Journey to the Underworld
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
A story-journey meditation exercise.
We all possess darkness and light. We cannot be one without the other. But often we attempt to push out the dark believing it to be bad or undesirable. However, our darkness holds immense wisdom and transformative power.
I've created this story-journey meditation exercise to transport you into the depths of the Underworld to explore what the darkness there has to offer you.
Enjoy! As always, give me your feedback!
If you'd rather LISTEN to this meditation as a guided meditation experience click here!
A Journey to the Underworld
Take a long deep breath. Then sit, relax, and as you read these words let them slowly sink into your subconscious. Take note of the visions and whispers that come to you as you read.
Imagine, you are becoming overwhelmed with sleepiness. It is becoming more and more difficult to keep your eyes open. Your head feels heavy with sleep, and you willfully give in to this sudden overwhelming sense of exhaustion pulling you inward and downward. You snuggle into a comfortable position and drift into the solace and blackness of deep, restorative sleep.
For some time you float in this deep black ocean of innocent unawareness until you are JOLTED WIDE AWAKE by the sensation that you are quickly falling. Gasping, flailing to catch your bearings, heart pounding in your ears and exploding from your chest, you try to take in what’s around you, but all you can see is darkness. The feeling of falling doesn’t subside despite the fact that you’ve never felt more awake in your life.
You give up trying to fight it and allow yourself to sink into the weightless feeling of descent. As your heart rate slows, you’re able to recognize that the drumming in your ears is external to you. It’s coming from below, a continuous drumbeat echoing up the walls of this deep dark well that you seem to be endlessly falling into.
As you plummet farther into the depths your vision begins to adjust. You notice an odd glow coming into focus deep at the bottom of the well. It illuminates the tunnel around you. You see the reflection of thousands of eyes staring back at you - the shadowy faces of women, eyes sunken and dull, and you begin to realize the walls themselves are not stone or earth, but instead they are made up of wriggling bodies, their skeletal hands reaching out for you as you fall quickly past.
They begin whispering, calling out to you in increasing desperation until they’re all screaming at once making it impossible to decipher what they’re saying. In an effort to listen, to single out just ONE VOICE, you take a deep breath, squeeze your eyes tight shut and give every ounce of your energy to listening.
You seem to begin falling in slow motion. The drumming stops and all you hear is piercing silence, and then a voice comes through crystal clear. Her voice sounds familiar and you realize it is your own. It is your Innermost Wisdom, your Authentic Truth, your Soul Voice. She speaks her wisdom in a tongue you may not fully understand at this moment, but nonetheless her words stick with you.
When you open your eyes you’re standing before a large pit spewing tall flames that glow a strange deep hue, a color that you’ve never seen before. You are overwhelmed with the sense that you’ve been here before, and that this fire has been burning since the dawn of time. You blink your eyes into this familiar, yet strange light, and a figure begins to emerge from the flames.
It is a woman who appears to be very damaged, yet carries herself confident and erect. As she approaches you notice how her hair is scorched by the flames. You notice the burns on her skin, the deep wretched scars and disfigurations of her tortured body, yet she is somehow still the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen. She speaks to you, and explains that in order to understand your Soul’s Truth you must let go of everything you’ve been holding onto. You must leap into the fire in order to be reborn.
Raising her hands upward she spins in a slow circle, “Many of these women have been trapped in these walls for entire lifetimes, held prisoner by their fears. They are unwilling to walk into the fire, too afraid to burn the women that they are, even if it means getting to meet the Soulful Divine Women they will become on the other side of this inferno. You too are welcome to stay as long as you like, sister. They will welcome your presence as a sign that their choice to live in fear is validated. But, I can tell by the fire reflecting in your eyes that you’re already looking to jump. So tell me, how long will you stay my Priestess?”
You know that this mysterious, beautiful, and wise Underworld Goddess is right. You’ve been captivated by those dancing flames since the moment you lay your squinting eyes on them. They call to you. You feel powerfully drawn to them through an invisible cord attached at the very core of your being, but as you walk closer to stand before the flames the heat becomes more intense than you anticipated. You can feel your hairs curling up, singeing to the skin. Your eyes sting and water. Your lungs ache, burn, and boil.
You hear a long, shrill, pain-filled scream echo through the tunnel so loud that it drowns out the ever-beating drum. When you realize the scream has escaped your very own lips fear and doubt begin to creep in. This transformation is going to be painful - the most painful thing you’ve ever endured.
Staying in the tunnel begins to seem more appealing. There’s a strong sense of sisterhood, safety, and belonging here. The fearful women have banded together into a living fortress, entangling their bodies to form the impenetrable walls of their own prison, lining the long fall toward the feared ascension - a welcome haven for the damaged, wounded, forsaken and tortured to rest and prepare for the day they will conquer their fears.
But you feel a hand on your shoulder, and the flames momentarily surge brightly, bringing your attention down from the paralyzed souls forming the tunnel above. You turn to speak to the Goddess, to answer her with your deepest honesty, but you’re words are too late as you watch her slip gracefully back through the curtain of flames.
Still filled with fear and doubt, you inch closer to the pit of fire, and the heat of the flames becomes unbearable. It becomes blatantly obvious that you will not survive this jump, but staying prisoner to fear just isn’t an option. You close your eyes tightly, clench your fists and run full speed into the flames vowing to fully feel and embrace this chrysalis of fire, this flight of the phoenix, this death and resurrection. You allow the flames to burn away your selfish ego, your pain, your desires... and transform them to humility, empathy, gratitude, and abundance.
You begin to lose consciousness as the heat and discomfort of this fiery transformation smothers you. Blackness surrounds until you come to awareness in the present, coughing, gasping, eyes stinging. You look around at your surroundings and whisper to yourself,
“I have returned. I have been reborn more authentic, more powerful, and more divine than ever.”
Touching your hand to your heart, you can still feel the heat emanating from your skin, and you can smell a faint, slightly nauseating hint of scorched hair and flesh drifting softly on the air. Sometimes when you lay down at night you can still hear the ever-beating drum of the underworld pulsing in your ears.
Written by Lee Ann Coldsmith, July 2019, Inspired by The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible For The Untamed Woman
What did the woman’s voice from the tunnel wall say to you? Close your eyes and listen deep within yourself to hear her.
What physical sensations did you feel while reading/listening through this guided meditation?
What emotions did you feel?
I invite you to take this journey as many times as you want and need. Each time you do you may learn something new about yourself.
Make this journey a ritual by lighting a candle or incense, setting an intention, and allowing the women in the tunnel, the pictures in your head, and the sensations that come to you serve as sacred guides.
Stay open to what your imagination offers you during this journey. It may not make sense, but with practice and patience you’ll become more deeply connected to your inner voice and you’ll become better at deciphering what it is trying to tell you. If you’re feeling really stuck, simply write down the images or messages you received, set the intention that in time you’ll understand their meaning, set a date and a reminder to come back to them, and then just forget about them until that time. You may be surprised how time can really change your perspective and interpretation of things.
Give me your feedback on this exercise and let me know if you'd like more similar exercises in the future!