Conjuration – I’m In It!

Published! In a tiny bound book of magical micro-poems, no less! (Originally blogged over at The Breathings of My Heart, but sharing it here as well for the discussion of How Magic Works).

The Breathings of My Heart

So. This charming (see what I did thar) little book of magical micropoems dropped last night at the Coven Editions launch party.

A pocket-sized book of magical micropoems with a shiny ivory cover and the word CON JURA TION in black ink. Also in the frame: A pen shaped like a broom, A 1"x6" print of my poem, "Pathworking" on the same cover stock with an intention paper backing, and a selection of polished stones: rhodochrosite, snowflake obsidian, blue lace agate, bloodstone, and rose quartz. A pocket-sized book of magical micropoems with a shiny ivory cover and the word
in black ink.
Also in the frame:
A pen shaped like a broom, A 1″x6″ print of my poem, “Pathworking” on the same cover stock with an intention paper backing, and a selection of polished stones: rhodochrosite, snowflake obsidian, blue lace agate, bloodstone, and rose quartz.

It’s tiny! It’s shiny! And it’s packed with pint-sized poems conjuring love, loss, memory and magic (of course magic). And one of those poems is mine! 😀
As you can see, I’m more than a little excited about this. “Pathworking” is one of the poems I sent out on submission during December and January – my first crop of submissions since, like, 2011, iirc –…

View original post 484 more words


New Year New You 2018: Week 3 – Something You’ve Been Putting Off (Imbolg)

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:Let’s face it, Charmers, the critical component to success or failure in your goals is your ability to do shit you don’t want to do. […] Close your eyes and grit your teeth and just do it.
Tarot Card: I was strongly tempted to go with The World for this one, because of it’s association with Being Involved (I literally looked up “what is the opposite of The Hermit” for this), but it has more to do with the end-result of achieved goals than the work that goes into getting there. Given what my goals actually are, I think a better bet would be the Three of Cups or the Four of Wands.

On the left is the 3 of Water from my Osho Zen deck. On the right is the 4 of Bows from my Wildwood deck. Both cards are named "Celebration" and both images involves women dancing joyfully with each other alongside a powerful representation of the element in question (A thunderstorm for Water, a bonfire for Bows).

On the left is the 3 of Water from my Osho Zen deck. On the right is the 4 of Bows from my Wildwood deck. Both cards are named “Celebration” and both images involves women dancing joyfully with each other alongside a powerful representation of the element in question (A thunderstorm for Water, a bonfire for Bows).

Now, full disclosure, the three of cups is typically my Polyamoury card.
In the case of the Wildwood deck, where the three of vessels – a bunch of gawky birds with large, heavy chalices, that doesn’t even seem to relate much to the rest of its own suit – just leaves me cold? I was both delighted and super relieved to discover that the four of bows not only shares its name, but also its general imagery, with the familiar Three of Water from my Osho Zen deck.
Which is all well and good, BUT my Goals for this project are only partially/tangentially about finding additional people to date. So I’ve chose these two cards more for their social (Three of Cups) and interactive (Four of Wands) aspects, even though their respective “building good relationships in the styles you actually want” aspects are also relevant.
I’ve talked before about not being massively comfortable with “putting myself out there” and, while I am getting way better at things like cold-calling (well, cold-emailing) potential modeling clients and have been stepping back into the arena in terms of letting other people (friends, strangers at open mics, magazine editors) read/hear my poetry – and, in fact, just got the good news that one of the poems I submitted during January is going to be published. Go me! (I hope this becomes a trend! :-D) – the thought of being “on the make” in any concrete way is just… not comfortable. For a slew of reasons. Everything from “I am embarrassed at the though of looking ‘desperate'” to “I can’t control every aspect of this and am at risk of making a huge, heart-crushing mistake, as has happened in the past”.
Speaking of The Past: I’ve been dreaming, recently, of various inappropriate crushes and exes-I-should-be-over-by-now. Not sex dreams, thank fuck, but dreams. See Also weird feelings about Those People that are equal parts simmering but intense emotions and just… massive indifference. Like, it would be really nice if I could figure out how (hahaha) to let go of the low-level-but-pretty-constant feelings of longing, without ending up in a weird, chilly desert of “I guess I’d call So-And-So an acquaintance? We were never really that close”. Y’know?
Which is a round-about-way of saying that, by that particular token, and for various “Reasons” beyond it, AND in-so-far as you can “let something go” on command… I’ve been putting off Getting Over various people because, on some level, it feels very all-or-nothing to me, and I would rather not opt for “nothing” when I do want to be friends with these folks.
I don’t know what to do about it. I wrote the other day about how change takes time and magic has to build up in layers, and that trying to draw a map of where I want to go, when I don’t have much in the way of landmarks to even visualize, is difficult. And it is. Sometimes I’m pretty sure I hang onto what didn’t work because at least I can recognize the good bits in among the bad fits and lousy experiences, whereas looking forward is like trying to steer through fog. I can’t see where anything is going.
None the less, my list of actions for how to achieve my Empress Goals includes “teaching myself to stop chasing” the people who don’t step up and ask me for my company, and giving myself opportunities to meet new people who might do that asking.
It’s Imbolg. A good time for fresh starts, trying new things, and general quickening. Not a bad time to be doing this. To that end: In addition to things like “finally shaving my legs” and “anointing my sternum with Let The Right One(s) In ritual oil” (physical and magical glamour stuff, basically), I’m picking out Events that I can (make myself) go to in the near future that involve people I’ll probably like talking to (Mender Night at the Ottawa Tool Library was one such place) but that I haven’t been to before.
Wish me luck.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Ice Moon Crests (Blue Moon, Super Moon, Lunar Eclipse)

Image from BBC Science (Sky Watch). Full moon turning red during a lunar eclipse.

Image from BBC Science (Sky Watch). Full moon turning red during a lunar eclipse.

Whelp. The sidewalks are covered ice. Crusty, uneven ice. Super-sheer black ice. All kinds of ice.
And now the ice is being covered by snow.
I am very, very happy to be staying indoors today.
It is, of course, the day of the second full moon in January. It’s a blue moon! It’s also a super moon! It’s also a lunar eclipse (that, apparently, won’t be visible from my area, but that doesn’t matter when we’re doing lunar magic! Pro tip).
According to Liz Worth, “full moons bring things full circle and lunar eclipses awaken new things within us”. Because this full-moon/eclipse is tied to the eclipse that (apparently? I totally don’t remember) happened in August of 2016, she suggests looking at where you were then and what’s come to fruition since.
So I did.
I hunted up my August 2016 full moon post and read it over and… I’m still here. Yes, the poetry manuscript I was working on then has been put on hold while I edit my third chapbook and get my Femme Glosa Project manuscript finished, but I’m still writing Feelings Poetry[1]. I’m still working my way into embodying my Whale Heart – a metaphor I developed during the life coaching sessions I’d only just started in August of 2016 – and am I’m lacto-fermenting things on the regular, which is a skill I’d just picked up when I wrote that 2016 post.
But what jumps out at me is just how demoralized I felt at that time. How deep in grief I was on a bunch of fronts, and how unworthy and unloveable I felt. How stuck.
And I don’t feel like that right now.
Like, yes, I have plenty of lousy days where I’m stressed and sad and jittery and can’t name why. I just about cried in the LCBO yesterday because I wanted to get a bottle of wine to make dinner Special and Fancy and it hit me just how much my wine selection was governed by the question “Does this cost less than $10?”[2] I still chase my own tail when it comes to both looking for dates and looking for work. But I don’t feel worthless and pointless the way I did a year and a half ago, and that is a big relief.
Sarah Gottesdiener, over at Little Red Tarot, says:

The shadow of the Earth moving across the screen of the Moon highlights our own shadows more starkly. This can be a messenger bringing deeply needed endings. […] If it is time to break patterns around self-hatred and self-loathing, or other emotional stickiness, this is the Blue Moon to do it. If it is time for you to shine in brighter ways than ever before, put your focus there.

Which fits.
It’s weird (maybe not particularly surprising though), that I keep thinking “Oh, hey, if I just do a healing ritual during this [cosmic planetary event] and if I do it right, I’ll be FIXED!”
Which I know is ridiculous.
Healing works in spirals.
And magic builds in thin, thin layers.
Willpower Fatigue, like decision fatigue, is a real thing and trying to draw yourself a road-map of a place you’ve never been and can’t even imagine in more than the vaguest detail is hard, to say the least.
Which I suppose brings me to:
Tarot Meditation Card: Knight of Pentacles “The Methodical Approach”.
The Knight of Pentacles is slow-and-steady, methodical, quite different from the madly-off-in-goal-all-directions drive of most of the knights. Where the knight of swords has her earrings off and her fists up at the first hint of injustice, the knight of cups ( Oh, hai…) will offer you everything with her heart carved into her arm, and the knight of wands is charming, cocky, and dares to act without necessarily thinking things through… the knight of pentacles puts one foot in front of the other and moves carefully but consistently towards her goal… when she’s not getting caught up in risk-aversion and self-sabotage.
It’s a card that I associate with my wife, who’s a “measure twice, cut once” kind of woman, steady and reliable, albeit a bit of a workaholic (welcome to running your own business…).
And, sure, this card might be a heads up to give my girl some extra attention, focus on our relationship, make sure we do something fun together.
But I draw these cards to ask what I need to pay attention to inside myself, and the notes this card is pinging for me right now are:
Keep at it, keep doing the thing, slow-and-steady gets it done.
Be realistic. That is NOT the same thing as listening to your jerk-brain!
Be patient, be generous, be kind. (This fits really well with the Leo Full Moon’s push for me (us) to be “big-hearted and bold”, so that might be The Thing for this card, right now).
“What are the things that you want in your life, and how are you going to achieve them? And are you being true to yourself while doing so?”
Movement: I hurt. So while I’m doing my usual movement stuff – modeling work, walking places – I’m sore a lot and it’s not a good time.
Attention: I have been diving into Seanan McGuire novellas of late, and they are lovely. Painful. But lovely.
Gratitude: A friend bought me an instant pot. For real. Experiments in yoghurt-making will ensue. I got to meet an adorable young queer and have a conversation about kink community while volunteering at a local fix-it event. I am probably able to pay the heating bill! I have a friend from out of province coming to visit for a week. I got to make out with my wife. ❤ My life is pretty good. 😉
Inspiration: The work of other (mostly) femme poets. The chapbook (see below) is inspired by moon-centered and moon-adjacent poetry found on my queer-poets book shelf.
Creation: I’ve written a LOT of poetry in the past two weeks. A chapbook worth of poetry plus a re-write of a five-poem cycle (originally an attempt at a ghazal, but it works better as something else). I’ve also sent submissions out to three magazines which, while not “creation”, is tangentially related and relevant to this as far as I’m concerned.
Meliad, the Birch Maiden.
[1] This is not a problem. I write about relationships and feelings. I can handle this. 😉
[2] It’s not that you can’t get Nice Wine for cheap. It’s that if what I want is “something that makes me feel fancy and special” and, through circumstances and habit as much as anything, what I end up getting is “something that makes me feel broke and embarrassed” instead? I’m probably kind of undermining my own ends here. Long story short, I bought the wine that cost (slightly) more than $10. I had some Feelings about it, and it’s fine.

New Year New You 2018: Week Two – Goals

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:Determine what you want to accomplish in 2018 using both magical and mundane means, then break it down into magical and mundane steps that you can take.
Tarot Card: The Empress.

The Empress (Wild Uknown Tarot) A flowering tree with a waxing crescent moon overhead

The Empress (Wild Uknown Tarot)
A flowering tree with a waxing crescent moon overhead

In the Next World Tarot, The Empress is a black femme with pastel purple hair holding a torch in one hand and a potted plant in the other. She’s wearing a flowing yellow skirt (probably not an accident that her skirt is yellow) and no shirt, hanging out on a rocky shore where earth and water meet, with a huge, “everything blooming, coming to fruition”, full moon in the back ground. In the Osho Zen deck (link goes to picture), she’s rising out of the place where the flowering ground meets the river’s edge. Her roots are in the water, she’s crowned with stars, and she’s reaching for the waning moon.
The Empress is all about the important stuff: Connections, interdependence, mutual care, abundance, sensuality, pleasure, and creativity. She’s all about making things happen, helping people grow and bloom, and making yourself grown, bloom, and happen, too. She’s the integration of all the queens: the hard-won wisdom of arrows and the water’s willingness to open and trust; the bones’ roots-home and rock-steady preparedness, and the adventurous energy and drive of keys.
This project is about opening myself up, rooting myself solid, and becoming my fullest, most integrated, femme self.
Which, tbh, is very similar to my over-arching goal during my first go-round of this project. But ANYWAY.
This year’s NYNY Project is very-much tied to the Glamour Practice that I’m doing via Miss Sugar’s Glamour Magic (yes, that’s a sales link), and a big part of that particular project – only slightly to my surprise – is getting it through my own head that my “scary” (physically and emotionally intense, powerful and confident, sexually voracious, innately sensual, in ownership of my own skills and talents and competencies) side is a feature of myself, not a fucking bug. Which brings me to the over-arching goals of my Empress Project.
A thing I noticed: When I first wrote down some of the major elements of my Empress Project, they were a lot of “stops”. “STOP doing X”, “STOP doing Y”. And I gather from… I don’t even remember where… from somewhere that phrasing things as “do not do”, as a stop rather than a go-ahead, tends to make them harder to accomplish, if only because you’re not actually giving yourself a road map for what to do INSTEAD of the thing you want to stop doing.
SO. Let me try this again:

I want to let my creative lights shine more publicly and receive more public recognition for my creative work.
I want to find and engage with even more people who are a great fit for both me socially and romantically.
I want to let go of relationships, activities, and (in particular) behaviours that aren’t good for my head or my heart while inviting and actually recognizing relationships, activities and behaviours that ARE good for my head and heart.
I want to focus on the good things already in, and being invited into, my life and to recognize how to maintain those things (those relationships, activities, and behaviours) while still presenting my whole, fully-integrated self to both the mirror and the rest of the world.
I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that my “scary side” isn’t actually scary to people who are good for me.
I want to recognize and know-in-m-bones that all of me is worthy of love and belonging BY/WITH people who are good for me.
I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that I have permission to ask for the experiences, care, and pleasure that I want and will really enjoy.

Okay. So those are my goals.
How do I make this stuff happen?
In the original run of this course, the project only lasted a couple of months. From early December until mid-February. It’s now a 23-week run and lasts just shy of half a year, but the original question remains: At this point in my project, what I can I do BY VALENTINE’S DAY – so in the next four weeks or so – to get this particular ball rolling?
Honestly, the first task is the easiest. I can just send my poetry out for submission, and see if anyone decides to publish it. I have four magazines and a selection of poems to send to each of them, and all the deadlines are before (or one day after, but I like to get things in at least a little bit early) V-day. I can keep writing glosas and blogging about it. I can push myself today and finish the remaining poetry drafts for my impending self-published chapbook, “A Lantern to Scry By: Seventeen Poems Inspired By The Moon”, and then edit that stuff ’til it shines. I can decide to drop the $25 table fee and set up shop at the Moon Market (February 13th) with bath kisses and poetry-inspired jewelry and my hot-off-the-self-publishing-press new chapbook about Relationship Feels and New Beginnings, then drop off a few copies at Venus Envy to put on their zine wall.
Not too difficult, although having a plan for how to be nice to myself when I get rejection letters, or in case I don’t sell a lot of stuff at the craft fair, might be a good idea.
A lot of the rest, though, is just… developing new habits:
Setting intentions at the New Moon for calling in new behaviours and releasing the old ones.
Remembering to put on my crown of light (see comments section) and my Witch-Queen Bombshell energetic, but sometimes literal, regalia before I go out.
Singing to the Full Moon and taking a bath in her light, calling healing into and out of my cells.
Making a point of being open about what I actually want, what actually will make me happy, and then…
Paying attention to who steps up and offers it vs who doesn’t, and teaching myself to stop chasing the people who don’t.
Taking myself out dancing and Wearing big heels, low-cut tops, and my hair down when I do.
Practicing honesty by stating real boundaries and noticing when that feels terrifying vs when (if) it doesn’t.
Smearing perfume oils across my delta of venus, or my sternum, adding rosewater and lavender and pine essential oils to the bath.
Breathing through the clamor that comes with sex and staying engaged with my partner, saying what will work better or what I need right then.
Practicing honesty a different way, by treating questions about my day, my life, my creative process as though the person asking was actually interested in the answer, as though the answers were actually interesting.
Scribbling affirmations on my body in hand sanitizer and onto my mirror in enviro-cleaner infused with calendula (good luck, constancy, love, respect, and all things associated with The Sun).
The things that stand in my way here are the things that always stand in my way. Self-sabotage, over-thinking everything, a tendency to dwell on what didn’t work before, rather than on what might work yet, a bad habit that I think I still have of giving up, or retreating to my hermit shell, when things don’t obviously work the first time.
A lot of the magical stuff in my above list is ways of dealing with those personal obstacles, teaching myself how to see, make, and pursue the ways around and the ways right on through.
Wish me luck.
I’ve got poetry to finish.

New Moon – Ice Moon Begins

Last Friday I got to watch the temperature plummet from a distressingly high and seasonally bizarre +12C to something closer to -19C (which kept right on falling. It’s only “warmed up” back to -19ish today). I’m just glad things dropped fast enough that the pouring rain turned to ice pellets before it hit (and therefore froze to) the ground.
Ice Moon indeed. O.O

“Winter in Parry Sound B” (Photo by Jennifer Aitkens via Wikimedia Commons).
Thick, heavy layers of icicles formed on a rock cut outside Parry Sound, Ontario. Snow in the foreground.

Liz Worth reminds us that:

New moons are invitations, times to set intentions, to focus on moving forward, to take a step towards a new reality.

She says that, because this is the first New Moon of the calendar year, it’s a good time for big-picture stuff, and asks people to think about where they would like to be by the time December 2018 rolls around. Maybe it’s that Earthy Capricorn Energy, or maybe it’s the “EEEEEK it’s the middle of the month and next month’s rent is not yet in the bank!!!” scramble, but my Very Immediate Answer was “Financially Stable and also Published Multiple Times in Various Places”.
Both Liz and The Hoodwitch point out that Earthy Capricorn is an extra-excellent time for “planting seeds” and intention-setting, for focusing on, and inviting in, what you Really Really Want. A good time to do workings for stability stuff, money stuff, abundance stuff, and career stuff. But also for security stuff. Worthiness stuff.
…Basically all the STUFF that I, personally, have a heck of a time with.
A case in point:
When I pulled my Meditation Tarot Card, what I drew was the Page of Swords.
In the Next World deck, whence I drew this card, it’s called “The Home of Action” and features a young person slicing through a chain-link fence. Decisive. Sure in their rightness, even as they’re looking for something.
In the Collective Tarot, this card is the Seeker of Feathers: watchful, eyes on the sky. In the Slow Holler deck, it’s the Student of Knives, and our page is taking a good, long look in the mirror. In the Osho Zen deck, it looks like this:

Osho Zen Trot – Page of Clouds (air): “Mind”.
A portrait of a person whose distressed eyes and stress-set mouth are fixed in a mess of over-worked gears, smoke stacks jut from their head, pumping out exhaust. Their neck and shoulders are fractured 2x4s, suggesting boarded up buildings, abandoned factories and homes.

This is so very much the card of “overthinking it”, which I tend to do.
Except when it’s the home of making a damn decision.
Given my Two of Swords card, which I pulled on New Year’s, I’m inclined to read this as a little bit of both. “Don’t over think it, just make a move”.
What am I doing?
I’m currently going through my backlog of poetry (like upwards of ten years of poetry) deciding what stuff I’m up for sending out and trying to get published. I have specific magazines that I’m targeting, and each of them has a theme they’re working with for the issue I’m submitting to.
There is a liiiiiittle bit of over-thinking going on? But not a lot. It’s more “Are these specific poems (a) good enough, and (b) on theme enough for them to be READY to send out”. But I seem to be avoiding most of the angsty “What if they’re (meaning “I’m”) not good enough????” stuff that I tend to hampster-wheel on, so at least there’s that.
Hoodwitch says to dream big, and carry those dreams with you as you do the work of feeding them.
Time to do some more writer magic. 🙂
Movement: Walking to modeling gigs, shoveling snow. (I finally did the back walk today, since it warmed up enough to do it). I think I need to do more (or any) lifting, since I get out of breath when doing shoveling short-burst shift-and-haul stuff in a way that I don’t when I’m doing low-impact, long-duration stuff (whether that’s carrying 20lbs of groceries home on a half-hour walk, or going dancing for a couple of hours). Not sure how much of that is holding my breath while I shovel, though. Not sure why I do that, but it’s definitely a thing that I’ve noticed.
Attention: The baby queers who take the art classes I model for. ❤
Gratitude: Getting paid. Friends who hire me. Ancestors who look out for me in really concrete ways. Encouragement. A wife who likes to hang out with me. A tiny bird who likes to hang out with me, too. Modeling work that is fulfilling and makes me happy. Friends who want to spend time with me. People who trust me with their mailing addresses. Wine and cookies and a roast with my wife. Friends from out of town who make a point of staying in touch. Sunshine sparkling on snow. Butter and cheese both being on sale. Knowing how to spin and bead and otherwise make pretty things from hella scratch. My wife’s laugh that she shares with me. ❤
Inspiration: Crows. Magic. The contents of my herbs-and-spices cupboard. The phases of the Moon.
Creation: Very little right now. I’m working on edits rather than writing new stuff this week. However I do foresee some hand-spinning (with a drop spindle) in the very near future. 😉

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble – A “Productive Home” Post

Erica, over at NWedible, is doing a Productive Home Weekly Report thing (or was – it’s been a while for her, just as it’s been for me), and has invited people to chime in with their own productivity reports.
I’m… not totally fussed about tracking productivity (as you may have noticed). It feels a bit like giving myself a performance review. BUT, if I think of it as an opportunity to brag about the awesome-fun-cool stuff I’ve been doing/planting/harvesting/cooking/baking/canning/fermenting/etc chez moi that I’m really excited about… it gets a whole lot easier.
So here we go.
The thing I want to show off? I recently tried fermenting apple cider.
My sister sent me a fancy fermentation crock for making sour kraut and other brine-pickled veggies. The crock itself broke in transit – as happens sometimes when you ship something by bus across four provinces – but it came with an airlock which, tbh, I’m rather more excited about than the jar.
I had a whole jug of grocery store sweet cider left over from Winter Solstice, a recently acquired package of bread yeast, and NOW a shiny airlock! 😀
What could go wrong??
Remarkably? Just about nothing. (I feel semi-confidant saying this, for reasons you’ll learn shortly, but I’m still knocking on wood about it).
So. I know that, when fermenting beverages, it’s ideal to use something like champagne yeast, which can survive a high-alcohol-content environment and keep right on eating sugar – which is what you need if you want to get wine-levels of alcohol in your drink (12%-15% – I have no idea what the right fermentation terminology is on this one, so I’m just going with what tends to be written on the bottles). However I’ve had “apple wine”, and it tastes like apple cider with too much alcohol in it (easy alternative: Heat some up and then add a shot of spiced rum or cinnamon schnapps or something).
I was going for something more like “what people drink when they don’t like the taste of hopps”. Something with the 5%-ish alcohol levels of “alternative-to-ugh-beer cider”.
Which bread yeast can do just fine.
So I tipped half a teaspoon or so of fine bread yeast into the mouth of my cider jug, filled up my airlock with water, and packing-taped it to the mouth of the jug (they are the same size, and this is way easier than drilling out a hole in the middle of the lid, so that’s what I did).
I sat the already-starting-to-bubble cider in a glass baking dish, so that if/when things spilled over a little, I wouldn’t have a mess on my hands (this was a good idea – there wasn’t much spillage, maybe a teaspoon or two over the course of a couple of weeks, but it would have been sticky and gross if I hadn’t given it a spill-dish), and put the whole thing somewhere out-of-the-way.
And then I waited.
While I waited, I did a few other things on the Bubbling Cauldron front. Namely, I reorganized my chest freezer and, in the process, pulled out the leaf lard and the stock bones that came with Sir Francis Bacon, our (half of a) Large Black pig whom we put in the freezer in 2015.
To that end, I put up about a gallon (only a gallon – I didn’t use all the bones, because I want to be able to do this again sooner rather than later) of soup stock earlier this week and, more recently, finished putting up about three litres of rendered lard.
Re: Lard: I put the rolls of leaf lard into my slow cooker and heated them up on the “keep warm” setting. once it was warm enough to melt, I ladled the liquid fat into silicon muffin trays and let it solidify in the fridge (or in a snow bank, outside) before putting it into tubs in the freezer. We’ve still got some spicy shmaltz (uh… chicken fat for cooking with, it’s a Yiddish word, iirc, the same way English has tallow and lard and maybe lanolin – although I’m not sure if lanolin applies to ALL sheep fat or just the stuff that comes off the wool) in the fridge right now, so it’ll be a minute before I start using this lard to fry onions and otherwise cook savoury stuff on the stove, but it feels good to have it done.
I’ve also topped up the salt water in my sunchoke and beet pickles (and skimmed the mold off the surface of the water – it’s fine, that’s the whole point of keeping everything submerged in saline, the mold can’t actually grow in that salty & airless an environment), and decanted my kombucha (which I’ll have to do again later today, along with checking the sour kraut in the fridge and… doing something… with the kefir grains, because the cream they were in is definitely kefir cheese by now, and I’m not at all sure what to with it at this point).
Anyway. A couple of weeks have gone by, I’ve done some stuff – making stock and rendering lard – that make me feel resourceful and competent and, incidentally, give me extra free stuff with-which to cook. The boiled bones and the crackling left-over from making lard will go out to the compost heap for feeding the crows and/or anyone else who happens to come by.
It’s been long enough that I decided that today was the day to transfer my somewhat fermented-smelling cider to a different jug.
I’d hung onto the plastic jug from the sweet cider I mulled and served at Solstice, originally with the plan to use it to make mead (in much the same way, fyi, and that’s still the plan, even if I end up decanting it into old wine bottles that I re-label with a sharpie), so it was definitely the right size to take on a jug’s worth of the same stuff, only recently fermented.
I strained it through the sieve I use for decanting my kombucha – which probably means the whole thing is still full of dead yeast, even if I think I managed to keep most of it from sluicing through – and it was quite fizzy going into the new jug.
I haven’t tried any of it yet. I want to give it a month or two[1] in the fridge for a second ferment, I think it’s called, much slower (and less-likely to overflow for that reason) and a little bit gentler. I’m hoping it will clear the Slightly Funky smell underneath all the apples and sparkles – I’ve done a slightly-fermented tissane drink by filling an old wine bottle with sweet hibiscus tea and dropping a few grains of bread yeast in, and then letting it sit in the back of the fridge for literally a year. It works. AND there’s a Slightly Funky smell that happened at around the six month mark, so I’m not worried about catching that scent in my cider right now. I just know I need to give it a little more time to even out.
Anyway. That, right there, is what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. I’m excited and hopeful, and looking forward to trying to make mead (ideally with a little bit of pomegranate molasses and some choke cherries thrown in – for tannin, in the second instance – and in time for me to be able to serve it next Winter Solstice).
Time to put laundry and books away.
[1] Or more, we’ll see. This might be the kind of thing that waits until Beltane, rather than Ostara, to hit the table, though wouldn’t it be great to serve apple cider pressed at Autumn Equinox half a year later when the days and nights are hanging equal again? I think that would be a lovely connection-point, like summer-honey wine served at Midwinter.

New Year New You 2018: Week One – Making Way

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.”
Tarot Card: Two of Swords.
Why am I choosing the two of swords?
Well… Firstly, it was the card I drew at midnight on New Year’s, so it’s kind of sitting with me right now as a Thing To Think About, and secondly because the “two” cards are all cards of “just starting out”. The Aces in tarot are “high” – if we want to mix this with, like, poker metaphors – less like “let’s start at the very beginning” and more like the distillation of a given suits essence. Two is where the journey begins, when you’ve taken your one foot and put it in front of the other for that first completed step. So a “two” seems fitting here, as this is both “promt #1” and the second week of my current project.
Beyond both of those things though, I chose the Two of Swords because one of its messages is “Get out of your own way!”
Because, yeah, I get in my own way a LOT. I dither. I second-guess. I straight-up self-sabotage. I run through endless lists of why Trying The Thing is a bad idea that will put me in danger and not result in any pay-off. I’m looking for work right now, and a friend of mine suggested I start a Patreon (or similar) to help fund my poetry projects. The very idea terrifies me. Being vulnerable. Asking for help. O.O
So, naturally, I’m looking for part-time admin work instead.
This project isn’t about Receptivity, the way my Queen of Cups project was. But it is about connections and security just as much as it’s about pleasure, creativity, and desire. So it might be something I set up as an experiment, to see what, if anything happens. (<– This is me, telling myself there's not stakes here, no risks, so that I'll actually do it. Maybe. Maybe).
As for the questions in the writing prompt:
Where would I like to be putting my time? Modeling, writing, dancing, reading, cooking, entertaining with friends, going on dates with my wife and (fingers crossed) other cute queers.
Where am I putting my time? Modeling (less than I want to be), writing (slightly less than I want to be), cooking, looking for work, social media, fretting about money, some socializing and dancing, but not as much as I'd like.
How can I change this: Well. I can find other work, which would help with the fretting about money, and mean I could stop looking. I’ve contacted my temp agency and my modeling regulars and am sending out resumes, so there’s that. I can spend less time on social media and more time doing cheap/free things with my wife and inviting friends over for pot-lucks and cooking-dates. I can make myself go out dancing (a great thing to plan in January, I realize, but it could happen). I can watch for signs that people might be interested if I flirted with them, and then (if I like them) actually flirt with them and see if they’re responsive. Which might lead to me asking someone out on a date.
All possible. Some achievable entirely under my own power. Some is chance. But that’s why we do magic, right? To push the odds every-so-slightly more towards our own favour. So I guess I have a laundry list of what I need to do with this project.
Literal, physical cleaning of the house: At this point, I’ve mostly gotten rid of the stuff I don’t use – though there is a clothing/yarn/fabric swap coming up at the end of the month that I might be able to find a few things for. My house-cleaning is more about managing clutter and keeping on top of the vacuuming and the dishes. I’ve got a rack full of clean dishes, but another rack worth still to do. A lot of things to put back on shelves, clean laundry to put away. If my Saturday (today) tasks have included returning a library book, washing the pots & pans, and finish up the lard-rendering, then my Sunday tasks can be putting away the clean laundry and putting books back on shelves.
On a less physical level: Normally I would walk around the house burning incense, but it gives my wife a headache do… It’s been a while, but I think I can still remember how to magic-suds a place with The Elements, so I think that might be what I try.
As for emotional baggage… There is so much of it. This project, and the last one, are about letting go of that stuff. But here I am, and so much of it is the same stuff that was weighing me down six years ago. Aegirine stone is a good one for letting go of shame, for getting its hooks out of you, but I don’t have any of that, so I’ll have to make due with what I’ve got.
Labradorite – for the courage and power to own one’s gifts
Malachite – for help with making changes and with inviting pleasure and success into one’s life
Moonstone – for fulfilling desires and granting wishes (how very Nine of Cups)
Rose Quartz – for self-love and forgiveness
Charoite – for healing emotional fears
Bloodstone – for (re)aligning ones lower chakras with one’s heart
Carnelian – for waking up one’s root and sacra chakras
Black Onyx – for cleansing negative energetic gunk from one’s system
What I’ve been doing: Wearing my black onyx pendant and my cheroite ring in the hopes of pulling some of this nasty stuff right out of me and making room for better stuff (stuff I can call in with the labradorite and rose quartz I wear every day, with moonstone jewelry, with the malachite and bloodstone I have in my treasure box).
This post feels like it’s been one long sigh. But wish me luck anyway?