It doesn't, in this moment, matter where it comes from. Whether it is the stereotypical Slavic melancholy I inherited from my mother, who inherited it from hers, which is tangled up in the ancestor work I am doing with that line. Whether it is situations that are hard right now, and my exhaustion. Whether it is the kink in my neurochemistry that predisposes me to it. Whether it is all these things.
I pour myself a drink. I cannot figure out how to alleviate the pain that matters, so I settle for something that I know will loosen my trapezius, release the muscle tension that is sending ripples of pain down my arm. I do not have the power to fix what I suspect is stress tangled up with habits of depression, possibly tweaked a little harder by the spellwork I am doing, trying to untangle threads of suffering.
The drink is good. The proportions may be a bit off, but they're off in a direction I like, a limey sweetness that balances the alcohol. I drink it slowly, enjoying it as much as I am able, much like I enjoyed the relief I bought with an afternoon of some of my favorite music, which bought me enough space to dance with the children for a little while, Little Foot taking my hands and spinning and stomping with glee, suggesting that she took joy in the same music that sustains me; the younger child, who I need a nick for, clutching her bottle in both hands and bouncing up and down on the side of our dance floor. My collarbone pops; my medical self-indulgence is working.
I finish the drink, take the cup to the kitchen, pause, and partially fill it with water. I breathe, reaching for clarity - purify me, make me true - and pour the pain into the cup, whispering the prayers. "From You, all things emerge ... even this." Even this.
Even this pain is holy. Even this.
As I drink the water, I comment to a friend that the alcohol loosens inhibitions. Because I want to cry.
I do not cry easily, though this is less tight a complex than it used to be. The lessons taught by brutality are not easily unlearnt.
I take the cup of water from the ancestor shrine, pick it up to partake of its magic, and the same impulse to prayer comes to me. I silently repeat "I am pure, I am pure, I am pure." The verbal prayer, so familiar, cannot wrest itself free; the silence is overwhelming, the ritual consumed by the simple outpouring of pain. Myself, my grandmother, the thread between us that encompasses my mother perhaps. I crush the heavy pewter cup against my chest, silently trying to grasp the prayer through the roaring sound of the rushing, wrenching, agonising feelings.
I refill the cup, return it to its place, whisper "For your ka" to the closed doors of the shrine.
The water runs hot, not cool like an offering. I step into the shower, start to wash my hair, lean my head against the coolness of the tile, and sob, just a little.
I know that I am crying, not because the sound of the water would obscure the sound - not like the time I could only cry in the rain, away from everyone else, protected by isolation and a weather through which nobody would follow - but because the water itself allows the pain to flow, releases the clenched and twisted muscles, frees the energies that bind me.
Your purification is the purification of Heru
Your purification is the purification of Set
Your purification is the purification of Djehwty
Your purification is the purification of Dwn-Anwy
Your purification is the purification of your ka
Your purification is the purification of your purification
And this purification of yours
Among your brethren
- Pyramid Text 36