This post is in response to the Kemetic roundtable prompt for “Fallow Time”. Since there are so many different ways of interpreting this question, I think I’m going to do a couple of little pieces.
There was a time I thought my world was falling apart. I felt ripped to pieces, emotionally drained. Things were, in short, very hard.
And I said, “I know who to talk to.”
I am pretty sure it was a full moon in August I went out and just talked to him about it. About the pain, about the despair, about the fighting to keep things working in my life, about the needing to relinquish my hold on things that I was losing anyway. I talked for a long time.
And I said something like, “Okay. I’m going to go out and I’m going to get a plant. I will tend it as your shrine. I will trust that I will get through this.”
I bought the plant; I tended it. There was no answer from the god, except survival through being torn apart, unless the sweet smell of the jasmine blooms counts as an answer.
I am willing to trust that I was heard, is all.
Sometimes when people talk about their dark times, it sounds like they’re talking about quiet times.
And I’m … being a mystic means talking to the Powers and sometimes they talk back.
But that doesn’t mean they have anything to say to me right now. Sometimes, getting wound up about it is a sign that I’m getting too self-absorbed, too caught up in ‘what is being done for me’ and ‘am I getting reassurance that it’s all okay’ and all these things that aren’t actually things that everyone gets, certainly not all the time.
Sometimes there’s nothing to say because I have things I need to do and I ought to get doing them. So I do that.
I think the power of “you know what you need to be doing, so get off your butt and do it already” is underrated. And it’s a lesson I keep tripping over in my Craft training, particularly lately, so it seems fresh in my mind.
Sometimes the gods stop talking because it’s our turn to contribute.
Amongst my medical concerns is a tendency towards clinical depression. (Chronic, moderately severe, et cetera.) And one of the effects of depression is that it cuts me off from joy; the technical term is anhedonia, I believe.
And even if one has established patterns of being aware of divinity in ongoing life, anhedonia can leave one feeling actively severed from the divine. At least if “one” is “me”.
For a long time, I had a commitment: new moons and full moons, I would do formal ritual. And one of the things that I discovered was interesting to me: ritual alleviates my depression. Showing up, doing the prayers, pouring the libations, it actually made a difference.
I actually experimented with this on and off. I spent a week taking care of my father after he had surgery on his knee, and did that formal ritual every day. That didn’t work out so well; I burned out about midway through the week and wound up with a sense of doing it out of duty rather than because it worked, rather than because it upheld me. When I went back home, I went back to my every two weeks schedule, because that worked out pretty well. (It also worked out that if I went more than about three weeks between rituals, the effects really wore off, so two weeks was a good safe space to be in.)
Sometimes what matters is showing up.
It seems to me now that I’ve written it that what bridges these gaps, whatever flavor they might be, is made of trust and patterns, and actually following through.
So that’s what I would offer to someone dealing with these times: find something or someone or a Power or a practice to place trust in, show up, be there, let the cycles move.