Monday, March 24, 2014

Banishing Fears

Fear is irrational. It creeps up on you when you last expect and can leave you paralyzed. When I first moved from the city to the country I was afraid of the outdoors—more specifically, what you could find there, and by that I mean snakes. I happened up on them on the ground. Water Moccasins are one of the poisonous types found in South Jersey’s Pine Barrens where I lived. I remember bounding down to the lake and then turning around to return to the house, only to see one of the black terrifying creatures staring straight in my direction. I was about 8.

I love swimming, especially in natural bodies of water. There was a lake right in our front yard so of course I spent plenty of time swimming and playing around in the water. On more than one occasion a snake would appear. Swimmers par excellence, they would tear through the water effortlessly and I’m afraid to say, at times one would head in my direction. Being away from the land as I was, all I can say is terror would strike but then I couldn't let it get the best of me since I had to swim ashore. Necessity teaches us lessons and for me it was to keep cool even when faced with my greatest fear at the time--snakes.

Some of my children were frightened by spiders. They fascinated, scared and repulsed them. I have used folklore and mythology of the Caribbean to ease their fear. It’s just Anansi the trickster I would tell them when they were little. Pay no mind at all to Anansi. He just wants attention.

Goddess Lore and Goddess Spirituality cross-culturally is filled with snake imagery, goddesses, gods and spirits. As I do research for “Mama Nature’s Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss,” once again I am encountering snakes. I must admit, I kind of just peek at them when I come across stories of their embodiment or symbolism and then close the book or page if it's on the Internet. I am almost half way through the book and still no mention of the powerful and alluring snake goddesses or spirits.

Witches can do many things. We can banish--a useful tool for this situation. This week will be one of facing up to my fears and standing them down in the creative space of art and writing. I will put a snake goddess in an illustration and they must be included in a particular, upcoming chapter.

I work with someone and am good friends with someone else that struggle with serious phobias. I encourage any of you reading this that struggle in that way to utilize art, writing, mythology, folklore and spirituality to overcome, if not banish your fears.


  1. I enjoyed your post. I don't think your mean all fear is irrational, do you? But so often, our biggest fears, the ones we live with day by day are. I have an irrational fear of diving into water (head first) although I love to swim. I could never do cartwheels as a kid for the same reason--feet over head, my mind tells me, not good.

  2. Deborah, come to think about it, I see why you question the wording about irrationality
    and fear. Some fears are certainly well founded. Thanks for sharing and furthering the conversation!

  3. Thanks very much for this blog post, especially the final paragraph--it inspired me to make a piece of art about some unpleasant feelings I've been struggling with, lately, and the process of making the art felt good. If you're curious, I posted the art at Oh, and I found your post by way of . Thanks again!

  4. Light-of-summer, I went to your blog and really liked what you came up with. It really effectively conveys fear using abstraction. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad my post inspired you to create that piece.


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