Shadows and the Spring

Disclaimer: I do not recommend what I am intending to do, what I mention here. Please, if you believe you are living with a psychological disorder, seek the help of a mental professional. Also, trigger warnings for the contents below of panic attacks, anxiety, OCD, and depression. I think that should cover everything.

As the breeze flows through my window, trickling down the wall and slowly drifting toward me as I sit here on the floor, laptop across my thighs as I write this, I realize that there is no more resistance. She is here and I am about to bend the knee.

A few days ago, I came to a realization about why Persephone was trying so hard to get my attention, why she seemed to be popping up everywhere, like daisies peeking from the snow. It was as I was walking my neighbor’s dog today, the Spring Equinox, that I stopped, sighed, and nodded that I understood but I would not yet agree.

I posted earlier this month about my interest in shadow-work; as I see it, the process of ripping one’s self open and facing the so-called demons that live within. When I think about shadow-work, I think the best way to describe it is how Anders of Mindelan describes the Chamber of the Ordeal to his youngest sister, Keladry, in The Protector of the Small series:

“The Chamber is like a cutter of gemstones,” Anders had told Kel once. “It looks for your flaws and hammers them, till you crack open. And that’s all I – or anyone – will say about it.”

The night I wrote my preliminary thoughts on shadow-work, I lay in bed staring at the ceiling. I was thinking about shadow-work and decided to give the meditation Jess described to me a try. I couldn’t concentrate on what he described: I kept finding myself in The Forest and then breaking off, unsure of what to do, where to go from there. It wasn’t what I was expecting, so I broke it off, thinking I was doing it wrong. I might know better now, but I’m still unsure. I haven’t tried again since that night.

You might be wondering what all I have to do shadow-work about. For awhile now, I’ve dealt with living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD); my obsession is with germs and cleanliness, my compulsion is to wash my hands and clean everything that I can/have to. I am without an official diagnosis, but having spoken with a couple of psychologists (in a professional, therapy-session capacity), we’ve agreed this is the most likely diagnosis. When I can afford to go to therapy and deal with this in a more professional capacity, I will. Until then, I have to manage it as best as I can on my own.

Now, using shadow-work to deal with psychological issues is not something I would recommend. If you think you have a psychological issue, disorder, or other term, please seek help. At this juncture, I personally cannot so I am attempting to manage it any way I can. If shadow-work will help with this, I’ll take it. I have other, more mundane issues to work through as well, but I’ll get to those in future entries.

Last night, I had a severe panic attack over the mail. I don’t want to get into details about why exactly it happened, but the panic attack ended up with me standing in the shower with The Boyfriend and sobbing into his chest. He’s known me long enough and dealt with enough of my panic attacks that he knows that, in the case of a severe attack, a shower will help. I’m ashamed of what happened last night, but I know that hiding it won’t help. The fact that this happened last night, the last night before the Spring Equinox, has not been lost on me.

A few months ago, I was following a conversation concerning Persephone and why her devotees offer her pomegranates. This had been something that I had been meaning to ask some of her devotees about because the idea of offering this goddess a pomegranate made no sense to me; it was what bound her to Hades and the Underworld, if you read her mythology that way. This idea was countered by the interpretation that Persephone chose to eat the pomegranate seeds, that they are a symbol of her identity as Persephone Khthonia, the Queen of the Underworld. They are not a symbol of her “fall,” but a symbol of her strength. They are a symbol of her as a survivor of her situation.

This is, of course, as I remember the conversation; details may have been lost but this is what stuck with me.

And it did stick with me.

I sat there, staring at my computer screen, at these words and something in the back of my mind clicked into place. I knew of Persephone’s role as the Queen of the Underworld, but the pomegranate symbolism in relation to that role had been lost to me. At that moment, something More began to make sense.

This is why Persephone calls to me and I to her. Her strength, her ability to co-exist with herself regardless of her past – and that past is arguable, but we’ll get into the myth of the “Rape of Persephone” another time, promise – that is what calls to me. That is why she won’t go away, despite my childish stomping of my foot and continued defiance. She knows that, in the end, I will come to this conclusion.

It is time to hold the hammer high and bring it down across my flaws, to cut myself into something More, to grow, to awaken and to claw myself from the pit that I have fallen into.

That it is time to bend the knee.

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