That quote is brought to you by Martin Fraquhar Tupper.
I’d also like to dedicate this to everyone I have ever discussed my thoughts and ideas about “The Fallow Times” with. This is a tell-all, kind of a 101 entry in which I discuss what it means, why I think it happens, and what we do about it. As a quick aside, I have discussed this before and so, I leave that link there for anyone who wants to see what I thought prior to what I think now.
What The Hell Is It?
My definition for this time period really hasn’t changed or morphed at all since I first thought up the concept some time ago. It is exactly as it sounds from its legitimate definition, which is “not in use; inactive.” (Apparently, it is also defined as a color and the use of unused land, but I figured this definition was more apropos.) This is a time period in which to lay quietly by. Just as itinerant farmers let land lay quiet for a season or two before returning to that land, so too do the gods let us lay fallow. (And just so you know, this is also something that can be equated to many different aspects of our lives, but also with any of the OTHERS™ out there.)
Why Does It Happen?
Sometimes this quiet time can be heralded by a crisis of faith, but I’ve mostly found it to be reversed. We find that we cannot commune as we once did—no matter the form of the communication—with our OTHERS™ and then, a crisis of faith appears as if by magic. This silence can be particularly hard when you feel that it comes out of nowhere. And more often than not, it does tend to come out of left field for us. It’s not even that it truly is an “out of the blue” thing. I’ve come to see that it comes about after a period of time in which belief, faith, and religious cohesiveness tends to bend and break. Of course, as someone who is going through this, it is incredibly rare to realize that this is what is coming up. It starts off as something small and insignificant before building into a snowball the size of a mountain that runs you down. And then, you come out from that and realize… Where are my OTHERS™?
I’ve considered a lot the reasoning behind why this happens to us. I’ve looked back to my own Fallow Times and I’ve been reading a lot about other peoples’ feelings and ideas about it, as well. I’ve come to believe that there are many different reasons for such times. There is no one single, concrete reason for this silence, I feel. It’s not just a simple “we’re blocked” or “They’re busy” because nothing is so simple as that. I’ve come to feel that it is a magnitude of various reasons that have made this time happen as it does.
More often than not, it appears that the most common reason for the Fallow Times is simply because the mundane gets in the way. This tends to not just be the life that we are living, such as with home life or school life or work life (although a combination thereof or even, singularly, is feasible), but also an emotional element as well. When we throw ourselves so deeply into work or school, then we tend to forget about anything else. Sometimes, it’s just a battle of wills to remember to eat, never mind that worship is also something that is important to our nourishment.
I’ve also found that in blocking, even accidentally, our religious experiences to bring more focus on our mundane lives, we tend to end up in a depressed state. It’s worse for those of us who actually have been diagnosed with depression and so, therefore, know that it is a possibility. I think believing and having faith in our OTHERS™ is a natural stimulant of endorphins, thereby pushing the whole depression back twenty levels. However, in so focusing on the concrete world around us and the concrete lives that we want to live, then we push away from our spiritual selves and in so doing, we end up depressed.
Another reason, I think, is simply that the OTHERS™ are fucking busy. We’re pretty self-centered as animals go, I feel, and so we always feel that the OTHERS™ should be paying attention to us. This isn’t always feasible because, omniscient doesn’t always equate to omnipotent. (If your OTHERS™ fall into these categories because maybe, they don’t. Personally? I don’t know if mine do.) And let’s be honest, they have a lot of things going on. There are all of the things that could be going on that we know nothing about because they don’t happen here, on this plane of existence. There’s no telling what is going on when the Greeks are on Olympus, the Deadz in their cemeteries, the Norse in Asgard, the Lwa in Haiti, the Egyptians in the Field of Reeds/Solar Barque/wheresoever… We just can’t know and we can’t assume that we do just because we’ve read the myths and have a relationship with one of the OTHERS™. On top of this, they have a lot of followers out there that need their attention. And as I said, omniscient doesn’t always really mean omnipotent. And if we’re so focused on other things, why the fuck shouldn’t they pay attention to themselves or other followers or what have you?
The main reason, I feel, for the Fallow Times is simply as a test. This is probably one of the worst tests that we go through, but it’s important. The reason that we’re being tested is to see just how far into this life that we can and are willing to go. How much bullshit are you willing to put up with when it comes to your significant other? The same goes with the OTHERS™ that you worship and have a connection with: how much bullshit are you willing to put up with? I’m not specifically saying that the Fallow Times are bullshit, but it sure as hell feels that way when you’re sitting in the middle of it.
What Do You Do When It Happens To You?
The question of the moment, eh?
To be honest, there really isn’t any magical word or gesture that can make this go away. As I’m often fond of saying, I am unfortunately without Glinda’s magic wand. However, I think a long way to making it move by faster would be to recognize that you are going through a Fallow Time. In so identifying that particular phase, you’re more able to realize what it is that is going on and even possibly diagnosing why it is you are going through the Fallow Time in question.
The only other little bit of advice (I know, I know: only one more bit?) that I can offer is to just go through the motions. I know that sounds like really shitty advice and to an extent, it is. I certainly wasn’t all that thrilled with the whole bit of advice when it was given to me some time back. However, as time has gone by and I [believe that I] became wiser, I realized that this is the exact same bit of advice that anyone would give anyone else in any other situation: If you’re going through a depressive phase, going through the motions manages to help bring us out of it. When you’re in a rut at school, going through the motions can help to bring us out of it or realize what we must do to get out of it. The same thing with work, at home, etc. So, just keep up the little things that you were doing prior to this Fallow Time and I promise, you can get through it.
Even if it feels like you can’t.
What’s the End Result Anyway?
The whole point in this shitty time period is actually not so terrible, I swear. While you’re going through it, you wouldn’t assume that anything on the other side of it could possibly be decent or even something you really want. I mean, there you are, wallowing for lack of a better term, while shit is flying around you and while you get to read all about the other assholes out there who aren’t going through said Fallow Time. And it really gets to you after a while and you really begin to assume that whatever the hell is on the other side? That it just really isn’t worth it.
But that’s not the case.
That’s never the case.
The whole point is to prepare you for what’s coming up. This is why I kind of equate the Fallow Times to being a test, of sorts. It’s as though, if you can go through this solitude and come out just fine (no matter how long it takes), then you’re prepared for the next phase in your spiritual/religious life. And I can safely assure anyone and everything that what comes next is a monstrous ride. A flood of new spiritual insight will be on its way. And every time you begin to think that you’ve been taking on too much or you’re being given too much to contend with, just remember that you managed to get through the Fallow Times, so yes, indeed, you are easily able and prepared to get through whatever is being tossed in your direction.
Oh, Is That All?
I have one more salient point before you can tell me how much hogwash and rubbish I’ve just made you read.
The one more thing is simply this: you are never alone when it comes to this Fallow Time. There are others who have gone through it, who will go through it, or who are going through it at the same time as you. Unfortunately, we, as humans, tend to believe that it is our hurt and our pain that is (A) the most important and (B) the only kind in the world. This means that we, oft-times, firmly believe that no one can possibly be going through the same thing or even remotely understand where it is we are coming from. The same seems to apply when it comes to going through a Fallow Time. It is only as near the end of this dark period that we realize that we are truly not alone. However you realize that is of your own accord, but I’ve often found it to be true as I near the ending of my own private Fallow Time because I read just so many pagan blogs.
And at some point or another, one of those people is going through a Fallow Time of their own.