Full Moon – Harvest Moon Crests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~

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

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

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

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

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

~*~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

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

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

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


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

Full Moon – Apple Moon Crests (and Wanes)

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

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


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

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


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

New Moon – Apple Moon Begins (and Waxes)

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

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


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

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

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


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

New Year New You 2020: Week 23 – Mirror Mirror

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
 
Instructions: As this is the last week, please take some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve learned, and where you’re going to go from here.
 

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

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


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

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

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

New Moon – Thunder Moon Begins

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

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


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

Confused and uncertain white lady superimposed with math


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

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

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

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

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


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

Full Moon – Rose Moon Crests (Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn)

“Rosehips and Water Droplets” – Photo by James Petts, via Wiki Free Images – A close-up view of two ripe, red rosehips, surrounded by dripping green foliage, just after the rain.


 
Well, kittens, I went on an Adventure today, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The cherries, service berries, and mulberries are ripe and ready to harvest (and mostly in people’s yards, but some are growing wild!) and that has me very excited! I’ve got a haskap-and-choke-cherry pie in the fridge and have started putting up cooking greens for winter. I’m going to need, like, 20 more gallons to get through the four or five months of No Available Greens, but… we’ll get there.
 
As sometimes gets brought up in Astrology-Land, full moons and new moons are good times to check back and see what you were doing six months ago and how it relates to where you’re at now.
In this case, six months ago was the New Moon (and solar eclipse) in Capricorn, just after Winter Solstice. While my 2020 goal of finding a publisher for my chapbook has yet to be achieved, I have landed An Actual Grant to help cover living expenses while I finish my Femme Glosa Project, which is pretty fucking amazing. And I’m still sending my chapbook (and a bonus micro-chap) out to various potential publishers, so. We’re only halfway through the year. It could still happen. 😉
 
On a related note: Chani’s Horoscopes for this lunar eclipse / full moon in Capricorn (yesterday), are pinging some of the notes she brought up six months ago (Scorpios need to attend to their daily rituals because our growth is going to come through there this year) as well as the same buttons that my tarot pulls did, two weeks ago during the dark moon ritual with Connect DC. Specifically Gemini Rising’s call to recognize that joy is abundant and BOTH my Scorpio Sun’ and Cancer Moon’s reminder that withholding things from myself is not going to help me or anyone else. Both of these hit me squarely in the “Love and play are holy” message I got at New Moon.
 
Six months ago was ALSO (…sort of) the January full moon that I spent doing ritual (for the first time) with Connect DC. Where I got the message “Use your voice” over and over. So the fact that I’m getting messages about using my words AND support for my creative writing, right now, feels like it’s connected to that, too.
 
But I said that I’d been on an Adventure.
Folks, I went sailing for the first time today! 😀
It was great, and I’m looking forward to doing it again!
Back in December, my wife got a little sail boat. Which, not gonna lie, I had some mixed feelings about like (a) YAY, COOL! But also (b) uh… where are we going to put this??
Fast forward to six months later, and we’re living in a new house with a very long, just-for-us driveway, about a 10 minute walk from a boat-launch right into the river.
So that worked out.
 
This wasn’t my first time in/with/on that river. I grew up here. Swimming in, and eating the fish from, this river. It wasn’t even my first time in the water since we moved. I went and stood in it – only up to my ankles – about a week ago.
But here’s the thing.
Water-creature me has been avoiding the bath.
Which is to say, more accurately, that I’ve been avoiding June, aka my GodSelf.
Which I feel guilty about.
Which, because I’m a genius, means that I’m avoiding her Even More.
So getting out on the water felt like a Thing because, even though the river isn’t June – she’s her own entity – she IS a huge, ancient body of water that remembers being an inland sea 10,000 years ago when everything between the Gatineau Hills (then mountains) and upstate NY was underwater and inhabited by seals and beluga whales (when I say I’m a sea witch, that’s the sea I’m talking about) and, as such, is a good place through-which to connect to my GodSelf.
 
So out we went and, while we were out, I let my right hand trail in the water, let some of my energy trickle out into the waves, and just generally said Hi.
And I think she said Hi back?
In addition to getting a flash of whale-song, I felt my heart-ring, the green peridot of my Self[1] show up on my right ring finger.
Which felt really good.
Joyful.
I sang for/to her, just a little bit.
It was really nice.
 
So that was my Big Day Out. We got back five hours ago and, while I’m still tired, I’m at least not totally wiped out. (Hahaaa… I’ve got ritual in 15 minutes. We’ll see how that goes!)
I’ve been noticing that I tend to be a little light-headed or queasy after doing work that involves opening up my chakras or otherwise moving energy around a lot, and that feels new. I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m doing it more frequently, so the correlation is more noticeable, or if it’s because I’m not setting up the container with enough care (likely) or shutting things down properly after the fact (also possible). But it’s something I need to pay attention to, and do something about, I think.
 
Temperance - Wooden Tarot (A.L. Swartz) - An otter, with an open third eye, floats comfortable in the water, between two blooming lilies. They reguard you with vague interest.

Temperance – Wooden Tarot (A.L. Swartz) – An otter, with an open third eye, floats comfortable in the water, between two blooming lilies. They reguard you with vague interest.


 
For my tarot card meditation, I’ve chosen Temprerance, because it’s shown up in a couple of draws and has also jumped out at me on instagram.
Obviously, this is a card about finding the balance. About “what do I need to do” and “what do I want to do”; about “what is the next right step” and “what do I need to keep myself physically safe while I take it”. It’s also a card that asks “What did you learn while you were leveling up, just then?” And that, in particular, is on my mind right now. What have I learned since late 2018? And how do I implement those lessons instead of falling back into old habits?
I’ll be chewing on this between now and the next New Moon, for sure.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Well, I hauled a boat to and from the river today, and spent a lot of time putting my weight on my arms due to trying to avoid being hit by the boom. So that’s something. Have also started do (reverse) leg-lifts while lying on my stomach in the interests of helping to build some more core/lower-back strength and – hopefully – help my back to hurt less.
 
Attention: Definitely paying attention my dizziness/etc after being in trance- or trance-adjacent states. Also paying attention to how I manage my time. Balancing the stuff I want to do (cook, sew, write poetry, read novels) with the stuff I need to do (dishes, admin work, writing letters to politicians, invoicing) to maintain my new home.
 
Gratitude: For so much! For my girlfriend who encourages me and gives me pep-talks. For my wife who wakes up and snuggles the daylights out of me in the morning. For outdoor cooking. For running water. For rain. For going sailing. For friends who want to hang out and chat across the room from one-another. For video dates. For robins who start singing at 4:30am, just when I’m wide awake and having All The Anxiety. For chocolate-peanut-butter ice cream cones. For our CSA. For sunshine and sweat. For hibiscus iced tea. For wild mulberries and baby geese and the river who said Hello. For so very, very much. ❤ ❤ ❤
 
Inspiration: My experiences during the boat ride today, for SURE. I think I need to write me some poetry about that! 😀 Also just… my fabric stash, tbh. I’ve been sewing up a storm, making, finishing, and mending clothes for myself and my wife, as well as starting a few sets of curtains for the house.
 
Creation: Well, see above, re: sewing all the things. I’ve also been baking a lot (when the temperature allows) and had a really successful bread batch the other day. Beyond that, since it’s July, I’ve started my twice-a-week poetry dates with the goal of finishing my Femme Glosa manuscript (or finishing all the various individual-poem drafts that will become said manuscript, more accurately) by… Autumn Equinox, if not earlier. Wish me luck!
 
~*~
 
Anyway. Onwards to Ritual!
Happy Full Moon!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Uh… also about six months ago, I did the Iron Pentacle meditation, and wound up getting Astral Jewelry for my trouble, which was pretty cool.

New Moon – Rose Moon Begins (Summer Solstice 2020)

Tiny white climbing roses with simple, five-petal blossoms and yellow centers

Tiny white climbing roses with simple, five-petal blossoms and yellow centers. These grow against the deeply shaded north wall of our new house, and they are beautiful.


 
There are thunderheads gathering further west, but I don’t know if we’ll be getting any rain.
I hope we do. We could use it. The tiny roses are blooming on the climbing vine outside our front window, and the milkweed is getting ready to flower in the sunny part of our yard. It’s hot and sunny, even with the clouds rolling in, and I’m hoping for a thunderstorm once dinner’s off the grill and we’re in for the night.
 
I’ve done three rituals in as many days.
I set up my altar on the day of the Dark Moon (last Friday), washed the altar cloth in the tub and let it dry in the summer sun. Melted the wax off the protective piece of glass (something out of our former fridge, which has only ever been on our altar, but which makes me smile because of who it came from) that sits on top of the altar cloth to protect it, and the wood of the cabinet underneath it, from the heat of all those candles. Unpacked all the candle holders, pictures, and tiny statues that make up my altar, and laid them out where they’re supposed to go. (I moved a few things around before landing on the right spots).
I haven’t lit the altar candles yet.
But yesterday – the official longest day of the year – I like the House Candle during our Solstice dinner. The House Candle is… it’s one of my home-made coconut-oil-and-beeswax votive candles. I lit it on Beltane and burned it halfway down, with the intention of using it as a coal from our former hearth. I finally re-lit it yesterday and, when I did, it felt a bit like I’d sent up a Location Signal?
Like, I know my gods can find me. I know my Fetch and my Godself are part of me, and so can find me. I know my ancestors, who are in my blood and my bones and the shape of my face, can find me. And yet it still felt like an “Oh there you are” was going on once I’d lit that candle.
Not sure quite what was going on there, but that’s what it felt like.
 
Solstice dinner, btw, was sausages-onna-bun done on the tiny, table-top gas grill my wife got us off kijiji, plus a salad (bagged salad mix from our CSA + diced black olives and some baby red onion, also from our CSA) in a creamy dressing I did up with plain yoghurt, dijon mustard, soy sauce, black pepper, and a little vegetable oil.
So nothing fancy. But I made white wine offerings with an Ontario wine my wife picked out, and we’re doing haskap short cake tonight, ft vanilla yoghurt + lemon ice cream, in lieu of whipped cream, because we’ve got a little thing of haskaps from the CSA, and I think it’ll be good.
We may also be doing some grilled chicken and some more salad – though that may be a tomorrow meal – and my wife, as you have no doubt guessed, is threatening/promising to teach me how to set up and light the gas grill so I can use it myself.
Part of me is excited about this, and part of me is… mildly dismayed at the prospect of doing All the Dinner Cooking again, rather than being able to take a sizable chunk of the summer “off”.
None the less: Grilled meat is amazing, and I look forward to having significantly more of it. 😀
 
On Friday night, I did ritual with Connect DC. That night was more like a sermon minus the rest of the service. No ceremonial workings, that kind of thing. But I pulled tarot cards for a couple of questions, and this is what I got:
What is my Work? – Heirophant, Page of Wands, Three of Cups
How do I do this [work for sweeping social change] – Five of Cups, The Sun
The second one was easy: Keep slogging, and don’t lose sight of joy.
The first one… I am here to love and to play. Learn through celebration, curiosity, and play. Make deep, loving connections and build family in all directions. Love and play are holy.
Which… was not at all what I was expecting, but I’ll take it!
 
Today, Sunday, I did two rituals over the course of about four hours.
The first was the Connect DC’s online summer Solstice ritual.
Unsurprisingly, I cried a lot – this seems to be a bit of a thing when I circle with this group. Not sure why, but here we are.
A couple of things:
(1) I think my Dad showed up? And possibly my grandmothers? (And maybe one grandfather and the great grandmother I knew… but I’m not entirely sure about those two).
(2) The Amazons showed up. I didn’t get much through/from Helios – possibly because I was talking to my own sun deity about that – but the Amazons came in strong enough that even bunker-ass me could feel them. I felt them at my shoulders, sister-moms. And I felt armor, too. I didn’t expect that. Like, it feels really weird to put it this way given how long I’ve been calling myself an amazon, but I didn’t actually expect them to accept me? So that was more than a little amazing.
(3) I am getting the hang of moving energy around. Trying to charge sigils on/through a computer screen is… it’s a situation where it’s a lot harder for me to discern whether I’m doing The Thing or not. But I think I managed to do something, which is good.
(4) The visualization that led up to the Working was very very Fetch Energy, from my perspective. I hope she enjoyed it and got to feel strong
 
The last ritual I did was the bookend to the big ritual I did back in November. It was a relatively small working. The follow-up and thank you to my gods and ancestors for bringing us this house, among other things, in the timeline I asked for. I included a lot of physical items from the original ritual – discovering just how disoriented I am regarding where the actual compass points are in my new neighbourhood, in the process, whoops – and kept it short.
I’m a little worried it was… not fancy enough?
But the significant bit – the blood on the altar – got done, so I’m okay with it. I need to finish burning the last of the House Candle, but the rest is complete and I’m glad I (finally) did The Thing.
 
~*~
 
Osho Zen Tarot - Innoncence (The Sun) - An old man with a long beard and flowing robes marvels at the grasshopper on his hand.

Osho Zen Tarot – Innoncence (The Sun) – An old man with a long beard and flowing robes marvels at the grasshopper on his hand.


 
It will surprise absolutely nobody to know that I’ve been pulling The Sun, repeatedly, for the past couple of days. As is so often the case, my cards tend to tell me what’s up in the literal sense. Yes, my cards, it’s MidSummer.
However.
I’ll be trying to hold onto the optimism, success, growth, and joy built into this card as we turn into the fullness of summer, the heat, the humidity, the fruit that has already started to ripen on the trees.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Since everything is From Home these days, and I’m not getting regular walks to a job where I’m taking and holding poses for three hours (some days it’s a lot like power yoga), it’s finally dawned on me that going out for a walk is something I should do on a fairly frequent basis, without having to do so for Reasons (like “I have to run an errand” reasons). So I’ve taken a couple of walks around the neighbourhood to try and help keep my Hip/Back Issue from totally seizing up my left leg. It’s helping, so onwards we go!
 
Attention: Paying attention to the cardinals who stop by our window sill most mornings. The chipmunks in the cedar shrub in the front yard. The crows calling to each other. Paying attention to which fruit trees grow where in my new neighbourhood. Trying to sort out which direction is where now that my living room is facing a substantially different direction than it has for the past three houses / twelve years.
 
Gratitude: Grateful for sex dates with both my partners. For hot, sunny days. For running water. For the opportunity to go to “church” with my girlfriend. For the mist setting on our shower head. For lemon ice cream. For coffee on the front steps before the cool of the morning burns away. For my gods finding me again. For being able to feel it. For the amazons. For the loan of a car and a long drive in the countryside. For magic that works. For my loves.
 
Inspiration: My wife’s bravery and the contents of our CSA (in very different contexts, to be clear).
 
Creation: Mostly I’ve been doing sewing. Nothing fancy, but trying to get the mending/WiP pile whittled down just a little while adding to my stash of summer-weight clothes. It’s slow, but it’s happening. I’ll probably have a new skirt finished before the end of June. That’s the plan, at any rate.

Full Moon – Honey Moon Crests

We are officially moved.
I have transplanted my garden, added a couple of starts (yarrow and winter savoury) and seeds (dill, golden chard, anise hyssop, poppies, zucchini) out front, and planted frozen service berries (and dried hawthorn berries) around the perimeter of the back yard.
My brother got married on Friday.
That, more than anything, is why I’m referring to this full moon as a Honey Moon. The weather hasn’t exactly been conducive to happy bees investigating the flowers. This time last week, it was 36C and we were all wilting with the heat. I landed myself a sun burn while transplanting the rhubarb, lovage, and sorrel, and we subsisted on pasta salad and ice cream as much as we could.
This week, we’ve seen temperatures drop into the danger-of-frost zone over night, and – while that’s been really helpful for getting the transplants to root comfortably – the salad greens and cucumbers in our weekly CSA box have been languishing in the crisper while I’ve been making pasta with hot cheese sauce and sauteed frozen veggies, and baking box lasagna, bread, and pie in the name of hot meals and an excuse to have the oven on (because our heat is well and truly off).
 
So, yes. I’ve made our first batch of bread in the new house, which is pretty great. Rhubarb-cherry pie (And rhubarb-service-berry pie) are absolutely lovely and, yes, we have a CSA.
 
I am definitely excited about the CSA.
I’ve wanted to get one for YEARS, and between all the various repercussions of travel bans during a pandemic, the fact that we know we’re going to be in this house for the foreseeable, and the extra help from the CERB, we were able to do it this year.
I hope we can do it again next year, as I quite like this Thing where we have a bunch of veggies delivered to our doorstep once a week.
It feels very fancy.
That said: You guys, there is definitely a learning curve to this, and I am finding that I’m wasting more food than I might otherwise.
I put up two weeks worth of spinach and beet greens earlier today – so I have five little pucks of cooking greens in the freezer for after our CSA finishes its last delivery about 10 days before Samhain – and I sliced up some radishes and teeny-tiny beets to start making fermented pickles with them (I am expecting further radishes tomorrow, so I’ll add more then). But I haven’t been cooking the radish greens, even though radish greens have been our main cooking vegetable (alongside dandelions) for most of the past five years.
 
I chose to get us a full CSA, rather than a “lite” CSA, because I knew I wanted to have those extra veggies – tomatoes, cooking greens, summer squash, root veggies, and winter squash – in order to can them or freeze them for later use. Between the cucumbers (so many cucumbers) and herbs in the CSA, and the lovage that seems to be making itself at home in its new bed, I managed to put together a really good couscous salad, and we’ve been enjoying it with and/or as our last few meals. But I have to learn to use things up more quickly than I have been, or I’m going to have a lot of rotten lettuce on my hands.
 
I’m excited that there are not one but TWO high-bush cranberry (cramp bark) trees on my corner, because, while they take a WHILE to sprout and grow, they DO grow well from seed AND the berries make really good jelly. (Allegedly it also makes good pie, but I’m getting mixed information on how safe it is to eat in large quantities, so I may stick with jelly. It’s part of the elder family – and you need to cook elder berries for them to be safe to eat – so I’m thinking of it in similar terms).
Anyway. My plan is to harvest a couple of handfuls of ripe berries in… August/September (apparently?) to use in lieu of cranberry sauce, come October AND to plant around the yard because they’re also a really pretty flowering shrub that’s native to the province, and that I’d like to plant as part of the under-story of our foresty back yard.
 
A friend – with-whom I now share a neighbourhood! – has been donating spare plants to me, most recently a big pot full of a BUNCH of ostrich ferns. I’m loving the thought of, next year, being able to pick a few fiddleheads – not many, not this early – to throw into spring stir-fries or pastas, and hoping that they’ll quietly take over from the gout weed that’s currently eating most of my front yard. I gather there are black eyed susans, rose campion, white wild geraniums, sweet woodroffe, and lily of the valley coming my way in the next little while, and I’m very excited.
 

Nine of Pentacles - The Wild Unknown Tarot (left) AND the Prisma Visions Tarot (right) - On the left, four feathers surround nine pentacles in a protective border. On the right, a tree trunk is lit up with colourful life-force, flowers blooming at its base and a house with lit windows in the distance.

Nine of Pentacles – The Wild Unknown Tarot (left) AND the Prisma Visions Tarot (right) – On the left, four feathers surround nine pentacles in a protective border. On the right, a tree trunk is lit up with colourful life-force, flowers blooming at its base and a house with lit windows in the distance.


 
The card I pulled on the day of the full moon (yesterday), for my tarot card meditation was the nine of stones. I pulled it from my Wildwood deck and, given that I pulled it maybe a scant hour before my brother’s wedding went live, part of me couldn’t help but read it as “Almost there!”
But this card – while definitely meaning “almost there” – has a lot to do with where my wife and I are right now.
We are Officially Moved into the house for-which I did Big Magic to get. (And need to make good on some further Big Magic as a follow-up).
We are feeling unusually financially stable (not that it won’t take some work to keep it that way) and are excited to have more space, to have a home with laundry machines of our own, and “grown up bedrooms” (as my wife puts it) and a whole room to dedicate to my wife’s workshop so that she’s no-longer dependent on anyone else for shop space.
I have two really solid romantic relationships that I’ve done a LOT of self-work to keep and find, AND two tiny, remote jobs that are helping to keep our heads above water when all of my usual (in person) work is on hold until, realistically, there’s a vaccine available for COVID-19.
I just signed a contract for the sale of one (1) short story, to a paid market and sent out another poetry submission today.
We are right down the street from some of our closest friends and chosen family, with plans to bring a portable BBQ grill to a local park – now that we can do so – and have a meal together (ish) in short order.
Things feel really good!
And that’s what the Nine of Stones is generally about. Not just about “almost there” but about “all the hard work you’ve done is paying off”. It’s the ripeness of All The Things coming to fruition. It’s the reminder I’ve murmured to myself, in Child’s Pose, every night for months: “You are worthy of commitment, you are worthy of devotion, you are worthy of thriving. And you do”.
 
It felt really, really good to pull this card.
 
~*~
 
Movement: A little bit of walking. Yoga every night. A lot of lifting and carrying boxes and a LOT of digging and transplanting. There’s still a lot of unpacking to do, and it won’t suck to get back to doing some (small amounts of) resistance training again. But it WILL be nice to get into the more leisurely, non-furniture-related part of moving where I spend an hour emptying one box and then go read for a while, you know?
 
Attention: Black Lives Matter peaceful protests, what various levels of my own governments are doing and/or not doing at this time, what I can do to help (sign petitions, send letters, send money).
 
Gratitude: Grateful for this house. Grateful for a wife who encourages me to say something when I’m upset about a thing, and actually has a discussion with me rather than a defensive mess. Grateful for our CSA and the money it takes to pay for it. Grateful for automatic deposits and other ways to get my paycheques into my bank account without actually having to take a bus to a bank branch with an on-street entrance (that is one thing I don’t utterly love about my new neighbourhood. Everything else is great, but that’s mildly inconvenient). Grateful for a second-hand BBQ grill that actually works. Grateful for being close to some of my best friends, even though it meant moving away from some of the other ones. Grateful for a cool June (so far) that’s given my transplanted garden some time to recover. Grateful for a new sister-in-law who seems pretty cool. Grateful for video chats with my girlfriend (who – along with her whole household – is still safe and sound, thank all the gods). Grateful for “bougie welfare” keeping us safely housed and in groceries while my in-person work is canceled/postponed. Grateful for Bonus Free Books. Grateful that Magic Works. Grateful for so many good people in my life. ❤
 
Inspiration: This almost feels like the question “What is giving you hope right now?” There’s a LOT of awful going on. And a LOT of the awful has been here the whole time, while I’ve had the luxury of pretending it wasn’t going on at all. What is giving me hope right now? My brother getting married. The fact that there are fewer than five cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia right now. The number of people who, before March 2020, wouldn’t have really given Universal Basic Income any thought, or would have though it was a bad idea, actually going “This… is good, actually. I don’t want people to starve or not be able to get their medication, or lose their homes. Tell me more about this UBI thing?” and, likewise, people who couldn’t, here-to-fore, imagine a world without police in it are now going “Okay, but do they really need 10% of our city’s entire budget? Surely that money could go somewhere more appropriate, like, say, low-bar-for-entry trauma-informed mental health supports or, perhaps, a universal basic income?” That gives me hope. I hope this makes for real, lasting change.
 
Creation: Okay, truth be told, I haven’t been feeling super creative lately. Mostly, I’ve been wanting to escape into novels (to the point that I actually ordered new books off the internet yesterday) and have been avoiding Hard Stuff on the literary front for weeks. I’ve created a bunch of letters to politicians. I’ve created some really delicious pies and an excellent salad and the beginnings of a pretty, trans-planted garden. I’ve created a possibly-useful twitter thread for Cdn people who want to (try to) make a difference when it comes to unjust laws outside of our own provinces and (allegedly) made a “useful contribution” to the local Defund The Police conversation that’s starting to happen at the municipal-political level (I am… not sure how that happened, but I’ll take it? I don’t even know). I technically edited some poetry today, mostly to the tune of “Whelp, I can see why this microchap didn’t get accepted…” and sent off one (1) submission. But it feels like a very long time since I’ve written anything new. Hoping that, once things settle down (in the next couple of days), I’ll be able to start devoting time to writing on the regular again. That’s the plan, anyway.

New Year New You 2020: Week 22 – Last Push (Make All the Work Worth It)

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: I do this because I have to believe that this has all been worth it. All this work, all this stress, all these sleepless nights, all this anxiety, everything!So, let’s make sure it is! Push harder than you ever have this week. Push harder than you ever thought you could and then just a little bit more. I believe in all of you. Let’s make magic this week, kids.
 

Wild Unknown Tarot - Wheel of Fortune - A ring of birch branches bound together with wild, colourful loops of ribbon. The sun, a crescent moon, and an own are all present.

Wild Unknown Tarot – Wheel of Fortune – A ring of birch branches bound together with wild, colourful loops of ribbon. The sun, a crescent moon, and an own are all present.


 
Tarot Card: The Wheel of Fortune
I chose this card because… it feels like this is a big, leveling-up level Change. That’s why.
 
Okay. As last pushes go, this is a pretty literal one. We’re ten days into our move to the house I did A Big Ritual to be able to secure. The big push is to get the house entirely cleared out this weekend, with the garden being rescued and transplanted during the last week of May, when it’s had a chance to come up from underground.
 
And, yes, I absolutely decided, part-way through this two+ year cycle of NYNY, that I needed to focus specifically (or at least a lot MORE) on the material elements of The Empress, in order to get myself some secure housing plus a reliable income to supplement my gig-based career as an art model. So. Mission (somewhat?) Accomplished?
Go me!
But I also find myself looking at my original goals.
See, a long time ago, I said:

This project is about opening myself up, rooting myself solid, and becoming my fullest, most integrated, femme self.

 
And I know I have further to go on that front. I mean, yes, sure, There’s A Pandemic and, yes, I’m still in my second month of my new (year-long contract) job, and, yes, I’ve been moving for the past three weeks, so maybe it’s not that odd that I haven’t been churning out a new poem every week or staying on top of my January-era (pre-pandemic era?) goal of submitting poems to three+ paid markets every other month. But I look back at my goals, and I can see how well I’m doing with them. I have an idea of what my next steps are – even got confirmation of them via A Dream, which was pretty cool.
 
My wife said to me, last night, that she feels like this isn’t just moving into a new house, it’s moving into a new life.
We’re both experienced enough to know that “new life” doesn’t just happen. That you don’t change your behaviours without putting some work into it. But I have to agree that this feels a bit like that’s what’s happening.
 
In my recent Full Moon post, I wrote a little about wanting to do a Closing Up the House ritual once the garden is potted up and the house, itself, is empty. I think this is a good idea, and I have the symbolic items that will be involved in the ritual itself.
But, magically speaking, I’m still a little blurry on what I’m trying to accomplish.
The Cheat Codes Course I took with Ms Sugar (registration for the quite affordable second cycle closes TODAY, so you’ve got a couple of hours to still get in on it – RECOMMENDED) actually brought home how important that bit is. Most of my magic, over the course of ~25 years of doing the work, has been about changing things inside myself (Changing Consciousness At Will, to quote ye olde Starhawk), so when it took a LONG time for my magic to get anywhere, I thought it was because it was Slow Magic, rather than, say, me doing the physical/psychological work without getting the spellcraft to actually be effective.
But I would seriously prefer to not be closing up a condemned house (because: bought by a developer, it’s actually perfectly sturdy and good), with magic afoot, without knowing what I want to accomplish.
 
Because that’s part of the Last Big Push.
 
Am I giving the spirit of my condemned house permission to go, to let its body die early?
Am I asking its spirit to come and be the spirit of a birdhouse hung up in the big cedar tree in our new yard?
Am I offering it some bit of vestigial life in this fleece, these petals and feathers, this bone and hoping it can hang on a little longer?
What am I doing?
 
And, depending on what I’m doing, what else am I doing?
Am I asking for a last favour from the place that sheltered me for more than five years?
Or am I burying old habits with this handful of other dead material, and hoping they die with the house that deserves so much better?
What am I doing?
 
I have until Saturday to figure it out.