The other day I was watching a video from a relatively prominent Wiccan figure, and by prominent I mean they lead a small online community and their Youtube channel has several thousand viewers. The video was going well when all of a sudden they justified their argument by saying “I’m not crazy! We’re not mentally ill!” and by ‘we’ they meant their online community members.
Immediately, I was put off. Then, I was angry. Now, I’m insulted.
Because so what if I am ‘crazy’? So what if I am mentally ill? Does that negate my spiritual perspectives? Do all my arguments mean nothing then?
Statements like “I mean, I’m not crazy” reinforces that yes, if you are ‘crazy’, experience psychosis, or have a mental illness then guess what? Your word means nothing. Your arguments are void. Your point of view doesn’t matter.
What especially irritates me is that this person (and many others besides) claims that witches use cannabis, and that it is an integral part of the craft.
So recreational drug-induced hallucinations are valid and a-ok, but those caused by mental illness are not? It doesn’t denigrate your word, your arguments, your perspective’s worth if you hallucinate for the fun of it. No one says ‘but I never took cannabis’ as a way to defend their arguments. In fact recreational drugs are touted as making you ‘open minded’ and as being ‘essential’ to a spiritual path and shamanic experiences. Yet these people will in the same breath say ‘but I’m not crazy’ to defend themselves.
 Because the grudge is not against hallucinating, it’s against the whole condition surrounding it.
As someone who has experienced psychosis, I want to say ‘fuck you’. But let’s move beyond that.
Does mental illness and psychosis negate your thoughts and arguments? Worse- does it negate spiritual experiences? I want to harp and argue around this point especially because I’ve heard of recreational drugs being used as spiritual aids. I want to pick at this like a bad scab because I’ve heard on the flip side of people touting mental illness as some ‘divine illness’, and of the throes of it as being magical.
So what do we, those who experience it, make of these conflicting ideas?
On one hand we are erased, oppressed, and invalidated. On the other – when it suits the narrative of the speaker – we are elevated into god-like figures for them to hide behind [I’m thinking here of those who tout mental illness as a ‘divine’ illness, while disregarding our need for help].
But so what if we experience psychosis? It is not a permanent state. It does not invalidate everything we think of, especially not when we are stable and no longer under the major effects of it. Myself, I can have some extremely strange thoughts, then have perfectly rational ones straightaways after. My strange ones do not denigrate my rational ones. Even if I have difficulty expressing myself, it does not mean that my thoughts are invalid. Moreover, it does not denigrate my spiritual beliefs because my spirituality is NOT just my experience of psychosis.
I view psychosis the same way I view a drug-induced experience: as a tool that the divine CAN use, but not necessarily that they will use. Not every symptom is a sign. Not every drug trip carries meaning. Sometimes ecstasy is just that: chemical ecstasy. Sometimes it carries something more. But we are the ones who define our own spiritual paths. We are the ones whom our deities are trying to reach and communicate to, and they have the right to use whatever tools within and without ourselves that they so feel like using. So if I receive a perfectly rational revelation while in a stupor, it does not make it ANY less valid than one received during a cannabis-induced stupor. If I have a rational thought while being rational (because mental illness is a flux, it is not a static experience) then it is just as valid as one of someone who is permanently in a rational sphere of mind.
So, so what if I am ‘crazy’? I can still make an argument, defend it, and still have my psychosis. It does not invalidate my arguments, especially not my spiritual ones.