Wanders on the weary soul with lack of rhyme or ritual, Met with laughter at one’s wishes for a world with lack of shadows Waiting round corners to catch one’s eye. “These shadows ne’er existed, you know – you’ve lost your mind To your weary soul, come now and resume the position Of one of tradition, and leave your woes behind.” But alas one’s woes wear on through the soul, As real as one’s eyes and ears, round corners and Corridors lie shadows aplenty, nare a rhyme nor reason to rid them. So what is one to do with oneself when the soul wanders on so weary? Use those ears and use those eyes to listen to one’s insides, Burn your woes in a pyre and wander on.
To give some context through brutal honesty - As someone who has experienced depression as an intrinsic part of my life since late childhood, I have found great comfort in ritual. This doesn't mean at 8 years old I was sacrificing goats (although in hindsight, maybe that's what I should've been doing), but I found repetitive, intentional action soothed the otherwise unstoppable churning in my guts and in my brain. Writing was one of those rituals, I kept little books and journals, half-filled copy books served as tomes full of the horrible (and sometimes not so horrible) things I needed to rid from my system. I had other ritualistic behaviours that were far less beneficial, unfortunately, but they were ritual all the same - they gave my chaos a frame, and gave me power by allowing me to become the initiator of my actions, rather than being a helpless onlooker. Thankfully, through the years (and my reaching the edge of the threshold) I removed the detrimental actions from my ritual (obviously writing remained a constant), but still remained the need for intentional action - so I found great solace in developing my spirituality and forming rituals through listening within and acting on what felt rejuvenating and freeing. I would light candles and declare myself to the moon, wash my fears and sadness away with water from scared wells, drink teas brewed from herbs gathered and blessed through no particular belief or idea but with strong faith in myself and pure intention, and they served me well to hold my strength through the dark nights of my soul. They served as moments of clarity, to see clearly and create the space I needed - but without contrast, the world is bare; the non-ritualistic society I had found myself in stripped me of the will for ritual, doubt seeped in and I returned to nothingness once more, as I always have and maybe always will - and ritual was lost to a deep depression, of an intensity I hadn't felt since I was in my teens. It was a sign that I had something yet to learn, I had moved forward without closing the previous chapter. So yet again, through time (and tears, and kicking and screaming, and more tears haha), I listened within and returned once again to ritual, to breath and to cleansing. This coincided with the cleansing and clearing out of the family home that I had spent my darkest times in, and while clearing out my old room, I found the only written remnant of those darkest times - I had kept it for so long, inside some pages were sliced through in anger, others covered in scrawling handwriting of a mind taken over, others quite normal, with lists of books, or happy haikus (some quite disturbed too). I read it and cried, not for myself, but for the young girl who had written it, so lacking in love for herself, filled with confusion and anger, absolute despair and utter emptiness, I cried for the lack of ability to hug my past self, to let her know of her strength and the sheer power of the vulnerability she was consumed by - so I did what any ritual master would do to exorcise and release a negative entity; I burned the fucker. I say that mostly in jest, I burnt it with no anger nor hate inside me. I cleansed my body and hands with my well water, I cleansed the air with sage smoke, and sat with the little book of sadness in my hands and meditated on all that was within. I let myself feel everything, rather than running and hiding and denying, I sat with it and I felt it. (And cried, obviously.) Once I had felt all that needed to be felt, I took the book, thanked it for it's service to me, and put it on the fire in front of me to be released into the realm from whence it came. While I watched the fucker burn (haha), I thanked the book, I thanked my depression, I thanked myself, I told my past self how proud of her I was, how much I loved her and how much she was worth, and told myself how I loved myself in that moment, all out loud. It felt silly, but it felt real, and genuine. All of that energy transmuted from negativity held within, to light held without - and I really felt that shift in energy deep in my core.
And thus the chapter closed; instead of just mentally pushing aside all I had experienced, I felt it all, integrated the lessons of empathy, compassion, and self love, and moved on mindfully, grateful for my past and fully present. So basically, my entire point of sharing all of this, is to share the importance of healthy ritual within a non-ritualistic society, to share the importance of listening within and acting on what you see fit, to release yourself from what once bound you. It doesn't have to be burning books, or lighting candles, or declaring yourself to the moon (I'm a bit of a lunatic, in more than one sense of the word), but your ritual can be any intentful action, and as long as it's based in pure intention and love for one's self - you can genuinely rewrite those patterns within you and heal yourself. We all have our personal ways of performing the spiritual/emotional equivalent of hoovering the dust that had been swept under the rug. Only you have the right answer for this. We all have the power to heal ourselves through ritual, and more importantly (and accessibly), through creativity.
Bog ar aghaidh, agus cruthaigh.
So yeah, there you go! A wee poem and some context nobody asked for. Thanks for reading x