Grief in One Hand, Joy in the Other: How to Hold It All

Grief in One Hand, Joy in the Other: How to Hold It All October 18, 2021

Grief is a frequent visitor.

Whether it is reminders of those I’ve lost or those who have died, this time of decreasing light in the Northern Hemisphere reminds me how nothing blooms all the time. And yes, there is still beauty.

I try to remember the lesson of grief and joy, both at the same time. That as a human, I am a set of complex emotions and reactions and responses that often (but not always) happen simultaneously. I am not happy all the time. I am not sad all the time.

In fact, I am often happy, sad, a little angry, and definitely afraid in the course of a day. Or an hour, if I’m about to write a blog. Or do a presentation. Or go for a walk.

I am multitudes. And I bet you are too.

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Remember the Multi-Tasking of Experience

While studies have been done about multi-tasking and its impact on efficiency, I still do two things at once. Right now, I’m typing and watching YouTube and snacking, for example. And though it might be ‘better’ to tackle one of these things at a time, it’s not the way I’m built.

And if I can remember that, the whole grief thing isn’t overwhelming.

There is no extra despair to be found or achieved in just being sad about loss. There are no extra points to be gained if I push away all the shiny things because I NEED TO BE SAD.

There is only time lost. Lost to the stretches of ‘it needs to look like this because I read it somewhere once.’

You are multitudes.

And while I offer grief and joy at the same time, I stretch beyond the binary. I am angry and sad about loss, while also happy about the sunrise today. Or the unexpected good news I got last night.

What Does Grief Have to Do with Magick?

Great question. Thanks for reading up to this point.

You are not one type of magick. Or one type of witch or magic person or diviner or human. You are multitudes. When I can stretch beyond the ‘either or’ dilemma, my magick widens too. It is not about doing a certain thing; it’s about finding a certain feeling.

And whether that feeling is conjured by roses or rain, it is magick. Your magick.

I guess I just want to say things to folks who feel there is a right way they’re never going to get to. Or that if they feel low, they’re going to feel that way forever (and any sort of sparkle of hope is something that should be squashed until all of the sadness is wrung out of your heart).

You are a season. You are a turning of moments and breaths and skin cells and water once the ocean, once the teardrop in another’s eye.

Connected and continuous. Related and relevant in each moment.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by emotion or somehow stuck in a place you don’t want to be stuck, I invite you to remember you are capable of multitudes.

That your sadness is as transient as a sunrise.

That your happiness is a visitor, just as the water of a puddle caused by rain and evaporated by light and time.

That your fear may be putting its feet up on your table, but it can’t stay for long.

That your anger is huffing and puffing in the corner, but it will run out of steam and eventually take a nap.

No matter what is happening, something else can arrive.

Perhaps it’s time to greet the next traveler into your experience.


(And in doing so, your own magick feels right at home too.)



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About Irisanya Moon
I’m a Witch. I’m a writer. I’m a priestess, teacher, feminist, and initiate in the Reclaiming tradition, as well as death doula. I serve the godds, my community, and the Earth. I’ve called myself a Witch for nearly 20 years, and my life has been infused with magick. I am interested in shifting stories – the ones we tell ourselves and the ones that are told about us. I’m continuously inspired to engage as the storyteller and the story, the words and the spaces between. I am a devotee of Aphrodite, Hecate, the Norns, and Iris. I seek to find love and to inspire love by reminding us we are not alone, while also meeting myself at the crossroads, holding the threads of life, and bringing down messages from the godds. (I've also published some books. You can get them at my website.) You can read more about the author here.

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