Monthly Archives: December 2017

New Moon – Snow Moon Waxes (Winter Solstice)

Happy (belated) Winter Solstice to you all. 🙂
 

A stack of eleven beeswax tealights, with one tealight lit and burning in the foreground (in a small dark green and gold-flecked holder).

A stack of eleven beeswax tealights, with one tealight lit and burning in the foreground (in a small dark green and gold-flecked holder).


 
Tonight, I am drinking left-over red wine and snacking on cookies – rather than doing something sensible like eating left-over pâté on crackers or otherwise diving into something that contains actual protein. My lovely wife (we celebrated five years of marriage on Winter Solstice, btw) is spending the night with her partner and I’m, uh, procrastinating… after spending a day fixing security problems on various social media accounts. FML. At least things seem to be sorted out now, which is a relief.
 
New Moon was a solid week ago. If I were to look out the window, I’d see her – almost half-full and almost half-way up the sky – right now. Only a few days ago she was a hooked crescent, hidden by cloud banks, following the sun towards the western horizon while snow slowly piled up on the steps and I lit candles and poured offering libations inside my cozy house. We started our annual party an hour later than usual (and on the Friday, rather than on Solstice Proper, because it’s hard to get people to come out for a late night when they need to get up for work the next morning) and… it helped. Everything was out and ready (and tidy) with enough time to spare – whether because I gave myself that extra hour, or because a friend came early to help set up… thanks Mercury-Stationing-Direct for that stroke of luck – that I actually had a chance to throw on a nice dress and some party shoes before people started piling through the door.
 
It was so good to have a house full of people again!
 
It’s not that I forget. It’s that the amount of prep that goes into officially Hosting a thing leaves me wondering how much clean-up I can reasonably handle – both before and after the fact. But having people over makes me happy, it stirs up the energy (and forces me to vacuum, which ALSO stirs up the energy, and helps it cycle through rather than stagnating), makes me smile, and helps me bring my Queen of Wands side – the fabulous femme hostess with the mostess – to the fore. I need to make time for more of this in my life.
 
On the glamour front, I’m working at presenting myself a little harder. I’ve talked about using pinterest to show myself what “glamourous” looks like to me, and it’s… a lot of viking/”viking” warrior women, witchy moon goths, queer pin-up babes, sleek film-noir/office-domme outfits, iron-age and early medieval English & Scottish queens, Russian fairy tale pics, and pop-apocalypse/neolithic “shaman” type imagery. Which you’d think would be difficult to boil down into one cohesive whole.
At least I thought it would be.
But the thin line of makeup that follows the curve of a pop-apocalyptic warrior’s cheekbones and spans the bridge of her nose? Is the same line taken by the pin-up librarian’s rhinestone cat-eye glasses or my own oversized witchy-rocker shades. The rockabilly femme in the vintage-style mermaid skirt wears hair flowers that echo the flower crown of the Ukrainian fairy-tale character and the ATS bellydancer’s head piece. The glittering haute couture kokoshnik and the Queen Mum’s tiara are also the spiked hairband worn by the nu goth princess, the Rosy The Riveter kerchief, the band of the hand-knit toque I wear every winter day I leave the house. The mermaid’s tail is the leather scales down one arm of the contemporary turtleneck and the lace-pattern on the hand-knit wiggle sweater. The heavy woolen Ruana of iron age Scotland is the elegant shawl (and the chunky infinity scarf) of today. The Neolithic skin dress of a reconstructed Magdalenian Woman is the fur collar on a film-noir-inspired leather trench, the fox-pelt draped around the shoulders of a forest fairy, the stole – from my great-grandfather – that my grandmother passed on in her nineties. The horns on the forest elf are the ornaments crowning the neolithic regalia, are the chunky, multi-point antler hair sticks in the contemporary updo.
The shapes are becoming clearer, and it’s something I’m mindful of when I put my every-day clothes on.
Whether it’s doing anything to make me shinier in the eyes of anyone (or Anyone) who happens to see me… that remains to be seen. But this is still a thing.
 
Tarot Card Meditation:
I’ve heard (recently, though I can’t remember where… sorry) that New Moons are good for magic and intention-setting and Full Moons are good for healing work and deep-diving. On that note, as the new moon waxes towards full, the card I drew for my meditation is:
 

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn
Nine of Cups
A woman is stripy fetish gear takes a selfie. Nine cups are arrayed around her.
The is the “Wishes Coming True” card, and I kind of love it. 😉


 
This is… relevant on more than just a “what do you wish for”/”what makes you truly happy” level, given what I spent a chunk of my morning getting re-set-up to do, but it also ties into my own questions about what makes me happy, what internalized Stuff do I need to free myself from in order to get the sex life (which, for me is SO tied to my heart and my relationships and all those watery cups subjects) I want.
Capricorn Season is all about showing up and doing the work (to quote the Hoodwitch). Chani tells me to fill my days with rituals that help me break bad habits (Scorpio) but also reminds my Rising sign (Gemini) to be mindful of the energetic exchanges (such as flirting, first impression, and interpersonal collaborations, all-of-which which your rising sign handles) and to figure out what you actually need, want, and have to offer in those situations. She tells my Moon (Cancer… to the surprise of absolutely nobody) that “love needs a home” – which, duh, got me all weepy, because: yeah – and that for the next three years Saturn-in-Capricorn is going to show me what I need to build and be honest about in order to make that home, with all its many chambers, a real one with solid foundations.
I think the nine of cups ties into this one hard.
Help me to know what I want.
Help me to acknowledge what I want.
Help me to seek what I want.
Help me to invite it in.
 
I need to bake a couple of pies and finish a sewing project so… no more procrastinating for me.
 
Happy Solstice all.
 

 
~*~
 
Movement: All I want to do is sleep. So not a tonne of movement going on, and what IS going on has resulted in my left hip swelling to twice its usual size. (It came back down again, but… Winter + long walks + carrying heavy loads in an unbalanced way + even the tiniest of high heels… did not do me any good in recent history. So I’m being careful with myself while I have the option).
 
Attention: Right at the moment? Chani’s pointed reminder to pay attention to how I spend my time.
 
Gratitude: Five years of marriage with my lovely wife. Polyamoury that works, even if it’s always going to be a learning process. Generous friends who bring us fancy food, who help me get things set up for company coming over. Company coming over and filling my house with warmth, light, and laughter. Sweet young folks who trust me. Extra garden space to look forward to this coming summer (maybe, possibly). Warm blankets. Sewing skills. Lazy days. Helpful tech support staff who are working on xmas eve and still willing to go the extra mile to help me out. Perfect clear nights that aren’t too cold. The chance to stroll home, looking at pretty lights, with my wife. ❤
 
Inspiration: Easy but fancy-looking up-dos. Moonlight. Iron-age fashion. Winter fairy tales. The hearth inside my heart and how I want to bring it into the solid world around me.
 
Creation: A lot of sewing, some knitting. Not a whole lot of anything else. Poetry is having a break until January while I spend some time with my wife (who is officially on vacation as of last Friday).

Full Moon – Long Nights Moon Crests (Season of the Hag)

A full moon rising huge over tufts of dry grasses poking through the drifts.

A full moon rising huge over tufts of dry grasses poking through the drifts.
Photo by John Fowler, courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.


 
Yesterday was the full moon. I went outside and sang to her a bit. Such a clear sky, and she looked so good. 🙂 I hung the winter wreath on the door (fake fir branches with silver beads wrapped around them for ice, and a cloth poinsettia flower for a sunburst) and pulled the holly garlands out of the basement – I haven’t quite hung them up yet, but that’s one of today’s tasks. I gave an offering to the Hag, the Old Lady Winter, and asked for a gentle one this year. I mean, who knows, and it’s supposed to be Very Snowy, but nobody dying of cold would be good. Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
A while back, I talked about the Season of the Witch. Like autumn, in Ottawa, it’s a relatively short season. The Season of the Hag lasts longer, especially given that the real cold and snow don’t tend to hit until after Winter Solstice (when this poem by Richard de Graeme becomes particularly apt, even if Brigid’s fire doesn’t do much beyond offer a temporary reprieve around here).
The Season of the Hag involves: A lot of shivering. My hips being sore and swollen. Lighting candles more frequently. Trying not to fall down (right now, the temperature is seesawing back and forth across the frozen line, which is dandy as long as it’s dry – my hips hurt less, the warmer it is, so my body’s not complaining even if my mind is flipping out about climate change – but which is down right dangerous when there’s rain (which freezes) covered in the hail or snow that comes on its heels, so). Cozying up under a heap of yarn to Make Things (such as knitted radishes[1] and other veggies for my nibblings). Entertaining At Home – anything to cultivate and maintain friendships and community (think of the Scandinavian concept of hygge), whether that’s casual crafternoons with pals, opening your home to host a house concert, or inviting your nearest and dearest over for Midwinter cocktails while celebrating the Solstice. Baking and slow-cooking things so that the house, in which one is somewhat cooped up, smells delicious and feels warm because the oven is on. A lot of things to do with dealing with, and getting through, the cold with mind and body as intact as possible.
But it’s also a time for story-telling. Sharing anecdotes, working on manuscripts, examining the Old Tapes in your own head (MY own head) and figuring out how to at least remix them into something useful and good for you again.
 
With that in mind: Jessica Lanyadoo, over at HoodWitch reminds me, as a Scorpio, to focus on my own conduct this week, and says “Change yourself, THEN conquer the world”. And Chani advises: “Remember that gratitude and generosity are your guiding goddesses towards a greater sense of abundance. Go forward accordingly.” On a related note, Liz Worth asks us to take some time during this Mercury Retrograde (which started yesterday, and is going to stick around until just after Winter Solstice – if you are mailing things to anybody, mail them early) to check in with our foundations and offers some questions you can ask yourself, your cards, your Gods, about where you still need clarity versus what’s got clear and sorted for you over the past year, and what your next steps might be.
On a very related note, Sarah Gottesdiener, over at Little Red Tarot, points out that the last Full Moon of the year (this one) is a good time for wrapping up loose ends, finishing projects, and otherwise get stuff done before the calendar flips over. (Granted, Miss Sugar would suggest avoiding the New Years Resolutions (That Nobody Keeps) Egrigore by starting new projects NOW, instead of a month from now, so you do you). Sarah also suggests that this is a good time to reflect on where you’re at, look at places where you had to push yourself, ask what you need to keep going forward, and check in about recurring patterns and what they might mean. (There’s a related spread for that here). She offers this reminder:

Remember: Magic is an art. Magic works if you do.
You are both activator and participant. You are the spell!
Not the crystal or the Tarot card or the altar cloth or the athame or the chalice or any of your tools, chants, or herbs. You are the both the conduit and the conductor!
Remember to use your magic. Remember to honor yourself.

 
A good reminder if ever there was one.
The folks at Hoodwitch also offer this meditation – which is a focus-on-your-breath type exercise – for the Full Moon in Gemini. They ask participants to journal a bit, after, on the question of what does air mean for them as human beings… but I think this could be adapted to other stuff – thoughts on voice, speaking, communication, but maybe also thoughts on fear and anxiety and they way those responses can close up (or feel like they’re closing up) our throats.
 
I wrote (very briefly), a couple of weeks ago, about intention-setting and tarot meditations. Full Moon is typically a time to check in on the fruits of your intentions (that you theoretically set at the New Moon). I gotta tell you that releasing all that “you are unlovable/unworthy” crap is… slow going. I mean, duh. But it’s a thing. SO!
Moon Meditation? Moon Meditation!
I drew a random tarot card today.

“Courage” – 8 of Major Arcana (“Strength”)
A daisy blooming through a crack in the stone.


 
How does this card – courage, strength, blooming in vulnerability – relate to:
1) Recurring patterns I’ve seen over the past year
2) Glamour, letting myself be seen/heard and generally putting myself out there
AND
3) Letting go of all that “you are unlovable/unworthy” crap.
 
I mean, the answer to #2 is pretty direct. Bravery is a muscle, glamour is a muscle, you have to exercise them and you will get tired quickly when you’re not used to doing so. Put on your crown of light. Visualize all those dangerously-alluring women with bone jewelry and intense eyeliner and leather cloaks/jackets striding through the sylvan/urban landscape, let that power build in yourself, and get out there. For a given value of “get out there” that means “submit that poem for publication” or “do vocal warm-ups every day, even if the neighbours can hear you” or “flirt with that other attractive queer” or “apply for that job/grant” or whatever. I’ve been doing some of this fairly consistently (see #1), but I recognize that I have a tendency to give up and go back to hiding with a lot of regularity. To take a page from Miss Sugar’s Glamour Magic book there are mundane parts to fixing this situation and magical parts. The mundane/physical stuff is literally doing the physical work. Doing the warm ups. Writing the poems, finding appropriate calls for submissions, and sending them out. Putting on my lipstick and a clean shirt to run my errands. Making the first move. All that stuff. Magically, I can do visualizations to help me evoke and make visible my own powerful, “Scorpio Side” (I tend to let my Moon show up front, for reasons that are good – this is me, I am this – but also for reasons that are not so healthy for me and tie into the “unworthiness” business). I can listen to throat-opening chakra music and sing along in harmony (humming or rolled Rs). I can wear lapis lazuli (throat-opener, speak the truth even if your voice trembles, lean into your intuition and know yourself, that kind of stone) around my neck. I can fill my belly with tea made from thyme, fennel, mullien, and/or yarrow for courage or use those oils in a ritual bath. I can fill a honey pot with dried pear and hawthorn berries, pecans, sesame seeds, vanilla beans, hibiscus flowers, orange zest, whole cloves, oats, and glitter, and enchant it accordingly: If I’m really on my game, I’ll be Working myself in the process and I’ll start liking myself and thinking I deserve Nice Things, too. 😉
Heh.
My mom, because she is my mom, gave us an advent calendar full of inspirational quotations and candy.
The quote for yesterday’s full moon was:

Follow a heart’s desire today. Pick up a book, make that call, join that club, pick up that paint brush, start that course. Begin, begin, begin.

Okay, then.

 
~*~
 
Movement: I admit I skipped going dancing on Friday night. I had company over and my wife was tired, and it was just a better plan all around to stay in. Even for a dance that started early and was easy to get to. Still, there’s been lots of walking (and will be lots more, this week), so that’s something. Time to start doing yoga in the spare room for 10 minutes every day again, I think, as it’s getting colder out and the motion will help keep me warm and prevent me from turning into a creaky mess.
 
Attention: I’m paying attention to deadlines, right now. Submitting job applications and poetry, seeing if I qualify for grants (most recently: Not yet. I need to have published three things through traditional publishers who pay money when they publish your stuff. I have… one? Everything else has been contributor copies. One more reason to keep sending stuff out).
 
Gratitude: Paid the rent AND the heating bill on the same day. Pickled beets are going nicely. My friend who had hot sauce explode in her face is doing fine and retained all of her sight. A friend visiting for dinner. Being treated to waffles by another friend. My wife telling me I’m her home and that she’s so glad I’m part of her life. ❤
 
Inspiration: Women with horns and facial tattoos. Also femmes. Also my wife who loves to learn new things. Also the garden (even in her sleeping form). Also astrology and tarot, as per usual.
 
Creation: I finished the editing on, and then submitted, three poems to a magazine in BC. Am trying to edit my lack-luster ghazal into an entirely different kind of poem with plans to put it into my next chapbook. Also went through my back catalogue of unpublished poems to see if there was anything in there that would fit the “moons and tarot and spellcraft and astrology and feeeeelings” theme of said chapbook, because I’d like to get this done sooner rather than later. Knit two radishes, with a third on the way, and finished knitting my stocking extensions.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Cast on 45 stitches (using 2¼ mm needles and a light gauge like “sport” or “baby” yarn… even “sock” yarn will do. #1 or #2 gauge, basically). Knit 20 rows back and forth. Decrease by k2t every 4th and 5th stitch. Knit back. Decrease by k2t every 3rd and 4th stitch. Knit back. Decreased by k2t every 2nd and 3rd stitch. Knit back. You should have 18 stitches now. K2t, knit back. Knit one, then k2t to the end of row so you have five stitches. Knit five rows. Cast off. Roll your bit of knitting into a tube (like a rose bud). Sew up the side. Gather the top (the wide part) on a bit of extra yarn and pull it “shut” as with a draw-string bag. Tie off. Behold. You have a raddish. (Make leaves if you want to. Or different leaves if you want them to be “strawberries”). Do the same thing to make beets, just use chunkier yarn (#4 gauge, probably) and 5mm needles. For potatoes, do the same thing, except Just Keep Knitting, instead of doing the reductions. Use the draw-string method on both ends, instead of only one.