I have not felt like writing in a while. Losing Salem all but cut up my thoughts and left huge dents in mind that made it hard for me to think, to properly string together a couple of sentences and paragraphs. Her death still rocks me, not because it was sudden or unexpected like Delilah’s was, but because Salem really was not like other cats. I had never in all my life known a cat quite like her, who was so accepting and so forgiving, and so loving.
I also knew that she was going to die. I had read it in the cards, and I could feel death clinging to her, and when I got the phone call at work from The Hedgehog about how long the vet gave Salem to live, I wrote the last blog post about life being a bag of dicks, and I just could not deal with witchcraft and writing all that much anymore.
I don’t know if I am less angry with the gods and the spirits now than I was then. But I know after a month of not giving a single offering, of telling the spirits pretty much to fuck off and leave me alone while I drew my heart out for Inktober, I felt an emptiness, a different kind of emptiness in my spiritual life that I had not known before.
Some authors of Witchcraft and Sorcery claim that Witchcraft is not a spiritual thing, and I have always found that quite an odd statement, because in my experience, I know that it is. Not quite so much in the enlightenment and new age fuckery way that we think of the word usually, but in a deep, in your bones, kind of way. After a month of not touching my altars, and not not leaving any offerings, and not reading any cards, I feel somewhat like a limb has been cut off.
And it is strange. I was clearly going through some kind of Dark night of the soul experience, and have been on the edge of it for the better part of this whole year, but not until I actually actively said no to them, and told them I did not want to hear from them, did I begin to feel this weird, spiritual emptiness and loneliness, like something tangible was missing.
My altars have gathered dust, quite literally- a thick, viscous layer that actually made me sneeze when I was looking for my fallen bird feet after the newest little rescue whacked them from their place. The only space I have maintained is the place where my watercolour painting of Salem rests, right by the dragons.
I had a nervous breakdown about two weeks after Salem died. I don’t know what broke inside of me, but I snapped, and I don’t know how I am maintaining myself right now, and maybe the truth is I haven’t really been. I have just plastered myself full of ink and illustrations and broken stories. That is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to participate in the worlds biggest drawing challenge, I just wanted to escape from reality, and live in my art, and try to find my way through them, and in some way I did.
At least, I found some kind of spark of myself there, which has prompted me to rekindle a long time dream of mine, and a dream that other people have been asking me about for as long as I have been posting my art online. But I wont go into details, because I am a notorious procrastinator, and fear saying too much means that I will promptly neglect it again like I have in the past.
This is the Dark Forest Journey all over again, this time with even more broken limbs, and bigger blisters on my feet. I have changed the focus of “The Pink Fox Herbarium” so many times, that I fear people must think me some kind of flake, but I think I am returning to a different kind of dream, a dream I had before institutions sucked away my love for art. I think I am at once more cynical and more naive, and I hope that this weird little part of myself can come out, and exist in this world.
I have started reading a little bit again, short stories from Sharon Blackie in her book “Foxfire, Wolfskin and other Stories of Shapeshifting Women”. I still haven’t finished “If Women Rose Rooted” but might get along with it soon. I am about halfway through both. There are other books that I left hanging, that I will pick up again, but for now, I start with stories of shapeshifting animal women.
I will dust off the altars, and slowly come back to the cards, and will clothe myself in feathers, and bones, and dirt. Maybe the flowers and spirits will start sprouting from my bones and flesh again, like they once did before the grief drowned them.