Monthly Archives: January 2012

What Kind of Magic Do I Do, Anyways? [New Year, New You]

Miss Sugar’s new NYNY prompt is kind of hitting home right now. It’s the eve of February. My time-eating temp contract is OVER, and it’s kind of time to Get On With It now.

I’m dashing this post off in the few minutes I (theoretically) have before my girlfriend gets home and our Celebratory Evening begins. I gotta tell you, as days go, this one has been fucking phenomenal. If my gods are sending me “Yes! This is the right direction! Go-Go-Go! Right Now!” signs… they’re coming through loud and clear. ๐Ÿ˜€

I currently have a LOT of candles lit and have done my thank-yous in a couple of ways (candles and insense plus verbal thank-yous with my boiled water offering). It’s been a spectacular day. Lots of good things have happened – everything from “nice little things” like my Omikuji letter turning up to “Mid-Sized Awesome” like having someone express interest in getting me to perform in their womens’ arts festival (actually, that might be more than mid-sized awesome, to tell you the truth), to “Great Big Deals” like some Personal Stuff going totally smoothly that could have been a huge mess and was stressing us both out. So YAY! ๐Ÿ˜€ Life is AWESOME! Huzzah! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

But that isn’t really talking about Miss Sugar’s prompt.

So. Onwards.

See, lately – specifically in relation to the New Year New You experiment – I’ve been feeling very, like, “Okaaaaaaaay… So, Meliad, when are you going to, y’know, start Wildly Manifesting Your Most Fabulous Self?” in terms of cranking out the magic and getting the hustle on and so on. And maybe I feel that way because my hustle-level has been pretty high all year long (as compared to previous years) – as of tomorrow morning I celebrate one year of Freelance Everything[1] (also awesome, fyi). Or maybe I feel that way because I don’t (yet?) do Big Magic. At least not what I think of as Big Magic.

Okay, so what is “Big Magic” in my mind?

When I think about it for 30 seconds together, I think “big magic” is either heavy-duty shamanic stuff or it’s “bang spells” a la Ceremonial/Chaos(?) Magic and Sorcery.
It involves Otherworld travel and/or Calling In the Big Guns Gods (frequently under very ritualistic circumstances).

Whereas what I do is Small Magic, which involves talking to my People in my kitchen, thowing stuff together in bottles, reading tarot cards half for the heck-of-it, and pushing energy around in what little ways I can in order to (a) get things kind of shunted where I want them or to (b) send Backup when I can’t be somewhere in person. Which is nothing to sneeze at. But, while I’m upping my frequency, I don’t entirely feel like I’m upping my “game” so to speak. Maybe that’s okay and the frequency thing is fine. But that’s where my line of thought’s been ending up these days.

So. Back to the prompt. Miss Sugar asks us to grit our teeth and push through That Thing that we’ve been avoiding. You know what I’ve been avoiding? Just about everything! Basically, I’ve been putting off jewelry-making (in quantity), as well as doing yoga (again), and getting myself back into Singing Form (and all the business cards and wedding-boutique visits that go with it) by saying “I’ll do it in February”. Once my temp job is over and I’ve got the extra four hours per day to do it in.

Well, February’s here. Time to grit my teeth and do it. O.O

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] And, yes, I totally worked a temp job full time for six weeks and part-time for another three months. And I’m damn glad for the money and it helped a LOT in terms of keeping our heads above water, covering Sols/mas, and getting me O-U-T out of my latest bout of credit-card debt. I still think this totally counts as both an aniversary to be celebrated and a big honkin’ milestone. So there.

Quick Link on Butchery

So I’ve spent the last… six(?) hours working on a post for an upcoming blog carnival (there will be links as well as the post in question – stay tuned) but I wanted to throw a quick link up here today.

Home Deer Butchering 101

Sofya writes about killing and butchering your own food – among other things – with great enthusiasm and a practical approach (and lots of pictures).

Even though most of the pics are in sepia, I was watching my reactions to reading about (and seeing, albeit quite second-hand) the process of butchering a dead deer, and I was interested to note both (a) my initial squeemishness over the idea of cutting through joints (in spite of the fact that I do this all the time with cooked dead animals…), and (b) my growing interest and comfort with the subject.

I’m definitely not at the point where I can seriously start working on Going Hunting. I haven’t even killed a fish yet, after all. But I wanted to read this, to SEE this, even at a distance, just to see where I’m at with it. Taking my temperature, so to speak. If my long-term goal is to be able to competantly hunt and kill my own food, the first tiny micro-step in that is to be able to look at what comes after – the process, with all its blood and smells and mess, of dressing and butchering a carcass – with open eyes.

It’s a tiny step. But it’s a step.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Are You Receiving? (New Year, New You)

Sunday, January 22nd – Ice/Hunger Moon begins.

So, hey. Last night I performed a new poem inspired by minus-thirty (with wind-chill) temperatures and Norse apocalyptic mythology. It was short, but it worked and people liked it. I may submit it to Goblin Fruit in the hopes of getting it into a Winter issue a year from now or something (thense my not posting it here, actually. Sorry).

As far as Ice Moon and Hunger Moon go… they’re pretty apt for where we’re at right now. Meaning that the ground is one big, uneven patch of inch-thick ice and I’m about to end my contract and leap back into the wilds of All-Hustle-All-the-Time (although, to hear, well, everybody tell it, 2012 is going to be the year of give’r, get ‘er done, hustle, and other terms that typically mean “push for all you’re worth, because you’ve only got you to get through this”. Fitting? Yeah, probably. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wish me (and everyone else) some good luck on that front, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway. On the looking for omens front…

Beyond my own house, I don’t have much of anywhere (okay, I can think of two places, but they are both pretty asleep right now, also: did I mention the minus-thirty temperatures? I am not Miss Sugar to risk frostbite for a ritual on the beach. I may love my ancestors, but my daddy didn’t raise an idiot and I don’t think he, or my various grandparents and great-grandparents, would be too thrilled if I lost my toes over a rit I could do in my house) that I think of as one of my Sacred Spaces. It’s pretty much hearth-all-the-way around here.

So. What’s been happening around here?

I had a dream the other night that there was a fire in my building and I had to choose which things (in a big cardboard box) I was going to save. There were a lot of things I’d made in their – mostly knitting (although that may have more to do with what I’ve been doing in my free time than anything else) and, for some reason, sheets of mathematical formulas. o.O I left the math – and the hat I’d made my mom – and picked… my old computer and the stuff I’d made for myself (wooly things to keep myself warm).
I’m not entirely sure what that’s about, but hey. Dream.

Also: I’ve been picking up on neglect of late. That could just be me needing to refill my own well of affection (needs to happen on the regular, so), but I’ve also been noticing it. As in: Feed your honey pots. Water your plants. Do the laundry and generally get the place back in order. (And, yes, my partner is also my servant. So a big chunk of that last one is more “stop neglecting your submissive and give her something to follow-through on,” but regardless).

So… Between the two of these, I’m guessing my Message from hearth and home is something along the lines of “You make things and can take care of yourself and are creative and have the ability to be self-sufficient. Stop neglecting those bits of yourself[1], get it through your head that this stuff is important, and it’s what you want to do with your life; and get on with it, already”.

So, hey. That’s what I’m picking up. (Alternative interpretations are welcome – will be doing tarot later (for a given value of “later”, I’m off to a photo shoot in an hour and we’ve still got dinner to do) to clarify and similar).

On a tangentially related note, have a link on how to make your own luck (or money, or fill-in-the-blank):
Cooking makes for a Magic-Ready Cupboard (to-which I say: No kidding. Every damn “easy, typical staple” ingredient in a kitchen cupboard seems to be good for love-money-sex-happiness… with some health thrown in for good measure, too. “Traditional” has multiple meanings everywhere you go and folk-magic ALWAYS relies on what you’ve got lying around. Because the Folk don’t have time or money to go out hunting up exotic ingredients – if we’ve even heard of them – between getting supper on the table and getting our kids off to school/field/bed/wedding. So. No surprises there. ;-))

Meliad the Birch Maiden

[1] I didn’t think I was neglecting them. But that could also mean (a) that I’m denying or pushing-away or not trusting those bits of myself, or those options, or something; OR in could mean (b) the “refilling the well” type of neglect that gets talked about in The Artist’s Way – I swear the cover of that book reminds me so much of both my 2-of-Fire and my 8-of-Fire cards, it’s not even funny. I wonder if that was intentional, given the suit of Fire’s connotations… Either way.

Looking for Omens (in all the wrong places…) – A Progress Report of Sorts

The trick with having multiple blogs is that you always feel like you’re neglecting one of them. I’ve been neglecting Syrens for what feels like weeks now ( about 10 days, actually), although it’s been getting a fair bit of input recently. But, of course, this means I feel like I’m neglecting Urban Meliad.

Ice/Hunger Moon is coming up (on Sunday, by the looks of things[1]) and I’m trying to get my ducks in a row with regards to my take on the New Year, New You project.

On that note:
I dreamed, last night, that I was looking after an excitable little boy who – for reasons I don’t entirely understand (I think he was just unthinkingly enthusiastic and/or wanting to impressive by emphatically getting the answer right) decided to start throwing lit candle(s) around the place.
The candle he threw (a) broke, but (b) didn’t stop burning. Although (c) nothing else caught fire (thank goodness) and I was able to put the (still burning) candle back together. He got sniffly about it. I think he was afraid he was going to get in Big Trouble.

My “big accomplishment” today has been Actually Watering the Plants – which I’ve also been neglecting. And noticing that I’m avoiding being social with a lot of people. Huh… Can’t tell if that’s just a wintery desire for hibernation or what, but it’s there.

So that’s what I’m noticing, so far, with regards to Miss Sugar’s latest New Year New You prompt regarding looking for signs and omens. (I’m not exactly looking for Signs and Omens, but I’m looking for recurring themes. No idea if that’s the same thing…)

Anyway. Tonight I’m in a poetry show and, hopefully, also getting some knitting done. (I’m trying to finish a mostly-virgin-wool, partially-merino, partially-other-stuff, black and red beret for next weekend. Wish me luck!)

Meliad the Birch Maiden

[1] I confess, I rely more on my We’Moon date book than on the actual (frequently overcast) sky for this one, so…

Blackout Day on the Internet (cross-posted to Syrens)

So. January 18th, 2012. Blackout Day on the Internet.

Basically, because of SOPA and PIPA threatening to wipe out free speech on the internet, a bunch of websites, big and small, have locked their contents for the day and left a note for their readers/users/contributors/etc explaining why.

No, actually, Iโ€™m not being hyperbolic about this. Watch this video for details (the last minute of the video is probably most important in relation to this post):

I support this black-out. It’s meant to show people – people who might otherwise not pay attention to something about Hollywood – what the internet could end up looking like if these laws get passed.

However, Iโ€™m also in Canada and thus, like everyone else outside of the U.S. (who none the less uses U.S.-based (either by owner or by ISP) websites), Iโ€™m pretty-much stuck.
Their vaguely-worded, heavy-consequence-bearing would-be laws would screw the rest of us, too, but we donโ€™t have a political voice (or perhaps a political ear?) to harass their congress into stopping it.

Seeโ€ฆ Hereโ€™s the thing. In theory, this is about the entertainment industry having cart blanche to shut down any website (entire site โ€“ as in all of WordPress, not just one blog) theyโ€™ve decided is violating copyright laws in some way (like, say, someone posts a video of themselves recreating a Lady Gaga video in their livingroom). But it has the potential to be grossly abused both in the U.S. and as a model for laws passed elsewhere[1].

This is why people are so (rightly) up in arms about this. And this is why, if you live in the U.S., the rest of us would really appreciate it if youโ€™d get on the phone (or the email, or the twitter feed, or the snail mail, or all of the above) to your congress-person/senator and tell them in no uncertain terms that you do NOT support these laws and donโ€™t want to see them pushed through. even has a handy pre-fab letter you can send in directly (hey) via the internet.

Go forth and save us all.

Thank you, (no, really, THANK YOU),
Meliad, the Birch Maiden

[1] Like here, not to put too fine a point on it.

Cheese Recipes (just a link)

So this is a fly-by posting. Basically:

Hey, look! Cheese Recipes that you can make at home! ๐Ÿ˜€

Note: I have not actually tried any of these (though one of my friends tells me that you get a lot more panir if you use raw, whole milk than if you use, say, pasturized homogenized milk, just FYI).


Moderately Decadent (Pumpkin) Bread Pudding

Okay. This recipe doesn’t so much use “break” as “cupcakes”, which should give you an idea of where it’s going.

Basically, the other day, I made a batch of chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin-seed butter in them (they are very tasty and brownie-like). As tends to be the case, 18 cupcakes takes a while to get through when there’s only two of you[1] which means I’ve got a good half-dozen un-iced cupcakes edging slowly towards mouldiness or staleness (or both) as we speak. They’ve still got a couple of good days left in them, I’m sure, BUT fore-planned is fore-armed, so I’m thinking of doing this:

Preheat the oven to 375F
Take 1-2 un-iced cupcakes and crumble them into a SMALL greased loaf pan.
In a small pot (over NO heat) blend together:
1 egg
1/2 C milk/cream
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C mashed pumpkin
1/4 tsp each cinnamon and cloves
1 pinch of salt

Turn the heat on under the pot and slowly (SLOWLY), whisking gently but constantly, bring the mixture up to simmering point (not boiling point – not quite) and allow it to thicken into a saucy consistency.

Pour the mess of i into the greased loaf-pan, over the crumbled cupcakes
Set the loaf pan in an oven-proof dish (like a cake pan or a casserole dish) that is filled about 1″ deep with water.
Put the whole shebang in the oven for 45 minutes (or until it smells done). In my oven this can take up to an hour-and-a-half, but my oven is ever-so-slightly broken, so…

Remove from the oven and let sit for a couple of minutes, then transfer to the fridge (or, in my case, the balcony where it’s considerably colder) in order to get everything nicely solidified.

Serve and enjoy. ๐Ÿ˜€

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Usually, um…

Actual Magic (New Year, New You)

Playing a little bit of catch-up when it comes to the New Year New You project (as seen in my last post). This week’s prompt is all about getting through the specifically-magical tasks I laid out in my Bite-Sized Goals post.

Now… I’ve already done the Big One on that. For a given value of “big” at any rate. I updated one honey-pot and built myself a second one back on Winter Solstice. So, other than remembering to light the honey-pot candles every week, and maybe upping the glamoury a little bit (tricky to do with a burned face, I have to admit), I’m… sort of “done” on that front.

And yet… I’m not. I was talking earlier about potentially trying to get in touch with Bat and seeing if zi’s got anything to teach/tell/show me what with (a) a bat sort of Getting My Attention yesterday, and (b) the “correspondences” that seem to go along with Bat being ones that relate to both my life-at-present and to the New Year New You project in general.

So maybe that’s what I do in response to this prompt.

The trick, of course, is that I have no idea what I’m doing. The last time I put out a call to the deity-sphere in general I was basically throwing a job-description into the aether and seeing who turned up who fit the bill (or was willing to take it on). That was… a decade ago, easily, I think. Probably slightly more than that. Since that point, I’ve basically been going “Great! I’ve got my pantheon and I’m all good with that. Moving right along…” and haven’t really been putting out feelers or invitations to anyone else. So the possibility of doing so is… kind of intimidating. I… Hah, yes… I’m having a poly moment – as in polytheism. I don’t want to neglect my long-term-relationship deities to go chasing after some NRE with a fling-on-the-side, and I’m a little (a lot) leary of having a fling-on-the-side that turns into “Honeys, we need a bigger house altar…” Y’know?

So… So, not even touching on the “how would I go about doing this” part – that would most likely be a dream-related thing like doing a dream-pillow or something that Invites Communication with Spirit Guides (soooooooooooo newage, I know, but bear with me?) – I’m kind of looking to the eclectic, not just one pantheon type folks, to weigh in on how to make sure your Primary deities are happy and feeling loved when you’re about to ask someone new out on a date.

Thoughts? Help? Y/N?

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Small Kindnesses (New Year, New You)

So. Last week’s injunction to Relax, Don’t Do It in the name of avoiding New Years Resolution mania and burn-out was… okay.

Or possibly not.

I didn’t actually do anything Super-Extra-Special for me. Which is not to say I didn’t do anything nice, it’s just that I try to do Nice Things for myself (and, okay, my partner) just in general.

I can sing my own praises well enough — got through the initial Hard Bit of my second stocking extension (and it seems to be the right width, so good). Bought my girlfriend’s anniversary present (should arrive in plenty of time) and am feeling Very Excited about the likelihood that she’ll like it a whole bunch. Took a shiatsu class with my girl (thanks, Groupon); Tqaught a friend to knit. Made a Nice Dinner (or two) — and burnt myself all over half of my face while doing so (woops)[1] — Came up with a tasty new cupcake recipe; started Educational Reading for both my kink endevors and my magical endevors[2] and have been taking the time to Actually Read Them(!!!); …and similar. But I haven’t made a big point of doing something Special just for me.
Although I did buy myself a chocolate bar. Which is something, although not a Big Hairy Deal of a something.

I think this is… weird.
I mean, I’m a sensual headonist. Doing nice things for myself is basically at the core of my life’s mission[3]. And yet it’s so much easier to do Nice Things for myself when they come with added Virtue OR added participants. Making a nice dinnner for the two of is includes making a nice dinner for myself… but I’m unlikely to do it just for me. Reading a novel in a coffee shop while drinking cappuccino and nibbling chocolate-hazelnut biscotti is… glorious. But I tend to feel ever-so-slightly guilty about doing it when I could be reading (or, um, working) at home where I can make the cookies myself and the coffee costs me a tenth of what would cost in Bridgehead.

So, yeah.

Maybe I will make myself slippers or something. I don’t know.

Anyway. That’s where I stand on that particular prompt. ๐Ÿ˜›

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] I’m fine. I was making borscht – the poet I was hosting for Voices of Venus turned out to be vegetarian. Woops – and the lid of the blender decided not to seal properly (I swear I pushed it all the way down), most likely because it was a little too full – and I ended up getting sprayed with hot (though thankfully not boiling) beat soup. Some quick thinking with lavender essential oil, followed by a lot of cold compresses and some aloe-vera gel (and in ibuprofen) meant that the swelling and – more to the point – the pain were mostly down and gone within four hours. It’s not likely that I’ll scar, let alone sustain Actual Dammage. So it’s all good.

[2] I got At Her Feet: Powering Your Femdom Relationship for the kinky D/s stuff (so far, so good, further thoughts coming soon to Syrens) and, more relevant to this blog, I got To Fly By Night: Craft of the Hedgewitch, some early thinky-thoughts on-which can be found over here.

[3] Not to mention it’s my major goal for this whole New Year, New You project…

Bat inna Jar

So I was visiting a friend-of-a-friend the other day and, on her Bookshelf o’ Neat Stuff[1], I saw that she has a mummified[2] bat in a jar.

As sometimes happens with Stuff Like This[3] it was kind of humming/buzzing at me. The the air got thick or similar. It’s… I’ve read on a couple of blogs (Root and Rock, The Witch of Forest Grove) that (preserved?) Dead Stuff can be talkative.

Now I’m hard of hearing – in the literal sense, yes, but also in the “picking up signals with my not-so-physical ears” sense. So when this happens, my usual reaction is “Huh… That’s… unusual…” followed by backing away slowly. Most things, y’see, don’t get through. Which means that it’s a little disconcerting when something does.

So. Here’s where I’m at:
Something (an incredibly cute flying something with tiny little fingers and a love of fruit… peaches?… and mosquitos) buzzed at me strongly enough for me to heat it.
Now what?
I mean, she(?) is on someone’s shelf. Someone who doesn’t really do “Woo”. So I don’t see myself as *likely* to be going and talking to it/her particularly much. But even if I could… would I?
Because, yes, I’m afraid of not getting an answer. But I’m also afraid of getting one.

I’ve been looking up what Bat-as-metaphor “means” and… zi seems to have a lot in common with the stuff that gets said about Scorpios. Dredging up burried stuff, facing fears, death-and-rebirth stuff, seeing to the heart of things, being aware of patterns, transition, initiation, and change. As well as… luck, sexuality(??) and intuition. (See: here, here, here, and here for where I got my (dubious) information).

Which is… apt given where I’m at in my life and what I want to be doing with my religious/magical practice, my writing, and the continued building of my own multi-layered business.


Given all that, maybe I need to try my hand at meeting and interacting with Bat.

I’ll most likely poke at this a little more and see where I go with it.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Not a “wunderkammer”. The gal ain’t steampunk by any stretch of the imagination. Just a bookshelf with stone eggs and blown glass and other nifty bits and pieces on it.

[2] “Mummified” may not be the right word. “Wholely and utterly dried out” would be the right word. But “mummified” is the term she used.

[3] Very Dead Things that are still in one piece and likely to stay that way? Maybe? Not sure if “mammal” is a requirement here but “vertibrate” might be… Don’t know.