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IV. More on “releasing” things: what works and what doesn’t work.

“Releasing” something or the effects of someone from your life without having processed it (at least a little) can do the opposite of what we want it to. From a Wiccan magical standpoint, releasing usually results in a bounce-back: the thing that you “release” actually comes up more and more strongly so that you can see it. If you declare out into the world that you are “done with abusive relationships,” or “done with anger,” the unprocessed parts of your experience that bind you to this thing will come up right in your face. So if you don’t have a way to process - a way to inquire into your life with curiosity (oh, what is this? This is interesting. I wonder why I’m seeing this person again. Oh, God, here we go again…), it can rebound again and again.

I know this from experience, having one year blithely “released anger” from my life at Samhain (Hallowe’en), which is a huge energetic opportunity to release something that is dead or dying from your life. There ensued the most actively angry year of my life where I was confronted by every single manifestation of anger, and pattern of anger and nuance of anger that I hold and that my family holds. It was simply awful, though ultimately deeply healing. You cannot just move something out of your life and stroll on down the road, free of that thing forever. It will become the beast that follows you, panting, demanding your attention, pulling on your jeans (genes?) and tripping you up until you turn and look at it.

I get that we move away from things in our lives that are traumatic or troubling. If we had an abused childhood, we grow up and move away from home and out of that situation as best we can. But we bring it with us in the choices that we make and it’s worse if we are unconscious of the past or trying to hold it at bay. Because something will happen, like we have our own children, and bam, there it is right in our face.

Really, is it even possible to just “let go of” something that harmed you? Buddhists might say yes. But I think that people who don’t have the time or inclination to dedicate to an intensive mindfulness practice need other ways of loosening the trauma. My way is not the only way. My way is just filled with kind curiosity about your own life and some fun psychic-looking stuff along the way. I don’t think here that it actually works to just shove the ball of undigested experience away from you and call it “letting go”. That shit hasn’t gone anywhere. There it is, still sitting there, informing your choices and your thoughts about yourself…. Dang.

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