Monthly Archives: March 2013

Full Moon – Meltwater Moon Crests (and I get published)

Last night, the moon was full, rising big a beautiful and bright above the buildings, gleaming through the cloud-cover. Lovely.
It’s been such a short time since I posted about the New Moon but… what I said has held remarkably true. There has been a lot of emotional upheaval – not in my home, but impacting on it, certainly. Friends and phamily going through hard times or butting heads, a lot of fears about loss, loneliness, and trust coming up on many different fronts.
Things seem to be evening out a little bit, on at least some of those fronts, but we’re both doing a lot of energy management right now – emotionally and physically[1] – to ensure that we actually have energy for our trip to Toronto (barely a week away!) So it’s been a thing.
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Spring Equinox (Ostara) 2013 – In Which I Talk About (Seasonal) Food.

Chances are at least reasonable that some of the folks reading this will connect Ostara with things like eggs and lambs and possibly chocolate, depending on the religious traditions they grew up with.
This is not entirely out of line.
This time last year, my wife (then gf) and I hit up the Experimental Farm and actually saw the one- and two-day-old lambs with their mothers, along with one very pregnant sheep who was breathing hard and – I’m guessing – working her way through labour. In my part of the world, “sheep bellies” doesn’t happen in early February, it happens now.
As for eggs…
Okay. Yes, Easter. I know. I’m due at my Mom’s place for ham and scalloped potatoes late next week to mark the occasion (and to bit my sibs a fond fairwell, as they head to opposite ends of the country for various career- and relationship-oriented reasons).
But, frankly, the eggs aspect of Spring Equinox has more to do with local-seasonal food (for me) than it does with fertility or fancy dyes. As such, I present to you a post in-which I talk about seasonal eating in the context of Spring Equinox. Here we go.
The lunar cycle that overlaps with Spring Equinox is sometimes called Hunger Moon (in my little world, anyway) because for the local-seasonal people, it’s the point where (a) your winter stores are getting really down to the bottom of the barrel, and (b) the earliest of the fresh stuff is still quite a ways away. It’s a time for salad nicoisse[1] or variations on Waldorf salad[2]. But it’s also a time when, if you’re keeping chickens (I’m not, so I’m guessing based on the writing in Backyard Chicken magazine), your hens will start laying more frequently because the temperatures are reliably above freezing most of the time. As such, now is a grand old time to focus your celebration food around Fabulous Eggs. Soufflees, strata, devilled eggs, you name it.
Spring Equinox is also the time, around here at least, when the trees are waking up. The heartbeat of the land does its once-a-year pump[3] and the Cabins a Sucre start tapping their trees and making their maple syrup.
It means that celebratory Spring Equinox meals tend to revolve around brunch: poached eggs with ham, gruyere (or brie), and cranberry compote, over soda bread biscuits; strata made with old cheddar and long-keeping apples; french toast served with last summer’s peach compote, last autumn’s apple butter; chai tea sweetened with the same maple syrup that will, eventually, become next winter’s Sortilege[4]. You get the idea.
Gordon[5] has a piece called I Truly Hate “Pagan” Food, which talks about a lot of things but, largely, about how you honour your gods and your land by (a) eating local, but (b) preparing/providing the BEST food that you can – which is not necessarily “the most pre-xian” food you can come up with. While I, personally, think that you can do something marvelous with turnips, wheat berries, fish, and fresh herbs (hint: it involves a pilaf and a beer-based marinade for the soon-to-be-broiled fish)… I do get his point. Use what you’ve got, and go to the trouble of making it beautiful as well as delicious. 🙂
And what I’ve got, at this time of year, is eggs. Eggs and preserves and cheese and milk. Eggs and flour and non-parishable baking goods. Eggs and eggs and eggs and eggs and eggs.
So. Bruch it is! 😀
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] Think boiled, quartered beets and potatoes plus pickled radish rounds, frozen edamame and/or other greens/beans, hard cooked eggs and tinned tuna (ideally lemon-pepper flavoured). Sun-dried, tinned diced, or hothouse cherry tomatoes can also be added, depending on what’s available.
[2] Shredded long-keeping cabbage, grated carrots, diced apples, dried fruit (dried cranberries are a favourite for me), diced, parboiled celeriac, and roasted nuts (walnuts for sure, maybe heartnuts or beach nuts would work here too) plus some kind of aioli/mayo dressing.
[3] “…Sending a million tonnes of sap skyward”, as Terry Pratchett put it, decades ago.
[4] A maple whiskey that I get every year for Winter Solstice. If you’re a Kushiel fan, think of it as my verison of “Joie” (that’s certainly how I think of it – the taste of early spring at midwinter).
[5] I also recommend his Secular Beltane post, for similar reasons.

F is for Fortune-Telling – Pagan Blog Project 2013

So, playing a bit of catch-up this week, but I wanted to talk about a tarot reading I did for a client. Well, “client-ish”. Someone from Etsy but not a for-pay reading.
Now, duh, I’m not going to get into the specifics of the reading. That would be rude, to say the least. Rather, I want to, well, toot my own horn a bit, I guess. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and more than a little chuffed about the bits where I hit the nail on the head.
See, it was a long-distance reading for a stranger – not something I have tonnes of experience with. Usually, when I read, I’m doing it for people who are at least acquaintances and, more often, friends or relatives. People whose current and long-term-historical situations I’m pretty well-versed in. And they are almost always done in-person, meaning that even if I don’t know the person at all (as happens periodically, usually in coffee shops) they can still pick up my deck[1] and do the shuffling themselves. I don’t need to get a beed on them because they do it for me.
This was different.
This was someone whose name I only half-know (first name + online handle & shop name) and, while I did request some information from her (astrological signage), and knew from her bio that she had kids and lived in X town, Y country, Z continent… that was pretty much all I had to go on.
I don’t mind telling you that I smeared on some Unveiled to give myself a bit of a boost. (It was a limited edition, and I was lucky enough to be gifted with a tiny bottle of it, back when it was made, but the shop proprietress might be able to conconct something similar for you, if you’re looking for an oil that (a) makes a nice perfume, and (b) helps you open up to the Otherworld a little more).
I’ve worn Unveiled plenty of times before – often as a perfume, particularly if I’m wanting my perception to be upped just a little bit more than usual. (I tend to alternate it with BPAL’s “Blood Kiss” and an early-formula edition of the Body Shop’s “Vanilla” perfume oil). That said, while it smells good, most of the times I’ve used it for magical purposes have been situations where I couldn’t tell, at the end of it, whether or not the oil had added anything to the experience.
In this case, I think it probably did.
I’ve been reading for six years or so, at this point (not counting my “beginner deck” that I never really jived with, but got about 11 years ago), so it’s not like I doubt my own abilities. But I was still surprised that I was as accurate as I was about things given that I was reading “blind”.
I’m really glad she wrote back to me, to let me know where I’d hit the mark, otherwise I wouldn’t have known for sure if I was just taking guesses in the dark.
I did a double-spread for her – a grand cross and a more elaborate version (I call the Hourglass, but I don’t actually know if it has an official name) of a past-present-future spread – and cross referenced them to each other. Knowing that I’d read her past and present correctly makes me feel like I probably had a good line on her future as well.
Is that why we read into the past when we draw cards for people? So that we can be (more) sure that we’re on the right track?
Anyway. That was my most recent, non-me-centric attempt at fortune-telling. My client was happy with the reading, and so was I. Thanks to Miss Sugar for the Unveiled oil, as I think it helped to up my own skills and tallents.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] I know that a lot of people don’t let others touch their Working Decks. Me? Not so much. I figure if ever anyone gets my cards in a mess, (a) cardboard doesn’t hold energy the way, say, stone does, and (b) I’ve got salt at home. And eggshells. And cinnamon. And cedar. And rosemary. And can basically clean them up if I need to.
Also, quite frankly, this deck has had starbucks coffee spilled all over it at least once, and it still works fine. I figure if starbucks won’t kill it, nothing will, so there we go. 😉

New Moon – Flood/Hunger/Meltwater Moon Begins

I am a good week late with this post, but here goes nothing.
I started writing this is Toronto, a week ago, while attending a staff meeting for my Day Job. I did last week’s candle offerings (no boiling water, though) on the Thursday, before I got on the bus. I ran out of beeswax candles and had to use three of my emergency parafin ones. (They do smell different, as it turns out).
This past week has been a mix of playing catch-up and working on recovering from the two weeks before. Those felt like a marathon. We had non-stop company (or so it felt), and then BAM! I was into a week’s worth of modeling on top of running (ish) a poetry festival. And then the trip to Toronto.
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F is for Fantasy (versus Reality) – Pagan Blog Project 2013

So as I try (in, granted, fits and starts) to get better at this Trance thing, better at this Energy Sensitivity thing, I second guess myself a lot. I read this post a while back, and it talked about it taking practice to be able to discern the difference between one’s usual mental playlist (for good or ill) and Someone Is Trying To Tell Me Something (insert Lassie reference here, if you will).
It’s true.
I know, when I’m doing divination, I have to work really hard not to project my own Inner Crap onto a reading.
When I talk to my gods and ask them for advice, I tend to ask them to be really, really obvious because I tend to be kind of dense.
I’ve done readings for myself that I’ve then turned around and asked other people to read for specifically to make sure I’m not reading my own wishful thinking (or worst-case scenarios) into the cards I’ve drawn.
I catch myself asking “Okay, did I really talk to a wild geranium, or did I just make up that who sequence?”
I get really suspicious when I’m hearing things that actually sound like what I want to happen/hear. Which sucks, because sometimes it means that I second guess the good stuff, too. :-\
Anyway. The joys of magic, spirit-badgering, and insecurities.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

E is for Experience – Pagan Blog Project 2013

So I was expecting to write a post about Education and my continuing studies in trance work and sacred sexuality. But something happened that I decided to write about, instead.
My wife and I were coming home from a social event downtown and we stopped in at a tatoo shop because my young lady is looking at getting some ink done. My wife picked up on Whatever It Was almost immediately.
I totally didn’t, because I’m like that.
But apparently the air was thick and slightly weird. The gal who worked at the shop had just burried something in salt that had been screwing around with the place.

This is. This is maybe going to sound a little weird.

The gal at the store asked me to see the difference between the temperature of her back and the temperature of her arm and, when I touched her arm (which, yeah, was quite a bit warmer than her back) I felt something like static.
It was icky. It was just there and tingly/weird-feeling. My reaction was kind of different, I guess? I was all “Huh… That’s interesting!”

Anyway. Fast forward ten minutes and my young lady suggests that I could help the shop-keeper to ground out a little bit, and she’s okay with that plan, so I do my Thing (which may or may not even justify the capital letter). Basically, I have (in theory) a Natural Ground. I don’t even really know how it works – although finding out about it (mostly from other people telling me as much over and over and over agian) did explain why all those Grounding Exercises in things like The Spiral Dance never did a damn thing. But it does work. So I gaver her a big hug and visuallized pulling her deep under water into a really peaceful, blue-black space. And also concentrated on playing sponge/vacuum in order to suck up the excess energy that was sizzling around the place and freaking her out.

And boy did I feel it. O.O
I felt like a TV in an electrical storm. Which, possibly, the younger readers of this blog won’t get at all. But yeah. Static crawling all over everything.
Here’s the thing. I had no idea what it was. I didn’t want to touch anything in the store in case it was Something (or Someone) who was nasty and unpleasant (or just pissed off) who needed to be taken outside, but I seriously wanted to get ahold of something metal to ground the stuff out of me, in turn[1]. I also didn’t want to risk bringing Something (or Someone) into my own house once we were home.

Anyway. My wife, who is much clearer about this stuff than I am, let me know (once we were outside) that it was just excess energy that was so buzzy and weird, and there’s wasn’t, like, a creepy monkey or something on my back. Which was a releif. Didn’t do anything to make my back stop hurting (which has been on-going for over two months at this point), but I was glad to know that I wasn’t carrying any extra passengers.

Anyway. That’s my most recent experience with actively and consciously being an energy sink. 🙂

This concludes our PBP13 Blog Post for the week. 🙂

Meliad the Birch Maiden. 🙂

[1] I wound up using the post of a stop-sign once we got outside.

E is for Emergency Essential Oils – Pagan Blog Project 2013

This isn’t exactly the entry I had planned – that’ll come next week, possibly with a title like “E is for Education” or “E is for Enchantment” or something – but I got an unexpected booking for this morning and, in transit, wound up literally sliding under a bus (not all the way, also it was a parked bus that I was trying to board, so it’s not like I was getting run over. I’m fine, thanks for asking).
So, rather than lighting my offering candles, doing my singing, and writing my PBP13 post in a leisurely manner, I’ve spent the afternoon soaking my abraisions and bruises in a bath of epsom salts, lavender essential oil, and yarrow tea.
Hint: Lavender and yarrow are both goodies for speeding up the healing process (yarrow also, iirc, also acts as a clotting agent. I’m not bleeding at this point, but I figured the added incentive wouldn’t hurt).
None of this is particularly related to Paganism, let alone my particular course of study, other than the fact that if I hadn’t become a Witch, I doubt very much that I would have bothered learning what the hell to do with The Herbs.
It definitely came in handy today.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.