On this day and at this particular hour a whole year ago, I was sitting in a bar with my then lover, drunk. We were celebrating the move into my new apartment. My first move out on my own after having been in a tumultuous 7 year relationship, which ended only four months before I moved out of the place we cohabited and into my new home. Literally, one relation to the next. Four days later, the then lover dumped me to return to his ex. It was an intense four month affair with him. We were each others rebound and hadn't really known it I think.
I was extremely isolated, in a new apartment, no friends locally to speak of, family clear across the country. My cats were unable to live with me, lover completely abandoned me. Save for the cruel texts about how he missed me and could still smell me on his bed... jackass. I descended into a manic depression. I think, it was at that time, that kicked off the real lessons of my Saturn return, in the sign of Scorpio no less. It wasn't just about him breaking up with me, it went far deeper than that. It was however, definitely a catalyst.
I coped with drinking and hooking up with random people. I neglected my business, family, friends and myself.
I desperately wanted to, but would not admit this to myself at the time, regain what I had lost. But it was gone gone gone and I was chasing after something ungrabable, smoke, shadows. I knew that even though I wanted to be loved so badly and to give love so badly, I wasn't even ready for it. I didn't want it but I wanted it. I wanted to be rescued, but no one was able to actually do it but me.
I have always been strong, adaptable, capable, resilient, independent. I have always prided myself in being the classic Aries woman. I was in the negative sense during this time: I withered, crumbled and was worked to ash by my own uncontrollable flame.
I had never thought myself capable of numbing and blotting out my own emotions with self-destructive behavior, that isn't me. Avoiding the truth of it all. I did it though and I did it through the latter part of 2014 and almost half of 2015.
When there wasn't random hookups, I dated some rather horrible and abusive people. I do not play victim here, I walked into these situations with my own self made blinders hiding the red flags. There were good ones too, but you knew in your heart there wasn't anything there. Or maybe you felt strongly the potential with someone, but knew it wasn't time yet.
It was all validation seeking in the wrong places. I sought it through attention from men, through meaningless sex. It left me with an intensely dull and hollow feeling. Like husks.
I knew it the whole time, what I was doing. Again and again the lesson would be taught. But oh! I only learn the hard way! I only learn through walking through fucking fire and ordeal. Ugh.
It came to a strange head about mid year, when I stopped dating and stopped with the hookups. A deep dreading and nagging feeling clung to me. Drinking and socializing continued and even in that there was a growing dis-ease with the amount of drinking I was doing. Hangovers were a constant depressive state. The realization of the validation seeking in all the wrong places was setting in... I knew it, but didn't want to face it.
I was avoiding me. Myself. Running, running, running from the elephant in the room. I was always able to call other people out for avoiding their own shadows, their bullshit, their own truth. Here I was this whole fucking time, doing just that.
Physician heal thyself. Or as I sometimes like to say, “Herbalist, heal thyself!”
I did it, I did it.
It required hermitizing. It required making myself poor and dumping all my saved money into a car and backpacking gear so that I could get the fuck out of this city and into the places my soul can expand in... be enriched by. Cutting off unhealthy relationships. Vowing to never again have Tinder on my phone. Back to the gym. Back to nutrition. Back to making art. Back to the plants and spirits that call... back to being happily, contentedly, alone. Back to real Britton, the root me.
I suppose, I had had enough of my own bullshit.
Do you know, I went a whole fucking month without drinking a cup of herbal tea? Oh I did. And shame on me. One strange and sobering night I was pulled to a jar in my cupboard filled with a bright green crushed leaf. I remember very distinctly the day I had collected it. The thought and intention as I plucked each leaf, talking to them as I went, leaving offerings as I went. I brewed it, cooled it enough to sip and I remember standing at my window watching a scraggly ass crow peck around in the street. I think it was very hot that day too... I sipped it. Boom! In that moment my whole mother fucking world crashed in around me. Like I was stuck somewhere up in the ozone layer and yoinked back down to earth. I cried and cried. It kind of went on like that for days, taking this tea, peeling back the layers.
The validation I was so seeking? I had to find in myself.
That little plant was vanilla leaf, an aromatic. I still haven't got a clue as to the how and why that plant and I have come to form a serious bond, I have simply always been very attracted to it. Very often the things that we are attracted to, are attracted to us, and for good reason. Plant gnosis is what it is. I owe that humble little dude plant quite a lot. No matter what, it's like they're always smiling back at me and reaching out to be touched. Nodding and waving in their low growing clusters through the woods. Like little forest foot soldiers.
Back in May, I sat in a lecture lead by a guy named Nome McBride, who was talking about restorative wildcrafting and he said, “sometimes you just have to go to the mountain and sit on a rock and cry.” He emphasized the (naturally) healing aspects of going to the woods and working with spirit of place and plants, developing and deepening those relationships. Internally that day, I went to my own mountain and cried. In his power point, he ended it with, “Rx of the day: Go to the mountain!” So now I can actually go to mountains! Sit on rocks and have a good cathartic cry with the acquisition of a motor vehicle. Plants can take us places too, but internally. Just like vanilla leaf did for me.
I cannot say, why, why I resisted what I know feeds me, what is right to me, my soul. Maybe it is the rawness of it all? The feeling of your skin being inverted and constant nerve exposure. Accepting the otherness of yourself. Sometimes you must be broken to be made anew...
The recent seasonal shift seems to be supporting my movements. Venus has been retrograde since July 25th and I can say, I wanted to utilize her dipping into shadow to get back to myself and I did. Interestingly, as she began to station retro I noticed the little rx next to my own Venus in Aries in my natal chart, something I somehow overlooked. I was born into this world with her in the underworld. A coming home time of sorts I think, back to home base and a familiar root. I have felt as though something has been building up to this month as she soon stations direct and begins a side by side transit with my own ruling planet, Mars. Power is building... and a lunar eclipse in my sign soon! Such good things. Supportive astrological aspects in my own shifting and skin shedding.
Took me a god damn year(ish) to come full circle, to be real with myself. All of that was necessary though and I cannot say that I regret the things that I did to myself. Because through all that bittering experience, it made the sweetness that much more sweet and soothing, opening. A balm to the soul. Hawthorn to the heart. Little vanilla leaf bringing me back to myself.
I would like to wrap this up with a shout out to Olivia at First Earth Tarot, who provided me with an amazing reading at a very rock bottom point. You're an incredible woman, thank you for your compassion.
And in all his cheese, this dude gets it every time. I actually watched this after I wrote this whole thing. Oh synchronicity!