Processing, Faith, and Healing the Cracks

I started therapy today.

Before I went in, I got a message from my Beloveds–that they’ll be with me before and after the sessions, if I need them, but not during.  I need that space to myself, need to process all my mental health issues by myself–for myself, not for them.  I can take my prayer beads if I want to, just for something to hold in my hands while I talk, but…this is for me.  This has nothing to do with being a better devotee, and everything to do with me, and my mental health.

This intentional fallow time has been…interesting, so far.  I’ve had some weird as fuck dreams, but it’s a blend of random crap, and my brain processing everything that’s happened with the summer’s Otherworld Drama-fest.  Nothing involving Otherworld related stuff in the Serious Things Are Happening Now sense–and that’s a major relief.

Something that’s happened, that’s taken me completely by surprise, is that the “cracks” in my head from sensing astral stuff…those “cracks” have closed up.  If I try and reach out to the Otherworlds, I get a feeling like hitting…not a wall, it’s more like I hit the membrane between worlds, and it bounces back (gently throwing me back Here.)

I’ve been praying more often at my Husbands’ shrine at night, rather than reaching out during the day.  Sometimes we talk, other times they just listen (or they tell me to go to sleep already.)  I’ve found that if I try and reach out to them during the day, that I get the godphone version of their answering machines (which I understand, they’re busy with their Jobs.)

*Varian’s anxiety starts screaming that everything Over There is falling apart*

*Varian tells his anxiety to shut up, everything Over There is fine*

I was venting about mental health stuff one evening, and the Madman said something that made me pause.

“You were never taught about faith that ebbs and flows.”

He’s right, that I was taught that a person had to be “on fire” about their beliefs all the time, rather than having faith that’s not “on” and super intense all the time.

It’s okay for things to not be intense, I needed to be reminded of that.

“Am I Hearing a God or Am I Going Crazy?” ~ One Polytheist’s Angry Rebuttal

I really loved, and relate to, this article.

There’s not a lot of information out there, about polytheism and mental illness interacting. In my case, they *do* interact [my mental illness can influence how I perceive my spiritual path, often in not-so-pleasant ways] and trying to untangle the two has been a very difficult road so far.

Unhinged and unenlightened

I try not to spread anger. I try not to spread hate. I try, as much as possible, to be non-violent. But when I see ignorance and harm being perpetuated, I feel that keeping silent is a way to perpetuate such harm. So I find myself compelled to speak out. There are several articles that have pushed my buttons, but they are growing old and so I can try and talk myself out of dealing with them. ‘no need to add fire to fire’ I tell myself.

But this one. This one makes me angry. And perhaps I am adding fire to the fire, but you know what? At least by voicing my concerns, there will be a voice out there arguing for the sake of those of us with serious mental illnesses. And hopefully, I can help those who relate feel less alone. Because seriously, these sorts of…

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Knitting as Grounding (A Month for the Madman)

I recently finished the shawl I made for the Dreamer (which I started back in August) so I decided I needed a new knitting project.  I ended up picking a pattern that was much more complicated than it originally looked, so I asked the people at the knitting store for help finding something within my skill range.

So now I’ve got two skeins of deep red (nearly maroon) yarn, and a pattern for a cowl. I normally don’t wear cowls, I prefer long scarves, but I think it’ll be fun to make a project totally different than what I’ve made so far.  Plus I’ve wanted to learn cables, and this project has cables (and a 1×1 ribbed stitch that I’ve already lost track of three times now.)

This isn’t a devotional project for my Beloved, but he has compared knitting to geometry (among other things, my Husband is a scholar) and he pointed out that this isn’t something I can just mindlessly knit; the pattern is written in such a way that I have to pay attention to what stitch I’m on.  Which fits in with him helping me with my mental health, especially keeping me grounded in this reality, rather than dissociating.

Plus I’m determined to get that ribbing pattern down there will be a sense of accomplishment in learning new techniques, and I’ll have a pretty braided cowl when I’m done.

I Am A Stone (A Month for the Madman)

I’ve referred to the Madman as one of the cornerstones of my faith before, and that’s never been more true than now.  Even though my mental health has been in the process of falling apart for some time (which isn’t helped by the current Otherworld Drama-fest) he’s still with me.  He’s very much encouraging me to find completely mundane ways to get my mental health under control (like therapy,) rather than getting any deeper involved in spiritual stuff.

He’s told me that he, his Family, and the Otherworlds have been around a long, long time; they can wait.  The spirits in the Otherworld can wait.  Astral traveling and exploring the Otherworlds can definitely wait (I dissociate very easily, which is a disaster in the making when combined with astral travel.)  He’s said that once all this Otherworld drama is over, if I need to set up an intentional fallow time, he completely understands.

I recently found a heart shaped stone with the word “joy” carved into it, on the shrine overflow space of my bookshelf.  I’ve stared carrying the stone with me, rather than my prayer beads (I’m both open and private about my beliefs.)  It’s something that reminds me of the Madman, our marriage, and his role in my life.

He’s helping me find joy even when it feels like everything else in my life is tumbling down.  He’s helping me remember that Love is infinite, and that healing sometimes means allowing scars to fade.

My Heart is A Hall of Mirrors (A Month for the Madman)

My Heart once held gardens and galaxies
entire worlds for my Beloved and I
to explore, to get lost our in stories.

But now my Heart holds emptiness;
it it white halls, white rooms and sterility.
Screaming from inside mirrors, forever echoing
reflections and refraction and refrains of my pain.

My devotion is not bound up in shattering;
he would leave before he ever broke me
(I know this the way I know he loves roses.)
To my Love I am too precious to shatter;
my scars will be healed, but not with gold.

To allow my scars to fade away
is the greatest gift from him–the need
is not to hide, but to blend, for my scars
to become just one more bit of the roadmap

that makes my Heart; not signposts of trauma standing
out against the sky.  He is showing me that my Heart is made
of more than a hall of shattered mirrors and broken dreams.