Stuck In the Dark Place Today

((TRIGGER WARNING – Depression, suicidal thoughts, talk of self-harm & suicide))

We all need a Mulligan for this last year, but I especially need one for today.

Despite the progress I’ve made in my personal practice and development, I’m having a nearly impossible time shaking myself out of despair. It’s not just Season Affective Disorder ramping up my already chronic depression, it feel like residual Soul Sickness. Everything is going wrong today, tensions are running high, patience is non-existent and the intrusive thoughts are bobbing around my head like deep water mines.

Everything is going to hell. You don’t want to see this. Better to just slit your wrists and be done.

NO

Chew your veins out like an animal. Rip flesh between your teeth. IF you can’t tear out the throats of the enemy, then save yourself the struggle and die with blood on your lips.

 Fuck you, voices! I know that’s a stupid thing to do and doesn’t accomplish anything!

Then swerve into oncoming traffic, if you want it over quick.

Double fuck-you, voices! I know you’re just a manifestation of depression, and that I”m not actually suicidal. Just overwhelmed by despair…. Which doesn’t make it any easier, but I know these are NOT my own thoughts, just intrusions.

I have never been a cutter, although I know far too many who were/are and still bear the scars. But if these are the kinds of thoughts that run through their heads 24/7, reinforced by the negative environments and living conditions they had to endure….. I can see why they thought that giving in, even briefly, would alleviate some of the anguish.
But once that adrenaline and endorphin rush fades away, the whispers come right back. I know this without resorting to self-harm, because the moment I employ one of my numerous coping mechanisms, the thoughts of suicide come right back.

There’s this overwhelming feeling of wanting to run away; to flee from some invisible monster that will gobble me up if I stay put, but I know that I cannot out run it either way. Running from problems is not solving them. But when you spend years trying to solve problems, the Universe throws more at you and I know there are lessons to be learned, but part of me wonders if it’s all even worth it, seeing what kind of world we’re setting up to inhabit in  2017. I have a bad feeling there’s going to be a lot of suicide notes left for people to find on New Year’s Day….

To keep the voices at bay, I stare at my tattooed wrist, at the symbol marked into my skin : Our sigil. The simple design I created for a commitment tattoo that stood for our agreement to be married, until such time as he was able to afford an emerald ring. If the world goes to hell, I can sell the ring to pay for food. If the world goes to hell, I have a permanent reminder of what I have to live for; Love.

Even if we have no money, we have each other. Even if they take the house and the car, we have eachother. Even if we have to flee into the woods with the clothes on our back and the pets in their carriers, we have eachother. He has sworn to protect me, with his life if need arise, and I pray it will never come to that point.Physical and present dangers, I know he can handle and get me to safety; That’s what he was trained to do until a knee injury derailed his budding military career.

But when I’m stuck in the darkness of my own mind, when my heart aches with despair from within and without, I can’t just shut things out like he can. It’s the one place where he can’t fully reach to save me. And so I have to find a way to save my self, and as many times as I’ve had to do this, now it’s even harder. I can’t afford to retreat fully and gorge on ‘Member Berries while the world crumbles around me. I’m a Witch and I made a promise with my Gods to serve Them and help transform the world. In exchange, I asked for myself and my loved ones to be spared from the worst of the devastation; for what is the point of helping the world if those you love most don’t get to see the rewards? And I can’t see the future if I check out early. So I endure and I think sideways until my brain feels like a switch back staircase, and I rally my strength and I use the anger and despair as fuel for my spells.

Let this misery be transformed into something beautiful. Please, gods, let it be soon.

 

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When Good Witches Go To War

Everyone reaches a breaking point.

Today, I hit mine while driving to work.

A bumper sticker set me off and I began weeping, grieving, my heart breaking for things I could not express, but that Ihad been feeling intensely for so long. I finally had to let the tears flow and I found no shame in them. It was raw emotion coming through. My voice changed, I sang like an angry wolf thirsty for blood and justice.

I’ve had this seething anger and grief brewing for months, for years, and in the last few weeks it has gotten steadily worse. The injustices of the world, of politics, or old men who care not a whit for the lives of anyone but themselves and their cronies. The political bullshit that everyone is sick of but which They have cultivated into a sideshow of apathy and hatred masquerading as nationalist champions and renegades. After what happened in Britain, I have sen so much more than I ever wanted to believe the world was capable of, and not all of it is as awful as the terrors They would peddle to us.

I have seen terror and murder.

I have seen the helpers and medics and friends carry their bleeding and broken children to safety.

I have seen hatred directed at those who only wish to live and peace and equality. And I have seen a mob rise up to defend one person against a bully spewing rhetoric.

I have seen evil men prosper and get away with literal murder, for the choices they made to save or make themselves some coin. And I have seen those who abused their power thrown beneath the heels of those they oppressed with it.

I see so much evil, and very little good-by comparison. That is how They would orchestrate this opera we call The World, and so must we all have our parts to play.

But no one ever thinks about the stagehand; without whom the show could not go on. The stage hands, who wear black and darkness, who move like shadows, unnoticed by the audience and barely recognized by the actors, unless something goes off-script. They get a cursory bow or extended applause at the end of the show, but without them there would be no show at all.

So what happens when the stagehand refuse to follow procedure? Or sabotage the workings of a stage play to show up the pompous and over privileged who think the only reason people flock to the shows is to se them perform. They’re partly correct, of course, but when there’s no stage or set or costumes or lighting, or sound effects, or script-writers then where are these self-proclaimed giants of industry and entertainment?

And what is a Witch, if not one of the many StageHands of Life; walking between the worlds and sets, moving the scenery to better enhance the scene or adjust a light to bring out the best effect and illusion to the audience? Or to cut the sandbag over the abusive, self-aggrandizing fear monger who uses his influence to sway the minds and hearts of the scared and ignorant, preying on their fears and hatreds, making them feel like their brand of hate is acceptable and now validated.

Tell me now, who taught you how to hate? ‘Cause it isn’t in your blood, not a part of what you’re made.

You have an obligation to the children. To Avara and any children you have in the future to lead by example. You are sick of these things repeating in human history and they will always still be, but you have the ability to teach the next generation differently. FIght for them, for a world they can inherit and leave it in a better position than you received .

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And then My Lord spoke to me, and I knew what I must do. 

 

Mighty Hunter, Lord of forest and glen, lend me your keep eyes and deft hands, your arrows and rifle shot to bring down the rabid beast that seeks to destroy all we have struggled to bring about. THere can be no growth without death to feed it, and I call for the death of tyranny, for the death of those who would lead us laughing and jeering into the arms of the Devil and all his minions, who rejoice to see hatred and fear overtake the good and loving light forces who fight when they have no other recourse. I ask for your help in setting the scales back over into balance, away from the wrong-right and back over towards the left-good and just center. Let the balance block be restored to the center pivot and no longer let the scales be pushed so far out-of-place. The ground beneath the scales is askew and no one will say anything about that because to move the earth is the hardest challenge of all, but this incline was built by HUMAN HANDS and HUMAN HANDS can tear it back down to level playing fields again. It doesn’t have to be a bloody battle, where the earth is scorched and renewal would take far longer than it need to. It can happen without pain or suffering, It can happen when people open their eyes and see with the sense the gods have given them. Open their eyes, break the spell. Bring down the monsters and show them for what they are. Make the people beleive. Show them that there is still salvation for the willing and able.

Psychic Self-Defense (Against the Dark Arts)

Psychic self-defense 

I’m PVWitch, aka Tallah . I’m a witch, I live in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and I’ve been studying the occult since I was seventeen.

I discovered that I had a knack for protective and cleansing spells when I was forced to use them extensively to heal my own life after it went Krakatoa. As I worked on healing myself and getting my energy levels back to something recognizable as human, I experienced an influx of folks coming into the HERBARIUM (my family’s place of business) looking for help in the same area.

People who felt under the influence of a curse or hex, people who had recently left abusive relationships, or were currently trapped in them and couldn’t get out, but needed protection. I had taught Spiritual Cleansing before, but these folks needed more help than just a cleansing; they needed a complete overhaul.

Inspired by pop culture and personal experiences, I decided to offer Psychic Self-Defense (Against the Dark Arts) as a way to share the knowledge and foresight I wish I had set up years ago. Had I known the red flags to watch out for, it might have saved me some pain and suffering.  It is my hope that someone else may be spared that same fate, and if so then I’ve done my job.

Sign up for the Pioneer Valley Witchcraft newsletter and see other class offers at

pioneervalleywitch.com

 

Favorite Self Hypnosis Videos

Ever since I was little, I’ve needed something to listen to at bed time to fall asleep. Story tapes and Disney soundtracks were my usual fare, which evolved into radio, CD’s, Television, Audiobooks (which kind of defeated the purpose of following the story), podcasts, and You Tube.

Lately, I’ve been listening to self hypnosis and binaural beats videos from Powerthoughts Meditation Club. It’s been about 6 weeks and I’ve noticed a definite change! I highly recommend Powerthoughts for relaxation, meditation, chakra work, or affirmations in general. Kenneth has a very soothing voice and the music is blended well with teh binaural frequencies so as to be barely perceptible.

 

When I was a child.

I’ve been having similar thoughts lately ; looking back on how I viewed the world as a child before adults put limitations to my perceptions. I could see swirls of colors and I asked my mother what they were, pointing to what I could clearly see in front of my nose, but she was blind to them. i can still see those swirls, but only in teh darkness, and without my glasses. They’re no where near as bright as they once were , neon orange and pink swirlies converging into little balls that i could catch and watch run back out thru my fingers. But they’re still there. And it makes me wonder what else is still there, waiting to be re-discovered.

When I was a child I refused to brush my hair and my clothes never matched. I’d dig up worms from the ground and pinch slugs until they exploded with a satisfying ‘pop.’ The sun bleached my unruly tresses and tanned my olive skin while I rolled through grass and around trees. I would lean over the wooden fence my parents had built to pull wild blackberries off the vine, reveling in their sweet juices running down my chin.

Capture

In class I barely spoke because I didn’t have words to articulate the myriad of images streaming through my mind. I thought in pictures and wrote stories where I was a cat living on my own in the tangled jungle of my backyard. I used fallen sticks to construct my own bow and arrows to shoot beasts hiding around my fort of trees and towels.

Recently I’ve found myself wondering what that girl in the mismatched clothes…

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Cowardice to Courage

rincewind
Rincewind is a coward, He admits it and does his absolute best to drive home the point that he is, in no uncertain terms, a coward. Running away from everything and everyone, wanting only to be left alone with a stack of boiled potatoes and a block of butter. Unfortunately for him, and the  gods of Discworld, the Green Eyed Lady has taken special interest in him and keeps the other gods guessing at what shes has in store for him next. It’s been a while since I read the Rincewind series of books, so I’m not certain if she’s ever alluded to her reasoning of “why Rincewind?” (A question I’m sure has kept him awake many a night, if only while he was busy running for his life ) but Fate doesn’t need a reason. Rincewind is the pathetic slacker who flunked out of Unseen University. He got a massive magic spell stuck in his head, and nothing else would stick around for fear of it. But he wasn’t really an impressive student to begin with. He could easily have spent his existence in obscurity, working in the Library and going for a pint at the Mended Drum, and that would have suited him just fine. But that was not the case. In fact, the only reason the Rincewind sagas petered out was because Sir Terry Pratchett himself admitted that it was hard to write for a character who ran away from every conflict. He never grew as a character, he just kept trying to get back to his life of stagnant inertia. ((There’s some appeal to that kind of lifestyle, i won’t lie, especially in 2014 when I went on my first vacation in twelve years and part of my brain still hasn’t come back.))

michelle_dockery_as_susan_sto_helit_in_hogfather_aemkipdr-sizedSusan Sto Helit, granddaughter to Death, duchess of Sto Helit, demi-human, and governess who beats up nursery monsters, is another story cycle entirely. When her grandfather flew the coop (again) and certain Family Traits began showing themselves, she at first was reluctant and confused (as any 16 year-old girl who was raised without any sort of imaginative influence whatsoever would be), but she was also very practical and “good at keeping her head in a crisis” which she considers a character flaw. Although she was raised with the knowledge that ‘nothing imaginary is real’, Discworld’ reality proved otherwise. And because she knows damn well that supernatural things exist, and she’s so darn practical, the children in her care get to watch their governess beat the snot out of bogeymen, monsters, and bears who want to eat them. And she’s so bloody annoyed by these things intruding onto the quiet life she’s trying to cultivate that she takes them head-on! “Susan says, ‘Don’t get scared; get angry.'” The problems don’t completely go away (there will always be hapless bears who haven’t yet heard the word on the street about that lady with the poker) but the do go away much quicker and don’t tend to escalate by themselves. She does her best to diffuse a situation before it gets out of hand. She has courage. Not bravado; she doesn’t go out looking for imaginary creatures to pummel just because she knows she’ll win. She faces these challenges head-on and dispatches them in the most efficient way possible at the time. It has enabled her to grow and develop from an already-interesting person (the weird girl at school who could tell you the square root of 24.7 but not about the sentimental value of daffodils, orphan, Duchess, and natural lacrosse player) into a much-more interesting person (stand-in for Death, Governess, school teacher, savior of the Hogfather and Tooth Fairy). She embraces her heritage and figures out how to use her abilities within the lifestyle she has forged for herself.

It takes courage to fully, or even partially embrace one’s true self. To realize and accept oneself fully and completely, that is the height of human development.
And it is also the most frightening act a sentient human can engage in. Because it means taking off the mask and seeing all the dark and squirmy things underneath, acknowledging that they are REAL and they ARE A PART OF YOU, and then you need to figure out what to do about it.
Sure, you can go through your entire life without even realizing that you’re wearing a mask; most humans do it all the time. And you’ll live a semi-boring life, probably following some kind of set pattern of society based on where you fall in the class system. You’ll have some laughter, some tears, some dramas and challenges, but by and large, your life could belong to anyone. It’s when we’re faced with the squirmy things behind the mask that we are given the opportunity to change and grow on a profound level.

In my experience,these moments can go one of two ways; Courage or Cowardice.
And you never really know which option is which until the moment after you make the decision. Most of us will make the decision to do whatever feels safest. (In the physical world, that’s the best option for self preservation. I’m not referring to matters of actual life and death.) When you’re facing Ego Death, then that’s where the waters get really murky.
Ego Death is a phenomena I’ve heard over and over again, but never really had it described to the point where I could truly comprehend it. I’ve read accounts of dramatic, terrifying trance journeys where the psychonaut was literally ripped down to atoms and then reassembled in their new form. Often times these events are triggered or facilitated by ingestion of Fly Agaric, Mandrake, Ayahuasca, or some other sacred herb. They’re powerful, profound, and utterly soul-shifting. I’m sooo not ready for that.
It could be said that my own cowardice is keeping me from that kind of a paradigm shift, and that would certainly be a truthful statement. But I was the kid who had to ease themselves into a swimming pool inch by inch, getting used to the water and acclimating to the temperature. It took me a little longer to take the plunge and dunk my head under. After that, my parents needed a net to fish me out.
I had never heard of a slow Ego Death. The concept never crossed my mind until I started writing this. But I think that’s what is happening. There’s been an increasing amount of moments where I’ve have to make profound changes to the way I have always Done Things, or how I’ve had to think about things. And I’ve been presented with two options: Courage or Cowardice.
Cowardice is running away from Ego Death, from the squirmy wriggling things behind the mask and the skeletal face beneath. Cowardice is self-preservation that has turned into self-destruction. Cowardice is the willful avoidance of conflict, even if the rewards are great and easily attainable.
Courage is looking Ego Death right in the eye sockets, even for a moment. Courage is taking a chance on thinking extra thoughts and being aware of the world, even if you risk madness in doing so. Courage is taking your fear and turning it into something else; Anger, determination, or some other emotional fuel source for change.

I’m tired of being a Rincewind.
I’d rather be a Susan. It’s scary and hard and not always fun, but it’s decidedly more interesting.