Posts Tagged ‘Grief’

Broken_Heart_by_Chain_sawIt is possible to drown in ones tears.

I know.

I died a little this last dark and new moon.

The funny thing is, I have been drowning for quite a while. Every tear has been adding to the pool around me, threatening to engulf me, as I have turned my head this way and that, kicked my feet, and tried desperately to keep my head above water. Most of the time I succeeded, although there were many occasions I thought I was going under. It isn’t surprising, but it is terrifying. I feared drowning in my sorrow, feared what it would mean, feared the possibility that I would never surface again. I feared dying inside. So I fought endlessly, pushed myself, sought comfort and support. I just kept swimming. (more…)

Advertisements

hearth altarWhen I was young, my little sister died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. There was less understanding back then, and even at my age I heard the whispers in the village. I saw my parents friends remove themselves from our lives, people talking about our family in hushed tones, my step-mother sat almost catatonic on the sofa staring out the window, my little brother confusing my baby dolls with our deceased sister. I stood by my sisters graveside, watching this tiny coffin lowered into the earth, and I felt angry that this big, sweaty priest who knew nothing about our family and yet dared to speak of my baby sister and our family grief. Through all this, I felt my sisters spirit still in the house. I was aware of her presence in ways that other family members were not and it confused everyone. I did not display the same grief as others, because for me a part of her was still with us and that gave me comfort. I felt isolated in my understanding that death was not the end. I felt confused and sad for the loss of my sister and the pain her death brought to our family. I felt comforted and relieved to know there was something more than flesh and bone. In grief and a desire for understanding, I looked for God. I wanted answers. I found no comfort or answers in the Christianity I was brought up around, so I started to explore alternative belief systems. By the time I was a teen, I was fully immersed in the exploration of Paganism, Buddhism, Taoism, Witchcraft, and techniques of awareness and spiritual development. Later I studied psychology, I travelled the world, I read voraciously and I talked to some fascinating people. Slowly I developed my own practice and personal spirituality that honoured my understanding of death and dying.

In my twenties, after a rather shocking spiritual experience, I dedicated myself to studying Wicca and Witchcraft. I developed a deeper understanding of magic and transformation, and I truly transformed my personal life. During my practice I would call upon the Lord and Lady, I would connect with the Masculine and Feminine Divine and the spectrum in between, and I could sense the power and presence of the Divine – yet I did not connect with specific deities. In fact I rather enjoyed discussing the reality of distinct and different Gods, or all Gods as one God, or Gods as archetypes, or Gods as entities, or Gods as universal energy. I talked and listened, and in private I formed no conclusions but continued to work with the very abstract concept of Divinity from an energy spectrum perspective. I was happy enough working with my abstract philosophy. That is until a Goddess spoke to me. (more…)

helping-handMy heart goes out to the loved ones of Robin Williams, and to all those touched by his life and death. His suicide has opened a wave of discussion about the impact of depression and what it means to live, and love, and be within the shadow of sadness. This has hit me hard, not least because I know what it is like to smile through sadness, to live with depression and to face suicide. Mr. Williams brought laughter to so many, lifted the hearts of others so often, and yet he lived with a shadow that many of us endure and never speak about. Now people are talking. Everywhere I go I hear people talking about it. The internet is full of people talking about it. Talk is great, we need an open discussion about mental health and its impact, yes we do. But talk is also a trigger, and these last couple of days have forced me to poke old wounds, bringing memories to the surface. (more…)

“Personal work is some of the hardest work out there. I often see Pagans wondering, “Where is the advanced level work?” and the advanced work isn’t rituals, it’s not spellwork, it’s not ritual tools…it’s knowing ourselves deeply and working on our issues to be our healthiest, best selves.” – Shauna Aura Knight

RRivers logoToday I found out that a dear friend had passed away. I grieve and I hurt and I remember. I remember the last time I saw him, and I remember the first time I met him. I was just 14. Inevitably my memories of his kindness and his support brings with it memories of why his kindness and support meant so much to me. That year was hard for me. It was the year that I attempted suicide. It was the year that I faced a dark night of the soul, pulled my wounded inner child close to my chest and vowed to find happiness. It was the year I stood tall after each beating. It was the year I learned that there was more – more to life, more to death, more to living and loving and learning. It was the year that I found friends who brought out the best in me, who supported me, who believed in me, who helped me face the long journey towards a happier, healthier me. He was one of those friends and I am honoured and grateful to have known him.

This harsh healing journey is intertwined with my spiritual journey. For me, doing the work of Witchcraft means knowing myself deeply. Understanding my past to understand my present. Exploring the pain of rebirthing myself over and over again. Shedding the skin that no longer serves me, exposing deep wounds to light and love, and learning to love myself for who I was, who I am and who I have the potential to be. The healing process is not without pain, because the very nature of exploring our issues reveals the areas still raw and sore, underdeveloped, weak, and troublesome. Sometimes we must rest deep in the cave, in silence and solitude, licking our wounds until they become a pattern of scars stitching us back together. Sometimes we need the love of an honest friend to gently redirect our attention to the areas of bruising, to show us how we can take care of ourselves. Sometimes we need the structure of routine, ritual and meditation to heal ourselves from the outside in. Sometimes we need all of this, over and over again. The process of living, learning and healing is a work in progress.

The Japanese practice an art called Kintsugi, a method of repairing broken ceramics with gold joinery. Cracks are often aggrandized before being filled with gold, silver or platinum. It is a philosophy that speaks of overcoming suffering, of beauty revealed not despite its flaws but often because of its flaws. Most importantly, it is a philosophy of embracing imperfection that speaks of damage and healing as an important part of the history and creation of each piece, and not something to hide. Sometimes I feel like I am the ceramic pot, broken but blessed with Kintsugi. Every time my heart breaks, I work to slowly heal the cracks with layers of gold and remain a complex, beautiful vessel for the soul.

This post is a part of the Pagan Blog Project 2014, and is in memory of my beloved friend Al and his wonderful family.

PBP2014

The wheel of the year turns and Samhain rolls around again. Whilst I attend Halloween parties for small children dressed as Superheroes and Firefighters, whilst I prepare for the onslaught of trick or treaters, whilst I fake shudder at every garish Halloween decoration my son points to, deep down inside I feel the mixture of grief and love this festival offers me. Samhain is a time to honour our beloved dead, our ancestors, the children we never had the chance to watch grow up, the ones we miss with every beat of our heart. As the veil between the worlds becomes thin, we turn our minds to the ones we hold in our hearts, but not in our arms.

Image

(more…)