Monthly Columns

Inside the Heart of Darkness

As we move into the darkest time of the year, the human mind takes an inevitable turn towards more negative thoughts and emotions. One of the biggest myths of today’s society is depression. An entire society is forced to ignore their own needs and desires and trade them in for soul crushing indentured servitude; our very thoughts imprisoned by various belief systems. A legal system that imprisons a human being for doing with their own bodies what they will. A society of brainwashed sheep trained to trample any hint of free thinking. All of life has become a prison, where every man, woman and child is reduced to a mere resource for the betterment of the rich. Whether it be your skin color, or financial standing, some are affected by this reality more than others.

     A person who has a certain level of spiritual understanding interprets these aspects differently. It would seem that “depression” is the natural response to oppression. We’ve got light workers teaching us to manifest our dreams, when really what helped them is their charming personality, good looks, or money from their parents. Since I was a child, I manifested my dreams and my future. I knew that once I became an adult and had some level of control over my destiny, I would be able to make a difference in my own life. While this was true to an extent, I suffered a great deal more than my peers who weren’t spiritual.

    I was a devout Christian. I dedicated my whole life to spreading enlightenment, which I still do now, but at that time it was through a purely Christian lens. I often wondered why the lord hadn’t blessed me. It was through this continuous devotion, yet lack of any substantial gain that led me to question Christianity. My Christian friends were able to thank God for their homes and their families, but I was homeless. Completely abandoned by all who loved me. My father was deceased, and my mother was in no financial situation to help me in any way. So I prayed and prayed… And nothing.

    I had a deep and fundamental understanding of spirituality already. So it was, for me, impossible to just not believe the divine existed. What I believed instead was that God hated me, and wanted me to suffer. So I joined the other team. I worshiped Satan for many years before I started to mature in my understanding. As this metamorphosis went on, I began to use new ways of praying and manifesting, yet my life remained suffering. Even through Buddhism, the idea of just having that peace, and just letting go of the desire to have anything at all still left me with some kind of very negative feeling.

    It became clear to me that I was meant to endure a huge amount of suffering. This was something I had no control over. I had followed every light path I had ever heard of, and my life was still in shambles. I have yet to rectify the meaning of this, yet mental health seems to be a huge part of spirituality, and this ties in deeply with my perspective.


Why Be A Dark Witch

Through a new lens of adulthood and enlightenment, I decided to give Christianity one more try. It was the most popular religion for a reason after all, I thought. There must be some reason for this popularity. I had been an intellectual and devout Christian as an adolescent, so I knew the Bible very well, and studied it even harder. There was a particular day, I said a deep prayer before I went to Church this special morning. I realized in this moment, I wanted more out of my spiritual life then just sitting in a stale pew singing hymns. (The question even came to me, does god just hate people who don’t like hymnals?) The only thing at this moment in my life that kept me continuously giving Church a chance was not the idea that it was the most popular religion, it was the fear of Hell. I prayed, to the real god, whoever it was, to give me a sign if I should continue attempting Christianity.

      That morning at church, the sermon was on 1 Corinthians 3:1-8, which reads as follows.


1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.


    Of course, the pastor had a strictly Christian approach to the meaning of this verse, but to me it meant much more. In Corinthians, Paul The Apostle writes to the newly converted Christians in Corinth. He says in the first verse that he could not speak to them spiritually. He had to do so “unto carnal”, meaning, speak to them as earthly human beings. He says I have fed you with milk, because you weren’t able to have meat. This spoke to me as saying the Church itself, Christianity, was to me, as milk, but my soul was craving real meat. In verses 4 and 5, he goes on to explain that he himself is just a man too. Made of flesh. That his opinion too, is just a flawed human opinion. Simply a minister whom we believed in. That such a human only plants the seed, he dies not cause it to grow. In verse 8, he is explaining that we have our own relationship with God, we don’t have to follow another human being.

    That is when I chose my own path. I decided, Jesus may not be the only way, and so I started to take knowledge from all paths, and just follow God to my own understanding. This is when I searched my heart the deepest, and decided, I would be a witch, and follow all of the pantheons. It was soon after this I discovered entheogens, which helped increase my knowledge and understanding exponentially. This is when I learned, the true goal of God or the universe isn’t perfect perceived human goodness, (which I explained in a previous article isn’t even a real concept to a divine entity) but instead, perfect balance is what the universe truly teaches us.

    That being said, I learned then to embrace my dark nature. The fact that I saw beauty in dark themes and situations, like sex and violence. My personal path, though I devoted my to the divine was steeped in darkness. My life was always hard. I didn’t have close relationships. I was an orphan looking for a place where I belonged. Beyond that, I couldn’t explain any exact reason, other than it’s who I am. Understanding yin and yang in the universe, I realized that my natural pull towards the darkness was inevitable, and the universe still valued me. Loved me. It became my goal to integrate this darkness into my path in a way that was fruitful and healthy, and I learned to balance all the forces in my life evenly, and accept my own darkness.


Attaining Balance

Love and light is great. It’s just not a huge part of my personal experience. It’s my understanding that the world is quite miserable. I believe people who live in love and light do so because life affords them the opportunity to do so. A person who has the space to actually enjoy life enjoys it. As a dark person, I try very much to enjoy life, but the powers that be control wealth for the population. Not once in my life have I been able to afford to purchase a Christmas gift. So it’s hard to be in the Christmas spirit. Everyone in the world is expected to feel the same, when they live a life that treats them the same. It’s easy to be a rich celebrity and tell a person to never give up on their dreams, but what about people who haven’t given up, but just can’t reach it?

     It’s easy from an outside perspective to think your life is better because you’re smarter and worked harder, but I have had a higher IQ than every human being I’ve ever worked for, my extreme skill and effort perceived as a threat by the powers in place. My hard work has led me to even less opportunity. The reason I don’t have a degree isn’t because I wasn’t smart and hard working, it was because I was homeless when I could have been getting an education. The rest of my life has been spent playing catch-up with those who had more opportunities.

     At the time I had reached a fully enlightened state about all of this, it was too late to just be happy and grateful for what the world had given me. I’m filled with rage at how unfair life is, and we’re told to just accept it. Love and light are for those who have escaped their slavery, but for those still oppressed, the darkness is what gives us our power. The pain of oppression is what pushes us to fight for a better future. We’re fighting to be able to live a life of love and light. We’re tired of living in a world where we have to elect powers who don’t even care about the issues in our real lives. We have to live in a false world where ONLY Christians can come into power. Where freedom of speech is the only freedom. Our ability to make a life for ourselves depends on our ability to pay rent the day we become adults. We live in a world where money dictates who has a life and a destiny. 

     Who would want to live a life where their lives are completely marginalized? Reduced to a waiting game. Waiting for the government to give what is due to the humans they’ve been sworn in to care for and protect. Waiting for a fair opportunity to have affordable housing or healthcare. Waiting for plants to be legalized so we don’t have to be poisoned by an evil pharmaceutical system. Waiting for politics to care more about life than ethics. Waiting for a system where our voice is truly heard, instead of just swept under the rug.

    At the very least, in a world where we know our problems will be heard, we’d at least like to be able to be ourselves in our own lives, but we can’t even remain healthy as healthcare is just a business. Our need for shelter is exploited by those wealthy enough to own real estate. How could we possibly not be depressed when life itself has been completely sterilized by the rich? Nothing in life can be obtained without money, and money is controlled by someone else. And the only way to get that money is slavery, and that slavery is set up to keep you from every being able to advance in life without a miracle. Whatever position your life is in to afford you a love and light stance is completely circumstantial. I’m a dark witch because my life has been nothing but darkness, and as such, I’ve been taught only by darkness. Dark themes, dark situations. I have learned to value this pain. It helps me to assist others who are going through pain. It helps me to have patience and compassion for those who feel lost. Those who are addicted, and even those who are abusive, as the same darkness that has pushed me down this path pushed them down theirs.

     Understanding darkness actually allows you to bear the light. The pain allows you to see without effort what needs to be changed about life. Suffering is a part of human experience. Who knows the nature of “evil” better than the victim of evil? This opens the door of compassion for other victims. Even more so, through understanding your own tendency to become the villain yourself, it gives your great empathy for those you realize simply weren’t aware enough of themselves to change their path. Being a dark witch for me isn’t being evil, it’s simply acknowledging that there are dark forces in life, and that they have as much potential for beauty and healing as the light.



I pray for love and light everyday, but only get tears. Maybe someday in the future  life will be love and light, but to do that, you have to either ignore a huge amount of darkness, or it somehow does not affect you. Life needs to be changed, and the anger at the darkness is the fuel we need to make those changes. I’m tired of being told I’m manifesting a negative reality for myself. I’ve been manifesting my unemployment check for 9 months. I’m still forced to pay rent in a world where I can’t work because I have children. Though I can’t work, and haven’t gotten employment, I’m still expected to be a full time teacher for two children when I’m staying up all night every night worrying about bills. Light comes from the spirit, but darkness comes from a world literally dying to see change. This same corporate greed that causes the condition known as depression also displaces millions of animals from their natural habitat. Are those animals just depressed? The stress we’ve put on our climate has caused storms to get stronger and more deadly. Is the earth just being toxic and depressive? Maybe tell the walruses throwing themselves down mountains because all the ice in their habitat has melted manifested that reality for themselves?

    The love and light attitude ignores those who are in need of a real force of change, not just magical manifestations, but real tangible changes in our society. Changes in healthcare, and economic equality. Pain is the body’s way of telling us there’s a problem, depression is no different. We can’t ignore the negative, we have to understand that it’s a way the universe tells us there’s a problem. To that extent, when you learn to follow what the negativity is telling us to fix, you learn the true healing power of things we as humans just feel are “bad”.

    A prime example is covid-19. This doesn’t really exist in a grey area. It’s like murder, we all agree that it’s bad. Even so, it has offered countless people space they never had. Time to grow that life would have never given us. It has offered us a new sense of mortality, but with that, a new gratitude for life. It’s given many of us more time with our families that we would have had in an entire lifetime. (If you work 40 hours a week, do that math) It caused a universal stir craziness that started a revolution. Which is pushing the gears of change in this country once and for all. Even death, the most negative thing of all arguably, is really just perfect balance. If there was no death, that would extend to everything. The swarm of bees attacking you would never stop. They would never die, neither would you. King George would be back for his revenge again, and again. What about Hitler? Covid wouldn’t kill us, but you could forget about killing it. All sickness would last forever. Plants would overpopulate the earth. Fungus… the more you think about this, the more absurd it would be, any state of pure positive wouldn’t even make sense. There will always be problems to deal with, and we must learn to show those who are depressed compassion, and not simply assume their problems are due to a problem with them. Sometimes, life brings us negativity to show us how we could be better. Integration of the negative and positive is integral for a balance and healthy spiritual life. Through mindfulness, you can learn to understand and give space for the negative in life, and attain fullness in spirit. Stay warm, stay true to your spirit, and keep on your path.


About the Author:

Alexiel Raynes is a shaman, philosopher, and musician from Louisville, Ky. He has studied religion and science for over 20 years. His spiritual path focuses on self realization, the liberation of the constraints of the mind on consciousness. He also studies plant medicines and their use in indigenous cultures world wide. He is fascinated with exploring the world beyond the veil of mainstream western science, and postulates at what lies beyond general consensus reality. He, together with his wife Hallie Walker are the owners of Saol Bandia, a holistic herbal apothecary based in their hometown. They are also very active in raising pagan awareness in their community, and helping give witches the courage to stand up to a world that has forgotten our ways.


You can visit their store at

For contact visit

Or email [email protected]

Alexiel Raynes is a shaman, philosopher, and musician from Louisville, Ky. He has studied religion and science for over 20 years. His spiritual path focuses on self realization, the liberation of the constraints of the mind on consciousness. He also studies plant medicines and their use in indigenous cultures world wide. He is fascinated with exploring the world beyond the veil of mainstream western science, and postulates at what lies beyond general consensus reality. He, together with his business partner Hallie Walker are the owners of Saol Bandia, a holistic herbal apothecary based in their hometown. They are also very active in raising pagan awareness in their community, and helping give witches the courage to stand up to a world that has forgotten our ways. You can visit their store at For contact visit Or email [email protected]