It has been a long time, I know.
Terri Windling wrote several posts recently on creative block, comparing it to Persephone's abduction to the Underworld, to the realm of Hades, to that of Hel, to Hell. And in that post she reminded herself, reminded us, that it is a cycle, part of a whole. It is hard, so hard, to remember that.
Every dozen years or so I lose my art. It has happened twice or maybe three times so far in my life; it is exactly the time for me to be in that place that is no place again, and sure enough here I am. In the past it has taken a year or more to get through it. I know this.
And yet I don't know this. There is a difference, a big one, between knowing with your mind and knowing with your heart. My heart, right now, can't feel it. My Soul, I know, has no doubt that all is exactly as it should be, that I'm sure of. But I can't hear that part of me right now.
This has been a strange and awful summer in its own way. Nothing tragic or terrible has happened, my health for example has been just fine, but I have been very busy with a type of busy that I really don't like. It has been a summer of taking care of the little constant things, of being always on the surface; and while I feel atrocious complaining about kittens, of all things, still, it has all been a haze of fostering and medicating and bringing them back and forth to clinics and shelters and vets and keeping the sick ones separate and making sure they are healing and trapping the feral mothers and getting them spayed and watching things with an eye to them, not myself, first. I am not used to such work, and though I think it good work, even good Work, I am tired, annoyed with the chatter, out of myself.
In addition to all that, or maybe because of all that, this summer was bright, very bright. A few years ago, you may remember, I swear the Veil felt so thin I feared it would tear outright; this summer, it felt impervious, impenetrable. I couldn't See anything. It was like trying to look through a dusty pane of glass in the bright sun; everything beyond, everything on the Other side, was obscured by this horrible blinding haze.
And my daimon, my Muse, has disappeared too. Now, understand, I mean that perhaps rather more literally than most artists do when they speak of their Muse. I mean that friend of mine, that spirit guide or whatever he is, the one I could See clear as day, who was always there, has become absent. I do not believe for a minute that he is actually gone, mind you, but on my end I can't see him at all. I don't miss him. That disturbs me, very much. It is like I am forgetting to remember something very important, but my brain is carrying on as if nothing at all is wrong, as if this surface world is the real world and that life is just fine when it lacks richness and depth.
Like Terri says in her post, I can handle the dark. I regularly go there, as a matter of fact, or rather I did. You can call it active imagination, meditation, visioning, visions, shamanic journeys, whatever; and some part of me is outraged that despite all that, all those years of willingly, openly, with curiosity and wonder, going there to See what I can See, still, this blankness and block has come upon me. It feels unfair, I suppose. Perhaps I am arrogant to feel so. And perhaps my past willingness means that this time will be quicker, less frightening than it might have been; I can never know that, I suppose.
But it is very strange. Because it doesn't feel dark. I do not feel lost in the dark woods; I have been there, I think, and I know, like Hecate says, that I am never really lost, because the trees know where they are, and I know that I am here, as I always am. But it doesn't feel dark; it feels blank, empty, on the surface, with nothing beneath me. And so of course I have not been grounded; I have lost the connection, the one that I had without even trying so much of the time. I have had to relearn it, a little, and have been trying; but it is so hard to remember when you don't remember you are forgetting.
I used to hate autumn. I know, I know, that makes me a very bad Pagan; but when I was growing up it meant the start of several months when I was always cold, as my miserly father didn't think heat all that important. But this year, I was so very grateful to pass the autumnal equinox, when the dark finally outweighs the light. When the sun finally went away a little, died a little to let the dark come back. It has been such a relief.
And I think I can feel it returning now, slowly, a little.
I went for a walk the other day, on a chilly cloudy day here in New England. I walked a mile or more on the road into the forest nearby; and eventually I turned around to come back.
There is a little bridge not far from my house, a little bridge that washed out in the terrible rains we had more than a year ago. The road by that bridge is closed to traffic, though the bridge itself is passable on foot. The detour the cars take is the long way round, so I came back by the bridge just like I'd gone out. It is a strange little place now; though it has only been closed a year, great tufts of grass are growing in the cracks in the middle of the road, and the road itself is covered with sand and drifting leaves. It doesn't take long.
As I walked over that little bridge, the starlings in the trees started up their chattering song, just as a breeze came from over the water, balmy and warm. And in the middle of autumn I suddenly smelled spring.
I think that is a good sign, after all. I think it is coming back to me.