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.

At Samhain We Eat the Nasty Bits

A raw turkey heart rests in the palm of my hand

A raw turkey heart rests in the palm of my hand

This morning, I finally took the liver and heart – from the turkey I roasted a few weeks ago – out of the fridge. I gave them a wash, and fried them up in butter (lots of butter) with soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.

I put a slice of each on a tiny plate – technically I think it’s for putting spent teabags on, but here we are – and put the plate on my altar. Blew kisses to my People.

On Samhain we eat the Nasty Bits.

Or at least I’m trying this out, this year, and rather like the idea of keeping it up as a tradition. The heart, tongue, and one kidney of our long-ago pig (half-pig, from a local farmer who does humanely raised livestock) are finally being put to use. Being slow-cooked overnight and turned into a stew – with garden herbs and CSA veggies and cranberries and a wedge of baked squash to serve it in – for after Ritual tomorrow.

I’ve been eating turkey giblets since I was a kid. Which is one reason to be enjoying them on Samhain. I learned to cook them, to love the smell of fried liver with garlic, from my Dad, who died more than twenty years ago, when I was barely out of my teens. When I had a Chinese grocer up the street from me, I used to buy trays of chicken hearts to fry up just like this.

Our pig’s liver became fancy Liver Mousse, and when I don’t have that I use chicken livers.

I’ve been eating beef heart for years, and using it in stews and even a steak and kidney pie or two, and gods know I eat a lot of sausages.

So I’m no stranger to offal. At least not the tamer bits that you can routinely find at the grocery store.

But I’ve been squeamish about the tongue (too much like kissing? Too much like eating a piece of my own mouth?) and the heart of this pig – the heart, in particular, because it’s literally so similar to my own that the valves are interchangeable – since they arrived in my freezer order. And that was many years ago.

What foods make you squeamish? Make you stare your own mortal embodiment in the face?

I make a beet salad – a way to use up a few dark red beets, when I don’t have to worry about them staining everything else red – that I call “bowl of jewels” when I’m in mixed company, but that my wife has informed me makes her think of chunks of raw meat.

Which: Yes, actually, that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Don’t get me wrong. I make pumpkin cupcakes and baked apples. We have a giant, discounted box of mini chocolate bars sitting in the bottom of our pantry like most of our neighbours. But it’s increasingly important to me to make Samhain not just about sugar and spice, when it comes to food.

To be able to say “Take, this, eat this. This tongue that once tasted, as you taste it now”. To say “This heart that once beat, as your beats now”. And, okay, sure, I have no idea how to make kidney function sound profound, but you get the idea. This person, who was alive, who was killed – even if not by you, maybe especially if not by you – is keeping you alive right now. Life to death to life.

And, yeah, you can do fun things with it. Like “Whoever gets the bay leaf in their stew gets Bonus Prosperity in the coming year”. You can snap a year’s collection of wishbones and make some magic. Read the future in the guts and seeds of your jack-o-lantern or the patterns you see in kidney fat and tongue tendon.

But at the roots of this is a veil thinned by a lot of death happening at once. Every neighbourhood / village / extended-family-household slaughtering some of the herd to make sure everyone else – the humans, and the rest of the herd – have enough food to make it through the winter.

I don’t want to forget that.

Full Moon – Ancestor Moon Crests (Samhain 2020)

My Ancestors - Photo by me.

The “Rogues Gallery” of my family. I very much feel like the Keeper of the Ancestors, in part because I’m the one who wants the hundred-year-old photos. Here they are on my wall.

My CSA wrapped up a week ago. We just turned the furnace on. It’s snowed twice in the past week (it didn’t stay, but still). There’s ice on the puddles in the morning. We are crossing into the cold part of the year.

In related news, I (finally) got the ancestor photos hung up in the hallway. Six months after we moved in, and only barely in time for Samhain.

Tonight, I’m doing Full Moon ritual with my girlfriend’s group via the internet. Sunday, I’m doing Samhain ritual the same way. I’m enjoying this year’s Between The Veils symposium (in bits and pieces, as I can – thank goodness the talks are pre-recorded…) over the whole weekend.

Tomorrow I’m baking pumpkin cake (provided the pumpkin from last Hallowe’en has thawed out completely), and having dinner with My Bubble.

But I’m also doing magic.

Because of course I am.

The full moon is in Taurus and it’s Samhain.

Taurus, as-you-know-bob, is all about Empress Stuff. Venus Stuff. Second Chakra Stuff. It’s creature comforts. It’s sex. It’s security. It’s body pleasure. It’s abundance. It’s knowing what you want and feeling confident articulating it. It’s wealth. And it’s also scarcity and poor boundaries and eating your feelings and avoiding leaving your comfort zone. Venus/Taurus Stuff do have a shadow side, after all.

Samhain, on the other hand, is all about Death Stuff. Pluto Stuff and Scorpio Stuff. Still sex! But also death, discomfort, Shadow Work, the unknown, magic, and mystery. It’s the doorway into Root Time, and it’s technically a harvest festival. But it’s the Last Harvest. As old as herding, and maybe older. So it’s a time of taking stock. For gathering things in as much as for letting things go. And – because of its undeniable links to the slaughter – it’s also a time of sacrifice.

So! What better time to do – or at least formally start – some (more) transformation Work around scarcity/abundance when it comes to Taurus Stuff like sex and money?

This time (ish) last year, I did Big Magic to get a new place to live (got it!) and a variety of other shoaling-related things, some of which have come to fruition (my polycule is happy, I have extra work hours, I got a writing grant) and some of which haven’t yet (still looking for a publisher for my chapbook, for example).

This year, I’m doing something a little less specific for my Scorpio Season magic: I decided that I wanted to use the time to kick off another Radical Magical Transformation Project. The project itself (I have learned) basically needs to have a SMART Goal if it’s going to be really workable. And, tbh, that still needs some thought.

But as far as some broad magic, working in the background to help things along on multiple fronts, goes? Now seems like a good time to get on that.

So I asked myself: What do I want to let go of?

And I asked myself: What do I want to invite?

I want to let go of: Scarcity and Debt.

I want to invite: Sexual and financial abundance and freedom.

And, of course, the question arose – because gods know I like to avoid this one, if it doesn’t get shoved into my head – What are you going to sacrifice to get it?

And, here’s the thing. The thing I have to remind myself of every time I do something like this, so I don’t freak right the fuck out:

As Ms Sugar once said, “You’re sacrificing your clean hair, not your mother”.

A sacrifice is supposed to take effort. It’s supposed to be challenging and kind of inconvenient or unpleasant. But it’s not supposed to render you nonfunctional, and it’s not supposed to hurt somebody else[1]. I’ve done blood offerings – which may or may not count as a sacrifice given the fairly small amount of blood involved – but I’ve also done sacrifices of things like money and time.

If I wanted to make a sacrifice towards housing security, and I didn’t typically cook from scratch, a sacrifice to that end might be something like “no more take-out meals for a month” and putting some time and effort into making meals at home. But, for someone like me who cooks a LOT, but doesn’t have a tonne of cash lying around, a more appropriate sacrifice might be… banking my pocket change instead of getting chocolate bars, and putting that money towards repairing my small appliances or reupholstering my couch (investing in my home, regardless of which building my home is in).

To this end, I have planned out a month-long “sacrifice” of sorts. It’s kind of like an austerity, though I’m not sure that’s the right word. It’s definitely a Challenge. The idea is to push myself out of my comfort zone (and out of my excuse-making, self-doubting “Fear Zone”, too), give myself a “bigger than me” reason to stop scrolling all the time, and hopefully re-hone some neglected creative muscles, all in service of helping me achieve my “background goals”.

The things I’m sacrificing, more than anything, are “free time” and “emotional comfort”, and the disciplines it’ll require are (1) actually finishing shit on a self-imposed deadline, and (2) time management on days when I have a lot of paid work to get done too.

My hope is that my Godself will pick up all the energy and dedication that I’m putting down (even if it feels really grudging and like I’m pulling my own teeth out to make it happen) and use it to bring about (or help bring about) Results on the fronts of what I’m trying to let go of, and what I’m trying to bring in.

So… Why am I telling you this, friends?

Because if I Tell The Internet, it will be one less reason to balk and not bother.

That’s why.

I need all the accountability I can get.

A grand cross spread using the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, with four bonus cards

A grand cross spread using the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, with four bonus cards

On a possibly related note. I did this tarot reading in the context of the King of Coins and my planned Samhain self-work ritual.

Beyond recognizing that “Wow, that’s a lot of reversed cards” – because, obviously, it self-work. It’s going to be about my relationship with myself – the things that jumped out at me were:

My jumper card, the Six of Swords, is a “Journey” card that has a lot of ties to Death – as in change, as in inner transformation – and my jumper card relates to my “Summary Trio” (the Advisor + Overarching and Underlying Themes cards) which basically say “You gotta let go of this resentment and your weird burden complex. You have to focus and stop weaseling out of things. You have ask “Why not me?” and step into your damn power”. Which, itself, very-much fits with my “fears” card – the Vulture Mother being very much this deck’s image of my “Scorpio Self”, my most empowered self (that kind of scares me, that I’m still afraid won’t be liked or will be inappropriately mean, and that has explicit connections to sex and kink).

Mary El Tarot - Queen of Wands, Ace of Swords

Mary El Tarot – Queen of Wands (a nude, fat, heavy-breasted person in a horned headdress, cradling a baby tiger), Ace of Swords (An anthopomorphic eagle with the alchemical symbol for air carved on their chest)

It also <*cough*> hits a lot of the same notes as the cards I pulled for my Tarot Card Meditation.

Which is to say: “Cut the BS. You know what you want. Go do it”.

I love it when they’re specific, but it’s not always comfortable, you know? Especially not when I’m sitting here, eating crackers for dinner and avoiding the dishes. Especially not when I’m insisting to myself “You’ve promised to buckle down and Do The Thing on Sunday, and for the next 30 days there-after. Take the leisure time while you’ve got iiiiit”.

And yet. Here it is. I know what I want (to invite, to release). I made a decision as to what I’m willing to provide, as an energy source for related magical workings. So it’s time for me to have some follow through.

Wish me luck and devotion.

~*~

Movement: Moon salutations every night. Going for lots of walks, some through the local bird sanctuary with my wife, some by myself (picking up library books, dropping off Trick Or Treat goodie bags to friends and relatives in the neighbourhood).

Attention: TBH? Watching my behaviour patterns. Noticing where (and when) I need to be more disciplined with myself about follow-through or self-starting and trying to sort out some strategies to make those things easier to do.

Gratitude: Thankful for scrap yarn mitts and a warm coat that used to be my Dad’s. Thankful for a ritual group (even though it’s far away). Thankful for partners who love me. Thankful for big hugs and long-distance kisses. Thankful for quiet days. Thankful for extra billable hours. Thankful for tasty scones. Thankful for Samhain dinner invitations. Thankful for cooking skills. Thankful for central heating. Thankful for chickadees eating bird seed out of my palm. Thankful for meeting a wild turkey in the woods (who didn’t run away!) Thankful for friends to talk shop with. Thankful for my People.

Inspiration: The chipmunk who lives under my compost bin, and the spider who lives above it. My fantasy life. The #Novemberotic writing prompts series on instagram (it’s for poetry, but you could use it for prose too).

Creation: Have started knitting a new shrug, made myself a pair of fingerless mitts using scrap yarn, started the (easy) edits on my Femme Glosas manuscript, wrote five new, short poems at a workshop (they are not all great, but some of them were at least good immediately out of the egg), have started – but not finished (yet) – a couple of porn stories.

~*~

Cheers,

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Or at least it’s not required to. I know some people who are totally comfortable offing a wasp or a mouse or a fertilized egg and using that life energy as a power source for a spell. But I’m not, so here we are. Choose your own adventure.

Full Moon – Harvest Moon Crests

Four deep orange Buttercup squash, split open to reveal their seeds - Photo by TowerGirl (via Flickr)

Four deep orange Buttercup squash, split open to reveal their seeds – Photo by TowerGirl (via Flickr)

The moon was full last night.
I spent the afternoon steaming cauliflower and kale (with bonus cauliflower and broccoli leaves thrown in), and the evening reading to my wife.
I’ve got more beets than I know what to do with, but at least beets keep for a long time and the corn (like the beets, it’s from the CSA) is finally slowing down.
Today, it’s raining. Heavy grey clouds and a forecast that going to swing between “light drizzle” and “downpour” until some time this evening. I’m making cabbage-and-apple salad and roasting potatoes. Enjoying that my kitchen is a little more functional than usual.

Chani Nicholas asks “What we have built, healed, and come into a deeper relationship with over the past six months?”
If I rewind the tape to the New Moon in Aries – Leaf Moon just beginning – it’s an entry about the initial COVID-19 shutdown, when all of my modelling work was evaporating, when I’d just, just landed a one-year part time job that’s turned out to be my main source of income ever since, and I was negotiating with my own GodSelf (a very gentle and easy negotiation, as it turned out, but I was nervous going into it for some reason) about over-riding my austerity practice in order to make sure we had a month of basics on hand.

Which… is a weird mirror of where I’m at right now.
The leaves are starting to fall. I’m making decisions about how I’m going to (hopefully) make my living for the next 3-6 months. Accepting more hours at my from-home jobs (hurrah!), acknowledging that the thought of taking buses and working in even un-crowded classrooms and community centres is… feeling a little too dangerous, at the moment, to do if I don’t have to. Working out ways to make sure that I don’t have to, including looking for further at-home work to pick up once (or just before) that year-long contract ends.
I’m stocking up, a little at a time (10kg of flour two weeks ago, 10lb of potatoes today) with any eye to another lock-down, while simultaneously trying to drop my weekly grocery bill down to $25. Which… ask me how well that’s going. I’m trying to keep a hard lid on my “must stock up NOW” feelings when it comes to “specialty” items like oat flour, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

If I look back to six months ago, though, it was Full Moon in Libra, and we had just found the place we moved into a scant month later. The place where we live now. It was a big indicator that I could get significant, goal-oriented magic to work, and it was a period where I was trying to get my glamour practice up and working again (a constant renewal, tbh – I wore eye shadow for the first time in two months today). But it was also a period where there was a lot of change (which I’m not great at handling, even under really good circumstances) happening and a bit of an internal battle going on between grief and hope.

To try and answer Chani’s question:
I’ve built the beginnings of a place in this new neighbourhood, and developed the beginnings of a “brand” for my Office Goddess remote freelance admin/editing/transcription/marketing work.
I can’t say I’ve healed much of anything, but I’m doing shadow work around money stuff and continuing the work of balancing (ha… because Libra Season) all three of my lower chakras.
I have no idea if I’ve managed to deepen my relationship with my Fetch, let alone my GodSelf, but I’ve been attending (virtual) group rituals, which feels a bit like deepening my practice, and I’ve tried to make a good, if preliminary, connection with the new patch of ground that I’m living on, and the house I’m living in, which matters too.

Chani’s horoscope for Scorpios (my Sun sign) suggests that it’s worth doing a retrospective/check-in about any ongoing project and/or career to see (and consider) what I may have learned over the past six months (I mean, see above re: Office Goddess, but also: I landed a grant during the past six month, and I’m getting paid to finish my first full-length poetry manuscript, so), while offering a reminder that “What heals you wants to remain close to you. What calms you carries you forward in ways that are unimaginably helpful so seek them regularly” which… when I’m stressed, I tend to treat myself like crap, so this is a relevant thing to keep in mind (now and pretty much always).

She also points out that “The proof is always in the pudding, but no matter the goals achieved, the process has been potent, and its aim has always been your evolution. Getting things done is satisfying, but getting a sense of the potential of your powers is life-altering” while pointing out that Scorpios’ witchy powers are riding high, even before we hit actual Scorpio Season, so it would behoove me, I suspect, to do some magical workings over the next couple of weeks – like shedding/releasing on the 15th and 16th during the last dregs of the waning Harvest Moon, or doing prosperity-and-abundance magic on the 11th when the Sun hooks up neatly with Jupiter.

~*~

Page of Swords - Mary El Tarot - A naked woman covered in a huge dragon tattoo, radiating sun rays

Page of Swords – Mary El Tarot – A naked woman covered in a huge dragon tattoo, radiating sun rays

The cards I pulled, then, for the New and Full Leaf Moons were the Fool and the Five of Water, respectively. Like I said, I was sliding back and forth between hope and grief.
Six months later, as we slide on through the Season of the Witch, I pulled the Page of Swords.

Much like Chani’s advice to Cancers (my Moon sign) at this time, this card is a reminder to “remember your influence”. Rather like Liz Worth, who’s advice for Libra Season is to dial it in and decide exactly where you need – and WANT – to put your power and your energy right now, it’s a card that says “be prepared to make important decisions quickly” AND a card that says “speak your truth”. More accurately, perhaps, given Cristy C Road’s description of this card as “The Home of Action”, it’s calling to mind those witchy powers, and the reality that:

I speak my truth. I use my words, my breath, my voice, my song to work my will and manifest it in this beautiful world.

~*~

Movement: Moon Salutations, walks around the neighbourhood and out to the library, squats and related exercises. Not nearly enough dancing though!

Attention: Nesting – filling my freezer, trying to get on top of the CSA veggies before they get past their best, digging out my picture nails and finally getting the art onto our walls, investing in a new set of bed sheets. Glamour – which, in some ways, is like “body nesting” (I don’t know if that sounds cozy or creepy… but that’s my Cancer/Scorpio Black Swan to a tea, so…). Washing my hair with baking soda and cider vinegar as some kind of a pre-winter detox for my scalp. Wearing makeup for the first time in ages. Skin-brushing. Remembering to moisturize. Digging out my crow skull pendant, pentacle earrings, and other Goth AF accessories, just because it’s leather weather and I want to. Remembering to drink my mint-and-licorice teas and say my magical words. Topping up my offerings. Trying to do things Mindfully and With Intention.

Gratitude: Grateful for my full larder, my full freezer. Grateful for the extra work hours I’ve been getting, and for skills that I’m getting paid to learn. Grateful for patience. Grateful for a functional internet connection. Grateful for friends who want to hang out. Grateful for a warm, cozy bed. Grateful for hugs. Grateful for new novels arriving at the library. Grateful for long-distance dates with my girlfriend and evenings on the couch reading to my wife.

Inspiration: tarot (for ever!), new books on witchcraft and spiriual kink, #gothtober, my growing collection of (mostly) fish vertebrae, and the abundance of gourds that have begun turning up in my CSA box and at local grocery stores.

<strong:creation:< strong=””> Lots of sewing. Also working on a cookbook, and have some new recipes to test out.</strong:creation:<>

New Moon – Harvest Moon Begins – Mabon 2020 (Season Of The Witch)

A collection of orange, tan, and white winter squash, topped with a handful of apples, and cast in dramatic shadow. Image by AlreadyExist, via Wiki Free Images

A collection of orange, tan, and white winter squash, topped with a handful of apples, and cast in dramatic shadow. Image by AlreadyExist, via Wiki Free Images


 
I harvested the three globe zucchini that I’d left on the vine to ripen fully. They are striped orange and pale yellow, and look like pie pumpkins (though I’m expecting them to have a texture more like spaghetti squash).
I’ve been making bread again (finally) and candles for my altar (finally) and doing a little bit of sigil magic (finally), and feel like I’m a bit more on top of the CSA situation. My freezers are marvelously full, and so are my fridge and my pantry.
I feel weirdly proud of this, considering how little work – relative to other years – went into it all. But I feel safe and snug – like a squirrel in my cozy creche, knowing I have plenty of nuts stored away and knowing, too, that there are a few more weeks before the ground freezes and the ice on the puddles signals the end of the gathering season.
 
I spent New Moon observing Rosh Hashanah at a friend’s house. Sometimes I feel like contemporary paganism mirrors Judaism – maybe that’s Starhawk’s influence, or maybe it’s the whole Kitchen Table Religion thing, or maybe it’s just that Ashkenazi Jewish traditions developed over hundreds of years in central and northern Europe, where apples would have been a readily available sweet taste with-which to ring in the new year – but it made me smile that mine wasn’t the only religion spending the Autumn Equinox (this year, at least) with shared apples and celebration.
 

 

 
These two tweets crossed my feed at very different times – a solid three weeks apart – but they both have me asking myself “What is Mabon to ME?”
I mean, yes, definitely, the Harvest Moon kicks off the Season of the Witch in a way that feels very in line with my own recent magical workings. But the beginning of Harvest Moon doesn’t always coincide as closely with the Equinox as it did this year.
 
In my neck of the woods, Mabon is definitely a Harvest Festival, and one that I do associate with fruit. Even when most of my wild-harvesting (crab apples, choke cherries, wild antique apples) happens much earlier in September, the local pears are ready to harvest any time between Labour Day and Thanks Giving, so… it fits.
But I also associate Mabon with rest. With the glut of the harvest (or, in my case, the CSA) calming down enough to keep up with, and with the temperatures falling enough that I’m no-longer loathe to turn on the oven.
 
If Lamas is a time for barbecues and musk melon and corn on the cob, for Big Manifesting Energy, for offerings of blueberry Welsh Cakes wrapped in foil and baked in the campfire coals, for the first heady flush of the (hopefully) long and heavy harvest (beans, summer squash, eggplants, and tomatoes, oh my!); if Samhain is a time for candles and ancestors, for freezer orders of pork and lamb, for dumb suppers and offerings of liver mousse, seared heart, and maple whisky, for winter squash stuffed with kasha and braised tongue, then what falls between them is this:
 
A point of pause.
The place where Libra’s scales balance like light and dark.
You could even call it Intermission.
 
If you’re familiar with the Wildwood Tarot, you’ll know that – by their calendar – this is the Season of Cups. The moment where the Hanged Man finds her new perspective as the Lady of the Lake.
 
Sometimes I think of Mabon as the Witches’ Thanks Giving.
The part of the triple harvest where we have the opportunity slow it down, celebrate, acknowledge, and express our gratitude – to and with each other, to and with the ground that provides for us – to ask “What have you harvested this year? What has come to fruition?”
 
Last night, I did a Fancy Dinner – by my standards of fancy, at least. Brussels Sprouts steamed then pan-fried in butter, maple syrup, and a little whiskey; pork tenderloin slow-roasted over a mix of onion, golden & chiogia beets, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and kholrabi; served with a white wine and with the altar candles lit up.
That feels like an appropriate Mabon meal, and the left-overs will be diced into a stew tomorrow.
But tonight – mostly because we have them and they need to be eaten up – our Actual Mabon Meal is going to be way more remeniscent of Lamas: Grilled burgers + corn on the cob.
But I have apples baking in the oven, filling the house with slow heat and delicious smells, and that’s not nothing. My hands are soft with butter and my heart is full.
 
~*~
 
Something else I should mention.
We woke up on New Moon to discover that one of our birds, Matilda – our little blue and white budgie – had died in the night. It looked like she had a peaceful death. Just went to sleep and stopped. But it was a sad day.
We buried her today, under the cedar tree in our front yard.
I planted a mulberry next to her and we’ll see what grows in spring.
 
~*~
 

Two of Cups - Cristy C Road - Next World Tarot - Two sweeties embrace on a beach, clearly besotted with one another

Two of Cups – Cristy C Road – Next World Tarot – Two sweeties embrace on a beach, clearly besotted with one another


 
In keeping with my usual lunar practice, I shuffled one of my tarot decks – Cristy C Road’s Next World Tarot – and let a card jump out for me.
What I got was the Two of Cups.
Heh.
Okay, I know. The two of cups means a whole bunch of things. But my decks tend to be real literal too, and it’s not weird that on a day where I’m writing both about beginnings and the season of cups, that this is the card that came up.
That being said.
As a tarot card meditation this is a reminder that love shows up, that romance is real, that we balance each other in all the ways we need.
It was a good card to pull, and one I’ll try to keep in my heart as the days get darker.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Early evening walks with my wife. Moon Saluations every night (except two days ago, and you guys, I am still feeling it). Squats. Carrying heavy groceries home today.
 
Attention: Trying to stay on top of the vegetables. (Already) Looking for work to take on once my year-long contract wraps up at the end of March. Eying what to expect in my impending CSA delivery so that I can plan a little bit for how to deal with it. Looking forward to the sex magic class I’m taking tomorrow evening.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for my sweeties. For celebrations with friends. For getting to do long-distance ritual over the internet. For pals who jump at the chance to perform kinky poetry to a small and select audience. For snuggles with my wife. For tarot readings and hot tea on the back deck with my friend. For new-to-me house wares. For energy work with my girlfriend. For a warm house and a full larder. For the life of our Matilda and the company we kept.
 
Inspiration: The season of cups. The work of other femmes. The new moon setting. Jupiter and Saturn rising in the eastern sky. My fabric stash and soothing sewing videos on youtube that remind me what I want to make next.
 
Creation: Wrote a new glosa today, and finished another. I am so freaking close, you guys. I know, I know, the work has only just begun. But I’m still excited about getting Phase One of this project officially completed! Also: I made another mask.
 

Full Moon – Apple Moon Crests (and Wanes)

Wild apple, found growing by les Chutes De Plaisance, QC - Photo by Me

Wild apple, found growing by les Chutes De Plaisance, QC – Photo by Me


 
I am feeling overwhelmed by my CSA.
There, I said it.
I ended up throwing away (I mean, composting, but still) a significant percentage of last week’s veggie delivery, and it was a relief to do so. I’m hoping that by clearing that particular deck – plus cleaning out the fridge over the weekend – I’ll be marginally better-prepared to actually process and use up tomorrow’s delivery of produce.
I’m embarrassed about this. Slightly ashamed, even, although obviously not that much because I wouldn’t be talking about it out loud if I were really having self-worth problems around it. But, even recognizing that we’re pretty-much at Peak Local Food Season right now – what Erica once called “the crush of the harvest”, that time between High Summer and Autumn Equinox where you’re rolling, or maybe drowning, in zucchini and tomatoes and cucumbers and corn – I’m wondering if I signed up for more than I could handle.
I mean, right this second? I definitely signed up for more than I could handle. And, under current COVID circumstances, I can’t just walk the excess around the corner to the local Community Fridge (because it’s closed for the duration, apparently) and “store it in other people” as the saying goes. But, for the preceding three months, while it was difficult to manage the amount of veggies we were getting every week, and while I did end up composting at least one bag of salad greens and a couple of cucumbers, it was still possible.
So I’m trying not to let late August get me down.
 
Right now, I’ve got a slow-cooker full of about 3L of tomato purree – frozen, thawed, drained, and skins removed, then set to cook down even further with some garlic chives and winter savoury from our tiny garden, plus some salt, balsamic vinegar, and a little cooking wine – slowly thickening into crushed tomatoes at one end of the counter.
At the other, I have what’s left of my bone hoard – pork, or possibly beef, bones from our long-ago half a hog order, plus a couple of chicken carcasses and a lot of celery leaves, onion greens, and carrot ends from the above-mentioned CSA – starting to slow-cook in the instant pot, mostly covered in the water I drained off the thawed tomatoes.
I admit, I’m doing these at the same time, and today in particular, because my friend is coming to retrieve her presure-canner tomorrow night and, while it’s very possible to water-bath can tomato products, I’d like to see what they’re like when they’re not marinated in vinegar. So one (more) batch of bone stock and one batch of crushed tomatoes, and we’ll see what we have at the end of all that.
 
My tiny garden has three over-ripe globe zucchini still on the vine – they are turning a stripy yellow-brown colour as they ripen towards something more like a winter marrow (uh… I assume) and I haven’t harvested them because I still have one and a bit on the go that I harvested earlier.
It’s so weird. After years of mostly harvesting self-seeded radish greens and dandelion leaves, I’m up to my ears in someone else’s labour – long-since bought and paid for, but still coming in for another six weeks – and the focus of my own garden is to look pretty, more than anything else. The garlic chives are starting to bloom, and I’m more excited about that than I am about having garlic chives to eat.
 
I’m behind on a lot of things. Not just handling the vegetables. I haven’t written any glosas in two weeks, haven’t even cracked my library book about designing online courses, and haven’t finished the dress for my wife and have barely even washed the fabric for the set of masks I want to make. I am behind.
But I can catch up.
Tomatoes get turned into sauce.
Bones get turned into stock.
Parishibles get turned into shelf-stable preserves.
Blank pages become poems or they become letters to clients.
Fabric becomes clothing.
I can do this.
 
~*~
 
Wildwood Tarot - Two of Stones "Challenge" - Two hares boxing in spring with blue harebells blooming in the foreground. Behind them, the wildwood is starting to come into leaf.

Wildwood Tarot – Two of Stones “Challenge” – Two hares boxing in spring with blue harebells blooming in the foreground. Behind them, the wildwood is starting to come into leaf.


 
I chose this for my tarot card meditation today, because – while this particular card hearkens back to the month of March (to Spring Equinox, for sure, but also to the New Moon in Pisces that happened at the very end of February, back when i was first (first?) starting to do shadow work around Money Stuff. Perhaps it’s no surprise that I’m back at now that the pendulum has swung the other way and the Pisces Moon is full) – it’s appropriate to the step by step by step of getting things done, even when they feel insurmountable.
I’m kind of clinging to my to-do list to keep me moving, you know?
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon Salutations, walks with my wife and a friend in the neighbourhood, squats and other butt/thigh exercises (yes, really).
 
Attention: Going over a contract carefully to sort out what my options are once it expires. I should have done this literally six months ago, but didn’t, and here I am.
 
Gratitude: An excellent birthday for my lovely wife. A standing weekly date with my girlfriend. The “Locked Tomb” series which is charming and entertaining. A metamour who was willing to listen to me wail about overwhelm and anxiety. Enough of a clue about my own brain (finally) to recognize when I’m having an… “activated” reaction rather than a realistic one. Friends who want to read tarot with me. Paying clients and extra work hours. Cheesecake in the fridge. More than one slow-cooking small appliance and (barely) enough jars to fill when the time comes. New books about D/s. A house near the river. The blue jays coming back to our cedar tree. Reading aloud to my beloveds. Getting enough sleep. The possibility of pears from the neighbour across the street. Fish and chicken waiting in the freezer.
 
Inspiration: Recipes past. My wife’s favourite kind of flavoured chocolate. Autumn storms. Blue jay feathers. Heavy Metal. The Wheel of the Year.
 
Creation: Well, as I said, I haven’t been writing a whole lot, poetry-wise – though I did write a quick little non-glosa poem while watching the rain not too long ago, so that’s something. I did make a spiffy chocolate-marmalade cheesecake for my wife’s birthday, which worked out really well. We’re about halfway through it, and I’m looking forward to dessert.

New Moon – Apple Moon Begins (and Waxes)

Ripening Apple - Photo by Ruth Hartnup via Wiki Free Images - A green apple, ripening towards red, hangs from its stem amid green leaves.

Ripening Apple – Photo by Ruth Hartnup via Wiki Free Images – A green apple, ripening towards red, hangs from its stem amid green leaves.


My altars are lit – after weeks of not making offerings in this way – and I need to make another batch or two of candles before the day is out.
There are big, dark clouds hanging low over the neighbourhood, promising more rain. My zucchini are loving it, and I’m appreciating the break in the heat.
Mr and Mrs Cardinal came by yesterday evening, along with a chickadee or two, to see if we’d left more birdseed on the window sill. We had a Palliated woodpecker stop by, and a young (and very hot – the cicadas were going hard, so you can imagine the temperature) stop by in the cedar tree for a moment in the shade and/or a moment of investigating our Cockatiel (and our plastic model crow) on the other side of the glass.
We introduced ourselves to our across-the-street neighbour, who – appropriately for the beginning of Apple Moon – invited us to harvest his apples and pears for making cider in a few weeks, so I’m excited about that.
 
It’s New Moon in Leo (or was, close to a week ago) and – go figure – I’m diving back into shadow work. Leo Season is basically Ego Season, after all, and while it can be a very King Of Wands time (and, yes, I’ve pitched myself for an expanded job description with one of my current clients AND participated in an open mic at a recent online poetry show), it can also be a point where our assumptions about Being Right need to maybe get questioned and challenged.
I’ve been Getting Messages – mostly, though not entirely, in the form of wasps and hornets landing on me, walking on me, accidentally coming into the house, and, in one case, getting trapped under my skirt, freaking out, and stinging me (can’t say I blame them) – about my own tendency towards getting venomous when freaked out about something, and I think I need to do some Work around that.
 
On a related (sort of?) note, I’m… having The Feels around hanging out with my Fetch. She’s a good kid. And I’m also like “Crap, what the heck to do with an athletic teenager??”
I pulled a card today, basically asking my Fetch “What would you like to do” and the card I got was “The World” which, in the Osho Zen deck, is depicted as a jigsaw puzzle. So I took her literally and found a website where I could do a bunch of digital jigsaw puzzles for free, and we/I did puzzles for a little while.
We’ll see if this sort of thing works in future, but I figured it was worth a shot.
 
I did a “New Moon in Leo” tarot spread, using the same deck, and what I got was:
A Place to Innovate: The Fool, Upright (The 9 of Earth Upright)
A Chance to Boost Confidence: The Emperor, Reversed (The Queen of Fire, Reversed)
A Way to Show Yourself Love: The Sun, Reversed (The 3 of Earth, Reversed)

(The cards listed in brackets are ones I pulled just to get extra information about each item)
 
What I get from this is:
A Place to Innovate: Literally ANYwhere. Just start something. “To Innovate” just means “to change up an established pattern”. Based on the “more info please” card, I could potentially read this as “Change up how you… [Rely on only yourself] / [Exercise Self-Control] / [Achieve a comfortable lifestyle]” which… hey. I said I was doing shadow work around exactly this stuff, so at least it’s confirming that I need to change up some stuff in this area.
 
A Chance to Boost Confidence: Look. Blame it on reading The Killer Wore Leather, but I almost want to read this as having something to do with dominance and my D/s relationships. The Emperor being all about Being The Boss and the Queen of Fire – in addition to being energetic, confident, dedicated, and having great sex appeal – is my personal mental idea of what an authentic, dominant femme can be (as opposed to, say, the Lord Domly Dom stereotype that I associate with the King of Air).
 
A Way to Show Yourself Love: This, at least, was easy to interpret: Acknowledge your skills and stop downplaying your contributions to things.
 
~*~
 
Flowering - Queen of Earth, Osho Zen Tarot - a woman with black and white hair, wearing a green dress and a flower crown, sits, cross-legged on a floating pink lotus. A full moon(?) rises behind her.

Flowering – Queen of Earth, Osho Zen Tarot – a woman with black and white hair, wearing a green dress and a flower crown, sits, cross-legged on a floating pink lotus. A full moon(?) rises behind her.


 
The card I drew for my Tarot Card Meditation was the Queen of Earth.
This is interesting because of how much King of Earth stuff has been showing up lately, and because of the “Place to Innovate” portion of the above tarot reading.
In some ways, at least, I believe I’m already the Queen of Earth. Note, I said “believe”. There are 100% Shadow Things in there that belie the ways in-which I’m not. I know I’m resourceful and generous, nurturing and thrifty, and I have a tonne of home-making skills – all of which are Queen of Earth Things. BUT I also deeply want to be taken care of, to not have to be thrifty and resourceful specifically because someone else is looking after that stuff for me.
So that’s something that I want to explore a little more.
 
Similarly, I find myself looking at the ways in-which the Queen and the King of this suit differ. I’m particularly thinking of how Michelle Tea (in her book, Modern Tarot) talks about them. She describes the Queen as someone who keeps her life simple and who can recognize that she’s rich in friends and skills, even if she’s not necessarily rich in cash. Whereas she describes the King as someone who’s comfortable accepting a good wage, spending money on things they value, and being rich in cash as well as friends and skills (which, itself, feels very connected to the “Know Your Worth” of Leo Season, as discussed by Liz Worth, linked above). And I find the difference she depicts – or maybe, tellingly, that I interpret from her words – shows me the various gulfs I need to bridge if I want to level myself up out of what feels a lot like a “four of pentacles” funk.
 
So, as I dig into my Suit of Pentacles / First-and-Second-Chakra shadow points, I’ll be keeping these things in mind.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon Salutations every night. Going for frequent walks with my wife in the evening. Occasional pushing of the tiny sail boat down to the river and back (with help, obvs). This is probably not enough movement, but it’s what I’m doing.
 
Attention: I’m paying attention to the globe zucchinis growing in my front yard. Paying attention to my compost heap, and hoping it will cook quickly and well. Getting to know my neighbours (slowly but surely). Paying attention to the weather, the humidity, the movement of the wind. Paying attention to the different birds and little critters and plants and bugs who share my yard with me.
 
Gratitude: Blueberry ice cream. Backyard BBQs. Friends who live nearby. Home-grown zucchini. Long talks with my girlfriend. Money with-which to buy 1/4 of a pig for the freezer. Reading aloud to my partners. A zillion library books (Gideon the Ninth is so good, you guys). Snuggles with my wife. Shadow-related break-throughs. Our CSA box. A freezer full of vegetables. Hard conversations (I may not like having them, but I’m grateful that they’re at least possible). Being able to drink tea with my mom and have it feel comfortable and easy. Poetry.
 
Inspiration: As is frequently the case, other femme poets + tarot cards. But, on top of that: Kinky books. My recently-deceased colleague. Bats in the park. The river. The Leonids meteor shower.
 
Creation: While I feel a little bit behind, in terms of my poetry project, I have reached the point of having (technically) enough glosas to make a full-sized manuscript. Which I think is a pretty big deal. There’s still a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m feeling confident and proud of myself for making it this far.

New Year New You 2020: Week 23 – Mirror Mirror

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: As this is the last week, please take some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve learned, and where you’re going to go from here.
 

Wildwood Tarot - The Mirror (MA 12) - The Lady of the Lake, with a serpentine lower body, and flowing dark hair, holds the full moon in one hand and a mirror in the other. A heron is in the foreground. In the distance, a boat carries a corpse to a tiny island

Wildwood Tarot – The Mirror (MA 12) – The Lady of the Lake, with a serpentine lower body, and flowing dark hair, holds the full moon in one hand and a mirror in the other. A heron is in the foreground. In the distance, a boat carries a corpse to a tiny island


 
Tarot Card: The Mirror
It was a toss up between this card – more traditionally known as The Hanged Man – and the Six of Swords, itself a card of transition, reflection, and pause.
 
I started writing this roughly a month and a half ago, back when things didn’t feel particularly finished in terms of my Empress Project. A month ago, right at Summer Solstice, I took a crack at it again because things were feeling a little more Done. So maybe third time’s a charm?
There are absolutely Goals that I haven’t entirely achieved yet. Stuff around integrating better habits around self-talk and relationship building, for example. But I do feel like I’ve leveled up in a lot of ways.
Summer Solstice felt like a closing ceremony – literally – for this project because I did the bookend ritual to the Big Magic I did just after I turned forty. A month later, maybe I can do some reflecting on things and see where I’m at.
I have a new place to live, in a neighbourhood that I love – mostly because it’s quiet and right near the river, and has wild fruit trees within easy walking distance, but also because I have friends nearby.
I feel like I’ve got better boundary-skills, and am braver when it comes to talking about what I want and need i my relationships. (There is, I recognize, absolutely a danger of slipping backwards on this front, though, and part of what I’ve been dipping my toes into, recently, is how to make sure that doesn’t happen).
While I (still) haven’t found a publisher for my chapbook, I have received a grant(!!!) to help me complete my Femme Glosa Project, and I have a publishing history that I 100% did not have when I started this project at the end of 2018.
I’ve managed to land a couple of small, flexible, from-home jobs that are helping to keep the bills covered even in These Uncertain Times.
I feel more centered and comfortable in my sexual body (that is not a euphemism for my genitals, I actually mean my whole body as sexual being) – although that continues to be a work in progress.
 
I’ve met a bunch of my goals, and I’m proud of myself.
 
Something I’ve definitely learned about Magic this year – and I mean since January, 2020 – is that having a SMART Goal for your magical working is going to get you more obvious, tangible results than not having one will. If only because the goal, itself, is “measurable” and “time bound” and so-on. The Big Magic I did to get our house? I specified a *when* as well as a what. And it happened. The magic I’ve been doing to secure a couple of anchor incomes? Ditto.
 
So that’s something to keep in mind as I continue to do Magical Stuff for self-improvement purposes. And I do intend to keep right on doing Magical Stuff for self-improvement.
Where do I want to go from here?
 
TBH, I’m feeling kind of split on this one, and wondering how to integrate some things.
 
I did a tarot reading recently and this is what I got:
Me as I am: The Empress (U)
Am I on the correct path: 9 of Water (U)
What’s my main obstacle: 6 of Water (U)
What is helping me: Page of Air (R)
How can progress be made: King of Earth (R)
 
Which is pretty positive. I mean, getting the nine of cups for “am I on the right path” is a pretty solid YES, which is very nice to hear.
Seeing my “Where am I right now” as literally the card this project is named for, is reassuring and encouraging.
My “obstacles” card… tracks. The six of cups is all about nostalgia. Nostalgia in the sense of “wishful thinking or dreaming in technicolor without actually doing the work is… not going to help you here”. But also like “Don’t slip backwards now that your goals are within your reach”.
So: Okay.
 
As-you-know-bob, I read reversed cards specifically as “my relationship with myself” (as opposed to upright, which is “my relationship with literally anyone/anything else”) and when I look at the Page of Air – their logic and structure, their thinking of things through, their self-examination and deep digging – and the King of Earth (who, as a King Card, thrives on structure) and I start to see what needs doing.
So. What is helping me (move through or past that obstacle): Structure, self-awareness, honesty and accurate communication, curiosity, interest in learning and trying new things.
How can progress be made (towards the goals that remain in my Empress Project, towards the next step beyond this): Solidifying my material/financial well-being so that it’s more permanent and reliable. This is a card about achieving success and feeling confident and happy about your home, your finances, and your body. So it ties fairly readily into a “next steps” post Empress Project.
 
And also.
If my Work is to learn through joy and play, and to make deep loving connections with people, how does that fit with what I’ve been interpreting as a “get your finances together” card?
Presumably it can be a Both/And. But, just at the moment, I’m a little at a loss for how to integrate the two of them or pursue them at the same time.
I will be chewing on this for a while, I suspect.
In the mean time, and as I’m chewing, I’ll be doing the following:

Working on my poetry manuscript
Continuing to submit individual poems and smaller manuscripts for publication
Further exploring Sacred Sexuality Stuff
and, well…
Looking for further from-home work, since my modeling career is unlikely to be a thing this year.

 
But yeah! That’s where’s I’m at with this project. I think I’ve made some progress, and I’m proud of what I’ve done. I look forward to taking it further.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Moon – Thunder Moon Begins

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 Images


 
We live so much closer to the river now, and it is making a BIG difference in terms of how much rain we’re getting.
I’ve spent so many of the past summers watching the heavy clouds and hoping they’ll bring rain to my garden only to drag the hose or the watering can out (and out, and out) in the evening to give my plants enough of a drink to keep going.
Here, we actually get rain.
Or are, so far.
Thunder rumbling directly overhead. Sheet lightning. And, yes, thankfully, the heavy, steady rains that are giving my chard and zucchini (which are just, just starting to have fruit-flowers!) a chance to thrive. Mostly in the hours just before dawn, which is the perfect time for them.
I’m so delighted and so very glad they’re here.
I hope they keep it up through August.
 
This new moon is, appropriately given all the water, in Cancer (the second New Moon in Cancer of the summer, the first one having happened right around Summer Solstice and having involved an eclipse). So I find myself looking back to where I was when the Full moon was in Cancer, just a few days before Imbolg, or about six months ago (and which was an Experience, let me tell you).
Six months ago, I was pushing myself to go a little harder, and a little deeper, magic-wise. I was reaching out to my Godself, actively, for the first time and enjoying the experience of going to “church” with my girlfriend (something we’ve been able to keep doing, since this Horrible Situation has meant that her temple collective is doing their rituals over the internet now).
Now here I am, another half-turn around the wheel, and – having got through this move (even if we are still unpacking and likely will be for the next… ever) – I find myself dipping my feet back in, getting back into practice, and starting (every day, just starting) to, once again, try to Use My Voice to work my will in large and small applications.
If I look back to the last New Moon, when Rose Moon was just starting to swell, I see that I did three rituals in as many days and, while I haven’t kept up that pace (sorry), I did have a really marvelous experience, in a somewhat impromptu fashion, as Rose Moon was cresting. I did (finally) get my printer set up with the goal of doing some sigil-and-candles magic in the very-near future, and I did (finally) made my Bread Offering to all and sundry earlier today.
I’ve been keeping up with my Moon Salutations – and making a point of focusing on and reaching for conneciton with My Lady of Music and the Moon while I’m doing it, and I was able to take in the Connect DC “Dark Moon Message” last night.
 
That was, in itself, an interesting and thought-provoking listen. I’m glad I was able to attend. Katrina talked about air-fire-water-earth as theory, praxis, ritual, and – doesn’t it just figure that I’d forget the word – “the small, daily actions that collectively mean you’re walking your talk”.
As I’ve said something like a zillion times before, I know myself well enough to know that I totally get stuck in the “theory” part. “When in doubt? RESEARCH!” But research, on its own, doesn’t get things done. It doesn’t change your habits and it avoids the risks inherent in actual growth. So having another model (theory – yeah, yeah) of how to NOT get stuck in the theory, is helpful.
I think it’s interesting that a wattery tart like me can look at the land-sea-sky of theory, ritual, and day-to-day concrete actions, and be like “Yeah, obviously” but, when faced with the concept of Praxis… is just like:
 
Confused and uncertain white lady superimposed with math

Confused and uncertain white lady superimposed with math


 
I mean, in the context of The Great Work (if you want to call it that) of boiling off your personal drosse, sure. The “praxis/fire” part is astral work, ordeal work, Will work, and spell-craft. That much I got.
But what else is it?
Something to talk shop about with my girlfriend, I suspect.
 
A mo(o)nth ago, I asked “What Is My Work” and got the answer “Learn through celebration, curiosity, and play. Make deep, loving connections and build family in all directions. Love and play are holy.” (Which I was NOT expecting).
Now here I am, on this second New Moon in Cancer, asking – as Liz Worth suggests – how to build a commitment to that Work.
Earlier today I posted (elsewhere) some thoughts about My Most Empowered Self, thinking in terms of how my fully-integrated triple-self (Godself, Talking Self, and Fetch, all working/playing/thriving together) can come through in my D/s relationships.l And I wrote, briefly, about how My Most Empowered Self is sensual, playful, and joyful.
So I ask myself:
If my Work is to learn through celebration, curiosity, and play, and to build and tend my deep, loving connections, how does that fit into theory, praxis, ritual, and daily action?
Two weeks ago, Chani reminded us Scorpios to attend to our daily rituals because it’s through those spiritual connections that our growth and change will happen. This New Moon, though, she’s reminding us all that change doesn’t come with out putting in the hours, taking the time to unlearn our (personal and societal) crap, and build some solid new habits and behaviours in their place. She offers this affirmation to us Scorpios:

With this New Moon, I seek out the teachers that have found processes that are worth the work they take. I replicate what has worked, innovate what’s out of date, and adjust my expectations from needing immediate gratification to wanting to honor the lineages that seek out collective healing.

 
The theory is a mix of going down rabbit holes that catch my attention, letting myself read all about adding more “Ing” to my life (I guess I’ll find out?), shop-talking, learning new things just because they’re fun.
The praxis is (maybe?) reaching inwards to commune with Fetch, nurture my relationship with her, and help her grow into her fullest Fetchy self… And to give her things that are fun and let her push her (my, our) body in real time (like dancing in my concrete-floored basement, going for a splash in the river, or eating mulberries fresh off the trees). It’s doing sigil magic to bolster and strengthen community ties.
The ritual is a big one here. Not just reaching for my gods and Selves and ancestors through my religious practices (although that too!), but building and maintaining friendships and familyships during a time when getting together for a potluck is less possible. It’s doing the mindfulness exercises, the Moon Salutations, and the emotional (and physical) self-maintenance that let me Show Up for my people. It’s the egregors and the “I’ve been thinking of that, too” conversations that are communion at our tiny hearths in the ether and on the internet.
Which, fairly obviously, flows into the more concrete, day-to-day actions of moving my body, making and sharing art, talking shop, commiserating, checking in, and sharing food that actually make loving, joyful connections lasting and even possible.
Okay.
If this is my Work, then let it be my Work.
 
~*~
 

Osho Zen Tarot - Courage (8 of MA, also known as Strength). A daisy has pushed its way up through the concrete and is blooming, blooming, blooming

Osho Zen Tarot – Courage (8 of MA, also known as Strength). A daisy has pushed its way up through the concrete and is blooming, blooming, blooming


 
For my tarot card meditation for this new-and-waxing moon, I pulled my birth card.
Strength is so often depicted as a calm woman sharing trust with a ferocious beast. I can see myself in that – as both the calm focus and the snarling menace. I can see the balance I need to cultivate in myself. But this classic image is also one where “strength” is not the same as “brute force”. Where dominance – if I can allude to that same D/s post of earlier today – doesn’t require the use of the imperative tense. That there is strength in vulnerability.
The image in the Osho Zen deck, however, is of “strength” being the courage to do what’s difficult. The willingness to take the risk of blooming and being seen (per Anaïs Nin, as it happens).
I’ll try to keep this “strength through vulnerability” in mind over the next two weeks.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon salutations, walks through the neighbourhood, a tiny bit of resistance training.
 
Attention: Paying attention to… honestly, mundane and necessary things like “what needs to be eaten in the fridge” and “when does my next bill need to be paid” and “what is next on my to-do list”. But also paying attention to the heaviness of the clouds, and getting myself re-oriented as to where the F the cardinal directions are relative to my new house. (Hint: I am sooooo disoriented right now, I keeping thinking North is literally South…)
 
Gratitude: Grateful for long snuggles with my wife. For video dates with my girlfriend. For a CSA that is almost entirely paid for (and will keep feeding us until late October, not counting all the stuff I’m putting in the freezer). Grateful for friends who bring me raspberry canes and leave seeds on my back steps. Grateful for long talks and quiet evenings. Grateful for bread that seems to be happily rising these past few batches. Grateful for monarch butterfly eggs on our milkweed plants. Grateful for being so close to the river. Grateful for motorcycle rides. Grateful for a back that didn’t hurt as much this morning. Grateful for cool breezes in this hot, hot humidity. Grateful for new sandals. Grateful for a functioning vacuum cleaner. Grateful for a full pantry. Grateful for friends who send me stories. Grateful for this lovely new place to live. Grateful for hugs and kisses and love-letters and time with my People.
 
Inspiration: The poetry of other femmes, the way my garden is settling in and starting to thrive.
 
Creation: I have been writing glosas for my Femme Glosa Project with a solid degree of consistency. Still fretting that the end result is going to be a lot of repetition, but I’m hopeful that I’ll have more than three-to-five things to talk about, so. Have also done a bit of tailoring on a skirt and have started Phase Two of a cropped ballerina cardigan that I’m “up-cycling” from a parrot-bitten cotton item that I haven’t wanted to wear as-is for a long, long while.