Creativity can be a double-edged sword. On one side, dreaming up and making beautiful things is wonderful, right? Whether you dream in poetry, write your truth, sing the song of your people, or bring a vision to life, you’re tapping into a process as old as humanity, and perhaps older.
However, what happens when you’re a manic creative? What happens when your ideas keep you from sleeping at night? What happens when the ideas come faster than your productivity?
That’s what happens to me when I get into a serious creative phase. Which I’m in now, incidentally.
(Speaking of, while I will continue to do what I’ve been working on- aka incenses and other goodies, some knitting/crocheting projects will be showing up as well. I also have 2 short story ideas I’m noodling. :-))
That’s the call of Sarasvati in my life. While she’s typically known as the Goddess of knowledge, writing, and music, to me she will always embody creativity in ALL endeavors including arts and crafts. Traditionally, Brigid’s affiliations with craft might have been a better fit for the things I do, but as I said in my last post, I felt called by the Lakshmi/Sarasvati rivalry. It’s a struggle I feel continually in my own life.
Do I want to be true to myself and be broke and creative? Or do I want to take time away from my creative endeavors to pursue enough money to live off of? I know there’s a solution where I can have both, but in 39 years, I haven’t found it.
Lakshmi and Sarasvati came to me when I was in my mid 20’s. I had just left a very lucrative, but soul-crushing, job, and I was embarking on my first business. It shouldn’t be surprising that it was an aromatherapy company. It was called SmellyGirl, and it had a bit more Riot Grrl flavor than the things I tend to do now. I was experiencing the joy of giving my ideas form with the aim towards making a living for the first time. And I found it imperative to balance my creativity with enough practicality and gumption to actually make money at it.
What happened instead is that my very obsessive personality took over. I surrounded myself with essential oils and bottles and bathsalts, and I made my own labels, and my own order forms, and did all my own graphics, and my own website, and promotion, and, and, and… I worked 12-16 hour days with no rest. I would go to bed at 4 am reeking of peppermint oil, and that is the LAST thing that will help you go to sleep. So when I did try to sleep, I would just dream about what I would do tomorrow for the business.
Basically, SmellyGirl crashed and burned, and I did too. I began to hate it and hate my life. There needed to be a balance between my creative and my practical sides, and while I was burning myself out, I wasn’t able to bring it down to a practical enough level to make any money. I made a few sales, but quit before anything could take off.
I’m still obsessive with Ravenson Reagents, but the fibromyalgia is forcing me to take it easier on myself. It’s like my body has given me an internal alarm for when I start getting too type A about things. That’s when the pain starts. So, while the ideas continue, I don’t tend to try to do everything all at once anymore. There’s a balance to be found there too.
But back to Sarasvati. She is associated with water in Hindu legend, and there has been recent satellite imagery that has uncovered the path of the enormous and ancient Sarasvati river, which was thought to be a myth. The idea is that knowledge flows like water, and while I do like that analogy, as a Western Pagan, she represents air to me. She is the very embodiment of communication, inspiration, knowledge, and all things air in the traditional Wiccan element alignments.
She is usually clothed in white, and has 4 arms, representing mind, ego, intellect, and alertness. She usually holds a veena (a musical instrument similar to a sitar), and manuscripts. She usually has a swan at her feet, and is near or floating on a river. Her festival is the Sarasvati Puja, and is celebrated at different times depending on which part of India you’re in.