RECLAIMING MY POWER: My Battle With Mental Illness

Mental

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

It’s no secret that the more personal I am on my blog the greater my personal gain is.

It’s almost like the deeper the wound and redder the blood the more the Gods take note and I start to reap the benefits of intense Shadow Work.

I don’t believe that the Gods are rewarding me, per se, but I do believe there is a correlation between facing oneself, speaking one’s truth and gaining freedom.

Real freedom.

The kind that can only be won by going to war with yourself.

You will know it when you experience it.

And the Universe will bow at your glory.

As much as I love writing, and love what I do, it’s hard work. It’s hard to sit down and face myself, face my thoughts, and my reflection.

It’s even more complicated when there are two sides to my being, and a constant battle raging internally.

You see, I have mental illness.

And it’s my belief that this is more a gift than curse.

I do not run from my madness anymore, and the reason for that is my practice and Shamanism (no, I am not on the Shaman path).

It was only through losing my mind that I gained any type of real perspective on life, the world or myself.

I ran into article after article, and book after book about the Shamanistic view of mental illness; the words that I read gave me power.

More than that, they granted me permission to take my power back.

I always knew I was different, such a cliché overused sentence but it really can’t be described any other way.

Although, I was able to lead a normal life until I was 25; I worked a normal job, at times I worked two jobs, and had a very active social life.

Then it all came to a screeching halt.

I have always been able to see beyond the veil and Spirits; my sight has always been available to me. I was a practicing Witch for many years, but I did not blossom until I died.

And that’s exactly what happened, I died.

Death

The old me did, anyway.

The whole mental breakdown itself happened pretty quickly and it caught not only me but my family by surprise. My Mom was the main witness to my “switch being turned on”. She said my aura changed, and I began to “vibrate” with a “dark matter”. She has even noted that my eyes, and facial features changed.

This switch of mine is usually hit because of emotional stresses, but it can be caused by low blood sugar (hangry!), anger which is more like rage, and because my fight or flight was tripped. If I am threatened that button is absolutely going to be hit.

I have come to call it my trauma trigger.

My trauma trigger is survival mode, it’s how I have survived for so long after all the abuse and pain I have experienced.

It reminds me of this quote by Ebonee Davis:

Ebonee

My mental illnesses showed up after I started to experience Chronic Pain, went through my hysterectomy and had a back injury.

Also, at the time I had recently gotten out of a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.

My life was a series of cataclysmic collisions of epic proportions.

In hindsight it seems that I experienced a soul wound because a piece of me left when I “woke up” to my true nature: chaos.

I compare myself and my world to Chaos because that’s what it is, that’s what I am;  yeah it sounds poetic but that’s really coincidence.

My mind is chaotic, my personality and my soul are too.

I am slightly neurotic, a perfectionist and obsessive about some things.

If my Cancer sun and Capricorn rising tell you anything it is that I am a contradiction, and there are literally two sides to me; I fight myself every second, of every day.

I admitted myself into a private mental health institute in 2010 and I wouldn’t change that experience, but I can tell you that I will never be locked up again.

After my little stay, I ended up being on 11 medication the ones I can remember are: Lithium, Adderrall, Risperidal, Klonopin, Minipress, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify and Gabapentin; I can’t remember the other 2. I only remember the number being 11 because when I started to “come back to self” I noticed that 11 was a prominent awakening number, and it was the Universe’s way of telling me to snap out of the sleep society put me in.

The signs are all around us, we must know where to look.

Those medications 8 years ago are why my thyroid has shut down and I have autoimmune issues now; the stress that the medications, along with my underlying health issues caused was too much for my body.

I have heavy amounts of a specific antibody in my blood now which causes a slew of health issues (Hashimoto’s).

I also have antibodies for what is known as “drug induced Lupus”. My Rheumotologist told me that I am not currently on any medication that would cause this, and he believes it is permanent damage from before.

Why am I telling this boring fucking story?

Because I am bringing my biggest demon to light and calling it out.

I am naming it and claiming it.

Once I do this, there is nothing that anyone can use against me.

And, I want people to know they aren’t alone battling their mental illness.

I want to remove stigmas.

I want people to know:

Mental illness doesn’t make you less than.

Mental illness doesn’t make you unworthy.

Mental illness doesn’t make you unlovable.

Mental illness does not define you.

Glass

My official diagnoses are BPD 2 (Bipolar Disorder 2), PTSD, ADHD, OCD, and Anxiety (Agoraphobia, General Anxiety and Social Anxiety).

I have done every type of therapy imaginable, and still to this day must manage myself with routine, coping skills, and mindfulness practices. My Spirituality has helped me tremendously as well.

Doctor’s didn’t help me, they drugged me and those poisons put in my body have damaged it permanently. I have been medication free, other than herbal supplements, for 5 years now.

Just because I do not (cannot) take medication does not mean I am anti-medication for everyone. I believe that modern medicine has its place, and I believe fully in the power of the right combination of medicine; it just wasn’t how my story was meant to be written.

When dealing with your health always listen to your body, always listen to your gut.

And, make sure you have an Advocate who can speak LOUDLY if necessary for you when/if Doctor’s and the system try to intimidate you.

Throughout the whole breakdown/awakening my life was in an uproar and I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt WORSE as time went by; then I started to become aware of the (serious) medication side effects.

The constant brain fog, sleep disturbances, weight gain, mood imbalances, etc. were unbearable.

I went through the worst withdrawal’s getting off those medications, and a majority were done at home. I did however seek out professional help for the benzo withdrawals because those are dangerous to come off alone.

My decision to detox at home was absolutely not a safe thing to do and I don’t recommend it, but the medical world had let me down, and I was not going to turn to them. I did my research, and then shut myself in my room and battled through; I had family around just in case.

And, again, I don’t recommend anyone going off their meds (it’s usually a sign of a manic episode to want to discontinue meds, but that was not the case for myself).

I let my Psychiatrist know what I was doing, after the fact, or well, during the act, but at that point there was not much he could do. I was never considered a threat to myself, or others, therefore I could not be forced to do anything. I was of sound mind and body.

My Doctor was the best, too.  He gave me a lot of my power back because it was through him that I found my way to discovering how mental illness is viewed in the Spiritual world.

If he had not pointed me in this direction I would be dead, and there is no doubt in my mind about that.

I didn’t write about this sooner because it’s a hard topic to talk about but also because I thought people would think less of me; that my word and wisdom would no longer be taken seriously (if it even is now) and all the negativity attached to mental illness would at once become attached to me, and that was a weight I could not bear.

So, I ran from it, but now I own it.

My mental illness does not define me; my power resides in my madness.

There is a fine line between sane and insane when it comes to this path, and I like to play jump rope with that line.

Two things I learned most from being mentally ill:

1. Change your perspective, change your life.

2. Crazy is relative.

Here is one of my favorite mental health articles:

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/08/shaman-sees-mental-hospital.html

Lessons in Magick: Accidental Casting

Mila Poirier

Image: Mila Poirier

“Such a simple concept, yet so true: that which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”

Garth Stein

Today’s topic is one that a lot of you will probably laugh at but I am hoping after reading this you will see how much truth there is to my crazy little theory.

I think most of us can agree that thoughts are intentions, and create manifestations in our lives.

We bring to us what is most like our current state.

If we vibrate with negativity we attract negativity, if we vibrate with love we attract love, if we vibrate with rage we attract rage; like attracts like, the most basic Law of Attraction.

Let me side track for one moment because I want to talk about the word manifestation.

It has become an overused, light worker associated term, when in reality it is anything but.

Manifestation is very real, and any true Adept knows this.

Yes, the new agers got ahold of the word and just like everything else they touch, they have made it fluffy.

But, manifestation is nothing more than the Law of Attraction in action, and it can have positive or negative effects; I would say that is far from “fluffy”.

It’s essentially the Eastern idea of Karma; meaning action.

In this context it’s our Will; our intentions ARE action.

We then can draw similarities to Newton’s Third Law: every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

And people say Science and Spirituality can’t coexist. They go hand in hand!

Carrying on…

Thoughts create reality, right?

Words are energy, they essentially manifest our intentions, they conjure our desires, right?

So would it be so far-fetched to say that accidental castings can happen?

Is it even further of a stretch to say that they happen quite often?

The term “Self-fulfilling prophecy” has stemmed from this concept of manifestation, or at least I believe it has.

The catch phrase itself means that we create our fate, in layman’s terms.

According to good ol’ Wikipedia it means “a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.”

I have personally only seen the term used, and witnessed the idea in action in a negative context, a self-sabotaging type of way, but I suppose it truly could be positive.

For those of us who live, breathe and exist in the world of Magick we become our craft and we are the most important, deadliest tool in our arsenal.

What we think, we create.

What we speak, manifests.

When these intentions, thoughts and emotions are paired with action and words, it creates a spell. The idea that one needs ritual or ceremony to cast is what gets people into trouble.

Magick at its core is really quite simple, and basic.

We are casting Magick every second of every day because we ARE Magick.

I have cast against myself without even knowing it, and I am not ashamed to admit that. I was not clear with my intentions and the excess energy conjured backfired in my face.

I have forgot to send Djinn back, and they ended up turning against me because they were bored.

Those are just two experiences of mine.

I have had plenty of hiccups, and fuck ups along the way, and anyone who says they have not, I question the validity of their Practices, their discipline, their passion and their will.

To become great one must know what it is to be weak.

To become a Magickian, to become an Adept we must play both master and slave to our Will (we must know both sides of the coin).

Otherwise it’s (our Will) ineffective towards another, and it’s ineffective at bringing to us what we desire.

Let me give another example of accidental casting.

A friend (not at all new to Magick) recently casted a variation of the Vodou Spell known as Expedition Mort against herself.

For those of you who are familiar with the spell (ceremony) you are probably wondering how this could happen, as Vodou is extremely devotional and ritualistic, but let me explain.

She had attended a funeral for her most Beloved friend,  a Soul with whom her connection will never cease to be; you could use the term “Twin Flame”.

It was a gut wrenching time for her, and is still.

At the wake she had put a letter in his hands to be buried with him, and took a rose from his coffin.

The exchange between the living and the dead (he holding her letter; her in possession of his coffin rose) blurred the lines between this world and the next.

Her thoughts were suicidal, and her intentions, even though they were subconscious, were to die so she could be with her love; therefore, she gained the attention of the dead.

The spell became effective within 36 hours and her life began to fall apart; ways to kill herself were swirling in her head, her dreams had become intense and we both could feel that death was around her and had come to collect.

The Spell gained momentum, and the activity became intensified when she visited his grave site, and some of the dirt from his plot lodged in the tread of her boots which she then brought into her home.

Generally speaking, deals with the dead are not reversible, but there are always loopholes.

She found the loophole and faced some minor consequence or “ripple”, but I suppose that is better than death, right?

All actions,  Magickal or otherwise, have consequences. As I said above, I don’t believe in a threefold law but actions do have reactions and sometimes that’s our cross to bear, so to speak.

If you are afraid of being held accountable for your actions, Magick is not for you.

Alternatively, if the fear of consequence holds you back from going after what you want, or using your Magick to the full extent of your abilities then the craft is most certainly not for you either.

 

Rantings of a Mad Witch: Bitchcraft

 

Steven Meisel

Image: Steven Meisel

“To me, a witch is a woman that is capable of letting her intuition take hold of her actions, that communes with her environment, that isn’t afraid of facing challenges.”

Paulo Coelho

I like to address hot topic issues within our community and world every chance I get because I think it helps to open a dialogue between opposing sides, or perhaps bring clarity to those who seem a bit clouded.

Today’s topic is going to be about the term “Bitchcraft”, recently in the American Horror Story: Coven season the term gained popularity amongst our own, before that it was being used by muggles to describe a passive aggressive Woman; now it needs to be put back on the shelves, never to be used again.

I am writing this post as a Witch, and Feminist, and I am passed the point of giving a fuck if those words scare you. They simply mean that I strive for equality, nothing more, nothing less, and they mean that I own my power, I claim myself, and no one can take that from me; individual sovereignty is the most amazing possession one can have, and in a “master/slave” world like this, it is one we must die searching for. Makes me think of Nietzsche:

 

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

 

Women (especially the female Witch) have been feared since the beginning, there is no exaggeration in this statement. We find the Goddess completely obliterated from any major historical story being taught today, only to be written off as myth, or dismissed all together. We had the Burning Times, and Salem Witch trials, currently have burning’s, and Women (and Men) being buried alive in certain countries in Africa.

It seems the only thing that scares people more than an empowered Woman, is an empowered Woman who has Magick, and the elements coursing through Her veins. This goes for my Brothers, too, and the Transgender community because when it comes down to it, if we are free and we are a Witch, we become outcasts of society, no matter what gender we may identify with.

So, this term, Bitchcraft, let’s talk about it…

For me personally I find it so offensive, for lack of a better term, because it is making a mockery of Witchcraft; a Sacred path that I hold dear to my heart, and Soul. I do not water down my Craft, and I do not make fun of it—there is nothing funny about it. The term Witchcraft, or Witch used to be enough to sentence one to death, without trial, without evidence, without anything, it was death, and a torturous one at that. In most cases the accused was not even a practicing Witch, it was just a bunch of fear mongering, even still, to try and make this lighthearted or into a joke seems classless. It’s like we are spitting in the faces of our Ancestors.

The term bitch itself is not like the word Cunt, or Whore that were once used as words of power to describe Women, only to be demonized by the Patriarchy; this word is defined as a female dog but has always been used to degrade Women. I see groups trying to take the power of the word back but we never owned that power, and frankly, I don’t want it.

If you wish to engage me in an all-out war all you have to do is call me a bitch, and you will get a verbal assault that you cannot even begin to fathom.

I sometimes find myself calling my own friends bitches, in context it’s usually “bitch, please” or “bitch, bye” and even then it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I feel like I just did something wrong. Among my generation there is even a term “bad bitch” which is supposed to be the pinnacle of our Womanhood, and we are to strive to be this…(insert awkward silence)….bad bitch.

No, you can have that title–I am a grown Woman, and that title, I have earned.

Another thing is that I see people talk and boast about resting bitch face, I understand that the term gives such an apt visual but it is negative, and no matter how much we try and sugarcoat it, the truth is the truth. I have said in the past I have resting bitch face because I don’t smile, I don’t look inviting, I often have a scowl on my face because I am lost in thought, analyzing the world, my surroundings and the people in, absorbing it, taking it all in; since when is any of that bad?

Like I mentioned a moment ago, the term itself has negative connotations, and I don’t want to own that anymore. My face is my face, my look is my look, why must it be called anything? This is only a recent realization, too. I guess seeing the word associated with my Craft pushed me over the edge, and well, here we are.

A meme crossed my newsfeed of a Woman holding a chunk of hair in front of her ritual tools, looking quite deranged, and it simply said, “Bitchcraft”. I don’t know if I was reading too much into it, but why did she have to look deranged? Why is hexing, or other darker forms of Magick considered bitchcraft?

What exactly is the term bitchcraft, anyways? Well, I did some digging via the wonderful world of Google, and found that term as defined by urban dictionary means: The art of being a bitch.

Again, is this supposed to be something we are proud of? I get it, I do, because sometimes I am proud of my own bitchiness, but this is not our word, it’s the Patriarchy’s and we cannot take that on as our own, in any context. There is too much attached to it, too much negative power; a negative power that cannot be channeled, or transformed, it needs to be left alone.

Cunt.

Whore.

Yes, take those back, own those. Bitch? Let them have that.

I also found meme after ridiculous meme about Bitchcraft being “the art of pissing people off while smiling sweetly”. I even found a book titled, “Bitchcraft: The Book of Lilith” which really made me mad, the Dark Mother is about the empowerment of Women, not the subjugation of us.

We as Women, we as Witches need to take the power, the history, the deities and the culture that have been taken from us, back, and bring them to life again.

The days of the Red Tent, Sacred Sex, High Priestesses, and Mighty Warrior Goddesses never went away, they have been hidden from the world, shunned, called blasphemous, and evil. The Divine Feminine never went anywhere; don’t you see? She has been here the whole time, waiting for Her moment to rise again.

As I see my Sisters, and Brothers being killed in the name of a tyrannical God because they worship the Goddess, practice Magick or own their sexuality I am urged to fight even harder, and speak even louder to make the wrongs, right; no matter how subjective they might be. The conversations need to start, and they are starting today.

No longer will we bow or cower in submission; I am not your bitch, we are not your bitches.

We are the Divine Feminine Rising.

Blessed Are the Witches.

Masturbation and Magick: How I Healed Myself Through Touch

Anna O 2

Image: Anna O

“She imagined herself both queen and slave, dominatrix and victim. In her imagination she was making love with men of all skin colors–white, black, yellow–with homosexuals and beggars. She was anyone’s, and anyone could do anything to her. She had one, two, three orgasms, one after another. She imagined everything she had never imagined before, and she gave herself to all that was most base and most pure.”

Paulo Coelho

I hear people talk about Sex Magick all the time, great topic by the way, but when discussions come up it usually involves a partner, or multiple partners, why is no one talking about the most important kind of Sex Magick there is: masturbation.

The topic of masturbation was never discussed when I was a child, partially because my Mom was not sexually free yet, and my Father was a strict Roman Catholic. The whole act, and anything overtly sexual was shamed, actually. I first learned about masturbation because I was sexually abused. It opened my body up to strange, odd sensations but my emotions were being beaten down little by little. At 8 years old I was completely unprepared for everything that was going on, though the encounters only happened a few times, it was enough to cause damage to my Soul, and psyche; it was at that time that my unhealthy relationship with sex began, it became my drug.

When I was being abused, I would shut out the world, I would turn off everything, essentially I was making myself completely numb—it was the high of all highs, and the low of all lows, simultaneously. When the abuse stopped I would masturbate on my own because there was a signal to my brain to shut out the world. It was during this time that I was still living with my estranged Father, and my Brothers, and the peak of my Fathers wrath. (Note: My Father was not the abuser, so let’s not misread this paragraph, k?)

For an Empath like myself I needed an escape. At the time I didn’t understand that I was cleansing and grounding myself through my Root and Sacral Chakras, and the moment of orgasm blasted open my Third Eye and Crown Chakras. I was practicing Magick, a protective, cleansing form of Sex Magick, and didn’t even know it.

I lost my virginity during some dreadful encounter at 18, and once my heart was broken a couple times I became a man-eater; I didn’t care about emotions, or connections, didn’t care about anything really. My experiences in the past with men sexually were all interesting, and amazing in their own way but I chose terrible men, so I took on toxic energy. I used sex as an escape just like I used masturbation as an escape as a kid, also I was young and on some power trip– “I have a pussy, I hold the power” type thing.

It was a royally fucked mind frame, one that I didn’t see the pattern of until I stopped having sex. October 11, 2013 is the last time I had intercourse, or any sexual contact with a partner, and it has taken me all that time to heal the wounds, rid myself of the energy, and make myself whole again.

Now, I take on the world as a complete, self-aware, awakened, sexually empowered Woman, and will choose my partners as such.

I didn’t masturbate for the first year and a half; I was completely turned off sexually. I stopped paying attention to my Sacral chakra after my hysterectomy, how stupid. I just was losing touch with everything that makes me, me. I lost touch with the very Womanly ways that makes me so proud to wear this skin.

My journey to become one with myself started with forgiveness, of myself and every single person in my past who I was still attached to in one way or another; that’s a heavy weight to carry, and forgiveness is such an important lesson, only when one forgives, and let’s go, can new things blossom.

Then it was a battle through lonely, and being alone. We as people often confuse the two, and we need to be comfortable with both in order to appreciate companionship. You see, having a partner can be fucking annoying, you are sacrificing things that make you an individual to become a unit with another person, the whole idea when put into somewhat “Technical terms” sounds so unappealing; when you look at a partnership for what it is though, for what it was meant to be, I think nothing sounds more Divine.

Figuring out the difference between lonely and being alone was the hardest lesson to this day; giving up sex was easy, and for a long, long time even the sexual urges stopped. Even now when I do have a sexual urge it is never, ever based off looks, or raw sexual attraction in that way, it is always based off mental stimulation, in some cases a certain energy they give off, and it is rare indeed.

After these two battles came the most important lesson there was, facing myself on a sexual level. I had plenty of wounds to heal, plenty of sexual demons to face, and in order to move on with my life, I had to face them, head on.

I grabbed my hand mirror one day, took my pants off, sat in the lotus blossom yoga position and stared at my Yoni; I examined her, I talked to her, I touched her, I admitted my fear of her, and her power and I apologized for neglecting her.

Later that night I was in bed listening to my favorite Shiva Mantras, slowly my hand started to glide down my body, and I began to feel sensations I hadn’t felt in so long, goosebumps began to form on my skin, and my nipples became erect the moment I opened my flower up allowing her fragrance to dance in the air; I touched her, loved her and slowly began to remember her. It felt like old friends, old lovers, meeting again. When a sensation would happen that reminded me of my past, I would focus on it more, I would cry, I would hate my abuser, I would hate those men, then I took my power back. I reminded myself that this is my pussy, and I control her now, these are my sensations and I control them now.

I have become a sexually empowered Woman not through my experiences with partners, but through my sexual experiences with myself. I now know what I like, what makes my body move, and moan, no longer holding onto the residual energy of past lovers, and abusers.

I am completely free, my sexual power is mine, my orgasms are mine, that Magick is mine, and it has healed me in ways that cannot be described.