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Monthly Archives: June 2020
There are thunderheads gathering further west, but I don’t know if we’ll be getting any rain.
I hope we do. We could use it. The tiny roses are blooming on the climbing vine outside our front window, and the milkweed is getting ready to flower in the sunny part of our yard. It’s hot and sunny, even with the clouds rolling in, and I’m hoping for a thunderstorm once dinner’s off the grill and we’re in for the night.
I’ve done three rituals in as many days.
I set up my altar on the day of the Dark Moon (last Friday), washed the altar cloth in the tub and let it dry in the summer sun. Melted the wax off the protective piece of glass (something out of our former fridge, which has only ever been on our altar, but which makes me smile because of who it came from) that sits on top of the altar cloth to protect it, and the wood of the cabinet underneath it, from the heat of all those candles. Unpacked all the candle holders, pictures, and tiny statues that make up my altar, and laid them out where they’re supposed to go. (I moved a few things around before landing on the right spots).
I haven’t lit the altar candles yet.
But yesterday – the official longest day of the year – I like the House Candle during our Solstice dinner. The House Candle is… it’s one of my home-made coconut-oil-and-beeswax votive candles. I lit it on Beltane and burned it halfway down, with the intention of using it as a coal from our former hearth. I finally re-lit it yesterday and, when I did, it felt a bit like I’d sent up a Location Signal?
Like, I know my gods can find me. I know my Fetch and my Godself are part of me, and so can find me. I know my ancestors, who are in my blood and my bones and the shape of my face, can find me. And yet it still felt like an “Oh there you are” was going on once I’d lit that candle.
Not sure quite what was going on there, but that’s what it felt like.
Solstice dinner, btw, was sausages-onna-bun done on the tiny, table-top gas grill my wife got us off kijiji, plus a salad (bagged salad mix from our CSA + diced black olives and some baby red onion, also from our CSA) in a creamy dressing I did up with plain yoghurt, dijon mustard, soy sauce, black pepper, and a little vegetable oil.
So nothing fancy. But I made white wine offerings with an Ontario wine my wife picked out, and we’re doing haskap short cake tonight, ft vanilla yoghurt + lemon ice cream, in lieu of whipped cream, because we’ve got a little thing of haskaps from the CSA, and I think it’ll be good.
We may also be doing some grilled chicken and some more salad – though that may be a tomorrow meal – and my wife, as you have no doubt guessed, is threatening/promising to teach me how to set up and light the gas grill so I can use it myself.
Part of me is excited about this, and part of me is… mildly dismayed at the prospect of doing All the Dinner Cooking again, rather than being able to take a sizable chunk of the summer “off”.
None the less: Grilled meat is amazing, and I look forward to having significantly more of it. 😀
On Friday night, I did ritual with Connect DC. That night was more like a sermon minus the rest of the service. No ceremonial workings, that kind of thing. But I pulled tarot cards for a couple of questions, and this is what I got:
What is my Work? – Heirophant, Page of Wands, Three of Cups
How do I do this [work for sweeping social change] – Five of Cups, The Sun
The second one was easy: Keep slogging, and don’t lose sight of joy.
The first one… I am here to love and to play. Learn through celebration, curiosity, and play. Make deep, loving connections and build family in all directions. Love and play are holy.
Which… was not at all what I was expecting, but I’ll take it!
Today, Sunday, I did two rituals over the course of about four hours.
The first was the Connect DC’s online summer Solstice ritual.
Unsurprisingly, I cried a lot – this seems to be a bit of a thing when I circle with this group. Not sure why, but here we are.
A couple of things:
(1) I think my Dad showed up? And possibly my grandmothers? (And maybe one grandfather and the great grandmother I knew… but I’m not entirely sure about those two).
(2) The Amazons showed up. I didn’t get much through/from Helios – possibly because I was talking to my own sun deity about that – but the Amazons came in strong enough that even bunker-ass me could feel them. I felt them at my shoulders, sister-moms. And I felt armor, too. I didn’t expect that. Like, it feels really weird to put it this way given how long I’ve been calling myself an amazon, but I didn’t actually expect them to accept me? So that was more than a little amazing.
(3) I am getting the hang of moving energy around. Trying to charge sigils on/through a computer screen is… it’s a situation where it’s a lot harder for me to discern whether I’m doing The Thing or not. But I think I managed to do something, which is good.
(4) The visualization that led up to the Working was very very Fetch Energy, from my perspective. I hope she enjoyed it and got to feel strong
The last ritual I did was the bookend to the big ritual I did back in November. It was a relatively small working. The follow-up and thank you to my gods and ancestors for bringing us this house, among other things, in the timeline I asked for. I included a lot of physical items from the original ritual – discovering just how disoriented I am regarding where the actual compass points are in my new neighbourhood, in the process, whoops – and kept it short.
I’m a little worried it was… not fancy enough?
But the significant bit – the blood on the altar – got done, so I’m okay with it. I need to finish burning the last of the House Candle, but the rest is complete and I’m glad I (finally) did The Thing.
It will surprise absolutely nobody to know that I’ve been pulling The Sun, repeatedly, for the past couple of days. As is so often the case, my cards tend to tell me what’s up in the literal sense. Yes, my cards, it’s MidSummer.
I’ll be trying to hold onto the optimism, success, growth, and joy built into this card as we turn into the fullness of summer, the heat, the humidity, the fruit that has already started to ripen on the trees.
Movement: Since everything is From Home these days, and I’m not getting regular walks to a job where I’m taking and holding poses for three hours (some days it’s a lot like power yoga), it’s finally dawned on me that going out for a walk is something I should do on a fairly frequent basis, without having to do so for Reasons (like “I have to run an errand” reasons). So I’ve taken a couple of walks around the neighbourhood to try and help keep my Hip/Back Issue from totally seizing up my left leg. It’s helping, so onwards we go!
Attention: Paying attention to the cardinals who stop by our window sill most mornings. The chipmunks in the cedar shrub in the front yard. The crows calling to each other. Paying attention to which fruit trees grow where in my new neighbourhood. Trying to sort out which direction is where now that my living room is facing a substantially different direction than it has for the past three houses / twelve years.
Gratitude: Grateful for sex dates with both my partners. For hot, sunny days. For running water. For the opportunity to go to “church” with my girlfriend. For the mist setting on our shower head. For lemon ice cream. For coffee on the front steps before the cool of the morning burns away. For my gods finding me again. For being able to feel it. For the amazons. For the loan of a car and a long drive in the countryside. For magic that works. For my loves.
Inspiration: My wife’s bravery and the contents of our CSA (in very different contexts, to be clear).
Creation: Mostly I’ve been doing sewing. Nothing fancy, but trying to get the mending/WiP pile whittled down just a little while adding to my stash of summer-weight clothes. It’s slow, but it’s happening. I’ll probably have a new skirt finished before the end of June. That’s the plan, at any rate.
We are officially moved.
I have transplanted my garden, added a couple of starts (yarrow and winter savoury) and seeds (dill, golden chard, anise hyssop, poppies, zucchini) out front, and planted frozen service berries (and dried hawthorn berries) around the perimeter of the back yard.
My brother got married on Friday.
That, more than anything, is why I’m referring to this full moon as a Honey Moon. The weather hasn’t exactly been conducive to happy bees investigating the flowers. This time last week, it was 36C and we were all wilting with the heat. I landed myself a sun burn while transplanting the rhubarb, lovage, and sorrel, and we subsisted on pasta salad and ice cream as much as we could.
This week, we’ve seen temperatures drop into the danger-of-frost zone over night, and – while that’s been really helpful for getting the transplants to root comfortably – the salad greens and cucumbers in our weekly CSA box have been languishing in the crisper while I’ve been making pasta with hot cheese sauce and sauteed frozen veggies, and baking box lasagna, bread, and pie in the name of hot meals and an excuse to have the oven on (because our heat is well and truly off).
So, yes. I’ve made our first batch of bread in the new house, which is pretty great. Rhubarb-cherry pie (And rhubarb-service-berry pie) are absolutely lovely and, yes, we have a CSA.
I am definitely excited about the CSA.
I’ve wanted to get one for YEARS, and between all the various repercussions of travel bans during a pandemic, the fact that we know we’re going to be in this house for the foreseeable, and the extra help from the CERB, we were able to do it this year.
I hope we can do it again next year, as I quite like this Thing where we have a bunch of veggies delivered to our doorstep once a week.
It feels very fancy.
That said: You guys, there is definitely a learning curve to this, and I am finding that I’m wasting more food than I might otherwise.
I put up two weeks worth of spinach and beet greens earlier today – so I have five little pucks of cooking greens in the freezer for after our CSA finishes its last delivery about 10 days before Samhain – and I sliced up some radishes and teeny-tiny beets to start making fermented pickles with them (I am expecting further radishes tomorrow, so I’ll add more then). But I haven’t been cooking the radish greens, even though radish greens have been our main cooking vegetable (alongside dandelions) for most of the past five years.
I chose to get us a full CSA, rather than a “lite” CSA, because I knew I wanted to have those extra veggies – tomatoes, cooking greens, summer squash, root veggies, and winter squash – in order to can them or freeze them for later use. Between the cucumbers (so many cucumbers) and herbs in the CSA, and the lovage that seems to be making itself at home in its new bed, I managed to put together a really good couscous salad, and we’ve been enjoying it with and/or as our last few meals. But I have to learn to use things up more quickly than I have been, or I’m going to have a lot of rotten lettuce on my hands.
I’m excited that there are not one but TWO high-bush cranberry (cramp bark) trees on my corner, because, while they take a WHILE to sprout and grow, they DO grow well from seed AND the berries make really good jelly. (Allegedly it also makes good pie, but I’m getting mixed information on how safe it is to eat in large quantities, so I may stick with jelly. It’s part of the elder family – and you need to cook elder berries for them to be safe to eat – so I’m thinking of it in similar terms).
Anyway. My plan is to harvest a couple of handfuls of ripe berries in… August/September (apparently?) to use in lieu of cranberry sauce, come October AND to plant around the yard because they’re also a really pretty flowering shrub that’s native to the province, and that I’d like to plant as part of the under-story of our foresty back yard.
A friend – with-whom I now share a neighbourhood! – has been donating spare plants to me, most recently a big pot full of a BUNCH of ostrich ferns. I’m loving the thought of, next year, being able to pick a few fiddleheads – not many, not this early – to throw into spring stir-fries or pastas, and hoping that they’ll quietly take over from the gout weed that’s currently eating most of my front yard. I gather there are black eyed susans, rose campion, white wild geraniums, sweet woodroffe, and lily of the valley coming my way in the next little while, and I’m very excited.
The card I pulled on the day of the full moon (yesterday), for my tarot card meditation was the nine of stones. I pulled it from my Wildwood deck and, given that I pulled it maybe a scant hour before my brother’s wedding went live, part of me couldn’t help but read it as “Almost there!”
But this card – while definitely meaning “almost there” – has a lot to do with where my wife and I are right now.
We are Officially Moved into the house for-which I did Big Magic to get. (And need to make good on some further Big Magic as a follow-up).
We are feeling unusually financially stable (not that it won’t take some work to keep it that way) and are excited to have more space, to have a home with laundry machines of our own, and “grown up bedrooms” (as my wife puts it) and a whole room to dedicate to my wife’s workshop so that she’s no-longer dependent on anyone else for shop space.
I have two really solid romantic relationships that I’ve done a LOT of self-work to keep and find, AND two tiny, remote jobs that are helping to keep our heads above water when all of my usual (in person) work is on hold until, realistically, there’s a vaccine available for COVID-19.
I just signed a contract for the sale of one (1) short story, to a paid market and sent out another poetry submission today.
We are right down the street from some of our closest friends and chosen family, with plans to bring a portable BBQ grill to a local park – now that we can do so – and have a meal together (ish) in short order.
Things feel really good!
And that’s what the Nine of Stones is generally about. Not just about “almost there” but about “all the hard work you’ve done is paying off”. It’s the ripeness of All The Things coming to fruition. It’s the reminder I’ve murmured to myself, in Child’s Pose, every night for months: “You are worthy of commitment, you are worthy of devotion, you are worthy of thriving. And you do”.
It felt really, really good to pull this card.
Movement: A little bit of walking. Yoga every night. A lot of lifting and carrying boxes and a LOT of digging and transplanting. There’s still a lot of unpacking to do, and it won’t suck to get back to doing some (small amounts of) resistance training again. But it WILL be nice to get into the more leisurely, non-furniture-related part of moving where I spend an hour emptying one box and then go read for a while, you know?
Attention: Black Lives Matter peaceful protests, what various levels of my own governments are doing and/or not doing at this time, what I can do to help (sign petitions, send letters, send money).
Gratitude: Grateful for this house. Grateful for a wife who encourages me to say something when I’m upset about a thing, and actually has a discussion with me rather than a defensive mess. Grateful for our CSA and the money it takes to pay for it. Grateful for automatic deposits and other ways to get my paycheques into my bank account without actually having to take a bus to a bank branch with an on-street entrance (that is one thing I don’t utterly love about my new neighbourhood. Everything else is great, but that’s mildly inconvenient). Grateful for a second-hand BBQ grill that actually works. Grateful for being close to some of my best friends, even though it meant moving away from some of the other ones. Grateful for a cool June (so far) that’s given my transplanted garden some time to recover. Grateful for a new sister-in-law who seems pretty cool. Grateful for video chats with my girlfriend (who – along with her whole household – is still safe and sound, thank all the gods). Grateful for “bougie welfare” keeping us safely housed and in groceries while my in-person work is canceled/postponed. Grateful for Bonus Free Books. Grateful that Magic Works. Grateful for so many good people in my life. ❤
Inspiration: This almost feels like the question “What is giving you hope right now?” There’s a LOT of awful going on. And a LOT of the awful has been here the whole time, while I’ve had the luxury of pretending it wasn’t going on at all. What is giving me hope right now? My brother getting married. The fact that there are fewer than five cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia right now. The number of people who, before March 2020, wouldn’t have really given Universal Basic Income any thought, or would have though it was a bad idea, actually going “This… is good, actually. I don’t want people to starve or not be able to get their medication, or lose their homes. Tell me more about this UBI thing?” and, likewise, people who couldn’t, here-to-fore, imagine a world without police in it are now going “Okay, but do they really need 10% of our city’s entire budget? Surely that money could go somewhere more appropriate, like, say, low-bar-for-entry trauma-informed mental health supports or, perhaps, a universal basic income?” That gives me hope. I hope this makes for real, lasting change.
Creation: Okay, truth be told, I haven’t been feeling super creative lately. Mostly, I’ve been wanting to escape into novels (to the point that I actually ordered new books off the internet yesterday) and have been avoiding Hard Stuff on the literary front for weeks. I’ve created a bunch of letters to politicians. I’ve created some really delicious pies and an excellent salad and the beginnings of a pretty, trans-planted garden. I’ve created a possibly-useful twitter thread for Cdn people who want to (try to) make a difference when it comes to unjust laws outside of our own provinces and (allegedly) made a “useful contribution” to the local Defund The Police conversation that’s starting to happen at the municipal-political level (I am… not sure how that happened, but I’ll take it? I don’t even know). I technically edited some poetry today, mostly to the tune of “Whelp, I can see why this microchap didn’t get accepted…” and sent off one (1) submission. But it feels like a very long time since I’ve written anything new. Hoping that, once things settle down (in the next couple of days), I’ll be able to start devoting time to writing on the regular again. That’s the plan, anyway.