Amy Marienblaume here.
Eclectic witch, fellow WOOMate, and hijacker of Emma’s blog.
So here’s the tea. I’m a mess. A big mess. Like bury-all-my-feelings-deep-down-inside-myself-and-lock-them-up-so-tight-that-I-can’t-feel-them-until-a-TV-show-or-news-story-triggers-me-and-I-end-up-sobbing-so-hard-I-can’t-make-a-sound kind of mess. But on the surface, man I look like I (mostly) have things together.
If you follow the Wheel of the Year, you already know that it’s nearly Samhain (or maybe it’s just happened depending on when this gets posted) and we’re entering the dark half of the year, the time when shadow work is front and centre for many witches and woo-friendly individuals. I’ve known that I needed to go on a shadow work journey for quite some time, but until recently I have never been truly ready to confront this part of myself.
I have been energetically binding myself since I was a young child. I can pinpoint the moment that it started - well, more or less. I was standing in the school yard at recess, although I’m a little fuzzy on exactly what grade it was. A classmate whose family was friends with mine approached me and asked how my mother was doing (she had cancer and was in actively in treatment at this time). Confused, some of our peers around us wanted to know why she was asking. I can’t remember if it was her or me who filled them in, but what I do remember is feeling exposed and out of control. In an instant, my ability to decide who I let in on this very personal information was completely taken away from me.
Privacy Versus Secrecy?
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the differences between privacy and secrecy recently. And more specifically where the line is between the two. As children we learn about secrets early in life. So often our first memories of betrayal involve our secrets being shared without our consent. So we learn to be a little more selective about with whom we open ourselves up to. But when do we start to learn about privacy (beyond things like body privacy)? And how do we actually learn to walk the line between secrecy and privacy? Or is it just something we intuitively know based on a gut feeling?
Astrologically, Scorpios are known to be deeply private people. As a fixed water sign, they are also extremely emotional and crave meaningful and intimate connections. In order to step into their true personal power, Scorpios must learn to straddle their deep-seated need for privacy and allow themselves to become truly vulnerable in order to achieve emotional intimacy with another person. In what is probably the least shocking piece of information ever, I’m a Scorpio. Not just a Scorpio sun - but Scorpio rising, Mercury, Saturn, and Pluto. So when my natural inclination towards privacy came face-to-face with the trauma of being forced into extreme vulnerability at school (the place that up until then had been my daily escape from the reality of my mothers illness), I began binding myself from feeling much of anything. All at once my natural inclination towards privacy, which according to Webster’s dictionary is the state of being apart from company or observation, spiralled into secrecy, the act of keeping information hidden and I became a walking Pandora’s box.
My mother knew me better than any other person on earth. Naturally she saw what was happening and tried to correct it. I remember answering the phone to find my family doctors receptionist on the other end. She told me that the referral my mother asked for had come through. I was confused and demanded to know what she was talking about (naturally, I assumed the worst and thought I was horribly ill without knowing it). As it turned out, my mother had requested a referral to a child psychologist. Once again I felt exposed and out of control. I told the receptionist that I was not crazy and would absolutely not be seeing a psychologist. So the secrecy and self-binding continued. I just got better at pretending I was ok so that people wouldn’t see how messed up I actually was, and so I could continue to avoid my feelings.
Accepting the Inevitable
Fast forwarding through my mothers death, my teens and twenty’s, I unintentionally landed in Human Resources. While it may have been unintentional, being able to see the big picture (a.k.a. being the “knower of what’s happening and at least some of what’s coming”) makes me feel safe. And it turns out I’m actually pretty good at it too. I’ve built a solid career and now mentor new Canadians as they integrate their out-of-country HR training and experience into their new lives and jobs here. Even so I’m really good at my job - a part of which is teaching my fellow department managers how to make genuine connections with their direct reports - I struggle to do it in my personal life. Sometimes I can let myself get really vulnerable, but more often than not I feel like I’m faking it and not being authentic. Those that can’t do, teach - right? But I don’t want to feel like I’m faking it anymore. I want to do more than teach.
Since reconnecting with my witchy path, everything has been pointing me towards shadow work. I see it in my meditations, I dream about it. Every tarot spread I do, and every card someone pulls for me continue to tell me that I have the tools, I just need to do the work. Tarot has a real knack for taking on the role of Captain Obvious sometimes. So now that life with the new baby has (mostly) settled, I finally feel like I’m in a place where I have the time and the emotional capacity to unpack the decades of experiences and feelings I’ve suppressed.
Sharing My Shadows
So here we go. The lid is coming off Pandora’s Box. I am going on a shadow work journey, and in what is a big change of pace for me, I’m going to open up and share it with you. I have to let myself relive a lot of the experiences and feelings I buried. I have to do some re-parenting and inner child healing. I have to forgive. I have to let go of a lot of anger (a lot of which stems from fears of various kinds). But the beautiful thing about blogging is that it keeps me in control of what I choose to share. I can be vulnerable, but still feel safe. It’s going to suck. But here we go.