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Author Topic: Descents into the Underworld?  (Read 2118 times)

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pencils

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Descents into the Underworld?
« on: June 12, 2015, 08:34:47 PM »

I remember reading of a few -- that were preemptively woven into culture by Satan (who is not a god, not at all, definitely) prior to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ's own, totally unique and original descent into Hell -- but I can't seem to find much about it.

(Okay, I've vented my snark.  I'll be polite.)

I'm sort of going through my own descent into the underworld now, getting through some pretty bad child abuse by people who now are very, very Mormon (hence the snark).  I can't really explain why, but it helps to meditate on these things a bit.

Could anyone point me to references about descents into the underworld, and when that legend got started?  Are such things incorporated into modern practice at all?
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marisol

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2015, 12:24:56 PM »

Pencils think about what you are asking. No one knows where he went. The only info you might find has been written by man.
But if you really have to think about it, I would have to say he went to the land of the departed. Now if you would stall your tail
spin, go talk to an expert. Like a minister or priest. I no longer follow the christian path, I'm sorry I can't offer more on the subject.

I'm gonna guess that descending into the land of the departed is symbolic only. No one knows the real truth. This may have been
to further the messianic status of Jesus. I do believe that Jesus was a man. But he was used from his birth to his death to form a
religion made by man. I believe he was used cruelly and unjustly to form a religion that is unbelievable to me.

Blessings
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pencils

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 12:09:28 AM »

Part of coming to terms with an abusive childhood frequently involves remembering things that you forced out of your mind for years or decades.  It gets suppressed as a protective mechanism.  It's more than most kids can deal with to think about having your pets hurt to make you feel bad, being sent to school wearing your favorite short that was ripped as a punishment, toys destroyed, being punched, beaten with objects, sexual things . . .  Forcing it out of your mind doesn't really help though.  It stays in there, a hidden poison slowly destroying your life.  Putting it behind you means bringing it to the surface and dealing with it.

That, to me, is a descent into Hell; a visit to an undead past so it can be properly laid to rest.

Meditating on the various legends along those lines - Charon, Attis, etc. - helps in ways I can't really describe.  Partly it reinforces the collapse of my Christianity several years ago as the correct thing for me.  Partly it is something I can almost identify with.

The advice I am being given on the process - by a professional - is what I described above.  Putting the residue of a twisted, toxic childhood away involves processing the emotions about it.  It is not productive generally to confront abusers.  Usually they block their own memories of it and would just become defensively abusive, in mostly honest disbelief of accusations against them.  It would be pointless and counterproductive.  But that toxic residue still needs to be purged.

Survivors of childhood abuse have to repair themselves enough to get through life as they deserve to.  Emotional scars need to be healed.  Nervous systems that never developed properly from constant trauma during critical development stages need careful straightening out.  Peace and enjoyment and meaning need to be found.

For me personally that involves a very personal Wicca/Pagan-ish set of activities.  It is connection to a natural spirituality that has been articulated so many times in so many ways over the millennia.  It is connection to, and love of, the natural world.  It is to shed the whole facade that my family lives under and find my own path to peace.

But for the time being I remain in my own underworld, revisiting my undead past so that I may claim parts of me that were left there and get the ghosts of the past to let go of me so that I may move forward.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 12:15:51 AM by pencils »
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Ashe Isadora

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 04:10:51 AM »

Check out The Legend of the Descent of the Goddess, and research Inanna and Ishtar in particular.  The symbology of the descent to the underworld is integral throughout Wicca and many pagan religions, though the myths may differ slightly.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 05:21:44 AM by Ashe Isadora »
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marisol

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 09:47:01 AM »

Pencils I'm not unsympathetic to what was inflicted upon you. I'm glad that you have reached out for help. But don't let it rule your life now. It is good to examine the things in the past that we did to ourselves, or were done to us by others when we were too young to
stop them. Don't let it overwhelm you.


Blessings
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pencils

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2015, 05:30:58 PM »

Pencils I'm not unsympathetic to what was inflicted upon you. I'm glad that you have reached out for help. But don't let it rule your life now. It is good to examine the things in the past that we did to ourselves, or were done to us by others when we were too young to
stop them. Don't let it overwhelm you.


Blessings

The magnitude of damage from emotional abuse can be pretty profound, and is extremely hard to get a sense of.  It's counterintuitive, goes against what people expect.

Everyone has heard, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."  That's backwards.  So backwards in fact that the real damaging thing from physical abuse is the emotional aspect of it: "Why does mommy hate me?"  Breaks and burns and cuts heal unless very severe, but emotional damage stays.

With a child, the brain still is developing, even into the early teens.  Emotional abuse literally damages the development of brain tissue - really base level things like the limbic system.  You can do brain imaging of abuse victims and get a fair idea of the general type of abuse they suffered and when it happened. You can have kids that get stuck in "fight or flight" response permanently.  They can have never-ending depression.  They can literally be unable to experience happiness.  It is essentially brain damage.  It leaves people unable to deal with life because their mind literally does not work right.

Thankfully the brain is "plastic" and can heal from those things.  But it takes a lot of work and time - years of counseling with someone who really knows what they are doing.

People (and victims too) want to say, "snap out of it!"  Not possible.  There are physical and functional changes in the brain that cannot be "decided" away.  Victims have to do specific manipulations, things like meditation, learning new thinking skills, teaching their nervous systems to experience joy.  Spirituality, especially Pagan paths, can help quite a lot.

Edited to add: there is a deep interplay between the physical brain and the workings of the mind.  Each affects the other.  Physical development problems affect thinking profoundly.  Most people never know that and live their entire lives screwed up.  But it is possible to work on your mind as described above to create healing in the physical brain.  That is "brain plasticity" at work: healthy thinking can, in time, effect real physical healing in the brain.  The usual problem is that a person is so damaged they are unable to rework their thinking into a healing state.  That is where supportive environments (friends, family, therapists) can make the difference.  They get the injured person started on a process they can at least keep going themselves.  Being left unsupported usually is a death spiral where everyone involved suffers.

In a very real sense it is like physical exercise.  You cannot expect to suddenly have strong muscles just by wishing it.  If you want strong arms or legs you have to do the correct exercises.  If you have been badly injured, exercise is a central part of rehabilitation.  It is the same way with child abuse.

Imagine running a foot race but having shackles.  You're not going very far or very fast.  You can ignore the shackles or blame yourself for being so slow, but that doesn't help anything.  The only way to the end is to face the shackles and free yourself from them.

That is what I am going through now.  I had been overwhelmed by the shackles of my abuse.  I'm facing it and freeing myself.  This is release for me, not letting something rule me.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 09:48:22 PM by pencils »
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pencils

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 01:34:22 AM »

It is good to examine the things in the past that we did to ourselves . . .

That's a curious statement.

I spent decades being convinced that I must have done something to bring that misery on myself, on my family.  In reality I was just an easy target.  Frustrations of life were vented on a little boy, to the point of breaking him.  It's really pretty simple at the core.
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pencils

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 01:38:23 AM »

Check out The Legend of the Descent of the Goddess, and research Inanna and Ishtar in particular.  The symbology of the descent to the underworld is integral throughout Wicca and many pagan religions, though the myths may differ slightly.

Thank you.

I've read about that before but it's been a while.  It's getting to the point of devoting some more time to things Pagan.
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marisol

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2015, 12:11:50 PM »

It is good to examine the things in the past that we did to ourselves . . .

That I guess was meant for me. An alcoholic marriage of 26 yrs, a messy divorce and all the bad emotions that go with it. Everyone
believes soul mates stay together forever, but sometimes they don't. It left a hole in my heart that I could not fill. I have been depressed since I was 15 yrs old. But It was something I hid from everyone. After my husband left I ended up taking anti-depressants and this med for that, etc. I made many bad choices. A work injury that disabled me and forced me to seek disability, I could only walk with a cane, couldn't drive. It took me a long time to get to where I could be me again. My son arranged a meeting with my ex and we had many conversations about what happened between us. His wife had dropped him off at the house we owned, he was in bad shape. A severe alcoholic with malnutrition. A brain tumor that had grown back, he weighed maybe 90 lb. What he wanted was to die. My son and I did everything we could for him. I went to check on him one day and found him on the kitchen floor where he had passed. It's a heart retching feeling to find someone we loved that way. And to have to tell your child.

Good things did come from the time we spent together. We had never stopped loving each other. Even though it wasn't the same kind of love, we cared for each other. This was a healing experience for both of us.

I was not very nice to his wife at his funeral, I was in fact cruel to her for abandoning him. But this too was healing for me and she
would have to live with what she had done. She didn't even help with funeral expenses. So you see these life changing things happen to us all. None are exactly the same, but we have to move forward no matter how much we have been hurt. We all descend into darkness at times and many times we do this to ourselves, but we can heal. It just takes time.

I didn't mean to write a book.
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pencils

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2015, 11:09:09 PM »

That I guess was meant for me. An alcoholic marriage of 26 yrs, a messy divorce and all the bad emotions that go with it.  . . .

Work prevented me from getting back to this sooner.

Things like that damage us.  They leave a mark, if you will.

Earlier I had occasion to avoid PTSD.  I did so successfully, because I had good advice to follow.  Part of it was not to ruminate on traumatic events, which I think is what you are getting at.  Very important to focus on the good things in life.

I found there is a hitch though, in my case with a past of abuse.  In some instances there is serious and lasting injury.  In those cases healing has to be approached a bit differently, because trying to refocus on positive things can leave old wounds unhealed.  Sometimes there needs to be a return to old hurts, so their tentacles can be cut and we can move on to the good things.

I was "saved" from the effects of abuse by Christianity a while back.  It didn't hold, probably because there were old injuries that were spackled over instead of dealt with.

It can be a delicate balance, revisiting the past or just moving on.  I feel like Pagan paths are better suited to things like this.  At least, it seems to be working pretty well for me this time around.
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marisol

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2015, 10:54:37 AM »

Well good luck to you Pencils. Don't forget to enjoy the good things we have been blest with.
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Alchymist

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Re: Descents into the Underworld?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2015, 12:41:21 AM »

How are things going for you, Pencils? We haven't heard from you in a while. I trust your Path is bringing you to a place of healing.

All of us who follow the Path of Magic, at one time or another during our lives - if not this life, then the next, or the one after that - will be confronted with the Abyss at least once; also known in various traditions as the Dark Night of the Soul, the Underworld, and as Chapel Perilous. Indeed, if you only encounter the Abyss once, you are either very lucky or you have lived an exemplary life; not many of us can make that claim, I think.

Friedrich Nietzsche was well acquainted with the Abyss; when he said "whatever does not kill me will make me stronger" he was referring to this encounter alone, I believe. Having successfully crossed the Abyss - and incorporated into one's own being all that one meets there - is what distinguishes the true Mage from the mere Magician. The Mage acknowledges his dragons, his demons - and can use them as a source of strength, the precursor to healing.

Nietzsche didn't quite make it; his failure drove him to madness - but in his case, it was probably a divine madness, something perhaps beyond the understanding of most normal everyday humans. He stood on the shoulders of giants, and saw further.

Let us know how things are going,

Blessed Be,

Alchy
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