Twenty Years Later (I Miss My Dad)

A tea light candle burning in a heart-shaped holder made of Himalayan salt - Photo by Olga Ernst, via Wiki Free Images

A tea light candle burning in a heart-shaped holder made of Himalayan salt – Photo by Olga Ernst, via Wiki Free Images


 
The candle on the altar just burned itself out. The sliver of blue cheese is still there, and will be until morning. My dad died twenty years ago today.
I was just a few months past twenty years old when he died so, by midsummer, I’ll have known him dead for just a few weeks longer than I knew him alive.
 
It is so WEIRD to love someone you’ve only interacted with while dreaming for literally half your life. It’s WEIRD to miss someone whose photo you say Hi to most morning on your way down to breakfast, whose face is not much older than some of your friends, than your wife, than you, now, a few months past forty with the first silver threading through your hair.
 
Sometimes I wonder what all those other universes are like, the ones where he’s still alive, where he saw my siblings graduate high school, was at my first wedding (which might or might not have happened in those other timelines), and my second. Where he got to meet my wife, got to meet his grandchildren (one of whom is turning three literally tomorrow, and who might have a different middle name under those circumstances). Where he’d be dancing, this June, at my brother’s wedding, with a brand-new daughter-in-law who can look him in the eye. Where he’d be celebrating his own wife’s seventieth birthday this Tuesday, and his seventy-second in just under two months from now.
 
Would he be teaching his toddler granddaughter to shoot baskets, the way he taught us?
Would we have had fights, back when I was in my twenties and learning terms like “rape culture” and “white privilege” to put around my own experiences? (Part of me doesn’t think so. It’s slim evidence, and decades old, but I think I’d have been proud of him).
Would I have the relationship, such as it is but so much better than it was twenty years ago, with my mother if he’d been alive to keep being the go-between? (I hope so).
 
I realized, some time last year, that I was afraid I’d be a widow before I was fifty. And it hit me that my Dad died two days before my Mom hit that age.
Every time I think about – and cry about – my wife getting older, our parents getting older, anything like that, I wonder how much of it is pre-grief for the family members who haven’t died yet, who I still have time with, and how much of it is grief for him who died so young and so quickly (pancreatic cancer moves really fast. Now you know) and, now, so long ago.
 
I miss him.
I hope I see him in my dreams tonight.

Full Moon – Snow Moon Crests

We’re well-past Imbolg at this point, even though I haven’t changed the wreath on the door just yet.
It’s been seven weeks, or there-abouts, since I started talking about doing shadow work around money stuff. I’ve been reading books, taking notes, journaling, and doing rituals and… there seems to be some evidence of progress? At least a little bit?
But, kittens, it is HARD.
It’s hard to drag my head/heart into believing in the possibility of things getting better and easier, particularly right now. It’s as hard as convincing myself of my own “worthiness” in other areas for, most likely, related reasons.
 
I’ve sent out one chapbook and one microchap on sub, to different publishers. I’ve got one glosa slated for publication in the near future, and have more glosas – thirteen of them – submitted to three paid markets. I applied for a GRANT even. So I feel like I’ve been pushing my poetry quite nicely – reaching for that wider audience, growing through communication and writing projects – while keeping an eye on being able to do this for money, one way or another. I mean, we’ll see what the publishers think of it, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and feeling at least a little bit confident over here.
 
On the advice of my wife, I have been doing more ritual stuff. Long baths, mostly, since that seems to be where I do most of my Big Magic, and also since water is SO very much my element. But there have been little things, too. Renewed commitment to doing Moon Salutations every day. Singing every day – usually by singing along with a playlist called “Reminders to Self” that’s full of uplifting tunes and a lot of folk music. Doing more little magics around the house, and being (fairly) consistent about them.
It feels good.
 

The Lovers - Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - A femme4femme4femme triad with green, blue, and red skin and hair, all with tails, all wearing white opera gloves, fly and circle together, clearly having a wonderful time.

The Lovers – Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – A femme4femme4femme triad with green, blue, and red skin and hair, all with tails, all wearing white opera gloves, fly and circle together, clearly having a wonderful time.


 
I pulled a tarot card today, asking “Where are my blocks, actually?” and the card I pulled was The Lovers.
 
*blink*blink*
Really??
 
So, while I will be holding this card in my mind as a meditation card – keeping in mind the ideas of chosen family, polyamoury + lovers, second chakra stuff in general, showing up, teaming up, and collaborating – I’ll also be asking myself how this relates to (1) the card that Witchy Wisdoms pulled for me asking the same question (she pulled The Chariot, and said I needed “serious balance” to move forward) as well as (2) any fear/guilt/shame around things like receptivity, abundance, gratitude, and trust.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Yoga every day! Not much else – besides shoveling the walk multiple times – but I havebeen doing that!
 
Attention: I’m actually trying to watch where my thoughts go, these days. Trying to head resentment off at the pass. Trying to think – like Interior Monologue – in terms that are more about Trusting In Abundance and/or The Universe and trying to focus on “Things will get better in a matter of days/hours, we’re going to be okay!” rather than “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaugh things are very bad RIGHT NOW!”
 
Gratitude: Thankful for my wife and my girlfriend. Thankful for windfall money. Thankful for having damn cute feet. Thankful for the shoot I have scheduled at the end of the month. Thankful for a patient landlord. Thankful for a full freezer. Thankful for last-minute extra modeling work that will seriously contribute to the up-coming March rent. Thankful for repeat/regular clients. Thankful for friends who take me out for coffee and cocktails. Thankful for friends who send paid work my way. Thankful for my Lady of Music and the Moon whose presence I get to feel just a little more often. Thankful for poetry that comes when I call it. Thankful for magic. Thankful for kisses. Thankful for open source recording software. Thankful for grilled cheese sandwiches. Thankful for friends who come to visit. Thankful for hope.
 
Inspiration: Tarot cards, music, the witches I’m taking Ms Sugar’s course with, prompts from my GodSelf, the occasional Good Results that come rolling in to tell me to keep at it.
 
Creation: I finished a microchap! One of the publishers that I want to have as my own tends to publish stuff in the 8-16 poems length, so the chapbook I originally sent their way was a little too long for what they look for. BUT they did recently open submissions for microchaps so I took an unfinished series of linked poems – based on the Suit of Cups and following the Wheel of the Year – and wrote (and polished, obviously) the last few pieces I needed to have a complete set. I’m pleased with it, and I hope they will be, too.

Some is Better than None – Carbon Emissions Edition

Conifer Seedlings sprouting in the undergrowth. McCloud River Trail - Shasta-Trinity National Forest - June 2017. Photographed by Carol Underhill, via Wiki Free Images.

Conifer Seedlings sprouting in the undergrowth. McCloud River Trail – Shasta-Trinity National Forest – June 2017. Photographed by Carol Underhill, via Wiki Free Images.


 
Well, folks, I’ve said this more than once. “Some is better than none”.
Buying the organic, fair trade coffee, or the milk in the one-litre glass bottles, some of the time is better than not buying it at all.
Bringing your cloth bags to the grocery store some of the time (and, okay, opting for paper bags when you don’t) is better than never bringing them at all.
Walking/biking/busing to work some of the time is better than never doing it at all.
Making offerings to, and checking in with, your gods eight times a year is better than never doing it at all.
Today I took another “some is better than none” step.
As I’ve mentioned before, we have a car. It’s not a functional car, but we’re hopeful that my wife can get it up and running in time for her to have a commuter vehicle by the time the roads get icy late next Fall. We have a motorcycle. We have drafty windows. I take two round-trip flights to DC every year, and would like to up that number by at least one more.
We don’t have solar panels or super-amazing insulation or geothermal heating.
I used this carbon calculator and, where I didn’t have the information on hand, looked up provincial averages for things like how many kilowatt-hours (electricity) or cubic-meters (natural gas furnace) we probably go through in a year.
According to that calculator, it would take 52 trees a full thirty years (it’s always thirty years for this calculator, the number of trees just changes) to absorb ONE year of my household’s average carbon emissions – assuming I took that extra flight and we got the car working as a daily driver.
 
So I signed up to sponsor the planting of five trees per month through Tree Canada.
 
It will run me $20/month to “plant” 60 trees per year to help offset my household carbon footprint.
I say “help” because there’s no guarantee that those 60 trees won’t be harvested before the 30-year “neutralization date”. (Because I’m brilliant, and didn’t realize that I could do this specifically for their “Grow Clean Air” program where the trees aren’t harvested for a minimum of 30 years, I am now emailing Tree Canada to find out if I can switch that up and pay $30/month – instead of $20 – to have that little bit of assurance/insurance).
 
So.
Some is better than none.
Why I am saying that about this step?
 
Well… Look. I know this is monoculture. I… suspect that what will be planted in my name is basically a lumber plantation, and even if it’s not that, it won’t be anywhere near the kind of mixed species perennial food forest that was here before my own people turned up with intentions of taking over. I know this nonprofit, while it’s its own entity, is also heavily sponsored by the government of Canada (and by a particular oil company with a long-standing baaaaaaad reputation).
So I suspect that this is me underpinning/sponsoring the Canadian Lumber Industry and, by extension, the continued colonization[1] of indigenous lands, just as much as it’s me trying to over-compensate (just barely) for the amount of fossil fuels I burn in my furnace, my (as-yet-impending, but added to the calculation) car, plus all the buses and airplanes I ride in a given year, and the amount of non-renewable energy used to generate the electricity that powers this laptop, my overhead lights, my fridge, my stove, and my chest freezer.
I hope I’m wrong about that.
But I would feel… dishonest, where I to presume that “my” 60 trees per year didn’t have a date with a logging company already set for thirty years from now.
 
So. I may not love it. I may feel more than a little ambivalent about it. But it’s also SOMETHING. And something is better than nothing, so I’ve done it.
 
If you would like to do something similar, you can follow the links in the post and/or you can do the other thing that I do, which is spread native tree seeds in urban areas. Think choke cherries, over-ripe service berries, and other native understory trees, that will be able to grow and thrive in the relatively shaded environment of disturbed urban earth (alleyways, tree medians, the shadows of larger trees, right around the rain-line at the edge of their canopies).
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] What I mean by that: Right now, Canada – as both a governing body and a nation – doesn’t actually have legal right to most of the land it occupies and from-which it harvests natural resources. So we’re technically steeling most of the lumber we harvest. Which, at best, is just monumentally embarrassing. But we are not at the “at best” level right now.

Messages Received While at Two Rivers Sanctuary in DC

So, I went to visit my girlfriend in DC – just got home a few days ago – and, while I was there, we made a point of going to Two Rivers Sanctuary to participate in the Full Moon Meditations that are put on by Connect DC (a public ritual group that operates out of the temple).
Something that I’ve noticed, and which was 100% confirmed during this visit, is that I have a much easier time doing energy work when – go figure – there’s a social (as well as physico-energetic) container in-which that work can be done. Whether that’s getting myself singing lessons so that I can Do The Thing in a situation where I’m not secretly terrified that I’m going to Bother Someone, or giving my wife a heads-up that I’m going to be doing Magic in the bath tub that evening (and then setting The Mood by turning off the lights and sparking up a candle), or going to a literal ritual space, be it a (particular kind of) concert, a sanctuary or temple space (think Cathedral Grove, or the shores of Kichissippi, but also various spots at Ravens’ Knoll or Ramblewood), or the Chartres-esque labyrinth my friend mows into the tall grass near her farm house every summer.
So I took the opportunity of being In Church, during the scheduled period of Quiet Contemplation, to try and open up all my chakras (not ALL-all of them, obviously, I mean the seven that line up along my spine) and run energy up and down them.
I did this in part because I’ve been having some difficulty doing this for the last little bit, and I wanted to see if having time-and-space set aside for it would help (see above re: confirmation), and also in part because I’d suggested it as a good spot for any Messages to come through, if there were any to be had, and I wanted to open myself up so that I’d have the best chance of actually picking up on them, if they were being made available.
 
A long time ago, I read something – I think in one of Starhawk’s books? – about a “quick and dirty” way to wake up your chakras which, tbh? Quick And Dirty suits me JUST fine. Basically, what you do, is you imagine each point in turn as “something you REALLY like” that is the colour of the chakra you’re trying to open.
So, for example, my root chakra is a blousy red rose in full bloom. And also this weird umbilical spidery thing that I can drop out of myself in order to literally root myself to the ground in a Grounding action.
My sacral chakra is, usually, a butternut squash and, sometimes, a broad lick of fire. Sometimes I can get it to kaleidoscope into something that looks like a lily flower starburst.
My heart chakra looks… suspiciously like a green version of one of these (yes, really – I don’t know why, but I’m going with it), from-which vines, tentacles, and occasionally hands will periodically emerge.
My third eye chakra is a pale blue (I know, but I’m going with it – it’s a bit like this, but closer to the sky) circle of light, about the size of a loonie, and sometimes it projects into a laser beam of the same colour.
My crown chakra is usually a circle of white light opening in the top of my head with, sometimes, a purple crown (similar to this one, but with six tines and a Queen Of Heaven vibe) surrounding it.
 
Notice anything missing?
Yeah.
My solar plexus chakra and my throat chakra didn’t get a mention.
I’ve been trying to get my solar plexus chakra to wake up, reballance, and start getting active by imagining it as a sunflower or a sunburst centered on and/or growing from, my belly button. And it hasn’t quite been doing it.
So this time, I actually went with my weird ass instinctive prompt, and imagined it as a sunflower with vampire teeth. Yeah. Like this thing, but more predatory and minus the guitar.
And it worked. O.O
So that’s a thing.
Apparently “I am powerful and I am comfortable with my power” means being comfortable with the likelihood that My Power is kind of predatory and wants to eat all the things.
Okay.
This tracks.
My throat chakra, on the other hand, is kind of what the rest of this whole post is going to be about.
The clearest mental image I can get of my throat chakra is of a dark blue, or maybe royal blue, Hand of Fatima that might have the capacity to glow every now and then. Sometimes it hints at being a scilla or something kind of like a dark blue crocus. Most of what I get, and what I’ve got for a long time, when I try to engage that chakra in any significant way is (a) a huge amount of painful pressure in my throat, followed rather quickly by very swollen glands and a generally feeling that I’ve done something that was a Bad Idea.
Which is a problem!
Not the only reason for why being that the messages I was looking for? They arrived. And they all boiled down to this:

Use Your Voice

 
These included some stuff that had to do with, basically, a big, painful, shame-and-unworthiness-related blockage in my whole throat chakra (which had come up once that day, already); the HP, during the Meditation portion of the evening, saying both “Elevate your daily work, whatever that work is, to the level of spiritual Work” and “Using our gifts is how we give back to the gods that gave them to us”[1]; and also finding the words “Speak the Truth” hanging off the tag of a tea bag I’d picked out at random for it’s throat-soothing qualities after the service.
Also: We sang, just this simple, simple round of a song that I knew (albeit a different version, but the lyrics were easy to pick up), and I cried two different kinds of tears (weepy tears, from both eyes, but also these thick syrupy “flush something out” tears would sometimes just slop out of my left eye as well) and the singing got easier as we went along.
 
So a thing definitely Happened.
 
Listen. The throat chakra relates to all sorts of stuff around translating your goals and ideas into real tangible out-in-the-world things. Turning “that idea for a story” into words on a page, turning the build-up of sexual energy into the release of an orgasm, turning the nebulous need for a thing into a statement that can be acted on.

I can’t speak my desires into being, and put any power behind them, if they are literally getting choked off and blocked in my actual/energetic throat.

 
So.
I’m listening to throat-chakra-healing music on youtube – because this kind of thing has been effective for my root and sacral chakras already, so let’s keep doing what works.
I’m (back to) making the effort to sing every day (humming, noodling, singing along to CDs and spotify, doing warm-up exercises if I’m so inclined) – which, so far, has actually been going more easily than it has in the past, which is hopeful and encouraging – to gently allow energy (and sound, which is energy, um…) to flow through my throat chakra, the goal being to make some (joyful, I hope) music with my body and to let my voice out to play rather than to make it push through in an effort to appease my shame-driven Shoulds (shame, as I’ve mentioned before, not being a great motivator for me).
I’m breathing the words “So Hum” (“I Am That”, seeing yourself as holy, as part of the whole holiness that is – this is a Vedic(?) chant from Hinduism, which is where the system of naming these energy centers as chakras, and the body-and-life stuff associated with each of them, comes from) when I have a quiet moment or five. I’m drinking various throat-soothing teas and saying – whispering or speaking more audibly, but always out loud – “I speak my truth. I use my voice, my breath, my words, my song to work my Will and manifest it in this beautiful world” as I drink them.
I am acting on messages received.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden
 
 
[1] Plus a whole thing about how “You are always held in Her eye, always loved” which… I could FEEL my energy shrinking into my body – like shrinking away from the message that I might be lovable and held, by someone who’s been part of my life since I was 16 and who has deep, deep ties to music and bringing things out into the world, no less – and I had to MAKE myself stay fully embodied and open to hearing and (hopefully) accepting that, even as my larynx swelled and the pressure in my throat and behind my ears started getting really painful… uh, see above re: throat blockage connected to feelings of shame and unworthiness.

New Year New You 2019: Week 20 – Hearth Appreciation Week

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: This week, let’s focus on what is likely your disaster of a hearth.
 
Tarot Card: Ten of Pentacles
 

Wildwood Tarot – Ten of Stones: “Home” – A traditional wattle-and-daub Round House, visible through a stone arch. The house is in good repair, and there is a great tree growing through the center of its thatched roof.


 
Well… She’s not wrong. My house/hearth is often a disaster, and now is no exception, especially having effectively gone from the dazed-and-full-of-cheese headspace of the Midwinter-to-New-Years period directly into a week in a different country, visiting my Young Lady.
So this prompt is coming at a convenient time for a bunch of reasons but primarily… it’s just Time, and having multiple Reasons that aren’t connected to the feeling of “Ew, my home is gross and I want to avoid it” or similar… really helps to get me to Do The Thing.
 
Shame is not a good motivator for me.
“Elevate your daily work to the level of spiritual Work” (to quote Katrina, from Two Rivers Sanctuary in DC) is a good motivator for me.
“You’re an animist, so treat all the people who make up your living space WELL” is a good motivator for me.
“It’s EASIER to Entertain At Home when the dishes are reliably clean and the fridge isn’t crowded with suspicious tupperware” is a good motivator for me.
“You will have better sleep AND better sex in your bedroom if the sheets are clean, the sex toys are readily available, and the room doesn’t smell ever-so-faintly of the eight million dirty socks in the hamper”… is a good motivator for me!
So having Ms Sugar telling me – in stereo – to tidy up my physical living space is… working well for me on a number of levels.
 
While I know this is going to take more than a week, even with me having a fair bit of time available to dedicate to it, this where I’m at so far (having started two days ago):
I’ve given the living room bookshelves their first once-over, weeding out books that I want to rehome, and am starting the (more difficult but not Actually Difficult) task of gathering up all the Random Objects currently blocking access to the books I want to keep, so that I can re-organize the book shelves in such a way that all the photos and pretty rocks and similar look like they’re there on purpose, rather than because they had nowhere else to go.
I have a PLN for how to get my Sacred Writing Area actually tidy (it leans heavily on putting a set of stacking trays in one corner, tbh, and is pretty easy to do once I get ahold of some stacking trays).
I’m about 1/3 of the way through dealing with “my corner” of the bedroom, having gone through the side table and removed the expired safer sex supplies, and having unearth the deacon’s bench – and, in the process, having discovered that MOST of the clothing that’s been heaped on top of it for months is actually CLEAN, folded laundry that just needs to be put away – cleaned it out, and put away (or re-put-away) all the kink equipment. There’s still lots to do – finish sweeping the floor, tidy the surface of my side table, do about four loads of laundry at the laundromat, and hang the giant mirror above the deacon’s bench so that I can dangle various floggers, crops, and cute hats off the hooks that grace the frame’s corners.
My wife and I have a “date” this weekend to organize the part of the kitchen that will most help get the rest of the place tidy and easy to use – we were gifted a second-hand, needs-some-work washer and dryer, and we’ve finally determined that we are never going to clandestinely do the plumbing it would take to make the washer a usable item, so they are going out to the scrap yard and we are putting a couple of industrial shelving units + a small drop-leaf table (the latter is less relevant, but will probably be involved) in their place so that heavy things like 10kg bags of flour, flats of mason jars, small appliances (and the cider press my wife got my as a Midwinter Surprise), containers of dry goods, and baskets of root veggies – BUT ALSO buckets of mechanics equipment, jugs of cleaning vinegar, and various garbage and recycling bins – can be shelved in an orderly and accessible fashion, freeing up the Tall Zone on top of the cupboards for less-frequently-used and much lighter-weight items as the dehydrator and the canning pots.
The floors have been swept and vacuumed (this is a weekly/biweekly thing already, at least), the bathroom has been scrubbed, and will be getting graced with a cute art piece once it arrives from New Zealand in… anywhere from two weeks to two months, and I have an appointment with myself to Magically Scrubbing Bubbles my home in order to sweep insomnia, apathy, irritability, and avoidance right of the place.
Time to keep some appointments!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2019: Week 19 – Small Steps Towards Changing My Baseline

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

Ace of Discs - Mary El - A winged woman contemplates the ground beneath her feet. A green labyrinth blooms from her solar plexus. The alchemical sign for Earth is in the position of her third eye. Her head is that of a white cow (symbolizing Taurus, the sign of material comfort)

Ace of Discs – Mary El – A winged woman contemplates the ground beneath her feet. A green labyrinth blooms from her solar plexus. The alchemical sign for Earth is in the position of her third eye. Her head is that of a white cow (symbolizing Taurus, the sign of material comfort).


 
Oh, readers, this is where I witter.
I don’t know what’s going to change my life for the better.
I mean, I know: Getting a publisher for my chapbook (not 100% under my control, already under way, but waaaaay too early to follow up with my first – and first-choice – local indie imprint that’s already got the manuscript), submitting my work to paid markets, applying for PT jobs and landing myself an anchor income, booking more shoots in Renfrew[1].
 
But none of that is a new thing. That’s just the next step in a thing I’ve been doing for two years.
I’m looking at this writing prompt, reading it as “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”, and wondering what DIFFERENT thing I can do that will SIGNIFICANTLY change my life for the better.
And… I’m not sure?
But.
I have a friend who’s offered me a free “therapy practice-session” (she’s training to be a therapist, and wants some practice hours before she starts her actual Practicum).
So my “concrete thing I can do this week” is to schedule that hour-long session.
My plan is to use it to talk through some of my Weirdo Money Feels which, I hope, will help me reset my “baseline” without feeling gross and ugly.
Seriously, I look up Suze Orman books at the library and I have a literal disgust reaction to titles like “The Courage To Be Rich”[2].
But, in the spirit of trying to change up my “money mind-set”, I’ve put a few of her books, along with a couple of similar “psychology of personal finance” books, on hold at the library which, in theory, I should be able to pick up before the week is out, too.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad.
 
 
[1] Seriously. So much of what will change my life for the better boils down to “An extra $1000 per month in reliable income”, it’s not even funny.
 
[2] My reaction: “Oh, yes, because it takes such bravery to be a parasite“. So… clearly I’m having some feelings over here.

New Moon – Long Nights Moon Begins (Winter Solstice 2019)

“A new moon setting over Gåseberg, Lysekil Municipality, Sweden”. Photo by W. Carter via Wiki Free Images. A thin sliver of a waxing cresccent hanging high over the western horizon, with a December forest, in silhouette, below.


 
Technically, we are already turning back towards longer days and shorter nights, although we won’t see the reality of that for another six weeks or so. Winter Solstice – and my seventh wedding anniversary – have come and gone, and I’m due to fly out to visit my girlfriend in just under two weeks. I have a bag of socks to bring to Centre 507 between now and then and a few pairs of slippers to (try and) knit.
 
It’s been a long time since I wrote one of these. There’s snow on the ground and, thanks to weirdo fluctuating temperatures, also lots of ice. I’ve spotted raccoon tracks in the back yard, and ran into the rabbit – the one who spent all summer growing up in our back yard – out back again (it’s nice to see they’re still alive!) the other night. I put out the last of a chicken carcass, last Saturday, and explicitly invited a nearby crow to come and have at, and they did – along with a second crow who they may or may not have known. It’s nice to see my neighbours, you know?
 
Right now, I’m enjoying a little bit of quiet time at home while my wife and her partner are out for a walk together. But I keep thinking about the impending New Year. About how I keep seeing people – magically-inclined people in particular, although that’s probably just my sample selection – talking about how 2020 is Go Time, and yet I’m still not sure where exactly I’m supposed to be Going. I think about how the dark end of the year, where we are now, is time for contemplation, time for Shadow Work, and how I have some shadowy stuff around my ideas about “comfortable” = “rich” but “rich” = “bad”.
 
Chani’s one-sentence year-ahead horoscope for Scorpio says “Growth through communications, writing projects, and your daily life and rituals” (obviously I also looked a Gemini for my Rising and Cancer for my Moon, but still) and pairs that up with this: “2020 is a year that is dedicated to making sure that your messages reach a much wider audience”.
Which lines up nicely with my goals of (a) find a publisher for my latest chapbook, (b) submit my poetry to more paid markets, and (c) continue to make time for poetry-writing on the regular. I may or may not seek out a couple of poetry workshops through Tree or Little Birds or one of the other local poetry get-togethers.
 
Quite a while ago, when I turned forty (just after Samhain), I did a quick tarot reading that included “Your deepest desire” as the Seven of Air. Which I had to chew on for a WHILE – and talk to my girlfriend and Ms Sugar about for a bit – before I sorted out what the heck that was supposed to be about.
My deepest desire is the “get away with it” – to keep my weird, heavy-on-unstructured-time, art life and yet also have enough income to be comfortable-and-safe long term in the time and place that I live.
A desire which, apparently, is being blocked by my own metaphorical fear of flying and dread of stepping into my own power (I was using the Silicon Dawn deck, and the “block” card I drew was Aleph Yin November, AKA The Fool Who Flew).
The rest of the reading was “What I might lose” (the solitude of the Six of Air), “What I might gain” (the literal success of the Six of Fire), and “How to get there” (The Magician, which kind of confirms the whole “Your… issues around claiming/wielding your own power are what’s holding you back” situation).
During my two weeks of WTF about the Seven of Air, though, I pulled a “What’s this about?” card, which was the Ace of Fire. More stuff about the fire chakras – about Sex-and-Money stuff, and Will stuff too – and about power.
So. That’s a thing right there.
 
Anyway. Earlier today, I did a quick “tarot grab” – just yank a handful of cards out of the middle of the Mary El deck because they were sticking out slightly as a group – and was like “So… What do I need to do about this?”
Upright: Knight of Earth
Upright: The Empress
Reversed: Queer of Earth
Reversed: Queen of Wands
 
So. Stuff to work on Out In The World, where I interact with other people?
Keep taking those (baby) steps, one after another, to physically do the things to ensure your material stability, rather than settling for the smallest, safest gains. Be prudent, don’t be risk-averse.
Welcome abundance, connect to the material/physical world in concrete ways, accept and enjoy the Nice Things that come your way, rather than rejecting/avoiding them due to the belief that you don’t “deserve” them.
AND
Stuff to work on Internally, where I interact with my Self, and with my own beliefs, stories, shadows, and assumptions:
Cultivate resourcefulness, practice self-kindness and self-forgiveness; Cultivate trust in yourself by showing up for yourself in real, tangible ways.
Cultivage optimism, enthusiasm, and grace amid chaos; practice my glamoury and my self-confidence, treat myself luxuriously.
 
I shall take these as my marching orders for the coming year and, hopefully, they’ll help me unblock myself so I can Get Away With It as I’m inclined.
Fingers crossed. 😉
 
~*~
 
Judgement - Mary El Tarot - A phoenix in flames, shrieking, her tongue unfurling around a pentacle. Magic, fire, transformation.

Judgement – Mary El Tarot – A phoenix in flames, shrieking, her tongue unfurling around a pentacle. Magic, fire, transformation.


 
As for my Tarot Card Meditation, I pulled another card from the Mary El deck, and got Judgement.
This remains the “You Are The Things That’s Burning” card for me. A card that says “time to make big changes on the inside,” that says “time to transform”.
I’ll be thinking about how it relates to that Ace of Fire, and keeping it in mind as the year turns over and I get ready to start the Magical Refresher Course I signed up for a few months ago.
 
~*~
 
Movement: My wife and I went dancing on our anniversary! 😀 😀 😀 (That was a week ago, and the rest has been a lot of lounging around the house eating Solstice leftovers, so… not tonnes. Time, I suspect, to re-start the Yoga Practice in a daily way, so that I don’t go to rust before January).
 
Attention: Watching the weather, mostly. Lots of ice on the ground and freezing rain in the forecast, but the weather in DC looks pretty balmy from where I’m standing, so I’m looking froward to my impending visit down south. Also paying attention to the porcelain doll pumpkin that is in need of Attention on my kitchen floor. I need to cut that open (and cut out the soft bits, and save some of the seeds) and bake it, and then freeze the result, since I have a tonne of pumpkin butter on the shelves already.
 
Gratitude: Grateful for my wife, who is wonderful. Grateful for my yarn stash and my skills with the sticks and the strings. Grateful for friends who turned up in force for the Solstice party. Grateful that my friend’s dog made it home safe and sound after running away for a few days. Grateful for my girlfriend and her girlfriend being able to get to a garage when the clutch blew on their car. Grateful for pals with vehicles who helped us bring a little 12-foot blue dinghy home with us last week. Grateful for how-to videos on youtube. Grateful for a full larder, for fancy cheese and snazzy sausages, for wine and mulled cider and cranberry juice in abundance. Grateful for vacation time with my wife right now, and for being able to fly down to visit my girlfriend in only Ten More Sleeps. Grateful for my Mom making a point of inviting my metamour to come to New Year’s Dinner at her place, without any prompting at all. Grateful for a new-to-me oak-and-iron cider press from my wife. Grateful for four seasons and the spring that will get here eventually. Grateful for crafternoons and writing dates with my friends. My life is pretty great.
 
Inspiration: Mary Oliver. Bernadette Banner. My copy of Her Words poetry about various goddesses. The crows rooting through my compost heap. The raccoon and rabbit tracks I spot in my back yard. The religious lives of my romantic partners. The quiet stillness, that isn’t really stillness, of the back garden under the ice.
 
Creation: Okay, while I’ve been reminding myself how to write a freaking poem, and my work is getting better as I ease myself into a new theme (that I’m a little nervous about exploring through poetry, tbh, but that I think wants doing), but the main thing I’ve been Creating over the past two weeks is knitwear. A sweater for my wife as a seventh anniversary present (it will, as of tomorrow, be a week late, and I need to get another ball of yarn before I can finish it, but I’m so close, you guys, so close!) as well as coordinating bedroom slippers for my brother and his shiny new fiancee.