Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"See the blazing Yule before us"

Here's what I wrote for the spirituality journal I write for (it's called SEEK). Blessed Solstice to you all!

It’s hard for me, when this particular SEEK deadline comes around, to think about anything but the season…this Solstice with its themes of darkness and the return of the light is always so present because its Christian counterpart, Christmas, is overwhelmingly in your face. Normally, I embrace the chance to take a look at the darkness, the edges, and figure out how they connect me to the divine. This year feels very different, though.

I’ve had many, many transitions in the past 6 months. Some of them delightful, yet challenging. Some of them not so happy or good. I have in the past week come to realize that the cumulative effect of these transitions is that I have slipped into a depression. I am still functioning (although just barely some days), but my lack of motivation, my tearfulness, my lack of interest in interesting activities is all there…as is a distressing level of anxiety.

This is a darkness I’ve not been to before. This is a darkness that I don’t welcome and would rather shove away. In fact, I’m contemplating anti-depressants as a way to hold it at bay. This is, in fact, a darkness I would rather not learn from.

And yet it persists. I feel a bit like I’ve been shoved into this dark place and am being forced to learn whatever piece this universe is trying to teach me. Here are some of the lessons so far:

+ It’s not a good idea to isolate. Get out, even when you feel too tired to do so.
+ Asking for help, as painful and helpless as it makes you feel, is terribly important.
+ I set myself up to be disappointed in people when a) I isolate or b) I don’t ask for help, and that’s not fair to them.
+ I must have more strength than I realize or somehow I wouldn’t be standing.

The reason that the first 3 above have been so difficult to learn is that my deep dark fears are about being alone, being lonely. They are places that I always carry with me, I just haven’t been so crowded by them for a long time.

So what about the spiritual lesson, Spins? It is the lesson of Inanna. Inanna’s sister was the Queen of the Dead. Inanna went down into the land of the dead, but in order to enter fully, she had to be stripped of everything: her identity, her clothes, her flesh, her bones. In the end, it was all gone. And she came face to face with her sister, Death, and looking into her eyes, she saw her own darkness.

It seems a bleak lesson, but it isn’t just about the loss and the death. Inanna’s story is about renewal and help. For even in the depths of death, Inanna has help come to her. This is the light that the Solstice promises. In the end, Inanna is restored her body and her identity. She is again who she was…well, not quite. Because, you see, she has been to the depths of her darkness and she now knows that part of her, too. She knows that in the deepest places there is hope for rebirth.

In the midst of my own darkness, I cling to this promise of the Solstice…to the coming light. That little bit of hope, for me, has been my strength (that 4th lesson up above). I continue to nurture it and feed it through the loving support of my friends and family.

So, peace in this Solstice. May you find the hope to carry you through your darkness into a place of renewal.


Aravis said...

Spin, this was incredibly beautiful and moving. I'm sure this will touch so many others who are also feeling sad or depressed now. Thank-you for sharing it.

Bee said...

It occurred to me this morning that today is the Solstice. The 21st always strikes me as being far more important than the 25th. Shortest day and all that.

Happy Solstice!

Mr-Mystic said...

This time of year is hard for all of us. My bass player suffers from depression, and this is usually his darkest hour. There are several theories about this time of year and depression, and i am sure you are well vrsed in them.

Can you imagine for us people who do not suffer from it, how hard it is to understand, that an intelligent, witty, caring person such as yourself, can feel alone.

If medication is going to help I say go for it. You know it may just be a temporay thing. My heart is with you, get better soon.

spinsterwitch said...

Mystic - yeah, I do understand from being on the other side of it too. And I am grateful for all those who see me this way because being with them or reading the comments on this blog continues to give me brief moments of clarity that carry me through my days.

As for feeling lonely, that's a longterm piece of work. Some of my earliest memories include these feelings - sometimes I wonder if this is this life's work...to ferret these feelings out.

LavaLady said...

Hey Spins, I thought I'd posted a comment to this...

Anyhow, as a person under the heavy wet stinky blanket of depression myself, I fear I have nothing to say but: hang on sister.


the urban fox said...

Lovely article, Spins. I agree with what Aravis said. I find this time of year quite harsh generally so am not surprised if people who are depressed feel worse around the winter solstice. Hope you enjoyed it as much as possible in the circumstances.

Matt said...

As a person who deals with depression regularly, all I can say is wow. Number four has to be the most interesting. Not exactly the word I was looking for, but the best I could come up with. It just seems that with depression it is not uncommon to have feelings of helplessness and weakness. From the other side, these are obviously not characteristics that would be associated with a person doing it every day despite the dark cloud hanging over them.

beedragon said...

It is brave of you to keep going out into the world and asking for help even when it is very hard. You will get through this and once you do, you will always know that you can get through such hard times. There is strength that comes from the darkness. I hope you are having happy holidays, luggage, and enjoying the cold!