Day 2 of 30

The much awaited Day 2 of 30…

2. How did you become first aware of this deity?

 

As I have heard others say, there were hints. A habit here, a preference there. Looking back, I can easily see the dots connecting, the subtle whispers of Hekate’s presence in my life – but it wasn’t until a few years ago that She decided to skip the subtlety completely and give me the fright of my life.

 

I have always collected keys, old keys, new keys, functional or decorative, I collected them all. When they gathered dust, I would clean them. Usually with nail polish remover.

One day I decided to clean my keys while I had a prayer candle burning. The prayer attached to this particular candle was one of seeking a guide or patron. Ironic, really. As I was cleaning one particularly large skeleton key, I was scraping fine dust & dirt out of the end you stick in the lock (no idea what it’s called properly, bear with me), and the other end got a bit too close to the candle. Without seeing how it actually happened, all of a sudden I was holding the bottom of a burning key. For a second or two – although it felt longer – I just stared at it, my eyes transfixed. Then common sense won out, and I dashed to the sink to drown the flames (luckily I was in the kitchen, avoiding a sink full of “just-too-hot-to-do-the-dishes” cooling water). After I had blown out the candle, and finished cleaning my keys in a safer part of the house, I still couldn’t get the image of the burning key out of my mind.

 

The next few weeks, I “researched” (mostly Googling different terms) burning keys….. Along with some very beautiful artwork, the name Hekate kept cropping up. So I started to research Her instead/as well. Well, the more I read, the more things in the previous experiences of my life came together and formed an intricate pattern. My key and coin collections, my preference for black dogs, my depression (the ultimate “Black Dog”), and several other personal experiences slotted together like a jigsaw puzzle, and the picture they completed was Her. So I meditated on what I had read and learned about Her, saw Her in a meditation/vision in which She came and acknowledged me (with a slight air of ‘it took you long enough!’), and started to regularly honour Her on my small altar and in my life.

 

…..and I now refrain from using nail polish remover near a lit candle.

Black Dog: Symptom or Sign?

Week 3 17-01-2014 (catch up post)

This topic is not on the list of prompts for the Pagan Blog Project 2014 posts, but it starts with B and it’s an interesting observance (to me, anyway)

Depression is sometimes referred to as “the Black Dog”, and in my experience, many Pagans have had a brush with this dark canine.

Of the many Pagans I know personally, approximately two-thirds have been diagnosed with depression or a similar mental illness. Of that number, most work with deities, energies, and/or entities usually portrayed as ‘dark’.  Does this mean it’s more likely a Pagan is depressed? Or that depression marks a person as more open-minded spiritually?

Honestly, I don’t know.

I can only comment on my own experiences, and speculate about the wider population.

I often wondered if my diagnosis of Black Dog was connected to me finally recognising my patron deity Hekate (whom I have since realized has been with me for as long as I can accurately recall memories).

My daughter was about 9 months old when a chat with my social worker prompted that fateful doctor’s visit. Like the (now obvious) signs and influence from my patron, I hadn’t recognised the significance of these emotions. As far back as I can remember, I have always had this outlook, these feelings – this desolation in my soul, an affinity for darkness and the macabre. Even after two suicide attempts, I thought it was ‘normal’ to feel this way – I had never felt any different.

I was experiencing a pretty severe Dark Night of the Soul, felt completely lost and useless. The world – and my life – felt like an entirely futile endeavour. I believed  – and still do believe – in reincarnation, so I guess my thoughts were along the lines of “maybe I’ll get a better life next time.” I know it doesn’t make much sense, but then neither does suicide itself.

I tend to believe the reason mentally ill people gravitate towards Paganism and alternate spirituality, is because of the balance. Mental illness causes an imbalance in your life – and Paganism (in my experience, anyway) is largely about maintaining the balance, honouring & acknowledging both the light and the dark, and applying this idea of balance to everything – what we do, what we feel, what’s all around and within us. We are light. We are dark. Light cannot exist without darkness & vice versa, and in working positively with both forces (as a lot of Pagans strive for) we can improve our lives – and ourselves.

**If anyone reading this is feeling depressed, suicidal, out of sorts, or worried about their mental health – or that of another – please PLEASE seek help. Talk to your friends, your family, your doctor.

If you want to remain anonymous, or feel like you can’t talk to anyone you know, try the contacts below (Australian resources)

SANE http://www.sane.org

KIDS HELPLINE 1800 55 1800

LIFELINE 13 11 14 http://www.lifeline.org.au

BEYOND BLUE http://www.beyondblue.com.au