I’ve joked in the past that my epitaph will be “Not Insane” (a line from an old Firesign Theater routine), and I can tell you honestly that the only mental health diagnosis I’ve ever gotten was (is!) “adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood.” It’s supposed to be a passing phase, based on difficult life changes, but the “hits” just keep on coming, therefore I think I’ve had it longer than most people. A therapist friend who knows me well says (unofficially) that she thinks I’ve graduated to post traumatic stress disorder, but I, uh, erm…well, I kinda don’t want to go there.
It is true though that my tendency to suddenly flee toxic relationships (or even incidents) has accelerated in recent years, especially if my gut erupts in feelings of nausea even thinking about the person. In Hawai’i, the na’au (the gut) is the super-smart “heart,” the seat of emotions. And in Western medicine, we know the enteric nervous system can tell us a lot. So that “mixed anxiety” of mine (I’ll take it shaken, not stirred) includes a deep, visceral reaction to people and things which cause me to suffer. So I have to work hard at keeping hyper-reactivity from taking over my life: meditation, self-hypnosis, my spiritual practices, loads of “quiet time,” creative writing (like this blog and my novels), reading, and avoidance of and withdrawal from the people and situations which feel harmful. Like the jet test pilots of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff, I try hard to “maintain an even strain.”
But that’s not exactly what today’s blog is about. I just wanted to lay the foundation first. That’s because I’ve entered a new phase in the last couple of years, turning from my formerly avid amateur engagement with Hawaiian culture toward a renewed interest in Western magic, Neo-paganism, and Celtic/Northern spirituality. And because I’ve turned into a god-struck old lady (not the first to do so, by any means). But not just any god either. As readers of this blog know already, Loki is my patron, though I’ve always been an animist and a polytheist and continue to cultivate relationships with other massive beings (aka “gods”) and some of the less spiritually bulky ancestors and land wights.
Some of my oldest and most beloved friends might be finding this new phase of mine hard to take, though they are (by now) used to the ever-changing parade of “Amy’s special interests.” And it’s true that isolation, loneliness, moments of despair, and a “what the hell” attitude unique to this age bracket has propelled me into an even more determined exploration of what it means to engage with non-material realms. I was always into the occult, anyway, so why not run with it now for all I’m worth?
That picture of Loki at right seems to indicate that even he might be questioning my sanity at this point. (That’s a joke.) But for those of my friends and family who might be worried about this pagan, god-struck phase, I ask them to consider that I am placing a deliberate, homeopathic application of “madness” into my life in order to keep the rest of me sane. Because honestly, without the support of my devotional practices and a feeling of being held by my ancestors and gods, I might not manage to remain here for much longer. And that’s a fact.
That, and the fact that my cats need feeding and my kids need me to not go there.
As an artist, a writer, a thinker, a mother, an eccentric, an activist, and a sorrowing human soul, I am living into this next phase of my life (the Baba Yaga phase?) with as much robust curiosity and creativity as I can muster. And I don’t mind looking ridiculous. I will, Scorpio-style, do this to the hilt. You, dear reader, are witness.
2 thoughts on “A Homeopathic Dose of Madness”
I know that feeling all too well (especially the last ten years) of being a crone who still feels like a maiden. I’ve got a lot of my own baggage that Loki has forced me to deal with the last three years. I’ve also learned to avoid certain people and triggers that drag me down. I’m still learning how to avoid the lower astral entities and egrecores that have been harassing me for years. I’ve learned that too much trauma and negative emotion can form thought forms that haunt your dreams and make it hard to tell the difference between a sentient being outside yourself and just yourself. And it’s maddening (no pun intended) when Loki won’t intervene and you have to figure out, and sometimes, fight, these things yourself with no help. He’ll pop in once in awhile to say “hi”, and sometimes longer visits, but lately it seems to be shadow work and less visits to his and other god’s worlds and spaces, which I really miss. I used to be able to get there effortlessly, but right now I seem stuck in the lower astral planes and I hate it. Trying to raise my vibrations, heal from my past so I can get to the higher ones again. My interests have also drastically changed over the decades. I used to be really into aliens till the 90s, then turned my back on that for good reason. After that it was faeries and the Celtic spirituality, then the goth scene (which I still hang onto, that will never get old and is one of my favorite identities) and now it’s all about polytheism with Loki at the center. It’s funny how I went from exploring the light side (the faerie and other dreamy magic) to the darker, more sensual and intense goth side. From christian, to wiccan to pagan/heathen/polytheist. It’s been a wild ride. I’ve had to learn a lot about magic partly to protect myself. I had some roommates that brought in some demonic spirits to my old house and I had to do a major cleansing after they left. I’d even see black orbs and shadow figures there sometimes that left when they moved out. I was never attacked or anything, but it wasn’t good. I know we’re on different paths, but I can relate to the pain, the changes, and the growth.
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Hi Moonfire, I can relate to quite a bit of what you write here as well. Well met!