so...seasonal affective disorder, and the January blues. it usually hits me right between Halloween and Truthsgiving, which is the most current, Native-American-centered term I am familiar with for the day many citizens of Amerikkka celebrate during the month of November to commemorate the colonizing of the land that government holds. the combination of the decreasing light, and this horrific practice happening all around me (not to mention the implications of the toxic-turkey-trade), in combination with my feelings of isolation in being estranged from family and not generally having anyone to gather with in community regardless of the reason, has been bringing me down hard and fast for nigh on 20 years, now. some people get their winter blues later in the season, in January, when the winter holidays are over, and the relative hardships of the winter wear them down. I'm generally feeling better by then, as the light increases after the solstice, and the sun begins to move into my astrological sign, but whenever the winter blues hit, or SAD is making you sad, there are ways to nurture yourself through it.
- taking 1000 IU's of vitamin D2 (plant-based) or D3 (animal-based) daily
- staying warm with layered clothing, hot baths, saunas, warm foods & drinks
- light therapy - taking walks outside around noon, getting a light box, or a light therapy lamp
- getting up early in the day to 'set your inner clock'
- eating well of proteins and veggies, increasing probiotics (yogurt) and omega-3's (oily fish, walnuts, flax/hemp/chia seeds), cooking hearty soups & stews while avoiding processed foods, dairy, and carbohydrates
- exercising is one of the healthiest ways to boost your mood - doing it outside in the sunlight is an added bonus this time of year
- staying active and involved - being social is really hard when all we want to do is hibernate under a blanket and go to sleep until spring
- keeping a positive mindset through meditation, and practicing gratitude
- sleeping well - just like it's healthy to be in sunlight during the day, it's important for your body to be in the dark at night, so try to keep the bedroom free of electronics, and also slightly cool
- use bergamot, lavender, and rose essential oils in a diffuser, add them to your bathwater, combine them with coconut or olive oil and wear them, or simply sniff them for a lift!
I began my process at the autumnal equinox this year, having heard a call from Erishkigal - Sumerian Queen of the Underworld - back in the summer. she seems to be with me on my journey this season, and I'm ready to learn what she has to teach me. I first met her back when I was just a baby-occultist, discovering the wonders of more ancient wisdom than I previously knew existed, written in language and symbols that were somehow familiar to a young Jewish seeker. she is connected to, or associated with, Lilith, who - as the daughter of a feminist Jew - I have known since my childhood, and was my first representation of a deity outside of the Jewish 'god'. of course I had some glancing familiarity with Greek and Roman mythology, as one will pick up in public school, but as a teen on the edge of puberty, who had either just - or was about to - become immersed in tarot, my gateway to the occult, I was thirsty for what looked an awful lot like forbidden knowledge. so I went as far back as I could find texts to our earliest written memories - to Mesopotamia, Sumer, and Babylon, where I met my Queen of the Underworld.
|Erishkigal by Thalia Took|
in the years following, I spent more time meeting with and learning from aspects of my various selves as they appeared over the course of history, as well as the triple-goddess-nature of the pagan/wiccan/celtic traditions, maiden/mother/crone. young journeyers that we were, my coven and I, we added a fourth aspect to our goddess-devotions to suit our needs - the warrior aspect - as many of us felt we were no longer innocent naive young girls, yet nowhere near ready to take on roles as mothers, or start bearing children. my incantations during those years of my adulthood invoked the feminine in a variety of her guises and forms: Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna. later I met Ariadne, in her labyrinth, whose story bears some resemblances to her divine ancestor, in her role as a Dark Goddess, a Mistress of the Underworld. bulls, the number 7, a little sister, a consort, sacrifice, isolation, an eventual romantic partnership, and a certain sensuality. she called out to me then, asked me to help tell her story, which I did, and still do.
|Ariadne - the Snake Goddess|
from there, my devotions turned towards the Shekinah of the Hebrew Kabbalah, the divine feminine aspect of the Absolute, and to the Prime or Creative Source...whatever you call the Oneness we all come from. I often send devotions towards the moon in my personal rituals during her monthly transitions, as an aspect of the divine feminine, as well, though most other directions in which I send energy I think of as non-gendered, and more at cardinal points, spaces in time, or like a 'cosmic pool of collective love', if you will. I've made a glancing acquaintance with Sara Kali, who is a Romani saint, and a Black Madonna, but I don't know much about her, and she isn't really part of my personal tradition, but I like to give her a nod for her possible place in my ancestors' past. this time of year, this year in particular I suppose, that oldest of Goddesses is asking me to see her again, to maybe find something of the wonder of that young girl who first found that forbidden fruit in the dusty back corner of the library. it goes along with doing a bit of the reclaimation of a lost or long hidden Self that I've either written about before, or meant to write about, or have a draft of somewhere. sometimes it's frustrating to not have a community to practice with, but that goes right to the heart of the matter of the season, and going back to a more pure and simple kind of solitary practice. to light the candles on my altar with intention, and breath new life into my inner practice.
|Ereshkigal. (JasonEngle/ Deviant Art)|
she called to me
come down to me
visit with me
in my kingdom
come to me
in my kingdom
where I will take
hang your empty
on a hook
in my domain
and I must
before I go
and puzzle out
what I'm willing
to take my place
in her kingdom
while I'm gone
in the world
|The Queen of the Night (the 'Burney Relief') - Inanna (Ishtar)/Ereshkigal/Lilith|
most recently, I've been learning more about Maa Kali, and Maa Durga...and I think there are some parallels to be drawn from them, as well, but I need to research further to know for sure. I'll be spending some time with these powerful energies as we move closer and closer to the darkest days of our year, and seeing what wisdom they allow me to drag back out into the light, and what I have to give up for it along the way.
just for fun, here's my horoscope for the week, because it's on point, and mentions one of my favorite poets:
"In one of his poems, Arthur Rimbaud extolled the exquisite evenings when the mist soaked his face as he strolled, and he sipped that heavenly dew till he was drunk. Was he speaking literally or metaphorically? Probably both, if i know Rimbaud. Anyway, Aquarius, I'd love for you to engage in similar exploits. What are some natural adventures that might intoxicate you? What simple pleasures may alter your consciousness, nudging you free of its habits? Meditate with sweet abandon on how to free yourself through the power of play and the imagination." - Rob Breszny, Free Will Astrology