Sick Dad Moon
Sick Dad Moon is a new translation of the lunar journaling practice I have cultivated for over a decade. When I began this practice in 2010, I was apprenticed to a dreaming shaman and asked to record the dreams, body pain, interpersonal challenges and symbolic synchronicities I experienced each moon cycle. As I became a data gatherer of my own life's details I developed a capacity for recognize my personal patterns and personal timing within larger rhythms of seasonality and cycles of the moon.
In 2020, during my first year of graduate school, my father was hospitalized and intubated due to COVID complications. Life for the following six months became tenuous and uncertain. I found my exuberance for performance and extroversion receding and became more attracted to the private routines I perform to feel grounded, centered, and capable of embracing life's challenges with a healthy and growth-oriented attitude.
When my father was first hospitalized, my family held onto every update very tightly. Variations of heart rate, breathing, and signs of infection felt like theatrical cues to begin celebrating or, inversely, despairing. As weeks and then months went by the desire to let go of a certain level of descriptive detail emerged. This is pretty is pretty common in a long-term engagement with anything, especially the sickness of a loved one.
As this began to happen I decided to start noting my waking and dreaming experiences in significantly less detail. Instead of a diaristic narrative, I created a chart system populated by core images of my daily experiences, sensations, relationships, dreams, and challenges within the lunar month. This choice transformed what was initially a private journaling practice into a public act of mapping personal symbolic data. The work, as it emerged began to resemble elements of medical charts, scrapbooks, and esoteric diagrams.
I completed 6 months of these visual-chart-journals and then stopped. My father recovered and came home, though it felt like the doors of his "old age" had been blasted open from the experience. Family, like spiritual or creative practices, can compel their participants at certain intervals to surrender current forms of meaning in order to acquire new meaning. These changes also have their seasons.