Dark Nights of the Soul: A Call for Submissions for the Autumn Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal

Isis-Seshat Autumn Issue Call for Submissions!

Ah, Autumn! What a delicious season it is here in my native Chicago, one that rattles fallen, decayed leaves like so many bones on the city’s windowpanes. Some may feel pangs of anxiety with the noticeable decrease of daylight, seeking shelter, companionship, and warmth to ameliorate the impact of the season’s omnipresent reminders of mortality. Others may treasure the call to hibernation and solitude, and like the lone figure in The Hermit Tarot card, kindle their lamps of inner wisdom to lead the way. Still others feel…stuck. Enmeshed in isolating feelings–exacerbated by the encroaching darkness and cold of the season–of depression, especially on a spiritual front. Why do I feel so disconnected? I can’t find it within me to pray. What do I do now? My beliefs are changing. To Whom do I turn? A spiritual crisis ensues, and the stuck ones are trying to climb their way upwards and outwards from the abyss many thinkers of a variety of spiritual traditions have labeled “The Dark Night of the Soul.” Continue reading

On Grief and Grieving

The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness–
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way.

–Sylvia Plath, “The Moon and the Yew Tree” (1961, lines 17-22)

The more that I think about it, the less I believe what I experienced at 4:52 this morning was the ending of a dream. It was more of a spontaneous shamanic journey, the kind I’d had with disturbing regularity in the first two years of my brother Mark’s death. What I know for certainty was that I was in the Duat, and Sekhmet was next to me. She panted/grunted while scenting the air, Her lioness nuzzle awash in blood. Her pupils were massive, dilated, and gleaming like actual carnelian stones. Torch light either gleamed from behind or radiated from within Her. There was a wall behind us. We stood within a long, dark corridor. I knew unequivocally that Sekhmet protected me fiercely against evil entities that wanted to harm me. She fed on them. I was afraid–not of Her, but of where we were. I wanted out. And no sooner did I think that than did I feel myself being rapidly “plucked” upwards–in sheer nanoseconds. It was a jolting sensation, but I felt myself being pulled up out of the ground–even through my bed’s mattress!–before “crash landing” back into my body. I gasped and thrashed a bit–hitting my fiancé in the process–before sitting up and grabbing my iPhone from my nightstand. 4:52. Continue reading