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Author Topic: "High" Magic and exhaustion  (Read 884 times)

Auntie Cosmos

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"High" Magic and exhaustion
« on: July 02, 2017, 01:42:30 pm »
Hello, all

I am a cranky old solitary hedgewitch who has practiced "natural" magic for most of my life. (I am 63). And I began by learning from my grandmother.  I am also a practicing Buddhist and astrologer, collect Tarot decks, and an avid gardener.

 A year ago I was recruited and initiated into a group that practices "high" magic.  I joined because of the enormous amount of respect I have for the people that recruited me and because I felt lead to do so. (There is a story about the tattoos on my arm that I could tell later.  Synchronicity much?)  It did my heart good when I asked why the need for so much formal ritual and was told: "for the same reason you cook your food."  The "leader" of the group described the ritual nature of it as "putting on dresses and waving sticks around."  I love the fact that the other members are not  uptight and stuffy about what we are doing.

It has taken me a year to understand what has really been going on and I am preparing for testing and initiation into the next grade. Alchemy has been working hard and fast in my life.  I think some of the major "lessons" for me connected to this work are related to self-discipline and persistence as well as the need to come out of my solitary shell.  But. . . (there is always one of those, isn't there?)

I am wiped out, knocked flat on my ass after a ritual and lately after our casual get-togethers as well.  We meet monthly just to hang out and talk and only do serious rituals as needed.  The fatigue began after we started our monthly meetings 5 months after my initiation.

Astrologically I am heavy with Water and have only one asteroid in Earth.  I have to work very hard to stay grounded and get very twitchy if I can't get my hands in the dirt daily.  I ground several times a day and have a daily meditation practice as well.

I also have a couple of health issues the treatment of which are in the midst of being tweaked, so that could also be contributing to the fatigue.  But. . . damn!

Opinions?  Advice? Etc?
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Jenett

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Re: "High" Magic
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2017, 06:11:51 pm »
It has taken me a year to understand what has really been going on and I am preparing for testing and initiation into the next grade. Alchemy has been working hard and fast in my life.  I think some of the major "lessons" for me connected to this work are related to self-discipline and persistence as well as the need to come out of my solitary shell.  But. . . (there is always one of those, isn't there?)

I am wiped out, knocked flat on my ass after a ritual and lately after our casual get-togethers as well.  We meet monthly just to hang out and talk and only do serious rituals as needed.  The fatigue began after we started our monthly meetings 5 months after my initiation.

So, it's a little hard to make specific suggestions without more details about the rituals, in terms of structure and goals (It's entirely understandable if you don't want to or have agreed not to share details - it just makes it harder to have specific ideas of what to try, so my suggestions will, of necessity, be sort of general and a bunch of them may or may not fit.)

The other complication is that exhaustion has a ton of possible causes, and of course what you're feeling might be coming from multiple causes, which makes it hard to diagnose. Attention to the medical stuff is good, but taking a good hard look at your life, what you're currently doing, whether there are things you can stop doing (at least temporarily) and so on is often worthwhile. (plus some other specific stuff I'll mention below.)

Is it a particular kind of exhaustion or fatigue?

There's differences between 'my brain won't go' and 'I'll just lie down in this sub-zero degree parking lot and have a nap, the door is too far' and 'nearly nodding off while driving', and 'I can't make myself get off this couch/bed and do errands I don't really want to do' and 'everything is going way too slowly, it feels like I'm moving through endless cotton wool' (and many more: these are just ones I've had that are significantly different experiences and causes.)

Are there any other symptoms? Food changes? Sleep changes? Amount of energy to think, or get tasks done, or do household/daily task type stuff? Is the exhaustion only after your monthly meetings, or does it happen at other times? (I find tracking is very helpful here: smartphone apps, a little notebook you always have with you, etc.)

Information to gather that might help
(again, don't need to share this, but anything you can share here may get you more useful suggestions.)

1) Did anything else in your life change around this time?

Sometimes shifts into new group work come with a lot of other changes - different schedules, being more deliberate about food choices, spending more time in some areas of our life than we used to, shaking up memories that we have strong emotional reactions to, working through past reactions because we're doing group work, plus whatever the actual ritual work itself shakes loose or starts moving.

All of those things are even more true if we're also going through other changes, like a new job, or changes in our relationships, or health issues, or whatever else that's separate from the decision to work with a group. And sometimes this kind of exhaustion is just a 'bunch of those changes piled up and it's tiring while we work through it'.

2) How long has the group been working together?

And specifically, do they work with the concept of an egregore / group mind and/or strong group symbology that you have been learning about and working with more intensely? How does that play into what you're feeling?

The tradition I'm trained in works heavily with the concept of the phoenix, and there are definitely energetic things that go along with that (some of which can be exhausting, some of which can be thrilling, and some of which are both, and complicated to deal with along with a life that has schedules about needing to be at work early in the morning...)

3) Are there specific acts, vows, or other commitments in the initiation that may be relevant?

This one, I don't expect you can share much about, but this is a good time to go through what happened in that particular ritual event with a fine tooth comb and look at anything. It may not give you a solution, but it might give you a better idea about what's going on, and how to handle it.

There are two possible common things here: one is that in some paths and groups, doing an initiation is deliberately choosing to shape yourself in a certain direction, and in the months afterwards, anything that doesn't fit that goal will start getting shaved off your life. Sometimes exhaustion is about your psyche trying to convince you to give up things that don't serve those goals/commitments.

Another possible reason is that sometimes, exhaustion, metaphysically speaking, is your body going "Hey! You want a lot of changes here! Give me some space to catch up!"

Steps to consider

1) Have you talked to other members of the group about this?

The kind of thing you describe is the kind of thing that didn't happen for everyone in my tradition, but happened often enough it wasn't surprising when it did. Usually there are some specific suggestions (assuming the group is reasonably thorough and competent at what they're doing, and have been doing it enough to see some patterns) that they can make suggestions.

In my case, I had that kind of pattern for - five or six months, actually, around the full moons and worse after ritual things that involved significantly new skills for me (and also some issues around new moons) and talking through it with my teachers helped me figure out some specific stuff I could do (during, immediately after, and for a day or two after ritual) that helped. Just scheduling a down day after rituals for a few months helped a lot and having a set of things I did that were attentive to energy issues that I didn't have to think about doing, I just did them.

The delay in the exhaustion starting could have several reasons, but in some traditions an initiation brings a big surge of energy and/or connection to new sources of energy, and people can ride that wave for months, sometimes (I know someone who rode it for about six months, through caring through a parent at end of life care....) so the energetic exhaustion sometimes shows up later than you'd expect.

2) Grounding

You've said you're grounding, but this is a good time to look at trying different methods. Grounding, the way I was taught it, isn't just for for dumping excess energy, but also for regaining it if you need to. There are a variety of techniques that are more like cell osmosis with water, than like pouring water out on the ground.

I've got some ideas at the grounding page on my Seeking website, but if you can share what you're currently doing, people might have additional suggestions too.

3) Divination, meditation, other sources of information specifically about this

Have you tried any? Have they told you anything that might be useful? (especially anything consistent pointing in the same direction?)

A question like "What should I know to take care of myself after our meeting today." before you go, and a similar question once you get back might or might not be informative.

4) Techniques the group is using.

Your group sounds like they're decent people from what you say here, but good people can sometimes have ritual practices or group-structure practices that don't work for everyone - or that they're so used to doing that they forget to walk new people through a specific thing or issue or technique. (This is why talking to them is a good move for many reasons.)

Sometimes the stuffy stuff in ritual is a built in precaution against problems that only come up occasionally. If it didn't bug people in the group when they dropped a particular piece, they may not have realised what it was doing. (This comes up *so often* in some kinds of Pagan practice.) 

If you can find any patterns (that doing some things is worse than other things, or it's worse if your monthly meeting is close to a particular lunar cycle or some other pattern of days) that can be very informative about what exactly is causing it. Pay attention to not just things, but if it's a new thing you haven'tp  done before, a thing you've done several times, a thing that was already part of your personal practice to some degree, etc...

One other thing to consider carefully is that sometimes groups bringing in someone who already has a significant personal practice will skim over some things, because they see similarities to what they do - but when you get in to deeper or more complex ritual work, it turns out that information would have been very helpful. Going over the standard training they'd normally give anyone entering, even if they think you don't need it, might be informative.
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Auntie Cosmos

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Re: "High" Magic
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2017, 07:31:19 pm »
Many thanks for your suggestions and links.  You have given me a lot to chew on.

Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused.

SunflowerP

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Re: "High" Magic
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2017, 07:44:07 pm »
Many thanks for your suggestions and links.  You have given me a lot to chew on.

A Reminder:
Hi, Auntie Cosmos,

Just a quick note:  Please remember to quote, even if you're just replying to the first message in the thread.  It makes the discussion easier to follow, and it's required by our rules. (If you're using tapatalk on a phone, please hold your finger down on the message you wish to reply to until the quote function pops up.)

This isn't a formal warning, just a reminder. No reply is necessary, but if you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact a member of staff privately.

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