2018 has been a hell of a year. I suffer from depression, and this year has been a really consistently low one for my mental health. Of course the year has had highlights (seeing my favourite bands, going to new places) and achievements (completing year one of Druid College), but on the whole 2018 has just left me exhausted. There have been moments when I wasn’t sure I’d make it through.
I’ve not been posting here much because I’ve been feeling disconnected from my Druid practice. Sometimes, when you’re struggling to just get from one day to the next, it can be overwhelming to do anything extra, and whether reading, writing or practicing Druidry, it can start to feel like a chore rather than a joy.
But, I’m still here. Worn out and burned out, a bit battered and broken, but surviving.
I’m going to take a social media retreat over the Yuletide holidays: no blogging, no conversations on Pagan Facebook groups, and no Twitter. The endless infighting in the “community” is too much to bear, especially when set against the backdrop of equally internecine and entrenched battles in local and world politics too.
As a mostly solitary Druid, online community has been a great help for me to connect to others, but as the internet becomes ever more divided and polarised, it seems to be running out of usefulness, and often the loudest voices are the most hateful. So my focus shifts – to people I can connect with face to face, whether Pagan or not (we’re all human after all), to books from which I can gain insights, but which do not demand constant attention, to the world outside my window; the wildlife and wild places that are just on the liminal edgelands of the everyday, and to myself, my health, my worth, my being.
I have plans for 2019, not resolutions for I see those as doomed to fail from the start, but hopes. I want to get blogging here more regularly again, and have some blog-series prompts to work through to rebuild that habit. I want to recover my health, to eat and move and live better. I want to travel more, see more, do more.
But most of all, I want to take a good critical unflinching look at my Druidry: my beliefs, my practices, the lenses through which I see the world. What is no longer serving me? What helps me grow? What is a chore, and what is a joy? What brings meaning, and what helps me to then be of use to the wider world, to the human and non-human community?
At the moment I don’t have the answers to those questions. But I hope that deep within the winter’s den, in the cave or barrow-mound or cauldron of inspiration, those answers will arise. And like the sun at Winter Solstice, I can re-emerge, small and frail at first but getting stronger every day.
So, dear reader, please bear with me at this time. Have a bright Solstice, and a joyful Yule, and I’ll see you in the New Year.