On Christmas Eve a man, worn down by greed and loneliness, was warned by long dead business partners to change his ways or face an eternity in chains.
The darker side of the season is present not just in Dicken’s classic, but it’s referenced in songs like “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Though it gets overshadowed. Pagans, who focus so much on the return of the sun and light, neglect to acknowledge that it’s the longest night of the year. Yes, the sun is being reborn. Yes, the days will be longer. But it is the longest night of the year. All the better, I think, to do a Dark Night of the Soul.
The Dark Night of the Soul is very much like what happened to Scrooge. Scrooge’s life was a bit of a bummer especially around Christmas. The holiday became a trigger and his “bah humbug” his response. The magick of the season, though, is a legacy of Pagan Solstices, Yules, and Saturnalias. When faced with the darkest time of the year, it’s natural to crave light, and there is magick in that kind of universal celebration (we may, as humans, never agree on religion but nature does not care). Scrooge’s soul matched the Solstice. It was the darkest it had been and it needed to greet the light. On his journey with the three spirits, he did the one thing we all need to do when faced with our emotions. He walked through them. He walked through the memories, he walked through the present, and he faced a realistic future if he did not change. It didn’t matter if they were hard to watch, in order for him to really get it, he needed to walk through them. Face them head on. That’s what a Dark Night of the Soul is all about. It’s about facing yourself. All aspects of you.
When doing the DNotS you are at your most vulnerable and it can be dangerous. Cast your circle, and I would suggest having a trusted covenmate or Priest/ess with you. This is an all night event so if you have a nocturnal Witch in your coven, give them a call. There are many ways to do this ritual. You could take more inspiration from A Christmas Carol and invoke the Fates and a friendly guide. Some witches use substances to get into a trance-like state. I have done it astral projecting to Hecate’s Crossroads and another time did a guided mediation with my coven (please don’t get the idea to possess someone because of your ego in your abilities to exorcise demons). The goal of the ritual is to face yourself–the darkest bits (the realities of your personality, your biggest fears) and to survive the night as your own warrior and champion.
Here are some components to your Night:
If you take a ritual bath do so in the dark. Begin the transition to darkness in the evening and keep all the lights off in the part of your house you will be spending the night.
If you have the time make a playlist for your evening. Instrumental is always best so you don’t get too distracted but if you have some songs that trigger angst or remind you of the darker childhood moments add ’em to the list.
Have a bowl of salt water next to you for protection (to be blunt if you don’t know how to use the salt water in the event of a malevolent spirit coming back this ritual might be too dangerous for your abilities. Read a couple books on possession and high magick first).
Old diaries, photos, items with value to you and confront them use them in your journey.
You can have your covenmate or friend read some of your fears or memories to you periodically throughout the night to keep you on track.
Whether you do one or not try to take a moment to face the darkness this year. Have Perfect Love and Perfect Trust for the Sun doth cometh!