Why write about Spirituality and Mental Illness?

Well, before I get back into my groove of writing about mental illness, it occurred to me that I should maybe explain the ‘why’ behind the decision to talk about mental illness and spirituality.

There’s a saying that goes (and I really don’t remember where it’s from) something along the lines of how the most earnest prayers come from people in hospitals. I think this is particularly true about people in psych wards, or who are dealing with mental illness.

People turn to spirituality when they are hurt, confused, or generally lost. And mental illness makes you feel that, in an strange way sometimes. Because mental illness isn’t seen as a physical problem, its invisible and most don’t realize it’s got physical roots, people don’t turn immediately to doctors. Sadly, people actually refuse to see doctors for mental illness because of perceptions and biases that have their roots in spiritual beliefs.

Some of these are ones like: mental illness is the result of a curse, or God’s punishment for a lack of faith, or the result of being estranged from God. It can also be believed to be an imbalance of chakras that only requires meditation to be cured, spirit possession, or (my personal pet peeve, and one that truly held me back) the belief that mental illness is some sort of psychic ‘breakthrough’.

A bunch of these are due to the conflation/mix of mental health and mental illness. Due to the lack of understanding on the difference of these two, people will often try and use spirituality and spiritual practices (which can be beneficial to mental health) to treat mental illness.

Personally, when I went out with my service dog for mental illness, people would often ask me what the dog was for. Once they found out it was for mental illness, these strangers would often end up giving me some sort of advice or opinion on mental illness. Most of these were spiritual perspectives that were against medication and ‘western medicine’, as well as conventional therapy.

Similarly, when I really struggled with my mental illness and was unmedicated, people often threw spiritual advice at me. It was all anti medication and anti conventional doctors. Now that I am medicated and happily so, I find it really disturbing that there is so much anti-medication sentiment out there! I sometimes wonder what my path to healing would have been like if I had been surrounded by more realistic approaches.

Anyways, now that I am in a better space mentally, I think it’ll be nice to get back into talking about mental illness and spirituality. I think it’ll do me good, as it’s something that I really care about, and love discussing with others. I find it nourishing and cleansing.

I also want to really show others that getting conventional help is not anti spirituality. I once met a doctor in training at a mental health clinic, and he was really surprised to hear that not all spirituality is against medication, and that I had arguments against those points. It made for a very interesting discussion, but also showed me that there wasn’t much perspectives out there that are spiritual and embracing of actual treatment for mental illness.

Anyways, that’s all I have to say for today! I will be posting a video to MY CHANNEL soon about these points, and it will basically be a copy of this post. I’m doing this because some formats are easier for some people and not everyone likes reading, and I’m hoping to make this as available as possible.

I wish you all a lovely day ❤

Step 2 – Describe your Worldview in regards to Mental Illness

As a pagan, I can only speak for myself and my own world-view and philosophy. I hope you can draw some things from it to inform your own worldview. So I’m going to tell you what goes through my mind now, when I wonder whether I have a ‘problem’.

I think the first thing to do, before even wondering whether we have a ‘problem’, is to look at how we perceive mental health ‘problems’. Do we even acknowledge that they exist? Do we see them as ‘those people’? Chances are, if you’re not willing to acknowledge that mental illness is a thing and that it’s perfectly normal, you won’t want to see it in yourself.

First and foremost, what is a mental illness? I view mental illness as a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes us problems. That’s it. Why those chemicals are imbalanced can be due to traumatic events, genetics, stress, or whathaveyou.

Now, in my opinion there’s nothing wrong with mental illness in a moral sense. I don’t see it carrying bad ‘vibes’ to it. I don’t see it as a source or symptom of moral ‘sin’ or impurity. To me, it’s a condition like a broken leg, except in the brain tissue. It’s a health care issue like any other. It isn’t a sign of not being ‘close enough to nature’ or ‘zen’ enough. To me, mental illness isn’t an aberration from nature. It’s very natural, just as much as a broken leg and rot and mold are all part of nature. Sickness is part of nature -> but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and heal it.

I don’t view medication as morally ‘bad’ or aberrations from nature. I view them as being the domain of the gods of healing and science, put simply.  I don’t see a ‘big, evil’ in western medicine when Done Properly. I don’t think that one ‘should’ avoid psychiatric medication, as if it is some sort of ‘sin’ to take it. I think that western medicine, when ‘Done Properly’ in a holistic blend with therapy, psychologists, etc, is very helpful.

So. Now that you’ve read my (very short and concentrated) view on mental illness, I suggest you write out your own. Take a piece of paper or a digital document, and write down

  1. what is a mental illness?
  2. What causes it?
  3. what are its implications in a spiritual/magical sense?
  4. How, morally or magically, ‘should’ one try and heal a mental illness? What if that doesn’t work? What then?

You might feel compelled to argue with me, to copy me, or to write something drastically different. But the point here is for you to write what you sincerely believe in. Do you really think that psychiatric medication is a ‘sin’? Good to know. Write that down. It’s going to inform your future choices, so be aware of it.

Now, now that you know what you believe, the next step is to decide if you, according to yourself and only you, have a mental health problem. But that’s the next blog post. For now, pat yourself on the back. You’ve taken time to get to know yourself better, and that’s worth every moment you spent on it.

More Ranger Thoughts

ranger sky.jpeg

Life has been fairly up and down for me lately, I must admit. I’ve not been doing so well. Which is what this picture above is all about. Ranger, you see, is one of my oldest characters and perhaps one I resonate with the most. She suffers from mental illness but doesn’t let it get her down. She’s constantly rising above her symptoms and obstacles and finding ways to scurry around and do things her way, and on her own terms. Sometimes that means she does the strangest things – but always with lots of brain behind it. For me, she’s a character that’s truly free, truly doing what she wants. Of course we can’t really all be like that, but sometimes it’s nice to dream. Sometimes I wish that I wouldn’t get myself down so hard, that I wouldn’t compare myself so much to others, and that my brain wasn’t so treacherous a place to be. But then, in moments like that I tend to think of Ranger and her weirdness and freedom, and a little part of me feels free as well. Through her? With her? Who knows.

Beauty Hurts When You’re Depressed

I sit here, blaring LOZ (Legend of Zelda, for all you non-geeks out there) music on my headphones. It’s beautiful music, but it’s making me depressed. Why? Because I am depressed, and the more I listen to beautiful music, the more I feel like my novels will never be as epic and music-worthy as others have been.

And that’s my point for this blog post. Depression doesn’t go away by just showering yourself with pretty things. Yesterday, I had a cute puppy around my ankles, desperately trying to get me to cheer up. I still put my head down and curled into a little ball. Why? Beauty hurts when you’re depressed.

Louder again for the people in the back!


It is such a stark contrast with the pain and suffering we feel that, really, it just makes it all the worse. The best, the most wondrous, the most gorgeous, it all just hurts. It just makes me, anyways, feel my pain all the more.

So if you know someone who is depressed, don’t show them pretty things and expect it to help. It might just make it worse.

So there you have it, a little glimpse into the strangely painful yet wound-less world of depression.


Dangerous People in Our Communities

Maybe I’m stirring the pot here because if any local wiccan/pagan of mine read this post (and have kept up with the local drama),  they might know exactly to whom this post is dedicated to.

This post is formally dedicated to ‘that priestess who isn’t a real Wiccan’, aka for the sake of this post (I don’t run around calling her this IRL), ‘that bitch’.

What?! Me?! Angry?! Eh, maybe. Why not?

This supposed priestess waltzes into my community by opening up a branch of her shop. She begins giving classes, claiming to know all sorts of Reiki! Fairy reiki, dragon reiki… Do you get the drift? Made up Reiki. Because, really, there’s such a thing as Reiki and let me just tell you that it doesn’t involve fairies or dragons.

Ok, so she’s made up stuff and is selling it. Ok, that doesn’t really push my buttons but does make me wary.

What about when she claims verbally to be a Wiccan to me and my wife, then not to others? Eh, okay, so she’s not sure who she is.

What about when she loudly claims to only allow ‘white magic’ to be performed within her shop and teachings – but supposedly that includes blood and sex magic? Wow, okay.

What about when my student takes her super expensive class, only to be given a mishmash of latin texts, an incorrect hebrew alphabet to use for incantations, and these texts refer only to angels (names badly written with said incorrect hebrew alphabet), the Jewish deity, and calls upon the Djinn? Uh, okay. That’s not very Wiccan. Perhaps Christian magic?

But you know what really pisses me off?  The fact that because my student has dealt with trauma and it shows, she was offered an exorcism. A fuckin’ EXORCISM. Not only is ‘this bitch’ not in the land of actual Wicca any longer, but she is up and offering to cause serious mental harm to people.

And you know what else? She sat around her whole classes and fear-mongered about how dangerous people are, and how much darkness there is in the world and how people will just up and lay black magic curses on you! Oh, and how a sigil can replace medication.

This, peoples, this, is a recipe for terrible things to happen. This woman can seriously harm people’s mental well being. I’m seeing it happen. People are coming out of her classes frightened. Believing the darkness is out there to get them.

And you know what else? This is especially bad for people in vulnerable states of mind. And y’all, I’m not making this up. The other day I was speaking with a medical student, and we brought up said priestess and my worries about her. They confirmed my fears. This woman can cause serious damage to people in positions of fragile mental health.

And you know what? No one is doing anything about it! But what can we do about it?  Well… let me come up with some ideas and I’ll get back to you about that.

Mental Illness and Creative Writing – A Side Note

This is going to be the maybe-last in this mini series. I just wanted to finish by saying something that I think I’ve already said but that bears repeating.

Mental illness makes writing more difficult.

It bears repeating again.  Mental illness makes writing more difficult. Sure, you can draw inspiration from your experiences of being mentally ill, but as for the actual act of writing, it gets more difficult with the grand ‘ol MI (mental illness).

How so? Well let’s break it down.

Depression! Lauded as the muse of artists and seen as making us all oh so inspired, does the actual opposite. It dulls the senses, sometimes even making us see less colors and experiencing less. Depression, for me, feels like being in a state of unfathomable, nebulous, pain. Can you write better in pain? I found that no, because depression made me not want to move, not want to start anything, not feel capable of doing anything. And the pain, that blinding inner pain, was enough to make me want to die. Nevermind writing, what I wanted was death. Did feeling this way make me a better writer? No, because I was so demotivated I simply couldn’t write. So strike one.

Anxiety! The modern plague, the “it’s all in your head”, the invisible ailment that so many suffer from yet no one seems to take seriously. How does anxiety affect my writing? Well, it certainly made me feel like I “HAD” to write so that I could “make money” and “Not be a BUM”. Was this conducive to good writing? Eh, it certainly motivates me to pick up the pen/keyboard. But when the time of writing came, I would delete half of what I wrote, too anxious to trust myself and just let it flow. I would double-check every word. It slowed down my writing, and not just that, it cheapened it. Being too anxious to ‘let it flow’ shows in the writing. It becomes stiff, startlingly keeled to the side and sort of robotic. So strike another one.

Finally, the seal of superiority that people want to give us if they like us, or the status they give us when we’re despicable: psychosis/dissociation from reality/breaks with reality. (Note, yes I’m lumping those all together but they may very well be different medically. For the sake of this article, I’m squishing them together.) Well! I feel this comes with a big ‘duh’, but I’m still going to break this down. If you can’t understand reality, sentences, or how to brush your teeth (happened to someone I know), you may not be able to even remember the physical act of writing. I’ve certainly been there. Then, forming sentences may be another really difficult task. Again, been there. And finally, if your thoughts aren’t cohesive, your ‘art’ might just not be either. In my humble experiences, art requires a certain amount of functionality. You need to be able to express yourself in a way that can be understood, a thing that for me wasn’t possible during my ‘episodes’.

Literally, when I have my episodes, I can’t write. It’s just too hard, and what I do write comes out like trash compared to how I ‘normally’ write.

So there peoples. Mental illness in itself is not conducive to writing. Like any other difficult experience, it can give us experiences that we can draw inspiration from. But in and of itself it’s something really difficult to cope with, and that hinders the art of writing.

Medication First!

What? Whozzah? Medication? It’s such a rare thing. I never talk about it! Nope, not me.

Ah ha ha. I am joking, obviously.

As I have previously said, psychiatric medication is the high heels to my drag outfit of functionality. I prance around in them, adjust them, occasionally change them, but above all, need them. (Have ye, O great wanderer of life, seen a drag Queen barefoot? I has not.)

Now what do I mean when I say ‘Medication First (with an exclamation mark, no less)? I mean just that. Medication First. (!)

Now, this is where I draw the line between my fabulous self and the so many other viewpoints blazing out there across the Wiccan and neo-pagan and polytheist frameworks. You see, most of Wicca and neo-paganism and polytheist movements are what I would call ‘Medication Second’. In that they will often spout their views in this way.

  • Mental illness may or may not exist, really.
  • Why take psychiatric medication? It has (gasp!) side effects! One ought first to try exercise, eating ‘healthy’, de-toxing, eating special diets, doing special exercises, practicing yoga, meditating, walking in nature, practicing spirituality, spirit-journeying, re-adjusting their kundalini, consulting shamans across the globe, and maybe even breathing underwater while they’re at it. (Note how therapy with a licensed professional is usually not part of this list? Strange, right?)
  • If and ONLY IF the person has tried all the above suggestions (probably even including breathing underwater for some) then the person could, they suppose, try psychiatric medication. But beware of those nasty nasty side effects! Oh, and have you tried the other remedies already?

Note how everything else under the sun (and maybe under the earth) comes first before psychiatric medication. This means psychiatric medication comes second as a final and last resort for the ‘real’ crazies.

Now, I used to be like this. It led me down a truly crazy path and led me into great psychiatric distress. But now the little caterpillar has become a butterfly, so to speak, and I’ve become a Medication First kind of person.

What do I mean by that? It means my train of thought goes like this:

  • Is there a significant problem?
  • If yes, seek medical help. Take the psychiatric medication.
  • Then, once a sense of betterness has been achieved thanks to psychiatric medication, get therapy and try other stuff like exercise and whatnot.

But Why Why WHY? Pagans and so-called ‘spiritual’ people will gnash their teeth and foam at the mouth. We must try all the so-called ‘healthy’ alternatives first! We must avoid the medication at all costs!

Well, I firmly disagree now.

First of all, for someone to be seeking relief, they probably have a sizeable problem. Chances are, it’s worse than what they (or others around them) think it is. It certainly was for me. No one ever thinks they’re ‘crazy’ or ‘really that bad’. They always think they’re ‘just in a slump’ or ‘just having a bad day’.

Second of all, there is a never-ending source of so-called ‘alternatives’. One can waste years seeking them all out, and they can be blazingly expensive. And finally, no matter the amount of them that one has tried, one will never have tried enough. There will always be one more guru, one more supplement, one more yoga sequence that people will pressure you into trying or, worse, you will pressure yourself into trying. This will delay treatment indefinitely.

Third –and really, I think this is my point – there is no harm in trying psychiatric medication first.

It’s not like the world will fucking blow up.

Because here’s how it happens.

You take the medication → you feel better (somewhat) → you use this ‘feel good’ energy as momentum to propel yourself further with therapy, lifestyle changes, etc.

This might sound like drivel, but I swear it’s how it works for me and how I’ve seen it treated by the good doctors I’ve met. I could try all the lifestyle changes, but without my medication there to help me, I was just swamped. Once I felt better thanks to medication, I could clean my house, go jogging, and feel even better!

It’s basically like giving a sick person medication. You give it to them to help re-establish the normal flow, so that the body can get back on track.

Ohhhhhhmyyyyygodzzzz. Does this… does this mean psychiatric medication is… medication? *sarcasm*

So, medication comes first in the sequence of treatment. At least it did for me.

What’s my point? Where am I going with this? I’m going here → we need to change our narrative surrounding mental illness to be medication first.

I know, I know, it sounds like I want everyone to just echo my viewpoints. It’s not that. I want people to stop leaving medication ‘second’ as a choice that you only go to if you are ‘that bad’ or ‘really crazy’ or ‘desperate’. I want people to realize that medication is not dangerous or toxic, and that it can be the start of therapy and of a whole lot of changes in one’s life.

What would a ‘medication first’ discussion sound like? Like this:

Person a) hey, i’m feeling shitty.

Person b) ok, I trust your judgement. Have you consulted a doctor and taken the requisite medication?

OH MAH GAWDS. Doesn’t that sound the same as when someone has the flu, cold, diarrhea, or whathave you?

Trust me, we can do this. We’ve got this. We do it for broken legs, asthma, and everything else. Yes, for a very mild cold, we may stick to alternative solutions. But let’s revisit my first point in this discussion one more time.

Chances are, it’s worse than what they (or others around them) think it is. Now, I don’t want to be a drama queen. But people tend to overlook their mental health. It’s been my experience that those who finally realized they needed help (especially those who are so-called ‘spiritual’ people) were in dire straits when they finally turned to a doctor.

So what this means is that by the time someone realizes they’re having a problem, it is no longer time for the alternatives. It’s time for the doctor.

And guess what? Here’s the kicker. If you’re at that point… just how much of a dosage of alternative stuff do you think you would need? It’s like taking alternatives that would treat a cold, to treat… pneumonia? Ebola?

Because psychiatric medication can be very strong. It can be easily jacked up to high doses. Not so with alternative ‘treatment’. In a recent video I watched, someone compared the efficacity of zoloft to smelling saffron for 20 minutes, and said they were on equal footing. They neglected to mention the dosage of zoloft it was equal to. Was it a small, itty bitty tiny dosage of zoloft? Was it a high dosage? Was it a stable dosage that the person was accustomed to? What if the twenty minutes of saffron was not enough? How long a day would the person have to smell it for? Similarly, they mentioned cloves as being helpful (I think it was to boost serotonin). Just how many cloves a day would someone need to take in a case of severe depression?!

Personally, I think this is ridiculous. Yes, these alternatives can help someone with the mental health equivalent of a small cold. Yes, they can help someone maintain positive mental health much like they help boost physical health.

But! Mental illness is just that. A fucking illness. It is un-health to the point of distress. It is a serious situation that we, by leaving the life-saving medication thereof as only a second and ultimately ‘only take last’, we are neglecting to treat the illness or take it seriously.

Because take it from someone who tried all the alternatives first. It didn’t work. It hasn’t worked for anyone I’ve known, either (and now I know a lot of people with mental illnesses). And yes, most of the people I know have had it go to the point of critical conditions, ergo their life and functioning was in danger. It is that common that it becomes that critical and yet we suggest treating it as if it was a common cold.

“Am I Hearing a God or Am I Going Crazy?” ~ One Polytheist’s Angry Rebuttal


I try not to spread anger. I try not to spread hate. I try, as much as possible, to be non-violent. But when I see ignorance and harm being perpetuated, I feel that keeping silent is a way to perpetuate such harm. So I find myself compelled to speak out. There are several articles that have pushed my buttons, but they are growing old and so I can try and talk myself out of dealing with them. ‘no need to add fire to fire’ I tell myself.

But this one. This one makes me angry. And perhaps I am adding fire to the fire, but you know what? At least by voicing my concerns, there will be a voice out there arguing for the sake of those of us with serious mental illnesses. And hopefully, I can help those who relate feel less alone. Because seriously, these sorts of discussions need to stop within the Pagan/Wiccan/Polytheist umbrella.

So here it is. My Very Angry Rebuttal to “Am I hearing a God or am I going Crazy?” by John Beckett. I will assume that the article in question has already been read.

I will try and be neutral and keep the swearing to a minimum. But be warned: this is heavily unfiltered

So here we go. Let’s start with the title. “Am I Hearing a God or am I Going Crazy?”. Well. One would think this would be a great discussion on how mental illness can be distinguished from a religious experience. Wrong.

“If this hits you out of the blue, you’re probably not going crazy

Straight off the bat, the tone is set. The tone is this: don’t worry, “you’re probably not going crazy”. Alright. As much as I respect the general notion that mental illness does not ‘hit you out of the blue’ – it can. It may. And (gasp!) there is a viable chance that the person is actually ‘going crazy’. It happened to me. It can happen to you.

Alright, so let’s keep going.

“I’m a Druid and a priest, not a psychologist. If you need mental health care, I can’t help you – get mental health care.”

To speak like a millennial… Dude, so, like, what’s your point? Aren’t we talking about mental illness here? At all? Or was that just to draw in attention and make your article stand out? Because it looks like you’re derailing the conversation from actual discussion of mental illness to just using it as click-bait.

Here’s the fucking point. Those two sentences really are a disclaimer. It’s a brief nod at the actual needs of someone with a mental illness, and a brushing aside thereof. Promptly after, the author goes on to say how “very rare” it is “for people to go from mostly functioning in the ordinary world to schizophrenic in the time it takes for a God to pick you up and throw you across the room.”

This further reinforces the tone that ‘don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you’.

Oh, let’s continue. Please, let’s keep going! Because (drum roll) he’s going to bring in JUNG.

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

“Irish author James Joyce once brought his daughter to see psychiatrist Carl Jung. Joyce didn’t understand how his daughter could have schizophrenia. He said “The way she thinks is the way I think, and I am not crazy.” Jung’s response was “You are swimming. She is drowning.””

As a friend of mine succinctly said when I complained about the swimming vs drowning metaphor “it’s not even the same ocean”. Dude! Can Y’all get that? It’s not the same! It. Is. Not. The. Same. PERIOD.

“Hearing a God and having mental health issues are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes it’s both. I have friends for whom it’s both – their lives are challenging, to say the least.”

Really? Again- this reinforces the narrative that the experience may not be mental illness. There may be ‘something to it’ and it may just be a god! And to further ease away any worries the person may have, he continues with a disclaimer, followed by more reassurance that you’re “probably not going crazy”, like this.

“If you’re drowning, get mental health care. But if you were swimming yesterday and today you’re face-to-face with a demanding deity, you’re probably not going crazy. Rather, you’re having a religious experience for which both our mainstream culture and much of the Pagan movement has no context.

It’s the lack of context that makes you think you’re going crazy.”

Wait, wait, waittitty wait. Lemme read that last part again.

“It’s the lack of context that makes you think you’re going crazy.”

Oh. Context. Yeah. Uhm. You mean… the general dialogue that is already present all over polytheism and the general western esoterism regarding such experiences? Like the one you wrote? Or were you talking about something that actually discusses mental illness instead of brushing it aside? Because I’ll agree, there’s not much of that. But let’s not fool ourselves into pretending that there isn’t already a whole lot of dialogue already pushing aside psychiatry in favor of Jung adoration and Foucauldian denial (in fact, there’s a whole ocean of it for us to both drown and swim in!).

Paganism, Polytheism, and western esoterism in general, is rife with people claiming that mental illness doesn’t exist. There is a wealth of articles out there regarding contacting spirits and guides and divinities. The real issue here is a lack of any religious framework that encompasses actual mental illness.

But let’s keep reading.

“Your experiences are real”

I have to say, when I first read this line I was furious. It brought to mind the time I was tearfully trying to eat a lemon-cranberry muffin, which to me tasted like boiled chicken. Why? Because it was a hallucination. Was it real? No.

But Beckett oh so helpfully goes on to say “We can argue about how to interpret these experiences, but that they happened is an objective fact. ”

Really? Really? No discussion of how to distinguish hallucination from religious experience? No discussion about the nature of reality and how to distinguish that either? No? Just- it’s real?

Thanks, I’ll try not to remember that the next time I hallucinate. Because that’s the fact of the symptoms of mental illness: they’re not real. The sadness of depression isn’t caused by anything. It’s just there. The hallucinations aren’t spirits speaking, they’re a chemical imbalance.

These experiences are not what I’d qualify as “real” in a factual or religious sense.

Continuing on, Beckett rounds about to the notion that there is ‘no framework’.

“Our mainstream culture says there is one God who is distant and remote and who rarely interacts with people. The loudest religious alternative says there are no Gods. If you relate your experience to a typical Protestant minister, they will mostly likely attempt to explain it in psychological terms – because that’s all they know. Most Pagans will do the same, for the same reason.

All they can imagine is that either you have a psychological issue or you’re making it up. Their worldview doesn’t include Gods and spirits with sovereignty and agency.

That doesn’t mean such beings don’t exist.”

Here, as someone with an actual mental illness and someone within an esoteric community, I will simply say NO (like grumpy cat). No, no, no. No to the idea that pagans will explain anything in psychological terms other than (fucking) Jung. In my half a dozen years of living within an esoteric community, not once did anyone attempt to push me towards a doctor. Not once did anyone support the idea that I was mentally ill. If they had, it may have helped me get help sooner. Instead, I was constantly pushed towards the idea of there being spirits, Gods, and pseudo-psychological reasoning.

So no, don’t try and say that there is ‘no framework’, and that psychology is “all they know”. They do exactly what Becket discusses right in his article- that don’t worry, “you’re probably not going crazy”. And after making a quick disclaimer of ‘not being a doctor’, they will push their spiritual agenda.

Alright, let’s keep going.

“Our ancient ancestors had context” Yes, really. Let us discuss the persecution of the mentally ill in ancient times. No? Wait? What? Aren’t we talking about that? Or are we narrowing our view to only the ‘positive’ symptoms of schizophrenia such as hearing voices? Why aren’t we discussing how ancient worldviews would have taken in chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, or anxiety?

Why? Because we’re not really talking about mental illness. That’s why. Beckett’s article is almost solely about spiritual experiences. So let’s keep straight on moving, shall we?

“Find a polytheist priest” To which I say…


Here’s a chart of what a doctor can do vs a polytheist priest.


Doctor Polytheist Priest
Provide immediate first aid. You know, in case you’ve physically injured your self. Or if you’re in a state of mania, intense depression, or whatnot, you can receive B12 injections, fast-acting anti-depressants, etc. Just to ‘get you back on your feet’. “provide spiritual first aid. Grounding and shielding, prayers and offerings. That will help you get back on your feet where you can start to process your experience.”
Provide context such as ‘am I crazy?’ – because that’s their fucking job. You can actually discuss with them whether you are having symptoms, to what severity, and what that means. “provide context… A polytheist priest can tell you how they experience the Gods”
Suggest resources such as therapists, psychologists, walk-in clinics, social workers you can talk to, service dogs, etc. They can even refer you to a specialist and you could get a second opinion too! “suggest resources. There are books that are helpful. Devotional practices are essential. And while they may not personally know a priest of the deity you’re experiencing, they probably know someone who does. Networking isn’t just a business thing.”
They can refer you to trained professionals such as psychologists and social workers who will help you ‘figure out’ your experiences. Because that’s what doctors are supposed to do when someone is in distress. Get them help. “They can help you figure out how to interpret your experiences.”


A doctor/medical professional should always be consulted in the case of potential mental illness. Yes, consult a priest all you like, but if you feel mental illness encroaching on your spirituality, then why not see a doctor? It boggles my mind.

Oh, and here’s a thing. A doctor will consult with you even if you really are crazy. Most ‘spiritual’ people and priests who are legally priests… will not. It’s not just OBOD that refuses anyone who is on anti-psychotics. It is a general trend within the Pagan/Wiccan/Polytheist umbrellas to refuse mingling with serious mental illness. So even though one may very well want to seek a priest- that priest may refuse to see them due to that person’s illness. Just saying.

“As an aside: if you consider yourself a priest or priestess and you can’t do all these things, learn. And learn quickly. When someone calls you out of the blue begging for help, you don’t want to have to tell them “I’m sorry, I didn’t think I’d ever have a need for that skill.”” OMG. This, this right here. This enrages me, because the author literally began the article with a disclaimer of how they did not know mental illness because their profession was that of priesthood. Yet they say a priest ought to be able to help someone “out of the blue begging for help” regarding mental illness vs spiritual experiences, when obviously not being able to do so themselves? Because if this article was any indication, the author would merely push the person towards believing they were having a spiritual experience and not give them any sort of actual help in distinguishing the two.


“Those of us who are polytheists and especially those of us who are polytheist priests must be ready to respond. There is no one else who has the first-hand experience to tell people “no, you’re not going crazy. You’re hearing a God.””

That, right there, summarizes the author’s view of a discussion regarding mental illness and spirituality, as presented in this article. Parading the idea of being ‘ready to respond’, all while insisting that the person is ‘not going crazy’ and that it is purely a spiritual experience.

For me, this is enraging. But let me try and put my anger aside.

To summarize: Beckett pretends that he is about to discuss mental illness vs religious experiences. He does not. He practically uses the tagline of mental illness as click-bait. He then goes on to repeatedly insist that the person is probably not having symptoms of a mental illness, but a spiritual crisis. He claims that there is ‘no context’ for such experiences, all while being an example of how there is definitely a context- that of pushing aside the symptoms of a serious mental illness as being solely spiritual experiences. Instead of proposing what a doctor could do to help clarify a person’s experience (or how to bring this sort of issue up with a doctor) he solely focuses on what a priest should do for a person. Again, he insists that it is probably a spiritual crisis and encourages reassuring a person that they are not ‘crazy’.

To this, I say that this sort of ‘discussion’ of mental illness is not really a discussion thereof but a dismissal. If the author had not pretended to discuss mental illness, then the article would have been fine. But pretending to discuss something when you are not actually going to discuss it erases it.

Imagine if someone had an article claiming to discuss the experiences of a black woman vs a white woman, only to spend the entire article assuming the reader was white?

Erasure is dangerous, people. I won’t go on to explain why. I don’t want this article to ramble. Suffice to say, I consider Beckett’s article to be yet another nauseating example or erasure, of dismissal, of pretending that mental illness isn’t a problem, and of (once again) the priesthood failing to do their jobs in actually engaging with the mentally ill and discussing mental illness.

Wiccan Medication Rituals

One thing I am very open about on this blog and that I will repeat over and over again is that I used to be anti-medication, and that perspective was extremely damaging for me. Now that I am taking medication I am learning more and more about the prejudices I was taught to believe about psychiatric medication. One of these is that medication is ‘unnatural’ and that it has no place in spirituality, much less in witchcraft.

Well, I disagree. I feel that many witches and neo-pagans are glad to use modern tools to their advantage and within a spiritual practice, so why not our medication? I believe it can simply be another tool. And here, without further ado, is my perspective on how to incorporate your medication into your spiritual practice.

  • Where do you put your pills? I used to put mine in the kitchen around the spices. It was like they were something hidden, useless, and just shoved somewhere. Now, I place them on the shrine so that good vibes can be infused into them, and that they are well aligned with the will of my deities.

    Place your pills in a sacred area to infuse them with magic, positive energy, and the will of your deities
  • Try cleansing your medication. Everyone knows psychiatric medication comes from factories, gets shipped, and thereby gets handled by many many people. Furthermore, one may even say that with all the discrimination against medication, this can inadvertently imbue them with negative energy. Burn sage, cinnamon, or other purifying herbs around your pill pots to usher away this negativity.

    Cleanse your medication with incense, prayers, etc.
  • Place crystals, prayer beads, or other significant objects around your pill pots. I place a special crystal over my pill organizer. Another idea would be to pray on prayer beads for healing and success, then wrap them around the pot to imbue the pills with the healing intent.

    Place crystals around or on your pills and recite prayers for healing and harmony on prayer beads, then wrap them around your pill containers.
  • Make taking your pills a sacred act of self-care. Honor yourself, give thanks for the medication, honor the deity/elements you see as being associated with your medication, and maybe say some positive affirmation or prayers as you take them. I have begun saying “with these pills I balance my mind, body and soul” as I take mine. I find this extremely effective to counter the many negative ideas and preconceptions that have been ingrained in us about our medication. I consider it a subversive act of self-healing. I know that a positive outlook greatly helps mental health (not illness) and so I try really hard to fight against the guilt for being mentally ill. So for me, this is a majorly important step.
  •  Incorporate your medication into spellcraft. I have a crushed up pill that I am just dying to use in a spell bottle for creativity. Find out your correspondences, what you feel the pill represents, and use it in a ritual as you would any other symbolic item. I feel that as medication affects everyone uniquely and often deeply, a person’s medications will have potent and very important representations/symbols in a person’s spellwork.

    Incorporate your medication into spellcraft (behold my terrible crystal grid)

    Do you have any special rituals/practices regarding your psychiatric medication? Let me know!

Wiccan Medication Correspondences?

Lately, while being hazed out on my medication, I suddenly had a revelation. Why not bewitch my medication? Why not fill it with intent?

In order to incorporate my medication into witchcraft and rituals, I began contemplating what elemental correspondences psychiatric medication may have. Of course this will vary from individual to individual as psychiatric medication is very very personal, but here is how I see the elements as present in my medication.

Air: the ones that affect my focus, concentration, logic, and cognitive skills

Water: those that affect my emotions

Fire: those that affect my ‘will’ and passion.

Earth: those that have a ‘grounding’ aspect of medication that lowers anxiety levels

Of course, at least for me, no pills really fit entirely into one unique elemental slot. Rather, I feel like my medications are a complex balance of elemental correspondences.

Now, at this stage, I feel there is something to be addressed. Because they are not ‘natural’, how can something human-made (in a factory!) be associated with elements? Myself, I have wondered this while excitedly thinking of the correspondences of my medication. But then I thought: We have deities for technological advancement, deities for medicine and healing. Who is to say that these medication aren’t divinely inspired by them? We ascribe genders, planetary correspondences and emotions to plants and crystals, but also to human-made objects like swords and cauldrons. If a lump of cast iron shaped by human knowledge can have aspects and powers, then something crafted after the juices of our brains and which was first discovered in nature, in mollusks, and which affects our very perception of reality should have the right to be given elemental correspondences. Serotonin, dopamine, etc, these are crafted after nature. They can be seen as a potent blend of nature’s craft and human’s craft mixed together.

Or, as I like to argue and believe, they can be seen as a manifestation of certain deities. Much like certain deities rule over cauldrons, certain herbs, etc, I would argue that deities of intellect, science, and technological advancements as well as healing can be ascribed to psychiatric medication. I personally feel like one of my close deities (who I shall not name) is very intricately linked with psychiatric medication. They seem to pride themselves on it.

I will keep this post short and end this here. Hopefully, if I stay on track, I will soon be able to share my ideas with y’all on how to incorporate your medication into witchcraft!

So with all this in mind, what are your thoughts on this? What elements/correspondences do you feel your medication(s) are aligned with? Any planetary ideas?