Note: I’m finally off the road for a little bit and will be resuming my (roughly) weekly posting schedule
I am sitting here and trying to find a way to open this post without engaging in self-indulgent melodrama.
I will confess that I briefly considered hiding behind florid and descriptive prose, or perhaps even a spot of poetry, and in truth, those mediums lend themselves exceedingly well to my current situation. However, from me they would represent a cop-out, a way to express feeling without substance. Not that I don’t believe in the value of both descriptive prose and poetry, see Surfacing, or In the Land of My Birth if you think that I only value analytically writing.
The problem I’m facing, is that (melodrama ALERT) I feel like I’ve lost my sense of Self and purpose. The irony of this post coming just about a year after Lessons From a Plastic Bracelet is not lost on me, I assure you.
I identify as a shaman, magician, spirit-worker, and god-slave. But I feel like I have no idea what that means for me anymore. For the first time in my adult life, I find myself without a concrete sense of purpose or a meaningful connection to the divine.
Don’t get me wrong, the Lady hasn’t cut me off. I am still aware of Her presence, although everyone who works with Her has found Her somewhat distant and preoccupied of late. My magic hasn’t failed me either. Particularly now that we’ve entered Fall, I can feel power sing in my veins and crackle along my nerves with as much vibrancy as ever. The paths through Death aren’t closed to me; my employee pass to the Akashic records is still good; and my faith and belief remains fundamentally strong. (whoa, wandered into melodrama territory again, my bad)
Yet I am lost.
I’m a Spirit-worker, and I’ve always said that the 2nd half of that title is at least as important as the first. I work with Spirit in its myriad forms, but lately I’ve been feeling uninspired and unemployed. There just hasn’t been Work for me to do. I look at many of my colleagues and friends, even those who are being ridden hard by the gods, and can’t help but feel a measure of envy at their Purpose and the clear(ish) path they are on. I understand that at this point in my journey I have to make my own way. it is the blessing and the curse of serving my Mistress.
As I sit at my desk at our new home in Maine, the Lady’s sword remains safe in the case we moved it in. Her altar is set up, but I don’t think there have been more than one or two offerings since the move. This has far more to do with the altar being wrong than any conflict with Her. Fire and I have known for months now that the altar needed to change, as it has remained essentially unchanged for a very long time. We are different people now and the Clan is in a different spiritual place, but for all that we know it’s wrong now, we are at a loss for how it should be.
The bulk of our magical tools remain in boxes as well, and my oldest and most beloved magical and shamanic tool came to a bitter end a few weeks ago. My very first singing bowl, the one that has carried me through every ritual since my pre-apprentice days, through magical combat, cleansings that took every ounce of strength Fire, I, and our circle could draw forth, healing spells, deity possession rites, journeys into the underworld, and countless other moments of power, broke cleanly in half a few weeks ago during a routine cleansing for someone else’s ritual. Ever aware of the importance of keeping up appearances, I didn’t even get a chance to cry over its loss, and now can’t summon up the emotions needed to do so. (ah, there’s that gothy shit again, sorry)
We have scouted the lovely woods around our new home, where we are clearly meant to be, and have a concept for how a new vrescht would work, but this land doesn’t need us. Where we were in NH did, but we left our Work there unfinished, retreating in failure in the face of a challenge beyond our skills. It is possible that we are here precisely because this land doesn’t need us, but will nurture and sustain us to go into the places that do, but we haven’t found those places yet.
I have little contact with other spirit-workers these days. The budding community of several years ago collapsed under the weight of egos, busy schedules, and conflicting concepts of deity. Our involvement with Asphodel likewise is a distant shadow of what it once was. We need to develop a sense of ourselves as a Clan and we know that we are supposed to begin offering public rituals and act as lynchpins of community at some, as yet undefined point in the future.
Several months ago I wrote about my budding Work with Baphomet, which has the potential to shock me back into gear, but I am at a loss for how to proceed even in that. I try to be open to the messages of the gods, but the line usually remains quiet. (oops, drifting towards movie of the week territory again)
I know that there are going to be those who say that I need to just “buckle down and do the Work.” The thing is that I honestly don’t know what that looks like at this point. There have been moments where I know I lost my way, or failed tests of faith or power, but I challenge any other spirit-worker who can’t say the same. This isn’t about not wanting to do the Work, this is about not having Work to do. Having experienced both, I find this immeasurably worse.
I fought long and hard for my skills and titles. I sacrificed a lot more dreams than I got to experience, and now it feels like I’m sitting on the bench wondering if the game is ever going to start back up. It is a terribly unpleasant way to feel. (hooray for queer boys using sports metaphors)
There are a great many people whose lives I know that I have touched in a positive and meaningful way. But rarely these days does someone come to me with a problem that only a shaman or only a magician can address. It’s not that I love exorcising haunted houses, journeying into Death to guide a spirit onward, or building shielding spells for people in apartment buildings, but I’m damn good at all those things. Likewise, I’m pretty awesome at writing and running rituals (well, getting better at the running thing), yet I have been to few of late.
I know that I am in the midst of what the Christians (and others) refer to as a Dark Night of the Soul, and like the night itself, I know that it will come to an end. But I am spirit-worker who isn’t doing his job, and the sooner I can get back to Work the happier I’ll be. Even if the Work sucks deep-fried demon balls, and when that happens I’ll write about it (again).