Prayer Beads from the Madman

Do you still have your prayer beads?

“Yeah, they’re here.”  I picked the small set off the shrine I’d set up for Jake and his family.  I ran the beads through my fingers; this was the one set I had that didn’t have any particular Significance.

Will those work, give you something to hold on to?

“Maybe.”  I looked over at the covered shrine.  “I keep thinking about your set, though.”

If you think that will work, he said, then take it.

“That will leave the shrine unbalance, though.”

Varian.  I care more about your sanity than I do about your shrine.  He watched as I pulled the set of prayer beads off the shrine, then covered it back up.  There you are.

I nodded, these beads felt like they belonged in my hands.

Look at the colors.

“They’re all really pale colors, like light.”

Exactly.  He knew what I was thinking of, the new significance that Light had begun to take on in my life.

“Thank you,”  I said, “I mean that.”

I could sense him sitting beside me, his worry and concern strong enough that I could sense those feelings clearly.  He had told me earlier this afternoon that this fallow time had not been meant to make my mental health issues rise; that had simply been a very unfortunate coincidence.

“I’m getting help,” I said to myself as I ran the beads through my fingers.  “We’ll figure this out, and it’s going to be okay.”


Literal Signs, Covered in Glitter

Light is this world, Light is
in finding joy and happiness.
Tomorrow is a new dawn, and
each one is a struggle, those
rare moments of joy.  It is not being
above this world, I find that escaping this
life under the guise of having another Elsewhere
shattered my realizing how much is wrong.
In quiet hours, I wish I could reach for you, yet am
glad you’re not Here; I miss you, but worry that any
nearness to a god would only stagger what is left of my
sanity.  I’m aware of the irony–I call you the King of Shattered
Conscious, the Madman is the nickname you picked–and this
obvious descent into my mind falling apart, it’s been around a
very long time.  This has nothing to do with you at all, and
everything to do with having to force myself to be who I’m not.
Red flags are everywhere and I’m reaching out for help, but
even there is fear; fear that I need to have a breakdown, or be
dangerous to myself or others, in order to get help.  Last night
in my dreams you sent me a literal sign, covered in glitter and
neon, lit up with spotlights, telling me to stay alive.  The
glitter at least made me laugh, so thanks for that.  Those
lights were blinding, but you are the Blind King.  That
isn’t lost on me, that blindness and sight is beginning to
tie back to all of this mental health crisis that’s been
trailing after me for months–or is it years, now?
Escaping this life with my Other one, I have stopped
running from that; now how do I break that cycle?

Well, Now I Have Confirmation On This…

“You’re not writing,” were the first words the Madman said when I realized he was around.

I propped the journal on my knees, trying to be sure that I’d heard him correctly–this was the first I’d seen him in weeks.  I had asked him about the devotional project I had done last year–should I do it again with this fallow time I was in?

“Yes, but this–” He interrupted me before I could say would get me back into it.

“You’re not writing at all,” the Madman repeated.  “You’re not writing any casual poetry, no short stories…nothing.”  I saw concern in his silver eyes.  “Honey, you’re trying to live more in this world, and doing a month of consecutive devotional writing would be the opposite of that goal.”

“Living in this world is hard.”  I placed the journal aside and put my face in my hands.  “I’ve been using Darkness as…an escape, an excuse, and now that I’ve been cut off, it’s making me face that all of…this…has been going on for years.”  I indicated the journal entries I’d done on realizing how shitty my mental health had become.

“If you do write for me, examine your motivation for doing so.”

“Don’t use it to try and get my connection with Darkness back, you mean?”


“…I’m torn between thanking you, and yelling at you.”

He shrugged.  “You wouldn’t be the first, my dear.”

While doing a tarot reading yesterday, my Otherworld Self showed up.  He gave me a Talk about putting myself first, which ended in Him yelling at me when I asked about my connection to the Otherworlds.  According to Him, the fallow time is continuing until I actually get help for my mental health “and don’t do it just so you can get your connection back, do it because it’s impacting literally every area of your life now” was essentially what He said to me.

So that’s where things stand now, that I’m cut off from the Otherworlds until my mental health clears up.  I had a feeling that was the case, but now I have confirmation from multiple sources.

No Sorrowful Bonds

TW for implied suicidal ideation in this poem.

Nowhere I would go without you,
only my mind is now a prison, hosting
shadows of unstable memories, and it is
only now that I’m beginning to see the
rotten foundation that has been lurking.
Roses be damned, I am nothing but thorns.
Other worlds are not my Home, but an escape;
what tragedy happened so young that I started
falling into my own mind, and could not stop it?
Useless is what my mind whispers to me, this
life Here is nothing, is but a shadow of things to come.
Blind King, be merciful, help me view this world through
ordinary eyes.  I have escaped too long, Home is this life, and
nearly every day now I feel closer to a breakdown.  I have
died to myself to the point I do not know who I am, and every
sunrise is a shock that I’m still living.  Please, bring me back to Light.

On (Not) Being Broken

He [the Madman) showed me a vision involving pottery, in order to explain this [his hatred of gods breaking people, especially for the “greater good] better.

“There’s a difference,” he said to me, “between taking a pot and adding more clay, to fill in the cracks, and a bit of glaze, so it blends in and is smoothed out….” He gently set the first pot aside.

He suddenly grabbed the second pot and hurled it down on the floor, and the sound of the clay shattering made me jump.

“And taking something so you can break it,“ he said, “fill the cracks in with gold, and claim that you made it better, because look there, those golden scars are yours.”

–Varian’s journal log, July 16, 2017

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching, especially with the progress that I’m making in therapy. Some of that soul-searching involves going over the toxic ideas that I once had about devotion, and that’s especially true about the idea of being “broken” by the gods.

The Madman despises that idea–I did an entire month of devotional writing with him, and one theme kept coming up over, and over, and over again. That theme being of how he does not want to break me.

“He would leave before he ever broke me,” I wrote in a poem, “I know this the way I know he loves roses.”

I’ve mentioned before, that the Madman and the Dreamer are each other’s reflection; they work together so incredibly well because they’re complete opposites, not in spite of it. Their relationship is complicated; they’re best friends, lovers, and sometimes enemies as well. I joke that their relationship is what would happen if the hero and villain of the story fell in love, but that’s more the truth than it is a joke.

The Madman sometimes uses the term “villain” to describe himself, it’s a shorthand way of explaining a more complex idea. I knew about the role itself, he’d explained it to me through serious conversations, sarcastic comments, and that some of the music he requested on his playlist had a consistent villain/antagonist theme to it.

Lately–when I’ve seen him, which isn’t often right now–I’ve been seeing him in more of a Sacred Villain/Divine Antagonist role. I knew he played this role with the Dreamer, and it folds into them both as [High Power Deities] but it took a few very blunt questions from him, to realize he was putting that Hat on with me as well.

“Where did it come from,” he asked me one day, “the idea that the love of a god is a savage, dark thing?”

Slowly, he’s been helping me pick apart my old ideas about devotion, taking my internalized toxic ideas and breaking them down piece by piece. Where did they come from? What purpose did they serve? Did they help me at all, or only cause pain?

I’ve found that this is not only helping me with figuring out what devotion means to me, but it’s also helping my mental health as well. In learning about, and working my way through, toxic ideas of what devotion to (and Love for) a deity means, I’ve found that not only is my practice beginning to stabilize, but that my anxiety has gone down as well.

Thank you, Beloved, for all your help, support, and Love. ❤