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Thread: A Second Self?

  1. #1
    Supporter Jembru's Avatar
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    A Second Self?

    So, this is an idea that has popped up during a meditation recently and I wonder what other's might make of this..

    I've started to feel that my spirit home has stagnated. I can't imagine it ever not being in my life, so don't want to just walk away from it. I had started journeying before my anxiety became quite bad a few months ago, at which point I thought it best not to do anything too heavy or draining, as my mental state would probably attract some unwelcome attention in the spirit worlds, or at very least, allow darker sides of myself to take control.

    So for a while now, I've just been visiting my safe, but like I say, somewhat spiritually depleted spirit home, 'Rotokia'. I still don't think I should be reaching outwards yet, so instead want to start doing some inner work; exploring more of 'me' for a while. I started by going back to the place where it all started; a visualisation of myself as a fountain, around which Rotokia gradually built itself. There, I could go back to basics, and ask my deep self where I should be going next.

    Now here is where it gets a bit complicated. I've mentioned on this forum before, that almost all of my spells and rituals, and at least 50% of dialogues when meditating, are carried out in Japanese now. I was reluctant to do this in the past, but these days it feels right, because I have an emotional attachment to Japanese that isn't present in my mother-tongue. It's hard to explain, but I think I take English for granted because I don't have to work so hard to get my meaning across, so it feels less 'special'. Maybe a parallel would be like someone using attractive cursive lettering when writing in their book of shadows or for spells, rather than just scribbling in their usual writing, because taking the time to write nicely, maybe with a fountain pen or quill, feels more special somehow. That's how I feel. I'm sure it bemuses the Celtic deities and spirits I'm addressing no end, but at least they seem to be listening! ^^

    I think it was Charlemagne who first said 'to know a second language, is to possess a second soul', and this idea has been echoed by many bi-linguals. Of course, no one is suggesting this is literally true, but you definitely get a unique opportunity to reinvent yourself through a second language, as different social norms and linguistic ideas start to colour how you filter the world around you. So, I've been thinking about exploring this 'version' of myself through meditation. Maybe even giving her a different name, perhaps forming a unique relationship with deity.. knowing them through different names and folklore. In a practical sense, I mainly study Japanese from textbooks aimed at Japanese children these days, which is exposing me to some of the experiences and education that helps shape native speakers of Japanese as they grow up. So these two modes would maybe compliment one another nicely.

    What do people think about such an idea? Do you think this would be risky for someone who is a little fragile mentally (I don't suffer any serious mental illness btw, but I have cyclical bouts of mania and depression that vary in severity, and have recently started having panic attacks and anxiety, like vividly imagining horrific scenarios, and constantly fearing that every day will be my last to the point I avoid leaving the house if I can). As I see it, this 'second me' is still me. It's the me who comes out when I'm sitting with my Japanese speaking friends anyway, who uses slightly different body language and follows slightly different social norms. Maybe I can develop a more optimistic and secure outlook through such an exercise?

    If I explore my spiritual side through this second me, then I can sidestep away from Rotokia and allow a fresh new spiritual landscape to appear. In fact, I have already tried this just once, and I found myself in a landscape very similar to the videogame 'Journey'.



    Who could resit going in deeper to that?

    So what do you think? Is this a good avenue to explore, or am I just asking for trouble?
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

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    "Always remember you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else." -Margaret Mead

    Re: A Second Self?

    I think you should try it out. That is a very interesting theory, and I'd love to know how that worked out! Good luck!

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    Eldritch Priestess Willow's Avatar
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    Re: A Second Self?

    If you feel that this second self will help make you a stronger, more whole individual, I say give it a try. Just make sure that you always keep some sort of lifeline to pull you back to the surface if you need it. Make sure to ground yourself and all that jazz that I'm sure you are already a pro at. And know when to pull back if ill effects start happening. Self care first.

    It sounds like it's an aspect of yourself that deserves exploring. Especially since you're drawn to Japanese in such a phenomenal way.

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    Supporter Jembru's Avatar
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    Re: A Second Self?

    I had a very short go at it this morning. So far I seem to be being led down a rather shamanistic route, which makes sense because animal spirits could easily transfer between Celtic and Eastern spirituality. My spirit guide has appeared as a white horse, presumably because I was recently affected by a story in my textbook. The book is aimed at Japanese 6-7 year olds and I couldn't even imagine a story like this in an English language book aimed at Primary/Elementary school kids here. Forgive me for re-telling...

    The story was set in Mongolia and a young shepherd boy found an abandoned white foal and took it home to protect it from the wolves. He raised it and loved it as a brother. Then the feudal lord who ruled the area organised a horse-race, promising the hand of his daughter to the winner. Suho entered on his horse and of course won, but when the Lord saw he was just a poor shepherd, he pretended not to remember his promise, instead paying him 3 gold coins and taking the horse. When Suho protested he was beaten up by the Lord's servants.

    A little while later, the Lord wanted to show off his new horse, but as soon as he mounts it, it rears up, throwing him to the ground. The horse bolts for home and when the Lord's servants can't catch it, they start shooting at it. He keeps running despite his wounds and finally reaches Suho's hut. He gradually dies from his wounds, despite Suho and his grandmother's efforts. Suho then had a dream in which the white horse spoke to him, instructing him to make an instrument called a 'batoukin' or 'horse headed flute' from his bones and flesh, so that he could always be with him through it's music, watching over him. The story ends with him playing the flute and being taken back in his mind, to a time when they'd run together across the planes..

    I've been so affected by this story (even crying again now as I retell), that it was no surprise that my guide is a white horse. I'm also being led through this new world by a talking fox (it's my first time encountering fox). Oh and I've discovered something significant about rat, so have a rat with me too ^^ The mist I noted from my first visit, turns out to be have been the anxiety and general pessimism I'd let build up. It's in rotokia too, but not visible there. It's the reason Rotokia feels so lifeless though.

    Not bad for a 10 minute meditation. Oh and fox told me that my guides are the same beings in either spirit-reality, just seen in different guises, and that what happens in one world affects the other equally. He said it was important not to see myself as 'split' but as 'walking between two worlds simultaneously, just only seeing one at a time'.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

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    Eldritch Priestess Willow's Avatar
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    Re: A Second Self?

    It sounds like it's helping you move forward in a really positive way.

    That really is a sad story, I mean.... wow. Just... yep. Wow.

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    Re: A Second Self?

    I realised something while meditating earlier and thought I'd share it. My guide appearing as a white horse has turned out to be more significant than I realised. When I was a little girl, I was horse crazy. I would often imagine I was riding a horse when I was walking somewhere, or leading an invisible horse by the reins. I would look out of the window when riding a train or coach and imagine my invisible horse running alongside me.

    This link to my childhood may be why that story affected me as deeply as it did. I'd have been heartbroken to hear a story like that as a little girl.. because all I ever wanted was a pony of my own.

    Anyway, what I have found is that while speaking to the white horse, I start imagining myself stroking his body, patting his neck, or running my fingers through his mane, even running my hand down his legs, feeling the muscles, and the weight of his hoof as he raises it. I volunteered at stables up until I was 16, when life just seemed to steer me away from the horse world. I loved the smell of a clean horse, and would nuzzle into them, sniffing their fur. I'm doing this to the horse in my meditation, and can really recall the smell vividly.

    I think one of the issues I was having, was that I couldn't imagine Rotokia as vividly as I used to. The white horse has subconsciously prompted me to use all of my senses, including touch and smell.. senses I rarely used while meditating in recent years. This is awakening my imagination, drawing me in deeper.

    It's funny how these things start to seem deliberately designed. I can't think of any other way I could have been 'tricked' into using all my senses like that, without deliberate conscious effort (and then, I'd never have thought of something as affective as imagining a horse. I'd have gone for flowers for sure!). It just had to be a horse to trigger that response. Like my guides had a plan all along! I actually deliberately avoided exploring horse as a spirit animal in the past, because the first book I read that talked about spirit animals said not to just choose an animal because you happen to like them in real life. It warned that our spirit animal is rarely our favourite animal, although may become our favourite animal as our relationship grows. In an effort to be a 'good witch' I deliberately looked elsewhere for my animal ally. That said, I do have a horse, called Mortimer, in Rotokia, so I wasn't able to avoid them completely! He was entirely a creation of my imagination though, and based on a toy horse I had (okay, I confess, I still have it! ^^).
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: A Second Self?

    Sorry I'm coming into this a bit late, Jembru... but I definitely have some input for you...

    Rotokia going dormant...

    You're evolving, and your spiritual practice is evolving, so I'm not surprised that you have outgrown your old inner landscape. I think we've talked briefly about this before, but if Rotokia is in your Innerworlds (which is far more likely than it being in the Otherworlds) then you have complete freedom to either move your centre of practice to another place in your Innerworlds, or to help Rotokia to evolve with you.

    Horse...

    It's possible that Horse is a primary guide for you, and that Horse has sent you an individual spirit animal to serve as part of your team of helpers. Shamanic folks usually end up with a team of entities who help with their travels, whether they be in the Innerworlds or the Otherworlds. For Innerworlds work these helpers can be external beings, or they can be manifestations of parts of themselves. Horse is my primary animal guide and has been with me for a very long time, plus I also have an internal aspect of myself that manifests as a horse. While it's true that our primary animal guide is not necessarily our favourite animal, it's not true that it's never our favourite animal. Sometimes the reason our favourite animal was/is our favourite is because we have a strong relationship with our guide and that's how they contacted us. It took me a while to feel comfortable with the fact that Horse actually IS my primary animal guide, for the exact same reason you've mentioned! lol

    Fox...
    Listen to Fox! lol. Both of the things he said to you ring true for me, and Fox guides are often pretty good at handing out little gems of wisdom like that. Fox tends to send His spirits out to be helpers quite a bit (along with Crow, Wolf, Horse and a few others) and they can be valuable members of the team. (All members of the team are valuable, but there are some who are oven overlooked because they aren't so flashy... Fox is one of those, because Fox helper spirits often sit in the background and offer up their advice quietly rather than being in your face or overly assertive. Fox also tends to wait until you have reached a certain point within your own growth and understanding before offering up certain gems, so rather than teaching you a completely new lesson, He cements a lesson that you are just starting to grasp yourself, giving you a much deeper understanding than you would have reached on your own).

    Splitting yourself...

    This one I'm ambivalent on. Having aspects of yourself manifested as internal helpers for Innerworlds work is actually very common and can be very helpful for personal growth. Having an external autonomous spirit helper that is actually a splitting off of part of yourself is also common in many forms of shamanism... but it's an advanced skill and has some inherent dangers associated with it and is therefore not actually something that everyone SHOULD be doing anyway. Plus... splitting aspects of yourself and giving them a level of autonomy, even for purely Innerworlds work, can backfire. I don't recommend that anyone who is not completely mentally stable do this, or anyone who tends towards extreme escapism do this. I used to be friends with an experienced (yet narcissistic and mentally unstable) shamanist who took this too far and ended up convinced that she had DID... manifesting her parts as individuals actually created problems for her, problems which she couldn't see but which we all could. It didn't enrich her practice, but detracted from it, and sent her further into her own delusions and self-created escapist inner landscapes. She'd have been far better off never having explored this route and sticking with the team of helpers she already had. So approach this technique with caution. It can be done, it can be helpful for some people, but it can also be unhelpful for others and can be dangerous.

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    Supporter Jembru's Avatar
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    Re: A Second Self?

    Thanks for the reply Rae! It's strange but I am really starting to feel more and more that horse was always meant to be a helper. I actually stopped riding a few years ago because I started being fearful of horses. Not of horses I knew well, but I didn't feel comfortable around unknown animals. As you can imagine, this became a problem because horses would sense my anxiety and act fearful around me.. making it harder and harder to get over the problem. I even had dreams where horses would be attacking me, or at least trying to. I'm wondering if this was because I had created a barrier, refusing to let Horse in, and this was causing conflict.

    I feel ready to try again with horses though. Once I'm not working so much, I'm going to see about having some riding lessons. I bet I'll need them after so long! I think I'm ready to embrace the horse world again.

    Fox is interesting. My sister loved foxes when we were kids, and an ex of mine identified strongly with Fox. I've always liked them, and sometimes see them out of the window when I am on night shift. You can hear them before you see them, so I'll run up to the window on the stairs and watch them playing together in the street. I couldn't imagine feeling right having and animal guide that I couldn't meet in the physical world, so fox feels right somehow.

    As for the splitting; fox is very, very insistent on reminding me that I am still all me when I am there. I am all me when I am speaking Japanese, and I am all me when I speak English. It's purely about allowing different modes of thinking to come through because of the language I'm experiencing at any one time. Or perhaps a better way of thinking is that it is two innerworlds rather than two of me. Each world simply affecting me in different ways. I think it's more on exercise to help me to distance myself from Rotokia than anything else. Still, I've lost myself enough times through meditating, that I'm trying to stay at least a little on my guard.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

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    Re: A Second Self?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    Horse...
    It's possible that Horse is a primary guide for you, and that Horse has sent you an individual spirit animal to serve as part of your team of helpers. Shamanic folks usually end up with a team of entities who help with their travels, whether they be in the Innerworlds or the Otherworlds. For Innerworlds work these helpers can be external beings, or they can be manifestations of parts of themselves. Horse is my primary animal guide and has been with me for a very long time, plus I also have an internal aspect of myself that manifests as a horse. While it's true that our primary animal guide is not necessarily our favourite animal, it's not true that it's never our favourite animal. Sometimes the reason our favourite animal was/is our favourite is because we have a strong relationship with our guide and that's how they contacted us. It took me a while to feel comfortable with the fact that Horse actually IS my primary animal guide, for the exact same reason you've mentioned! lol
    I came to this thread to check when I started working with my second world, but while I'm here, I'd like to share something that feels significant to me.

    About a month before I started working with my second world, I met a friend of a friend, Kazuma, at one of the conversation group nights that I run. We exchanged numbers and then he started attending our events by himself. He's a wonderful guy, very laid back and easy to talk to. Whenever he sends me a text message, he ends it with an image, but my phone can't read it. It can handle Japanese script, but often displays emoticons as blank squares. I didn't worry about it, assuming it was probably just a smiley face or something.

    A few weeks ago I introduced Kazuma to JP. The two of them hit it off instantly. I'd never heard JP sound so fluent and comfortable in Japanese. It took me by surprise actually, and I wrote a ranty message on PF on my way home offering him as free to a good home. I was proud really, but absolutely stunned that someone who'd never studied a language could speak like that.

    Then 2 nights ago, we went out with Kazuma again, this time another friend who knows JP joined us. She'd never seen JP stick to Japanese like that either, and she pointed out that his manner had changed. I didn't notice before, but she was right. He seemed more authentic somehow. Like he'd found his own 'second self' in Japanese, a second self that expresses more of the JP I know, that often hides when out in public. He and his new friend were so at ease with one another, as though they'd known one another for years. Both of us, feel a strange draw to Kazuma, and he somehow brings us both out of our shells.

    Then it got a little weird. Kazuma made a comment that JP looks like a character from an anime called 'Gin no Saji' (Silver Spoon). Of course I immediately demanded he show us a picture, which he did. The character did look like JP, but what struck me the most was that he appeared in almost every image, with a white horse!! Kazuma explained that the anime is set in an agricultural college, and that the main character (JP) forms a special bond with the white horse.

    I commented that it sounds like a story I would like, because I love horses. Kazuma replied that he feels a special affection for horses too, not least because of his name 一馬 (one+horse; a horse!). He said, 'that's why I always sign my text messages with a horse', and showed me our chat thread on his mobile; each message signed with a little white horse head!

    Mind blown!! ^^

    Something else related; when I was picking a name for my second self, I came up with 'Chiema', because it sounds similar to 'Jemma'. I chose the characters '知恵馬' (wise, blessing, horse, although the reading 'ma' for horse is obscure, I went for poetic license, not knowing at the time that Kazuma's name was written with this character) to write it. As 知恵 alone translates as 'wisdom', you can read this as 'wise horse'.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

  10. #10
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: A Second Self?

    Jembru, should you ever find that you get in trouble while doing the inner exploration thing (it is rare, but does happen, generally because of a past trauma rather than because of organic problems like bipolar, or anxiety though), the best way to deal with it is to quickly drop what you are doing and involve yourself in standard, mundane, pop idiocy. Watch stupid comedies (the stupider the better), engage in shallow conversation with shallow people about shallow subjects, etc. - in other words, immerse yourself in "normal" until you find your bearings.
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