Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's Wrong with Obsession?

I jokingly refer to myself as easily obsessed. I am starting to see that it's not really a joke. For example in high school I really, I mean really, loved the movie The Lion King. I loved it so much I watched it seven times in the theatre, seven times. I collected action figures and happy meal toys. I had a wide array of all things Lion King, that no one was allowed touch. I knew all the words to all the songs, both versions. I was just a little obsessed.

Later my love for all things Stephen King colored my obsession. I started talking like some of the characters in his books, dropping phrases like "thankee-sai" and "my little cully" into conversation with people that had no idea what I was talking about. I signed up for a online fansite. I wrote him a letter and enclosed my picture in case he wanted to write me into one of his stories. (By the way...check out the last book of the Dark Tower series...there is a red-headed girl named 'Dani'...coincidence? I think not.)

These obsessions can be for a person, a movie, a book, almost anything really. I have never felt that it was ever taken to an unhealthy level. I mean it is not like I don't eat, or bathe, or could get arrested....(With the exception of the damn Twilight books where I wasn't so good about eating that week.) I have always figured no harm, no foul.

But since doing the work of the Iron and Pearl Pentacles (and really with the prodding of my partner) I have started to look at my obsessions a little bit differently.

In the past I always looked at my obsessions as distractions from reality. When my life is too mundane or boring I can drift away into a movie, or book and live vicariously through a character whose life is much more interesting and vibrant than mine is. But now I am starting to see my obsession with the vantage point of Iron and Pearl. Obsession is the gilt or gilded aspect of the 'Passion' point of the pentacle. Which leads me to ask myself...why do I take my passion to the point of obsession? How do I get my passion back in balance to where it serves me and the world, instead of me serving it. How do I get my passion to fuel me with fire and get me moving, instead of keeping me locked away in a cave muttering about my precious.

It seems this is my current task. If I can unlock this riddle I have no doubt wondrous things are waiting on the other side. That in itself fills me with passion.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Being Sick Sucks, or Why I Missed the Spiral Dance

A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with mono. Pretty lame for a 30 year old woman to have mono, but whatever, it is water under the bridge now. It took a long time for me to get better. Months in fact. Mono has left me with a specific form of PDST, post traumatic stress disorder that I totally made up....Whenever I even feel the slightest tickle in my throat I start to worry that it is mono coming back to get me...or worse EBV rearing its ugly head! OH NO!

Over this last summer I finally started to feel in control again. I went six months without getting sick. Not a sniffle, not a cough, nothing. I was happy to be well again and I vowed to never take my health for granted.

At the beginning of October my partner came down with the flu. I started to super dose myself with vitamin C, echinacea, all the stuff you are supposed to do to not get sick. I did end up getting the bug he had, but a much more mild version of it. He ended up being really sick for several days where I was just a little down for a day or two. I was so happy and so relieved.

But two weeks later...the week before Samhain to be exact I start to feel like I had the flu, again. It started on Wednesday and I figured, ok, I will just rest this out and by Saturday I will be all better, right? Wrong! Wednesday was no fun, Thursday was worse, on Friday I cried as I forced myself to eat oatmeal alone on the couch watching daytime T.V. But I held out that Saturday would be ok, Saturday would be my golden return to civilization.

Because you see Saturday was Samhain. Saturday was the 30th anniversary of the Spiral Dance in San Francisco. Saturday I was going to wear the cutest Mad Hatter costume EVER! Not only was it going to be a big, fun, public Reclaiming ritual, and all my friends in the community were going to be there, but I was also supposed to help and put up the Student Altar.

Saturday rolled around and I debated going to the ritual all day long. I still felt like crap, but I thought I might be able to force my way through it. If I just didn't cough and used hand sanitizer every five minutes I wouldn't get anyone else sick either....but in the end my logic won out and I stayed home, alone on Halloween.

When my co-horts left for the ritual the first thing I did was have a good cry. I really let it go, really felt sorry for myself, really wallowed in it for awhile. I even called my mom and had her bring my french fries, but she didn't come in the house since I was so sick. Then I realized that I still had responsibilities to bear on the night when the veil is thinnest.

I had brought home all the written names of the Beloved Dead from our local public ritual. I had promised to dispose of them with the love and honor they deserved. So in a moment of strength with a belly full of amazing french fries I cast a circle around my house. I took my cauldron and headed out into my backyard with a lighter and the slips of paper.

I sat on the stoop amongst all the fallen leaves from my tree in the yard. It was dark, but the almost full moon allowed me to see quite clearly the names lovingly written at the ritual from the previous weekend. I read each one out loud for the moon to hear and the set each paper on fire placing it in my cauldron watching the smoke fill my yard like fog.

Ironically, or maybe not, the last name on the last slip of paper was the one that I had written. The name of my beloved dead.

Am I sad that I didn't make it to the Spiral Dance? Yes. I am wicked annoyed that I still feel like crap? Um, YES! But my Samhain ended up being just perfect.