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Paganism and Depression
Posted on the "Depression and Spirituality
" forum at Wing
Wed, May 16, 2001.
Posted by another forum member:
I'm a Neo-Pagan, and wonder if there are any others like
me on the board. I'm a solitary pratictioner. Following the Lord and
Lady is not a path for the faint of heart, and the depression is creating
static even in my relationship with Them. I know They are there, but
I can't seem to concentrate enough to actually do rituals or even participate
in Circles. So much energy goes into carrying this that I don't have
energy to spare. Any other Pagans going through similar?
'm a Wiccan and have been for 22 years. I've also suffered from clinical
depression on and off for most of my life. I know what you mean about
lacking the energy or concentration ability to do rituals when depressed.
I also often feel that if I'm having a hard time I shouldn't participate
in group rituals because I'll just bring everyone else down. And I've
experienced the feeling that the Gods don't care about me or are disappointed
in me, or that I just can't connect with them at all.
I think that often the times when we feel least able to connect with
the Gods are the times when we most need to. I know sometimes when I'm
depressed I avoid ritual and even skip or rush through the small daily
devotions I would normally do. And I will often end up feeling a certain
tension due to that -- I'll find myself continually glancing over to
my Danu shrine and it will seem almost as if it, and She, are glaring
at me accusingly. But when I can manage to force myself to go the shrine,
or to ritual, and open up and let the Gods know what I'm going through,
it helps A LOT.
than once when I've finally done it, I've ended up collapsing in tears
in front of my shrine and sometimes not even been able to speak coherently,
and just found myself repeating over and over "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
as if I felt I had to apologize for my very existence or at least for
not turning out to be the person I somehow felt they expected me to
be. In the immediate present it sometimes seems to make things worse
instead of better -- it brings me face to face with one of the most
painful areas for me, the feeling that I've somehow failed as a witch
or a priestess by still suffering from depression.
once I have poured all that out, I end up feeling as though a huge weight
has been lifted off me, or as if an infected wound has been opened up
and allowed to drain in order that it can start to heal. And in place
of the rejection or judgement I expect, the feeling I get from the Gods
is one of compassion, sadness for what I'm going through, but most of
don't believe that the Gods are all-powerful or that they can wave a
magic wand and make depression go away. But they can help us to deal
with it -- if we let them. I think one of the most poisonous lies ever
to infiltrate the pagan community is the idea that it is wrong to bring
"negative" emotions like sadness and anger before the Gods. They created
us as we are, flawed human beings with good and bad qualities and the
capacity for both joy and pain. And the balance between the light and
dark is integral to Wicca. I don't think the Gods expect us to be perfect
or to pretend to be, or to be always happy. I think what they require
from us most of all is honesty, and the courage to face up to being
who we are.
you don't feel up to doing formal ritual when you're in the midst of
a bad episode of depression, then don't. Formal ritual isn't necessarily
what you need, anyway. But do try to make some kind of contact with
the Gods. It may be difficult when you're feeling as if your whole life
is one big failure and you couldn't possibly be anything other than
an embarrassment to them. But difficult doesn't mean it's not worth
doing. You are as much a child of the Gods in your darkest times as
in your brightest, and you don't ever need to feel afraid or ashamed
of coming before them as you are.
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