Tomorrow is the Aquarius New Moon and the entry in Book of Shadows introduces a way for us to explore our thought processes. This Moon has great energy for exploring why we do the things we do and think the way we think which are two practices that are easier said than done. We tend to go through life acting and reacting in ways that are instinctual without ever giving too much thought as to why we make the decisions that we do. And when presented with an opportunity to do so, many will shirk away from the task instead of diving in because it’s much easier to keep going along as we always have done and much more difficult to thoughtfully examine something that happens in a split second, not to mention the difficulty at figuring out what to do with information that wasn’t obvious before but needs to be taken into consideration now.
There are many reasons it is important to explore or thought processes. Understanding how we think and why we react the way that we do can help us better understand ourselves and how we interact with others and the world around us. It gives us the ability to see where we might be giving our power away or where we might be taking power away from other people. Most importantly, it can help us understand how we uphold and interact with the systems that we live in, and in turn, how those systems affect us.
Many people start on a path of self-discovery with the intention of self-improvement, but quickly get discouraged when they learn something about themselves that they don’t like, understand, or know how to work with. They cease their growth when they abandon their self-discovery mission and go back to the easy and familiar ways of going about life that they have adapted over the years. This discouragement comes from the tendency to judge factors that contribute to their patterns of thinking as either good or bad instead of approaching these factors objectively. For example, someone who is exploring reasons that they tend to overeat might realize that they do this when they feel stress or anxiety, or because they realize that there is piece missing from their soul that food is able to temporarily fill. They see these feelings of stress, anxiety, and emptiness and label them as “bad things to feel.” Once labeled as bad, they might feel guilty about allowing these feels to exist in the first place or lost in feeling how they might go about “fixing” the way that they feel.
What I would like to encourage is approaching these feeling as just a datapoint. When we look at a chart or a graph, we observe what pattern is made from a bunch of data presented in one place. Rarely do we look at one piece of the data and determine that it is bad, especially if there are many other supporting bits of data present. Yes, there are occasional outliers and errors found in data, but the point that I’m trying to make is that data is typically observed rather than felt and taken personally.
One way that really helps me take the emotion and personal connection out of analyzing my thought processes (or any other self-exploration, really) is creating a persona or character profile of what I’m trying to analyze. To illustrate how I’ve done this, I’ll take you through a personal example from my experience at my Muggle workplace. One time I had a conversation with my boss who told me that I needed to be more proactive at what I was attempting to accomplish instead of waiting for other people get me what I needed. This statement made me feel bad in a way I didn’t understand, so I decided to explore why. My boss’s comment felt like a criticism that was a blow to my self-worth because what I was doing was “wrong” – an emotional reaction. Why did I have this emotional reaction? Because I have a belief that being perfect is the only thing that makes me valuable as a person and that any infraction will deem me unworthy for love and acceptance. Whew! That’s hard to see, acknowledge, and share! Luckily I know that I am a valid and valuable human being who is worthy of love an acceptance, so I choose to remove my own self from this example at this point and observe as if I was observing another person.
You can create your character profile of the part of yourself which you are observing from scratch, or you can use a fictional character that you can relate you. If I felt like being original, I would name my character The Perfectionist and write about how she goes about life doing the best that she can because that’s the only way she feels like a valuable member of society. Or I could think of this character like Hermione Granger in the Chamber of Secrets when she accidentally uses a cat hair in her Polyjuice Potion and turns herself into a cat-like creature instead of the person she wanted to impersonate and hides in a bathroom stall because she is embarrassed to be seen by those closest to her in an imperfect state. But do Harry and Ron love Hermione any less because she made a mistake? They do not. Sure, they might crack a joke at her expense, but she continues to be an important part of their friendship. Thinking about the situation with my boss in this way, I can let go the feeling of shame that I feel because I can’t deem myself as perfect and I’m able to solve the challenge that I have at work without feeling like it was a personal attack, because it was not.
Carnelian and Chamomile are great allies for this kind of work. Carnelian can help increase feelings of personal power, courage, and compassion. It enhances vitality and helps us focus on analytical processes by deflecting interrupting thoughts. It’s also a stone of unconditional love that will help carry us through these difficult thought exercises. Chamomile is great for stress reduction and promoting a sense of well being which is also helpful when doing these kinds of exercises.