As I became settled into my new home, I began studying my shadow. A lesson that most of the sources I was researching about shamanism told me to learn was to learn all about my shadow. A person has three parts. Their breath, their light, and their shadow. I knew much already about my dark side if you will. Most of my life I had spent in dire circumstances, even before this story started I had suffered a difficult life, full of violence, drugs, and pain. The concept of darkness within me was not new. What was new to me was to use it. What had struck me was that every one of those sources expected me to be friends with this darkness. As a Christian, I was told this darkness was the power of the flesh and that my goal was to deprive it of power, to push it into the back of my mind and kill it through neglect.
I was wary about this. How could I be friends with something if it was evil, destructive, and dark? I started with my memories. How could I be friends with that? After much meditation I developed a sense of cause. These memories made me who I was. I was strong. Nobody could control me; nobody could turn me from my goals. The pain of my past had made it easy for me to deal with things most people would find devastating. I was darker for it sure, maybe a bit more macabre than your average sixteen year old, but not everyone had almost died at the hands of another either. I was a much more mature person because I had been forced to grow up young. When most people look back on what they learned when they were six they don’t consider picking locks so you can feed yourself and your sisters, or contemplating the fact that eventually if you were never rescued you would have to choose to die or kill the one who was going to kill you.
I had this deep dark power within me that I was scared to use because no one had told me it was ok. I put it out and shoved it away when I escaped my torturous childhood but it manifested itself in my dreams.
In one of my journeys at this time Maurice directed me to a pool in the Tree. I was unsure whether or not I even wanted to go there. It would reveal to me the form of my shadow- the shape my spirit took when the shadow took over. This was something I never experienced in my conscious life. Luckily my PTSD and other shadowy things was manifested in my sleep in the form of nightmares and flashbacks, and only in my waking life as a constant tremor and sudden mood swings.
I went anyway because I had learned from my deaths that fear was nothing. It would not save me. I made it to the darkest depths of my inner world, under the roots of the Tree. The pool glittered with a light from an unknown source; it shone with brilliance from nowhere and was black as ink. I stepped up to the edge and looked across the waters. There before me stood a being. He was all pale, with curly black hair and horns. He had red eyes, and his pupils were small and barely noticeable. Connected to his shoulders were a magnificent set of the most beautiful black wings. They were feathery and the feathers moved with the wind that came from nowhere in this subterranean world. I stood in shock. This was a part of me. He was clothed, his clothes fit tight around him and I could not identify the material used to fashion them.
I asked him a question and he merely laughed. From nowhere he lit a cigarette and stared at me hard as if to insult from afar the image he saw as his other parts. He knew who I was as he was deeply intelligent. He didn’t care though. I could tell. I smiled at him with a mocking grin. I knew he couldn’t hurt himself. He was too proud to do that. He had way too much vanity. He thought me as perfect as he thought himself to be. He didn’t respect me though. Nor did he respect himself. He merely was. Moment by moment he would shift his pose and he was quicker than lightning so I could not discern his movements. After a while I was overwhelmed. This was me. This was my shadow. I walked around the circle of water and embraced him. He wrapped his wings up around me and we melded together into one form.
Another form I noticed that he took was that he was wolfish. A big black wolf accompanied him. Nothing could separate him from this animal. I knew this wolf as myself as well. This got me to thinking so I returned to the third world. I began for weeks and weeks to study the wolf totem and all the werewolf myths I could. As it turns out they do exist but they are not what people think they are. I will not say I am one because I am not – naturally. However, we aren’t dealing with the natural. We are dealing with the supernatural.
Natural werewolves are beings of darkness that inhabit the shadow realms beneath the Tree and within the jungle under it. They are consistently in werewolf form, and they do not have evil traits like often portrayed. They are beings of the moon. Manifestations of the Wolf spirit in the purest form. Shamans of old and some of the ancient Dianic male worshippers are said to be able to transform into a wolf. I was determined for this to occur but many weeks of searching availed me not. I asked a witch who lived in a trailer on the outskirts of town if she could help me. I will not disclose her name here but she is very old and most people consider her crazy. She handed me a slip of paper with the procedures of a transformation spell on it, complete with the recipe for a salve I was to smother on my skin before doing the ritual in return for my vow that I would not share it with anyone. I was amazed that such things existed. Sure, flying lotion was common in old spell books but here was a different salve that brought about a different experience. It was complex and required exact measurements for all of the herbs were poisonous and some of them were fatal. She allowed me the shares of the more exotic herbs that I would not find around town and then allowed me to go. I walked out of her house and she began to chant something on my way out. Then she yelled at me to stop and turn around. I obeyed and she stared at me very long and very hard. She told me that if it worked I was to avoid her for six months until the effects wore off.
I spent the next few weeks making the lotion. It required very elusive herbs and ingredients. One ingredient that is crucial only grows in one place in the middle of a farm that is private property. Luckily it is somewhere that as a child, I would explore as part of my forest escape out at my grandmothers. It used to be hers, but that is a different story. I recorded all of my procedures much like a scientist would. I wrote everything down in a language only I knew so no one but me could read it.
After I made the lotion I waited until a Full Moon. That part is true and absolutely necessary. I am sorry that I cannot tell you details but I was sworn to secrecy and I fear the power of the old witch more than any reprimands for knowledge anyone could dish out. She probably knows I’m writing this much to you.
Then I waited until my parents were asleep, snuck out of my house since my bedroom door was right by the back door and headed to the high school. I dropped my bag with the tools and the salve behind the tennis court wall. And nearby in the practice field for the softball games I completed the ritual.
At first I felt nothing. I was worried that the herbs I picked had been mistakenly identified. I was worried that the proportions were wrong. If they were I would go into shock and die. No return. This was the third world. Death was real here.
Then, I felt a tingle. I grew warmer and warmer until my skin was burning all over. I noticed I was blistering, and I itched severely. I lost consciousness for a minute and woke up lying on the ground. Only thing was when I tried to stand I noticed I was quite short. I also noticed my body. It was still where it had dropped; my head was bleeding because a sharp stone had cut my forehead. I was alive and breathing and my blisters were oozing puss. I was alive but I looked awful where the salves herbs had made contact.
I looked for a reflective surface to confirm my suspicions about the black wolf in my journey. I found the shards of a mirror in the nearby dumpster that had been broken when my dad’s girlfriend had broken it cleaning the bathroom. I pawed at it with my giant clumsy paw and it was there – the black wolf. I was him. I howled to the moon in glee and suddenly every dog on the block began to bark. They were as rodents to me. I could smell the fear in their hearts. I could hear the tiny racing pulses.
I will not disclose the things I did afterwards, as I do not wish to tell the darkest parts of my journey. You would not believe them anyway. But I will say that I was inhibited by nothing. I climbed to the roof of the nearby movie rental store and Chinese restaurant and left a mark there with my claws. This would be proof to me that I was there. I am not sure why I left these marks since I was in spirit form I did not expect them to be there in real life. However when I returned they were. Deep and vivid gashes as clear as day… farther apart than my fingers could reach.
As the sun lit up the sky I went back to my body and waited within the circle I had cast. All of the candles but one had burned out and I lay staring at the flame. I felt my consciousness retract back into my body as the flame grew blue and finally as it died I howled one last time in pride and then I awoke in my body. I did not sleep that night and the next day at school I recorded my experiences in my language I was now used to writing in and I went with bags under my eyes and complained that homework had kept me up late along with anxiety. I told my parents that I had been up all night reading my books, since I had left in the deepest of the night to perform the above ritual. They never suspected it. I began also to wonder why the old woman had made the stipulation six months. I would soon find out.