Words

I found this on my bookshelf yesterday.

Bought last year for 50p from a second-hand book-swap shop in West Sussex. Published in Germany almost 100 years ago. This edition printed in an office literally around the corner from where I worked as we entered this new century.

Its readers may have changed considerably during that time, but the journey these words have made is as fascinating to me as what they have to say.

What words inspire you today, lovelies? In their existence as well as their voices.

Epiphany or Reminder?

Given my recent illness issues (read: crazy-deep depression and crippling anxiety), I’d been wondering (nervously) what would happen when it was time for me to step up and Do Public Work again.

Yesterday was my first Handfasting ceremony of the year. People. Promises. Questions. Stepping up to lead and hold.

There was no fear. Nerves, as always, and intention set. But the pit of dark remained firmly closed.

I pondered this on the journey there. How could I be so calm, so ready, even excited? It seemed amazing.

A slightly dry, amused voice inside simply said: ‘Because this is what you do.’

There isn’t really a word for it yet (and we do need one). Priesting, ministry, chaplaincy. Service. Vocation. To myself, my Gods, my loved ones, and those who come to me, asking.

I’m here, doing what I should be doing, because I can, because I truly want to. That simple truth is beyond reassuring. A bit of a revelation, of something I perhaps already knew. Now I’ve been reminded.

The Handfasting was beautiful. And my feet feel sturdier on the path today.

This circulating meme struck a similar chord as well today:

Transformation, evolution… progress.

Onward.

The Quiet Voice

So… in response to social media asking what’s on my mind. Here we go. A difficult truth.

My illness means that there’s a constant background hum in my head. A voice (or voices), on repeat, telling me You Can’t Do It. You can’t go on, there’s no point, just stop, you’re the worst, nobody cares.

Sometimes that noise becomes loud, overwhelming. Physical action (hiding, or at least getting to a place of safety) is necessary.

Right now, it’s telling me that nobody wants to see this. It’s not helpful, it’s just whingeing. Oh great, she’s off again. And that famous old retort known to depressed folk everywhere: Just Wanting Attention.

No.

This is how my mental illness manifests. People have asked, and some don’t believe it, but it’s true, and very real for me.

But…

If I’m able to cut through the noise, to listen carefully, there’s also a quiet but determined counter-voice. It just says ‘You Can. Keep going.’

It doesn’t always win. But I’m so glad that it’s still there.

My inner self hasn’t given up on me.

Still here.

[Insert Title Here]

This week has been difficult. I have written nothing, because I don’t want to remember the thoughts I’ve been having. But they were real.

Last week, Himself convinced me to buy a notebook. No big deal, I have many.

But this one is different.

This notebook is blank. Unlined. Bare pages. All waiting to be marked.

This book represents such a huge fear. Of making my mark and being wrong. Of mess, of failure, of ruining something that could have been more.

This is nonsense, of course. But like those awful thoughts that I’d rather forget, still real.

I want to mark these pages. I want to write, to draw, to sketch and scribble, with no judgement. I want those voices of illness to be drowned out by what I AM doing, rather than what I’m afraid to do.

My marks may be good or bad, but they will be mine. And true.

Battling onward. Still here.

Medicine

After a lovely weekend, this week has been tough.

But inspiration to keep going has come from many places.

The voices of friends, urging me on.

Book recommendations, connecting me to other worlds.

Hugs from dogs (mine and other people’s).

Walking through fog, and feeling its peace.

Seeing the creativity of others, and their willingness to share.

Parcels from friends!

Yesterday, I started some new medications. As I always get side-effects, lovely MH Doctor put me on a quarter of the minimum dose. She gets me 😂

Last night, I was feeling asleep at 8.30pm. Having to force myself to focus on anything. Worrying: ‘Oh no, not again.’

Today, I woke… feeling good. Not having to fight to do the most basic tasks. No tension headache. No brain-fog. Feeling as bright as the sky outside.

I have no idea how long this will last.

But for all of the above, all of the different types of medicine helping me hold on and continue my fight, I am so very grateful.

Small Magics

(Cross-posted with The Catbox).

To paraphrase many notable occultists, Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will.

We all do this, all the time – but unconsciously. We let ourselves be influenced by outside forces, as our attention is moved from one thought to the next.

But when we take charge of our consciousness, with intentional and will-power, we can feel the change happen.

As I walk this path, I often say that Paganism is a constant practice (in the same way that we practice magic). We learn about ourselves and our connections with others, and create change with our thoughts, words and actions.

Today… perhaps a simple change, but to me, a profound one.

I felt myself beginning to slip, to spiral down into the depression. Quickly – time to take action.

Moving is the first step. Sometimes I don’t even get that far, which is why I usually have a book or a knitting project to hand.

Then Doing, something which brings me back to myself, usually through happiness, an activity I enjoy. Alter the negative feeling, grab onto something to stop the spiralling fall.

I distract myself with this, even though the anxiety-voices are telling me that I have things to do, I should be working! But no.

Right now, I’m spending this hour in an indulgent, sweet-smelling Bimble bath. I’m reading a book. I’m washing myself thoroughly, then using pleasant scented Lush oil afterwards. I wrap myself in a soft dressing-gown, and fuss the pups (who’re always glad I survived The Bath).

I can now feel mind and body relaxed. The tension has dissipated, the worried voices gone quiet. I was able to beat it (this time). It’s not always so simple, but I celebrate this victory.

Each win tells me that I can do it, and keep on doing it. Even on the worst days.

I’m now sharing this, cross-posting so that in these small words can themselves be a magic spell, to inspire in turn.

If you need it, feel my hand reaching out to you. We can get through it, dear ones.

Small magics, together.