In traditional East Asian medicine, autumn is the season associated with Metal in the “Five Elements” or “Five Phases” (wu xing). Metal is the element of pruning, of letting go and cutting away; of grief and of courage.
But my inspiration for this sigil is more personal that the turning of the seasons.
If you follow me on Facebook, or if you saw my recent post here about Dionysian paths, you know that my brother is an alcoholic. He had managed to hide this from us, his family (though not his friends), until a seizure and heart attack last July landed him in the ICU.
You might think that ending up on a ventilator would be a powerful inducement to change one’s behavior. But not powerful enough for him. And so for this July, he followed it up with a stroke and another ICU stay, another stint on a ventilator.
For several years before this, he had been living in our parent’s basement — now just Mom’s basement after Dad passed away four years ago. (It’s been a sucktastic few years, even before covid.) He crashed back there in heavy debt and minimal employment after his fiance broke up with him (for reasons we now understand), leeching from and occasionally stealing from them.
This was obviously not a sustainable situation.
When he refused to go to rehab for his addiction and behavioral health issues last year, I cut off contact with him. But our mom, being a mom, did everything she could to support him, gave him every chance to get himself together, kept hoping that he would change.
But now he’s passed even the patience and tolerance — and the limited financial resources — of our saintly mother. She has told him that she cannot support him anymore, and that he must get help with his addiction if he’s going to return to live with her.
And he’s refusing to do so.
I don’t know where he thinks he’s going to go when he’s discharged from post-stroke care: it seems the options are that he goes out on the street (and with only one working arm and limited mobility from the stroke, and a cardiovascular system that’s already failing, is dead in a few months at most); or the social work team manages to get him into long-term care somewhere at Medicaid expense.
Either way, there’s now a chance that neither of us will have contact with him again.
And so we come back to this need for pruning, letting go and cutting away. For grief and for courage. These are things that we all need at times in our lives — though I hope you never have need of them in this dramatic a fashion.
This sigil is based on elements meant to symbolize releasing and expanding, letting fly away or dropping. Please borrow it if you find it of use.