The first full moon of the year has waned. A new moon has begun to wax. Recently, Portland had its first 5 pm sunset of 2023. All planets are out of retrograde for a few months and here on earth, in the northern hemisphere, mid-winter approaches. Though the days are growing longer, the nights linger on- and-on creating space for ghosts to come and haunt dreams and disrupt an already restless mind.
This period of hibernation came out of necessity. To move rhythmically along with nature holds far more value to my existence now than it ever has before. Though shadows, echoes, and memories from provincial places and people from my past try to whisper their old vitriols I am quickening within this darkness. Gathering strength, using old anger and resentment as weights to strengthen my boundaries and my heart.
With rigorous shadow work, time for rest and recharge was necessary just to be present for me. Burnout was becoming part of my weekly routine by the time June 2022 came around. I worked around it with booze and a vehement FOMO to keep up with Halloween, horror, goth, occult, and music happenings to damn the tsunami of emotional pain I was in. Once again, I could feel my quality of life become strained. Exhaustion with little to no energy had me saying farewell to these scenes until my strength was regained. There were no Krampus haunts, Winter Balls, or group Yule rituals for me.
Instead, I took stock of what filled me with sleepy joy. I love to sleep. I love to stay in bed and binge shows and movies. I picked up and actually read a few books and spent time counting the few snowflakes that fell from the sky. Taking long walks in the rain refreshes my moods and fuck, does it inspire my best forest fantasies. Then, there’s sharing the wonder of the PNW with my family. This is often stressful in some ways but when I see my adult and teenage kids playing with sticks, foraging, and connecting to nature in their own unique ways, the stress melts away and I can relax, release and connect with nature on my terms with my beloveds nearby and safe-ish with me.
Connecting with nature during winter is unlike the other seasons. Where I tend to wander consists of little or no humans leaving me free to practice giving myself the empathy and love I tend to nourish in other humans. To be able to sit with a person or stranger in their darkness so they wouldn’t have to endure it alone is how I typically have helped myself through tough times. I was always relieved knowing I helped someone feel less alone in this brutal and beautiful life. But, I’ve destroyed that ability too. I over-nurture everyone else because I have yet to figure out how to give myself empathy, strength, and love. What am I supposed to do with it all if not give it to my soul mate, to my twin flame, to my children to my friends? It’s a lonely place when your therapist and closest connection advises you to focus on yourself.
I am more alone on my journey now than ever before. And, I am done with dwelling on the ghosts of my past and hurtful memories. When the snow melts and it’s time to ride at dawn, it’s like I have a chasm filled with choices before set me. I am not hesitating to traverse my path. I am strengthening and polishing and putting on my armor to protect my empathy and my broken heart. The thing is, I am exactly where I need to be to find my strength – In the dark spaces between the trees and the space between the stars.
Till Spring (maybe)
– Michelle Halloween