Full Moon – Slush Moon Crests (Spring Equinox)

“Frosty track in the King’s Forest” – Photo by Bob Jones, courtesy of Wiki Free Images – “Early morning and the well-trodden track leading into the forest from the car park is still showing signs of frost. Two hours later, the frost had turned to slush, as rising temperatures caused a quick thaw.”


 
The full moon, and the Spring equinox, are due to arrive tomorrow.
It’s the time of year for Spring Cleaning – which in my case means going through the closets and weeding out the stuff I’ve avoided wearing all winter, tackling The Mending, and trying to sort through All The Objects currently hiding out in our spare bedroom in the name of getting rid of some of them and making a bit more space in there.
 
At new moon, I mentioned feeling like “I’m constantly starting over, picking up the dropped threads, trying to find a way forward where I get to take care of myself, long-term, and get to have the freedom I want”. I was talking about employment. As I type this, I’ve got multiple tabs open to want-ads for part-time and casual office work, with an eye (again) to finding an anchor income. But there’s a heap of unwashed dishes downstairs, and a heap of mending beside me, and I haven’t written a poem in two weeks.
It’s like every week is the same cycle. Focus on finding and doing paid work, and everything else falls apart. Focus on creative work and personal growth? My finances get (even more) precarious and there’s dishes up to the ceiling. Focus on taking care of the house, and then chew my nails down to the nubs wondering if I’ll make the rent and, if all I’m going to do is cleaning and mending, can I really call myself A Writer and justify not having a full-time day job? Heck, can I say I’m living by my values if I’m buying heavily packaged prepared food to save on time, or buying not-so-ethical eggs and milk to save on money? And I’m like “And you want to focus on your sexual freedom??”
 
But, yeah, actually. I do.
I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with any of this. Not in the sense of going hard for the long haul. I know myself just enough to know that, yeah, I have to make myself keep moving, but also I’m more likely to keep it up past the first week (or month – Hi, Nanowrimo) if I treat any given thing as a marathon of consistent baby-steps rather than a sprint that just never ends.
None the less, I want this. I want to be a sex-bomb with flexible hips and a lot of tools in my toolbox for staying present in the moment. I want to be able to make erotic connections with my lovers and sweeties, and not have them be chucked off the rails due to my feeeeelings. I want my body to feel good enough, be strong enough, that I can be attentive to what feels pleasurable instead of worrying about warning signs of pain.
My wife says that I do “cognitive behavioural witchcraft” and… she’s not wrong. All that magic. All that rose quartz and thyme and breath work. All of it water. All of it easing new pathways through the stone.
 
So. Here I am. It’s about to be officially Spring. Aries Season, with its go-go-go focus on action is coming right along with it. It’s far too early to be planting things here (unless you’re one to start seeds indoors, granted), but the questions remain:
Just as the days gain length, slowly but surely, how and where can I make steady gains of my own?
What needs to thaw and flow? What needs to be contained and channeled? What needs to flood freely?
What do I need to do to prepare the soil for what I want to grow?
 
~*~
 
Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - Maiden of Fools (R), Princess of Earth (R), and The Lovers (U).

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – Maiden of Fools (R), Princess of Earth (R), and The Lovers (U).


 
Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - Five of Air (U).

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – Five of Air (U).


 
Tarot Card Meditation: The three cards along the top are my jumpers. The “Maiden of Fools” (the Silicon Dawn deck has, like, five Fool cards, plus Aleph November, the Fool Who Flies) jumped out first, as I was shuffling. Followed by the Princess of Earth and The Lovers (together) when I flipped over a section to find my hypothetical meditation card – which was the Five of Air. In this case, I’m reading the 5 of Air as almost an advisor card to the spread of cards that jumped out of the deck.
 
The five of swords is a card about conflict and zero-sum situations (if I win, someone else has to lose), but it’s also a card about thinking of your own needs and concentrating on yourself. Given that I was specifically asking about “Courage, curiosity, joy, and abundance: What do I need to know and focus on around this stuff?”, I’m inclined to lean towards the latter, though as an advisor – as a “be mindful of this” – card, it could go either way.
 
My jumper cards made me smile. If I read them as a time-spread (past, present, future), they bode well. Although part of me is looking at them and wondering “Okay, did my gods just answer with: Okay! Here are cards pertaining to courage, curiosity, joy,, and abundance!” Because it’s kind of looking like they did? (I’ll make it work).
 
The Maiden of Fools is all newness. The point I was at when I only had “yes” vs “no”. A point that I will happily be leaving in the past, provided I don’t fall back into it again. More broadly, the Fool(s) speak to spontaneity, freedom, new beginnings, and trust. This card says “start something new” and “begin and adventure”. It says “let go of expectations” and “step into the unknown”. It says “trust the flow” and “let go of your fear“. It says “live in joy” and “trust your heart’s desire”.
 
The Princess of Earth is literally a card about exploration and curiosity. It’s a card about trust and about getting comfortable with the unknown. It’s a card that says “grow and expand”, “seek abundance”, “enrich yourself”, and “draw to you what you need”. It also says “act on your dreams”, “make your plans real” and “achieve tangible results”. It says “experience nature”, and – possibly most relevant of all – “use your body”.
 
The Lovers – one of the reasons I love this deck is because The Lovers here are explicitly skipping out on duality. This card says “transcend the yes/no dichotomy”: a nice nod to what I want to let go of in my Fool card. It’s a card that says “question what you’ve been taught”. But it’s so much a card of seeking and making connections, of experiencing and acting on desire, of being true to yourself, recognizing who and what you value, and devoting your time, energy, and attention to both who and what you care about.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Walking, squats, and the beginnings of something like sit-ups. (I dream of areal-hooping classes, but those will have to wait until the day I have a spare $300 just lying around. So, until then, I can do stuff that will make aerial hooping easier on, and more possible for, my actual body).
 
Attention: Watching the ice melt and freeze and melt. Watching the days get longer (hurrah!) and the temperature get a little more reasonable just about every day. Keeping an eye on the job boards. Listening to what my body’s enjoying.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for unexpected modeling gigs. For a poetry acceptance from a paid market. For date nights with my wife ft good cheese, cheap wine, and duck sausage. For library books. For selkie poems. For video-chat dates with my girlfriend. For cocoa butter massage bars. For do-it-at-home yoga videos. For clear, mostly-dry sidewalks and sunshine.
 
Inspiration: Longer days. Perfume. Floor work. Pigeon-blood rubies and other red things. The smell of roses.
 
Creation: Not a lot, tbh. (See above, re: I haven’t written a poem in two weeks). I’m sorting through poetry to send out on submission (and have a recent publication), but that’s not the same as making something new.

New Year New You 2018 (2019) – Week Thirteen: Sacrifice

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: [Make] A meaningful sacrifice to your Powers That Be […]. You and your PTB will know best what that is for you. Think on it.
 

Osho Zen Tarot - 8 of Major Arcana - Courage - A daisy pushing up through the concrete.

Osho Zen Tarot – 8 of Major Arcana – Courage – A daisy pushing up through the concrete.


 
Dark Days Tarot - Eight of Cups - A ten-limbed woman sits, cross-legged. Each of her eight arms holds a wine glass. She cries, and the glasses empty and re-fill, with the waxing and waning of the moon overhead.

Dark Days Tarot – Eight of Cups – A ten-limbed woman sits, cross-legged. Each of her eight arms holds a wine glass. She cries, and the glasses empty and re-fill, with the waxing and waning of the moon overhead.


 
Tarot Card(s): Strength + The Eight of Cups
I chose Strength – and this version of it, specifically – because it’s a strength that exists in vulnerability and trust. It’s not a card about brute force. In the more traditional rendering, the lion and the lady both have to trust each other in order to share that space together, and there’s a certain amount of coaxing going on. On a related note, this variation from the Silicon Dawn carries a reminder that risks and challenges are a thing we can choose, rather than something that gets shoved at us by the universe. We can decide to be brave and Do The Thing.
As for the Eight of Cups… The Osho Zen version is maybe more explicit in its meaning. A sacrifice is a letting-go. An offering up, or a rendering unto, in order to make room for a rebirth.
 
So. Week Thirteen. As-you-know-bob, the thought of Giving Something Up is not my favourite thought in the world. It’s easy to get het up about austerity when you already never go out because you’re perma-broke and you already avoid rash behaviour because everything feels – and sometimes is – so precarious. Miss Sugar’s a big fan of (temporary) material austerities as a form of sacrifice and… I’m not going to knock it, because apparently it tends to do the job.
But, kids, I hate it.
And – possibly for this reason – I don’t tend to do it in order to the attention of my deities. Eating more veggies or drinking less alcohol or moving my body more frequently is stuff I’m doing more for my own sake than anything else. Buying the more-expensive-because-it’s-more-ethical coffee is something I do (when I can – right now I’m swinging between the store-brand Organics coffee that’s $18/kg and the stuff that’s $18/340g but uses part of the proceeds to install water-filtration systems in homes on Reserves) because I want to be the kind of person who Makes Reparations (um… at all) and thinks about fair wages for farm staff instead of just thinking “Mmm, coffee” when I’m at the grocery store. I walk away from the internet for an afternoon, or don’t turn on my computer for the first two hours of my day, because I’ve got chores or writing to get done and I know myself well enough to know that I won’t do them if I have access to social media.
 
So. What is a sacrifice, in my case?
 
Well, it’s got to be said that I had a bit of a penny-drop moment while I was griping about how rarely I take risks because of fear (around money, around heartache, you name it).

This whole project is about “the sex-and-sensuality, certainty, abundance, inter-connectedness, and unapologetic embodiment of the Empress”.
So how the heck am I supposed to open my hands/heart to welcome in all that stuff if I’m too busy clenching them into fists, clinging to risk-averse behaviours, fearful assumptions, and other crud that’s cluttering up my brain?

 
I wrote about this over here, but the gist is that I need to give up some detrimental behaviours and patterns, in order to invite in, and make room for, all of that lovely Empress Stuff.
 
Is it a sacrifice?
Debatable.
It’s more of a “letting go” than a “giving up” but… it’s difficult. It’s hard work to dig into those habits and behaviours and sort out where they’re anchored and how to undo those knots and let them go. It’s hard work to lean into the discomfort, fear, and even just the awkwardness, of opening, loosening, freeing myself up and trying (and trying, and trying) new behaviours on when they still feel dangerous or doomed-to-failure. (I’m legitimately wondering if this is why I’ve been so tired lately, tbh…)
So… I’m willing to call this a sacrifice, even if I’m not sure anyone else would see it that way.
 
Recognizing that… this is going to be an on-going thing, an entire process of giving up and letting go (and re-filling with something else that’s better for me), I did a whole ritual/ceremonial Thing to kind of kick things off.
 
There was a bath – because me. There was a circle-casting (of a sort) and candles and a red[1] bath bomb that smelled like raspberries[2]. There was anointing my delta of venus with my signature perfume. There was a bunch of tantric-esque breath-work to raise some energy and to ritualistically breathe out all of the stuff I want to let go of. There was head-over-heart-over-hips breathing and stating affirmations while doing leg-extension & hip-flexibility exercises[3] (in the bath, because apparently I can live dangerously, on occasion). There was, somewhat unexpectedly but definitely relevantly, reaching out to my maternal ancestor line to talk to my great-great-grandmother about trauma survival and t tell her that I’m really glad we all got to exist, but also that I’m sorry she was raped and that it wasn’t her fault and she didn’t do anything to deserve it[4]. There was letting the water out, opening the circle, putting out the candles, drying myself off, and then slathering myself with cocoa-butter[5].
 
It was a good ceremony. It’s probably one that I’ll have to repeat intermittently. And it’s definitely an “in addition to” (rather than “in lieu of”) the breath work stuff I’m doing around my root chakra a few times a day (it’s not exactly a mindfulness exercise, but it’s… in that neighbourhood).
Here’s hoping I can continue to blow away the old habits in order to make space for the new ones.
Wish me luck.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Red for my own Red Lady, my goddess of sex and dance and standing your ground (among numerous other things), whose help I definitely need with this.
 
[2] My Maiden goddess, who I don’t write a tonne about, I realize (sorry), has a link to raspberries. For Reasons. She’s also curious, polyamourous, confident, and adventurous. So having something to invoke her and invite her behaviours into me was… pretty relevant.
 
[3] Bonus information: My hips actually are more flexible – and my lower-back muscles are stronger – than they were a year ago! The exercises are working! Mwahahahaha!
 
[4] Because you all needed that information dropped on you, without notice, today. Sorry. Talking about it cause weird, tight feelings in my chest that aren’t panic-related, and I supposed we’ll find out what that’s about at some point in the future? Who knows.
 
[5] The stuff I did up with cinnamon oil (possibly not the wisest choice) and sweet orange oil and ylang ylang with the express purpose of making a sex-balm massage bar to use with various partners and – apparently – on myself in situations like this.

New Moon – Slush Moon Begins

“View southeast along a slush-covered Errecart Boulevard from the Humboldt River Bridge during a snowstorm in Elko, Nevada” – Photo by Famartin via Wiki Free Images.


 
“Slush Moon”? So appetizing, right? I know. But it’s that time of year. The temperature is going to be zig-zagging back and forth across the frozen line for the next few weeks, melting the winter’s vast store of snow during the day and then freezing the run-off into ice over night.
I am deeply, deeply not looking forward to this, but I’m also seriously hoping for a slow melt-season, because this much snow turning to water all at once would spell flooded basements for just about everyone I know who has one.
So here we are.
 
Two weeks ago, I put away the Solstice decorations. Two weeks from now, it’ll be Spring Equinox. I’ve spent this past week essentially going to ‘Sexuality School” online and miraculously staying somewhat on top of my ten-minutes-a-day of exercise stuff, albeit by the skin of my teeth.
 
Ms Sugar wrote something the other day, and I find I’m relating to it a little. I’ll be forty before the year is out, and I feel like I’m “running out of time” to make changes that’ll stick. Some of those changes are the sex-related stuff I’ve been talking about over on Syrens. Some of them are more basic. Eat more vegetables. Become a better gardener. Stave off arthritis and help my body get stronger. Figure out how to parlay this university-funded casual-hours contract into a sustainable, long-term, but still casual-hours, income stream[1].
 
I feel like I’m constantly starting over, picking up the dropped threads, trying to find a way forward where I get to take care of myself, long-term, and get to have the freedom I want when it comes to how I spend my time, energy, and attention.
 
~*~
 

Silicon Dawn Tarot – High Priestess – “[… The] High Priestess get things *done* because she is *connected* in a way that few of the others down in the Earthly half of the Majors are. […] The Priestess is busy consulting her Higher Self *right now*”.


 
I chose this card for my tarot meditation.
Maybe it’s an odd one to choose, or maybe I’m pulling it because I know I’ve got a little ritual planned for later today – one that I’m nervous about, but one that I hope has some effect – and I want as much help as I can get.
The High Priestess – The Seer, The Inner Voice – is the conduit between the word-using mind and the deep ocean space of everything else in you. The connection between conscious and unconscious. The union of opposites.
As I try to get back into doing regular glamour work again (again, again… even as I type this while wearing a fuzzy bathrobe and flip-flops), as I keep trying to put myself back together again, I think it’s relevant to think of the High Priestess, how she can be in and of two (or more) worlds at once while keeping everything connected.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Some yoga. A couple of long walks (commuting, basically). Some weights-work. Some dancing.
 
Attention: Root chakra stuff. Where I am, and am not, holding muscle tension. What feels good. What makes me nervous.
 
Gratitude: Afternoons spend with pals. Time for long baths. A new Toby Daye book to devour. Sunny days, even if they’re cold. Unearthed summer veggies filling my freezer. A writing date planned for the end of the week. Kisses from my wife. Catching-up chats with my girlfriend.
 
Inspiration: A lot of what I’ve been reading in Come As You Are and Ecstasy is Necessary and a lot of what I’ve been watching/hearing during the Explore More Summit.
 
Creation: A lot of personal essays. One ritual (that’s, admitted, still kind of being done on the fly). Plans to start turning all of the above-mentioned inspiration into poems (or at least drafts of poems) later this week.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] I have some leads on this one, at least.

New Year New You 2018 (2019) – Week Twelve: “Time to Get Back to the Physical Work”

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 want you to keep a daily journal. In it, talk about what you’ve done that day to accomplish your goal(s). If you didn’t do something towards your goals, examine your reasons why. Were you really that busy or could you have taken a half hour to work towards your goals? What stopped you from making your goals a priority?
 

The Slutist Tarot - Eight of Coins - A white person in a string bikini, gold high heels, and gold jewelry, runs ter hand through her flowing black hair while doing a back-bend from her knees on a red floor.

The Slutist Tarot – Eight of Coins – A white person in a string bikini, gold high heels, and gold jewelry, runs her hand through her flowing black hair while doing a back-bend from her knees on a red floor.


 
Tarot Card: Eight of Earth
I’m fairly confident I’ve used this card – with its links to diligence, detail, and the slow daily process of getting things done – for this prompt during other years. It fits and feels very appropriate, so I keep coming back to it.
I went with the Slutist Tarot this time around, though, because the goals that are proving harder for me to actualize, or at least harder for me to spot Progress on as it’s happening, are the ones that have to do with body-positivity, unblocked sexuality, and healthy relationship habits around things like boundaries and communication. Some fairly significant stuff as it relates to my initial over-arching goal of “opening myself up, rooting myself solid, and becoming my fullest, most integrated, femme self“.
 
I have to admit I feel a bit like I’m cheating a little here? I didn’t plan it this way, but my finishing (and posting) the Week 11 prompt, and therefore taking a look at the Week 12 prompt, just happens to line up with the beginning of the annual Explore More online summit, which is a whole ten days of video-based interviews/lectures about (sacred or otherwise approaches to) sexuality, interpersonal connections (of various types), and body-positivity. While I know I’m going to skip whole swaths of this thing – trying to absorb that much information, even with a week that’s so otherwise open and flexible, is exhausting and not something I’m likely to do – I’ve marked my calendar with what I most want to check out and think about. Between that and a couple of social events, I feel like my deck is kind of stacked in my favour.
That being said, part of me is going “famous last words”, so we’ll see how things pan out. (Yes, I started writing this before the week of journal-keeping. This next bit, below the “~*~” is what comes during and after).
 
~*~
 
Monday: Took some notes on ecstatic states and how to cultivate them, and then did some experimenting with same. Took a fancy bath with scented candles and fizzy additions, just for the hot, humid, relief of it. Made a point of kissing my wife for an extended period of time.
 
Tuesday: Wrote up a rudimentary plan for how to energy-work my way into being more connected & present in my own body.
 
Wednesday: Listened to M’kali-Hashiki’s talk (Explore More Summit so, yeah, kind of feel like I’m cheating a little here) on “Expanding Our Container for Bliss, Healing, Joy, and Grief Through Ritual and Erotic Breathwork”. Which is interesting and had a significant component of “all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals” which I particularly appreciate. It was lovely. Had a lovely, slow wake-up and breakfast with my wife.
 
Thursday: The Notice Pleasure project is (so far) moving along quite nicely. Had a really nice bath that included a prayer explicitly inviting curiosity and experience (back) into my own body. It was kind of done on the fly, but I did it. I will probably do something similar again. Am definitely noticing that (a) doing pole dance tricks as part of my “move your body” options is… a fair bit of fun and makes me grin, which is lovely… but also that I am creaky as heck and hesitant to do a lot of body movements and, when I do them anyway, I wind up with joint pain (and muscle pain, but that’s actually supposed to happen) that I might have otherwise avoided, or at least mitigated. I’m thinking that hitting up the local pool once a week for laps and leg-lifts and then a good, long hot-tub sit, would be a Very Good Idea, and I’m wondering what to give up in order to free up the $5 or so that it takes to access it (and totally haaaaaaaaaaaaaating that I have to make those kinds of decisions, ye gods…).
 
Friday: Made myself go out to a social event in the evening. It was, as expected, actually a good time once I got there. 😉
 
Saturday: While I did the first exercise in Ecstasy is Necessary today, it was hard to concentrate and I found that today was just difficult in general. I’ve been devoting a lot of my time, this week, to doing stuff on the “get fully into your body” and “heal your sexuality stuff” fronts this week, and I am feeling really self-conscious about it. It’s weird. Trying to work towards my goals when I’m quietly doing so on my own (albeit, yes, blogging about it like heck) is… relatively easy? But trying to devote time, energy, and attention to it when there’s a literal person, right there, asking “What are you working on?” with a genuine desire to hear the answer? Wow, do I ever feel weird about that.
Also… Hope is kind of exhausting? One of the Explore More talks (Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s talk) including some discussion about “the gift of slowness” and how you create actual effective, lasting change by going slow-but-steady – rather than trying to get everything fixed in a frantic six-week period.
I’ve been treating this week like “school”, and granting myself a LOT of time and energy for my Notice Pleasure project, because I’m effectively attending a conference right now. Once the conference is done, I’m giving myself permission to move at a slower (but still steady) pace and treat this like the marathon it is rather than trying to do it all in a sprint. But the “sprint” part is also kind of necessary (at least I think it is) for me to build up a little bit of momentum, do some habit-forming, and remind myself that, yes, I can do The Thing(s) in a consistent way, so that when I slow down, I’ve still got something to help me carry myself forward. None the less, I’ve been sprinting all week, going “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” up this hill all week, and I’m tired. Change is hard. (Duh). Making mistakes in front of people and being messy and not knowing the answers easily is… embarrassing and I do not like it. It’s necessary. It’s part of the learning/healing/etc Process. But, fuck, is it pissing me off. Harumph.
 
Sunday: Okay. So having had my day of not really making myself a priority – and also having the house to myself today – things are a little easier again. I read my tarotscope for Pisces Season, and found that it was easily relatable to the “root myself solid” part of my overarching Empress Project goal as well as to all of the sexual boundaries-and-mysteries stuff I’m trying to get a handle on through the Explore More Summit and the Ecstasy books I’m reading right now. So: Relevant? Relevant. To that end: I looked up (and did) a root chakra guided meditation thing – which had some… interesting… results – and had lots of social plans for the afternoon, which I think falls under the heading of “spend more time with people who are good for my head and heart”. So Go Me.
 
~*~
 
So… How did I do?
I think I did okay?
I made some plans – some of which I’ve already started implementing, but some of which are going to have to wait (for the impending new moon, in one case, and for roughly Beltane in another) – and had some (I think) breakthroughs. I’ve started doing some Internal Workings stuff that should help to re-route my neural pathways so that I have an easier time moving towards (and sticking with) and accomplishing my goals. I went to a party and hung out with various friends and metamours. I confided in both of my romantic partners about my whole Notice Pleasure project and how it’s going.
I didn’t do any poetry-related stuff, but I did write a whole bunch of personal essays, and have made a Productivity Date with a writer-friend, for later this week, to try and synthesize all of my thoughts and hopes and break-throughs into some poetry.
I think I did okay.
 
I know that a big part of why I did okay was that I gave myself a heap of inspiration – through the Explore More Summit – and permission to actually focus on that project.
In a different week – one where I had a lot of outside-the-house work booked, or one where I was doing catch-up work on house-keeping (which I’ve been ignoring in a lot of ways, despite telling myself that I need to clean the house more consistently if I want to actually enjoy the time I spend in here)… I might not have been so social or so dedicated to actively trying to change my brain and my internalized beliefs around what I am and am not allowed to experience or enjoy and what I am or am not worthy of receiving in various kinds of relationships.
So the timing on this one kind of worked out.
 
I think the most telling part of this past week was how hard it was to let myself focus on The Thing when I had an “audience” and was faced with the possibility of having to talk about it in real time. Like, I’m pretty sure there’s some internalized shame around trauma and mental health stuff going on there, but also I think there’s some sort of Shame/Unworthiness Stuff about even just, like, “I am worthy of my own love, attention, patience, and energy” here. It’s like “Oh, no! If someone ‘finds out’ that I’m actually devoting a fair bit of my own time, energy, and attention to just… helping my heart and my brain feel better and helping myself have a more fulfilling life… I’ll be dismissed as one of those pathetic woo-woo people who thinks Everything Happens for a (Me-Related) Reason’ and doesn’t have the emotional fortitude to deal with even the most limited of traumas. How pathetic”. Or similar.
So… I guess that’s something I need to work on, too?

New Year New You 2018 – Week Eleven: Casting Out Doubt

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:We need to free ourselves from this horribly insidious, inner voice that wants us to never try, to never dare, to never dream, and to never step outside our little boxes. […] It doesn’t want you to change because change is hard and scary.
 

Dark Days Tarot - The Moon - Three swimmers dive over a dark lunar face, above a treeline and flying birds.

Dark Days Tarot – The Moon – Three swimmers dive over a dark lunar face, above a treeline and flying birds.


 
Tarot Card: The Moon
I picked The Moon because it has to do with “believing illusions”.
At this point, the old refrain of my Jerk Brain is… boring, honestly. It’s still very effective, but I know the words and the tune by heart, and it’s getting easier and easier to recognize it when it starts playing on my internal radio again.
I wrote a poem, more than a year ago now, for the New Moon in Scorpio. It was about how the deep, dark secrets we keep from ourselves – the ones we’re supposed to go deep-diving into the fathomless muck in the bottoms of our unconscious to find and drag into the light – aren’t about how we’re actually Very Bad People. Sometimes the secrets we keep from ourselves are that we’re lovable, worthy, and good.
My Jerk Brain, my “Horrible Voice”, keeps suggesting ways for everything to go horribly wrong. “Your marriage is going to fall apart because you have a new partner!”, “Your new relationship is going to fall apart because it’s long distance and you’re probably just making it up anyway!”, “Your making-ends-actually-meet job is going to disappear in forty more hours and you’ll be right back to scraping by just like the last [too many] years!”
And, okay, with the possible exception of that last one? I know that my Horrible Voice is lying. My marriage isn’t falling apart. My girlfriend is nuts about me. My wife and my girlfriend like each other. My metamours seem pretty great so far. Everything is going to be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.
 
But riding herd on my Jerk Brain when it has so many weak/tender spots it can poke? Not easy. It’s like… I plug one hole, and the water starts rushing in somewhere else.
 
How I generally cast out doubt is by having magical baths and showers. Partly because they warm me up and relax me, since a lot of my Jerk Brain is basically just anxiety, sometimes exacerbated by being too cold. (Although I admit that I bought myself heavily-discounted “unicorn magic” scented candles – they basically smell like fruity, vanilla-sugar – for days when I want to remind myself that, “Why yes, I am in fact a Magical Marianas Trench Unicorn and my angsty mental state can just fuck off”).
This time, though, I’m also trying stuff like “mindfulness”. In the sense of “Okay, but is this actually reasonable? Or are you blowing things way out of proportion, outright making stuff up, or being kind of ridiculous here” in situations where the only person likely to be gaslighting me is myself.
That last one is, uh. It’s tiring – because I’m literally having these chats with myself every 3-5 minutes, some days. But it’s also being remarkably effective, so I think I’m going to keep it up.
 
Beyond those two things – the magical self-care and the mindfulness self-talk – I’m putting myself back on the “do a physical activity (briefly) every day” track – and sometimes more than once a day, if I catch myself getting stuck in the flight/fight/freeze part of the “stress cycle” and need to literally shake (shaaaaaaaaaaaake) it off. Because getting out in the fresh air and/or moving my body to some upbeat music really does seem to help my brain. I’ve also (just barely) started a second “gratitude practice”, over on Syrens, specifically to help with shame resilience around body pleasure and sexual connections, so that I can try to get out of my own way on that front.
Wish me luck on that one.

Full Moon – Ice Moon Crests

February 18th 2019 - Waxing Gibbous Moon against a Black Sky - My wife took this photo of the almost-full moon while visiting her girlfriend's cottage.

February 18th 2019 – Waxing Gibbous Moon against a Black Sky – My wife took this photo of the almost-full moon while visiting her girlfriend’s cottage.


 
Pisces season just started. The full moon shifts from Leo to Virgo tonight. I’ve been chewing on (not literally) the cards I drew at the new moon – the idea that I have a million options, if I just re-write the stories that I’m telling myself.
I’ve been reading Come As You Are to remind myself of how to build some detours around my worst ones, thinking of things I can do, ritually speaking, to help get unblocked. (I’m being kind of vague here, but I’m talking about sex-and-relationships stuff). It’s embarrassing how much of it is just how much of it is “What would reduce the stress in your life? Make that change”.
It’s singing the same tune as Liz Worth’s astrological advice, asking “What needs to get done today?” with an explicit eye to practical/physical things like “do the dishes” or “run errands”.
 
Today, I cleaned the stove, washed the pots and pans that had been languishing by the sink, and swept the floor.
Small things.
Things that I should have covered every single day, but rarely do.
I put away the Solstice decorations (finally – only 2 weeks later than planned).
I danced around the kitchen to a pop album (Fifth Harmony – yes, really) and did literal stair-climbing for all of five minutes. Which I realize isn’t “real cardio” but it’s more than I’d be doing otherwise, so I’m calling it a win.
A couple of things to make my house a nicer place to be hiding out inside of (because I so don’t want to go outside in winter, I just don’t) and a few things to make sure I’m moving my body in spite of that.
Tonight I’ll burn the last of the candle I lit on the 16th (my Dad’s death day – it’s been 19 years).
 
~*~
I used a Random Card Generator to pull three cards:
 
PAST - 5 of Pentacles - Wild Unknown Tarot - A wilted red rose against a black background

PAST – 5 of Pentacles – Wild Unknown Tarot – A wilted red rose against a black background


 
PRESENT - Seven of Cups - Wild Unknown Tarot - A card that can be read as night or day; snow-covered mountains or silhouetted crags; six full cups and one flipped over or six upturned cups and one still full; a crescent moon, or a bright sun to light the scene.

PRESENT – Seven of Cups – Wild Unknown Tarot – A card that can be read as night or day; snow-covered mountains or silhouetted crags; six full cups and one flipped over or six upturned cups and one still full; a crescent moon, or a bright sun to light the scene.


 
FUTURE - High Priestess - Wild Unknown Tarot - A Siberian tiger under a crescent moon, with a crystal orb before her.

FUTURE – High Priestess – Wild Unknown Tarot – A Siberian tiger under a crescent moon, with a crystal orb before her.


 
PAST: Feeling like an outsider. Scarcity thinking.
PRESENT: Overwhelm. Wishful thinking.
FUTURE: Intuition. Trust. Potential.
 
Well… One can only hope.
I know I’d like to leave my scarcity-thinking in the past, and that I’m feeling a certain amount of overwhelm these days (like, for the past couple of days, I’ve actually caught myself avoiding getting out of bed because I don’t want to go downstairs where it’s “noisy”).
Maybe I can leave a little bit more of my scarcity-thinking and overwhelm behind as this moon wains down again, and fill up that empty space with a little more trust in myself and in The Process.
 
~*~
 
Movement: I have actually been doing some! A little bit of weights or stairs or yoga (or all three, sometimes with added vocal warm-ups). That an a LOT of snow-shoveling. I’m a mix of embarrassed and concerned with how quickly I get out of breath when I’m doing something even slightly strenuous (like walking up hill). Ten minutes a day of barely-more-than-basic physical activity isn’t going to fix that. But it’ll get things to be better than they are now, which is something.
 
Attention: Have been looking into what stresses me out about my life (a number of things, some of-which I don’t have control over) and which of those things I can do something about. Looking, also, for cheep/free lit/music events in the neighbourhood that I can take myself out to.
 
Gratitude: I’m thankful for a long weekend had mostly to myself. Dates (plural!) with my girlfriend. My wife coming home from her girlfriend’s cottage so full of happiness (and knowing what she needs to do to give herself that happiness more often). Grapefruit all the way from Florida. Novels to re-read. Discount chocolate. A tea date with a friend set up for right around the next new moon. Ancestors I can talk to. Impending cuddles with said recently-returned wife. Grateful for people who love me. ❤
 
Inspiration: Come As You Are and the information there-in. Asking my girlfriend about some of her past ritual work. That big, gorgeous, super moon. Clear, bright days and puddles of sunshine that are warm through the window. Candle lit baths with colourful, heavily-scented bath bombs (the scent doesn’t cling to my skin, which is handy for leaving-the-house purposes). My friend/client’s first solo show about how life experiences (aging, trauma, dance/sport training, chronic illness/pain, pregnancy, and all sorts of other stuff) effect the body, and about bearing witness to those realities.
 
Creation: I have NOT been making a lot of things. Have spent most of my down time, these past two weeks, curled up in a blanket nest, drinking hot tea, and reading a bunch of books. Which is fantastic, but not particularly creative. Currently drawing up some prompts for a possible blog/brain project, so we’ll see what I come up with, essay-wise.

New Moon – Ice Moon Begins (Imbolg 2019)

What I Did on My Imbolg Vacation: A burst pipe chez my GF meant a team effort to prevent the house from flooding PLUS shutting off the water for a then-unknown amount of time, which meant reserving some of the flood for toilet flushing and hand-washing while we still had the option. Pictured: A stand-up shower stall with six large pots/bowls of water sitting on the tiles, awaiting necessity.

What I Did on My Imbolg Vacation: A burst pipe chez my GF meant a team effort to prevent the house from flooding PLUS shutting off the water for a then-unknown amount of time, which meant reserving some of the flood for toilet flushing and hand-washing while we still had the option. Pictured: A stand-up shower stall with six large pots/bowls of water sitting on the tiles, awaiting necessity.


 
I got back from my Imbolg visit to my girlfriend’s place earlier this week, but have been holding off doing the write-up for the New Moon / Cross-Quarter Day until I had some free time and recovered energy to do so.
In my neck of the woods – which is undergoing its annual Winterlude Thaw right now[1] – Imbolg means that the light is noticeably coming back. There’s still a LOT of winter yet to go in a place where even the earliest flowers don’t turn up until well after the Spring Equinox. It’s a time to focus on the hearth and the forge, on what you can create – with your hands, with your head and heart – and on the seeds (literal and metaphorical) that you know won’t even be sprouting for another few months. Imbolg is the half-way point of Winter. We made it through the worst of the cold. Now we get through the lean times (much, muuuuuuch easier to do with two freezers and grocery stores available, I do realize). Mending and tending. A slow germination, leaning towards May, towards heat and light and the quickening earth.
 
But. I didn’t spend Imbolg in my neck of the woods.
I spent it, and the New Moon in Aquarius, in a different town (and a different country) entirely, in a climate that’s hypothetically much warmer than my own, but which was enduring unusually cold temperatures when I arrived from The Frozen North. And I spent it dealing with water a whole lot more than this fire festival would normally entail.
As you can see in the photo (and the caption) above, There Was A Flood. A burst pipe, low in the wall, that had to be shut off from the street by the local water authorities. There was a lot of baling; a lot of wringing out of sodden towels, outdoors in -13C temperatures, a lot of coming up with DIY solutions while my person and her housemates and I waited for the Landlord to show up with an actual plumber to fix the break, and wondering how many candles we’d actually be lighting once the sun went down given that the burst pipe was a little too close to an electrical outlet to safely keep the power (meaning the heat, and the lights, and the stove) running.
It all worked out in the end, of course, and mercifully quickly, but it was An Adventure.
And now my young lady and I have A Story to tell.
We were joking that we were “officially a couple now”, because we’d been through a crisis together.
It was a good visit, my dears. For so many reasons.
 
Now that I’m home, it’s time to do the cleaning that tends to come with Imbolg, the start-fresh moments that come with every New Moon. Time to pack up the Solstice decorations, change out the spruce wreath for the one that’s all grape vines, ribbons, and cinnamon. Time to vacuum the burlap-and-foam under padding for the imminant return of the Magic Carpet my wife (after joking about it literally since our first service-versary, AGES ago – we’re at nine years in a service dynamic as of this Sunday) has had professionally cleaned through one of her jobs. Time to shovel the back walkway (again), clean out the fridge, and take out a lot of compost.
 
Liz Worth talks about the New Moon in Aquarius being one that can help us break free of old patterns. She says:

What we are hoping for is there for a reason, and that our desires are arrows helping us to see the way.

Where are your desires, pleasures, longings directing you?
 
Steve Kenson, in his essay “The Queer Journey of the Wheel” (in Harrington’ and Kulystin’s Queer Magic: Power Beyond Boundaries) refers to Imbolg as a time of Naming, of putting words around What Is, if only to yourself. A time of recognition and understanding. He’s talking explicitly about one’s self-recognition of being queer/trans/both, but I think it can go beyond that. We’re still in Root Time, contemplation time. What needs recognizing right now?
 
Imbolg is Brigid’s day. A good time for poetry (it’s ALWAYS a good time for poetry, but stick with me). Brigid is a wordsmith as well as a blacksmith. What are you trying to put words around right now?
 
~*~
 

Silicon Dawn - On the left, the 6 of Swords (a smith working in her workshop, five swords hung on the wall behind her, while she works the sixth using an electric current. On the right, She Is Legend (VIII - one of the bonus cards in the Silicon Dawn deck), a genderfluid love-cat in tiny clothing, possibly planning to dance all night at an house-based rave.

Silicon Dawn – On the left, the 6 of Swords (a smith working in her workshop, five swords hung on the wall behind her, while she works the sixth using an electric current. On the right, She Is Legend (VIII – one of the bonus cards in the Silicon Dawn deck), a genderfluid love-cat in tiny clothing, possibly planning to dance all night at an house-based rave.


 
For my tarot card meditaiton during this waxing moon, I drew two cards.
First, I flipped the deck over to find the Six of Swords.
Then I shuffled and split the deck to find She Is Legend.
 
The six of swords is a card about change. Changing states. Changing locations. Sometimes it’s literally about going on a physical trip somewhere else – something that can be much needed as we slog through the cold, damp, grey, endless days of what author Amelinda Berube eloquently refers to as “the armpit of the year” (and that slog, itself, is an aspect of this card). But the swords are cards about intellect, about the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the world and our respective places in it, and this card frequently puts me in mind of The Hermit – a reminder to make some inner changes, create some new neural pathways in order to enter a new frame of mind and deal with the effects of trauma. (I mean, don’t get me wrong. This takes FOR EVAR and is an absolutely cyclic, non-linear mess of an undertaking. But it’s a necessary one and it can be accomplished, little by little, provided you actually put some effort into getting the work actually done).
 
She Is Legend is one of the Silicon Dawn’s “bonus cards”. It’s a joyful, big-hearted, queer-as-fuck, indicator of having a million options, of infinite potential and fractal possibilities, of love never being a zero-sum game. This is a reminder that I don’t have to pretend to be need-less. That I don’t need to preemptively put myself onto anyone else’s back-burner. This more-experienced-than-they-look character is a reminder to remember the time when my skin knew what it wanted, and that naivete never saved me, but that the arrows of my own desire can.
 
~*~
 
Movement: A fair amount of dancing around the kitchen, singing along to tunes. (That said, I’ve been avoiding walking to work lately, because the ground is very icy and – even with crampons on – I have some concerns about falling). Doing some exercises to help my back (this means Plank more than anything else) and shoulders. Did my ten minutes (roughly – based on counting out minutes the way I do when I’m doing short poses) of weights and cardio (for a given value of “cardio” that means “walking up and down the stairs a lot”) and yoga things, and am honestly rather embarrassed about just how out of breath I am having done so. But I did them (and found myself wanting to do vocal warm-ups, at the same time, which was a nice bonus). So go me.
 
Attention: Keeping an eye out for submission calls and deadlines. Also keeping an eye out for icy patches when I’m walking.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for affordable (it’s relative) plane tickets, flexible work schedules, being able to see my girlfriend in person(!!!), for easy-free communication so that we can stay in touch without drowning in long distance bills, grateful for her patience and her kindness and her enthusiasm. Grateful for meeting my new metamours, and my GF’s Best People, and really liking them. Grateful for easy, largely hassle-free border crossings in both directions (thank goodness!). Grateful for snuggles with my wife when I got home, and being able to tell her stories of my time away. Grateful for her skills and her steadfastness and her willingness to make me comfort food the night I got back. And for the bucket of compersion she’s so happy to marinate in. Grateful for how much my two sweeties like each other. There are other things, too. Gratitude for modeling work, for a repaired coat and boots, for discount bath products at the pharmacy, for an in-coming clean carpet. All sorts of good things. But right now – as is so often the case – I’m grateful for having so much love in my life. In this case, for being able to say “I love you” to two romantic partners, two s-types, who say it to me, too. My heart is very full right now, and it’s wonderful.
 
Inspiration: The Shondes’ “Everything Good”. Hot baths (because: me). Saint Carmen of the Main (Linda Gaboriau’s English translation). Poems Between Women (edited by Emma Donoghue).
 
Creation: Started learning how to make lace this past week, and it’s actually working. Have started (just barely) a not-for-the-project glosa based on Elsa Gidlow’s poem, “Relenquishment”. May possibly have invented (ish?) a cocktail, though I’ll need to actually try it out, despite having zero of the ingredients. >.>
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] There’s been a rise in temperatures during most of February for a solid 100 years. It’s why they scheduled a festival of explicitly outdoor “winter fun” at this time. But a hundred years ago those temperature climbs still meant it was below Freezing. Just think, like, -7C rather than -30C. Instead of what it’s doing now, which is flip flopping between -18C and +5C without a lot of transition time, thus turning the whole city into a sheet of ice with intermittent flooding.