Full Moon – Apple Moon Crests / Autumn Equinox 2021

A close-up of a whole apple pie is overlaid with a line-drawing of a slice of pie on a plate (lower right corner), and the words “Autumn Equinox: Happy Harvest Home” overlays the image in dark brown script.

Full moon is tomorrow, and Autumn Equinox is this coming Wednesday, but this post is going up today. I have my latest batch of Weird Fruit Curd just barely starting its waterbath on the stove. This year it’s a mix of peaches, a lemon a friend left at our place, and a bunch of sea buckthorn berries that I found in the freezer section of the grocery store (they are bitter, not sour, and not citrusy at all BUT they are exactly right for making fruit curd, so I’m going for it).

Some of the fruit curd, when it’s done, is going to be mixed into a soul cake – think cheesecake, but a 2000+ year old recipe – and used for offerings on both my home altar and the Autumn stone I’ll be visiting on Wednesday.

Right now, my altar candles are lit – I just did Ritual with the folks down in DC – and I’ve put a cup of chai with a little milk in it up there as an offering. I’ve been burning Prosperity incense today, because it seemed appropriate for the “I am enough, I have enough” Work that I’m doing this Equinox.

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about a job I applied for, and then took, because it was the only one available at the time, and which I’ve been regretting pretty much ever since, wanting to pull the plug and get out and waffling like heck because – among other reasons – while I don’t need it, and it’s making my life harder from the perspectives of creativity and anxiety, it’s also making my life much, much easier, financially. And that’s one of the factors I’m grappling with as I consider making my exit.

My girlfriend walked me through a somatic meditation the other day – I swear, this is relevant – that asked me to feel in my body the sense of “being cared for”. Not the stories I tell myself about what that does or doesn’t look like, or is/isn’t allowed to look like, but the literal, physical sensation of “being cared for”.

This was actually pretty easy to do. As someone with an anxiety disorder, and attachment anxiety on top of that, but who also has a couple of really solid, secure attachments in her life, the sensation of “when that shuts up and I feel safe” is actually familiar (amazing!) and something I can call up. Warmth, a cessation of the jittery trembling that is part of my baseline most of the time and its replacement with stillness, with calm. My shoulders coming down from my ears. My breath coming more easily, and more deeply, in and out of my lungs. A slowness. A palpable relief.

And that feeling came – not 100% easily, but it came – when I called.

What I wasn’t expecting was what came with it.

What came with it was the sensation/vision of a long, warm, tealight flame glowing steadily in my solar plexus. Golden light. Heat and calm and focus.

Now, you all know that I do a lot of Chakra Stuff. So I knew what I was looking at. The experience was a reminder that resilience isn’t something that is internally generated, that humans are animals whose strength is in community, whose power is in our connections, and our resilience comes from being cared for by others when we need the support, and by caring for other when they need it.

For a long time, my prayer has been “Let me have enough to share”.

And I’m finding that I draw a distinction between “share” and “give away”. Probably this comes from something like having grown up in this culture where we has so much stuff that we not only have more Things than we personally need, but that some of us don’t even know anybody personally who does need them. Where dropping things off at Value Village is less a kindness to someone else and more a way of avoiding putting still-useful things directly into a landfill with your own hands.

For me, “share” means “Clothing Swap” and “Free Box”. It means “Call that friend who sometimes run out of groceries and offer them the extra produce from the CSA”. It means “Community Fridge” and, sometimes, “Buy Nothing Group”. It means giving your extras to people you know – or at least people you might know because you live in the same neighbourhood or at the same intersection of opressions. Sharing is part of the resilience we offer to each other.

To give something away is a different situation. “To share [something]” is to keep it in the family, one way or another. “To give [something] away” is to let it go entirely. To let something move out of your hands, your family, your community and, yes, to be picked up by someone else who will welcome and cherish it but, also, never to return your way.

There’s a Saying that shows up in a lot of “psychology of wealth” self-help books, and in a lot of How To Magic books, too, about manifestation and how you have to shift the old, cluttered, stuff out in order to make room for new, wanted, stuff to come in. It’s one of the reasons why we make sacrifices. It’s why we ritually sain and sweep our houses, too. It’s why we shed our serpent skins to renew ourselves as we grow.

A lot of what stops people – or at least people like me, people who’ve known physical and emotional scarcity for big chunks of their lives – from being able to take the step of shifting the “old stuff” out is that… what if we need that some day? What if we need that [broken bed-frame] [exploitative job] [ill-fitting shirt] [unreliable, entitled ‘friend’] because we don’t have anything else?

So, this Autumn Equinox, this harvest time, I’m praying for Enough not just for us, for now, not just for us to keep and save and seed, not even just enough for us to share. I’m praying for Enough to be able to give things away and still keep me and mine safe and sure.

~*~

Three cards from the Wildwood tarot, laid out on a cedar board: “Healing”, the Seven of Stones (a Greenwoman does energy work on a fallen man in a kilt. They are surrounded by short standing stones). “Home”, the Ten of Stones (Looking through a stone arch, we see a giant roundhouse with a well-established living oak as its center post). “The Ancestor”, the Five of the Major Arcana (A woman with a deer’s head, dressed in Iron Age clothes, stands in the deep snow playing a bodhran. She is flanked by birch trees. A waxing crescent moon hangs in the background).

Given all this talk of resilience and redistribution, I was expecting the Six of Stones to fall out of my deck. Instead, I got the above three cards leaping out of my hands and landing at my feet.

My Wildwood deck is very literal – probably the most literal and here-and-now deck in my collection, none of whom are exactly subtle about a situation – so when I see the Seven of Stones (who was the archetypal energy we invoked at High Summer) – and the Ancestor (Oh, Hai, Samhain) on either side of a card called Home, I can recognize that my deck is saying “Yep! It is, indeed, Autumn Equinox in these parts!” So: Happy Harvest Home to you, too, my beloved kin of blood and spirit. I see you. ❤

And.

Because tarot is a language of metaphor, and there’s usually more than one thing going on in a given reading, I can look at these cards and see:

The seven of stones is an interim report, a check-in card that asks me to see if what I’m actually doing matches what I want and need to be doing. I had to laugh when I looked up “seven of pentacles” and got this very old post from Little Red Tarot, explicitly about leaving a job purely because it wasn’t enjoyable anymore. If only because I’m chewing on pulling that particular pin myself. It’s a card that says, as I once commented to my voice teacher approximately half a lifetime ago, “Freedom is paying your own bills”. It’s a reminder that Autonomy means you have both hard work ahead of you, step-by-step processes to follow if you want to get where you’re aiming and the time you need to rest and get used to this idea of Having Enough and not having to scrabble all the time.

The Hierophant – in this deck, the Ancestor – asks “Are your actions in line with your values?” It asks “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?” It asks me, in light of my payers and goals, How I’m defining “enough”, and how will I be ethical in my use of food, rare earths, potable water, fossil fuels, such that my desire for “enough to give (throw?) away” isn’t wasteful, isn’t theft, isn’t taking food out of someone else’s mouth?

Home – the ten of stones, this card that means material security and secure attachments at the same time – is an end-goal and a leveling-up at the same time. It reminds me that “Magic Happens In My Comfort Zone” (which is an image I saw on instagram, and now can’t find to say where) and that change, creative work, personal growth, and magic happen – sure – at the Resilient Edge of Resistance, but generally NOT when I’m struggling, emotionally activated, and losing sleep over food insecurity. But it also asks me: When you get what you want, what will you want next? It reminds me that Home – my safety, my abundance, my security – is built from mutual care and networks of family, blood and spirit, leather and glitter. Home isn’t “I” – not even for a massive introvert like me – but, rather, it’s something we build together out of all of dreams coming true.~*~

~*~

Movement: Heh. I ran up and down my basement steps 35+ times last weekend (not all in a row, but all in the same afternoon) to make sure I got Exercise. Yesterday, my wife and I went on a long, beautiful ramble along Pinecrest creek. I’d never been up towards its headwaters before, and it is a beautiful stroll under shade and through meadow. We said Hi to some big oak trees – old enough that it would take two tall women like us to stretch our arms all the way around the trunk – trailed our fingers in the creek water, met a lot of willow trees (their roots were trailing in the water, red as paint, it was amazing!) I look forward to doing this again!

Attention: Right this second, while my hands and eyes are working on this post, my nose and the back of my tongue are paying attention to the smell of mini soul cakes – made with the last quarter-cup of fruit curd that didn’t fit in the jars, plus sound ground spicebush berries and a little bit of whisky, plus the usual eggs, cream cheese, and honey – and waiting to take them out of the oven. I’m also paying attention to the torn up sidewalk outside, which is due to be replaced tomorrow. (I need to go out and embed some sigils in the gravel this evening).

Gratitude: Delicious food. BBQ dinner with some of my polycule. That long, glorious walk yesterday. Doing ritual with my far-way folk. Five pay-days this month plus enough cash in my recently-started travel fund that I can pay off my travel ticket fairly quickly, instead of it take 6+ months to do. Sunlight dappling through the cedar fronds outside my window. Being able to vote by mail. Two out of three jobs being jobs I actually love doing. A freezer full of stock bones, cauliflower, and zucchini. Glorious books out from the library (“Robert MacFarlane’s “Underland” is amazing and is, frankly, going to have a permanent place on my Witch Books shelf). A present for our household arriving in the mail. Getting to see my girlfriend soon. A long-over-due date with my wife. I have got SO MANY things to be grateful for!

Inspiration: Those blood-red willow roots! The half-billion-year-old stone plane that the creek runs over – it’s been so dry that a lot of it is exposed. You could have a (very small) dance party on a moonlit floor older than a lot of life on earth! This is the old sea bed that I’ve lived on most of my life. That’s underpinning my house right now. The sea that makes me a sea witch on dry land.

Creation: Soul cakes, fruit curd, the beginnings of potential poems ghosting around the edges of my mind.

New Moon – Apple Moon Begins

Ripe McIntosh apples collected in, and spilling out of , a wooden bucket with a rope handle. The words “Apple Moon Begins” overlay the image in white cursive text.

So, technically, the first question is “Should I really be calling this Apple Moon” when the apple tree across the street is fully denuded of apples, and they were ripe and falling off the tree weeks ago?

Not sure!

But this is the lunar cycle when Autumn Equinox happens, and that is sort of permanently associated with apple for me – plus, hey, apples have a LOT of varieties, and some of them won’t be ready to harvest until nearly Samhain – so… I’m sticking with Apple Moon.

Somehow we’ll survive.

Anyway. It’s raining today. Or at least it was raining for about an hour there. I’m hoping that we have a solid 24-hours of on-again-off-again rainfall, because this place is pretty parched. We had three squabbling blue jays land in our cedar tree this morning, only one of whom stuck around for long. It’s always nice to see them. (I’m biased. I love blue in general, and these folks look like stained glass windows). Right on schedule, the temperature has dropped from the high thirties down to lows of 6C. It’s pleasant-to-chilly out and, while we haven’t had a Danger Of Frost yet, I know there’s usually one on the way this time of year.

It feels like fall.

Today, I’m reading David Abram’s Becoming Animal. So far, the author’s note at the beginning – which is very much about “sometimes I mess around with spelling because it’s MeAnInGfUl” – had me rolling my eyes a little and wondering if this was going to be one of those “I’m so deep” books written by a certain kind of white philosophy major[1]. But the introduction was actually pretty good? I enjoyed the little discussion about how language is an animal Thing, a nature Thing, and that humans (animals making meaning out of sound) tend to forget that, and forget that the paper and the pen and the marks we make to represent the sounds of language are also, still, a nature Thing. (It reminds me of Chaweon’s tiktok about witches who think of Nature as this non-human, “virginal” landscape, and forget – or are upset at the thought that – a neon yellow highlighter pen is also nature, the product of a human animal doing what it does, which is make stuff all the freaking time).

That said, I do see a little bit of that in the choices the author has made so far (in Chapter 1, so I’ve got a ways to go) in terms of the landscapes in-which he’s choosing to situate his narrative. Like, I live in a city. I don’t follow deer trails, even when I’m in the woods. I follow tracks made by humans. Bike trails and paths cleared through the undergrowth by humans with weed-wackers and wheelbarrows full of arborists’ mulch.

This isn’t a new practice, either. Caribou and Reindeer both love, and follow, straight lines. Humans have been (a) making straight lines for the people we eat to follow, and (b) getting excited about naturally-occurring straight lines[2] since the ice headed back to more northern climes.

And yet here’s David Abrams talking about deer tracks, rather than raccoon tracks, cedars rather than poplars and box elders, non-human forest people rather than non-human city people. The impression I get, so far, is very much that of “We need to find our place BACK in the places we think of as non-human and pristine”. Not wholy out of line, fine, but… I remember someone positing that city trees were devoid of spiritual value, or skills, because of where they grew. And that’s just not true.

I’m grateful that I live in a part of my city that gives me easy-access to woodland preserves, plural, the river’s edge, and the relative diversity of birds and small mammals that come with that proximity. But I’m none the less in a city. I can be in my senses, practice mindfulness, see what the cloud-cover is saying, talk to the native and immigrant plants who live in my yard and inside my house, greet the chipmunks, skunks, cardinals, and crows who stop by, right where I am.

So. We’ll see where this book takes me. But the witch that I am, the animal that I am, lives in a city and so that context remains the relevant one for me.

A white person in a long, black, hooded robe, holding a lit candle. They are standing in the snow on a starry winter night, next to a tall Norwegian Spruce. An inverted drawing of crescent moon shines above them, and they are flanked by two drawn pillars, one dark and one light. (I made it in canva).

Tarot Meditation

I used this random tarot generator to pull my card for this waxing moon. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised – given what I’ve been thinking about today, and talking about above – that the card it gave me was the High Priestess.

Inner knowledge. Ecstatic practice. Using magic and ritual to communicate with the deep and divine parts of yourself and with the rest of the world.

I’m taking this as a Gentle Reminder to visit my Luxury Astral Sea Cave in the near future to check in with my Godself and my Fetch.

~*~

Movement: Making a little bit of time to dance, going for one (1) walk at Mud Lake with my wife.

Attention: Rereading Gideon the Ninth, trying to finish Anatomy of a Witch, digging into Becoming Animal. In other words: Books. I’m paying attention to books.

Gratitude: Grateful to be singing again. Grateful for Mud Lake, for the River, for the nature rehabilitation woodland a few blocks south of me. Grateful to be able to tell the difference between black walnut trees and staghorn sumac without having to see their respective fruits. Grateful for online video dates with my girlfriend and in-person date nights with my wife. Grateful for my work-from-home jobs and the money they bring in. grateful for evening primrose and autumn asters. Grateful for this breaking of the heat that’s made it reasonable to use the oven again. Grateful for blue jays on the window and crows wading in the shallows and gold finches in the pale-leaved wild sunflower. Grateful for rain. Grateful for being loved so much.

Inspiration: Conversations with my wife and my girlfriend, pretty things on pinterest, the work of other witches. Reading up on different ways a particular kind of ritual – one I’ll be facilitating for a few friends in a few weeks – can get done.

Creation: I’ve been working on my purple skirt again, starting to turn the raw edges under in French seams. I would say that I’m only about 1/3 done the whole thing. Which: If I want this ready for early October, I have a LOT of work ahead of me. So we’ll see. But I’m pleased with how it’s turning out so far.

TTFN,

Ms Syren (Meliad the Birch Maiden)

[1] As a white chick with a humanities degree, I both went to school with a lot of these and am, I suspect, in solid danger of being one as well. So here we are.

[2] Think of probably-glacially-made Avenue on Salisbury plain.

Full Moon – Thunder Moon Crests (and Wanes)

Green leaves of an apple tree caught in a downpour. The blackground is blurry and rain-washed, but there’s a mix of purple and green visible. The words “Thunder Moon” overlay the image in white text.

Okay. Full moon was last weekend, and I spent it banging my girlfriend and doing some chakra un-gunking stuff that got slightly intense.

Only the first part of that was planned.

Summer has been kind of bonkers. We’ve had two relatives die – it wasn’t COVID, it was just that time of life – and my girlfriend has been up to visit twice, one of which included a two-week quarantine just to (follow international travel rules and) be on the safe side. I got to visit my immediate family for a few days – which included getting to meet a new nibbling AND a new sister-in-law in person for the first time, plus a niece who 100% does not remember meeting me that one time when she was an infant several years ago – and we just had a house-guest for a few days more.

It’s been a VERY social summer after a solid year-and-a-half of basically seeing NOBODY.

O.O

So I’m grateful to have this quiet, drizzly afternoon with my house to myself.

It’s finally raining today.

Not anywhere near as much as we need it to, but it still rained, fairly gently, for a few hours. I’m hoping this weather keeps up for at least the next week so that the garden can get a good soaking and the river can refill her banks.

The Lammas Ritual I did almost a month ago, via the internet with Connect DC, was part of a low-key day where I lit my altars and did a little bit of glamour-tinged bath magic – Iron Pentacle work where I called Passion back into my foot (still needs some work, I think – that bit’s always been sticky) and made some time to do Me Maintenance – but didn’t do a whole lot else.

I’m still at a bit of a loss as to how to properly honour my Queer Aunties of Spirit, the Amazons.

Some ideas include:

  • Making my body stronger (which would also just be good for me) – this is likely to involve more yoga, more resistance training (like assisted/modified push-ups and pull-ins), and maybe some cycling?
  • Making regular donations to some kind of women’s support organization like the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, Cornerstone Housing for Women, or – provided they’re welcoming to, and supportive of, trans women/girls – an org like Vesta Recovery (addictions support) or  FitSpirit (that encourages teen girls to stay active). I’ve sent some inquiries off to see who’s on side or not, and will make some decisions from there.
  • Taking the time to make jewelry with them in mind (did this already)
  • Remembering to touch on them specifically, in addition to my other ancestors, when I make offerings (seems to be working so far?)
  • Uh… I’m open to suggestions. I don’t expect myself to take up any kind of HEMA or equestrian activities any time soon.

That said… Given that this is the first time in a month – my girlfriend’s Lady dropping by, notwithstanding – that I’ve Done Stuff that was particularly, or deliberately, religious in nature… I have to say, I’m having some Feels about my magico-religious practices. More on that in a second.

In the land of books: I finished The Hidden Life of Trees, yesterday. It’s a good book. I will probably get the coffee table version (complete with fancy photos) for one or more family members between now and 2022. I’ve got a few others by the same author out from the library, and I’m enjoying his writing. As obnoxious as this probably is, it’s kind of nice to read other white people talking about trees as communities of PEOPLE, rather than as objects or something. Like, yes, it’s embarrassing as hell that we forgot all this stuff – on purpose – a thousand+ years ago. But it’s nice to hear (some of) us – science us, even – talking about this again during a period where I can actually hear it in real time.

I love Braiding Sweetgrass. But it wasn’t written for me and, as much as I learned from it (in particular: confirmation on how to hear the answer when you ask if you can harvest someone), I also feel like I’m just one more white lady stealing Indigenous knowledge and worldview when what I read in that book influences how I live in this place and interact with everyone else who’s here.

So it’s nice to see people with a religious and social history that are closer to my own starting to pick up on, and talk about, this stuff. Even if they’d doing it from a very non-woo perspective and would probably balk at being referred to as Animists.

Also on my book list is Snapdragon, a middle-grade graphic novel that a friend of my lent me because she said it was perfect for me.

She was not wrong.

It’s a glorious story, full of queer folks and kindness and the kind of witchery that reminds me of Granny Weatherwax’s boots-on-the-ground practice. I love it, and recommend it for the young queers and very baby pagans in your life.

Lastly – and still with a ways to go before it’s done – is Anatomy of a Witch. I’m doing witchy book club with the author via her patreon, and the other night we covered the “Witch Bones” chapter, which deals a lot with structure.

You guys. Structure is something I feel like I’ve been lacking, the past little while. Maybe the past LONG while.

A long time ago – like 2013 – I had a LOT of time on my hands. Which was great. I made a point of treating every Friday as my day to Hearth Stuff and study Pagan Things. At the time, that meant exploring my own (still developing – always eveloping) cosmology and axiology through the Pagan Blog Project and reading books like Trance-Portation and Earth Path, while my altar candles were lit and I slow-cooked something slightly fancy and substantial in the oven (or the crock pot).

I’ve missed that for a long time, but in the past year and a bit – since I started working longer hours (and in a context that – unlike figure modeling – doesn’t give me hours of contemplation time while on the job) – I’ve been feeling it even more.

I’ve typically tried to avoid making Sundays my day to Do Religious Stuff – because I grew up Christian, and I want to kind of distance myself from those practices – but on some level that feels silly when I do have the option of choosing which days I devote to magical practices and cultivating my connections with my Deities, my Dead, and the local People of my bioregion. I have Sundays to myself, most weeks, and it would feel good to add some reliable Practice Time back into my life.

So here we are.

My altars are lit – including a votive candle for my recently deceased aunt. I’ve (finally) been to the Summer Stone to make my High Summer offering[1]. I’ve walked around the house with an incense stick (myrrh, in this case, because it smells nice and I associate it with embalming – thanks Chirstian Upbringing – so it seemed appropriate to do when I was fresh-lighting a votive for a new ancestor). I made three dozen beeswax tea lights, which should hold me for a little while. Long enough, at least, for it to get reliably cool enough to be able to bash up my next Giant Block of Beeswax without having to chill it in the fridge first.

It feels good.

It felt good to tidy the altar a little (just a little), to take the previous offerings (finally) off and add something new. To restock on candles – seriously, my actual corn-welcoming ritual with Connect DC? I had to scrounge in my supply cabinet to get enough candles to light my altar, and now I have enough to get through another 2-3 offerings. So it feels good to have that done again. It felt good to walk down to the Summer Stone and leave a slice of cake on a rhubarb leaf[2]. It feels good to be taking some time, right now, to update this blog and think about my practice a little more.

I think it will be worth it to give a bit more of my time to this – blogging; reading Suffering For Spirit and Spritual Mentoring: A Pagan Guide, and Of Blood and Bones; doing ritual, spellcraft, and energy work; taking time to wade in the river and stroll through the woods – every week.

~*~

Tarot Meditation:

My house-guest shuffled my deck this morning, just for something to do with their hands. I broke the deck where it had a natural shift and the cards I pulled for my waning moon tarot meditiaton were:

The Eight of Water and The Moon.

Given that we spent last evening talking about me missing having a “performance ready” voice, and continuing to feel some guilt and shame around having dropped my singing practice (20 years ago…), and given the throat-chakra blockage that my girlfriend spent some time helping me try to clear last weekend, I am inclined to read this as: “It’s time to let go of the shame crap that’s skulking around in your Hidden Depths. Time to just let it go and wash it away.”

~*~

Movement: I spent a significant chunk of last night doing Mime Exercises for body-alignment. My house-guest – an actual Mime, yes for real – was impressed that I didn’t appear to have any blockages along my spine. I don’t know what to tell you. Also trying to become more aware of how I’m breathing at any given time, without resorting to anti-panic breathing right away. Trying to remember how to do Singers’ Breath – a much more subtle movement, obviously. Took a long-ish walk out to the library and back.

Attention: This is maybe a weird one. I’m trying to direct my attention away from Work Stuff, and away from The Computer (or at least the internet) more broadly, so that I can better make time for (and be present during) leisure activities, personal enrichment, and art. (Yes, I’m aware that it’s odd for me to be saying this while literally typing a blog post to put on the internet, but just go with it).

Gratitude: Grateful for the chance to see my girlfriend again. Grateful for quiet time (at last) and a planned Date Night with my wife. Grateful for getting to see my relatives (and all the supports that came together to let that happen). Grateful for my laundry machines. Grateful for the lives that have touched mine. Grateful for my friends who I’m able to see more frequently (if cautiously) now. Grateful for wild fruit, for purple-tinged crow feathers, for all the numerous people who show up to do my dishes. Grateful for metamours who lend us their cars. Grateful for libraries. Grateful for polyamoury. Grateful for all the love that’s carrying me through this life.

Inspiration: Tiktok videos. The books I’ve been reading. The dedication of my sweeties and friends.

Creation: Outside of recipes, this blog post is the first non-work thing I’ve created in A While. I did set aside a little bit of time, yesterday, to edit some poetry though. So that feels a bit like progress.

TTFN,

Ms Syren / Meliad the Birch Maiden

[1] Yes, that was “supposed” to get done almost a month ago, but it took this long for the heat to break enough for me to be willing to turn the oven on again. So I did it today. Put on my amazonite-and-moonstone necklace – the one I made to honour the Amazons and my other queer aunties of blood and spirit – baked a coffee cake, said Hello to the sunflowers (which are blooming their heads off) down by the bike path, and left a slice of cake on the Summer Stone as a Late Lammas/Nemoralia gift to the local Land Folk. Not a terrible way to spend Pride Weekend in Ottawa, it has to be said.

[2] My rhubarb is not doing super great, I have to admit. I’m not sure what to feed it – other than water. But I think some top dressing with blood meal and – if I can find some – mulch for Autumn is going to be in order.

Full Moon – Bell Flower Moon Crests: Midsummer Retrospective

I guess I don’t know where to start.

Summer Solstice with slightly more than a month ago. Lammas is all of a week away, and Thunder Moon starts up not long after. It’s been a damn busy July.

Midsummer was good.

My girlfriend came to visit – first time in a year and a half – and it was so good to see her. We did Midsummer ritual together while doing the mandatory 2 weeks of quarantining. The above picture is the “guest altar” for the gods who were invoked at the group ritual she was part of.

I mean, technically that we were part of, but she was a ritual facilitator doing the official invocation, whereas I’m usually just following along on the internet.

You get the idea.

I mostly work with my own tiny pantheon. My girls who I’ve been involved with since I was… in my late teens and very early twenties. I’m also kind of a concrete bunker, meaning that I don’t pick up on a lot of Astral Activity unless it’s very unsubtle and direct.

Related side note: I didn’t write, last year, about my Lammas experience. I was – per usual – following along on the internet while my girlfriend and the rest of the folks at Two Rivers Sanctuary broadcast their ritual online. They invoked Lugh – no surprises there, it’s his Big Day – but they also invoked the Amazons.  Now, I’m a very tall lady and have been calling myself “amazon syren”, and thinking of The Amazons as ancestors, for nearly as long as I’ve been involved with my pantheon of goddesses. So it was both unexpected, and incredibly meaningful, when the Amazons showed up in my office and said Yes[1]. I felt claimed by them as kin, and that’s a hell of a thing.

To drag this back to the much-more-recent past: Because I don’t usually pick up on much, I was VERY surprised when Chernunos arrived to the tune of me feeling like I had not two, but four hooves and also a big, furry ruff.

Oh, Hai.

So that was pretty cool.

We also invited Aine – the Midsummer Sun in the prime of her power – in from Ireland, which meant I got to have a Discussion with my girlfriend about which whisky to give as an offering, and also that I got to burn mugwort as incense for the first time. (I am not (yet) great at bundling herbal twigs into incense wands, so we had to relight it a bunch of times, also… there was a drought on – which has thankfully since broken – so saining the bounds around my house was a slightly nerve-wracking experience for a nervous nelly like me.

Something else Big –  or that felt Big to me – happened during that ritual. The main Working was to become a plant soaking up that abundant midsummer sunshine. I felt a very specific tree come rocketing up through my body, as if it was going “I’ve been waiting YEARS for this! It’s my time!”

My animal self – my Fetch – is a baby black boar (“Central European Boar”, Sus scrofa scrofa).

My plant self is Salix Nigra. Ontario native Black Willow. The willows I grew up with.

Being a watery tart, probably nobody is surprised by this. But it feels good to know it, you know?

A few days after Midsummer proper, when our quarantine was successfully completed and Rose Moon was full, we went to the Summer Stone (one of my neighbourhoods seasonal public altars – yes, really) and made offerings of strawberry-rhubarb pie, rose-peony cheesecake tarts, rose-peony custard, and black raspberry gin.

More recently – much more recently – my wife and I walked down to the river. This was before the drought broke, so the water was still very, VERY low. I waded out a long way and water was still only up to my knees. I talked to the river, prayed for her, drew a sigil in the water (yes, that’s weird, you can cope), and then harvested a branch of mugwort to take home. My wife collected a couple of beer cans that somebody had decided to leave on the shore, which: I’m really glad she did that.

There were other things that happened over Midsummer, and since. Not all of them happy ones. We have another ancestor now and lavender is attached to death in a way that it wasn’t before. The past five weeks have been kind of a lot. But I’m glad there was this.

~*~

Movement: I tried skateboarding for the first time about two weeks before Midsummer. It’s tonnes of fun, but I did fall off – as one does – and have kind of messed up my knee. So Moon Salutations have been on hold pretty-much since then. I’ve started doing Laura Tempest Zakroff’s “witchual workouts” – ten-minute dance instructions that I can do by following a youtube video – and I’m enjoying them. My wife and I take walks around the neighbourhood when we can.

Attention: As always, I’m paying attention to what’s growing in the garden. It looks like a rabbit has moved in behind the retaining wall, and we have a giant evening primrose that started blooming last week. Beyond that, though, I feel like my attention is suffering. I’m feeling pretty scattered. I think I need to set aside some time to (get off the internet and) Listen.

Gratitude: Being able to see my far-away relatives for the first time in quite a bit more than a year and a half. Knowing my girlfriend will be back for another visit in just another couple of weeks. A freezer that’s filling up with vegetables. Rent we can afford. Living near the river. Living near two little woodlands. Time to read books. Park hangouts, and (zomg) indoor hangouts, with friends. Cool breezes on sunny mornings. All our little birds. Seeing the cardinals and the blue jays and the cedar sparrows on the window sill. Chipmunks who eat peanuts out of my hand. My wife and my girlfriend who love me and who care about each other.

Inspiration: Reading Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees, Laura Tempest Zakroff’s Anatomy of a Witch, and Thista Minai’s Suffering for Spirit, along with Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons. They’re all giving me lots of things to think about.

Creation: I wrote a poem for the first time in months today, and I’m so relieved. Beyond that, I finally (finally) finished the dress I’ve been making for my wife (it’s reversible) and have started on a long, flowy purple skirt for myself.

Full Moon – Leaf Moon Crests (Lunar Beltane 2021)

The crown of a serviceberry tree in full flower, with a clear, blue sky behind it.
A serviceberry tree in full flower in somebody’s front yard,
with a very clear blue sky behind it. Photo by me.

I keep sitting down to write these things and not knowing what to say. A year ago, I had just started an admin job that gave me almost enough money to cover the bills, barely, on its own.

Now I have three jobs and more money than I’ve ever seen (which, admittedly, is still not tonnes. But it makes a massive difference).

I got vaccinated yesterday. First dose of AZ which is currently living up to its reputation as Kind Of A Meanie. Last night I was so stiff and sore, it felt like I’d been walking for about three hours, in winter, and had had a bad fall in the process, with my hip and shoulder taking most of the impact.

That’s not what happened, clearly, but that’s how it felt.

Today, I’m a lot better, but “better” still means my hips, thighs, and knees are worn out and very sore all over again after one whole walk to the end of the block and back. Hot showers help. Heating pads help. Knowing that my body’s making antibodies to keep me alive helps. Remembering that my Fetch is both my body and my child-self helps, because it reminds me that I need to baby myself and that “experiencing pain” is not the only, nor (in my case at least) the best, way for me to Be In My Body.

Maybe it’s timely that I’m taking a class on self-care later today.

Coming home from my doctor’s office yesterday, we saw that the service berries planted (in profusion!) around our old neighbourhood are getting ready to burst into bloom. This morning, when I walked to the corner and back, I saw that the one on my street is in full flower.

The serviceberries blooming haven’t always been my indicator that it’s Beltane.

But they started to carry that designation a couple of years ago. Ha. Probably the year after I realized that my then-neighbourhood was full of free dessert, if I just paid attention enough to notice it. 😉

My rhubarb, sorrel, and lovage made it through the winter – they started poking through the ground when Leaf Moon began, about two weeks ago. And the relief and joy I feel about that (and the transplanted narcissus, cranes’ bill, day lilies, and solomon’s seal) comes through every single spring. They are more “spring” to me than the actual equinox, in a lot of ways, and the Serviceberries blooming work the same way for Beltane.

Serviceberries – June berries, Saskatoons – are in bloom, around here, any time between 10 days before and 10 days after May 1st. And their fruit tends to be ripe and ready to eat any time between Summer Solstice (which is pretty early for them, yet, but there are always a few) and early July. Sometimes the fruit hits peak ripeness all at once, and you have to be out with a grocery bag for a few hours a day if you want to get a harvest in. Other times, the season lasts for two weeks, overlapping with the sour cherries by a significant period, and you can be a bit more leisurely about picking them. But, because of when the bloom (earlier than crab apples and even pie cherries – though those are definitely on their way) and fruit (same), they’ve starting murmuring to me about the relationship between Beltane and Midsummer in my own bioregion.

This is a constant project for me. What is happening, in my reality, in my neighbourhood, at these pre-set (ish) dates, some of which are solar and some of which… aren’t. My date book calls this full Leaf Moon “Lunar Beltane” because it’s the closest full moon to May 1st. This is absolutely a modern convention (I mean, pretty much all of neopagan practices are modern conventions, up to and including calling Autumn Equinox “Mabon” – which: nothing wrong that, actually, don’t freak out, it’s fine) but it makes me smile to think of how my bioregion has a “May Tree” of its own, one that links the hope of the flower (call it a prayer, call it a spell) to the first success of the fruit and the mature, viable seeds which, themselves, need a full cycle of the seasons – the freeze and the thaw and the months of “cold stratification” – before they germinate and and start growing into trees of their own.

I wonder how much of magic, of spellcraft, is like this for people.

It makes me think of the job magic I did, more than a year ago, and how the spell fruited me a mat leave contract, which – a full cycle of the seasons later – has become a much longer-term gig in the same field.

It has me asking: What spellcraft do I want to do – what showy explosion of hope and will – between Monday’s full moon (Pink Moon, in Scorpio) and the New Moon in Taurus coming up on May 11th? What will my Beltane magic be?

~*~

Next World Tarot - The Empress - A Black femme w/ lavender hair and a yellow skirt,
carries a torch and holds a potted plant. A huge, full moon rises in the background.
Next World Tarot – The Empress – A Black femme w/ lavender hair and a yellow skirt,
carries a torch and holds a potted plant. A huge, full moon rises in the background.

I used a random tarot card generator to “pull” a card for my tarot card meditation for the Full Moon in Scorpio.

When I saw that I’d pulled the Empress… I wasn’t surprised. It’s Taurus Season. It’s her time! The Moon is in Scorpio (or will be, shortly, more accurately), and I was literally thinking “Should I do sex magic at this time?” as I was flipping the card.

So. That’s a BIG Yes.

Got it!

~*~

Movement: Ahahahaha. I hurt. Walking to the end of the block and back was A Lot. But there have been walks at sunset with my wife, wandering along the bike paths around here, spotting wild raspberry bushes and feral daffodils, and that has been wonderful.

Attention: Right this second? I’m paying attention to how and where my body hurts. Also paying attention the Thrive conference (on Kink and Mental Health).

Gratitude: Grateful for my wife, her partner, and my all having had our first done of covid vaccine. Thank you all the gods! Grateful for all my jobs. Grateful for the warm weather coming back. Grateful for serviceberry trees in flower. Grateful for the rhubarb, sorrel, lovage, solomon’s seal, tulips, narcissus, and all the other plants waking up and coming back to life. Grateful for the cardinals that come to our window. Grateful for the possibility of my girlfriend, eventually, being able to drive up for a visit now that we’re all getting our antibodies in place. Grateful for walks with my wife. Grateful for feral daffodils. Grateful for this pretty great life.

Inspiration: Is it weird to say “my own poetry”? Also watching my friend learn how to make Very Aesthetic tiktok videos is actually inspiring. I’m not sure (yet) that I want to go putting my face in a tiny video, but it’s a lovely reminder that dressing up is effective and does help me feel magical, competent, and powerful.

Creation: Tiny videos to show off my poetry. Using a free collage program on the internet to make pretty pictures. Just playing. It’s been lovely to just be playing.

Some is Better than None – Electricity Edition

So, I (finally) signed up for Bullfrog Power. Contrary to advertising, it’s not an alternative electrical company.
It’s more like a subscription service.
I’m officially now paying ~$45/month to help increase green-energy infrastructure (wind and water power) in Ontario. And, like, yes I know. Hydro Ottawa is called Hydro for a reason (Portage Power is a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa that specifically handles green energy generation). But still. For now, this is my latest “next step” in cleaning up, or making amends for, my household energy footprint. This is very much like the whole thing where I “plant” (sponsor the planting of) trees to offset my household carbon footprint. I’m essentially throwing money at a problem – because I have enough money now to actually do so – in order to “cancel out” said problem, rather than doing something to actually solve the problem itself.

I was having a conversation with my relatives… I guess about a week ago. And I always feel really out of place when I’m talking to them. My household is still pretty low-income, whereas they’ve all got money in the form of pensions, investments, and job security. My household is queer, polyamourous and child-free, and theirs are… none of the above. We’re renters, and they all own their own houses. We are definitely the “them” to everyone else’s “us” in those conversations. That said, we’re all various degrees of Lefties, so it’s not a disaster. Anyway. We were having this conversation about how to get people off oil. And some of what I was thinking was “I’m a renter. Even if I had the $100K it would take to install geothermal heating (if that’s even an option around here) and solar electricity directly in my house… I don’t own my house, and so that’s not an option for me”. I can’t Get Off Oil until there’s another option available for heating my house that doesn’t first require me to own said house. Even a lateral move like switching from fossil natural gas to, like, landfill gas (which is still pretty-much all methane, it’s just more renewable) isn’t really an option at this time.

So, sure. One reason I take steps to “cancel out” my carbon footprint is convenience: It’s way less exhausting and painful to fly to visit my girlfriend than it is to take a 22-hour, two-transfers train trip that starts at 6am, so I fly, and do carbon off-setting. But the other reasons is because, in a lot of cases, I literally can’t take steps to not cause the problem in the first place. I figure – I hope – that, by signing up for Bullfrog, I’m also managing to contribute in some small way to shifting the local infrastructure – when that infrastructure is my only option – to something more sustainable and less greenhouse-gas-producing, to something that’s more respectful of, and more in concert with, the rest of this whole wild world.

Full Moon – Meltwater Moon Crests PLUS Ostara Activities

A grey sky full of heavy clouds hangs over the equally grey Rideau River. Photo by Leslie Mateus, via Wiki Free Images

A grey sky full of heavy clouds hangs over the equally grey Rideau River. Photo by Leslie Mateus, via Wiki Free Imageshttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rideau_River.jpg

Whelp. To the surprise of nobody, it’s raining today. Spring Equinox was last weekend. I finally (finally) took the Midwinter garlands down and put them away. The snow is gone (for the moment – I fully expect to get dumped on during the first half of April) and things – crane’s bill and, probably, solomon’s seal – are starting to come up in the front yard.

Happy Spring!

Most of what I did for Ostara – beyond cleaning my altar (finally, and with wet-wipes rather than anything fancy) and burning some Root Chakra incense while doing remote-online-Ritual with my adopted circle down in DC – happened “by accident”.

I made candles (twice). I made bread (also twice). I took myself out and bought myself the first ice cream cone of the year. I’ve taken a few walks down to the river to watch the ice melt and the sun set and the water levels rise (they’re still nothing like flooding – which is a nice surprise, given what things looked like this time last year and the year before).

I’m reading the “Power” chapter of the Magic of the Iron Pentacle book (Gede Parma and Jane Meredith) because that remains an area where I need to get stronger. I really like both the idea of power as responsibility (yes, I watched that decades-old Spiderman movie in theatres, how did you guess) and the idea of power as something you are rather than something that you do. I particularly want to chew on that from a D/s perspective, so… that might end up being a post on ye old kinky blog. But we shall see.

In other news, having just (just-just-just, like a couple of days ago) signed up for Laura Tempest Zakroff’s patreon, I got to take part in her monthly Sigil School for Patrons zoom call, and spent an hour work-shopping a sigil with a few people who Actually Know What They’re Doing. Which was pretty sweet.

Background: Most of my experience making sigils at all has been more like making bind runes. Which, as someone who’s not Heathen, making a sigil out of a preexisting magical alphabet I would almost say it’s like… Me making “bindrunes” using the elder futhark alphabet and all it symbolizes, is sort of like me writing fanfic. Because I’m using someone else’s characters and setting and so-on.

NOTE: This works just fine. T Thorn Coyle’s Sigil Magic: for Writers and Other Creatives, along with just about every chaos magician I’ve come across, says that an easy way to develop a sigil is to write down a succinct and specific sentence detailing what you want, then cross out all the vowels and all the repeating consonants, and then take what’s left and turn them into “magical-looking squiggles” that you then combine into a single image. It works.

I my particular case, though, I frequently ended up with a lot of blocky, boxy things that all looked the same. So I tried using a magical alphabet that came ready-made with a bunch of symbol sets and a built-in means of combining them into more complicated/specific directions.

My little charm helpers are made from runes, and they know what they’re doing and do their respective jobs very well.

AND

I still wanted to try making something entirely “from scratch”.

What I made is… a little big and complicated to be something that I would, say, write on my own body in hand-sanitizer or embroider onto the lining of a wallet (bind runes – being comprised of straight lines – are kind of great for embroidery and cross-stitch, if you’re not great at those things, fyi).

It looks like an art piece. The kind of thing you’d tag on a wall or pain onto a ceramic tile.

Which is fine, because it’s meant as a protection offering to the local river.

I’m thinking I might tape it onto a south-facing window and charge it with sunshine for a few days, since I’ll be chalking it out-of-doors when in actual use. You’d think I’d be using rainwater, but I’m not sure if that’ll do what I want. Maybe?

I’ll have to chew on this a little more, I think.

~*~

Wildwood Tarot – King of Vessels – A great blue heron stands in the middle of a creek

Given how literal my decks can be – especially this one – it’s probably not a shock that the card I pulled for my Tarot Card Meditation is a cups card.

This particular card is one that talks about tenderness and community.

The Wildwood’s own Little Book treats the King of Vessels as a gateway guardian, someone who stands at the balance point between life and death. Not an inappropriate card to have jump out of the deck at this time of rushing water when winter’s dormancy is just-just-just starting to tip over into spring’s quickening wakefulness.

But, beyond that, the King of Water is a card that speaks of responsibility to one’s arts and creative purpose. I made a promise, at Imbolg, not to abandon my writing. And I see this card as a reminder to keep creating and – because this is a King – to keep engaging with my artistic community, as well.

So: I guess I have another chapbook submission to send out.

On it, Gods. On it. ❤

~*~

Movement: Long walks, moving slowing, taking time to enjoy to warm, spring air on as much of my skin as I can offer (still not a lot, but hey). Weeks ago, I know, but a lovely dance-party-for-two with my girlfriend in our respective living rooms. I lit my alter candles and got to dance with my Baby for an hour+ and it felt really good. Moon salutations before bed.

Attention: The local birds – cardinals and blue jays, chickadees and sparrows, the returning robins and starlings and geese, the ducks and the wheeling crows. Watching one of my squirrel neighbours peel long strips of cedar bark off the tree outside my window for – I think – anti-microbial and anti-parasitic nesting materials in prep for impending babies. The perennials that are starting to green up and sprout again in the sunnier parts of my (largely shady) front yard. The river and the clouds and where the moon is in the sky. The way the temperature fluctuates up and down across the frozen line, the way it always does at this time of year.

Gratitude: Warm spring air, maple flowers, returning geese, cardinals and blue jays on my window sill, a story acceptance, a chance to submit my chapbook to another publisher, a shiny new job doing social media for a lefty church and the continued economic stability that brings me, long snuggles with my wife, internet-dates with my girlfriend, new (library) novels. Witch books that I’m finally making time to read, singing along with my wife while she plays her guitar. Hanging out in the back yard with my mom. The first ice cream cone of the year. My tiny blue bird and our other house birds. Green things coming up in the garden. Above-freezing temperatures. Sunshine. Rain. Spring.

Inspiration: Look. I would love to say that I’m being inspired by all those folks I mentioned under “Attention” but that’s totally not what’s happening. I’ve been looking at tiktok and thinking “I could totally post poetry on here…” So maybe there will be some low-budget-artsy “spoken word” videos going up in the near-ish future. We shall see.

Creation: Hahahahaha. But seriously, the most Creative thing I’ve done in the past two weeks – beyond making that sigil – is rejig a story so the ending wasn’t so abrupt. (It has now been accepted by the publisher, tho, which is pretty great news!)

New Year New You 2021 – Week 2: Goals

Crystal Visions Tarot - King of Pentalces - A woman with long, brown hair and an antler crown, green greeves, and a staff topped with a big crystal, sits enthroned under a spreading oak. Crystal points poke out of the ground at her feet.

Crystal Visions Tarot – King of Pentacles – A woman with long, brown hair and an antler crown, green greaves, and a staff topped with a big crystal, sits enthroned under a spreading oak. Crystal points poke out of the ground at her feet.

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!

Instructions: “What do you want to accomplish using both magical and mundane means? Figure out your SMART Goal and the magical and mundane actions you need to take to achieve them.

Tarot Card: The King of Coins. I mean, obviously.

Next World Tarot - King of Pentacles - Someone with blue and black hair, motorcycle boots, and a pink mini-dress scatters jewels on a Hollywood Walk of Fame star labeled "Daddy".

Next World Tarot – King of Pentacles – Someone with blue and black hair, motorcycle boots, and a pink mini-dress scatters jewels on a Hollywood Walk of Fame star labeled “Daddy”.

Okay. I know. It’s been three months. I still feel really uncertain. Like I don’t really know what I’m doing. Like this project was done before I even got it started – I’ve been working one new job for, y’know, about three months, and have signed the contract for a second new job, even if I’m not going to see work from them (I’m VERY okay with this) until my current UU contract wraps up.

That’s what I wanted, right?

So I find myself… kind of flailing. What are my goals beyond the immediate one of “be able to pay the bills”?

And that’s a REALLY relevant question to be asking when you’re focusing on the King of Coins. This King is a character who (a) is a Navigator – she knows how to work, and how to make money work for her. But she’s also (b) someone who knows her own worth and doesn’t succumb to workaholism or forget about pleasure. Pentacles are the suit of embodiment and that’s important to remember.

So. Beyond the basics of the Four (tenuous shelter) or the Six (I’m okay, but someone has power over me), where do I want to go?

  1. I want to get out of debt – This is kind of a no-brainer, and being able to throw those monthly payments into a savings account is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more appealing that shoving money at a credit card company. This goal is pretty-much entirely a Mundane Means goal and, knowing that I’ve got at least six more months of reliable, more-than-survival income, it actually looks… fairly achievable if I just stick with it.
  2. I want to change up where my “baseline” sits so that I don’t feel… weirdly exposed(??) when I’m not in a pile of debt. You guys, I’m not even sure where to start with this, but it’s going to involve what my lovely wife terms “Cognitive Behavioural Witchcraft”.
  3. I want to ride the Hedonic Escalator up a level or two. I guess the best way to explain this one is that I want to re-program my brain to stop thinking that I’m going to be punished for having nice things, or for things going well, or – if I stretch this a bit – for recognizing my own skills and, qua the King of Pentacles, Knowing My Worth. I don’t particularly want to hit that point on the income scale where money stops “buying happiness” (more accurately: increasing emotional well-being) but I would like to continue this New Experience of being able to buy whatever I feel like at the grocery store, and being able to buy a few New Things (think: earrings, a book, a bra) in any given month without having to stress about it. It’s a hedonic adaptation – perceiving this as Normal rather than novel – that I really, REALLY like and would like to hang onto!

So let’s chew on this a little bit. For Goal #1: Easy peasy. Pay cash for all the things (which I’ve been doing for… roughly a year already – bless you, online retailers who accept paypal) and throw as much money as I can at my credit card debt in order to reduce it as quickly as possible. Super basic. Very straight-forward. Though admittedly not that interesting if I’m trying to write a post for my witchcraft blog.

Goals #2 and #3 however have some magical elements involved. Like, yeah, yeah, there’s mundane stuff – like throttling my panic and talking to my most-recent employer and asking for a better starting wage (which I GOT!) – and there’s mind stuff like journaling on questions like Why do I think a hammer of retribution is going to slam down on me if I have an RRSP instead of debt, or a CSA instead of a mental map of where I can most easily dumpster for produce? or Why is my relationship with money and/or employment so very much like anxious-avoidant attachment? But… there’s also a lot of room for ritual and spell-craft. Things like:

Using the Iron Pentacle meditation – maybe including, or building on, some of the ritual suggestions outlined in the “Power” chapter in the book of the same name by Jane Meredith and Gede Parma – to call back and reclaim my power.

Doing energy work with my three lower chakras (security, exchange/connection, and power/will), possibly in connection with my fifth chakra as well.

Continuing to feed and praise my Little Helpers at my tiny desk altar, and to light my offering candles and otherwise make offerings to my Gods and Ancestors at the big main altar in the living room (there’s whiskey on the altar right now, but I sure do owe them some fire. And probably a tidy-up.

Visiting my Fetch and my Godself in my enchanted astral sea cave / forest. This matters because: Building and Nurturing the relationships between your talking-self (The I Behind Your Eyes where we spend a LOT of our time) and the other parts of your magical/spiritual body is important just generally. But for my specific goals here, there are some pretty real actions that have to happen. (Which: Just a quick word about those…)

Fetch is your embodied, non-wordy, physical, sensual self. Fetch is the twig of YOU that’s part of a family tree two-hundred and thirty thousand years old, or older. She’s my skin-hunger. She’s my Trust Issues. She’s the stomach cramps, nausea, and persistent chills that show up when my anxiety gets bad. She’s connected hard to my lower chakras and showing up consistently for her – in magical as well as mundane ways – is going to go a long way towards convincing my physical body, my limbic and nervous systems, that I’m not going to die, frozen and alone, in the snow.

Likewise, Godself is the spark of YOU that is part of the unimaginably vast, wholly divine, thinking, feeling universe, the chaos-butterfly flutter that can make big changes way beyond your vulnerable, human body. Within the realm of this project’s specific goals: I can call on her help – or work magically inside the luxury astral sea cave where we communicate most directly – to rewire my own neural pathways. I can call on her help to send jobs, grants, and publishers swimming towards my nets. Heck, I can stock my astral fridge with smoked salmon and tuna sashimi to feed (and treat) my own divinity well.

So. Those are some areas where I can focus magical work in order to further my goals for this project. What are some bite-sized action I can take to further my goals this week?

Mundane: Update my spending spreadsheet, make a (small-but-additional) credit card payment, take some meat out of the freezer to thaw so that dinners for the next few days can be easier to deal with, and stay on top of my paid work.

Mind: Do the exercises at the end of Chapter One of my “money mindset” book. Spend some actual time on this, but don’t over-think it.

Magical: Light candles on my altar. Feed my tiny charms with breath and spit and whiskey. Take five minutes to run my chakras, put on my astral jewelry, and do some Listening. Make a soup for dinner and enchant it for prosperity (seaweed), security (carbs – in the form of rice noodles), and luxury (leftovder roast duck).

Wish me luck!

New Year New You 2021 – Week 1: Making Way

At least seven cardboard boxes, some open, some taped shut with masking tape, stacked in a jumble. Photo by Racool Studio, via freepik.com

Cardboard boxes on a white background

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!

Instructions: You can’t start putting all this awesome new crap into your life and body until you get rid of the old crap. Old crap here is defined as many things such as relationships that are no longer working, old crutches, clutter of the mind and of the house.

Someone with teal and brown hair, in a green tank top, tries to juggle two pentacles without dropping them

Two of Pentacles – This Might Hurt tarot – Someone with teal and brown hair, in a green tank top, tries to juggle two pentacles without dropping them

Tarot Card: I picked Two of Pentacles for this prompt because of its associations with disorganization and time-management, as well as with priorities and prioritization.
It feels appropriate, okay?

Look. If there’s anything that’ll highlight how much crap you’ve got, it’s Moving. Our move happened a solid seven months ago, but we moved everything. Just threw it all into boxes and shifted it across town in a borrowed van. It took us a month. But I don’t think we could have done it in a day the way I did at 28 when I was moving downtown (with a lot less stuff, and a lot more help). Pandemics, amirite?
But it means that what my Making Way looks like is finally getting ALL the boxes unpacked plus some re-organizing of the office-space in The Library so that I can add my latest job’s desktop computer to the mix.
O.O
Time management, indeed. O.O

Do I like cleaning? Heck no!
(…If that wasn’t abundantly obvious by now) BUT…
It also has to be done. My lovely wife said to me, yesterday, that houses – in addition to wanting to be filled with people, wanting to be lived in – want to be taken care of. Which, really, is a no-brainer. Especially for an animist. And, yeah, much the same way that I skip meals and avoid showering because “I have too much to do” (in reality, or when I’m just wound up and anxious, which is a lot of the time), I also neglect my house. The body that shelters my body.
What Ms Sugar says about the energy in a clean, organized house flowing very differently from how it does in a dirty or untidy house is… true. Even for all of us who resent cleaning, who go But Nature Isn’t Tidy(!!!), who view the whole “cleanliness is next to godliness” thing as an ugly hold-over from puritan christianity that feels like one more shaming thing that we have to deal with in our respective days. The energy does flow more easily. It feels more like fresh air. (Which: It’s winter: We’ve been cooped up for nine months. We all need fresh air). So it’s worth doing. And… this house is a person. If I care about this person who is taking care of me, I should be caring for them too.

So, my goals for physically Making Way are:
Finish unpacking the boxes in the Spare Room – at a rate of one box per day, it will probably take two weeks, but that’s very manageable so that’s how it’s being done.
Do dishes more frequently than I have been – which isn’t hard. I’d say “do dishes once a day” but that’s very unlikely and I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot. But every other day could be done.
Get the second computer set up in the office, and do what needs doing to transfer the files (hard-copy and digital) to where they need to be.

In terms of psychically/mentally/emotionally Making Way:
Making a point of visiting my Occult Barbie Dream House (yes, that’s also a Ms Sugar term) and re-stocking the Astral Fridge with tasty things for me and June to snack on. Maybe also brining my Fetch a healthy snack in her gym/forest house.
I’d like to include doing some of the journalling prompts from my “dealing with your money hangups” book, because those are definitely some big rocks I’m carrying around. So, I ask myself: How am I going to MAKE the time to do that? Answer: …This one might be a Boxing Day activity. I think I can make time for it then.

Wish me luck!

Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Moon – Long Nights Moon Begins

A lit tealight in a glass holder casting a shadow onto a wooden floor. Courtesy of Wiki Free Images.

A lit tealight in a glass holder casting a shadow onto a wooden floor. Courtesy of Wiki Free Images.

New moon is Monday, or there-about. New beginnings coming my way.

I start a new job on Tuesday. Which brings me to three religious institutions and, technically, four jobs. I’m nervous – not the least of why being that I’m doing in-person training, which is not Ideal under current circumstances – and concerned about my own rather-rusty time-management skills, but I’m looking forward to learning new things and, more to the point, making enough extra money that I might actually accomplish the more physically-obvious goal of my King of Coins project.

So, woohoo, on that front.

Which, PS: Yeah, I’m doing another NYNY project, if you missed that memo. 😉

We’re getting ready for Midwinter here. The temperature has been going up and down – a lot of above-freezing weather, a lot of rain, some snow – but it’s due to drop hard by Monday. I have baking to do, low-budget mead to keep an eye on, and a LOT of cards to get into the mail.

It seems more of a Thing to do cards this year. I like doing them, but I’ve added a lot of people to my list who, in a different year – when we weren’t all Physically Distancing, when I was still down the street from a lot of them – I would have just visited in person or had over to the house. I suspect a lot of them aren’t going to get to their destination until nearly January, but they are something that people can hold in their hands, and that feels important right now.

Two years ago, at this end of the year, I had tonnes of time on my hands. time that I used to do a five part series looking at the “shadow” side of Midwinter through the lens of the major arcana. A year ago, I was two thirds of the way through my Empress Project and had just, just landed a remote desk job (my first of what is now a growing list). I wasn’t blogging nearly as much as I had been the year before. This year, I’m Mostly Working, making bank – thank you ALL the gods – by my slim standards at least, and making a point of coming out of the office in the evenings to spend some time with my wife, because that’s important too. I’m still making time for writing (thank goodness – I’m actively worried that I’ll lose touch with that as my workload increases, but I don’t want to and I need to remember to make time for it in a reliable way).

So. I was talking about the King Of Coins Project. Another year of Radical, Magical Transformation to try and make myself a better, more personally (and cosmically) empowered Self.

3amTarot, over on instagram, did a spread for Doing The Damn Thing. And I gave it a whirl.

While I was shuffling, I thought “I can’t even think what The Damn Thing would be at this point” and, right then, what fell out of my deck but Transformation.

So. Okay.

What I pulled:

A fear or frustration that’s holding me back: The heirophant / No-Thingness

A reminder of a strength or talent I possess: Six of Fire / Success

A good thing that could emerge on the other side: The Page of Air / Mind

My context cards were Postponement (the Four of Air as my summary/advisor), Ordinariness (The Eight of Earth as my Overarching influence), and Beyond Illusion (Judgement/the 20 of the Major Arcana, as my Underlying influence).

So what do I do with this? Am I afraid of my own potential? (…yes?) Might a new way of thinking or understanding be a likely Good Thing from undergoing the kind of transformation that I want to do through this Project? YEAH. Are major breakthroughs (Beyond Illusion) generally a journey of a zillion mundane-seeming steps? Yup. Is it time to Do The Damn Thing and level-up my brain in terms of abundance and various personal/emotional freedoms? Yes, it definitely is. (I’m freaking forty. I’m tired as heck of feeling anxious at the end of the month while working multiple jobs in a multi-income household, and I’m sick of feeling BAD about myself when I don’t know how to shop for my significantly-wealthier-than-me relatives. Time for all this stuff to change).

Am I deeply underwhelmed at the thought of spending the next two weeks slowly-but-surely getting things tidied and cleaned around here? Or having to reign it in with the seriously reckless way I’ve been throwing money at gifts, personal goodies, and fancy food for the past two months? …Also yes. (At least I’ve been paying cash, by and large, rather than adding to my credit card debt, but here we are).

I used a random tarot card generator for my tarot card meditation draw, this time around, and the card I got was The World.

The World - Wooden Tarot - A many-rooted tree with a sphere of water amid its roots and a house cradled in its strong branches

The World – Wooden Tarot – A many-rooted tree with a sphere of water amid its roots and a house cradled in its strong branches

“The World card represents triumph. Everything has come together and you’re now achieving success,” and touches on both remote work (work that you can do anywhere, from any location) and on internal things like being confident and acknowledging your own skills and know-how. It fits well with the elements of the King of Coins that I want to be working with and internalizing/evoking.

And it’s also a really great message to get from The World Herself, tbh, and a lovely reminder to carry with me as I move towards 2021 and start my next year of radical magical transformation.

~*~

Movement: Ha-haaaaaaaaaaaa. I have been keeping up with my Moon Salutations every night, which is a good thing. And getting out for walks in the woods, too. But I need to make a point of dancing up a storm at the next Stay Homo virtual dance party, especially since the impending temperature drop and corresponding icy conditions aren’t exactly going to be making the great outdoors look appealing any time soon.

Attention: TBH, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to my schedule. My to-do-list is now colour-coded to help me keep track of everything. O.O

Gratitude: Grateful for slow mornings and snuggles with my wife. Grateful for weekly dates with my girlfriend. Grateful for jobs where I can be my whole self. Grateful for opportunities to learn new skills that are useful on multiple fronts. Grateful for friends who make me cookies. Grateful for the overflowing larder and the stuffed-to-the-gills freezers that I can now reach into and pull out peppers and broccoli and cauliflower and corn that I put up months ago. Grateful for the neighbour who surprised us with wine and a grocery thank-you card and a note that said “Have a nice dinner on me” (by leaving it on our windowsill, no less) after my wife did a repair job for him. Grateful for coupons turning up in my inbox and books turning up on my doorstep. Grateful for the knowlege that I’m going to be employed past the April 8 end of my mat-leave contract. Grateful for friends in the neighbourhood. Grateful for chickadees and nuthaches and very small woodpeckers who land on my hands and investigate the birdseed I’m offering them because, heaven and earth, they do my heart good!

Inspiration: Approximately a million years ago – aka the beginning of this pandemic – I placed a book order with a local queer-run sex-positive business. It FINALLY arrived (relax – there were a lot of special orders) about a week ago, which means I have a tonne of new books – mostly queer femme poetry, some sexuality and interdependence – to page through when I’m not eye-ball deep in ritual planning, library books, and video editing. But even just scanning the tables of contents is making me excited for poetry again!

Creation: I spent November writing erotic short stories so, while my current Creative endeavors are more “knitting” and “baking” and “making music videos for my job”, I do have a pile of creative out-put that I’ve started editing into shape and sending out on sub. And that feels really good.