Last year at my tradition's Yule ritual I had one of the most emotional and powerful ritual experiences of my life. Given the coming dark of the winter, I felt it a good time to share my experiences from this ritual.
In this ritual, we are visited by 3 aspecting priests/priestesses - the Raven of the Void, the White Lady, and the Sun King. The Raven compels us to dig deep and keen out all of the negativity from the past year, releasing it into the void. Then the White Lady and the Sun King help us to find our inner light to carry us through the next year.
The keening had me facing many of my demons. I cried and screamed like I never have before. I found myself experiencing, very powerfully, the vision of my depression - a dark, endless, turbulent pool filled with grasping beings pulling me down. Allowing myself to bring all of my pain to the surface for the keening, while cathartic, made it that much more difficult to free myself from it when it came time to find the light.
I don't even remember what the White Lady or Sun King said. I stood there quietly whimpering, trapped in this vision of drowning. Finally I called out on the astral for help. I saw the moon appear, and its reflection shone down on the water. Then the reflection of the moon solidified into a platform, with a ladder. A goddess' hand reached down from the sky and pulled me up onto the platform, and calmed the waters. I rested on the platform, shaken and battered and worn out, but at peace for the moment.
And when I'm feeling like I'm drowning, I can use the imagery of the moon platform to calm down and gather myself. Sometimes I can only grasp onto the side, or swim closer. It's even helpful just knowing it's there when I need it.