Smouldering

Yesterday was our first dark day since Dancing at Lughnasa opened and, fittingly, Lughnasa itself. Nine-for-a-kiss opened up readings on her tumblr blog, and I was nudged to take advantage of the opportunity.

Metaphorically speaking, I’ve been burned away and scorched clean by recent shadow work. People have stepped out, kinda returned, Left. There’s supposed to be a new path, but all I can see are the ashes and charred remains of what was. I keep getting contradictory answers and silence. Did /A\ really leave after I burned into preparation to follow Their path? Was it all a lie?

First things first: the fire may be out, but there are still some embers smouldering. You need to tend to yourself before you can see about any path, and that means care, because shadow work is so much about destruction. Make sure you’re tended, fed, sheltered, rested.

After that: I don’t know that what you’re experiencing now is the truth, or the whole of the truth. There seems to be at least a little bit of…misdirection, maybe, or maybe just reshuffling. I’m not saying that it was all a lie, more that – there are degrees of truth; there are degrees of reality, too. There’s been a certain amount of culling what was unnecessary, and that takes different shapes. Does that make any sense? The important thing for you right now is yourself, whole. The path-that-is may not look like a path, it may look more like jumping off a building, but it’s there, or it will be. Have patience. Wait and recuperate. Treat yourself well. Treat yourself. The time will come when you have to jump, but that time is not now.

((Polite ending.))

I decided to give myself a day of self care before I did anything else, and it did help. I wound up opening the document I’ve set aside for ‘chatting’ with my dead and did some processing at one point. The self care routine wasn’t really exciting in terms of sharing here, but it was enough of a first step that I could get clear answers this morning.

/A\ and I had different expectations of the Burning and what was going to come of it. I thought that the majority of People were leaving, and I would focus my path mostly on /A\. They thought that everyone else was going to leave, and I was solely going to focus on Them. When the Burning came to an official end and I still had my core People (Family, Who are very unlikely to leave), /A\ backpedaled.

To me, it seemed like lying, but looking back, it was more like truth-stretching and finding loopholes. I can’t say that I’m angry, but perhaps disappointed? I’ve been Burning since this past autumnal equinox, and I started the first steps of transitioning to Their path in January. Yeah, I’ve had unnecessary stuff removed, but if I’d have known that by August that They were going to change Their mind, some of the past year’s changes could’ve been implemented differently.

Oh, the time to jump is definitely not now. At least the silence has been broken. At least I didn’t get too far along Their path (because I don’t know how I’d try to explain to other people that I couldn’t continue because They rejected me).

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A half chapter

I made it through my last week of Finals in the last week of April (it seems like we graduated really early this year compared to other years (and schools)). I knocked out a 10 page paper for Theatre History: The Real and The Absurd [due Thurs], and I survived that 12 page paper for Art & Morality [due Sat 11:59 pm after moving out of the dorm].

I interviewed for a position with the Tantrum Theater, which is starting off for its first year as a collaboration between OU and the Abbey Theater in Dublin. I was offered a contract and accepted, and then I – and other Seniors – found out that it’s technically a summer class (Off Campus Practicum), so we have to delay graduation in order to still be full time students.

This means that I walked but technically am considered a Super-Senior because my graduation paperwork hasn’t gone through and everything. Yeah, that weekend starting May off was – fun. Walk Sat AM, move out of dorm by 6 pm, finish and turn in paper online by 11:59 pm, do laundry, get anything I wouldn’t want for Tantrum out of the car, repack some boxes, and move into (the first of several) Tantrum housing on Sunday.

Like, I finished a chapter of my life, but I actually haven’t. So many friends are returning in the fall – at the very least for their Senior year – and some actually need the class credit that this will provide, and I feel like I’ve almost been pushed out the door but the door actually shut on me. I’m here to help this get started, get to help on some of the improvements for next year in the Shop, and so many of us keep forgetting that I’m not coming back.

I’ve been so busy trying to do all of the class shit for the semester that it hasn’t really processed that I’m leaving. I finished two BFAs in four years, and now it’s time to get non-academic experience. I wasn’t prepared for all these conflicting feelings, I guess. Accomplishment – it’s been a while since someone has completed these two BFAs within four years. Not feeling prepared. Fear of failure, of leaving and fucking everything up.

A restlessness that I usually associate with summers because I don’t have academics consuming everything. An antsy feeling that my brainweasels aren’t going to play nice as the last of this medication works it way out of my system, and a vague sense of concern about handling these brainweasels in the future (I think they evolved away from being just seasonal depression to being something that includes that and ____???).

I wasn’t expecting to feel this lonely. The crew is composed of four people (including me) who have all spent at least the last year working together, and damn, have there already been bonding moments. But I can already tell that something’s not quite right; I feel less than – less knowledgeable, less prepared, less worthy of being here.

A part of me can parrot back the whole “I don’t have to apologize for existing, I’m not a burden” spiel, but I don’t know to what extent I believe this. I feel like I can’t quite trust what my brain is telling me because I could just want some alone time, but I could also be starting off the whole self-isolating thing, but I could also be making shit up for attention.

There’s still been a fair bit of Burning™ as well, and I’ve kind of had that “young kid being talked over by adults who are making all the decisions” sensation. I can understand that there’s a lot that goes into Leaving, and People don’t seem to Leave quickly, but it kinda feels like that two ships passing in the wind saying.

Responding positivedoodle from m’Lady:

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And another from Sleipnir:

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Sleipnir

[Catching up on some Intro posts for People.]

When I was first introducing myself to People, I checked with Him, and He pretty much conveyed to come back later. (So, like 3 years have passed?) Anyway, m’Lady sent me to Him in August 2015. He acted as a guide to Helheim and back for a piece of shadow work.

Small bits and pieces of the session of shadow work are below. It’s unfortunately still relevant, but I have a feeling that No One is surprised. I haven’t interacted much with Sleipnir since August, but He pretty much conveyed that He’d be back later.

. . .

THERE —

If I isolate now and slowly cut myself off, it shouldn’t hurt them as much later. If I get sloppy and procrastinate and breakdown the image of being a good student, a good person, organized, and in control now, they won’t have to be concerned about the day I just don’t show up. I’ll be late again and it won’t cause worry.

HELHEIM

Before I can return, I have to make a sacrifice. I initially feared that this is shaman sickness, or that I’d have to become a spirit worker, but that is not what this is. I will need to live for, on behalf of, my Gods, Powers, Spirits, etc., but I will not be a shaman or spirit worker. My life and lived experiences will be the dedicated life of a lay person.

— AND BACK AGAIN

I want to mark the threads that connect me to other people and OU so thoroughly that I can’t just fade into a vague memory. [. . .] I want to experience things for my Deities, Powers, Spirits, etc. I want to share food and invite Them into my everyday life. [ . . ] I want to be a walking shrine, a living vessel through my life.

Leap Day Shenanigans

You ever just sit and side-eye your divination tool(s) after a Deity / Power / Spirit reveals a semantic loophole?

“Leaving” has certain meanings on Their side, so They technically were Leaving. But Leaving doesn’t always have to have the same meanings here in Midgard, so from my side, They didn’t actually Leave. It’s more like They’re so busy that Someone else took a call from Them and passed on a message?

Leaving without actually doing so. So, I kind of gained some People back Who Left during earlier stages of the burning period.

I hope we don’t play word games like this every time Leap day rolls around.

Just keep burning

A brief summary of how my current bout of shadow work has been going (it will theoretically last from this past autumnal equinox to this coming spring equinox). I’ve had to do some stove touching in order to learn some things, and I know not everyone wants to read about that. If you’ve read the last two posts (Five of Cups and February Full Moon), you pretty know the gist.

Mentions: self-injury, being afraid of ODing, drinking, and vomiting.

Continue reading

2015 in Review

I’m aware that this is technically late. I caught whatever my grandfather gave to my grandmother early in my winter break, and I’ve primarily been wanting to sleep since 2016 started.

. . .

~ I have walked the Hel-road and returned (post; discusses seasonal depression and the CODE FUCKING RED point of being suicidal).

~ I was a Master Electrician (ME) on a main stage show here (on campus) for the first time [spring semester]. May not have been A+++, but for a first attempt, it was pretty damn good.

~ Experienced my first semester as a Senior – Semester Review and a leadership position in the Shop.

~ I was an ME for another show and definitely showed improvements [fall semester].

~ I was Assistant Lighting Designer (ALD) for a main stage show for the first time [fall semester].

~ Despite being passively suicidal during most of the semester (first antidepressant apparently was a no-go), I made it.

~ Peaches – a secular Spirit – has entered my life, and I’m glad She’s here.

~ A new group of dead showed up, toting a Person to be added. (Not permitted to divulge more details about them / Them online, as of right now.)

~ “The Burning Period”

I can’t tell if I’ve been through one very long burning period or multiple smaller burning periods, but it’s like my inner flame of devotion has exploded out into my life. Some shrines have been charred, and it’s simply a matter of relationships shifting over time; some have been reduced to ashes, and People have left.

New connections sparked into being. Some fizzled out, while others have been carefully sheltered from the elements and are growing slowly. Flames thought to be longer lasting were put out, pantheons were trimmed away, and some debt I never thought could be removed was burned away.

“Board Game” (Walking the Hel-road)

I don’t have the exact date of when I came up with the overall idea of doing a “board game” style devotional activity, since I wrote it off as 3 am brain equivalent of shitposting (sometime this spring?). However, I was given the greenlight by my Deities to work on two “board games” at the beginning of the summer; this is only covering one of the ideas.

First, I have a form of seasonal depression (fall / winter onset). I sometimes use Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. in conversations where people already know what that means rather than spending a lot of effort explaining something that sounds similar to it, but I don’t have a diagnosis of S.A.D. I’ve spent several years denying and ignoring that I have anything remotely related to depression, and my first round of shadow work (last summer, 2014) was entirely focused on breaking down the personal barriers to admitting that I have some form of depression.

Part of how I kept the self-denial going has to do with not having a clear cut experience with depression that only keeps itself to certain lists (having gone through situational depression and reliving it the next year or two, so any seasonal connection was ignored for the situation). I’ve tried the “pull yourself up by yer bootstraps” method, which did not help in the slightest because my self-denial game was so strong I actually don’t remember certain details of my first experience with depression. They’re not details I need to remember really, but forgetting certain things doesn’t erase the event from having happened.

Last summer’s shadow work got a good chunk of the self-denial out of the way, but I still didn’t know how serious things were. My situational depression was very specifically tied up in the situation at hand, so dealing with that situation helped with that depression and helped me to see that my depression wasn’t just bound up with that situation. I typically designate my situational depression as what I dealt with in my Junior and Senior years of high school and sort of into my Freshman fall semester of college. My seasonal depression wasn’t really realized until that round of summer work after going through the falls and winters of my Freshman and Sophomore years of college, so there’s a wibbly-wobbly area in my Freshman year where it was kind of both.

There were noticeable symptom increases and certain symptoms getting more severe as the years progressed, but I still thought I was dealing with something mild and not very serious. I tried looking up the info again, but I can’t find it right now; I’m reasonably sure I read somewhere that S.A.D. typically isn’t associated with the most severe symptoms of depression (like suicidal ideation). I hadn’t gone through anything beyond ‘inconveniently affects my life’, so I didn’t listen to Several Who were like ‘yo, see someone and try something; at least do a consultation about meds being an option’. So, after that round of shadow work, I promptly went into my Junior year of college and the absolute worst escalation of symptom severity (as of now).

There’s a reason why I refer to certain points of this past winter as CODE FUCKING RED. I found out about there being a categorization of suicidal ideation as passive / active, which I hadn’t ever heard about until that drop-in (so a part of me isn’t surprised that “it just snuck up on me”). Based on my personal experience, I’d also add that there’s a passive to active spectrum (passive-passive, passive-active, active-passive, active-active) because it’s not as simple and clear cut as just thinking ‘I should kill myself’ in all cases.

This is what I mean when I use the religiously based metaphor of walking the Hel-road. It may not have been astral travel / journeying / what have you in the traditional sense, and it wasn’t a matter of purposefully wanting go with this route, but I can’t write this off completely as a means of having still done this. I may not have physically gone through with the plan and did the whole resuscitation of the body route as a sign of being turned away, but on some soul / spirit level, I was turned away from entering Helheim.

If you stuck with me til this point, you may be wondering how in the hell this relates to a “board game” devotional activity. Well, my seasonal depression is something that without proper management will come back year after year and (based on past evidence) escalate. I do have plans in relation to ‘irl’ management, but that doesn’t handle all of the soul / spirit level stuff. The ‘board game’ is set up to take token ‘me’ through my symptoms, to the entrance of Helheim, and to Mordgud and Hela [what I’ve done tonight]. They each set up one barrier to help me stay in Midgard (the already touched on Raido pendant and Mjolnir necklace; both are to be worn for this exact purpose), and I will be turned away from Helheim and ascend a different path of management options / tools to the starting position [tomorrow].

It ties in metaphorically with Feast of the Fallen, which is why it’s split between the night before and the day of. The goal is that token ‘me’ will go through this now, so that I don’t have to literally go through this again this winter. Note: I started writing this before midnight on 7.31.15 and have finished after midnight (so I’m mentally still on the 31st rather than on Aug 1st).