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Monday, February 13, 2012

"Pathworking" Involves Cleaning - At All Levels

Pathworking - Starting the New Year, Cleaning Out Our Lives

The "new year," effectively, begins right about now. Really, it started last week - February 2nd. This was the Feast of Candlemas (the Festival of Lights). It was Imholc (in the older traditions), and Groundhog Day (in the newer ones). In Druidic times, this was the true start of the "new year." Other cultures, notably the Chinese, start their new year with a celebration around this time of year. Truly, our juices don't begin to flow - we don't begin to shake off some of winter's hibernation - until we start to get more light in the sky, beginning in early February.

Now on a simple girlfriend-to-girlfriend level, I'll let you know: January was hard. I didn't get out, and didn't party. Instead, I focused down and worked my way through that month. And the results are in; they're good, and I'm really pleased to have put in all that effort.

There's another thing that I started - right after Christmas (right during the "Twelve Days of Solstice," in fact). I got started on paperwork clean-ups. And as you probably know, this is a long chore. There's probably not a one of us who can burn through our entire paperwork stack in just one evening, or even a weekend.

For me, it's been multiple rounds of wrestling with the "Paper Tiger"; the piles, bags, and boxes of papers that have accrued over the months (and even prior years). Frankly, I feel that basement and garage clean-outs are easier.

Which brings me to: Basement and garage clean-outs. Specifically (because our garages are still pretty cold right now) to basement clean-outs. And I've been cleaning out mine (with the help of a sturdy and dedicated housemate). We've put in three "sessions," and have made a dent. Not done, but a good strong dent. We feel encouraged. We feel that progress has been made, and that if we stay with this, we'll even be done. (Some day.)

The point is: Basement cleaning - and paperwork cleaning - and life-cleaning of all sorts - is the kind of thing that we start right around now. And it's part of our Unveiling process. It's an integral part of pathworking.

In Chapter 19 of Unveiling, "A Sacred Time, A Sacred Space," I write:

After we find and designate our sacred space, we cleanse. We cleanse thoroughly. This is important.

This is the actual physical cleaning of any aspect of our lives; our basements, our closets, our stacks of paperwork or sets of unanswered emails. It can be physical; if we are into body "cleanses," this is often the time that we take on a little bit of a juice fast or introduce some tonics into our lives. (Even without that degree of rigor, we show more interest in fresh salads, and less of a need for chocolate cream-cheese brownies. Well, that depends on the weather.)

At the same time, whenever we take on some cleansing process in our physical worlds, or even in our bodies, we are allowing the same process to take place inside our minds. We begin our "inner house-cleaning" - as I described in Chapter 28, "Going Deeper." During one of my own Inanna-descents, I found that cleaning out my "inner basement" led to cleaning out deeper and deeper levels - none of which were pretty! (In fact, it felt like excavating sub-basements filled with swamp-mold and muck!)

Yet this is one of the most important things we can do. In fact, we have an archetype whose purpose is to help us with just this! This is our inner Hestia. Hestia was the ancient Greek goddess of "hearth and home." She was not into the relational aspects; she was not so much about the great love. Instead, she was more one for keeping the garden tended, pickling the vegetables, and cleaning the kitchen afterwards.

Hestia doesn't get a lot of attention. Yet our Hestia mode is one of the most useful things that we have going for us. She keeps the underpinnings of our lives together - the day-to-day things that lets our Amazon conquer new worlds, our Isis/Empress have her nurturing time with children and friends, our High Priestess to have contemplation, and our Hathor to have time for sensuality and for play.

Did I mention that our Hestia doesn't get a lot of respect? More to the point, she doesn't get a whole lot of recognition. I didn't even mention her in Unveiling!

That's because I didn't understand her until after the book was nearly done. In the ensueing months, though, I've had a better understanding. And I wrote about her recently as a core archetype in the Unveiling blog; see Hestia and also - for a birds-eye view of our complete archetype set, The Unveiling Archetypes and the Jungian Dimensions. (Look for Hestia in the top right quadrant of the figure; she's in between the High Priestess and Empress/Isis.)

Cultivating our inner Hestia is an important part of our pathworking; our day-to-day journey. When we do the practical things on the outer, our minds free up to do the inner work. "Wax on, wax off," Mr. Miyagi advised young Dan in the original Karate Kid movie.

And a special point: The deeper our "internal cleaning," the deeper we go into the back corners and stored piles of "stuff" in our everyday, practical lives. The inner and the outer aspects reflect each other. Before we are fully empowered to glow in our newly-polished Hathor mode, or before we reach the true nuggets of wisdom that we gain from our High Priestess, we spend hours cleaning and scrubbing the pantry, digging out the basement, and taking carloads of things to Goodwill. The path to beauty, peace, freedom, and joy begins with cleaning up stacks of old bills and emails!

One final word: The time to do this is now. I hate it for you, dear one, and I hate it for me as well. But the best time to get this "housecleaning" done - inside and out - is before the robins arrive, before the trees are green, and before we are so in love with the love that's going on around us!

To your joyous unfolding and the sturdy progress of your own pathworking -

With much love - Alay'nya

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