Shedding Skin by James Garrison August 15, 2000 Copyright North Door Associates 2000, All rights reserved.
A much abbreviated and edited version of this article originally appeared in the 1997 Magical Almanac. It is restored here for the first time.
(Waning Moon and/or Mercury Retrograde are particularly good times to utilize this rite: if you're ready, willing & able.)
There come times when we need to get rid of old ways of being, to slough off the tired, worn out and no longer satisfying or healthy ways of the past. We can shed our old habits, our fears and our pain like a snake sheds its skin. The process doesn't make everything go away so much as it gives us a new start, a renewed perspective. We can let go of our hold on the problems and pain that we have allowed hold us back and move onwards to a new life.
Take a moment. Turn off the phone, strip naked or put on something comfortable. Relax in a dark, quiet place. Breathe easily. Meditate for a bit if that's your thing, or just peel off the work mask and let go of the tension that you carry during the normal routine of your daytime existence. Burn a little sweetgrass or some incense if you like. Stretch out a bit; get your muscles into alignment with your intentions. When you're ready, drift into the realm in-between sleep and waking, if you are comfortable there.
Feel. Don't see or try to see anything, but rather FEEL the pulse that vibrates through you as your heart beats to the time of your life. Feel the folds of the energy that surround you, the weight of accumulated astral debris, other people's projections, and the ties to those things you really don't want to remain tied to any moreĂ‚â€"if you ever did. Let the sensations build and grow heavier and heavier until you've had quite enough of this and won't take any more.
When you're ready, stand up. Prepare sacred space in whatever way you prefer or are most comfortable. Go to the center of this space and face the North. Silently address this place of the Ancestors with a bow, a nod, a smile, or whatever works best for you. Ground and center yourself if you like. Turn to the East and feel the heavy burden that you carry slither around you like a giant serpent. You stand within this creature, as though already swallowed up. This is not a bad place to be, but as with any snake, it's time to shed the old skin and in doing so, you can work with the Snake to rid yourself of those accumulated things that are weighing you down. It's time to let go.
From this place of realization and dawning awareness rise up in silence and slowly turn to face each of the quarters. As you come before each direction, contemplate without speaking what you know of each direction, and the influences that have come into your life from each. This is a good time to pray, if you're prone to such things. It's also a good time to honor your allies and guardians and teachers and guides with a token or gesture of some sort. Since that sort of thing has to come from the heart to work and not be hokey baloney, you'll have to come up with your own ideas.
Upon returning to the East, make one more complete rotation, this time without looking, reaching, or extending in any way outside yourself. Just be receptive. Shut up and listen. Let go of the chatter and listen with your heart if you can.
When you get back to the East again, raise your head and continue turning slowly, silently, but this time look to the spaces in-between the directions. Look for what you've avoided seeing, refused to notice, or overlooked. When you return to the East again, you are ready to proceed. Speak from the heart, not just from the head. If the words below work for you, use them. If not, make up your own words. Do what works best for you.
Words for the East (Feel free to adapt to suit your needs): "I stand within the triple-coil of the Serpent, in this place between the worlds and beyond. I face the East and with the kiss of the wind upon my lips I recall all my words, everything I have said in this past year. I own these things and they are of my making. Eating these echoes in the shadows of my passions and opinions, I taste the truth of my Will however obscured by ego or emotion it may have become. I pray for clarity and by this act of self-sacrament I seek to speak honestly, openly, and fairly, with compassion and understanding from this moment onwards. So mote it be."
Words for the South:
"To the South I turn, and by the flames of my actions, the light I have brought into the world, I warm my soul and open my eyes to the truth of my acts, the integrity of my courage, the fierceness of my mad anger and the pettiness of my insecurities. I own these acts, these expressions of my inner-most self. I kindle the flames of self with the breath of clear intent and in recalling and reliving these things I seek to know my true direction, the real expression of what I am here to do. I seek to dance the dance of my soul in harmony and beauty. So Mote It Be."
Words for the West:
"To the West I turn, the song of my ancestors in my blood, the truth of my work in my sweat and tears. I feel the sorrows and the happiness, the waves and tides of my emotions wash over me and through me in this deep place of recollection and rebirth. I lower myself, willingly and completely into the Cauldron, and here I transform these feelings into memories which shape me and guide me to bring about those feelings I most dearly hunger for, to share those things I most eagerly seek and by these acts I shall finally find what I need through building what I might give and share. So Mote It Be."
Words for the North:
"To the North I now turn, shaken to my roots, washed clean of pride and humility and in the space between I look out upon the fruits of my labors. What have I wrought with my hands, my heart, my will? In silence I see the true harvest of my soul, the treasures I've crafted for my people, the gifts I've left for those coming after me, the things I have made and fashioned...the manifestations of my desire and the accomplishments of my efforts. Grateful for my life, for my talents and the challenges that form my life, I thank the ancestors and the Gods and from this fertile foundation I will grow and nurture a life to be lived. My life. So Mote It Be."
Words/Rite for the CenterĂ‚â€"(Let the words inspire your movements, actions, etc.)
Take a moment and breathe deeply. Relax. Bend down to touch the ground or floor at your feet. Extend your reach unto the core of the World itself. Feel it. When you are ready, say something like the following, or not. As you will. "I reach down unto the roots of my soul, the deep realm of the ancestors and the dead. I am a shadow of the past being cast into the future by the light they have bequeathed me from their own passing. I am the one who follows and shall in time be followed by those who come after. I am one of you, you are within me, the memories whispering in my blood, the hair upon my head, the secrets written upon the coils within my cells."
Stand up, pulling energy from deep within and from deep below simultaneously. Feel it move upwards through you; be the lightning rod for this deep energy. Let it fill you, build within you and begin to push out anything that doesn't belong. When your hand(s) reach the level of your solar plexus or heart, whichever feels most right to you, speak again, or not, as you will.
"I honor you and stand before you as a child in the darkness, looking into the coming Winter. I rely upon you for my foundation, my refuge from the storm. Your wisdom guides my steps and challenges my choices as I collect my own experiences to in time become one of you who stand watching. With thanks and a perspective born of shared insight, I walk onwards with your blessing. Blessed Be." Relax into the energy you are releasing and pulling forth. Continue to raise your hand(s) upwards, extending your reach beyond the horizon and speak again, or not, as you will.
"I extend my hands upwards into the future, that which is ever-becoming, the crest of an eternal wave rolling forever onwards and away from us. I touch the wild magick of creation and destruction, the forces of Nature which shape us all and define our lives. Grasping the lightning and breathing the wind of change I shed the old skin of my past, I let go of those things which I've outgrown and make a new life from the old. I am reborn, renewed and I let the lightning loose into my Circle that it may bring the light deeper into me, that I might make the great leap across the Abyss and enter into a new life of light and love and liberty/freedom. I stand here a Free (Wo)Man. So Mote It Be!"
Bring your hand(s) down to your side(s) and relax, breathe and release all the accumulated debris, gunk and stagnant energy that's been holding on to you or that you've held on to. Let it go. Be done with it. Earth it all or drive it into moving water like a river or sewer. Get it out of your system so you can move on. Visualization isn't important at this point so much as tactile impressions are; you want to feel the old skin slough off and fall away, so that you are renewed.
Some more words to consider using at this point in the process:
"Ever mindful that as we come into the world, we are not alone, I relinquish this Circle and restore the energies of this sacred place. And when it is well and good, I thank this place and I return unto the world and my life truly begins anew..."
Once you begin to release the flow of energy, put your hands out in front of you and turn slowly, restoring the boundaries of your personal aura. Smooth things out with your hands. Be sensual, not intellectual. Feel the fresh energy of the Earth coursing through you and use it to revitalize your aura. You didn't create a vacuum by just banishing out unwanted junk, you expelled the gross stuff by building up internal pressure of healthy, healthful energies. Whatever you decide to do at this point, consider balancing out your system in a manner that appeals to you; the Rite of Balance, LBRP, Star Ruby, Middle Pillar, or whatever you're most comfortable with.
With minor adaptation this rite can be modified to tap into sacred sites or to help seed new ones. Please show some respect for the land you seek to work upon and with in this process. If you're going to use this rite, pick up after yourself and make an effort to leave things better than when you found them. Otherwise there's not much point in doing this sort of rite. End of micro-lecture. Far from being over, this process has only just begun. Repeat as necessary, adapt as needed, and enjoy as you will.
Love & Will Entwined,
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Psychic Awareness Spells
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