My post on the spirit of depression gets waves of likes from time to time, and the article I wrote on treating depression in a Pagan context remains one of the most popular pieces I wrote for the Wild Hunt. I don’t know that Pagans and polytheists suffer depression more than other people, but it does matter to us.
Recently — and perhaps for the first time — I recognized a pattern which may help me avoid the worst of symptoms. When I am energetic and enthused I commit to things, and those commitments can build like a wave which slams me flat. My mistake has been in committing based on my best days, because when they occur it’s difficult to recall what the worst feel like. That can lead to me falling short, which only compounds the problem.
In recent weeks I have completed obligations around running an event for a hundred people and mostly finalized a budget for a small nonprofit, but I also agreed to several days of travel in the name of my religion and to strengthen ties with my ancestors, all before Thanksgiving, the gateway to American stress season. Oops.
One way I am scaling back is in relation to the gods. I’ve temporarily suspended my practice of writing down all of my offerings, for example. In addition, the temple I keep as priest of Poseidon is in what I characterize as a slow-maintenance period; I dismantled, cleaned, and reorganized the space but I am reinstalling deity therein at a seismic pace. Last week I put a cloth on the altar, and yesterday I placed a candle holder. (Poseidon is a patient god; as long as I move faster than the tectonic plates in this he is not displeased.)
Spirits and gods don’t always understand human needs, but if they desire our service they must sometimes accede to our limitations. If they are playing the long game, they will listen. Poseidon recognizes slack tide. I am grateful for his nature.