i first read karen russell’s swamplandia while ensconced in the woods of the adirondacks, ten years after the ending of a childhood trauma. there was much about the book that resonated with me: its florida setting (though i grew up in the relatively defanged suburbs and not the everglades), its interest in the occult, and the way the protagonist, ava, talks about her assault.
it was this passage, in particular, that got me: “But things can be over in horizontal time and just beginning in your body, I’m learning. Sometimes the memory of that summer feels like a spore in me, a seed falling through me.”
in response, i wrote in my journal: “Sometimes it seems impossible, that it was ever my life – I was so different, counting the years until I could make my escape, living a life edged with fear, whether I allowed myself to feel it or not— Other times it seems impossible that I ever forget, that it’s not emblazoned on my mind, every day — But of course, it can’t be, mental scars fade just like physical ones—”
two extremes, forgetting completely and remembering all the time, and a pendulum swing between the two. the truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle: what happened to me will never leave me. it will always be a part of me. but it will never be my daily experience again.
the last time i talked about healing, with judgement, i mentioned that both forgiveness and healing are frequently ugly. i mentioned that like the centaur chiron, i have a wound that will not heal.
it’s a statement that is true and not-true. the wound will not heal; the wound has healed as much as it can.
temperance dwells in that middle ground, the place between two extremes. her healing waters stream from cup to cup without a drop spilling. it’s a delicate balance that she strikes; like balance, healing can be an ongoing process. the things that helped you survive once may no longer serve you. you may need to find something new to help heal you now.
darlings, let’s look this week to see where we can find balance in our lives, to see how we can heal ourselves.
this week’s deck: dreaming way tarot
this week’s crystals: amazonite, milky quartz