Last week was something, right? While I freely admit to watching the US American situation play out with hands over my eyes for the last four years, even I can't say I'm surprised by what happened. If I were more astrologer than tarot reader, I might have some pithy insights about the moon being square Pluto on January 6th, or that the sun happened to be in Capricorn or all sorts of trigonometric-intuitive commentary that often leaves me a touch cross-eyed and fuzzy. (Nikki reports sometimes feeling like this when I launch into the esoterica of divination and on occasion aspects of folkloric occultism. Also, Doctor Who.)
I don't have any "yup, yup, that happened because of this cosmic weather condition." What I can say is, "Huh, we've all had a really bad year, the kind that's so going to make the following months and years ahead tough because of trauma recovery."
So while everyone else grapples with what the hell just happened - and more painfully, what the hell it all means, I'm going to do the thing I do and point people to what to do for themselves next.
Do you know what that is?
It's a list of two things. Just two...
Take ownership of any way you contributed to the damage.
I said the list was small, not easy.
One of the more complicated dances that witches learn over time is about the balance between owning our power and humility. While some may see them as opposite things, I see them as etchings on either side of the blade of the same sword.
To exist means to experience conflict. Life feeds on life and few entities like the process of getting eaten. So, if you acknowledge your shadows in earnest and embrace your impact on others honestly, no matter where you fall in any situation, someone may end up taking some damage from you. You may indeed encounter 1000 nuances from there - or not. Ultimately, however, part of existing and acknowledging the good and bad of life's intricate interdependence is to realize that while you may feel great about your decisions, someone else may feel crummy.
It is also up to those that feel affronted to discern a few things - most especially the difference between harm and offense. Harm leads to women that just need to pee getting followed to the bathroom by creeper peepers (of any gender) demanding to know what's in their pants "...because of the children..." who are thankfully seldom present in these situations (because then the creeper peepers might get witnessed being creepers.) Offense leads to people ending friendships because someone says, "Hey, I love to see what that religion does for you, but I just don't believe in it."
Harm creates trauma. Offense, while it can add up and be a sign of a toxic relationship if it is personally directed and repeated as often as possible, is usually not harm. It may not even be disrespect. Offense is on the part of the person deciding how to respond to a message. Now, if the message was sent with offense intended and a helping of disrespect, you've got an insult. Insults are why we lost Alexander Hamilton to epic prideful stupidity.
Humility is the other side of this sword - it is not, as some believe, about modesty. It is about knowing yourself and knowing exactly where you stand in any given situation.
Often, this knowledge can be quite humbling.
The above might take a year or three, maybe ten of work. So you know, I'm calling for a small step here. Then I call for the next part: healing. Healing may well take a lifetime, and with what we now know about the impact of generational trauma even in the womb, it may take even longer than that.
There isn't any one way to heal. Those of us that see therapists know well that therapists don't fix: they coach. It's up to us to go within with the self-knowledge we mine from ourselves, repair the wounds, rethink the thoughts, rewire the patterns, and sometimes let go of the hurts that we have allowed to make us who we believe we are.
It isn't just 2020 that was traumatic. It's been since 2016, as the divisiveness that got seeded back in 2002 flourished. The gift that division? The crack allowed new growth and light to voices formerly buried beneath the cement of "inner city" projects. Finally, the people impacted and oppressed are able to make themselves heard - and like noticing any gaping wound, it's uncomfortable at best and cripplingly painful at worst. Now we can't unsee it. And it's not undeserved. Treat a dandelion as a weed to be pressed down, and it takes its roots deep into the earth and then destroys your sidewalk. Give it room to grow, you get some people with ragweed allergies (including myself) complaining, but your pretty walking path lasts a trifle longer.
However, you go about healing - taking an ancestral workshop, visiting a therapist, journaling a lot, finally gathering the courage to seek medical help - it matters. You matter.
You are what is next. Make 2021 the year where you look for the tears and crumbles in yourself, do your best to clean the wounds, heal them, and start the patching and grafting work. If you have any energy left, see if your neighbor might need a little help, too.