I feel stupid whenever I tell people that from mid-to-late August is my worst time of year. Summer is supposed to be happy time and all that. But for whatever reason in the seasonal cycle August brings on depression and anxiety. I get stomachaches and arthritis – physical manifestations of the mental health spiral – and I spend much of the last two weeks after the full moon in a fog of exhaustion. I do not know why this is so, but it has been this way for most of my life and no matter what I do (holidays, time off, self-care) it comes on just the same. I am hostage to this part of my cycle and I do not like it one bit.
Earlier this week I turned to my Tarot deck in search of three reminders three reminders to help carry me through the next two weeks. The cards I pulled are above and in short serve as an excellent narrative to dig into over the next couple of weeks. In essence – I have everything I need to get through this time (The World) and I carry an abundance of inner strength, though I should beware of carrying unnecessary burdens (10 of Wands). Following my own intuitive path instead of bowing down to hierarchies and traditions is the way through right now, which includes freeing myself of creative constraints (reversed Hierophant).
When I was younger, I believed (at least partly) in magic and the power of tarot as a method of divination. Though having long ago abandoned both those beliefs and the tarot cards I learned to read in my teens, I have started using tarot again in the past year as a tool for intuitive work and self-care. Given the impenetrability of my internal emotional space at times, not to mention my rigidity of self-imposed rules, I find the tarot helpful in illuminating my subconscious motives and desires as I feel my way through the self in all its drives and depressions.
One thing I have learned in my low periods is to listen to my body and take it easy, rather than trying to force myself to maintain the same levels of energy. Instead of pushing to adhere to my regular schedule of creative and work output, August has become a time where I take my foot off the gas, often breaking from my workout schedule and allowing myself to play a bit more in the studio. I make time to check-in with myself around what might be missing, or what schedules and routines I can amend in the fall to better align with other shifts in my life. This year, these last weeks of August coincide with the transition back to my old job (the one I took leave from a year ago), as well as a trip to a remote location in the Broughton Archipelago where I plan to do some writing and work on a talk I’ll give at my Zendo in mid-September. I look forward to some days spent reading and writing before coming home to my old work team.
An arena in which I’m making some space this fall is in my creative practice. I’ve signed up for an online workshop via Maiwa titled Printing and Painting with Natural Dyes and am looking forward to returning to some textile experimentation since I’ve spent almost no time in the studio since May. I also want to fit in a bit of collage and art journaling to complement some writing I am doing related to creative practice and spirituality. And finally, I plan to return to my newsletter as a way of turning out regular written content. Now that I’m not travelling half the week for work, and I’m out of the super-consuming managerial position I took on last fall – I plan to reorient my life to my creative and spiritual dimensions as much as possible.
By using self-care tools and looking ahead to the next season, I am getting through this month where everything just feels a bit harder than normal. Somewhere on Instagram last week I saw a meme that said “Nothing in nature blooms all year. Be patient with yourself.” I’m working with that in the knowledge that September will soon be here and I’ll be ready for the change in my mental health season when it comes.