Ian Elliott March 1st, 2017
When we awake in the morning, we undergo a change in consciousness, and at first we bring with us vestiges of the dream-state, including the voices and moods associated with dream figures. As these fade, we often experience a temporary state of clear calm, when we say “I haven’t woken up yet.” Then the morning moods begin, and if there
is anything troubling us about our current lives, it often makes itself known at that time.
Because our culture, which inherits the Medieval injunction against “traffic with spirits,” conditions us to believe that whatever occurs in private experience belongs to us alone, we have a tendency to identify with these voices, which means we often fall victim to the most negative ones. Thus we all know people (ourselves, perhaps?) who get into “morning moods” and are best left alone at that time. These moods are often partially covered over by the necessity of getting breakfast and driving to work, but they may
still be in evidence as we drive, grumbling at other drivers or rehearsing some scenario we fancy will be upcoming at work.
Those of us who went in for therapy before the insurance rules changed may recall that therapists recommend we dialogue with ourselves at times when we feel troubled. We were advised to come to recognize certain voices that recur as sub-personalities with
whom we need to negotiate and eventually integrate into a greater inner harmony. The notion of eventually achieving full integration with these other selves remains a sort of myth, projecting a paradisal state into the future instead of the past. In practice, the voices recur and we must continue to dialogue with them.
Now, the essence of pagan religious (that is to say, life) practice lay in action rather than belief. For that reason, it isn’t necessary to believe that these other voices are spirits, nor, for that matter, is it necessary to buy into the modern myth that they are sub-personalities seeking some ultimate integration. We needn’t regard them in any particular way, so long as we dialogue with them. Dialoguing with morning spirits involves listening to them, while at the same time maintaining a sense of separation from them. When you talk to another person, you do not start lip-synching their words.
You remain aware of receiving a communication, which means that you are separate from the source of that communication. In the case of our morning spirits or voices, it is enough to feel sufficiently separate from them in order to dialogue. Thus, if the feeling or idea arises that you cannot surmount your problems but will surely succumb to misfortune, you can hear that and then mentally review the number of problems you had six months ago that you have dealt with, and continue to deal with. This can be regarded as an inner conversation, though it is not different from creative reflection.
You can characterize it any way you like, so long as you do it.
But if you wish, as neopagans, to regard this activity as dialoguing with morning spirits, you are certainly free to do so. And do not worry about the popular notion that “only crazy people talk to themselves.” If you are truly conscious of yourself and how you
live from moment to moment, you will know that talking to oneself is the commonest activity for everyone. The trick is to do it more consciously, and not automatically accept every train of thought that arises, especially in the wee hours when we are freshly awake
and more vulnerable to suggestion.