New Moon – Harvest Moon Begins

The new moon in Libra was technically yesterday. The weekend kicked off with Venus moving into retrograde (through Scorpio until mid-November) and Mercury joined her there as of yesterday (October 10th).
It’s, uh… it’s been a weekend. O.O
And a follow-up week – I keep thinking of this song,the line “friends and lovers help me put my armour back together” and how there are a LOT of check-ins and support calls going back and forth across a number of provinces and at least one international border right now.
It was Unholy Harvest last weekend and, along with having a house full of queers (which is, in and of itself, so completely wonderful), there were also a whole bunch of lovely things that went down at the actual event.
I can’t help looking at this part of Liz Worth’s Venus-in-retrograde horoscope for Scorpio:

Sexual healing can also be particularly prominent right now. Venus retrograde can also help to cut through any assumptions we might have about what we think sex is supposed to be. It can help to challenge shame and taboos, and to heal traumas.

…and thinking: Oh.
So I have a whole bunch of stuff to chew on about that.
I’m feeling a bit like my Glamour Game was pretty on point, E.G.: I gave a different kind of D/s dynamic a try, one that just happens to involve some solid integration of those “easy to render likeable and charming” and “not-so-easy to render likeable and charming” elements of myself, and it feels like a really good fit (and is now on-going). I did some pick-up play with a near-stranger and it was fun and light and also marvelously intimate, and it was neat to do something like that and feel solidly good about it at the end. I got to re-confirm some stuff with my wife/voluntary-property. So there have been some solid Empress Project achievements going on there.
I’m rather pleased with the whole situation.
Garden-wise and Kitchen-wise… things are a bit of a different story.
My house was full of wonderful people for most of the past week. Which is great. But it means that I got home from Thanks Giving with my mom only to realize that those two cloth bags of pears that a friend of mine invited me to harvest from her pear tree a while back… they were well on their way PAST ripe and into liquefying. And so were most of the red peppers in the plastic bag on top of my chest freezer.
So I spent a frantic and flailing late-evening dealing with sticky everything while I made more-impromptu-than-I-wanted-it-to-be cider out of these already-fermenting pears and otherwise cleaned up the worst of the fruit-fly farm in the kitchen.
This morning, I finished pressing the pears, put them through a food mill, and did the same with the saved apples (about 1/3 of which were not so useable, but the rest were fine), and so now I have recently-pasteurized cider cooling on the stove and balsamic-vanilla pear butter (with some apple mash thrown in) slow-cooking in the instant pot, and I am feeling a LOT better about the whole situation.
I also roasted two turkeys and have successfully stripped them for parts, so my freezer has a LOT of already cooked and diced meat in it for me to pull out as needed AND an out-of-town friend passed along a couple of bags of really lovely groceries before heading back home on Monday, so, like… we’re really well-set-up over here right now. (Thanks!)
Weather-wise: Things are weird. I want to take note of this because it seems very strange. The temperature is fluctuating up and down in a way that doesn’t feel like typical “dogwood summer” weather. Too humid, for a start, and rather than a week or two of hot, dry weather, it’s more like a couple of days at 18C-25C then a substantial drop in temperature, down to single-digit temperatures and frost warning territory, and then a sudden swing back up again.
I don’t remember (and will have to check) if this happened at this time last year. But it’s concerning, right now, and I’m not sure what to do about that other than to make fermented green tomato pickles and freeze a lot of chard.

Next World Tarot (Cristy C Road) - Arsenal (4 of Earth), Connection (2 of Water), Self Sufficiency (9 of Earth), and Safety (10 of Water).

Next World Tarot (Cristy C Road) – Arsenal (4 of Earth), Connection (2 of Water), Self Sufficiency (9 of Earth), and Safety (10 of Water).

Onwards! When I do my tarot meditation pulls, I don’t stick to any one type of draw. Sometimes I do a spread, sometimes I shuffle until a card jumps out of the deck. Sometimes I split the deck and draw the two cards in the middle.
This time, I did a bit of a twist on a face-up tarot spread. I pulled four cards, more or less at random, after shuffling my Next World deck and then I went and found a spread that worked with the cards I’d drawn and what I wanted to get out of them.
Liz Worth has a spread for the New Moon in Libra that seems pretty appropriate:

1. What needs to be honoured in my relationships?
2. What new beginning can I create with those I love?
3. What can I do to be heard?
4. What or who do I need to listen to now?

…And I’ll probably make use of it to give these cards a second interpretation. BUT that spread I chose for this is a different one. One that feels like a “permission” spread, which is what I’m looking for right now.
The RAIN Spread lays out four cards and asks us to Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture the results in turn. To that end, a spread that I think is really quite lovely:
Recognize: Arsenal (4 of Earth)
I have long understood the Four of Earth to be a card about fear and miserliness, a mix of “can’t share” and “can’t trust”, a card of tenuous shelter that says “Nobody will take care of me, so I must (only) take care of myself!” And that’s relevant here, in the “recognize” position. But the Four of Earth is also a card about structure, a card about getting the hang of Adulting, if you will, about having that Room Of One’s Own in-which to rest and create.
…And that’s relevant, too.
Cristy C Road’s interpretation of her own card touches on the “first tools” of survival that we learn as children, and asks “Is home a sanctuary or a suffocation”.
I think, in this position, the Four of Earth is saying “Recognize the tools you have, but also question whether or not they are the appropriate tools for this particular job”. Recognize that you have an anxious-preoccupied attachment style, recognize that the structure of schedules and routines and Expectations and consistency can help manage those anxieties, but can also feel restrictive or cause problems when life happens and you, or someone else, needs those structures to be flexible and changeable.
Allow: Connection (2 of Water)
This is what I mean by “permission”. I’m definitely feeling a significant degree of NRE over here, so… that’s a whole thing.
But, in addition to allowing the connection between my new sweetie and me to grow as it will, rather than holding it at arm’s length, I think this is also a reminder to continue REconnecting and reinforcing the connections I share with my wife, and (on top of this, even) to remember that making short-term intimate connections with near-strangers doesn’t have to be emotionally dangerous if I keep my boundaries appropriately set (a thing that I am getting better at recognizing and managing).
Investigate: Self Sufficiency (9 of Earth)
The Nine of Earth is one that I recognize as ripeness, as a card about gratitude and trust, but also about competence and accomplishment. In the “recognize” position, this would be an invitation to notice all the good, all the connections, all the ways of making family, all the potential for trust and mutuality, to acknowledge the ways I’ve helped myself take care of myself. But in the “investigate” position, I think the Nine of Earth is telling me to look into ways to (a) look after myself, (b) show up for My People, and (c) be open/welcoming to the good people and things that are present/developing in my life.
Nurture: Safety (10 of Water)
The Ten of Water. It’s not the bliss/wish-fulfillment of the Nine of this suit but, rather, the solid, steady joy that underpins family-connections you know in your bones you can trust and rely on.
The ten of water is my marriage. The ten of water is my closest friends, the ones who have rooms in my heart. This is a call (related to the “allow” card, I’m sure) to nurture, cultivate, and celebrate both the new, and the long-standing, relationships that matter so deeply to me. Dear Gods… Thank you for all of them. ❤
If I were to set an intention for this New Moon, based on the cards I've drawn, I would say: Let me welcome what wants to grow with me, let me cultivate what I want to grow.
Movement: Lots of short-pose modeling and walking. I think swimming would be a good one for my joints though. I’m being reminded that dancing – even a 15-minute private dance party in my living room – is really good for my body and also my brain. More of that needed, I think.
Attention: Paying attention to my now-multiple power exchanges, and checking in with a lot of friends to see how they’re doing.
Gratitude: Thankful for, ha, the edit option, since I hit post without even filling this in… Additionally thankful for: Reconnecting with my wife. Being able to talk about heavy things with people near and dear to me. Friends who trust me. The new romantic(?) person in my life (in general, but also) being willing to be very vulnerable with me while giving me the chance to catch up with her a little bit. Friends who give us food. Random messages from people I love telling me they miss me or that they’re glad I’m part of their lives. Quiet days. Cold FX. A freezer full of turkey. A garden still full of rainbow chard. Good house guests who turn up with fancy cheese or who do dishes or who take us out for dinner. Her collar under my hand. A weekend spent with such beautiful, wonderful queers… you guys, my soul is restored. ❤
Inspiration: Garden as metaphor is starting to pick up some more steam. I’ve still got two poetry projects to get sorted before I can reeeeeeeeeeeeeally pick that one up again in earnest, but – maybe because it’s autumn and I’m harvesting a lot of things? – it’s starting to ring some bells again. Also, I’ve been reading the Queer Issue of ROOM Magazine, and it’s helping to refill my poetry well. Hurrah!
Creation: Still at a low tide on the creative front, though I did manage to write a couple of poems. I’m starting to get itchy for some scribbling, though, and want to make space for a writing date with myself in the very near future (possibly Monday).

The Naked Heart Challenge – Full Moon in Aries Spread (a few days late)

So I was browsing through instagram (like you do) and I found this spread, which is part of The Naked Heart Challenge. Not actually planning to take part in this challenge (seeing as it’s on Day 24 already and, for all I know, is all of a month long) BUT I like the look of this one, so I decided to throw it and see what turned up. Check in with the Internal Ant Farm, so to speak.

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn:  Top Left - 7 of Water.  Top Right - 3 of Water.  Bottom Left - 3 of Earth.  Bottom Right - 5 of Earth.  Center - The Fool v.N. + 99 of Air

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn:
Top Left – 7 of Water.
Top Right – 3 of Water.
Bottom Left – 3 of Earth.
Bottom Right – 5 of Earth.
Center – The Fool v.N. + 99 of Air

Readers, all four of those outer cards jumped from the deck all at once.
I drew the two in the center as a two-card-pull on purpose. (See below).
Where do I need to relax? – Seven of Water
Wanting in all directions, questioning whether what I’m wanting is wishful thinking (…projecting) and/or whether it’s okay/realistic to want what I want.
I’m inclined to take this as a big “Chill out” (and or “Stop over-thinking it”) from the Universe and my People. Like, yes, That One Crush isn’t into you and that’s not gonna change, but the friend zone is actually pretty great, so stop worrying about it. Like, yes, you’re about to try a new type of D/s play and you’re kind of freaking about the ethics of it (Oh, hey, just like you freaked over doing SM when you started out, or when you first got your Kitchen Ghost… does this sound familiar?), but your scene partner is totally down and offering you a lot of reassurance and full disclosure, and maybe you should stop worrying about it and trust her a little? Maybe stop making decisions based on the assumption that you have to know all the answers already.
Where do I need to take action? – Three of Water
Polyamoury card! (At least in my case). Joy. Celebration. Social interactions. Cultivating (and participating in) community/ies. Doing what makes me happy.
Maybe this is a(nother) push for me to get my Date on. Maybe it’s a reminder that poetry shows and kink events, queer get-togethers and group rituals and productivity parties with fellow writers are important because they both feed my soul and refill my creative well, so I need to make sure that I take part in them on the regular.
Where do I need to retreat? – Three of Earth
Teamwork. Planning.
This can just as easily be read to mean “back off” rather than (or in addition to) “retreat”, and can be a card about having appropriate boundaries at/around work (whether “work” is paid work or not). Taking on responsibilities that aren’t mine, that are more than I can carry, or that might go unacknowledged.
There’s some cross-over here wrt the feelings stuff in the upper half of this spread, but I think it’s mostly about taking a step back from the “muddy middle” when friend approach me to ask about work my wife can do, or refraining from stepping in to micro manage some other adult’s allergies, accommodations, or whatever else it is that they can really take care of on their own.
Where do I need to charge ahead/through? – Five of Earth
Being an outsider. Feeling unwelcome.
While I used the Silicon Dawn deck for this spread, my most familiar version of the Five of Earth is the one from the Osho Zen deck, which depicts a little kid looking longingly through a locked gate, without realizing that the chain can just be unwound, that they can just slip between the bars if they want to.
The is an earth card, so it means material security, stability, and worthiness/entitlement around physical/financial/bodily things. This is kind of a “right in the feels” card for me right now. The teeter-totter of who financially supports whom at our house is shifting again which, on the one hand, is a huge relief, but on the other is bringing to light (again) all the weird “unworthy of care” feelings that I’m carrying around with me that, if they can’t splort out in one area, find somewhere else to rear their ugly heads. I think this card is a reminder that, rather than continuing to believe what I know isn’t true (that my wife will resent me, leave me, or both if I don’t do Everything myself – uh… see above, re: Three of Earth…), why not just slip through that gate and let your partner be a partner now that she’s able to again.
Where Should I Focus My Fiery Energy? – The (Fiery, how appropriate) Fool version N AND the Ninty-Nine of Air.
This Fool, in this deck, is the one who eventually morphs into Aleph Yin November (The Fool Who Flies) . The other card – another one of the Silicon Dawn’s bonus weirdo cards – stands for over-reaction, for living in the shadow of Certain Doooooooooooom.
This is why I drew two cards. One for what I should focus that fiery energy on, yes, and one to show me what’s standing in my way.
Focus my energy on becoming my biggest, best, most integrated self. (Get your Empress Project back in gear, basically).
Be aware that my own fear of being Too Visible (and all the nasty, anti-femme, anti-women stuff that can be leveled at one when one does that under Patriarchy) is what’s convincing me to stay small, stay “safe”, avoid the certain dooooooom of being and expecting Too Much.
Alright then.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Squash Moon Crests (Autumn Equinox)

Huge, ripe fairy tale pumpkin - light brown skin, deep orange flesh, and lots of seeds - sitting on on a thick butcher's block cutting board. The pumpkin has a big wedge cut out of it, so you can see how thick the flesh is. Photo by me, taken last January.

Huge, ripe fairy tale pumpkin – light brown skin, deep orange flesh, and lots of seeds – sitting on on a thick butcher’s block cutting board. The pumpkin has a big wedge cut out of it, so you can see how thick the flesh is. Photo by me, taken last January.

There’s no threat of frost yet, but the temperatures below 10C overnight and it’s cold in the shade (and in the sun, and in the house because I try not to turn the money-devouring-furnace on until October).
The picture, above, is of a pumpkin I bought last Hallowe’en. It’s the kind they sell – dark green, blazed with orange, and very under ripe – at the grocery store as a “decorative gourd” but which is hella edible, albeit very watery. It sat on my table for a few months before it ripened to a pale, milk-chocolatey brown, and then I cut it open and baked it in wedges. It’s too watery for pie, even when baked (flavour is too diluted) but it’s a gorgeous addition diced into stews and braises.
I have zero ripe winter squash on my vines (not surprising, they usually take another month for me, and get harvested in late October) and I might not even get any, since what fruiting flowers I’ve had have been gnawed upon by the squirrels. But I chose this picture because it’s getting to be that time of year.
The Season of the Witch.
It’s Autumn Equinox today. Full moon in Aries tomorrow. The day and night are balance – same duration – and boy howdy, was I feeling that these past couple of days.
For those who aren’t in the area, my neck of the woods got walloped as it rarely does, with a big wind storm and a tornado that destroyed a number of people’s homes and took out power to a number of big chunks of the city, including our place (which is definitely still standing and, given that I’m typing this at all, has its power back on).
I gotta say: The limited daylight hours are very noticeable when you’re trying to wash dishes by candle light.
A power outage is a funny thing.
The first night is almost like a vacation. We stood outside and watched the stars (which were so much more visible with no ambient city lights), waved to the big, gibbous (then in Aquarius) moon, shared a glass of wine.
Dinner was home made bread with a fancy terrine and half a wheel of local brie. I got some knitting done and we sat on the couch and chatted.
The next day was a bit more stressful.
Wondering how long it would be before the lights came back on. Wondering how many things we can reasonably cook on a butane camp stove before (a) we run out of butane, and (b) we have to start cooking outdoors because it’s too cold to ventilate by opening up the windows. Wondering how to manage our very well-stocked (go me!) freezers and fridge when the electricity wasn’t keeping them cold anymore.
That was the big one, tbh.
Like, ice cream for breakfast is fun and all, but I was very, very glad I’d made that batch of yoghurt – and thus used up half of my milk – on Thursday, because yoghurt would keep for a lot longer.
Wondering how pan-fried kidneys were going to work out (probably fine, even with no garlic in the house), and whether or not I could do a slow-braised pork tongue on that little camp stove, or pan-fry more than one chicken leg at a time. Wondering how long chicken stock in unsealed jars can keep at room temperature.
Wondering whether or not I could make an adequate, pan-fried falafel-type… patty(?) using the already-cooked, whole chick peas and black beans rapidly thawing in the freezer… Would they hold together if putting them through my food mill left them kind of… chunky? Would they taste okay?
Wondering if we could rig the non-functioning, grill-free barbecue shell in the back up to be a wood-burning fire pit where we could (maybe?) use downed branches to make a longer-term cooking area, if we needed one. (Would it warp or even melt the aluminum? Could we find enough wood in the immediate area to even do this?) Could we drag Boroslava, our chimney-free, not entirely structurally sound but remarkably resilient, wood stove into the back yard and get her up and running again?
Wondering, if we did that, could I bake bread, one loaf at a time, inside our biggest cast iron pot – Dutch oven style – once our remaining loaf was used up, or if I was going to be making tortillas (thank you all the gods for still having running water) and dicing up the rillette left over from last weekend’s guest visit and turning into pasta sauce. (Wondering if I had enough pasta to do this more than twice).
Wondering how to pickle the frozen veggies (which, tbh, probably wouldn’t have been a problem. We’d just eat them before we ate the raw ones that are still good to keep fresh on the counter).
I’m kind of making this sound like it was a huge disaster.
It wasn’t. Not for us.
We’ve been offering hot showers and freezer space to friends whose power isn’t back on yet, and a friend of a friend needs a lot of help, so we’re waiting on the supply list and will see what-all we can send her way. But for us it was mildly inconvenient at best.
But our own Ottawa Storm experience was short and really easy.
A friend who had gas in her car came and picked us up, whisked us and our empty gas cans out to an area south of town that still had power, and we stocked up on fuel (how Mad Max of us), got cash out of a bank, and bought a few bags of groceries – tinned tuna, dry beans, short pasta, quick-cooking grains… stuff that can be cooked on the stove and doesn’t need a fridge – before going out for burgers and heading home again.
Not a big deal.
And it was still SUCH a relief when the lights came on again.
Like, I felt my shoulders drop and my chest unclench, just a little bit, when the fridge and freezer started humming and I could clearly see what I was doing over the sink.
It’s got me wondering “Would we have gotten used to it? Or would we have fallen apart?”
It’s got me thinking – again – about how having a rocket stove in the back yard – just a thin chimney of brick, topped with a steel or iron trivet, with space at the bottom for air feed and, a little further up, an equally small space for twigs and pine cones and other kindling – would make a difference in terms of what we could cook, when, and for how long, in a situation like this (or, hey, in a situation where it’s over 36C and being able to cook pasta or sausages without adding more heat to house is really appealing).
It’s got me thinking – again – about how having pressure-canned beans (like chick peas and romano beans – big legumes, as opposed to quick-cooking lentils and split peas) and meat (think chunks of brisket, pork shoulder, or uncured ham) on hand means not having to keep that meat in the freezer, and not having to worry about how long it takes a large, already-soaked bean to cook through. (A friend managed to wangle us a membership to the Ottawa Tool Library – bless her forever – and I will be borrowing their pressure canner in short order with this in mind).
It’s got me thinking – again – how useful it would be to have one of those crank-powered flashlights that doubles as radio and a tiny generator for charging phones. Even if the cell service was intermittent, it helped to be able to check in with friends and make sure people were home and safe. It’s got me thinking that having an ancient, touch-tone (or rotary dial) phone on hand would be a good idea, if only because it’s not cordless – doesn’t require a charged battery at all, and can work on the (sometimes buried, and more likely to be functional) phone lines rather than needing a cell tower – and would let us (maybe) keep in touch with people for longer.
Basically, I’m thinking about how under-prepared I felt, in spite of a garden and a million jars of crushed tomatoes and apple butter hanging around the place.
The sun will be DOWN (and the full moon – in Aries – will be up) in a little less than an hour and a half. And I will have light to cook by, and a stove to cook on, and I am so freaking grateful for both of those things. O.O
Autumn Equinox is Harvest time, time to remember what you sowed in the spring and to take stock of how those plans and projects have developed. What are you harvesting/reaping at this time?
I was doing the Eat From the Larder Challenge (hahaha… funny how that works out) and spending all of March avoiding my Empress Project.
Now I’m here and being told by Sarah Gottesdiener, over at Little Red Tarot, that “What [I’m] making is manifesting” and to “Get a plan you believe in and invest in [my]self”.
The folks at Hoodwitch that the Aries Full Moon energy is good for spell work regarding courage/bravery, overcoming obstacles and clearing the way, and for letting go of anger. I love the horoscope they provide for Scorpio:

You don’t have to know what you want; you don’t even have to know where you’re going. What you do need is to be interested in finding out the answers.


The Eight of Fire (Silicon Dawn) - An anthropomorphic salamander-raccoon hurls a fireball at the viewer while leveling up x3.

The Eight of Fire (Silicon Dawn) – An anthropomorphic salamander-raccoon hurls a fireball at the viewer while leveling up x3.

An appropriate card for the Aries Full Moon. A card that says “Shuck off all those ‘shoulds’, all those notions of what you’re allowed to be, and to want!” A card that says “Take action! Take a chance, before it passes you by!”
I am trying not to freak right out about Not Knowing The Answer.
The intention I set back at the New Moon, was “Help me be brave”.
And I have been.
I have a date lined up (for right around the New Moon in Libra), in one of those places where it’s socially appropriate to revel in my violence and possessiveness and specifically to explore some explicit, specific desires that I’ve been curious about for a few years now. This is awesome but, while I definitely like this woman – we get along well and our interests dovetail nicely and she’s cute as heck – I have no idea how our planned shenanigans are going to turn out and my tendency to catastrophize (and not even in a useful way) is strong right now. O.O

Eight of Arrows “Struggle” (L) and The Ancestor (R) – Wildwood Tarot – On the left, someone in a tattered cloak struggles through the snow and the windy, gathering dark, carrying a lantern. On the right, A tall woman with a deer’s head stands in the snowy woods next to a bare birch, drumming on a bodhran. Behind her the new moon sinks towards the horizon.

The cards I drew for this Full Moon meditation aren’t the easiest ones for me. “Struggle”, which has shown up recently, is pretty self-explanatory and The Heirophant – for all that she’s presented here as both a figure of stern guidance and someone who’s actually got your best interests at heart (as opposed to, say, any given Pope ever in history) – is still a card with the potential to lean towards “thou shalt not” and the kind of social expectations that queer, emotionally messed-up, under-employed, polyamourous me consistently fails to meet.
And yet…
What I see here is “Yes, this is hard, but you have support if you need it, you have guidance if you need it”, possibly with a side of “You have your (various – social and magical/religious) traditions to draw on here, you don’t have to do this entirely by yourself”.
If I were to turn this into a request to any ancestors and gods who happen to be listening, I would ask: “Help me to trust. Help me to ask out loud.”
Motion: Yard work and modeling. My lower back and hips are not thrilled about this, but I’m glad to be doing work I enjoy.
Attention: The weather. Paying attention to the temperature, but also to the wind and whether or not there’s rain in the forecast. But also paying attention to what I have in my freezer, what I have in my fridge, what needs to be eaten first. Yeah. The power outage is over, and I’m still watching to see if the lights are flickering.
Gratitude: Light. electricity. The fridge and freezer are working again and we didn’t have any food spoilage. Pretty women who think I’m cool (and cool women who think I’m pretty, tbh). A ride home from work today, with further rides for the rest of the week. Maybe getting to (finally) see a friend tomorrow, who I haven’t seen since August. Having a duvet to add to the bed now the the weather is cold enough to screw with my hips and make it hard to sleep otherwise. Spending the Equinox chatting and knitting and drinking tea with a bunch of bi nerds in my neighbourhood. Hot food on a cold day. Getting to watch the stars come out and the moon come up with my lovely wife while drinking white wine on the back steps. So many beautiful things.
Inspiration: Crisp nights. Leather season. Blustery, bright days. Misty mornings and rushing clouds. Autumn is beautiful.
Creation: Not a whole lot, tbh. Though I did decide to take part in the local Smut Slam, pretty much on the spur of the moment. Wrote a less-than-five-minutes story based on events from my own life (done as a series of vignettes draped over the frame of a confession), memorized it, and presented it over the course of about an hour. And I’m pretty pleased with myself for that one.

New Moon – Squash Moon Begins

A very pale zucchini laid out on a wooden cutting board. The first zucchini I harvested from my garden, but not the last!

A very pale zucchini laid out on a wooden cutting board. The first zucchini I harvested from my garden, but not the last!

Strictly speaking, I’ve been harvesting zucchini for a month now, although “for a month now” means “my garden has successfully produced two zucchini, and that is all”. However, since I (might) have another zuke on the way, and since my butternut squashes have just started opening their fruiting flowers (fingers crossed that the bees work their magic and the squirrels and other four-legged neighbours leave them alone once they’ve started developing into fruit), I’m going with “squash moon” for this one, though “grape moon” or “wine-making moon” would also be appropriate.
Speaking of wine-making: Having tried the rhubarb wine… something has definitely gone off. There’s a weird under/after taste of corn, of all things, and I think I’ll probably be chucking the whole (1L and a bit, so not a huge loss) batch into the compost heap because, while it doesn’t have any weird effects to it, it doesn’t taste all that great. Still, a good effort, and something that I’ll likely try again later on (maybe in November, provided I remember to put a solid heap of rhubarb in the freezer before then).
I did make a five-pint batch of rhubarb curd, which will make us a number of very delicious pies over the course of the winter (five for sure, up to ten if I freeze enough diced rhubarb to do a mix). My wife and I took a day-trip last weekend to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum and, while we were there, we hit up a bunch of antique shops and I found myself an acceptably-priced food mill that lets me mash up cooked rhubarb (or, say, choke cherries) without having to deal with the rhubarb fibers or the cherry pits or what-have-you. So my curd is substantially smoother than previous years thanks to this little gizmo. Behold!
Close-up of five unlabeled pint jars of rhubarb curd (three in front, two behind). The curd is smooth and has a very faint greenish tinge to it, though it mostly looks beige.

Close-up of five unlabeled pint jars of rhubarb curd (three in front, two behind). The curd is smooth and has a very faint greenish tinge to it, though it mostly looks beige.

Alstrologically speaking, Saturn has just stationed direct last Thursday after spending about five months in retrograde, the New Moon (like the Sun) is in Virgo, and Venus just moved into Scorpio today.
Liz Worth suggests setting your New Moon intentions to “invite in the rewards for a labour of love, or to cleanse your calendar of any extraneous commitments that you’ve realized are only holding you back from your true raison d’être“. She also offers the following spread (I used the Silicon Dawn deck to pull the cards) to connect with Virgo’s new moon energy:
1. What lesson am I ready to put to use? – Black Galaxy Rose
The lesson of infinite potential. If the white galaxy rose is the out-breath after the intensity, the pause between one burst and the next, the black galaxy rose is infinite potential, the calm before the storm, and the in-breath before the song.
Not sure how this works as a lesson, though the clarification card I pulled was the Queen of Air – someone with good boundaries, who’s learned from her experiences and wants you to have, and do, the same – meaning, perhaps, that the lesson in question is this business that I’ve been trying to get my head around for more than a year now. Maybe it’s time to put some of that theory (back) into practice. Maybe that’s the coming song.
2. Where am I still caught in the weeds? – Four of Air
A card of “strategic retreat”, this is overwhelmingly a card about rest and recuperation. As a “caught in the weeds” situation, though, I would say that maybe I’ve been focusing so much on “stability” and “creating a secure base”, and even on “questioning my motivation”, that I’m avoiding looking at a bigger picture, avoiding dreaming a bigger dream than just “don’t fall apart” and “don’t fuck it up”.
3. What can I focus on instead? – Six of Earth
The six of earth has, for a long time, been my “check in” card. It’s a card about the risks (and rewards) that come with trusting other people, particularly with your physical well being. (Cassandra Snow has a really good write-up on Queering the Six of Pentacles that digs nicely into this idea). I think this relates, on some level, to what I was talking about, yesterday, with regards to the necessary vulnerability of explicitly naming my desires (ha, see #2 above) where relevant people can hear me doing so.
4. What reward can I create for myself as a result? – Four of Water
This isn’t a card I would have expected as a “reward” card, unless the reward in question is “permission to be selfish”, to internalize that I have permission to ask for the experiences, care, and pleasure that I want and will really enjoy.
Which, I grant you, is indeed a goal of mine that I’d like to actually accomplish.
Alrighty then.
With that in mind, I can’t help but look at the tarotscope Ashley did for Scorpio over at Radical Tarot, asking us to “feel into our joy”, to be in the moment (rather than, oh, say, catastrophizing about how The Moment could all go the hell if I put a foot wrong… just to pick an example completely and totally at random), and to decide what Virgo Season’s themes of safety, connection, community, and stability look like for each of us as individuals. (It does not escape my notice that the card I tend to associate with polyamoury – the three of cups – is featured in this spread… though we’ll see whether that turns out to be significant or not as time moves along).
By the time this moon is full, we’ll have tipped past the Autumn equinox and right into the Season of the Witch, when the veil starts getting thinner and the ancestors can be heard a little more clearly, even for a concrete bunker like me. 😉
Right now, though, we’re in the tail end of summer. Chilly mornings calling for layers and hot afternoons calling the bees out for another forage amid the asters, phlox, and the squash blossoms.
If I were to set an intention for this new moon, this waxing moon, I would ask my gods and ancestors: “Help me to be brave”.
Princess (Page) of Swords - Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - A person with antenae sprouting from her forehead, a red flower in her long, piled up, blond hair, and a yellow butterfly painted across her eyes, examines a knife, fingering the point. She's wearing a long, flowing skirt (that might be wings) and a yellow crop top.

Princess (Page) of Swords – Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – A person with antenae sprouting from her forehead, a red flower in her long, piled up, blond hair, and a yellow butterfly painted across her eyes, examines a knife, fingering the point. She’s wearing a long, flowing skirt (that might be wings) and a yellow crop top.

The card I pulled – literally by just flipping the deck over and seeing what looked up at me – for today’s meditation fits really well with that intention.
The write-up by Egypt Urnash depicts this character as someone who is desperately lonely and afraid of letting anyone get close. That’s not exactly my situation, but it’s a flip-side of it. I’m more of a “get super close, and super bonded, super fast… and then hide all the bits of myself that I think might get me rejected” kind of gal. (Thanks, anxious-preoccupied attachment style. That’s super-great…)

She’s so much more than she knows she is. […] She’s the only thing that holds herself back from flying.

Let me be brave.
Let me expose what I’ve kept hidden.
Let me keep trying.
Let me remember how to fly.
Movement: I’m working in an office right now, so a lot of my movement – aside from walking my commute and running errands on foot – has been remembering to get up and move around regularly so that my left hip doesn’t freeze up. There will also be some yard work (in someone else’s yard) coming up shortly.
Attention: I’ve been watching my butternut (and buttercup) squash vines particularly vigilantly, hoping for pollenated flowers and visits from bees. I’ve also been reading up on attachment theory (again) and self-compassion, as well as watching how my anxiety acts up and what it takes to calm it back down.
Gratitude: Grateful for an easy, restful weekend with my wife, for new library books, for thirteen hours of very needed sleep. Grateful for corn on the cob from my metamour, for leather boots and cool, sunny weather. For coffee and french toast in the morning. For wine on the back steps in the evening. For finding new Harvesters. For people who get me and appreciate my words. For free concerts I can walk to. For seven days of paid work. For the possibility of being hired by a fellow queer to do some flexible-hours transcription (fingers crossed that her funding comes in). For a coffee date with myself. For the chance to flirt with a friend. For a date night with my wife, walking arm in arm and holding hands across the table. For nights that are cool enough to justify the extra blanket and a lot of snuggling. For knowing that I’m loved. ❤
Inspiration: Other people’s writing. This past week, it’s been N.K. Jemisin’s amazing world-building, character-creation, and plot-resolution in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. You guys, it is so very, very good, and I am SO looking forward to reading more of her work!
Creation: I wrote another poem and have added a few more thousand words to my novel manuscript! Go me!

New Year New You 2018 – Halfway Point Feeeeelings

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:“[R]eflect on the last nine weeks and talk about what you’ve learned. About yourself, about goal setting, about your magical practice, whatever was meaningful to you. Also reflect on where you would like to see yourself heading now that you’ve accomplished what you’ve accomplished.”

Eight of Arrows (Wildwood Tarot) - Struggle - A hooded figure carrying a lantern struggles through the snow in a fierce wind.

Eight of Arrows (Wildwood Tarot) – Struggle
A hooded figure carrying a lantern struggles through the snow in a fierce wind.

Tarot Card: Eight of Swords
This isn’t really the halfway point. But, when this course first ran, it was the last public prompt. Obviously there are, like, 13 more to go now, BUT long, long ago, this was the last stop for the blog-around.
Which is convenient.
Because I’ve been kind of wondering what the heck I’m doing.
The previous prompt, about asking for help, acknowledged that at this point in the project, participants are likely to be tired, demoralized, or otherwise wondering why they started this stuff in the first place.
And, y’all? I’m kind of there.
Some of the stuff associated with the eight of swords are: “floundering around / feeling lost” and “feeling overwhelmed”, and “needing guidance or clarity” right alongside “doubting anything you do will help” and “avoiding responsibility”.
I look at my response to this prompt from when I did it for my Queen of Cups Project, and in a lot of ways I’m in the same place I was two years ago. Still stuck on the Planes of Desolation.
What I said in my Goals Post, way back in January, was that:

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

And I’m really not sure if that’s happening.
I mean, yes, things are going really well (I think) on the creativity front.
But that’s the easy bit.
The other stuff? The stuff about internalizing that my whole self – the needy part and the possessive part and, frankly, the violent, impatient, frightening part… as well as the care-giving part – is worthy of love and belonging? Or the stuff about understanding, really-really-for-real, that I’m allowed to ask for experiences, care, and pleasure that I want, just because I want them? Or the stuff about shucking off emotional/relational bad habits in favour of ones that reflect (and require) better boundaries?
That stuff is… it’s not going nowhere. I can recognize that. But it’s hard going, and I frequently catch myself deciding to do things where I am seriouslyquestioning the motivation behind those decisions, or else falling back on behaviours that I know are self-destructive and unhelpful and just… It’s good that I’m catching them. It’s good that I can recognize when my body-mind is doing stupid things like getting emotionally agitated specifically because I’ve been agitating the water to do the dishes, and my body-mind is reacting to “agitated movement” with “agitated feelings” and it’s just… at least I can catch it and stop it?
Which is a major deal, even if I’m not necessarily catching it all the time.
And I still have a LOT of concerns about just how quickly this mental health house of cards would come crashing down if I were to throw a wrench – like a new relationship or a new job (neither of which are on the horizon, fyi) – into the gears.
I feel like I need to reset my glamour, or otherwise give it a good wash-up and a polish because, wild-harvested apples, home-made rainbow earrings, and a day spent playing tourist at the local big Fibre Arts festival notwithstanding, I am feeling run down.
So I guess that’s the next magical-physical thing on my to-do list.
On the Glamour Front – because, as you may recall, this is being done in conjunction with the exercises in Miss Sugar’s book – I’m kind of… I don’t know, equal parts “checking in” about it as per the halfway point Glamour Checklist and seriously questioning if what I’m doing even counts.
I find myself avoiding the spaces where it’s socially appropriate to revel in my violence and possessiveness which… I don’t really know what to do with. I mean, sure, some of my reasons for not going to Those Parties are just practicalities. I don’t technically have the disposable income to pay the cover fee. I don’t want to be “stuck” in a room full of overwhelming noise and sensory overload with no way to just leave and go home without inconveniencing someone else (the usual venue for these things is an industrial park on the other side of town with no real bus access, so I’d be relying on rides from other people). But… How much of those are just excuses to avoid those parties? How much of “I don’t want to be stuck there” is really “I don’t want to be somewhere where the parts of myself I’ve been feeling more and more wary/ashamed of could get rejected by the only people (demographic) on earth that might be okay with them”? How much of “I don’t want to be stuck there” is me assuming “Even in a context where it’s okay to be gleefully violent and take-y, I’m not really allowed to do what I want but ‘have to’ ‘facilitate an experience’ for someone else, instead”?
How do I stop believing that, just because X or Y person wasn’t that into me, or into what I wanted to do, I’m supposed to stop wanting what I want? That what I want, and what I am, is bad and shameful (or, hey, boring and repetitive) by default?
This is both a relational/emotional bad habit and an assumption about how my “scary side” should/will be rejected.
As such, I think the next major point of focus is, well, “therapy magic”. The stuff that’s harder to do, the “learn self-compassion” stuff. The “let yourself be truly seen” part of Glamour that goes beyond dressing with intent and reading my poetry at the open mic, and gets into stuff like “talking to my partners about explicit, specific, desires” even when I don’t know if the thing I want to experiment with will ruin everything or wind up okay.
This is really fucking scary.

Full Moon – Apple Moon Crests

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.

The full moon is in Pisces. I helped a friend move, this morning. Yesterday, my wife and I went to a Pride BBQ.
It’s that time of year, and I’m feeling obnoxiously queer (which is… okay, that’s every time of year for me, but go with it).
The picture, above, is of apples that I wild-harvested from a tree across from my laundromat. Mot of them have been cooked down into a cinnamon-nutmeg spiced apple butter that has a rich roan hue to it, but I have twelve of them left and have harvested two other kinds of apples (a tart green standard apple and a fleshy, deep red crab apple) that I’m hoping to combine (in part) with them to try my hand at pressing a very small batch of cider. The rest will be made into a warm ginger-vanilla apple butter and a maybe-chili-infused crab apple jelly, respectively.
Sour Dough Bread: I am backing off on the sour dough. I’m still keeping a starter going. It makes lovely pancakes and is a nice flavour addition to actual sandwich bread, but I made a dough that was mostly raised with baker’s yeast (with about a cup of starter thrown in- rather than 1C starter little to no baker’s yeast) and, you guys… I had well-risen, airy, easy-to-cut bread by the end of the day, instead of having to wait three days to see if I had a usable loaf. And it wasn’t so moist and dense that it went moldy ridiculously fast. I know this is a big turn-about from two weeks ago, but I’m going to stick with this for now.
My garden is doing much better. I was able to harvest enough chard to put up a little bit (so far) in the freezer, and turn the stems into a lacto-ferment that should work a lot like cucumber relish (mustard and dill seed for the pickling spices) when it’s done. If I can do the same thing, once a week or so, for the next couple of months, that should give us a really nice cushion (small, but nice) of frozen greens to work from over the winter. We haven’t eaten our home-grown zucchini yet, though we’ll do that soon.
My wife picked me up from a modeling gig on Friday evening, and we rode under the gibbous moon (then in Aquarius), and it was just lovely.
Speaking of Moon – well, that’s technically this whole post – Liz Worth offers this little phrase as an intention for this Pisces Full Moon: I trust in the path that unfolds before me.
She also offers a tarot spread (which I did, below, using the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn) for those who’d like to connect with the Pisces Full Moon:
1. What is awakening within me? – Queen of Fire
Oh, good! I’ve been wanting my creative, passionate, glamourous self to rise up again. Hopefully this is confirmation that it’s coming back. 😀
2. What is my higher self asking of me at this time? – Ten of Earth
I sort of want to interpret this as “focus on getting your house sorted out”. The ten of Earth is home, family, legacy, “what kind of ancestor do you want to be”. But it’s also literally stuff like “get your finances in order” and “have you vacuumed lately”. TBH, my higher self could be asking me to look after all of the above right now. I find myself asking: Is this about Job Stuff? Or is this about Chosen Family?
I pull a clarification card, and it’s the Queen of Earth (landing me 3/4 queens in this spread. Huh): Self-reliance. Confidence based on competence and planning rather than on illusion or magical thinking. The ultimate Mom figure with a freezer full of just-what-you-need and an ear when you need that, too.
This isn’t really clearing anything up for me, though.
3. How must I honour my spiritual path? – Queen of Air
Haha. Learn from your mistakes. Alrighty then.
4. How can I strengthen my intuition? – Four of Earth
This is… weird. I generally understand the Four of Earth as being a pretty awful card. The card of “nobody’s going to take care of me, nobody cares about/for me, so I have to do everything myself”. It’s an attitude I’ve been trying to shed, and I’m not sure how to read “all of my worst stories” as a way of strengthening my intuition. Unless this is a call to further pickup on when it’s those stories talking vs when it’s something I should actually listen to.
Advisor – Vulture Mother
This is my “Scorpio self”. The side that’s hungry all the time, that wants and wants and is kind of freaky. A suggestion to take the entire reading through the lens of my own particular “black swan”.
Overarching & Underlying Influences – White Galaxy Rose + Maya Maya is the card of “Loosen up! Stop over-thinking it! It’s Pride! Go have some fun for once!” and the two galaxy roses in the deck are… Well, like Maya and the Vulture Mother, they are part of the “Extended Edition”. I understand them as the avatars of Maya’s two lovers. But I don’t entirely know what they mean. The closest I’ve got is that the Black Galaxy Rose is “infinite potential”, the raw business that comes before everything kicks off. Something big is about to happen. So I would posit, then, that the White Galaxy Rose is the aftermath and the “now what”. The rest and recovery before getting it together for the next big thing.
With this in mind, what underlies this story of many queens, of sovereignty and desire (and sacrifice and prophesy? Uhm… not sure), is a calm before – or maybe after – a storm.
What over-arches it is a need to get out from under the weight of my own shame, to be shame-less and allow myself to enjoy things.
Which relates really strongly to my Scorpio Self as advisor. Turn towards, and lean into, pleasure, but don’t force them. Listen to the part that wants unapologetically.
I’ll give that a try.
Collective Tarot - Five of Keys - A forest, after the fire has passed through.

Collective Tarot – Five of Keys – A forest, after the fire has passed through.

On a related tarot front, my meditation for this soon-to-be-waning moon, is: The Five of Fire. I pulled my card from the Silicon Dawn deck (where it’s the five of pentacles), where it definitely touches on the “strife” aspect of the card. However I’m most familiar with the five of fire as a leap of faith, as a boost of momentum that pushes you forward. Given the mix, and what’s been showing up in my life of late, I’m inclined to read this as “Don’t let the momentum of those long-held Stories push you forward into, well… repeating old mistakes and having a stressful, anxious life because of them”.
I’ll try to keep that in mind as I dig into those old stories and attachment-style Things over the next two weeks.
Wish me luck!
Movement: Lots of apple picking, weeding, and general harvesting. Really glad for a modeling gig on Friday that had me essentially doing “power yoga” for the first hour and a half. The mix of rapid changes and held poses seems to do my screwed up hip some good.
Attention: Keeping an eye on a friend’s garden. Looking for job postings and sending out resumes. Taking the time to look out the window and wave to the full moon. Watching the weather and the temperature fluctuations. Grinning at the way my squash vines are finally starting to take off.
Gratitude: Grateful for friends who encourage me to try things outside of my comfort zone. Grateful for thriving chard, free apples, neighbours who invite me to take bouquets of basil and tarragon from their garden or present me with fuzzy melons and bird chilies at random. For a freezer full of diced zucchini and frozen service berries. For home made bread and apple butter. For a better relationship with my mom than I used to have. For a growing number of poems accepted for publication. For writing buddies who hang out with me while we scribble and cheer each other on. For friends who will level with me when I’m repeating unhealthy patterns. For day-trips out of town. For home-made ginger beer and a wife who makes me grilled cheese sandwiches and tells me she thinks I’m amazing. ❤
Inspiration: My friend’s debut novel. A new book of poetry (Clementine Morrigan) to page though. My neighbour’s luxurious, unstoppable squash vines. The mallow plant that, against the odds, has germinated and bloomed in my front garden.
Creation: Reworking a knitting project (it seems to be working? Ish?) Adding a few more thousand words to my spite novel. A smidge of inspiration that might just lead to a poem.

New Year New You 2018 – Week 8 (Asking For Help)

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
Instructions: This week’s prompt is about asking someone for help. Most of us hate that shit with a hating that fires a thousand suns. Asking for help feels almost like admitting defeat. And by defeat, I mean admitting that you’re not invincible. Well. You’re not. Sorry.
Tarot Card: Honestly, this could be any – or maybe all – of the Fours.

The minor arcana Fours
Crystal Visions Tarot
“Four is the number of stability, the home, the physical realm, organisation, security, limitations and mercy.”

All the fours relate to both The Emperor (tradition, personal power, structure) and Temperance (balance, team work, moderation in all things). They’re also the first “plateau” in the climb from two to ten through the each suit.
I find that they pertain to the hopes and fears we have around trusting and working with other people. (Granted, I also think the sixes are about this, so maybe I’m just projecting here).
The four of fire is about participation and being an active part of A Group. The four of earth is the fear that nobody will have your back when you need it. The four of air is pulling away, or taking a step back, in order to prepare to re-enter a social (but not necessarily friendly) milieu. And the four of water… The four of water has one interpretation that I think fits this theme very well: Just take the fucking cup.
There is a well-worn, and more than a little frustrating, pathway in my head that goes: When I’m freaking out about something (which is often), I literally forget that people will help me.
Like, I have to stop myself and walk my brain through a multi-step process to get myself out of the head-space that truly believes “I don’t have friends” and back to something that more closely resembles reality.
So, when it comes to this particular writing/action prompt, I’m trying to recognize and accept the fucking cup more reliably when it’s offered to me.
When someone invited me to participate in a flash performance at a local poetry show? I said yes.
When a local author offered me a paid gig reading tarot for teens this Fall? I said yes.
When I got hit with a shitty summer cold and my wife said “Stay in bed and rest!”… I said yes (though I don’t think I could have done otherwise), rather than feeling guilty about not making my own sandwiches.
When a friend offered to cover the difference between missing and making last month’s rent payment? I said yes.
When a temp-job contact told me about a mat-leave reception contract in the same close-to-me office building and offered to put me in touch with the appropriate people? I said yes. (This was literally yesterday, and I’ve been having The Anxiety about it ever since, but I still said yes).
There was a time when accepting gifts/support from people – letting my girlfriend pay for dinner, for example, or believing someone when they say they want to hang out with me instead of assuming some kind of ulterior motive – felt fraught with danger and was fraught with shame. And certainly some of it still is, though being broke for eight straight years has definitely, uh, “helped” with that. I may still have difficulties around believing it when my partner(s) tell me I’m awesome, but if they offer to make me a sandwich, I am there!
Anyway. So, for this prompt, I had a look back at my goals for this project. Some of them (like putting my creative stuff out into the world by sending out poetry submissions, reading at open mics, and saying yes to participating in group performances) is going just fine. Some of it (like letting go of detrimental behaviours or opening up to relationships/behaviours/activities that are good for me) is… not so much.
There’s a lot of (ineffective) self-protective “don’t wanna” going on, and a fair bit of, I dunno, “The danger you know is better than the danger you don’t” in terms of how I interact with people. Like “Sure, I know that hiding my feelings because I think they’re stupid is… detrimental. But at least I know that, right? At least I know I’m putting my hand in a blender and can maybe mitigate/prepare-for some of the damages? Whereas if I do something different, there could be unexpected surprise blenders just appearing around my fingers, and then what would I do??”
It’s dumb.
I know it’s dumb.
So… One thing I am doing marginally more consistently is, as per her request, letting my wife know about what’s going on in my head. Like, if I’m getting all wound up because: Anxiety, I’ll actually tell her about it. Which I’m finding (and it feels really weird to discover this, even though it’s maybe not that surprising)… it helps. Really? Really.
And the combination of (a) showing my Crazy, if I can even call it that, and (b) having someone validate that weird collection of feelings, is kind of helping on the front of these two goals:

I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that my “scary side” isn’t actually scary to people who are good for me.
I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that all of me is worthy of love and belonging BY/WITH people who are good for me.

So, asking for help? Not exactly.
But accepting help when it’s offered, trusting that those offers are sincere and that I won’t be humiliated and/or abandoned while risking being vulnerable…? Yeah. I’m giving that a try.