Monthly Archives: July 2020

New Year New You 2020: Week 23 – Mirror Mirror

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: As this is the last week, please take some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve learned, and where you’re going to go from here.
 

Wildwood Tarot - The Mirror (MA 12) - The Lady of the Lake, with a serpentine lower body, and flowing dark hair, holds the full moon in one hand and a mirror in the other. A heron is in the foreground. In the distance, a boat carries a corpse to a tiny island

Wildwood Tarot – The Mirror (MA 12) – The Lady of the Lake, with a serpentine lower body, and flowing dark hair, holds the full moon in one hand and a mirror in the other. A heron is in the foreground. In the distance, a boat carries a corpse to a tiny island


 
Tarot Card: The Mirror
It was a toss up between this card – more traditionally known as The Hanged Man – and the Six of Swords, itself a card of transition, reflection, and pause.
 
I started writing this roughly a month and a half ago, back when things didn’t feel particularly finished in terms of my Empress Project. A month ago, right at Summer Solstice, I took a crack at it again because things were feeling a little more Done. So maybe third time’s a charm?
There are absolutely Goals that I haven’t entirely achieved yet. Stuff around integrating better habits around self-talk and relationship building, for example. But I do feel like I’ve leveled up in a lot of ways.
Summer Solstice felt like a closing ceremony – literally – for this project because I did the bookend ritual to the Big Magic I did just after I turned forty. A month later, maybe I can do some reflecting on things and see where I’m at.
I have a new place to live, in a neighbourhood that I love – mostly because it’s quiet and right near the river, and has wild fruit trees within easy walking distance, but also because I have friends nearby.
I feel like I’ve got better boundary-skills, and am braver when it comes to talking about what I want and need i my relationships. (There is, I recognize, absolutely a danger of slipping backwards on this front, though, and part of what I’ve been dipping my toes into, recently, is how to make sure that doesn’t happen).
While I (still) haven’t found a publisher for my chapbook, I have received a grant(!!!) to help me complete my Femme Glosa Project, and I have a publishing history that I 100% did not have when I started this project at the end of 2018.
I’ve managed to land a couple of small, flexible, from-home jobs that are helping to keep the bills covered even in These Uncertain Times.
I feel more centered and comfortable in my sexual body (that is not a euphemism for my genitals, I actually mean my whole body as sexual being) – although that continues to be a work in progress.
 
I’ve met a bunch of my goals, and I’m proud of myself.
 
Something I’ve definitely learned about Magic this year – and I mean since January, 2020 – is that having a SMART Goal for your magical working is going to get you more obvious, tangible results than not having one will. If only because the goal, itself, is “measurable” and “time bound” and so-on. The Big Magic I did to get our house? I specified a *when* as well as a what. And it happened. The magic I’ve been doing to secure a couple of anchor incomes? Ditto.
 
So that’s something to keep in mind as I continue to do Magical Stuff for self-improvement purposes. And I do intend to keep right on doing Magical Stuff for self-improvement.
Where do I want to go from here?
 
TBH, I’m feeling kind of split on this one, and wondering how to integrate some things.
 
I did a tarot reading recently and this is what I got:
Me as I am: The Empress (U)
Am I on the correct path: 9 of Water (U)
What’s my main obstacle: 6 of Water (U)
What is helping me: Page of Air (R)
How can progress be made: King of Earth (R)
 
Which is pretty positive. I mean, getting the nine of cups for “am I on the right path” is a pretty solid YES, which is very nice to hear.
Seeing my “Where am I right now” as literally the card this project is named for, is reassuring and encouraging.
My “obstacles” card… tracks. The six of cups is all about nostalgia. Nostalgia in the sense of “wishful thinking or dreaming in technicolor without actually doing the work is… not going to help you here”. But also like “Don’t slip backwards now that your goals are within your reach”.
So: Okay.
 
As-you-know-bob, I read reversed cards specifically as “my relationship with myself” (as opposed to upright, which is “my relationship with literally anyone/anything else”) and when I look at the Page of Air – their logic and structure, their thinking of things through, their self-examination and deep digging – and the King of Earth (who, as a King Card, thrives on structure) and I start to see what needs doing.
So. What is helping me (move through or past that obstacle): Structure, self-awareness, honesty and accurate communication, curiosity, interest in learning and trying new things.
How can progress be made (towards the goals that remain in my Empress Project, towards the next step beyond this): Solidifying my material/financial well-being so that it’s more permanent and reliable. This is a card about achieving success and feeling confident and happy about your home, your finances, and your body. So it ties fairly readily into a “next steps” post Empress Project.
 
And also.
If my Work is to learn through joy and play, and to make deep loving connections with people, how does that fit with what I’ve been interpreting as a “get your finances together” card?
Presumably it can be a Both/And. But, just at the moment, I’m a little at a loss for how to integrate the two of them or pursue them at the same time.
I will be chewing on this for a while, I suspect.
In the mean time, and as I’m chewing, I’ll be doing the following:

Working on my poetry manuscript
Continuing to submit individual poems and smaller manuscripts for publication
Further exploring Sacred Sexuality Stuff
and, well…
Looking for further from-home work, since my modeling career is unlikely to be a thing this year.

 
But yeah! That’s where’s I’m at with this project. I think I’ve made some progress, and I’m proud of what I’ve done. I look forward to taking it further.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Moon – Thunder Moon Begins

A grey sky full of heavy clouds hangs over the equally grey Rideau River. Photo by Leslie Mateus, via Wiki Free Images

A grey sky full of heavy clouds hangs over the equally grey Rideau River. Photo by Leslie Mateus, via Wiki Free Images


 
We live so much closer to the river now, and it is making a BIG difference in terms of how much rain we’re getting.
I’ve spent so many of the past summers watching the heavy clouds and hoping they’ll bring rain to my garden only to drag the hose or the watering can out (and out, and out) in the evening to give my plants enough of a drink to keep going.
Here, we actually get rain.
Or are, so far.
Thunder rumbling directly overhead. Sheet lightning. And, yes, thankfully, the heavy, steady rains that are giving my chard and zucchini (which are just, just starting to have fruit-flowers!) a chance to thrive. Mostly in the hours just before dawn, which is the perfect time for them.
I’m so delighted and so very glad they’re here.
I hope they keep it up through August.
 
This new moon is, appropriately given all the water, in Cancer (the second New Moon in Cancer of the summer, the first one having happened right around Summer Solstice and having involved an eclipse). So I find myself looking back to where I was when the Full moon was in Cancer, just a few days before Imbolg, or about six months ago (and which was an Experience, let me tell you).
Six months ago, I was pushing myself to go a little harder, and a little deeper, magic-wise. I was reaching out to my Godself, actively, for the first time and enjoying the experience of going to “church” with my girlfriend (something we’ve been able to keep doing, since this Horrible Situation has meant that her temple collective is doing their rituals over the internet now).
Now here I am, another half-turn around the wheel, and – having got through this move (even if we are still unpacking and likely will be for the next… ever) – I find myself dipping my feet back in, getting back into practice, and starting (every day, just starting) to, once again, try to Use My Voice to work my will in large and small applications.
If I look back to the last New Moon, when Rose Moon was just starting to swell, I see that I did three rituals in as many days and, while I haven’t kept up that pace (sorry), I did have a really marvelous experience, in a somewhat impromptu fashion, as Rose Moon was cresting. I did (finally) get my printer set up with the goal of doing some sigil-and-candles magic in the very-near future, and I did (finally) made my Bread Offering to all and sundry earlier today.
I’ve been keeping up with my Moon Salutations – and making a point of focusing on and reaching for conneciton with My Lady of Music and the Moon while I’m doing it, and I was able to take in the Connect DC “Dark Moon Message” last night.
 
That was, in itself, an interesting and thought-provoking listen. I’m glad I was able to attend. Katrina talked about air-fire-water-earth as theory, praxis, ritual, and – doesn’t it just figure that I’d forget the word – “the small, daily actions that collectively mean you’re walking your talk”.
As I’ve said something like a zillion times before, I know myself well enough to know that I totally get stuck in the “theory” part. “When in doubt? RESEARCH!” But research, on its own, doesn’t get things done. It doesn’t change your habits and it avoids the risks inherent in actual growth. So having another model (theory – yeah, yeah) of how to NOT get stuck in the theory, is helpful.
I think it’s interesting that a wattery tart like me can look at the land-sea-sky of theory, ritual, and day-to-day concrete actions, and be like “Yeah, obviously” but, when faced with the concept of Praxis… is just like:
 
Confused and uncertain white lady superimposed with math

Confused and uncertain white lady superimposed with math


 
I mean, in the context of The Great Work (if you want to call it that) of boiling off your personal drosse, sure. The “praxis/fire” part is astral work, ordeal work, Will work, and spell-craft. That much I got.
But what else is it?
Something to talk shop about with my girlfriend, I suspect.
 
A mo(o)nth ago, I asked “What Is My Work” and got the answer “Learn through celebration, curiosity, and play. Make deep, loving connections and build family in all directions. Love and play are holy.” (Which I was NOT expecting).
Now here I am, on this second New Moon in Cancer, asking – as Liz Worth suggests – how to build a commitment to that Work.
Earlier today I posted (elsewhere) some thoughts about My Most Empowered Self, thinking in terms of how my fully-integrated triple-self (Godself, Talking Self, and Fetch, all working/playing/thriving together) can come through in my D/s relationships.l And I wrote, briefly, about how My Most Empowered Self is sensual, playful, and joyful.
So I ask myself:
If my Work is to learn through celebration, curiosity, and play, and to build and tend my deep, loving connections, how does that fit into theory, praxis, ritual, and daily action?
Two weeks ago, Chani reminded us Scorpios to attend to our daily rituals because it’s through those spiritual connections that our growth and change will happen. This New Moon, though, she’s reminding us all that change doesn’t come with out putting in the hours, taking the time to unlearn our (personal and societal) crap, and build some solid new habits and behaviours in their place. She offers this affirmation to us Scorpios:

With this New Moon, I seek out the teachers that have found processes that are worth the work they take. I replicate what has worked, innovate what’s out of date, and adjust my expectations from needing immediate gratification to wanting to honor the lineages that seek out collective healing.

 
The theory is a mix of going down rabbit holes that catch my attention, letting myself read all about adding more “Ing” to my life (I guess I’ll find out?), shop-talking, learning new things just because they’re fun.
The praxis is (maybe?) reaching inwards to commune with Fetch, nurture my relationship with her, and help her grow into her fullest Fetchy self… And to give her things that are fun and let her push her (my, our) body in real time (like dancing in my concrete-floored basement, going for a splash in the river, or eating mulberries fresh off the trees). It’s doing sigil magic to bolster and strengthen community ties.
The ritual is a big one here. Not just reaching for my gods and Selves and ancestors through my religious practices (although that too!), but building and maintaining friendships and familyships during a time when getting together for a potluck is less possible. It’s doing the mindfulness exercises, the Moon Salutations, and the emotional (and physical) self-maintenance that let me Show Up for my people. It’s the egregors and the “I’ve been thinking of that, too” conversations that are communion at our tiny hearths in the ether and on the internet.
Which, fairly obviously, flows into the more concrete, day-to-day actions of moving my body, making and sharing art, talking shop, commiserating, checking in, and sharing food that actually make loving, joyful connections lasting and even possible.
Okay.
If this is my Work, then let it be my Work.
 
~*~
 

Osho Zen Tarot - Courage (8 of MA, also known as Strength). A daisy has pushed its way up through the concrete and is blooming, blooming, blooming

Osho Zen Tarot – Courage (8 of MA, also known as Strength). A daisy has pushed its way up through the concrete and is blooming, blooming, blooming


 
For my tarot card meditation for this new-and-waxing moon, I pulled my birth card.
Strength is so often depicted as a calm woman sharing trust with a ferocious beast. I can see myself in that – as both the calm focus and the snarling menace. I can see the balance I need to cultivate in myself. But this classic image is also one where “strength” is not the same as “brute force”. Where dominance – if I can allude to that same D/s post of earlier today – doesn’t require the use of the imperative tense. That there is strength in vulnerability.
The image in the Osho Zen deck, however, is of “strength” being the courage to do what’s difficult. The willingness to take the risk of blooming and being seen (per Anaïs Nin, as it happens).
I’ll try to keep this “strength through vulnerability” in mind over the next two weeks.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon salutations, walks through the neighbourhood, a tiny bit of resistance training.
 
Attention: Paying attention to… honestly, mundane and necessary things like “what needs to be eaten in the fridge” and “when does my next bill need to be paid” and “what is next on my to-do list”. But also paying attention to the heaviness of the clouds, and getting myself re-oriented as to where the F the cardinal directions are relative to my new house. (Hint: I am sooooo disoriented right now, I keeping thinking North is literally South…)
 
Gratitude: Grateful for long snuggles with my wife. For video dates with my girlfriend. For a CSA that is almost entirely paid for (and will keep feeding us until late October, not counting all the stuff I’m putting in the freezer). Grateful for friends who bring me raspberry canes and leave seeds on my back steps. Grateful for long talks and quiet evenings. Grateful for bread that seems to be happily rising these past few batches. Grateful for monarch butterfly eggs on our milkweed plants. Grateful for being so close to the river. Grateful for motorcycle rides. Grateful for a back that didn’t hurt as much this morning. Grateful for cool breezes in this hot, hot humidity. Grateful for new sandals. Grateful for a functioning vacuum cleaner. Grateful for a full pantry. Grateful for friends who send me stories. Grateful for this lovely new place to live. Grateful for hugs and kisses and love-letters and time with my People.
 
Inspiration: The poetry of other femmes, the way my garden is settling in and starting to thrive.
 
Creation: I have been writing glosas for my Femme Glosa Project with a solid degree of consistency. Still fretting that the end result is going to be a lot of repetition, but I’m hopeful that I’ll have more than three-to-five things to talk about, so. Have also done a bit of tailoring on a skirt and have started Phase Two of a cropped ballerina cardigan that I’m “up-cycling” from a parrot-bitten cotton item that I haven’t wanted to wear as-is for a long, long while.

Full Moon – Rose Moon Crests (Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn)

“Rosehips and Water Droplets” – Photo by James Petts, via Wiki Free Images – A close-up view of two ripe, red rosehips, surrounded by dripping green foliage, just after the rain.


 
Well, kittens, I went on an Adventure today, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The cherries, service berries, and mulberries are ripe and ready to harvest (and mostly in people’s yards, but some are growing wild!) and that has me very excited! I’ve got a haskap-and-choke-cherry pie in the fridge and have started putting up cooking greens for winter. I’m going to need, like, 20 more gallons to get through the four or five months of No Available Greens, but… we’ll get there.
 
As sometimes gets brought up in Astrology-Land, full moons and new moons are good times to check back and see what you were doing six months ago and how it relates to where you’re at now.
In this case, six months ago was the New Moon (and solar eclipse) in Capricorn, just after Winter Solstice. While my 2020 goal of finding a publisher for my chapbook has yet to be achieved, I have landed An Actual Grant to help cover living expenses while I finish my Femme Glosa Project, which is pretty fucking amazing. And I’m still sending my chapbook (and a bonus micro-chap) out to various potential publishers, so. We’re only halfway through the year. It could still happen. 😉
 
On a related note: Chani’s Horoscopes for this lunar eclipse / full moon in Capricorn (yesterday), are pinging some of the notes she brought up six months ago (Scorpios need to attend to their daily rituals because our growth is going to come through there this year) as well as the same buttons that my tarot pulls did, two weeks ago during the dark moon ritual with Connect DC. Specifically Gemini Rising’s call to recognize that joy is abundant and BOTH my Scorpio Sun’ and Cancer Moon’s reminder that withholding things from myself is not going to help me or anyone else. Both of these hit me squarely in the “Love and play are holy” message I got at New Moon.
 
Six months ago was ALSO (…sort of) the January full moon that I spent doing ritual (for the first time) with Connect DC. Where I got the message “Use your voice” over and over. So the fact that I’m getting messages about using my words AND support for my creative writing, right now, feels like it’s connected to that, too.
 
But I said that I’d been on an Adventure.
Folks, I went sailing for the first time today! 😀
It was great, and I’m looking forward to doing it again!
Back in December, my wife got a little sail boat. Which, not gonna lie, I had some mixed feelings about like (a) YAY, COOL! But also (b) uh… where are we going to put this??
Fast forward to six months later, and we’re living in a new house with a very long, just-for-us driveway, about a 10 minute walk from a boat-launch right into the river.
So that worked out.
 
This wasn’t my first time in/with/on that river. I grew up here. Swimming in, and eating the fish from, this river. It wasn’t even my first time in the water since we moved. I went and stood in it – only up to my ankles – about a week ago.
But here’s the thing.
Water-creature me has been avoiding the bath.
Which is to say, more accurately, that I’ve been avoiding June, aka my GodSelf.
Which I feel guilty about.
Which, because I’m a genius, means that I’m avoiding her Even More.
So getting out on the water felt like a Thing because, even though the river isn’t June – she’s her own entity – she IS a huge, ancient body of water that remembers being an inland sea 10,000 years ago when everything between the Gatineau Hills (then mountains) and upstate NY was underwater and inhabited by seals and beluga whales (when I say I’m a sea witch, that’s the sea I’m talking about) and, as such, is a good place through-which to connect to my GodSelf.
 
So out we went and, while we were out, I let my right hand trail in the water, let some of my energy trickle out into the waves, and just generally said Hi.
And I think she said Hi back?
In addition to getting a flash of whale-song, I felt my heart-ring, the green peridot of my Self[1] show up on my right ring finger.
Which felt really good.
Joyful.
I sang for/to her, just a little bit.
It was really nice.
 
So that was my Big Day Out. We got back five hours ago and, while I’m still tired, I’m at least not totally wiped out. (Hahaaa… I’ve got ritual in 15 minutes. We’ll see how that goes!)
I’ve been noticing that I tend to be a little light-headed or queasy after doing work that involves opening up my chakras or otherwise moving energy around a lot, and that feels new. I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m doing it more frequently, so the correlation is more noticeable, or if it’s because I’m not setting up the container with enough care (likely) or shutting things down properly after the fact (also possible). But it’s something I need to pay attention to, and do something about, I think.
 
Temperance - Wooden Tarot (A.L. Swartz) - An otter, with an open third eye, floats comfortable in the water, between two blooming lilies. They reguard you with vague interest.

Temperance – Wooden Tarot (A.L. Swartz) – An otter, with an open third eye, floats comfortable in the water, between two blooming lilies. They reguard you with vague interest.


 
For my tarot card meditation, I’ve chosen Temprerance, because it’s shown up in a couple of draws and has also jumped out at me on instagram.
Obviously, this is a card about finding the balance. About “what do I need to do” and “what do I want to do”; about “what is the next right step” and “what do I need to keep myself physically safe while I take it”. It’s also a card that asks “What did you learn while you were leveling up, just then?” And that, in particular, is on my mind right now. What have I learned since late 2018? And how do I implement those lessons instead of falling back into old habits?
I’ll be chewing on this between now and the next New Moon, for sure.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Well, I hauled a boat to and from the river today, and spent a lot of time putting my weight on my arms due to trying to avoid being hit by the boom. So that’s something. Have also started do (reverse) leg-lifts while lying on my stomach in the interests of helping to build some more core/lower-back strength and – hopefully – help my back to hurt less.
 
Attention: Definitely paying attention my dizziness/etc after being in trance- or trance-adjacent states. Also paying attention to how I manage my time. Balancing the stuff I want to do (cook, sew, write poetry, read novels) with the stuff I need to do (dishes, admin work, writing letters to politicians, invoicing) to maintain my new home.
 
Gratitude: For so much! For my girlfriend who encourages me and gives me pep-talks. For my wife who wakes up and snuggles the daylights out of me in the morning. For outdoor cooking. For running water. For rain. For going sailing. For friends who want to hang out and chat across the room from one-another. For video dates. For robins who start singing at 4:30am, just when I’m wide awake and having All The Anxiety. For chocolate-peanut-butter ice cream cones. For our CSA. For sunshine and sweat. For hibiscus iced tea. For wild mulberries and baby geese and the river who said Hello. For so very, very much. ❤ ❤ ❤
 
Inspiration: My experiences during the boat ride today, for SURE. I think I need to write me some poetry about that! 😀 Also just… my fabric stash, tbh. I’ve been sewing up a storm, making, finishing, and mending clothes for myself and my wife, as well as starting a few sets of curtains for the house.
 
Creation: Well, see above, re: sewing all the things. I’ve also been baking a lot (when the temperature allows) and had a really successful bread batch the other day. Beyond that, since it’s July, I’ve started my twice-a-week poetry dates with the goal of finishing my Femme Glosa manuscript (or finishing all the various individual-poem drafts that will become said manuscript, more accurately) by… Autumn Equinox, if not earlier. Wish me luck!
 
~*~
 
Anyway. Onwards to Ritual!
Happy Full Moon!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Uh… also about six months ago, I did the Iron Pentacle meditation, and wound up getting Astral Jewelry for my trouble, which was pretty cool.