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.

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.