New Year New You 2019 : Week 17 – A Big Ritual

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: So now that you’ve done the small magics, I think it’s time to do a big ritual to further one or more of your goals.
 

Candle Magic in Progress - My working altar set-up, as viewed from the East.

Candle Magic in Progress – My working altar set-up, as viewed from the East.


 
As all of you know by now, I’m not a Big Rituals kind of gal. I put songs on repeat to help me enter something adjacent to a trance, maybe once or twice a year, and do little rituals (offerings roughly once a week, greeting my gods at the crossroads and as I see them, the first slice from a fresh batch of bread, stuff like that) fairly frequently, but Big Magical Doings that require a lot of prep and planning… are not typically My Bag.
 
BUT.
 
I just turned forty.
I love my weirdo freelancing art life, and I want to keep it.
But I am so, SO tired (like physically and emotionally worn out, but also “sick of this crap” tired) of the precarity that comes with it.
I marked my birthday with a week worth of fun and lovely events, which wrapped up just before the recent full moon in Taurus, and I wanted to harness that “manifesting abundance and pleasure and security” stuff that comes with the Taurus full moon and its major-major link with The Empress.
 
So I spent a day working out how to turn my Greatest Hits Wish List into a series of little doodles – not exactly sigils (except in the case of making a little glyph to represent my immediate polycule), but stuff along those lines. I planned out what I’d need, in terms of materials. I sorted out offerings and harvested the herbs from my (snowed under, so that was a thing) garden. I took a calculated risk in collecting one of the other elements of the altar and the magic to be made on it, and made sure to leave offerings and… I guess I could call them connections(?) in return. I took the time (and energy, and resources, and skills) to make bread from scratch, and on Moonday, which handily actually WAS the night of the full moon (and which I also, thankfully, had off AND which was overcast enough for it to get dark enough to light candles earlier in the day), I turned my coffee table into an altar space and got to work.
 
So. You know the thing “To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent”?
I don’t actually know how many of the specifics of this I should be yacking about in front of the whole internet. So, in the interests of not screwing it up or pissing Anybody off, I’m going to be a bit vague on things.
BUT. The general gist is this:
 
First thing, as you can see from the photo, above, I was doing candle magic, just in a more intense way than I often do. Even when I go big, I’m still pretty basic in terms of what I do.
I wanted to have stuff that grew in my yard – my space, the place I have some kind of a friendly (uh, I’d like to think) relationship with – sitting in each of the quarters. I wanted the elements represented by things that I wanted and things that connected me to success and security. There’s a brick from the house my mom grew up in (among other things), in the North. The South is all sex toys and kinky equipment. The East is the various hard-copy books and chaps that I’ve been published in (why, yes, ALL of them). The West is the tarot cards I drew for my birthday, all those hope-and-heart cards, plus a piece of fancy stemware. The Centre was raised up on a fancy cake tray (40th birthday gift, also hospitality and fanciness), and has the Empress card that I used to kick off my whole Empress Project in the first place. The votive candles I used had been lit at my birthday party, and I treated them like Birthday Candles (as in “make a wish”).
 
I sang (just a little – the chorus of a song that I treated as a prayer), I gave offerings that were a little fancier than I usually do, and that included a little bit of pain, and a moderate amount of blood, on my part. But the big difference in how I did this whole thing is that, when I cast the circle, I got a little bit extra. I’m not usually one to call the guardians of the watchtowers of absolutely anything. But this time I reached out to the People of the four directions, and called the Above and the Below to run the world pillar through my spine.
And they showed up.
They came.
I hadn’t been expecting that.
Don’t go getting me wrong here, I’m very glad they did. But it was an optional thing for them. I’m… touched? That the Spirits of Place, the People who orient us in space and in… action? Is that a good way to put it? That they came and were willing to witness, and maybe even help.
 
Anyway.
I did The Thing.
I think my giant bag of soil is probably thawed out by now (it having had a week to hang out in the warm), so I can now take the last of the accoutrements off the altar space and do the last bit of the ceremony, at which point I can have my coffee table back.
 
In prepping for this, my wife asked me if it was going to come at a cost – because everything has a cost. She works with a goddess who takes payment in blood and pain (there are so many of these) and she was worried about me getting hurt, basically. So we ended up having a discussion about different types of relationships.
I talked about how I’ve been involved with my pantheon actively for a couple of decades, that I check in with them and say Hello often, and that I generally don’t show up with my hand out. I said “There’s wine on the altar right now” – wine that had been offered the previous Friday – and that while I didn’t give my Gods and Ancestors wine and cookies and bread and occasional whisky and other tasty things in order to, you know, manipulate them into feeling like they have to help me, the fact that I’ve been doing this for a long time – much as with more corporeal people – will get you a certain amount of trust and good will. If you show up for your friends, and want to hang out just for the sake of hanging out, they are more likely to show up for you when you need help with a thing. (This is, incidentally, one of the reasons I tend not to contract out and do transactional work with deities outside of my pantheon. I don’t know, and won’t necessarily be able to accurately discern, what kind of payment they might want. And I’m hesitant to offer any kind of tradesies when I don’t know what I’m getting myself into).
 
I did my ritual, my ceremony, made my offerings, around the themes of the Empress.
May it be, may it be, may it be. ❤
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Moon – Harvest Moon Begins (and Grows) – Season of the Witch

“Winter Squash” – Photo by Sheila Sund, via Wiki Media Commons. Three winter squash – butternut, sweet dumpling, and buttercup – are to the left of the image, dramatically lit from the right, on an otherwise bare surface, against a black backdrop.


 
The mornings are down in the single digits these days, and the nights are hovering around freezing. The back yard is full of blooming New England asters (the purple kind) and, while nothing’s been knocked down by frost just yet (to my surprise), I know it’s coming. We turned the furnace on today and have extra blankets on the bed.
Autumn is so very, very here.
 
We’re slipping towards Root Time pretty quickly now. The leaves are turning. I have bunches of mugwort, yellow mustard (seed pods, in the latter case), sage, and thyme hanging in the kitchen to finish drying. We opened a bottle of Sortilege (a month earlier than I would have, if I hadn’t hidden said bottle away late last April), and I made an offering with the first glass of it to kick off the Season of the Witch.
It’s getting towards introspection season – although, realistically, that’s all year long if you’re me – and, like a lot of people, I’ve got a lot of stuff on my mind.
 
I went to the Climate Justice Rally the other day – and felt less useless for having gone, I have to admit, though I wasn’t expecting that. I keep looking at my somewhat feral yard, where – when we moved in, five years ago (just about exactly), I had hoped to plant a riot of winter squash, rather like the ones displayed in the photo at the top of this post, along with lots of perennial fruits and herbs.
I keep looking at it and wondering “Have I done right by you?”
 
Because, as I keep lamenting, I’m not doing very well at this vegetable gardening thing.
But my yard is a tiny ecosystem. Squirrels and rats (alas), a skunk and a rabbit, a family of raccoons, a semi-feral cat, and a lot of starlings and sparrows (and the odd bluebird, crow, cardinal) have our yard as part of their territory. The back patio is under-pinned (or destabilized, maybe) by a few different kinds of ants. There are spiders, wasps (parasitic and otherwise), two kinds of solitary bee, a few different kinds of butterfly, centipedes, pill bugs, ladybugs, slugs (alas) and snails, and earthworms the thickness of my finger. Between what I grow on purpose, what my neighbour grows on purpose, and what I just allow to grow wild, as it will, we’ve got about half the number of unique plant species that one would find in a healthy tall grass prairie represented and thriving between the front and the back yards of our little row of townhouses. And that’s something I’m proud of.
“Have I done right by you?”
 
The ground is so literal.
I like to think that the offerings of home-made beeswax candles, fresh bread and (not home-made) butter, maple whiskey, and sometimes other tasty things, are appreciated and enjoyed. (Certainly the squirrels like the bread, if that’s any indication).
But I kind of suspect that the compost heap, with its regular additions of coffee grounds, toilet paper tubes, stewed bones, vegetable peelings, and human hair, is more helpful (and more wanted) in the long run. That thinning the Himalayan Balsam so that the Crane’s Bill and Turtlehead had room to grow, but leaving enough of it for the bees to visit, and sowing white clover and wildflower seeds (after thinning out the grass, golden rod, and dog-strangling-vine), probably matter more to my Lady of Earth and my Lady of the Meadow than whether or not I managed to cultivate a lot of winter squash in any given year, even when my Lady of the Meadow is also the winter squash and the raspberries (which consistently refuse to fruit, even now).
“Have I done right by you?”
 
It’s harvest time. The squirrels have already dug up (and gnawed upon) the narcissus bulbs given to us by a friend. The two pounds of carrots I brought home from the grocery store a week or two ago are waterlogged and not doing so well, and I’m having The Feels about food waste. Again. The dill seed heads I harvested went moldy (because I didn’t dry them well enough and didn’t store them right). I still haven’t harvested crab apples, even though I walked by a tree loaded with them twice this past week. I feel wasteful rather than abundant.
“Have I done right by you?”
 
I shuffle the deck by my computer – the Next World, which isn’t the deck I’d usually use for this. The Chariot falls out. The Three of Cups almost jumps with it. I shuffle and shuffle. Look longingly at the Three of Cups, Nine of Cups, now layered one on top of the other at the very bottom of my deck. Pull a card off the top and it’s The Sun.
I want to take that as a Yes.
I want this to be true:
 

 
One of the other reasons why I was asking if I’ve done right by the land I live on is that we found out, just about a month ago, that the building we live in has been put up for sale.
It’s terrifying.
Not least of why being that we’re barely able to cover the bills we have now, and housing – across the city, not just in the neighbourhood we’ve lived in for over a decade and want to stay in – is running $400-$700 more expensive per month than we can handle.
I think about moving, and I just get a tight chest, churning stomach, racing thoughts, and nothing actually useful done. I sob my eyes out thinking that we’ll be this house’s last family and that life is going to stay (financially) hard for the foreseeable.
It’s awful.
I’ve been looking for an anchor income for a while now, but I’m kind upping the search because, if we’re going to afford to live, well, anywhere by the time this unusually-affordable rental house is yanked out from under us, I’m going to need to be SURE that I can show up with at least $800/month to put towards housing and utilities.
 
Sometimes I think that planning to move in the spring is putting the cart before the horse. We have to be able to afford to move before we can actually do so. (At least… I hope that’s how it works out). TBH, I’ve spent a lot of the past four weeks – when I’m not job-hunting or canning or cleaning or writing poetry or doing paid work – wondering how to get myself focused enough to determine What I Really Want, specifically so that I can work some magic towards those ends.
A lot of the past year has been working on the “art” and “sex” elements of my Empress Project. But the Empress, as much as she is VERY MUCH about creativity and sensuality, is also about abundance and stability and I think I need to spend some time (energy, attention, Work) leaning into those aspects.
I wonder to myself what I can offer in exchange for help getting the kind of moderately flexible, very-part-time office/remote-assistant job I’m looking for and what, should I actually secure said job, I can offer on top of that (or after that) to secure the kind of living space we want (2 bedrooms, laundry on site, no pests, ideally with gardening space and a big kitchen, pets A-okay), in any of the neighbourhoods we want, at a price we can afford long-term even if the rent goes up every year.
I keep thinking of Ms Sugar’s long-ago Thoughts on Blood As A Sometimes Food.
I keep thinking of… I think it’s T. Thorn Coyle’s book Sigil Magic where she talks about how doing ritual isn’t the same as doing magic any more than emoting or obsessing about something is the same as working your Will. I keep thinking about how I rarely have any idea if what I’m doing is actually going to get off the ground, let alone get results, let alone-alone get the kind of results I actually want.
Which, like, doesn’t help me actually have the confidence to try spellworking for this stuff, you know?
 
Regardless – and I will surely come back to the above more than once over the coming winter – in my most recent fit of “I don’t know what to dooooooooooo!!!” I did what I tend to do in times of trouble and uncertainty, and started pulling tarot cards.
(Basically, I don’t necessarily even shuffle anything, I just grab the deck and split it at random points).
This is the spread I used.
 
What do I need to think about: The Chariot
What do I need to do: The Eight of Cups
What is my challenge: The Knight of Pentacles
What is my secret weapon: The Four of Wands

 
I tend to read The Chariot as “get up / wake up, and go”. A card about taking action. And it is. But it’s very specifically a card about working one’s will to achieve one’s goals. It’s a card about doing, sure. But it’s also a card about doing magic.
 
The Eight of Cups is typically a card of “mourn and move on”. It’s a card that touches on burnout and anxiety, for sure. And one that suggests leaning into spiritual growth and personal truth, as well. But it’s most often (for me, at least) a card about grieving and letting go, about tying up loose ends and walking away.
 
The Knight of Earth (I can find a picture of the Next World Tarot’s take on the Knight of Pentacles, but there are lots of options out there) is a solid character. But, in the position of a “challenge”, their slow-and-steady nature turns to “afraid to take risks” or “pessimistic” or “keeps themself (too) small”.
 
As for the Four of Wands, for me, it’s always been a card about Community. Participation. Joyful interaction. Strengthening the web of relationships that one is part of. It’s also, however, a card that feels, one the one hand, like the opposite of the Knight of Pentacles’ more challenging aspects – “looking forward expectantly”, “letting go of limitations”, and “opening to new possibilities” – while, on the other, being almost the flip-side of the coin to the Eight of Cups – “getting out of an oppressive situation”, “reflecting on accomplishments”, and “breaking free of bonds”. There’s also an aspect of this card that pertains to taking part in a ritual or rite, although I tend to think that’s more about things like weddings or milestone birthdays (like my upcoming 40th, ye gods…) than, like, solo magical workings in my bathtub. None the less. >.>
 
What do I need to think about: Taking action physically and magically.
What do I need to do: Mourn the (impending, as-yet-unscheduled) loss of this house, and move on (literally as well as figuratively).
What is my challenge: Doing the leg work without getting frozen into inaction due to fear and risk-aversion. Not losing sight of the good stuff over the horizon just because things feel (VERY) precarious right now. Avoiding despair while job- and neighbourhood- hunting in late-stage capitalism and an increasingly expensive city.
What is my secret weapon: My people. My hope. My resistance.
 
I want to keep these cards – these four, and The Sun – in mind as my tarot card meditaiton during this waxing moon. To get’er done without losing sight of my worth and without giving up my arts-oriented work (modeling as a career, and poetry as an a/vocation). To keep making art and magic, possibly in combination. To remember that I’m not entirely powerless. To accept the joy when it comes.
 
~*~
Movement: Not nearly enough. Short, dynamic poses during modeling gigs. Walking all over the place. But that’s about it. I think there needs to be more dancing in my life.
 
Attention: Unsurprisingly? Sniffing around as to what housing costs in which neighbourhoods in town. Keeping an eye on the job boards. Watching the garden for the inevitable frost that will knock a lot of it down (at which-point, it’s clean-up time).
 
Gratitude: Thankful, however ruefully, for the neighbours and friends who brought up having seen the listing for our building on the national real estate website, and for the landlords for not denying it when we brought it up. For library books. For quiet evenings in. For a furnace that works. For clean water that comes right out of the tap. For the tool library. For friends who check in. For slow mornings with my wife. For my girlfriend’s impending (mere days away!) visit. For the upcoming weekend-long kink convention we’ll be attending. For hand-me-down clothes that fit and look good on me. For kindness. For hope.
 
Inspiration: Ongoing climate disaster and housing insecurity, because it’s an ill wind, apparently. :-\ Outside of that, Mabon and related seasonal changes and astrological events, plus the poets of Hustling Verse and also those in my extended circle of queer, polyamourous chosen families. It’s a good place to be.
 
Creation: I wrote two new glosas! I wrote them yesterday! I’m so excited! 😀 😀 😀 I really hope I can keep this up! 😀 Fingers crossed!

Full Moon – Apple Moon Crests (and Wains) – #Mabon / #AutumnEquinox

Red Flesh Apples mid-prep for apple butter. Left of frame: Small cutting board with a sliced apple whose insides look like a red and white bullseye. Center-top of frame: apple cores. Right of frame: crock pot already half full of diced apples. Photo by me.

Red Flesh Apples mid-prep for apple butter. Left of frame: Small cutting board with a sliced apple whose insides look like a red and white bullseye. Center-top of frame: apple cores. Right of frame: crock pot already half full of diced apples. Photo by me.


 
I’m writing the last of this on Autumn Equinox, when Apple Moon is in its last quarter and we’ve just, just slipped into Libra Season.
It’s been, shall we say, a bit of a time around here.
As you know, things have been a wee bit fraught around here of late, although I’m relieved to report that we seem to have nipped that particular problem in its embreonic stages. Hallelujah. Also, I now have five 1-gallon tubs (with ill-fitting lids) hanging out in my kitchen, and I’m thinking that grabbing some builders’ sand from the local hardware store might be a good idea, because it would mean I could store my carrots and beets (and maybe potatoes?) in sand-buckets which, I gather, is the right way to do it).
 
I can’t tell for sure if it’s second-chance summer or not just now, but it’s above 20C, so I’m enjoying it while it’s here.
I’m currently steaming zucchini (the “naturally imperfect” stuff from the grocery store[1]) for the freezer, having already rough-chopped and blanched a few bell peppers for the same reason (they’re just all heaped on a plastic plate, though, rather than going in muffin cups).
I’ve got the steam-juicer home from the tool library (finally) and will be juicing choke cherries (because it turns out I didn’t miss the whole season AND was able to harvest a little bit of mugwort while I was out there). My plan is to do the choke cherries once the zukes are in the freezer, and then cool the juice on the counter, and then in the fridge. I’ll make chokecherry curd on… probably Monday.
 
What I haven’t done (so far) is harvest apples. Part of me is making mental notes to pick some on my way to a modeling gig in the Glebe early next week. Make a batch of crab apple jelly (probably by freezing the apples, and then borrowing the steam-juicer from the tool library again in another couple of weeks). Another part of me is just going “Don’t worry about it! You’ve got buckets of apple butter left over from last year AND you’ve still got some crab apple jelly, too! Focus on harvesting rhubarb and chard! That’s a better idea!”
And… that’s probably what I’m going to do.
 
Between that and the meals I’m making for a friend (who’s working on a couple of NDP campaigns), I’ve got my hands full in the kitchen, which feels pretty good. I feel accomplished when I cook up a lot of food for people, make a really nice meal for us, and/or pack the freezer with produce from the nieghbourhood – or even just the province. It feels like I’m… Okay, this is going to include some negative self-talk here, but: It feels like I’m not being a total free-loader, even though I’m not making a whole lot of money right now. (Which, fuck capitalism, obviously, but here we are). I’m still looking for flexible, part-time office work – applied for a 15 hrs/wk job with the Friends of the Experimental Farm organization, which I would love to get, but who knows when, or even if, I’ll hear from them. So I’m still looking.
 
Listen. I have a confession to make.
Remember back at the New Moon when I followed Liz Worth’s spread for Virgo? How I chose a tarot card to meditate on specifically to remind myself to prioritize my health and my creativity? Remember this?

If all of my bits, from my Deep Self to my literal/physical self are saying “make time to prioritize what matters to you” + “have some confidence, already”, they are also saying “Remember you are worthy. Stop selling yourself short and putting your health and your own goals and priorities last”.

 
I lasted all of one week before a short burst of Bad News hit and an uptick in both anxiety and body-pain came with it. “Guilt and anxiety and despair”, you say? Yeah, kinda.
So maybe my Nine of Swords wasn’t entirely poorly chosen. >.>
I took some time, yesterday morning, to do some extra yoga – which has helped my lower back and hip pain, somewhat – but there’s been a lot of crying and stress-dreams and I’ve been clingier than usual (which is saying something).
Anyway. The end-result of this is that I’ve written a couple of poetry drafts, but I haven’t been doing a lot of writing in the past three weeks that hasn’t been fretful diary entries.
 
My tarotscope – the very last one, since they’re not happening anymore – over at Radical Tarot made a point of reminding me (and all the other Scorpios) that, despite (housing) worries and money fears, “[I’m] okay and [will] be taken care of”.
Which was a good message to have come my way right when ALL of my worst-case-scenario buttons were being mashed.
 
I shuffled my Next World tarot deck, and the following three cards flopped out and onto the floor:
Five of Wands (face up, so that’s my “focus” card)
The Messenger / Heirophant + The Empress (both face down, so I’m treating them as “overarching” and “underlying” cards).
The Ace of Wands (which didn’t fall out of the deck, but was the card on the bottom of the pile when the other three went flying, so I’m paying attention and calling it an advisor).
 
I want to take this as a message of “Don’t let scarcity govern your thinking” and “Take that leap of faith” (The Five of Fire), a message of “Stick to your values” (The Heirophant) and “Keep aiming for what you really want” (The Empress). A message to stay the course and have faith in my path, even when everything feels so fraught and impossible, because I’m going the right way, doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and becoming my fullest, most integrated, self.
I want that to be what this means.
I hope it does.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Haaaaaaaa… I managed to hurt myself doing the most basic of crossfit-esque exercises (the “walking lunge” without any weights or anything to make it harder), so I haven’t been doing a lot of movement in recent days. Which doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a LOT of yoga (to try and help my back – which it’s done) and walking, but which does mean that I’ve been moving slower and a lot more carefully for the past few days. I was relieved to wake up in “normal pain” this morning, rather than the “extra, bonus pain” I’ve been, uh, “enjoying”, for the past few days.
 
Attention: Watching my L4 and L5 like a hawk in case of relapse into “extra bonus pain” territory. Trying to focus, every day, on “What do I want to accomplish, and receive, today” – this is a very recent thing, but it’s seems like it’s worth a try – in order to both get my To Do List actually done, AND to send some thoughts and receptivity out to The Universe Herself and all my Gods and Ancestors, in case they want to give me a hand with anything. Thinking some thoughts (at the invitation of a friend) about how kink and polyamoury relate to the imagery of the tarot suits. Attending – just a little bit more – to my Glamoury, such as it is, trying to remember to wear my Crown Of Light and bring little bit of ritual focus into my creative work and my self-care practices. (I mean, we’ll see how that goes… but try, try again, right? Right).
 
Gratitude: I wrote two poems, and I’m so happy and relieved and grateful that The Poetry is still there! 😀 Grateful for the Tool Library membership that lets me access tools – the steam juicer, the pressure canner, the enormous garden sheers and the pitch fork – without having to find a place to store them. Grateful for poetry acceptances (and getting paid for them, no less!). Grateful for modeling work and (tentative) temp work this coming week. Grateful for partners who love me and make time for me. For an hours-long date with my wife, riding the motorcycle on a bright, gorgeous day, eating ice cream in a little town before heading home the long way. For sexting with my girlfriend and the knowledge that we’ll be in the same place again, in just a couple of weeks. For time to spend with friends, catching up, chatting, and sharing stories. For productivity dates with fellow writers. For knowing my poetry resonates with, and matters to, other people whose histories overlap with my own.
 
Inspiration: Windfall apples and heavy clouds. The clover sprouting (fucking finally) in my front garden. The poetry in Hustling Verse: An Anthology of Sex Workers’ Poetry, which arrived recently and which I’ve finally been able to sit down and start reading. The kids doing Climate Strike actions, and the adults who are joining them. The Wheel of the Year and the tarot suits (as per usual).
 
Creation: I’ve been feeling really tapped out, tbh, for a while now. But this morning, I took myself out and sat myself down, and I wrote two poems and I’m feeling pretty good about both of them. One is going in my chapbook (taking the place of a piece I don’t like that much). The other is the first poem in what I hope will be another chapbook-length project. I have the beginnings of a third poem, though I’m not sure it’s that great (yet). With any luck, it’ll fit into the same new project, and I’ll be able to take it somewhere good.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Okay, full disclosure? There are a LOT of reasons why I don’t like that my neighbourhood is gentrifying, not the least-of-which is that, when our landlords sell the building (which they are currently trying to do) we’re not going to be able to stay here because the rent will be too high for us to find a 2-bedroom we can afford.
BUT
One thing I do like is that the fancier the local grocery store gets, the more I’m able to get aesthetically “imperfect” but otherwise totally fine produce at reduced prices. Meaning: The less I have to rely on stuff that’s already a little bit moldy and/or rotten on the quick-sell cart.
I appreciate this a whole bunch, let me tell you.

Not Actually A Plastic-Free Life

A while back, I wrote a some-what freaked out post about climate change and “eat less meat” and what that might look like at for decidedly omnivorous household.
The half-a-hog fund continues to grow, albeit slowly, and we have switched to milk in 1L bottles and, wow, has that made a difference in how I think about cooking grain… Not because not-organic milk in a 1L bottle is substantially more expensive than not-organic milk in a 1L carton, but because a gallon of the stuff IS more than double the price of a gallon bought, all together, in plastic bags… which means I find myself kind of …rationing? Which I don’t like doing. It’s not the end of the world – thought it might mean that I invest in some non-instant powdered whole milk to have on hand, in case I want to cook polenta in milk rather than water or bone stock – but it IS a noticeably higher cost for the amount of milk I typically go through in 7-10 days. So it’s a very different change from the one I went through when I switched from “ordinary President’s Choice 900g bags of coffee” to their Organics version (which… the difference there is about $5 a month, which is extremely manageable).
Project Eat More Vegetables is going nicely, too. Though it’s currently also resulting in a LOT of fruit flies hanging around the place, which is less fun, AND – because apparently I suck at gardening – it also means that those extra veggies are coming in from the grocery stores which…
…which brings me to my next point.

A variety of empty clear glass bottles and jars, various sizes.

A variety of empty clear glass bottles and jars, various sizes.


Folks… We’ve been finding baby cockroaches in our kitchen (mostly all in the same place, thank the gods) for a couple of weeks now. They started turning up right around when the landlords gutted the unit at the end of our row after the most recent tenants moved out (and left a LOT of stuff behind which… I thought was maybe telling?)
So, at first, we thought “Oh, maybe something has moved around and someone came into our place. Hopefully that’s the only one”.
But that didn’t last.
So.
This morning, we kind of tore the kitchen apart.
Found the nest – which, thankfully, was small and apparently contained only one adult, who is now very much dead – and started the process of Cleaning And Monitoring.
Which is to say that my kitchen is covered in diatomaceous earth (powdered sea shells, essentially) and has sticky traps in the drawers and at various points on the counter.
It’s also to say that I’ve been putting small appliances and dishtowels and similar into zip-lock bags since about noon.
 
You guys, I would love to “get off plastic”.
I’ve been bugging all my politicians (and the NDP candidate for my Riding) about how it would make a big difference in everyone’s petroleum-dependence if someone with the power to legislate this into effect would just force large scale chain store – grocery stores, in particular, but not only – to start packaging their dry goods in paper and cardboard the flour and sugar already are.
 
And I stand by that. I still want that.
 
AND… I am relieved as HECK to still have access to non-porous, fully-sealing, transparent packing materials that don’t take up a tonne of space and DO come in a fairly wide variety of sizes.
Sure, they’re super-useful for food storage – I’ve got gallon bags of whole roma tomatoes and whole nectarines in my chest freezer right now, waiting to be made into hot sauce, plus more of them on the shelf, stuffed with zucchini (destined to be blanched and frozen in a silicon muffin pan, and then chucked back into (most likely) the same bag, once they’re in single-serving-sized pucks) – BUT what I want them for the most is basically emergency pest controls.
 
Seriously. I have put things directly into a landfill-destined trash bag today that, three weeks ago – or, heck, yesterday – I would have been hanging onto “in case we can fix it” or because “someone might want it” or “there must be some way to recycle this” or even “What if something goes wrong and I can’t replace this, shouldn’t I keep it as a spare?”
 
On top of this, as critters that can (like crickets) happily survive on toilet paper tubes and water, cardboard and paper packaging makes for ideal nesting spots for the little bastards[1].
So I’m basically over here going “Fuuuuuuuck! How am I going to take care of thiiiiiis???” Because I want to keep buying my flour and sugar in bulk-sized paper envelopes. I want to use completely biodegradable dollar-store paper lunch bags to buy sunflower seeds and buckwheat flour from the bulk bins at the Herb and Spice. Heck, I want to hang onto the cardboard box, with is serrated metal strip, when I buy aluminum foil.
…And now I have to look at those things as “potential pest habitat” and get rid of them… or at least find a bug-proof way to store them.
 
Which brings me to what I spent the non-cleaning portion of my afternoon doing:
I hit up the dollarama – yes, I shop at the dollar store, you all can cope – and got half a dozen different-sized wide-mouth storage jars. Two of them – about 1L each – are going to be for fridge left-overs (I also got a couple of serving-sized, snap-on-plastic-lid glass boxes for lunch stews and similar). But the rest are going to be for holding plastic bags. Garbage bags. Freezer bags. Snack bags. Things I fully expect to treat as disposable, in and of themselves, but which I don’t want getting over-run with creepy crawlies in the mean time.
 
Beyond that, I’ve transferred most of my garden seeds to an old, pressed tin “Cookie Assortment” box, with the exception of the clover seeds, which are now in a pint jar. My beeswax tealights have been moved to a glass jar much like the one that’s now holding my sandwich bags (I had a few already, some of-which are still in use for food storage – coffee and pasta, respectively – but most-of-which were just gathering dust behind the canning pot).
I’ve moved binder clips out of various not-water-tight plastic receptacles, and I’ve got a couple of extra-large plastic tupperware that are probably going to get used to hold emergency candles, paraffin tea lights, and similar, just to get more cardboard out of the house. But, you guys, it feels SO WEIRD to be working towards a house with as little single-use-plastic as possible… and then to also be like “But we gotta get rid of the cardboard and paper! Thank goodness for zip-locks! This is a disaster waiting to happen!”
It’s bizarre.
 
Anyway. Hopefully I can make all of this work.
Right now, I need to see if I can scrounge up yet another Giant Plastic Bag – it might end up being a garbage bag, tbh – so I can rescue the gorgeous, antique, wooden cutlery tray that I inherited from my grandparents, and which The Roaches decided would make an ideal nesting place (they’re not wrong) – off the back steps, where it’s been languishing, covered in diatomaceous earth, since we evicted it (and them) this morning.
That and finish dealing with the dishes.
Wish me lucks, folks!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad, the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] So, here’s the thing. I still get that cockroaches are people. They’re family-oriented people, no-less, who are just trying to live their lives. And I have no qualms at all about murdering them with extreme prejudice and a good turn of speed, purely because I don’t EVER want to live through being room-mates with them ever, ever again. Which is an odd headspace to occupy, let me tell you…

New Year New You 2019: Week Sixteen – Little Magics Everywhere (A Retrospective on a Magical Visit)

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 is a good week to work on shoaling[…]. Make all your tiny magic fish into one big magic fish.
 

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - The Magician - A busty, long-haired individual in a traditional witch's hat and with a wand at her side, sits at a computer keyboard and points to the space above her head, where knives, a pentacle, a mug of coffee, a mask, and what look like a few chocolates(?) float and dance to her Will.

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – The Magician – A busty, long-haired individual in a traditional witch’s hat and with a wand at her side, sits at a computer keyboard and points to the space above her head, where knives, a pentacle, a mug of coffee, a mask, and what look like a few chocolates(?) float and dance to her Will.


 
Tarot Card: The Magician
When I sat down to write this, I was debating going with the High Priestess. Partly because the High Priestess is frequently coded as “passive” and a lot of these little/”little” magics happened because I was presented with the opportunity to Do A Thing by someone else. But I wanted to emphasize the role of choice here, in so far as it comes to what I chose to do with the opportunities presented.
 
Ms Sugar talks about shoaling – about doing a bunch of little spells, for little things, that happen to all aim (more or less) towards the same goal.
That’s… not exactly what happened here.
Rather, over a month ago, I went to visit my girlfriend in DC, and it felt like a very magical (in the literal, although also just the romantic, sense of the word). So this post is going to be a bit of a retrospective on that one.
 
At my girlfriend’s birthday party (where there was also live music, fire spinning, and poetry), one of her housemates ran an impromptu ritual – strengthening group connections through the Emerald Heart – that included all of us pouring our wills and heart-and-community-related goals into these little fuel-cube things that we fed into the fire to activate them.
I used the opportunity to do some magic about making poetry that serves myself while also finding the right audience for it – people who would also be served by the poetry, would see their own reflections more clearly by reading the ways I’ve written myself down.
It seemed appropriate, given that I’d been performing some of it earlier to a backyard full of exactly the kinds of people that I think of as My Audience. (Queers, kinky folks, trauma survivors, art freaks, sex workers, magic makers, dirt-worshipers, polytheists. Y’know. Us).
 
I practiced energy working a little bit, in a way that let me see if it was having any effect. Which it was! Amazing! 😀
 
We did a Museum Day where we went around and played tourist/tour-guide, and a couple of things happened:
 
We went to the Air & Space Museum – specifically to find Moon Landing goodies for my wife / her metamour – and, while we were there, we got to touch the moon rock. Which… I don’t know if the energy in that big chip of rock (about the size of the cuttlefish bones we get for our little birds to chew on) was due to me having A Religious Experience with one of my gods, or if this very hematite-like bit of rock – the moon has a lot of iron in her make-up – had just picked up and held onto the very human energy of thousands and thousands of people brushing their hands over it every day for decades. But either way, there was Something There that was strong enough for me to pick up on it. O.O
 
We also went to the Renwick Gallery, and the Temple Installation – “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man”, an installation by David Best and the rest of the temple crew – was unexpectedly still running. So I got to spend some time in a temporary – and made to be burned on the Playa – temple to grief and loss. What struck me so much about it was that in the writing that people had done all over the walls, the messages they’d left, the photos they’d brought to leave behind and be destroyed, the words that I saw repeated over and over were “I love you”.
 
And I left something there.
 
There were little wooden “cards” that you could write on – could take away and bring back with other items if you wanted to – and then tuck into the niches between the various layers of woodcut that made up the temple walls. So I wrote something.
Not long before I went to DC, someone on Twitter was doing single-card tarot readings – on the theme of “What you need for your love life” – for anyone who happened to ask for one during a specific time period, just because they were having a good day. And I was like “Sure, hit me up!” and the card this individual drew was Death. What they said about it was “Let the buried memories stay buried. You don’t need to carry them anymore”.
The grief I wrote about did not involve the words “I love you”. We’ll see if writing it down and leaving it there has any effect, but it was basically setting an intention, or maybe making a goal, around not defining my sexual and romantic self by my trauma(s?).
We’ll see what happens.
 
One other thing that happened on Museum Day happened when we stopped for lunch in a specific museum cafeteria. We sat by the window and looked out at the water feature, and we saw that there were four playing cards just… stuck to one of the rocks in the water feature, right were we could see them.
It felt a bit like radiomancy. Just this random chance that happened to include a message via the Language Of Metaphor:
The three of clubs (wands)
The ace of hearts (cups)
And, layered over each other, the eight of hearts and the joker (which can be either the Fool, specifically, or the sum-total of all the major arcana taken together).
 
And, I mean, there’s a lot of stuff in here about experiencing and fulfillment and expanding possibilities (3 of wands) around big-hearted love-intimacy-connection feels (the various cups cards) and I think that’s an accurate interpretation. BUT… I sort of see this as The Locals kind of just checking in, and I find that the land, in particular, tends to be very, very literal. So, given how ¾ of those cards have ties to traveling and journeys? Like, I’m inclined to read this as basically “Oh, hey, we see that you’re in a long-distance relationship together. Got it!” Which reminded me – in a really positive way – of that meme about how sometimes your tarot cards are just like “Wow, girl… you’ve been going through some really hard stuff” and you’re like “Yeah! Any suggestions on what I can do?” and they’re like “Just, wow… this has been really hard. Are you okay?”
Like, sometimes, it’s just The Family going “I see you and acknowledge what’s going on in your life”.
It was kind of delightful. 🙂
(That said, given that tarot draw, and the temple at the Renwick, I can read that 8 of Cups as relating to that, too, if I want to do a me-specific, rather than us-specific, reading).
 
Anyway.
So those were the little magics that I got to do/experience while in DC.
&bsp;
My girlfriend – who described me as being “all food, sex, poetry, blood, magic and religion”, which is not inaccurate – sent me home with T. Thorn Coyle’s book on sigil magic, which I started reading on the plane home (while hanging out on the runway for 45 minutes due to weather conditions, actually). A lot of it (so far) is about meditation and getting into the right headspace – for magic or creative writing work, either way – rather than being about making and working with sigils. But I’m finding it useful anyway.
 
My visits with my girlfriend – in significant part because we live far enough away from each other that we can’t do “every other weekend” type visits – tend to feel a little bit Time Outside Of Time anyway, because we’re both effectively on vacation when we get to see each other. Also, being both really woo, that tends to be a factor as well. But those periods where I have the time and the company that really, really allow for me to have religious experiences and long shop-talk about spirituality and our respective practices… they’re a reminder of how important this stuff is for me, how good it feels to be able to have these conversations and these experiences.
 
So it means that I’ve been pushing myself (just a little bit) to do that stuff more often. To do my Moon Salutations, with at least a little bit of vocalizations, every day. To finally make new beeswax candles for my altar. To light up some incense and do a little bit of energetico-spiritual tidying (and also some literal tidying, tbh). To follow Thorn’s directions and approach my writing as something akin to meditation (which, turns out, really helps me access the poetry-writing part of my brain). To take the time to put on my Crown of Light and write “worthy” on my leg in perfume oil. To start a couple of new poetry projects, one of-which is (so far) devotional in nature. To make a point of shifting my focus lower, to the permanent Ground that I always have going on, to actively try to run energy from those deep-set roots up to the crown of my head, to try to open up the top of my head when I’m reaching for connection with my Ladies.
And it feels good to be doing those things. Sometimes nervous-making, but still good.
I feel like this post connects pretty directly to the one I did for Week Five, almost a year-and-a-half ago, about making little magics in my life, every day. Re-enchanting my daily tasks in order to help me keep at them.
Because the challenge, for me, often is to keep at them, without feeling silly or just “tired” (but I did it yesteday…) or whatever, and deciding I can skip X, Y, or Z or “just one day” and then having “one day” turn into a week or a month or more than a month.
But even Granny Weatherwax was just starting, “every day, just starting”, so coming back and starting over every day is still worthy, you know? But it’s easier if I’m doing it all the time.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Moon – Apple Moon Begins

Autumn is definitely on its way.
I kind of fear that my garden has been a bit of a bust this year – though we’ve got a few beans and I expect to bring in a few bouquets of chard over the next couple of months (mostly for the freezer). I’ve basically missed chokecherry season, so I didn’t make chokecherry curd this year. I feel a bit silly about that, but here we are. I’ll be harvesting apples (mostly crab apples) and trying my hand at cider and mead again this year, though.
At least my freezer is stocked with zucchini (though I’d like to get another 2-3 dozen pucks of the stuff frozen, tbh, if not more) and diced tomatoes (same – I’m doing this instead of canning them, this year, because I find I like the taste of the frozen stuff better than the taste of crushed tomatoes with sugar and vinegar in them… go figure) before the summer’s well and truly gone.
We’ve managed to acquire a new food processor, after I managed to melt the carafe on the our previous one. One of my art clients has downsized and is getting rid of some housewares, so she passed that along to us. As such, I have Grand Plans for lots of hummus, and also for (renewing my Ottawa Tool Library membership and) borrowing the pressure canner in order to put up a 4-8 liters of pumpkin soup, and a dozen pints of ready-to-go chick peas and great northern beans. I my try using their steam juicer, too, when I bring in the crab apples.
Other than that, the main thing I’ll be water-bath canning is pumpkin butter. No, my pumpkins didn’t give me any fruit (other than one half-eaten, but otherwise ripening, one low on a small vine… dammit), but I’ll be out at the grocery store buying up Porcelain Doll pumpkins – which are super meaty and don’t have a tonne of water content OR seeds – to turn into soup and pumpkin butter and, eventually, pumpkin-pie frozen yoghurt (and, um, actual pumpkin pies…).
I feel okay (…ish) about this.
I hope I still feel okay about it in November and, rather more-so, in February and April.
Fingers crossed.
 
~*~
 
Following Liz Worth’s spread for connecting with this very earthy Virgo new moon, I pulled the following cards (or, more accurately, had the following cards jump out of the deck in this order):
 
What is my body calling for? – The Star
This is a card about hope and optimism, not something I necessarily associate with “what is my body telling me I physically need”. But, as a body card, it says “Slow down. Find your center”.
Someone (Parneet on Chai Chats?) referred to meditation as “body time”. Like “Yes, mind, I see you having lots of thoughts, but it’s not time for that right now. Right now is body time”.
That said, and somewhat to my surprise, The Star allegedly has something to do with body issues like “ankles, legs, blood circulation, spasmodic complaints, nervous system“. Which is like… “I do have nerve-related issues in my legs because of my back stuff…” So that’s also relevant to attend to.
 
What is my schedule calling for? – The Page of Earth
This card, I pulled off the top of the deck when it felt right to do so. The other cards were all jumpers, so I feel like I had a bit of agency (not tonnes, but some) in choosing this. Which seems apt, given what it’s about. The Page of Earth is a card of curiosity (as opposed to anxiety) but, even more-so, it’s a card of steady, step-by-step actions: Make the time to make the things. Make the time to do the yoga. Make the time to do the offerings. Prioritize the commitments you’ve made to yourself, your art, your gods. Make the time to write the poetry and work on the phsyical, concrete projects that will get you where you want to go.
 
What is my foundation calling for? – The Page of Fire
Full disclosure? I’m not sure what “my foundation” is. When I was shuffling for this one, I sent my focus down to my roots, down to the seat of my need, but this could just as easily refer to the “Deep Self” or “Divine Self” that Starhawk and Gede Parma talk about.
Either way, the card I got was the Page of Fire, which is a card of creativity and optimism (much like the Star, actually) as well as a card of risk-taking and confidence. My foundation – whatever that is – says “Put Yourself Out There!”
 
What is my wisdom calling for? – The Three of Earth
This is the card of “know your worth”. It calls for collaboration and says “let your labour be meaningful”. It reminds me, just a little, of this post, from more than a year ago, reminding myself to make the holy every-day and to make the every-day holy. I may not need to conceptualize every single act of washing dishes and doing vacuuming as a specific thing I’m doing to honour a particular deity (Mattaer, in this case), but remembering what it will get me, what it’ll make easier or better for me, is also relevant. Vacuuming may not be meaningful in and of itself, but making the space clean and nice so that I want to roll out my yoga mat? That’s relevant. Doing the every-day labour because I’m worthy of the results.
 
What I’m picking up on:
Make your labour meaningful – imbue your work with meaning; Be brave and put your creative self out there. Know your worth and let other people see and recognize it. Your work is meaningful, so prioritize it. Make the time to do the things that are meaningful to you, that you (say you) value, that matter to you (…and that help your body deal with its physical issues).
 
~*~
 
It’s with the above in mind that I choose – because I’m choosing this one – for this waxing cycle’s tarot card meditation the Nine of Air.
Wait, what? Isn’t the nine of air about guilt and self-loathing and anxiety and despair??
Well, yes. And that’s relevant here – If all of my bits, from my Deep Self to my literal/physical self – are saying “make time to prioritize what matters to you” + “have some confidence, already”, they are also saying “Remember you are worthy. Stop selling yourself short and putting your health and your own goals and priorities last”. So, on the one hand, I’m choosing the Nine of Air as a “stop doing this specific business” reminder. It relates to my Body’s call to “find your center” as well, and to the my need to enter a slightly meditative (or at least quiet, slowed-down, non-spinning) state if I want to actually do my art with any degree of skill.
But the nines – as Melissa Cynova says in Kitchen Table Tarot – are all about maturing and awareness.
 

Wildwood Tarot – Nine of Arrows – “Dedication” – a woman in a blue gown and a red shawl plays her bow as though it were a musical instrument.


 
The Wildwood Tarot depicts, and defines, the Nine of Arrows (air, swords) in a much more positive light than most interpretations I’ve come across. In this instance, the Nine is a card of focus and dedication, of stripping away distractions. Here, as the little write-up book says, the figure directs “their arrows of inspiration by playing the bow as an instrument of summoning. The inner oath helps keep [them] on a balanced footing”.
 
I chose this card primarily for this reason. A reminder to Show Up. To do the actions (to start again, over and over, in doing them) that move me towards my goals. To dedicate myself to myself, to my art, to my gods. To do the daily practices (will I do them every day? Will I make sure of it?) that are good for my body, good for my religiosity, that will help me be open to the connections I want and miss.
 
So, with that, I’m going to work on my Collage workshop submission, see if I can write a poem, make some beeswax tea lights, and do a tiny bit of yoga.
 
~*~
 
Movement: LOTS of walking – maybe a little too much, due to Dyke March last Saturday. Moon Salutations. “Push Outs” in doorways, at the laundromat, and in the hall using the banister as support. There needs to be more dancing here, I think.
 
Attention: Watching the apple ripen, and just being very aware that autumn is pretty much on the doorstep – ye gods, but this felt like such a cool, short summer… Noticing all the queers, whose colours and finery are a little more obvious because of the recent Pride festivities. (I love us. I love our joy and how much we shine). Where I’m feeling Nerve Issues in relation to my lower back. When and whether I’m starting to spin, and how long it takes (and what it takes) to chill myself back out again.
 
Gratitude: Friends who invite me to visit, let me use their washing machines, turn up with butter and cheese after their non-vegan guests have gone home, make plans to see me and follow through with them, who send me bags of garden produce, who ask me how I’m doing. A weekend on my own. Video dates with both my partners. A fun novel to pour myself into. Poems that come fairly easily and work out pretty well in first-draft form. Three new poems in print. snuggles with my wife. Ice cream cones and successfully improvised “fancy flavours” yoghurt pops (I did crab-apple & juniper, and they were good). Letters from my girlfriend. Getting queer-spotted by another femme, and feeling Actually Seen, which was pretty great.
 
Inspiration: Trying to dig into my experiences in DC, about a month ago, to write poetry that touches a lot on spirituality. Digging out old books of Goddess Poetry for similar reasons. My chapbook is pretty-much ready to shop around – though I’d like to get four more pieces in print before I actually start that particular process – but it means that it’s time to start work on the next one, along side continuing to do my Femme Glosa Project. I’m currently thinking that maybe I’ll try writing some devotional poetry and see where that gets me, if anywhere? Seems like a good idea for now, so let’s see where it takes me. Planning to hit up an open mic tonight and (perform, but also) see if I get inspired there, too.
 
Creation: A number of poems, a couple of which is pretty good and the rest of which are… “very drafty”, let’s say. But still: Poems! Working on a knitting project that seems to be coming along much better than the last time I tried this one. Made and/or repaired a heap of earrings. The above-mentioned yoghurt-pops.

Full Moon – Thunder Moon Waxes and Crests

Thick, purple thunder clouds over a probably city-scape that has been largely cropped out of the frame. Photo by “Rubbish Computer” via Wiki Free Images.


 
Berry Moon has come and gone – my freezer has a big bag of service berries and a smaller bag of red currants to show for it – and it was very hot and very dry. My garden staggered by on 14 gallons of water roughly every other day, but I’m sure it’s as relieved as I am to be getting heavier waterings than my watering can and I have been providing.
Thunder Moon started a little over 10 days ago (at the time of this writing), in Leo, just before Lammas, and right around when I was getting home and settled after a week-long visit to my girlfriend’s place and the last of Mercury Retrograde kicking my ass on the way home. It’ll be full, in Aquarius, later this week, but I’ve got some time, so I’m doing the scribbling now.
 
You guys, my squash are not doing so well.
Technically, I’m not sure ANYTHING is doing well – my chard is okay, and my two tomato plants are doing their thing, but they’re giving me maybe 2-3 cherry tomatoes per day, put together, which is… not a lot. My beans have started flowering, and they look like they’re doing just fine. But the cilantro and dill have gone to seed (fine – I’ll use the coriander and the dill seed just as happily) and the basil and anise hyssop are… struggling. The ground cherries kind of just aren’t. And the squirrels ate about 1/5 of my one and only pumpkin and seem to be going after any fertilized squash bebes they can get their hands on.
Anyway.
I’m kind of like “Fuck it. The clover I sow won’t germinate. I dig a heap of manure compost into the ground and plant a compost-loving-plant like squash in it and… not a whole lot happens. Like, yes, I totally let the ground cover cover the ground. It’s what it’s for. But is it actually that bad? Is the apple mint a problem? Because it’s supposed to deter squash bugs but didn’t deter them much (the bottom of my shoe, however…) and maybe they are crowding the squash? Should I just yank out the smallest of them and give the rest some extra room?
Maybe?
So that might be a thing that I do with the squash, in the hopes of having the remaining ones get bigger and start producing Actual Food.
Beyond that? Beyond that, I have a basket of zucchini on my counter, half-of-which will go into my freezer, and plans to do similar with as many peppers, nectarines, and roma tomatoes as I can swing. Sweet peppers and greens, too.
Also, I’m starting to watch the apples and crab apples that grow near my laundromat and on my way to various libraries, because they’re ripe or ripening and, while I have a LOT of apple butter still lying around after last year’s bonanza, I’m pretty much not someone who say No to free food, so I will probably at least make some pies, you know?
 
I’ve been reading T. Thorn Coyle’s Sigil Magic and, in line with that, have been asking myself “What do I want???”
Those three question marks are intentional.
Sometimes “what I want” is simple, if not necessarily easy. I want my old, kind of broken, computer to keep working for another few years. Or I want the shredded comfrey leaves with-which I mulched my squash and beans, to translate into a lot of squash and beans for my kitchen (I think I need a lot more comfrey, and a couple of years of adding this kind of mulch frequently and regularly, to really get that, though). Or I want a machine that will wash three racks of dishes all at the same time, just by turning a dial and pressing a button. Easy. Specific.
And sometimes they’re not that.
Sometimes “what I want” is nebulous and fearful and teary and basically boils down to “I want this not to be happening. Please make this not be happening”. And I don’t even know what to do about those. The things I can do to mitigate them, I do, but most of what I can do is so negligible they seem utterly useless, utterly hopeless.
And sometimes they’re not that, either.
Sometimes they’re big – no less specific for being big, but big none the less – and require a lot of trust and a willingness to let a lot of it be out of my own hands as to whether or not I get what I hope for. Sometimes I feel guilty for wanting these things. Not because they’re “bad” or even “selfish”, necessarily. But because they’re just so substantial.
Sometimes I’m afraid to look at them. Mostly, I think, because I’m afraid if I make some kind of definitive statement about “This is what I want. I want XYZ”… and then I’m wrong…
And, yeah… Like, I just had to literally ask myself “Okay, so… what’s the problem? You want a thing, you try it, and it doesn’t fit as well as you thought, and…?” and the answer is some wordless jumble of “sunk costs” and “wasting other people’s time/energy/patience” wherein “other people” includes both human being who share my life with me and also various deities who showed up and helped with the opening of doors and so-on.
…Which is maybe a silly thing to feel?
 
Chani’s horoscope (for Scorpio) for the recent New Moon says:

With this new moon, I know that good things flow towards me all the time, but it’s my job to remember to flow with them. To prepare a space for them to land. Take root. Grow tall and wide.
I am an excited host for the arrival of all blessings. I know that nothing squashes good fortune like an expectation of what it should look, be, or act like. I remind myself that cosmic gifts come it all kinds of bizarre forms. The more I trust what shows up, the more I am able to work with it for as long as it is with me.

 

Osho Zen Tarot - Playfulness (the Page of Fire) - A joyful clown dances in a cloud of sparkles.

Osho Zen Tarot – Playfulness (the Page of Fire) – A joyful clown dances in a cloud of sparkles.


 
Osho Zen Tarot - Awareness (the Chariot) - A silhouette on a veil is burned through by the cold blue fire of enlightenment, a bodhisattva emerges.

Osho Zen Tarot – Awareness (the Chariot) – A silhouette on a veil is burned through by the cold blue fire of enlightenment, a bodhisattva emerges.


 
Following that, I pulled two cards (from my Osho Zen deck) for this upcoming Full Moon’s tarot card meditation: Playfulness (the Page of Fire, upright) and Awareness (the Chariot, reversed).
I can’t help but boil them down to “Be open to play, to trying new things just to try them. Send the shambling zombies of your poetry off into submission land and then forget about them. Scribble porn just to remember that you can, in fact, write porn. Proposition your sweeties as though you were doing pick-up play at a party. Don’t take everything so seriously because it’s not all life and death… and also, be ready for the ride when it comes, because it’s going to come and it’s going to come from inside”.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon Salutations on the dock of a metamour’s cottage + climbing those 69 steps up and down repeatedly over last weekend. Walking to and from my week-long temp job. Walking all over DC’s downtown checking out galleries and museums with my girlfriend + dancing in her back yard. Hauling home 30+ lbs of groceries before the cottage trip. Taking a long, rambling walk to, and then through, the Experimental Farm and then circling back via the arboretum. Sex that, while wonderful, also reminded me just how little stamina I actually have.
Nothing super heavy, but lots of good moving around.
 
Attention: Listening to The Shondes (uplifting tunes for the win!), trying to identify trees in on the Experimental Farm and in the Arboretum.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for being able to pay for plane tickets to DC twice a year. For a long, easy date with my wife, yesterday. For grilled cheese sandwiches. For cherry tomatoes off the vine. For unexpected temples and magical group rituals (uh… more on those later). For full-day modeling gigs. For thunder storms that rattle the windows. For a break in the heat. For breezy sunshine. For dinner with my sister and drinks with my brother-in-law in the same week, even though they both live out west. For sex. For poly-family photos and vacations.
 
Inspiration: Brian Eno’ and Peter Schmidt’s “Oblique Strategies” deck, as performed by this random prompt provider website. I like “remember those quiet evenings” and “a line has two sides”, so far, and find “Once the search is in progress, something will be found” to be kind of comforting, tbh.
 
Creation: Remarkably little, but I did write a scrap of something that might turn into A Real Poem.