08/21/2013 by syrbal-labrys
My signature line, on emails and around the web on message boards where I used to post, says “Disenchantment is also an art.” Yes, generally speaking, I view myself as a Disenchantress. I think people enchant themselves all the time with ideas and dreams that never come to fruition and generally hold them back from necessary segments of reality. So generally, panentheistic shamanistic pagan that I am, I go about with the sharp pin of reason rather brutally bursting bubbles.
Worse than believing in daydreams and singing the “It will all work out somehow” song to themselves, rather than getting off of asses to WORK things out, sometimes people enchant themselves with songs of such mortal negativity as to cripple themselves from life, dragging on and on in a bitter existence with no vim, no vigor, no joy possible. Songs like “You are just like your worthless father.” Songs like “You came from trailer trash, and even living in a house, that is all you will ever be.” A constant chant of “Bad shit happens to you because you ARE shit!” or “You are broken, you can’t be fixed, give up!” leads nowhere good.
So, people NEED to be disenchanted. They quite rightly go to psychiatrists or psychologists for this. Sometimes they go to ministers, which can be moderately good or horridly bad. And the ones falling through the many cracks of a society that gives less and less of a shit about its citizens? Well, they end up with someone like me, who will, at worst, read their tarot cards….looking for signs in the symbols to decipher their question and answer in a way that makes sense. First, yes, I must disenchant them. Certain ritual ideas meet psychology and do a subtle dance to change the mental tune playing in the dark.
Or, there are those whose “enchantment” is of long and traumatic standing. Like my Minotaur husband, who fled a scarring childhood running to a war zone. How bad was it? Bad enough he joined the Army KNOWING he was Viet Nam bound. Injury upon injury, the invisible kind that can’t be moved because it can’t be seen, accrued there. The destructive songs play non-stop in their heads….the “chanting” of the blackest magic of all, and nobody can question the validity of the resultant self-judgements. It is all invisible. Well, until the drinking starts. Or the drugging. Or the avoiding the big no-no items like drink and drugs, but living such a deadened life that everyone finally flees the void as if from a walking Bermuda Triangle.
This is why my nickname for my husband is the “Minotaur”…because not only did he have shoulders like a bull and beautiful curling hair, but he was a being full of anger hidden even from himself and he drove off everyone who attempted to get close. “What,” I used to ask myself, as I read the story of the sacrificial Hellene youths and maidens driven into the Labyrinth to be destroyed by the mythic beast, “what if one of those girls did NOT run?” I told myself, long before I met my own Minotaur, that maybe I would be the girl who did not run. And so, when I was wed to a man crafting the verbal pre-nup so fearfully that I almost said ‘no’? It took me a few years to get the measure of the stranger I woke up next to the day after our marriage, but when I did; I knew an evil “enchantment” when I saw one. Sure, you can rightly call it PTSD, but that man was “singing” his own doom to himself every minute of the day.
And I did not run away. Even when friend after friend told me to do so, even when they finally couldn’t watch the pain and walked away from me. I kept “singing” my own song to him, telling him he had been wronged — but was not the wrong one. I did my best to deny him nothing that seemed to make him happy; but he was an open wound that was never filled. I did not run away even when, almost two years ago, he completely gave up on himself and flailed about like a drowning man intent on taking me with him. I moved a safe distance and threw him life ring after life ring. And finally, through the din, he began to hear what I said and what his son said instead. We were louder singers than the ghosts in his head.
After a disaster of a counselor with a religious axe to grind, he found a good counselor at the VA hospital and is making progress. Some points of joy are seeping back into his life! So, I took a chance and worked an “enchantment” for a change. We both feel a revitalized love beginning again out of the ashes of many painful years; a rise the phoenix could envy! This needed a ritual artifact, it seemed. So, I made one. I took sandalwood beads and a baked clay heart….a masculine and feminine face looking at each other. I blended oils as are used for magic….an artificial ambergris, and essential oils of sandalwood and rose; all said potent in matters of romance. I saturated the old dried out sandalwood beads and pearl-knotted them into the necklace above. I wore it the next time he came home, and when he embraced me, he seemed to catch fire.
So, I told him, this “enchantment” was for us both….to reignite a love that never died, but chilled with despair at times. We can both believe again in joy. We will rise, and fly, and old spells/traumas upon us are broken and left behind. Our happily-ever-after begins now! I have disenchanted both of us, and now re-enchanted us both! Psychology is a soft science, they say….or maybe, with a bow to science fiction, we could say it is a subtle magic?