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Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

As I prepare for the Solstice, I’m finding myself really missing the idea of being a student of a tradition. In a way, it’s a mourning as much as a growing process, and while I understand (and really came to a mutual agreement about) why this wasn’t going to work right now, it’s still hard. Especially knowing that my fellow students are probably going to be initiated soon – though I am very happy for them.

I had my former teacher do a reading for me, in the vein of where I should go from here, and (not surprisingly) any path is going to be difficult, but come with its own rewards. I’ve considered looking at a local ADF grove, just to be a public member, but I’m not sure I could go back to just being part of a laity instead of a student. And I really don’t have the mental energy to be a student right now, especially with the sheer amount of homework that comes with the dedicant path in ADF.

I did a reading for myself as well, and after a long break (while I was studying with the coven), my old friend the Three of Wands came back. While I’ve always seen this as my seeking card, due to the way the main figure is so intently watching the ships on the horizon, I find it has rather a different feeling than it used to. (Oh Tarot, how versatile you can be…)

This time I’m seeing myself watching the ships, the things I see as possible futures, once I get my mental state in order, but there in the foreground are three trees to tend. Things that I can and should tend on my own. While this isn’t a typical reading for the Three of Wands, which usually reflects seeking for something new and leaving the old behind, for some reason I keep going back to his three trees, and the idea of focusing on what I can do here, and now, and on my own.

And really, returning to a solitary path IS something new and challenging, so I guess that part of the card applies as well.

Even if I know the solitary path is hard, and filled with the traps of inaction and succumbing to busyness rather than making time for practice, I see myself going in that direction for the time being. My husband agrees, and thinks a time of inner work and introspection will be positive and help me grow – and grow more stable.

It’s still hard to give up my identity as a student (something I was for nearly two years), but I think it’ll be for the best. I learned a ton in that time, and I’m a better witch for it, but I think I can grow as a solitary witch as well.

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I’ve had to step away from my training.

It’s a complicated thing, but I’ve talked before about some of the mental health issues I have, and they’re just not cooperating with the level of energy that comes with (and is required for) coven work. I’m perfectly happy and really enjoy the Work, and I love being in circle, but the backlash the next day is, well, awful. And a little scary. It’s not an all the time thing, but after our (wonderful, high energy) celebration of Beltane this weekend, I had two of the worst days I’ve had in a long time.

Maybe it’s that my meds aren’t working (this is highly possible, from other cues in my life), maybe I just can’t handle the energy levels raised in a close knit circle.

Maybe I’m just not cut out for this priestess thing, no matter how much I may want it.

Self-limitation sucks, especially when it is because of things you wish would just go away.

I know that paganism and mental illness are not mutually exclusive, but they’re butting heads right now, and it sucks. I know this is the right decision, that I can still worship my Gods and do my magic on my own, and that I’m still allowed to be close to my circle mates. But it will be different, and it’s not what I want or what I’ve spent the last 18+ months working towards.

I’ve talked with my HPS, and she agrees strongly that this isn’t something I should push to continue if it’s going to make me sick. I trust her advice, and it’s somewhat comforting to know that this kind of mental backlash isn’t normal. It’s not a grounding issue either, or one of focus – by all accounts I’m fine when I’m working and have good energy flow and am grounding properly, it’s just… too much for my brain I guess.

Still, I’m conflicted by having to step away (at least for now, I keep telling myself) from something I really want to do and be. Even knowing its the right and healthy choice doesn’t make it fun.

I’m the River Daughter, and I’m a witch… and I happen to also have mixed bipolar and an anxiety disorder.

Somehow, I’ve got to find a way to make that work.

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I’ve tried recently to be more open about some of the things I struggle with alongside learning the Witchy stuff, talking about them with my HPS/HP – especially now that I’ve apprenticed with their coven – and generally not trying to hide the stuff that’s going on. Mostly it’s major mental health struggles, for which I am in a lot of therapy, taking a handful of medications, and doing magic to help manage (some things never go away, but they can be managed and made livable).

But when things get really sticky, as they have the last few days thanks to a major fuckup with the doctor’s office, it’s hard to follow through with plans for magic and witchcraft.

Tonight is the full Hunter’s moon, and I had planned to do a ritual in celebration and do some magic to help with my current job struggles. Instead, I’m going to content myself with tea in moonlight and focusing on being present to experience the magic that is *this moment* – my brain can’t handle anything more right now. Leaning on my meditation practice doesn’t feel as witchy as a full moon ritual, but I have to keep reminding myself it’s only wise to do what I can do, and not try to do more. *

Sometimes it makes me wonder if I’m cut out to be a “real” witch, because I can’t control my own mind, and the crazy!brain takes over instead of the part of me that I’m familiar with and I can work with.

(Then I wonder what a “real” witch is, if not someone who is self aware enough to recognize and not do magic when shit gets bad?)

*While what I struggle with doesn’t hold a candle to Lupus, the Spoon Theory is a good one for those unfamiliar with the idea of ever-changing amounts of mental currency. Link is a PDF.

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