My first vigil. Outside, in the wilderness. Alone and awake at the edge of a forest, by the lakeside through the night. When I chose the date, only subconsciously realising that it was during the retrograde of Venus: the embodiment of the Goddess Inanna's descent to the underworld, the dark, the unknown. Places we associate with fear, places where you can hear but you can’t see. It was a new moon also, so I was fully aware that I had chosen the darkest possible time to undertake this ritual.
I walked the land before I settled in. Picking blackberries and rosehips en route, the perfect allies as part of the larger Rosacea family. The whole premise of this particular vigil being to sit with the Rose and all of the teachings the Rose has offered me to date. These learnings have been deep and varied, showing me so much about the true extent of leading with the feminine as well as releasing outdated unhealthy masculine patterns which are born out of fear and scarcity. The simplicity of being was the point of this ritual, no doing, no distracting, no planning, no action. Just being.
The first few hours were pleasant. More than pleasant, I was actually elated at the presence I could find with no pressure on me to be ‘doing’ anything along with the removal of any distractions like eating, drinking or scrolling. I sat for a long time in awareness of the space around me. Understanding my place on the land through my vision. It was a bright, sunny and warm evening. The lake was still like glass, the water was warm. I sat on the edge and dangled my legs in, whilst throwing some rose petals over my feet as an offering to the waters. I normally clam up with Irish water, but this water enveloped me. It wasn’t cold, it didn’t shock. It was like a warm hug from the floods of intuition and remembrance I had come here to invite into my body.
Dusk came with its ombre displays. I sat once more in reverence to the liminal space which occupies sunset. With every passing minute the landscape was changing. The removal of the light is jarring at first, at the loss of the visual aspect, it was almost as if I was being turned inside out. My inner landscape now being dramatically pulled out of me so that by full nightfall, I was encapsulated in it. Nowhere to hide anymore. I was being pulled into myself. The dark was not accompanied by the fear which I thought would inevitably find me. I waited for it, but it never came. The scene around me became a shadowy mass, unrecognisable in every sense. As I descended into night, time seemed to move more and more slowly. The energy around me becoming denser and darker. Still, no fear. Instead I felt so held by this land which I had rooted myself into so many times before, I felt like she was protecting me.
Many insights came, which I wrote down in a comical scrawl, not being able to see a thing in the blackness. Reflections were constantly coming through like a stream and at one moment, I recall writing down how happy I felt as I could fully be myself in this scenario.
Towards the Brahmin hour, things got difficult. My body was feeling nauseous from lack of sleep and the desperation of the length of the night was starting to settle in. Would morning ever come again? Save for a couple of vixen screams and the odd chiming in of the water hen moving across the water as she called, there were no animal sounds. The absence of the birdsong made everything vacant and void. Slugs gathered plentifully around me, now in the dark any time I put my hand out to the side I could feel another one laying tracks. At one point I counted 6 slugs. Slow and steady slugs. Patient and considered slugs, leaving their sparkly trail of their own travelled path, I welcomed them, knowing that as with everything, there is a lesson there.
I lay back for a time, watching the flames from my small fire dance across the leaves of the trees above me, like the temple Yoginis dancing around the fire of transformation, the trees surrounding me were taking on female forms and my whole experience in that moment was one of dancing with the feminine.
Hours went by, I sat up and at one point decided to pull one oracle card and one tarot card, so as not to dilute or over contextualise anything, a one card pull gives an overall feeling and something in itself to meditate on. Card 1: the Goddess Parvati; consort of Shiva (commonly known in the Hindu pantheon as the God of Yoga, Shiva is divine consciousness, union, Shiva is the destroyer within the triple deity). Parvati: his feminine counterpart. The feminine counterpart of an energy I have worked with for some time, within my own Yoga practice and through my communion with his plant medicine in the form of cannabis. Here she was, the feminine interpretation of this particular energy; reminding me this journey is about to open up to me a new feminine way of being - at least that’s what I took from this pull! In any case, I could feel her with me.
Card 2: The Fool (number 0 in the tarot, the beginning of the journey, the one who embarks on a lesson, potentiality, a new beginning). I laughed out loud when I pulled it. New moon, New Venus cycle, new undertaking of a mentorship, new experience in the dark alone at night. Yes! It all made sense, of course I was the fool.
I became frustrated just before the dawn came. I was so exhausted, feeling like this would never end, that I would be trapped in the void space forever. I lay back again, my body beginning to surrender to the lack of sleep. About 10 minutes later, I felt light rain on my cheeks, at the same time I noticed that the sky was a shade lighter than it had been. I sprang up. Pure elation coursing through my body at the prospect of the light returning. It was the moment of rebirth, of coming out of the underworld, it was ovulation, it was flow, success, alignment, whatever you want to call it. It’s a feeling which is woven into the fabric of womanhood. Coming out of the long negredo, the dark night of the soul, the monthly bleed, the underworld. There was also this sense of overcoming something so big. So much bigger than me, like I was calling and reclaiming all of the pieces which had been fragmented from me back. All the times I had said yes to someone to please them, while saying no to myself. All the times I gave away my power. All the times when I pretended to be someone I’m not. All the times I felt violated or humiliated. All the times where I didn’t trust myself. All the times when someone undermined my emotions, ability or point of view. This was a reclamation. With the coming of the light, I was reborn.
As the light gradually ascended, I walked around the lake, seeing if I could see the sunrise. The cloud cover was low and thick. I would be lucky to stay dry. The next few hours were a blur of feeling so wretched in my body from the whole process. It was as if I was returning from 3 days at a music festival. A feeling I always equated with overdoing the indulgences, but turns out, it’s just the body suffering from lack of sleep. I felt filthy, like I hadn’t showered in weeks. I was beyond famished, the general feeling of hunger had subsided at this stage.
The continuing days were sailing on a wave of pure pride at having managed to make it through the night, alone, in the dark. However on Monday (21st, the day Venus rose as the morning star) a dark depression sank over me. I felt like I was being pinned down. Nothing would help. No focus, no connection, no inspiration. Turns out being reborn is pretty painful. No tears came but the low vibrational thoughts were available in spades to me. It really took all of my learnings to understand that this is just transient and will pass before long, which, thankfully, it did.
The following day was one of revelation. A stream of insights poured through me. The proverbial learnings from the void space were landing. Here I was again. Another portal entered, another threshold crossed. Out of this dark space came my own journey of descent into the underworld, my own embodiment of Venus herself, of the Moon, the Sun, all of these celestial bodies which reflect so much in us. We all must descend and face that which is in the dark. The fear, the repression, the rejected. Once faced, it can be truly seen for what it is, it looses its 'power over' and a rebirth occurs along with the realisation: it's not so scary after all.