When Aradia and I set out to spend the year re-exploring planetary magic and reframing it in terms more accessible to witches, we started with the Sun for a variety of reasons. Firstly, we were beginning at the Winter Solstice: the return of the Sun or – depending on how you frame things – the be beginning of the waxing year. Secondly, from a naturalistic standpoint, if there is any planet that rules the heavens, then it is the life-giving Sun around whose gravity all the other planets revolve. Thirdly, as witches, the Sun is familiar and friendly to us, second only to the Moon. And, finally, we had hoped that the Sun would help me overcome the deep depression that overshadowed the second half of 2015.
In this last, we found a ourselves to be very wrong.
There are a lot of reasons. The crash after leading the main rituals at Heartland last year (an event that I still haven’t written about). My house flooding in the Biblical rains we had here in KC from April through June. The implosion of a long-standing friendship. Family drama, in part political, in part related to the problems with my house. Financial troubles. All manageable, even taken together, except … I just didn’t have it in me. This has been one of the worst years of my life for my mental health.
Here in the depths of winter … even the Sun wasn’t enough.
There were days … weeks when I considered abandoning the project altogether. I thought that perhaps I should switch to an elemental experiment, to better prepare me for the rites of HPF 2016. It got to where just walking into the room with the altars gave me panic attacks.
In retrospect, I think that conjuring the Sun at the Winter Solstice was not the best plan. The Sun is not the Moon, where it’s ebb is the flow of a different sort of power. The Sun is always there, holding the spinning orbs in place, and the turning of the terrestrial seasons has little bearing on the efficacy of traditional astrological magic. But I was … am practicing witchcraft, and the turning of the seasons is the heart of that power. And right now the Solar year is waxing, but it is still … distant. And cold. And it is the warmth of the Sun that I needed to drag me out of my Abyss.
Instead, I have been climbing out of my depression the other way available to those of us without the appropriate healthcare: by what Aradia describes as the ladder of anger and anxiety. Fortunately, most of my friends are as mad as I am, and have been very understanding of how difficult it is to be around me.
As I said, I very seriously considered giving up the experiment of planetary witchcraft. But we did get some very solid results early on, and in contemplating the Sun I did also gain some insight into how to more effectively proceed. More importantly, though, I remembered something I learned from all my science friends: negative results are not the same thing as a failed experiment. The things I learned from this round will help me execute the next.