At first, things went as she'd imagined. She took early morning walks through the Chalice Gardens and sat for hours amidst its bright flowers and birds, wandered around the quiet retreat house, and felt her energy winding down into a slower, more peaceful pace. She decided to visit another nearby Goddess site which she'd never been to before situated within the town itself. There things suddenly changed. For no apparent reason, within 5 minutes, my friend was sobbing uncontrollably - deep, heart-wrenching sobs, as she described it. When she finally managed to pull herself together, everything seemed unreal, "like I was in another world," as she described the experience. She was shocked and frightened and decided to cut her trip short and leave several days early. As soon as she was away from Glastonbury, things went back to normal for her. No tears, no vague unreality.
To try to understand her experience, she asked me my take on it. I think I know what it was. Welcome The Shadow. The Shadow is our dark side - dark because it is repressed. Dark because we don't/won't see it, allow it to be. Artists of different stripes can express The Shadow, allow it out to play through imagery, words, music, etc. But if you're not aware of it, it will jump out to scare you when you least expect it - when your guard is down, as in the case of my friend. She had become so relaxed during her retreat time, so open to the flow of life, that The Shadow was able to emerge into her day consciousness. All the pent-up sorrow beginning in childhood, all the disappointments, all the pain (we all experience) during a lifetime but often don't fully acknowledge or work through filters down like clods into our hidden places. But, as I told her, it is not our enemy but our friend. It is within this darkness that creativity, light, wisdom exist. But we must allow it to be. So my friend really did get she wanted - revelation, opening, heightened reality, a step out of the everyday. She just didn't know it at the time. I think she does now. And contrary to what she at first asserted, I think she will be back to Glastonbury not too far in the future.