Into the Dark

I think everyone wants answers through their spirituality for the bigger questions. Why are we here? How do we know the gods exist? Do we have souls? What happens after we die?

With larger, more unified faiths, there’s usually a pat answer (except for Judaism as far as I know). Heaven. Reincarnation. These religions also tend to have clergy where one of their jobs is to give you answers to these questions.

While Pagans have clergy, we don’t have a unified lengthy training program. Many of our clergy need to have day jobs to support themselves, which is a different topic in and of itself, and many Pagan clergy members don’t set themselves above their fellow Pagans.

So we ask each other. And some of us answer with confidence from the work we’ve done, the spirits who speak to us, the austerities we accomplish. We ponder and sometimes fight with each other about fine points of practices and faith here on the blogosphere to try to find answers.

As many of you know, I like order and routine. So I put together a neat little package of answers to my questions so I can get out of bed every morning and most days that’s enough.

But should I ever be considered to be in a position of authority, I don’t want my neat packet of answers to be mistaken for deep, unshakable faith. Because, I don’t have that. I did, as a child and teenager in Catholicism, but somewhere along my dad’s long, painful drawn out death, I needed more answers. As a mad girl scientist, I immediately thought, books! I took classes in college on the Old Testament, Western Religion, searching, searching and still coming up shaken. I became a Dianic Wiccan shortly after I attended a circle as part of my class assignment (to attend a service for a faith other than mine).

For those of you who have ever seen it, Scrubs is generally a comedy about working in a hospital told through the eyes of JD. But once in a while, they have a serious episode and that’s when it’s a cascade of tears for me. “My Last Words” is about a man dying who has a lot of questions and no sure faith in anything in particular. JD and his friend Turk start out with platitudes and other reassuring things, but end with, I don’t know. We have to fight death every day and we don’t know and it’s terrifying. And . . .that’s how I feel. As a Crowgirl who has attended far more funerals than weddings, I still don’t have any answers. In the episode, they use a song by one of my favorite bands, Deathcab for Cutie called, “I Will Follow You into the Dark” which really sums up my feelings on the whole matter.

I don’t have answers. Death scares me. But, the lyrics of the song sum up how I feel.

The last bit of the episode. Deathcab’s alternative video using a picture book with rabbits. Amanda Palmer‘s cover.

Love of mine
Someday you will die
But I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the dark
No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of the spark

If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

In catholic school, as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me “Son, fear is the heart of love”
So I never went back

If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

You and me
Have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes
Are all worn down, the time for sleep is now
But it’s nothing to cry about ’cause we’ll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms

If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark
And I’ll follow you into the dark.

Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  


5 Responses

  1. Yikes, PAW… You're really shaking some shit loose, aren't you?

    Feel free to email me. My first name at my blog.

  2. K(Banterings of a Basketcase)

    I love Death Cab. I'm also all for questioning faith- it helps us grow. But I only want to grow occasionally because I like stability

  3. I'm not a huge Death Cab fan, but I always agreed, that's a heartbreakingly beautiful song.

  4. The Blue Faerie

    This song never fails to make me cry. It's beautiful & I think it ultimately describes how many people feel about death.

    You have a beautiful website, and I'm glad I found it as you wrote this post. I've recently been having my own struggles with defining my Pagan beliefs. It kind of makes me glad to see that I'm not the only one that has this conundrum.

    And Pagan clergy or none, we are fortunate in that most, if not all, Pagans like to question their own faith. 🙂

  5. Faerie Sage

    As the Blue Faerie stated above, your post is beautiful. I also have recenly found your post and am slowly questioningly defining my beliefs. Your blog is a wonderful source of insparation and your struggles and sucesses are a great motivator for a fellow seeker of truth.

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