Since 2015, nearly every year in the season I love best – Summer – I have been called to descend out of the light and into the darkness.

I know this place well. Really well. Knowing it well, though, doesn’t dissolve its mystery; it’s just that I’m getting more familiar with being in the dark.

This is not a mistake. I’m not doing anything wrong, and it asks for no advice or sympathy. Descent, or Nekyia, is a natural part of uncovering what has been covered. It is the excavation of Self.

The first time I descended, I didn’t have a clue. I thought something was terribly wrong. I didn’t know things were trying to be put right. The second time I descended, I had a quasi-map. It felt faded and frayed at the edges, but I clung to it, reminding myself I had been here before. The third time, I learned to surrender. Grudgingly. I went into the whole thing snarling and biting.

And so it went on.

The snarling and biting are no longer there when I descend; instead there is at worst an air of defeat, or, at best, a quiet acceptance. My map now isn’t quite so faded; the lines – or lineage, perhaps, whatever that means – are stronger and darker on the page in front of me.

I still don’t know where I am. That’s the point: I am meant to be where I haven’t been for a long time. I have forgotten. It’s why I’m here. Not knowing is part of the deal, and never a mistake.

I know this post is obscure. Descent is obscure. I’m writing it for those who know what I am referring to – even if the words feel ancient and from somewhere else, yet they call to you in a language you’re surprised you understand.

This is descent. It is a rite of passage our modern language and our modern culture seem to have no space for. I hope we make that space soon. It could be the saving of us.

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