This year, which started with a new, medicated and balanced me, I have once again decided to give gardening a shot. And, as so many other things are going better now that I am medicated, so is gardening.

Thanks to me watering them consistently with coffee (water mixed in with coffee grounds), my herbs have sprouted within a week! A week! Last year they’d sprouted so late I thought they were dead, and the few that managed to sprout had only a few inches of height by the end of summer!

Alright, moving on from gushing about my sprouts, what does this have to do with Wicca? Or even, mental illness?

Well, from a Wiccan perspective sprouting is a very important and symbolic act. It can be tied to the turning of the year, the onset of spring (though there’s still snow and its very cold in my region), and rebirth. But as a Wiccan, I think of all the elements in the ritual as symbolic. This includes the coffee water.

What of the coffee? A foreign element, not usually given to plants, not necessarily appearing in a ‘natural’ form. Yet with the proper care, it gives them the strength to burst free from the natural bonds (that are meant to be overcome) and be what they were meant to be. The seeds become plants, thanks to the aid of this foreign and un-natural product. And that’s ok, it works great.

I like to think of this as a metaphor for what psychiatric medication does. I like to think of it as a gift from the gods, a strange element taken from the world around us and derived so far from their natural habitat- yet it works. Like ashes, wood chips, or any kind of fertilizer, coffee needs to be balanced and tailored to the plant’s individual needs and environment.

The same can be said for psychiatric medication. It is a delicate balance to find the right medication, the right amount, and like so much in nture it can change and need adapting. Once this balance is struck, I feel like the person recovering can be like the plant, breaking free from the natural bonds of the shell and growing freely.

So for me, I find this year’s sprouting to be a lovely, divine, metaphor of life – for all of us, even the non-neuronormative ones. Because we too, are a part of nature’s beautiful cycles.

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