Offerings at a depression shrine

Each morning, I make offerings to my gods, and most days I follow these with offerings to my ancestors. After that, there is often [[Deipnon for depression|another shrine]] I approach. It is tucked away out of sight, nurtured in darkness. It is where I make offerings to the spirit of depression.

Giving something to a spirit that seems to suck the soul out might feel a bit off, but offerings of appeasement are part of the rich traditions of polytheism and animism. This is not an offering that’s intended to intimidate or scare the spirit. Rather, the message is more like, “You may have good intentions, but I suffer from your presence. How about you hang out in this place, and I’ll pay attention to you here, instead of inside of me?”

I cannot say if depression is a spirit that comes from within—making it a lost part of myself—or a visitor that settles in because I have such a nice place here. I am clear from my experience and study that depression does live within the body. My shrine is intended to be a nicer place for it to live.

Tending to my depression shrine is not necessarily a daily practice, but it is a self-correcting one. This spirit is not going to stay outside of my body if I ignore its new home. If the shrine becomes disused, disorganized, or downright discombobulated, then chances are depression has moved back in. Likewise, if I recognize symptoms of depression in myself, I will know without looking that the shrine fell off my radar. Tending the shrine makes me more mindful of how connected I am to myself, and to my community. It’s a reminder to take care of my health, and my relationships.

The shrine is an external signal about an internal condition that affects my body, my mind, and my spirit. Tending the shrine does not eliminate depression from my life, but it does allow me to use my external senses to help monitor it. It’s located underneath my ancestor shrine, because they desired to cover this spirit. Having it out of sight mirrors how depression can dwell undetected within my body. I am not sure if that’s a bug, or a feature. If others adopt this practice, together we may find out.

Later this month, at WitchsFestUSA, I will be giving a workshop that includes creating the totem that is central to a depression shrine. I am thrilled for the opportunity.

One thought on “Offerings at a depression shrine

  1. In a way, I feel like what you’re describing is essentially an appeasement of Oizys (a female daimon who personifies misery/suffering/woe/etc.). Have you ever engaged with your depression with that name?


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