“You’re no good to me broken.”
This is the clearest message I’ve ever gotten in my attempts to work with deities and spirits. And it came about very recently.
For about the past year now I’ve spent most of my free time studying paganism and religion, going through devotions, participating in online pagan communities, branching out into local communities, and trying on different pantheons and deities like a bride-to-be desperately trying to find that perfect wedding dress. Before this year, my life focus was on work, responsibility, and basically being a good grown-up. It was like completely cutting ties to young, idealistic, creative me for this paper cut-out who is functional-ish in the world be reaching for something she no longer understands.
And somehow it was hard for me to understand why I had been in a recurring depressive state over the past five years.
I have a tendency to feel guilty taking time to read a book for pleasure or “wasting” a weekend on a video game. Don’t even get me started on my anxieties over starting a television series, or even taking a few hours for a movie. Sometimes I feel so guilty about these things that I won’t do them for weeks on end, because whenever I try to take that time I feel a really tense ball of anxiety in my chest like I should be doing something else. You know, something important.
Over the past few weeks I have said screw it to that tendency, set my studies aside, and started a journey self-rediscovery. This sounds very fancy and complicated, but it isn’t. It’s very literally letting myself remember the things that make me happy and telling myself it’s okay to find happiness in those things. As a result I’ve been reading, I’ve been crafting, I even learned how to crochet randomly because hey why not. I’ve played video games when I felt like it, and occasionally spend time watching a movie. Most surprisingly, I started writing again, specifically fanfiction after a 10-year hiatus.
And that me from ten or more years ago that had been getting buried under the rubble of every-day life is suddenly breathing again. She’s happy and pointing me in places I haven’t looked for years even though they used to be my favorite haunts.
The other night I had a dream that my entire house caved in on itself, but in the dream my reaction was one of relief, not fear. When I woke up I felt light. I hadn’t given offerings for awhile, I hadn’t even really prayed or thought about the deities which seem so distant all the time, but I felt energy for the first time in a very long time and it was as if something was telling me I was finally going in the right direction.
For those of us who lack the ability (or even interest) to work in the astral or communicate directly with our deities, stifling your natural joy and creativity is one of the worst things you can do. You are blocking an entire mode of communication when you do that, and you will inevitably hurt yourself as a result. I know this because I lived it, and while I know everyone’s experience won’t be exactly the same as mine, I don’t want to see someone else hurt in the same way when it is avoidable.
I do believe study and discipline is important, but I also believe that sacrificing your creativity and enjoyment in life for them is completely pointless. We are here to live our lives. Yes, some people live lives that involve a great deal of service to their deities, but tying yourself up so completely in them will eventually kill that spirit that is uniquely you. Some people may be able to live with that, but I certainly can’t. If I lose myself, I don’t have anything else to offer.