Mercury Rising

It’s Monday. I made it.

The last week has been horrendous. Hellacious. A battle on every front, during which I could only seem to stand my ground, moving neither forward nor back. “If I can make it to Monday,” I would tell myself, “Then it’ll be ok.” ‘Make it to Monday’ was my mantra.

I’m sure we’ve all had times like this. Periods of difficulty, where each day seems to last at least a year, with so much thrown at us that we feel like simply giving up in the face of the deluge.

I’m no expert in astrology, but we’ve just come out of a period of Mercury retrograde – a time of pause and reflection. Because basically, if you try to do anything… forget it. It is not happening. Stars or not, this sums up the last few weeks. Mercury, God of travel and communication, was going backwards.

No matter what I did, I was stymied. Talks fell through, emails went unanswered (or receiving vague and unhelpful answers at best) – the world seemed to be moving, but just not the part I was in. Writing didn’t flow, any work was a challenge. So many pieces of technology broke or failed; even my shoes fell apart. Sometimes it felt as if I was bashing my head against a wall. What was I supposed to do with my time?! I do like to keep busy; even when relaxing, I like to be doing something, be is reading, knitting… whatever comes to hand. Even these simple activities couldn’t keep my attention.

And then last weekend, my first ever animal friend, who had been in my life since his ‘rescue’ from a local sanctuary, took himself out of the living room window with a brief final look at me… and vanished. He’s been ill for a while, had Harry the geriatric cat – an inoperable ear condition that meant he was fairly deaf (and so wonky enough that he missed when jumping at objects, which confused him no end), losing his sight, with no teeth and all the signs of senility.

He was scared of the mattress, because of how it felt underfoot – but he snuggled into bed with me when I was alone after my divorce. His loud purr from my lap was such a comfort. We’d play ‘licky/kicky’ games together on the stair (he grabbed and kicked at my fingers, I’d tickle his belly).

But now, it seemed, his time was done.

Lovely folk confirmed to me that ‘this is something cats do’ – they take themselves away to find a quiet place, where they won’t be found. In one sense, that hurts; but in another, I understand.

I found myself nodding. Because over these same past few weeks (months?), I’d been thinking the same. When the darkness seemed inescapable, with no way out… I’d considered taking myself away, for the sake of everyone.

Yes, I know – irrational. Depression does that. Things that would seem manageable, easy to deal with when perspective is ‘normal’ can be almost the end of the world when you’re down in the dark. Getting dressed is a challenge; leaving the house akin to scaling Everest. It may not be ‘all about me’, I may be selfish and inconsiderate… but sometimes there just isn’t anything outside your own head. That’s how it can feel. And it’s so very scary.

Last week, it seemed that knock came after knock. If I could just make it through… I kept telling myself, over and over. It wasn’t all about me. But feeling trapped and alone (even if I wasn’t) made it seem so.

I had to trust that Harry had done what he thought best. I had to trust myself, that I had the strength to survive (and that survival was, in fact, the right decision). This, too, will pass.

Mercury was taking me deep.

Years ago, when I first dipped a toe into Paganism, I sat in my bedroom and meditated, nervously asking for any deity who might like to take me on to make themselves known. I was curious, but had no real idea what I was getting into. But I had made my decision, and asked the question. I’m not sure what I expected, but certainly not who arrived.

A beautiful lady with the head of a cat stepped forward, shining and golden. I was taken on, as a kitten perhaps: a trainee priestess of Bast.

I had no idea what I was doing. But I was so staggered at the force of the experience, I resolved to simply (!) do my best.

Over the years since, my Lady has moved more into the background; a constant presence, but letting me learn what I have to. I’ve come to understand the fluidity of Deity, how personification is a human need, but which those forces which guide us can use to help us see what needs to be seen.

I’ve worked closely with other deities since, from Sekhmet to Hekate, Herne and Loki (not all at once!). I’ve learned. But She has been there, to be glimpsed when least expected. In no way separate from my life, but constant, present, in all Her aspects.

Harry was my friend, companion and guardian – but he was always his own person. I’m now in a house full of canines (all male). Life takes us on strange, winding routes.

I’ve made it to Monday. I’ve been reading the tales of others this morning, online and in print, the curling paths of life. Simple actions have taken on the importance of prayer – I’ve made it (this far).

We ebb and flow. Ourselves and those forces that we connect with – the stars, the gods, those living beings we share space with, larger forces of Nature that we are subject to. We touch and part. We learn and teach, inspire and are inspired.

I think back to the past week. To those shining lights which glowed all the more strongly for the hardness that they broke through. A call from a friend; a simple message. A request, a shared thought, a gift. A story can be the most powerful of connections, a smile the greatest achievement. A memory, held close.

Monday morning. The next week stretches ahead. My body is free from pain; my mind free from darkness. I honour what is past, promising not to forget. And step forward.


  1. Powerful words, Cat. I’m so glad you made it to Monday. May this week be full of blessings for you.

  2. Anny said

    One step at a time, holding tight to the threads that connect us – blessings to you.

  3. said

    Hello, really sorry to hear about Harry-I know how painful that feels-as last year one of our cats-my favourite went and we never found her. No wonder your feeling low-they are our comfort and friends.
    Its so tempting when we feel low to bottle it in, suffer in silence and pretend to everyone else that everything is fine. Its good that your able to express how you feel. Depression is a bugger as it creeps up and then everything hits harder when your tired out with it. Emergency rescues I found have worked to give relief-included just speaking to a friend-taking yourself out to just get a cuppa with someone else to talk to. Hypnotherapy in the past found absolute miracle help for a moment when really thought was loosing the plot big time. Generally don’t be hard on yourself (we are all our worst critics). Like Anny said take everything step by step and go easy on you.
    And finally I just wanted to express that your a lovely creative person, young and much to give although the path is tough some days, stay strong, Nicky x

  4. Andrew Smith said

    Sorry for your loss, Cat. Touching words, beautifully woven. Thanks for sharing. It helps to hear how people pull through in difficult times – always I find something in your blogs I can relate to or which open my heart to greater understanding. Glad you made it to Monday – good to see you’re keeping up your 100% success rate at getting through. And from a selfish point of view, I’d miss your writing! May your path ahead be full of blessings.

  5. Thanks for having the courage to share your thoughts, and glad to hear you’ve made it through this spell of depression. I’m also familiar with worthlessness and futilty and sometimes it’s only anger or a quiet word from my gods that keeps me going. I think a certain solace can be found in sharing thoughts and knowing you’re not alone. Very sorry to hear about Harry. Blessings for the week ahead.

  6. survive, and all else remains possible. You’re doing great, because you ahve not, actually, given up.

  7. Crystal said

    Dear Cat, I am here from your interview (61) on Druidcast. I am glad to say that I wasn’t the only having a hellish time that week, and one that I wish never ever to live through again (unfortunately the toughest is yet to come), have I paid my debt has my soul learnt its lesson, I certainly hope so, and why, why, why did I not listen to my spirit yelling “run now and never come back” – it resulted in one beautiful daughter and a paranoid schizophrenic ex husband…
    Thanks to OBOD for keeping grounded and strong!
    May the Sun and Stars shine brighter for you.

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