As Samhain approaches, my thoughts turn to the ancestors and the realms of the underworld. As a witch whose practice tends to be highly shamanistic in nature, I’m quite familiar with these realms and spend a bit of time exploring them and drawing on the wisdom of their inhabitants.
Some of my friends — including Pagans who tend to focus on the brighter side of the divine and upper- and mid-world beings occasionally ask me about my interest in the darker places of our spiritual cosmos. They find the underworld realms a frightening and daunting place. And there wariness is not unwarranted. The underworld can be a strange chaotic, and troubling place. After all, half-formed and malformed things live their, including our own shadows. As a witch, I’m thankful that I have guardians, guides, and other allies to walk with me in such places.
But just as I wouldn’t amputate an arm just because because it’s broken or is suffering from pain, the troubling aspects of the underworld are not sufficient reason for me to ignore it. There is great power and wisdom waiting there.
In addition to everything else it is, it is the home of the ancestors, those who have gone before us, built up the world we lived in, and even gave us our lives. These are the ones who have set the stage we now walk upon and helped form the person we would become as we walked on them. The ability to visit them, thank them, and learn from their experiences is cherished.
The fact that we come from the ancestors who inhabit the underworld is also one of the things that makes the underworld the home of all potential. It is the place where dark — as in unrevealed and unformed — forces exist, waiting to be given shape, form, and purpose. As a shamanistic witch, I seek to seek out and explore these potentials that lay in the underworld so that I may draw them out and pull them into something in this realm. It is the realm which provides the source material for new beginnings.
 Indeed, trying to describe everything that can be found in the underworld (or mid-world or upper world, for that matter) is not something I can do in a thousand blog posts, let alone this single post.