This post contains a suggestion for a visualization technique that I have used to reduce the symptoms of PTSD. It is not meant to cure or diagnose. It can be used by magical practitioners and non-practitioners alike. I left the wording vague.
I have found that sometimes my darkness is so thick that only other darkness can approach it and relieve painful psychological symptoms. I think I discovered this at 16 when I fell in love with Joy Division or even Bikini Kill and their songs of isolation and righteous anger. The therapist was very concerned when she heard what was coming out of my earphones. “Doesn’t that just make you angrier?”
I thought about it. “No, it eats my anger.”
I have had a lot of trauma in my life, great long unlit roads of depression and anguish peppered with the bright light of hypomania. There were times I felt hexed but who would hex me? I don’t know anyone with the power to hex backward in time to blight someone’s childhood.
I spent some time away from witchcraft because I was afraid I was magickally crossing myself.
When I returned to it, it was through the goddess Kali*. I went down to the local new-age bookstore and they had a single image of her. No statues or posters, just a little 4×6 picture with Kali so blue, her eyes popping from her head with ravenous and lustful anger, the garland of skulls hanging from her neck, the decapitated head gripped by one of her hands and her foot on poor Shiva who, upon seeing that she would not, on her own, stop the rampage, placed his own body as a stopper. It’s a powerful image and one that immediately made me feel safer.
Upon seeing the picture, the bookstore clerk reacted the same way my therapist had when I was 16 listening to Bikini Kill, slightly aghast. These white-lighters can’t recognize the virtue in the “dark side” of the force.
At the time, I was in the grips of a painful and seemingly endless bout of PTSD symptoms that were starting to have physical effects (fibromyalgia, considered by some doctors to be the physical aspect of PTSD). I needed someone powerful enough to eat my trauma. Kali had reached out to me
I embarked on weeks of visualizations, pouring my internal bile into the earth that could transmute it. I gave Kali an altar and charged a bit of obsidian with her energy, running it all over my body, watching her vampire teeth rip apart the flesh of my inner enemies.
It was damn effective. A word about working with Kali. She is an extremely potent ally but falls under the mothering style of “tough love.” As I have a real life one of those, I am drawn to Kali and other deities considered “dark.” She is extremely nurturing but not in a warm fuzzy kind of way. She also has no boundaries. You need to set them.
After a certain point I switched to lovingkindness meditations that were also very effective (especially after Kali had sufficiently disarmed my foes).. If Kali intimidates you, I highly recommend beginning with lovingkindness meditation.
This past full moon, to commemorate of the anniversary of starting my work with Kali, as well as to get rid of lingering grief, pain etc., I underwent a vigorous cleansing ritual (Can be done in shower or tub).
Kali Demon Cleanse
1 cup each Sea Salt/Epsom Salt
3 Drops of lavender
3 Drops of geranium
3 Drops of tea tree oil
Teaspoon Kali Clay (bentonite clay, activated charcoal, coconut oil, essential oils)
If you are using this in a bath, 1 cup total per bath, dissolved fully. If you are using it in the shower, use it like an exfoliating scrub.
Prepare your bathroom: clean, light incense or a candle, cleanse, cast a circle if it is your tradition, et al.
It’s very important to link visualization to action and word. As you are doing this, repeat an invocation of Kali or and/or other goddess/god(s) and scrub in counter-clockwise motion.. Make your petition and make it with an appropriate amount of force for your situation. If you feel like your situation is dire, don’t shy from pleading like you are pleading for your life, which you are.
As you scrub, visualize your inner demons, no matter how ugly they are and how little you want to see their faces. If this is effective for you, you will notice the images become fainter and triggering fewer negative emotions as you do this. Go through your script three times, scrubbing arms, torso and legs three times as well.
A year later, another Halloween/Samhain approaching, I am a different person. I still have work to do but I feel cleaned out. I’m still doing visualizations, mindfulness and lovingkindness meditations daily but I am fighting myself less. You have to figure that a mental and physical state that was over three decades in the making will take awhile to resolve but that ain’t never going to happen unless you start.
*I also have a great shrink. I don’t recommend embarking on this without someone who has a grasp on your psychological state, preferably someone with an open mind to meditation and visualization or better yet, spiritual healing, but that’s not always possible.