Monthly Archives: August 2018

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.
Thoughts?
 
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.
 
Okay.
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.

New Moon – Apple Moon Begins (New Moon in Leo, Partial Solar Eclipse)

Crab apples, Malus sp. - Photo by Jonathan Billinger - Via Wikimedia Commons

Crab apples, Malus sp. – Photo by Jonathan Billinger
Via Wikimedia Commons
Close-up of deep red crab apples, ready to be picked.


 
I may be jumping the gun a little here, but there have been ripe apples falling off the trees between here and the Redeau river for weeks, so even if the crab apples aren’t quite (quite) ready to be picked by the grocery-bag-full yet (I will be testing this theory tomorrow, while doing The Laundry across from a bunch of city trees, so we’ll see) I’m going to go ahead and call this one Apple Moon.
 
I pulled a LOT of quack grass (and some crab grass) out of the raised beds today. Also, gave the bolting mustard and icicle radishes a bit of a hair cut. I want the seeds, but I also want the volunteer cherry tomatoes and the kale (or is it collards?) and chard to have some breathing room and light access. So a lot of it is now drying (like hay? Ish?) on a bed of as-yet-unflowered new dandelion growth in the hopes that it dries down before I chuck it in my compost heap.
For my efforts, I managed to find one (1) beautifully ripe yellow cherry tomato and one (1) undersized striped zucchini. (I also harvested a very, very woody icicle radish which I slivered – along with shredding the more delicate greens – and added to my current batch of “wild” (ish) fermented veggies.
It’s a start.
 
The veggie ferment, btw, is now in the fridge. It was smelling Not Great – as in “smells like saurkraut is supposed to smell but… also with an over-layer of Ewwwwww” – and putting it in a cooler environment will help the Good Bacteria take over from the not-so-great bacteria in a timely fashion.
 
I’ve got four at-home days coming up, and my plans include doing laundry (finally!), harvesting crab apples and/or heirloom red-fleshed apples (hopefully! If successful: also making crab apple jelly and/or apple butter), setting up a new batch of yoghurt in the instant pot, and digging a lot of sunchokes out of the other raised bed (Thanks, helpful squirrels! I so appreciate the way you replanted literally ALL of those…) with an eye to pickling them in big chunks with some garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds. Maybe some bird chilies as well.
We’ll see how this actually goes though, as the week progresses. I’ve got poetry to submit, word-counts (novel) and further poetry to write, and a couple of things to mend as well, so. We’ll do what we can.
 
I’ve run into a bit of a problem with the yoghurt. I’m not sure if I’m trying to culture too much milk with only half a cup of starter, or if I’m not mixing the starter in well enough, or if I’m over-heating the milk initially, or if I’m waiting too long to transfer the yoghurt to the fridge (unlikely), but… I’m winding up with “thick milk + lumpy bits” rather than the relatively smooth, definitely cultured-all-the-way-through yoghurt that I was initially getting. I’ll take a look around the internet and see what’s what, but if anyone reading this is recognizing the problem and knows how to solve it, do feel free to leave me a comment on the subject.
 
My sourdough bread is… getting more like the kind of bread I want it to be. Which is a good sign. It’s still not as dry as I’d like it to be… I’m not sure if that means I need to cook it for longer, or let it rise in the fridge over night (my current suspicion is the latter), but things went relatively well the last time I made bread, and I didn’t use any “booster yeast” (1/2 tsp of bread yeast added to the initial sponge), so that’s a good sign.
 
My wife and I are going to visit the Twist Fiber Festival in Saint-André-Avellin next weekend. There will be demos. There will be a food tent. There will be art exhibits. There will be a “mini farm” (which… is that like a petting zoo? Or an animal expo? I have no idea, but I’m looking forward to finding out). There will also be vendors and pay-to-register workshops, which I will be avoiding because I have very little cash but a HUGE yarn stash (by my standards) AND access to youtube tutorials. But the plan is, in addition to taking a day-trip, to pick up some manure compost (and maybe some bagged mulch?) and cart it all home where it will sit and do nothing until the fall.
 
My wife and I were chatting about the garden this morning. About how the food forests that I day-dream about are honestly waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond my current scope. My approach to gardening is mostly to ask “What grows here anyway?” and try to make the most of it, coupled with an attempt at planting things so heavily that the plants I want (like rainbow chard or “dazzling blue” flat-leaf kale or zucchini or winter squash or tomatoes, or, or, or…) overpower and shade out the plants I don’t (quack grass, crab grass… actually, that’s about it).
And that technique isn’t really working right now. So I’m starting (and ending up super out of breath… not a good sign) to weed my raised beds a little more intensively, in the hopes of preventing another wild-grass take-over of my food-growing spaces. Here’s hoping I manage to do some good.
 
Oh. I did, indeed, try mixing up a batch of rhubarb wine. Specifically, I took half a batch of my ginger beer, added 2C frozen diced rhubarb, and 1/2 tsp of bread yeast, plus some honey, and let it go for a couple of weeks. Just yesterday I racked it (sort of) and topped it up with a handful of chokecherries (that I mashed and pitted) plus honey, pomegranate molasses, some water, and 1/4 tsp more yeast. I figure I’ll let that sit for another week or so, and then rack it again and shove it into the back of the fridge to age (“age”) for a while. Based on the smell, I’m expecting something that tastes predominantly ginger-y but with lots of fruity undertones. Fingers crossed!
 
On the astrological front. It’s Leo Season. Everybody’s going “Look at me! Look at me!” on some level. Lammas, the first harvest, was a little over a week ago (or about two weeks ago, if you’re doing the lunar version), the nights are getting longer, though the days are still long (and hot), and Eclipse Season is in full swing.
The thing about quarter/cross-quarter days is that, because they happen roughly six weeks apart, they make for good points of reflection.
Liz Worth, who tends to talk about Eclipse Cycles – the multi-year dovetailing of eclipses that chase each other across any specific two signs at opposite points on the zodiac wheel (when the sun, and therefore the new moon, are in one sign, the full moon will be in the other) – recently brought up that Leo and Aquarius are both very creative signs, but that they’re creative in different ways. That Leo wants self-expression and the spotlight (freedom TO), but that Aquarius wants freedom FROM old habits/behaviours/rules that don’t apply or that hold them back. Maybe it’s no surprise that having eclipse energy (transformation a-go-go) in both of these signs, one of-which overlays Imbolg (a time of germination, stretching, hopefulness, and hidden/underground changes) and one that overlays Lammas (a time of reaping what you’ve sown, but also a time for sowing a second crop of short-season, cold-weather-loving seeds. In other words: Building new plans and projects in places where you’ve already seen some results), means feeling the push to make things (changes, projects, splashes) happen in your life.
 
What were you starting to work towards back in February? Now’s a good time to check in with where those projects are at. What kind of results have you been seeing? What do you need to turn under vs what do you need to tend better? What can you build from here-on-in before the Last Harvest at Samhain spins us back into the Root Time of resting and dreaming underground?
Liz suggests the intention/affirmation of “I am ready for my next step”, and offers a related tarot spread to figure out what that might be (it’s at the link, above).
 
Horoscope-wise: Jessica Lanyadoo, over at Hoodwitch, informs me that “There is strength in your willingness to move slowly and with intention, Scorpio”, and reminds me not to rush those changes unless I actually want to haul the same old garbage along with me into my next stages (which… not so much). On a related note, Chani offers this affirmation-scope: “What I am beginning now will grow over the next six months. I confidently pour my energy into what I want to bloom and become. I spend time developing the projects that most reflect my values.” Miriam, courtesy of Radical Tarot’s Tarotscopes, offers this bit of (awkwardly on-the-nose…) encouragement to Scorpios like me:

Oh Scorpio, it’s been a torrential few months. You seemed to be pulled back, dragged through the past, reminded of hurts and anger from several years removed. But even just the past few days have found you realizing that this was more a bow-and-arrow situation, necessary tension building to propel you further than ever before, quite specifically in the direction of hitting the mark where it comes to your passion. […] The magic is in your hands, and pushing past your need to pull away and be secretive will really allow all of this to spark, catch, and take blaze with truly dazzling effects!

 
Which I guess brings me to my Tarot Card Meditation:

The Lovers - Tarot of the Silicon Dawn (Egypt Urnash): Three colourful, femme sweethearts circle each other, laughing and playful together.

The Lovers – Tarot of the Silicon Dawn (Egypt Urnash)
Three colourful, femme sweethearts circle each other, laughing and playful together.


 
On top of being explicitly queer (both in the art and in the write-up), this is one of the most marvelously, deliberately polyamourous Lovers cards I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. I’m delighted to have drawn it for today’s meditation.
It is – as I’m finding a lot of these meditation random-draws are – remarkably relevant to current personal events, and also to that tarotscope from Miriam.
I pulled the card reversed – so this is about me and how I related to lovers-type situations. My relationship with my own desire. My relationship with my own sexuality. My ability to give myself permission to want, and ask for, and experience pleasure when there are other people involved.
I can’t help wondering how deeply this relates to the draw I did when Rampion Moon was full, about creatively engaging in my web of relationships by being willing to take some risks.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Hours of walking, some week-yanking (read: squating for 15 minutes at a time… urgh), but not much else. Plans for later this week to go apple picking in the neighbourhood and out near Mud Lake.
 
Attention: Totally absorbed by my friend’s recently-launched debut novel. Also paying attention to what veggies and fruits I can forage, harvest, and/or buy on-the-cheap-because-in-season. Brought home 3kg each zucchini and roma tomatoes, most-of-which will end up in the freezer, one way or another, for use in stews and pastas over winter.
 
Gratitude: Grateful for the rain that is still falling. For running water and a neighbour who lets me use her hose. Also grateful that said neighbour periodically hands us bags of snap beans or whole fuzzy melons from her much-more-prolific-than-ours garden. Grateful that I know what wild greens I can eat. Grateful for the apple trees that grow across from my laundromat. Grateful for upcoming work that has not been canceled (I had a bit of a scare last Friday but, while my next long-ish office booking has been shortened, I’m only losing two days, which is a BIG relief!). Grateful for a wife who loves me, and says so often. For a metamour who brings us corn on the cob and coconut oil and lends us her car so that her girlfriend (aka my wife) and I can go on day-trips together. Grateful for a second radish crop. For thriving rainbow chard (at last!). For my first home-grown zucchini EVAR and for the first tiny cherry tomato of my year.
 
Inspiration: The above-mentioned debut novel, and the woman who wrote it <3. A rejection letter from a paid market that was, none the less, very encouraging. My wife, who is quite the bad-ass and an astonishing wiz at fixing unfamiliar analogue machinery.
 
Creation: Making some progress on the spite-novel (aiming to make some more progress this Wednesday) and also on the knitted tank top. Made a batch of offering-candles today (beeswax + lard. We’ll see how they do). Plans to make some super-dangling rainbow earrings over the next few days as well.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad.