Aphrodite, Magick, Paganism, Spiritual Growth

Divine Surrender

As probably evidenced by my decreased posting frequency, the past two months of my life have been an absolute roller coaster. I’ve been spiritually smacked in the face with a lot of things before, but not like this. This time I was wholloped, and by that I mean the universe took a wheelbarrow full of bricks and deposited them on my head.

I’ve had crises in almost every area of my life. My spiritual practice has picked up and evolved in unexpected ways. I’ve encountered new situations with my empathic abilities and had to develop new ways of coping with them. I spent a fair amount of time in the pit of despair when I thought my romantic relationship was in trouble. My anxiety was through the roof. I was so nauseous from stress one week that I was barely able to eat. My relatively new car got T-boned (I’m fine, and the other driver was at fault). My seasonal affective disorder kicked in, which makes everything harder, particularly getting out of bed in the morning. I cried at work, to friends, to Aphrodite, and by myself at home. My extra tutoring gigs were taking more time than I anticipated outside of my day job. I was so tired all the time. My OCD freaked out about some stuff. In short, I was a mess.

I kept trying to make everything better – to fix it, to make it right, to make myself “right.” Surprise! It didn’t work. No matter how much I wanted it, it didn’t work. I was forcing it. It got to a breaking point where I had to be dragged into learning my spiritual lesson this time: I have to surrender.

It wasn’t a spectacular realization or an enlightened epiphany. I wish I could say that I experienced this amazing rush of synergy in that moment and that everything became clearer. I didn’t. It didn’t. Most of what I experienced was a bone-deep exhaustion – a kind of world-weariness that no amount of “light and love” could make okay. My surrender was conscious in that I knew it was happening, but it was not my decision to do so. I let go because I mentally and physically could not hold on any longer.

And that’s when the magick started to happen.

I’ve learned a lot about Divine Surrender in the past few weeks (and discovered that I had forgotten an embarrassing amount that I had learned before). It took absolutely everything out of me to get to the point where I could (or really, was forced to) surrender. It is not something that comes naturally to me, but it is a lesson that Aphrodite keeps teaching me again and again.

Surrender Is Not Failure

Let me be clear: The type of surrender I am talking about is not the surrender of defeat (though it sometimes may feel like it). It is not giving up. It is not ceding victory. It is not yielding to the authority of others. It is not relinquishing your power. It is not sacrificing your values or morals. It is not martyrdom.

The Divine Surrender I speak of is a surrender to bliss. It’s succumbing to the ecstasy of orgasm. It’s yielding to the natural flow of the universe. It’s a forfeit of the ego. It is a loss of inhibitions. It’s letting go of the edge of the pool to see how deep you can swim. It is faith in the Gods. And, first and foremost, it is trust in yourself.

Surrender Hurts

This is by no means an easy process. It may be the most difficult thing you have to do in your life. Human beings naturally want control. We loathe the uncertain. We fear the unknown. To give up the illusion of control, the thing that makes us feel safe, is painful.

It requires acceptance of a dichotomy – that the world may simultaneously be safe and unsafe. We are afraid to let our guard down in case the world is an unsafe place. But we are also afraid that everything may actually be okay. We are just as scared of realizing our greatest dreams as we are of having them taken away. What if the world is so terrible that you cry forever? But what if it is so beautiful that you never stop weeping? How can it be both?

Surrender Requires Faith

I’m clearly biased (especially since I called this post Divine Surrender), but I think that you have to believe in something larger in order to go through this transformative process with your sanity and stability intact. At the core of your being, you have to believe that everything is going to be okay. For me, that means believing in the Divine. For someone else, it may be believing in the fundamental goodness of humanity (or the goodness of life, the universe, and everything). It could be believing in the power of love.

During my journey to surrender, my faith in Aphrodite kept me going, and it is what gave me hope at the very bottom of the pit of despair. That’s not to say that there weren’t moments without faith. There were plenty. There were moments when the pain was too much to bear. I wanted the hurt to end.

But I couldn’t just stop. I couldn’t give up, not in that sense. I made an oath to Aphrodite, one that I do not intend to break. That oath means that I am pledged to Love. I am pledged to serve Her. And I cannot serve the Goddess of Love from a pit of despair. 

You Still Have To Do The Work

Divine Surrender doesn’t mean giving up your own agency. You still have to do the work to manifest what you want in the world (both magickally and mundanely). You won’t get a job you don’t apply for, no matter how much you want it. You have to take care of yourself, physically and spiritually. You have to keep open lines of communication to maintain relationships. The laundry still has to get done.

You are responsible for your own growth. You have to be the one to put things in motion. It is to that motion that you ultimately surrender – You can’t surrender if there is no forward momentum.

You Have To Know When Is Enough

You also have to know when to let go – or you’ll likely be forced to. You have to be good at setting boundaries and at knowing when putting in additional effort is unlikely to yield a greater return. You also need to know what your limits are – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Historically, I have not been great at setting boundaries. I would pour way more energy into my relationships than the other person, be it my significant other, my friend, or my family. After splitting my face open after slipping on a wet bathroom floor in high school, I told the school nurse that I didn’t have time to go get stitches because I had homework to do. (I ended up needing 3 internal stitches and 17 external stitches – the homework could wait). I consistently ignored my body’s need to rest and recuperate and ended up with pneumonia in both high school and grad school. Now, if I don’t listen to my body, it will make me sick enough where I HAVE to stay home and rest.

This applies to magick, too, with the whole Witch’s Pyramid of To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Be Silent. I’ve come to learn that the To Be Silent part emcompasses more than just not talking about your magick – It means that you have to be willing to let your magick go so it can do its thing in the universe. Think of your magick as your significant other out on an errand for you: if you keep checking in with them, adding things and interrogating them about their progress, the errand is going to take longer and your partner is going to get frustrated with you. Be confident enough to let your magick do its thing on its own.

Surrender Requires Courage (And Patience)

It may seem counter-intuitive, but Divine Surrender takes courage, not cowardice. As mentioned above, human beings love control. Giving up that control and exposing yourself to the unknown is a very courageous thing. Being vulnerable requires bravery and tenacity.

It also requires patience. Everything is not going to fall into place the moment you Divinely Surrender. Patience is required for the magick to happen. You also need to have patience and compassion with yourself. As stated previously, this can be a difficult and grueling process. Go easy on yourself. 

Divine Surrender Requires Your Whole Being

I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory, but is worth stating anyway. There are no half-measures in Divine Surrender. You do it completely, or not at all. You can’t spiritually surrender while your mind is still obsessing over what will happen. You have to go all in – mind, body, and spirit.

And Then… The Magick Happens

It doesn’t happen right away. It doesn’t happen with a big bang. It’s more subtle than that. Little by little, things get better. Problems get easier. You’re more attuned to the world around you. New opportunities present themselves. Wonderful things start to happen – greater than you could have imagined. You feel more at ease with yourself on all levels. When you surrender to the Divine, it becomes an even bigger part of you. You can feel it.

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