The Problem with Sanity

Let’s be honest -> I got the title for this article before the idea for it. The title just popped into my head and I was like “wait, what’s wrong with sanity?” but the line bugged me so I thought on it.

And lo and behold, I discovered things that I don’t quite like about sanity (and the process of becoming sane again). Here we go!

  1. You feel normal. Now this isn’t a bad thing in the sense that feeling normal helps you interact with the average person in a better way. But damn… it’s surprisingly hard on the ego. To go from feeling special and ‘extra spiritual’ and having all these amazing wordless experiences to… nothing and feeling in commune with the average person you used to look down on? Ouch, my ego. It can feel like losing a magical cape, your ‘you’ and uniqueness.
  2. No more ecstasy for you. This one was really, really, hard on me. I used to get ecstatic out of nothing, literally, I could just lie back and bask in ecstasy during my episodes. And that’s now completely gone. Even when I have a major episode, ecstasy as I used to experience it is always out of reach. Which leaves me functional, but bored and missing my natural ‘high’.
  3. Real life is fucking stressful. Now that I’m no longer cruising through life only half-aware of what’s happening around me – damn! It’s like waking up from a coma and realizing that all your paperwork is out of order. And that no one mowed your lawn. Now that I am aware of things, I realize my failures and actually care because I’m not lost in ecstasy.
  4. No more secret languages/unique experiences. This ties closely in to #1 and #2, but it’s so distinct and was such a surprise for me that it deserves it’s own point. Music used to speak to me. It used to be a language. It used to make me cry and bring me to near-ecstasy if I focused. And I thought it was normal. Imagine my shock when I realized it had gone away? This whole language, this whole way of relaxing – just sucked out of my life. With it went the sensation of flying too, by the way. No more free flights for me.
  5. You really end up questioning yourself and your past experiences. Now when I consider things I’ve done and experienced, I can’t help but wonder what is/was a symptom. Things that the average person can just assume is ‘psychic’, I got the fun of wondering if it was just my symptoms going screwy. Like, the feeling of hands touching my back. Divine intervention/comfort? Symptom? Who knows, and … the uncertainty can be a pain in the ass.
  6. You become more logical, and you suddenly care more about rules. Before, I had a hard time caring about coloring within the lines because a) too busy being in ecstacy to care b) didn’t understand why it was important. Now that I have a better grip on social functionings, I’ve started being less ‘free’ in my judgments. I’ve started seeing the social lines delineating things. It changes who I am and how I react and care.
  7. And finally, I had to rebuild my entire life lens. The way you function and the way you experience the world has changed. It sucks, but I found it for the better. That doesn’t mean it’s not a scary experience though.

Islam and I… A Polytheist’s Experience

Well WhAAAAAAAT? Islam? Me? I know, right?

Let me get into storyteller mode here. Ahem…

It was a bleak morning. The crescent moon had just been covered by a shivering cloud. Gusts of icy wind rustled through dead leaves.

I honestly think it was inspired from a dream. It sort of just came to me, this compulsion to cover my head, especially before the shrine. It happened so recently after a particularly stressful day of attending a street festival. My wife had just congratulated me on holding up well to the stress.

And now, boom. I wanted to cover my head. With a scarf, particularly.

I did research on shrines and head covering and pagans and headscarves. It seemed to be a uniquely female thing, and so I begged to be let into Facebook groups. I was steered towards one that accepted all genders.

I met some fabulous people there. They happened to be muslim – and suddenly I was compelled to do like them, and pray five times a day. After all, I was trying to meditate more, so why not pray AND meditate five times a day?! At this point I was trying to meditate five times a day, ten minutes a piece.

But, prayer? Because it’s related to the sun, right? And so it can be pagan! And then one by one, tick after tock, I began seeing Islamic practices popping up before me. I realized Allah must be calling me. I felt a pull to worship that deity. I began reading more and more about Islam, even going to the library and taking out books on it.

I noticed patterns Islam seemed everywhere around me, even in shoes at the thrift store. I grew ecstatic during prayer and meditation. My moods became terrible. I resisted any questioning of my new path. Within a matter of three days, I went from being completely uninterested in Islam and viewing it as a curious thing to which I’ve often been pulled to, to praying 6 times a day, one of which I had to wake up in the middle of the night for.

Once or twice, my wife pointed out that this wasn’t like me. But I ignored her.

I questioned my gender. I compulsively shopped, shaking from anxiety but unable to stop myself. My anxiety and logic was so bad I had difficulty expressing myself and speaking.

After about two weeks of this, a friend pointed out the warning signs. She anxiously suggested I speak to someone.

At first, I was all ‘yeah, I know’, for I had sensed something ‘off’ ever since this conversion process began. It felt like a radiating spot of light, a strange before and after wherein i entered into a new zone. Also, I now felt like whatever I prayed for, Allah would give me. It felt like it. I was given ‘signs’ and once even wondered if I was going to become a prophet or something. It just felt like I was being carried on this wave of transformation – and somehow I knew it was wrong.

After my friend talked to me about it, I noticed the telltale signs. I grew worried, catastrophically so. I called a health  hotline and inquired what to do. Luckily, I already had an appointment scheduled with my psychiatrist.

Then, wiping away my tears, I went to bed. That’s it!, I decided. It’s just another mental episode. I know how to cope with this.

Or do I?

I’ve spent the last three days covered in blankets, tears, and unable to get off the couch. Yesterday I celebrated when I was able to brush my hair. Today, relatives are arriving to help by bringing me food and help with the dishes I haven’t been able to keep up with. My apartment is a mess and my sick wife has been having to pick up all the pieces.

Because, you see, I wasn’t ready for the crush and fall of realizing that it might have all been fueled by mental illness. It had just been so real. So incredible. And now I’m questioning not only all of it, but the motives of Allah for appearing during a mental breakout. I just… it’s a mess. Trying to draw the line between what was real, what I might have imagined/hallucinated, and what ever else was going on… it’s incredibly exhausting and disheartening. It just makes me miserable.

So that’s it folks. That’s all that’s happened to me. Some fabulous friends are going to talk to their therapists about me so that I can maybe get some tips and perspective in the meantime of waiting for my psychiatrist. But until I see my psychiatrist, I’m just coping I guess. And even then, I’ll still have to scope  out what’s real.

I’ll also have to get a corner of the house to stop telling me to cover my head. Shrines don’t do that, do they? I think I’ll take that shrine down. It bothers me now. It faces Mecca (another sign! Gasp!) and it reminds me of everything that happened. I just can’t stand it any more.

Until next time, take care y’all.

 

Life Hurts Right Now…

Hello everyone. I’m sad to say that I’ve almost given up on this blog. Yes, I’ve considered it a closed shop a few times now. And now… I just need to vent again.

Because huzzah! I might be going through another psychotic break (or something whatever else fun-fuckery).

So you might have wondered what I’ve been up to in these months I’ve been missing from this blog. Well, I’ve been active in the local pagan scene. I’ve been busy getting stabbed in the back, helping psychotic people, and trying to build community. All that seems to bring me the ire of local ‘established’ (commercialized, religion-selling,non-original, internet re-selling and plain dishonest) witches. But at least I helped one psychotic person feel like they’ve got someone to talk to. So that’s good.

Also good: I know am the proud owner of 500 business cards for my foundation, Starlight Pagan Family. It’s the first of it’s kind in my region, meaning it’s going to be a not-for-profit religious organization that’s pagan. WHAT?! YE MEAN IT’S NOT A WITCHE SHOPPE??!

Right. Because shops and selling shite is all we do, right? (haha, it rhymes)

But yeah, bitches. I made a not-for-profit, down-in the trenches and dirty foundation. We help people. We’re hosting rituals where the funds will go to homes for dying cancer patients. We are hosting a library of esoteric books (in my living room) so that people can research for FREE. Bitch, shit’s going to get DONE in my area. And eventually – I’mma build me a pagan abbey/temple space where people can be safe and worship and live if they want to. So there.

But you know what y’all? Shit’s gone down in my head. But I think that’s too long for one post. Next post y’all: how I converted to Islam.

 

 

Bitchin’ Witchin’

I had the silly idea of starting up a pagan group (sarcasm – it’s a great idea). At first, the idea was simple and a little pure, just to help create a community. It would be a sort of group that did events, had little structure, and basically got together to exchange on a variety of topics as well as to help each other out in manifest, physical ways.

A variety of adventures happened, including curses being laid and disruptive actions -> all caused by a cis white male who thought he was ‘the most uber spiritual gurbl gurbl out there’ basically.

Well, I banished him in no uncertain terms from the group and found myself having to rebuild my group from the ground up. And then – lo! Behold! I fell across inspiration! A pagan abbey! Oh, isn’t that a lovely idea?

After slavering at the idea, I decided to give it a shot. I tried to get into contact with Trey from the Silver Song Collective.

She, of all the elders I contacted, actually answered me (holy shit!). With the guidance of someone who’s done it before, I decided to create the Starlight Pagan Family, a hopefully soon to be legally recognized not-for-profit.

Now where, you ask, is the drama? Wait. I am starting to get to it. So you see, I began organizing pagan gatherings. Being a kind person, I invited everyone I knew – including the witches who, about a year ago, had been doing some pagan gatherings but then stopped as they weren’t working well.

Remember, a sentence ago, I said ‘they weren’t working well’ in combination with the words ‘stopped’? Well, bloody fucking Christian hell.

All of a sudden (Magically, one could say!) they re-began hosting their get-togethers, within days of mine!

Oh. Okay. I contacted them and they insisted that this was pure coincidence. They offered to share my event. Well, I thanked them and invited them to my get together again.

Now they never did come to my organized meeting where I announced the formation of the Starlight Pagan Family. If they had, they would have known that the new core purpose of my group was to offer events to unite the community, as well as fundamental services such as weddings, rituals, mental health and spiritual counseling hotlines, accompaniment to doctor visits, etc.

Well, when I saw that they had made yet another ‘witchy’ gathering (so soon? They used to host these twice a year before I came along…) my group of admins told me that it was pure coincidence and not to think about it. Everyone told me I was overreacting.

So, one day, after a full week of planning, I giddily made the Facebook event for our first activity -> Candles & Drums. I snapped a closeup picture of my drum, its beater, a pentacle, and a tealight candle.

Well. Within fucking hours these bitchy witches had released their own event. With a very same picture, a closeup of several random things and a tealight.

I flipped my shit in no uncertain terms. I almost cried. It was a virtual stab in the back, as I had literally invited them to join my group, invited them on Facebook within my closed group for the family, and was hoping to approach them about being active members of my group.

Well. All this drama brings me to a point. It’s not just drama for the sake of drama (I promise, though I do relish in gossiping viciously).

Why the fuck do all the pagans just try and make money off of each other? Huh? I know of at least 8 witches in my tiny local community that sell stuff and throw all their efforts into making money off the pagan community. Yeah, I’m no better. I tried to sell my embroidery online -> but I did my all best to make it the cheapest as possible. I hardly paid myself for my efforts. These witches? Please! 35$ for an event per head is not what I call cheap when it comes to making one bloody fucking ‘magical’ sachet. Not when the room rent (I know because I checked to rent that very same space) is 10$ a head. Materials for one tiny-ass sachet CANNOT be 25 $. There better be a fucking gold nugget in there if so.

And you know what else? Why the fuck do no pagans offer actual services to each other? Like why is it that I seem to be the first pagan organization to come up with hotlines, and accompanying members to hospitals? Why is it so easy to walk into a coffee shop and find a pagan advertising their soaps/tarot readings/handmade cards/whatthefuckever … but no such thing as a pagan charity event? WHY?

Even a larger community that I admired, which is supposedly organized and run by a good priestess, does not do charity drives. They do not help in holiday food drives. They do not run around cleaning up rivers and doing actual, physical, good change in the world.

What instead do they do? Offer ‘classes’ on witchcraft and paganism. Sell teas. Sell, sell, sell.

Well, fucking pardon me. But if we want to actually build something, we might as well get off our asses and start trying to be serious adults and try and stop looking at our wallets. You know what? Why don’t we offer classes to which some poor students can fundraise their way into? Why don’t we host raffles from which the majority of the money goes to funding our members to attend an actually academically recognized university? Maybe I’m dreaming in pagan Technicolor, but I dream of building something useful.

Maybe it’s because I was raised by relatives that indulged themselves in Christian churches. And in those churches, I saw members that were willing to fundraise for my family to have clothes. Who were willing to actually take care of their sick and their poor and not just send ‘thoughts and prayers’.

If we’re an actual religion, let’s start acting like one. Because you want to know my final point? When I was sick, horribly lost in my mental illness, I missed a community. I needed people to comfort me and listen to me and drive me to the hospitals and support me and just be there for me. I needed people to show up and do my dishes for me and drive me to do groceries. I needed the support of a community.

And there was none. Because we’re pagans and apparently we do nothing to help each other.

Well if I can change one fucking thing about paganism with my lifetime-> it’s going to be that. I’m going to make a movement unlike any other. I want to inject a shot of adrenaline into my local community and Make. It. Roll. Because dammit, people need us. We need us.

Reading & Rambling/Book Review

These days, I’m doing a potentially hazardous activity for my health -> I’m reading a spiritual book. ‘Craft of the Wild Witch’ by Poppy Palin reads like one giant poem – and can get just as frustrating.

Now don’t get me wrong, I kind of like the ‘lyrical’ bladibla that gives it flow. It helps brings the concepts to life. But the hazardous part is the creepy, insidious stigma of mental illness. UGH!

Now, forgive me for not having marked down the exact pages of where& when she wrote this but the first ringer was when she said that schizophrenia/madness was just a manifestation of magic (I think it was specifically moon magic) getting out of hand.

I almost threw the book at the wall.

I mean, nevermind that on page 94 she singles out people with mental illness as potentially dragging along giant nasty energetic baggage, she has to go ahead and add to the myth that mental illness is some ‘magical’ problem.

Whoop de fucking doo.

Let me give my two cents about this (it’s my blog after all). Mental illness is not some magical fuckery. It’s brain fuckery. That’s an important distinction because as much as you can use magic to treat a physical problem, the root cause is physical. Which means a lot in terms of treatment, the amount of magic needed to fix it, and how one should visualize it.

Second -> mental illness does not mean icky magical hygiene. Yes, those with mental illness can suffer from dark thoughts. No, that doesn’t mean we walk around dragging heavy energetic thought forms along with us. We can cleanse ourselves, purify ourselves, and practice positive mental wellness (not the same as mental illness).

So this is all to say that I am halfway through this book and I am not impressed. He table of contents hardly helps you find anything. Her organization of topics feels hectic and jumbled. But worse of all, it feels like she hasn’t strayed far from the norm. Light is good, darkness is bad (a pet peeve of mine). The wiccan god is virile, the lady quiet and mysterious (why are women always quiet? Huh? Can’t they be virile and sexy?). These gender roles are achingly heteronormative and conservative. It’s kind of disgusting to read about this ‘deep kiss’ that is summertime. What is an asexual supposed to make of this? As a member of the LGBT + spectrum, I feel left out by her blinded persepective. I feel abandoned – willfully. Like, she hardly even tried to step out of the norm. She doesn’t even try and include a queer perspective.

Furthermore, her ‘trance’ sessions have nothing to do with traditional shamanic trances, but sound directly lifted from ‘white light’ New Age sessions that I have attended.  To which I beg a question. If we create our own astral worlds (as she says we do when we create our own ‘safe space’) then who the fuck are all the tree spirits and squirrels and pheasants and what have you that live in it? Huh? She just throws them in as if they live there but all I can think of is – where are they from? Who invited them into that world? She never mentions whether they really are alive, or if these guiding spirits that give you signs are really just figments of your subconscious. This sort of inconsistency… frustrates me.

Alright, I’m done ranting. Thank you all for sticking around with me, it’s been hectic and very busy on my side of the world. I’ll tell you in another post what’s been happening, haha.

Also, the thing I’m crocheting in the picture is a mermaid 🙂

 

Creativity and Mental Illness

Hi everyone! Recently, a fellow blogger published a wonderful piece entitled ‘psychological changes due to medication’. It can be found here → https://encodey.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/psychological-changes-due-to-medication/

This piece was very interesting for me, and is the inspiration behind today’s blog post. So please give their post a read first!

Now, onwards! Today I would like to discuss (drumroll) creativity and mental illness! Hark! A fascinating topic, really!

So, how has my mental illness influenced my artistic abilities? Well! At first my answer would be ‘derp? No it hasn’t?’ because on the surface everything appears to be the same. I still draw. I still write. But, aha, ladies and gentlefolk – is the result still the same?

Ahhhhh- nope. Not at all.

You see, before my art felt stunted. I had difficulty experiencing color and expressing myself with it. I couldn’t ‘finish’ a picture, always leaving them as raw sketches. To put this in concept, my wifey bought me coloring books to relax with and I had a hard time coloring them in because that’s how stunted I was.

Here’s the thing though. When I was ‘normal’ I used to draw mathematically. Everything was straight lines and the odd curves. I would start with the eyes, finish them, then draw the nose incrimentally. Yet when I was in an ‘episode’ I didn’t draw mathematically. I drew shapes and curves and motion – but it would have none of the details that my mathematical side would have. It was as if my brain was divided and constantly popping from one skill set to another.

Now that I am medicated and balanced on that medication (so just popping pills didn’t do it – I had to get the right cocktail going on) I have noticed a great difference in my art. I use color now. I am actually able to draw so easily that I am illustrating one of my novels with (gasp!) completely finished pictures! It’s like the two sides have merged and made me even more functional than ever before. Furthermore, I am able to do greyscale drawings in ink relatively swiftly that are adorable.

And my writing? Well my writing is actually more explosive of a change!

Before taking medication I struggled to write a thousand words a day. Writing felt like pulling teeth. I loved it, but couldn’t write a sequence. I would write a scene here from, say, the beginning of a novel, then a scene from later, and then a scene from the ending. I would just write a package of floating scenes and could barely tie them all together. It was terribly messy and disjointed. There would be plot holes, hanging threads, the whole deal.

Now? Now?! The first week I started my antipsychotics it was like a booming revelation. For a week straight I wrote 5,000 words a fucking day. I just felt that good, that inspired. And yes, it was all written in sequence.

Since being on medication, I’ve been writing sequentially. I’ve completely finished two novels and am halfway through 4 others that I’ve been working on the side. There are no more floating scenes, just completed books and so much plot work.

What’s more (oh yea, there’s more!)? I’ve started having stories come to me in dreams. It’s like my medication has allowed a sort of communication to happen, and I’m halfway through one novel based entirely off a dream and have started two others as well as received tips and conclusions to others in dreams. WHAAAAT? This is epic! It’s like now that I’m functional spirits are coming to me like ‘hey, here’s a writer, write my story for me!’ and I’m like ‘yeah sure, hand me that!’… and now I’ve literally got over a dozen novels going. I shit you not. I’m not working on them all right now, there’s just a lot on the back burner. But damn, I got so many tips and revelations for my stories from my dreams, I really really love it!

What’s else? My stories are lighter. My stories are brilliantly, genuinely, funny and light-hearted. I’ve found my tone, my voice, in a fantasy world that I came up with when I started medication. Since its conception it’s been a respite, a ‘happy place’ that I go to. It’s become a bursting series of joy and creativity.

Have I lost my touch for writing dark stuff however? Well, I’ve always had difficulty writing serious series. I can hardly make it a quarter way into a novel that’s all ‘dark and serious’ without losing interest and calling it ‘the most boring shit i’ve ever written’. I just don’t do serious. I just don’t do dark. I do complex, I do epic, I do funny and dork.

And what else what else what else? Y’all, this is the final foot-stomper! I have finally, Finally, FINALLY started working on my theology book about Wicca and Mental Illness.

Ya heard that right! I’m writing a book on mental illness! A theological analysis of mental illness through various aspects and I am just SO PROUD of myself for getting there.

Because it’s not easy to write, ya know. It’s difficult, thick, and I have to think theologically and in a straight line to be able to do it. But I’m proud to say that it’s getting there. It might be short, but it Is HAPPENING!

So that’s that y’all! My medication has really affected me a ton! By helping get me on my feet, it has helped me grow as an artist and writer and I am so so proud of the progress that I have made! 🙂 I know it’s maybe an unusual story and that I am very lucky to have found medication that works so well for me. Not everyone is as lucky as I am and not everyone has found the right medication yet. But for me, this is my story.

Have you felt any changes in your art since starting medication? Has your mental illness crippled your art in any way? Do share!

Hi Everyone!

Hi everyone! I feel first that I have to apologize for being away for so long. I’ve been good, I’ve been bad, but I’ve rarely been that glorious phase in between. Right now, I am doing better – and will hopefully be making vegetarian sushi today!

But that is later! For now- Here I am! And what glorious things do I have to speak with you about?

Well, I have this series I’m working on about transgendered beings and magic within the Wiccan framework. But I think that’ll wait for another day. Because first, I had this idea I feel like putting out there.

What if we stop thinking of hallucinations as being a spiritual thing?

Just – just wait for me here. This post is fueled by me (once again) trying to explain my symptoms to a dear friend, and once again being met with spiritual advice. In this case it went along the lines of ‘well I see things too!’ and they went gushing on about their spiritual experience.

As if hallucinating aliens is the same things as seeing auras.

Spoiler alert: it isn’t.

Why? Because it just isn’t. Both are non- physical sight, sure. But is non-physical sight a spiritual phenomenon? I would argue that no. I would argue that, instead, we ought to see non-physical sight as it’s own category of which spiritual phenomenon can be within.

So what does this mean? It means we have this lovely box-like category called ‘non-physical sight’ and within this box we have objects like ‘hallucination caused by psychiatric conditions’ and ‘hallucinations caused by drugs’ and ‘spiritual sight/third eye sight’ and then we could even have ‘visual tricks’ and other objects that I do not know of.

Are all these phenomenon spiritual? No! Only the spiritual ones are.

Now, just to add to the confusion, Divinities can use mundane objects to teach us spiritual lessons, just like how a hammer/blanket/cooking pot can become part of a spiritual lesson. But just because it gets used for a lesson does not mean it is, in and of itself, a spiritual phenomenon.

Am I clear? Does this make sense? Because, really, I am tired of having to explain to people the difference. So can we make this a thing? Can we share this, re-blog it or whatever? No, I’m not trying to get free publicity. I really, really, just am tired of symptoms of mental illness being taken as being these all meaning spiritual experiences. And NO, don’t you DARE tell me ‘well, you know, aliens do walk among us so bla bla maybe you were seeing something bla bla’. I will hit you with a frying pan (I’m joking, but please, respect my sense of discernment and my doctor’s diagnosis here).

On the upside, y’all, I now have this amazing psychiatrist! She is just so caring, listening, and careful to take the time to see me through this. For once, I have hope to get through this hump and get back to being a functional being! Maybe, who knows? Maybe one day I won’t be disabled any more!

Now that would be fabulous!

I hope you all have a great day and are you sticking to your new years’ resolutions? I am (cutting out sugar)!

Jungian Self-Care Tips

Hello, world.

Lately I’ve been having dreams of people taking care of me. No matter the dreams, it somehow turns to people taking time out to seriously care for me in rather therapeutic ways. It feels wholesome. I like to think it’s a sign that my guiding gods are putting in some elbow grease into my health. Or that I’m getting better.

Speaking of getting better (and dreams, because who’s the master of dreams and dream-ology?!) let’s talk about Jung. Here, ladies and gentlemen (fwoosh-ah! Glitter everywhere!) is some Jungian inspired self-care tips! Why? Well, because I had a dream that I woke from telling myself that I should share some Jungian self-care tips. And no, I’m not even joking.

Lest I go down in history as the one Wiccan who does not like Jungian theories, let me just say that I like Jung- just not his followers/how people interpreted him per se. Also, I’m not a firm believer of his. But that doesn’t mean the man wasn’t on to a thing or two.

So here, without further ado (Hell, let’s make more ado! Glitter! Glitter! Glitter!) is 5 Jungian inspired self-care tips.

  1. Mandalas. Jung advised coloring mandalas as a substitute for meditation. Jung was intensely into the symbolism of mandalas, and he thought that coloring them in would help a person tremendously. Also- Draw your own mandalas. Jung drew mandalas every day as a self-introspection method.
  2. Having trouble with a problem? Ask for a dream to give you the answer. Jung did this multiple times, and (at least in the little bit of him that I’ve read) would recommend people ask for a dream to solve the questions they brought to him. So write down a question and sleep on it (literally. Shove that itty bit of paper under your pillow.).
  3. Reflect on your dreams – especially if you just asked for an answer.
  4. Write it down- journal! Keep a dream journal, journal of your inner thoughts, etc. whatever you find tells more about your inner workings.
  5. Take a moment to self-reflect on yourself in relation to myth. What mythical character/figure would you be if you were one? Now, reflect on what this says about you, your individual story, what your strengths are, etc.

Also, while we’re in the sharing mood- here’s some music I’ve been listening to (cough cough, obsessing over). Because guess who has a lovely gamer wife? Haha, me! Guess who knows all the fan-theories and symbolism behind FFVII? HAH! I have a bachelor’s in religion. I could write a god-damned essay on the symbolism of Sephiroth in relation to Jewish mythology. But nevermind a mild Sephiroth obsession (Dat Hair!). Here is some nice music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Iweue-OcMo&t=759s

What the Shaman Does Not See in Mental Illness

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/08/22/shaman-sees-mental-hospital/

Wow, this is a very long post. As I finish editing my comments, I find myself marveling at the length of my word document. So, as a courtesy to all of those who don’t have time or the mental capabilities to read almost six thousand words, here is a summary.

In this article, the writer puts forth the idea that mental illness, especially schizophrenia, is actually a symptom of a spirit trying to ‘merge’ with the person. This desire for the spirit to do so is brought upon by the person themselves yearning for a connection with their ancestral ties. The person who the spirit chooses is supposed to be a ‘healer’ and a ‘medium’ and ‘sensitive’. Thus, the ‘shamanic view’ is to either ‘merge’ the person with the spirit or exorcise the spirit if it is harmful.

I disagree with this perspective very vocally. Bluntly, I call bullshit. As someone from a long line of schizophrenics and asylum-goers, as someone who has a mental illness themselves, I call bullshit. See? I can’t even stop myself from swearing in the summary. I swear a LOT in this article.

Why do I call bullshit? Why do I even bother with this article? Simply put, it was shoved in my face. Literally, someone in person told me to read it, super excited that it would help me. Cue rage. But then I had told myself it was just one person… and then I saw it cropping up all over online. Pagan pages, Wiccan pages, all over Facebook. And just when I thought the trend was over and it wasn’t virtually cropping up any more- I ran into someone who began preaching to me about the ‘shamanic views’ despite being on life-saving psychiatric medication that they could not get off of in order to be a safe citizen.

That’s when I realized that this article was destroying lives. It caused an inordinate amount of pressure on me. It convinced this poor lady that she should not be on the medication she is- and may cause her to try stopping them. And why? For the promise of some gold star when we die? Not even. We’re supposed to take some random person’s word for it because he’s a ‘shaman’. Whoop dee fucking doo.

Alright, so what’s my arguments? Read on…

Oh, right, here’s a summary for y’all. (But please do read the whole thing). I disagree spiritually with the concept of spirits ‘merging’ with human spirits. As a polytheist I believe spirits are independent, autonomous beings. Simply put, we do not merge. Furthermore, I disagree with his notion that there is ‘no spiritual framework’ in the ‘West’ to interpret psychic phenomenon, causing us to mislabel psychic activity as insanity. We have a plethora of psychics and psychic beliefs. My nugget of wisdom: psychic activity is not madness.

So here, ladies and gentlemen, is what I see as being wrong with “The Shamanic View of Mental Illness”, or rather… What the Shaman Does Not See in Mental Illness

(And yes, do not fear, there is lots more to be coming from me on this topic of shamanism and mental illness)

Stephanie Marohn
Waking Times

The Shamanic View of Mental Illness

In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.

Wait a minute, all? Bi-polar, depression, the whole range? Alright. This seems ridiculously presumptuous but fine. Let’s roll with this lumpy turd of an idea.

What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé. These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.

One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study was how this country deals with mental illness. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to “nervous depression,” Dr. Somé went to visit him.

Whoa man. Is this whole article and perspective built off of psychiatric wards in the 80’s? That’s quite a while ago for an article that’s still being circulated in 2017. That’s almost forty years ago – a long time in the academic world. Because in case you didn’t know, psychiatric institutions have changed since the 80’s, with a ton of these changes being brought on by those with mental illnesses demanding these changes. So psychiatric wards now are changed by those with mental illness for those with mental illness. But hey, let’s keep reading.

“I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village.” What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop. This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation. As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself, “So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.”

Oh. My. Gods. If all he knows about the complex medical system is one fucking visit into a psychiatric ward, then what does he really know? Ergotherapy exists. Psychologists exist and are available in schools, and there are therapists and hell, I even had a psychiatrist who was willing to work with me on my non-medication beliefs and told me which oils and natural remedies I could try. The ‘western medical system’ is far more complex than a bunch of people screaming in straight jackets.

Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world.

Stop! Hammer time. Wicca don’t exist, na na, na na, Catholic don’t exist, na na, na na. Ain’t got no spirituality, na na, na na.

Alright, seriously. As a Wiccan, as someone who was raised in a psychic environment and whose city boasts several well-running esoteric stores- bullshit. To claim that the ‘Western mind’ (thanks for lumping the vast multi-cultural experience of Canada into one gloop, dude) has no way to deal with the psychic world is to denigrate the vast field that is Western occultism and western esoterism. Catholics have mysticism, Wicca exists and… I could rant about this for days. Suffice to say that yes, we have ways to deal with the psychic world. We acknowledge it’s existence according to our own spiritual views.

In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated.

Alright, no. No, no, no. Psychic abilities are valued and looked up to. Tarot cards can be found in bookstores easier than candy. Mediums I know can charge exorbitant rates for their services. Those I know are highly respected members of their communities. Psychic abilities are not denigrated in Western Culture.

When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening.

Because Wicca don’t exist, na na, na na…. Alright I’ll stop. But seriously. When a spirit presents themselves to a Westerner, the Westerner can pop out a Tarot deck, knock on a medium’s door, pull out an ouija board, read some tea leaves, and so on and so forth. We are not unequipped.

The result can be terrifying. Without the proper context for and assistance in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane.

Wrong again! Many Westerners become successful mediums without ever being labelled as insane. In fact, those within the Western esoteric communities are reluctant to believe mental illnesses even exist (thanks to articles such as these). So no, a psychic is not considered insane. They are considered psychic, and praised for it.

Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies.

Well. I am living proof otherwise, thank you very much. But don’t take it just from me. Take it from my grandmother too, who had murderous tendencies unless she was medicated, in which case she became a reliable and sweet homemaker. Oh, and also this random stranger I met who told me that they were bi-polar and getting messages to murder someone until they took their medication. How does medication that aids someone to become functional and balanced emotionally hinder them in any way? From ‘integration’ and ‘soul development’? I’m sorry, I developed during my mental illness the same way one develops from trauma. It wasn’t that the trauma itself was a good thing, and neither was the mental illness.

On the mental ward, Dr Somé saw a lot of “beings” hanging around the patients, “entities” that are invisible to most people but that shamans and psychics are able to see. “They were causing the crisis in these people,” he says. It appeared to him that these beings were trying to get the medications and their effects out of the bodies of the people the beings were trying to merge with, and were increasing the patients’ pain in the process. “The beings were acting almost like some kind of excavator in the energy field of people. They were really fierce about that. The people they were doing that to were just screaming and yelling,” he said. He couldn’t stay in that environment and had to leave.

Alright, as the resident psychic crazy person, let me ask this. What kind of spirit tries to hurt someone? If it’s causing the person pain and they know that medication is there to help, why not simply find another way? Oh, and was he sure these spirits were there to help? Because negative/destructive spirits exist. Oh, and let’s just point out that he left. He literally walked into the psychiatric ward, saw stuff that frightened him and which he did not understand (spiritually or otherwise) and left. Once gone, he drew a whole lot of conclusions off this very small experience. Finally, as a psychic, I’m just going to put it out there that not all psychics are right. That’s it, yep, i’m going there. Peoples, just because a shaman says he saw a bunch of spirits doesn’t mean that they actually were there. Within the polytheist community this is called UPG (unverifiable personal gnosis). The spirits may have been there doing what he says, or they may have not been there. Or, as has happened often with other psychics I know, he may have projected his feelings onto the spirits and assumed they were doing what he thought ought to be done subconsciously, that is, remove the medication. I’m not trying to denigrate him, I’m just saying to take his perspective with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Personally, if I was to take a wild guess as to what was happening there, I would say the spirits were trying to adjust the medication to try and help influence the person’s illness. Because yeah, not all medication works all the time. So the spirits may have been trying to help, but they weren’t necessarily causing the illness. But hey, that’s my personal opinon. Let’s keep going.

In the Dagara tradition, the community helps the person reconcile the energies of both worlds–”the world of the spirit that he or she is merged with, and the village and community.” That person is able then to serve as a bridge between the worlds and help the living with information and healing they need. Thus, the spiritual crisis ends with the birth of another healer. “The other world’s relationship with our world is one of sponsorship,” Dr. Somé explains. “More often than not, the knowledge and skills that arise from this kind of merger are a knowledge or a skill that is provided directly from the other world.”

Uhm, okay. Why is he mingling the roles of a healer and a messenger? They’re kind of different specialties. Furthermore, this is all based upon his specific world-view. And as a polytheist, I believe that there can be many different world views, and many can be true and correct all at the same time- for different deities.His world-view may not apply to, say, Asatru deities or Egyptian ones. Just saying. Moving along…

The beings who were increasing the pain of the inmates on the mental hospital ward were actually attempting to merge with the inmates in order to get messages through to this world.

Allegedly this is what the spirits were doing. Allegedly. Not all UPG can be true, and we must take it with a healthy dose of salt. So allegedly, this is what the spirits were doing. My spirits have been quite content with my medication, and urged me to take it, thank you very much. … Also, ‘merge’, what are these spirits, body-snatchers? Spirits are not supposed to ‘merge’ with another soul. Every soul is unique and stands alone. This is his world-view, but certainly not mine. Spirits, according to me, do no such ‘merging’. They can stand by our sides and talk to us politely, thank you very much, they know how.

The people they had chosen to merge with were getting no assistance in learning how to be a bridge between the worlds and the beings’ attempts to merge were thwarted.

Well if these spirits were indeed there, why didn’t they try another method? Tarot cards? Crystal balls? Tea leaves? For crying out loud, spirits are intelligent, autonomous beings that can change their ways. If they saw that their efforts were landing their chosen humans into the psychiatric ward and plunging them into distress, why didn’t they stop?

The result was the sustaining of the initial disorder of energy and the aborting of the birth of a healer.

I just want to point out the dramatic language here. ‘Aborting of… a healer’. As if it is some sort of death for someone to get treatment and proper care.

“The Western culture has consistently ignored the birth of the healer,” [Again, this must be why we have n so thing as Wicca and esoterism here, (sarcasm)] states Dr. Somé. “Consequently, there will be a tendency from the other world to keep trying as many people as possible in an attempt to get somebody’s attention. They have to try harder.” The spirits are drawn to people whose senses have not been anesthetized. “The sensitivity is pretty much read as an invitation to come in,” he notes.

Waiiit a minute. So the spirit moves from one person to another. If the spirit leaves, then why isn’t the person cured after that? This makes no sense considering that mental illnesses are long-term conditions, not something someone cures themselves from like the flu. Furthermore, these spirits sound pretty damned rude, hopping from one person to another and trying the same old methods that they know produce harm. Spirits are intelligent, peoples! They can change their ways!

Those who develop so-called mental disorders are those who are sensitive, which is viewed in Western culture as oversensitivity. Indigenous cultures don’t see it that way and, as a result, sensitive people don’t experience themselves as overly sensitive. In the West, “it is the overload of the culture they’re in that is just wrecking them,” observes Dr. Somé. The frenetic pace, the bombardment of the senses, and the violent energy that characterize Western culture can overwhelm sensitive people.

Argl. Repeat after me. Sensitivity is not equal to mental illness. One is mental wellness, the other is mental illness. They are not the same thing. Period. Also, mental illness occurs across all historical periods and nations. It is not, as the author carelessly implied, a ‘Western’ problem. Yes, Western culture is not perfect but NO, it is not the root cause of mental illness.

Schizophrenia and Foreign Energy

With schizophrenia, there is a special “receptivity to a flow of images and information, which cannot be controlled,” stated Dr. Somé. “When this kind of rush occurs at a time that is not personally chosen, and particularly when it comes with images that are scary and contradictory, the person goes into a frenzy.”

No, it does not always cause a ‘frenzy’, thank you very much. What about catatonic schizophrenia? And of course, let’s focus only upon schizophrenia when there is a whole field of mental disorders out there.

What is required in this situation is first to separate the person’s energy from the extraneous foreign energies, by using shamanic practice (what is known as a “sweep”) to clear the latter out of the individual’s aura. With the clearing of their energy field, the person no longer picks up a flood of information and so no longer has a reason to be scared and disturbed, explains Dr. Somé.

The person is not always ‘scared and disturbed’! They can feel euphoric, ecstatic, ‘in tune’ with the universe!

Then it is possible to help the person align with the energy of the spirit being attempting to come through from the other world and give birth to the healer. The blockage of that emergence is what creates problems. “The energy of the healer is a high-voltage energy,” he observes. “When it is blocked, it just burns up the person. It’s like a short-circuit. Fuses are blowing. This is why it can be really scary, and I understand why this culture prefers to confine these people. Here they are yelling and screaming, and they’re put into a straitjacket. That’s a sad image.” Again, the shamanic approach is to work on aligning the energies so there is no blockage, “fuses” aren’t blowing, and the person can become the healer they are meant to be.

Yelling and screaming? This is stigma! It does not reflect many experiences of schizophrenia!

It needs to be noted at this point, however, that not all of the spirit beings that enter a person’s energetic field are there for the purposes of promoting healing. There are negative energies as well, which are undesirable presences in the aura. In those cases, the shamanic approach is to remove them from the aura, rather than work to align the discordant energies

Oh really? I would say any spirit causing harm and/or not being respectful needs to be removed! And can I point out that at this point, the theory is either to absorb the spirit or exorcise it? Can I point out that personally this has never worked for me, and that quite often when a person is having an episode there are no intrusive spirits present? If this theory were true, a good smudging/exorcism ritual would do the trick. Here’s a hint: it does not work that way. I have tried and no, smudging does not work any better than a placebo.

Alex: Crazy in the USA, Healer in Africa

To test his belief that the shamanic view of mental illness holds true in the Western world as well as in indigenous cultures, Dr. Somé took a mental patient back to Africa with him, to his village. “I was prompted by my own curiosity to find out whether there’s truth in the universality that mental illness could be connected with an alignment with a being from another world,” says Dr. Somé.

in the Western world as well as in indigenous cultures” what- are we fundamentally different and he needed to prove we were similar?! This is ridiculous.

Alex was an 18-year-old American who had suffered a psychotic break when he was 14. He had hallucinations, was suicidal, and went through cycles of dangerously severe depression. He was in a mental hospital and had been given a lot of drugs, but nothing was helping. “The parents had done everything–unsuccessfully,” says Dr. Somé. “They didn’t know what else to do.”

With their permission, Dr. Somé took their son to Africa. “After eight months there, Alex had become quite normal, Dr. Somé reports. He was even able to participate with healers in the business of healing; sitting with them all day long and helping them, assisting them in what they were doing with their clients . . . . He spent about four years in my village.” Alex stayed by choice, not because he needed more healing. He felt, “much safer in the village than in America.”

To bring his energy and that of the being from the spiritual realm into alignment, Alex went through a shamanic ritual designed for that purpose, although it was slightly different from the one used with the Dagara people. “He wasn’t born in the village, so something else applied. But the result was similar, even though the ritual was not literally the same,” explains Dr. Somé. The fact that aligning the energy worked to heal Alex demonstrated to Dr. Somé that the connection between other beings and mental illness is indeed universal.

Or rather, as someone who also traveled to Africa (Uganda) to try and heal, here’s another version of what happened. Mental illnesses have ups and downs. Calmed by the slow pace and less rigorous life style that was void of any past triggers, Alex relaxed. The flare of symptoms may have gone down to an unnoticeable level regarding such a lifestyle. My symptoms seemed lesser in Uganda, because less was expected of me. My confusion was far less noticeable because I was no longer expected to do math. The slower pace of life also allowed me more time to do my things, which again made my confusion seem less present. Did my symptoms go away though? No. They seemed better because the framework against which I was held was looser. This is what I believe happened to Alex.

After the ritual, Alex began to share the messages that the spirit being had for this world. Unfortunately, the people he was talking to didn’t speak English (Dr. Somé was away at that point). The whole experience led, however, to Alex’s going to college to study psychology. He returned to the United States after four years because “he discovered that all the things that he needed to do had been done, and he could then move on with his life.”

The last that Dr. Somé heard was that Alex was in graduate school in psychology at Harvard. No one had thought he would ever be able to complete undergraduate studies, much less get an advanced degree.

Oh Mah Gawds! A person with a mental illness succeeding! Quick, that must mean he is healed! Because there is no such thing as a successful or academic person with mental illness! Or… er… he is a successful person with a mental illness? There are lawyers who are schizophrenic. It doesn’t make them any less sick, it just means they are coping well. Read between the lines here people. Alex’s flare went down (as can happen with mental illnesses, there are ups and downs) and he went on to being successful. Was he ‘cured’? There is no mention of him no longer having schizophrenic symptoms. He was simply successful. Did he still hear voices and have delusions? Very possibly.

Dr. Somé sums up what Alex’s mental illness was all about: “He was reaching out. It was an emergency call. His job and his purpose was to be a healer. He said no one was paying attention to that.”

After seeing how well the shamanic approach worked for Alex, Dr. Somé concluded that spirit beings are just as much an issue in the West as in his community in Africa. “Yet the question still remains, the answer to this problem must be found here, instead of having to go all the way overseas to seek the answer. There has to be a way in which a little bit of attention beyond the pathology of this whole experience leads to the possibility of coming up with the proper ritual to help people.”

Longing for Spiritual Connection

A common thread that Dr. Somé has noticed in “mental” disorders in the West is “a very ancient ancestral energy that has been placed in stasis, that finally is coming out in the person.” His job then is to trace it back, to go back in time to discover what that spirit is. In most cases, the spirit is connected to nature, especially with mountains or big rivers, he says.

In the case of mountains, as an example to explain the phenomenon, “it’s a spirit of the mountain that is walking side by side with the person and, as a result, creating a time-space distortion that is affecting the person caught in it.” What is needed is a merger or alignment of the two energies, “so the person and the mountain spirit become one.” Again, the shaman conducts a specific ritual to bring about this alignment.

Alignment? Merging? What is this, a case of possession?Ancestral spirits are ancestral spirits, nature spirits are nature spirits. To merge with spirits is like an invasion of the soul. I completely disagree on this from a personl, UPG perspective. And yes, that is personal, but yes, I am still going to disagree on this point. I find it silly. I believe spirits are distinct, autonomous, and do not merge. Period. Energies can be exchanged, but that is not the same thing as ‘merging’ as he so speaks of.

Dr. Somé believes that he encounters this situation so often in the United States because “most of the fabric of this country is made up of the energy of the machine, and the result of that is the disconnection and the severing of the past. You can run from the past, but you can’t hide from it.” The ancestral spirit of the natural world comes visiting.

Well great, this should not be a problem for Wiccans, who are used to dealing with the natural spirits, invoking them and … whta’s that? Wiccans still have mental illnesses? Mental illnesses were there in ancient times when we were mythically (Pseudo-historically) ‘in tune’ with nature? Oh, bummer. So I guess it’s not about nature then, is it?

“It’s not so much what the spirit wants as it is what the person wants,” he says. “The spirit sees in us a call for something grand, something that will make life meaningful, and so the spirit is responding to that.”

Way to blame the fucking victim. What he basically said is ‘you wanted it, so you got it’. Wow. Thanks dude. Here’s an idea: STOP BLAMING VICTIMS. Plenty of people try and reach out to nature without calling a mental illness upon themselves. If this were true then every spiritual person would be having a mental illness, which is simply not the case!

That call, which we don’t even know we are making, reflects “a strong longing for a profound connection, a connection that transcends materialism and possession of things and moves into a tangible cosmic dimension. Most of this longing is unconscious, but for spirits, conscious or unconscious doesn’t make any difference.” They respond to either.

WOW! Just when I thought it couldn’t get better! More victim blaming iced onto the cake!

As part of the ritual to merge the mountain and human energy, those who are receiving the “mountain energy” are sent to a mountain area of their choice, where they pick up a stone that calls to them. They bring that stone back for the rest of the ritual and then keep it as a companion; some even carry it around with them. “The presence of the stone does a lot in tuning the perceptive ability of the person,” notes Dr. Somé. “They receive all kinds of information that they can make use of, so it’s like they get some tangible guidance from the other world as to how to live their life.”

When it is the “river energy,” those being called go to the river and, after speaking to the river spirit, find a water stone to bring back for the same kind of ritual as with the mountain spirit.

“People think something extraordinary must be done in an extraordinary situation like this,” he says. That’s not usually the case. Sometimes it is as simple as carrying a stone.

You know, that does sound like a lovely ritual. But what do we do if it doesn’t work?

A Sacred Ritual Approach to Mental Illness

One of the gifts a shaman can bring to the Western world is to help people rediscover ritual, which is so sadly lacking.

WOW, again. As if Muslim, Catholic, Neo-pagan, Wiccans, and Buddhists have no rituals whatsoever. That’s it y’all, shamans hold the key to the spirit world, they’re the only ones who know the truth, even though academically we can’t even agree upon what a shaman even is, and they all believe vastly different things and perform vastly different rituals. Just- bullshit. Alright? There’s plenty of rituals in the Western world, and no, we do not need shamans to guide us. We have our priests, priestesses, Imams, and monks.

“The abandonment of ritual can be devastating. From the spiritual view, ritual is inevitable and necessary if one is to live,” Dr. Somé writes in Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community. “To say that ritual is needed in the industrialized world is an understatement. We have seen in my own people that it is probably impossible to live a sane life without it.”

Sane?! Wow, this is just a *teensy * bit discriminatory. So what if some of us are leading ‘insane’ lives? And atheists, are they insane? Atheism is not a mental illness, thanks. The hollowness of a lack of religion is not the same thing as a mental illness. Plus, people have fully functional religious lives AND serious mental illnesses. The two are not exclusive!

Dr. Somé did not feel that the rituals from his traditional village could simply be transferred to the West, so over his years of shamanic work here, he has designed rituals that meet the very different needs of this culture. Although the rituals change according to the individual or the group involved, he finds that there is a need for certain rituals in general.

Argh. Again, we have rituals.

One of these involves helping people discover that their distress is coming from the fact that they are “called by beings from the other world to cooperate with them in doing healing work.” Ritual allows them to move out of the distress and accept that calling.

All the mentally ill are healers? Or just the schizophrenics? Also- what if this fails? Plenty of people have tried the ‘spiritual’ path of integrating with their mental illness’ symptoms. It fails. Spoiler alert to my whole blog: been there, done that, no success. Not even a shred thereof, and I can channel energy and be pretty damned psychic. So what then? Here’s the problem with this world-view: it does not allow for the reality that I (and many others) experiences of spirituality NOT being the answer to mental illness and that medication allows us to lead normal lives. That’s why this view is flawed, y’all. It’s not a case of the ghostbusters, it’s a case for medication.

Another ritual need relates to initiation. In indigenous cultures all over the world, young people are initiated into adulthood when they reach a certain age. The lack of such initiation in the West is part of the crisis that people are in here, says Dr. Somé. He urges communities to bring together “the creative juices of people who have had this kind of experience, in an attempt to come up with some kind of an alternative ritual that would at least begin to put a dent in this kind of crisis.”

Uhm… there is a lack of ‘coming of age’ markers in Western culture… but this has nothing to do with mental illness. Mental wellness maybe. Illness though, no. Big difference y’all.

Another ritual that repeatedly speaks to the needs of those coming to him for help entails making a bonfire, and then putting into the bonfire “items that are symbolic of issues carried inside the individuals . . . It might be the issues of anger and frustration against an ancestor who has left a legacy of murder and enslavement or anything, things that the descendant has to live with,” he explains. “If these are approached as things that are blocking the human imagination, the person’s life purpose, and even the person’s view of life as something that can improve, then it makes sense to begin thinking in terms of how to turn that blockage into a roadway that can lead to something more creative and more fulfilling.”

Ermahgerd! A basic ritual format! Did he not notice that this is performed commonly within Wicca? Did you really not notice the heaps upon heaps of Western esoteric practitioners chanting ‘let the negativity go, embrace the light’? Or did you just think Westerners had no actual spiritual practices…. Oh right, that’s the flawed basis for this article.

The example of issues with an ancestors touches on rituals designed by Dr. Somé that address a serious dysfunction in Western society and in the process “trigger enlightenment” in participants. These are ancestral rituals, and the dysfunction they are aimed at is the mass turning-of-the-back on ancestors. Some of the spirits trying to come through, as described earlier, may be “ancestors who want to merge with a descendant in an attempt to heal what they weren’t able to do while in their physical body.”

“Unless the relationship between the living and the dead is in balance, chaos ensues,” he says. “The Dagara believe that, if such an imbalance exists, it is the duty of the living to heal their ancestors. If these ancestors are not healed, their sick energy will haunt the souls and psyches of those who are responsible for helping them.” The rituals focus on healing the relationship with our ancestors, both specific issues of an individual ancestor and the larger cultural issues contained in our past. Dr. Somé has seen extraordinary healing occur at these rituals.

Okay Westerners, NEWSFLASH! Ghosts exist! Oh wait what? You already knew that? You all know someone who sees ghosts? Okay, nevermind then.

Dude! How many times do I have to say that Westerners have their own beliefs? That Catholics have prayers for the dead in purgatory, that many mediums will channel ancestors and bring in the white light for angry ones and what have you? It’s there! We even have TV shows about mediums, for crying out loud!

Taking a sacred ritual approach to mental illness rather than regarding the person as a pathological case gives the person affected–and indeed the community at large–the opportunity to begin looking at it from that vantage point too, which leads to “a whole plethora of opportunities and ritual initiative that can be very, very beneficial to everyone present,” states. Dr. Somé.

Here’s a different perspective. Denying the biological roots and victim-blaming is bad enough. Do we need to get the whole community involved? In that case, it becomes bullying and may cause an unhealthy amount of pressure upon the person. We need to realize that mental illness exists. We need to give the mentally ill support, yes, but also some fucking privacy. It’s no one else’s business how my day goes. It’s my own choice if I want to talk about my hallucinations. Does that mean anyone else in my community is impacted by my private biological affairs? NO! We would not say the same thing about recognizably biological illnesses, so why inflict this view upon those with mental illness who already suffer from peer pressure to perform as well as neuro-typical people do?

Excerpted from:  The Natural Medicine Guide to Schizophrenia Chapter 9), and The Natural Medicine Guide to Bipolar Disorder (Chapter 10). Stephanie Marohn.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to replace medical care.  You need to consult your doctor regarding any change in your medication. The author and publisher disclaim any responsibility for how you choose to employ the information in this books and the result or consequences of any of the treatments covered. 

My Disclaimer: Here’s another idea- if your article is urging people even subliminally to get away from their precious and life-saving medical care- then maybe it doesn’t need to be published. K, thanks, we suffer enough discrimination already, we didn’t need it to be shoved in our face from so-called ‘spiritual’ people.

Feeling Good is not always Doing Good

I’ve been slow on posting to this blog lately, and not for no reason. I’ve been uninspired. Simply put, I’ve been receding into a cocoon and although I feel good- I am not doing so good mentally.

Let me put it this way. It feels great to cocoon. There is little that goes through my mind as I embroider, knit, and still my mind. Escapism led me to it, and now I am happily entrenched in a void through which nothing passes and no pain happens.

It’s not healthy. It’s not wise to stay in here. First of all, I feel weird. Like my brain isn’t doing anything and can’t do anything. Instead of feeling unhinged, I’m feeling more unenlightened. Second of all, my writing projects and similar life projects are suffering from it.

So how does one fix this? After having my wife lovingly give me a shove in the form of advice, I took myself out for a walk today. Ugh. It was not as painful as it was sweaty and anxiety-inducing, but I did it anyways. On the walk, I decided that I was going to break my mental stillness (woe is me! Good-bye to the peaceful pond of my mind!) and keep getting invested in my blog.

After all, it is not from a lack of material that I’ve stagnated. It’s simply a lack of motion. I have not finished saying what I have to say. I’ll probably be an ancient croak and still be typing from my little soapbox about mental illness being real. But I have stagnated and now it’s time to shake up these waters. Maybe install a fountain in the form of a routine to keep things moving.

So here it is folks! I am going to try and do research! Mental illness and religion, here, I, COME!

Haha… now to choose topics and actually do it… a whole lot less dramatic. I think I know which one I am going to be doing first (let’s start with the hardest, why don’t we?) but I would love to hear from y’all about what topics you’d like researched. Patron saints of mental illness? Prayers for mental illness? Let me know!!!