk into the darkness, meet our own self-created demons and take responsibility for their existence. It is our choice to bring forth that light shoved away, into darkness, because we did not feel worthy or capable enough to let it shine in us. The Void calls us all, to face our biggest fears and to recognize our greatest potential. As with all other aspects of spiritual awakening, this experience has been, and will continue to be, accelerated.
I believe The Void is within us (others perceive it as somewhere outside ourselves) and that it is part of our job to clean the soul's house whenever needed, as well as to honor the genius residing there. Whatever is in our little corner of the inner world is our responsibility. It may be full of negative feelings we thought we had sent away forever, or bursting with creative genius we've yet to call into reality on the physical plane. The Void is the home of unconquered demons and unrealized dreams.
"The Void" reminds me of a story I read, called "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by one of my favorite English writers, Oscar Wilde. This man, Dorian, purchases a magic portrait (which he keeps hidden in the attic) that absorbs all the abuse of his party life, late hours, and evil living, so that the man himself appears to be ever young and unblemished. The years pass. One day Dorian decides to check on the picture. He is appalled and disgusted at what he sees. The portrait, as youthful and fresh when originally painted as Dorian still appeared to be, now reflected an old, withered, exceedingly evil-looking man. As Dorian had gone his way, with no thought of how his choices were being stored in the magic portrait, every excess of appetite, every cruel deed and every instance of abuse were being meticulously imprinted on the canvas. When Dorian finally went to the attic, he had to face all that he had become and, what may have been more painful, all the potential that lay wasted within him. Like the portrait of Dorian Gray, our day-to-day lives may reflect an illusion of reality but the truth of all our choices remain to be owned--in the attic, in The Void.
A journey to The Void, though trying, will always result in new awareness and breakthrough experience. You won't be left in the valley of the shadow. You will be lifted up. Refusing the journey cripples, spiritually. Going into The Void is critically important for women, both individually, and as a planetary force for healing. Woman has a built-in timer, the monthly menstrual cycle--a reminder to retreat.
Yet, the majority of us still turn off that physical alarm clock each month, with no conscious thought to the consequences. We not only hurt our bodies but also our capacity to help others, on a spiritual level. If we continue to deny our body impulses toward isolation, renewal, and visionary prayer every month, think of the vast amount of buried information that will accumulate. What kind of portraits are we painting in our spiritual attic?
If you are a woman and you care about the planet, begin Moontime Isolation this month! If you are a man and you care about this planet, begin immediately to support any woman in your life (at home or in the work place), who follows the Moon Lodge tradition. Offer to fill in at work or at home. If you are in a supervisory position, work with women who need time off for this important process. It is unwise for male resistance to continue in this regard. Do what you can to facilitate.