Answer: Dealing with repercussions
“How do you deal with the physical and emotional repercussions after particularly harrowing trance/communion/ritual/travel?”
One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn and incorporate is that when stuff gets intense, scary, or overwhelming, I am not allowed to slam the door shut. That used to be my automatic reaction – I would close myself off to Them, to the Other, because it was too much. I didn’t mean to do it, it just happened. Sometimes only for a brief time afterwards, but sometimes that door got stuck and I had a hard time prying it open again. While understandable, that really wasn’t an acceptable attitude for someone whose entire purpose is to be a conduit between the worlds.
Over time, I began to practice a different approach – sort of stepping back a couple paces from that opening, but not shutting it down. Having a lighter touch with it, I guess. Trusting more in my gods and spirits to have my back even when I remained vulnerable (which They really do – due to the nature of my Work, I don’t use most of the grounding, shielding, and warding techniques common to other practitioners, almost solely relying on Them to protect me).
Instead of immediately trying to drown out the Spooky with the most mundane things I could find – television, junk food, etc. – which always just left me feeling agitated anyway, I now ease back into the material world more gently, and feed my body and spirit (both literally and metaphorically) with things that will strengthen me and remind me of who I am. I often take a “hair of the dog” approach and attempt to smooth my landing with gentle entheogens (even a cigarette can function for this purpose). I usually eat something, but make sure it’s real food. If I can’t handle reading or even thinking I will put on a movie, something I’ve seen a million times before and that re-enforces my worldview in some way, while not being too overtly connected to anything I’ve been doing. If I can, I will sleep – but the oracles, for instance, which are probably the most frequent times I go far enough to freak out a little, also have the odd effect of making me wired and tired at the same time, and I’m usually up half the night. I should also add that I have often been helped immensely by Sannion, who knows by now how to handle me in the throes of post-ritual crazies.
And then, after a day or two of rest, I make sure to do something, even a small bit of ritual or communion, to ensure the door is still open and prove to myself that I can face all the potential madness again.