King of Coins – Week 9: Reflections at Midsummer

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!

Reflection Instructions: “[…]Reflect on the last nine weeks and talk about what you’ve learned” about yourself, your practice, your project, and where you want to be.

Dark Days Tarot, 7 of Pentacles: A woman with wheat-pale hair, nude but for a long cloak, opens a book to its center. Grain and grasses spill out of the book, along with rose-like flowers with pentacle centers. A waning, balsamic moon hangs in the upper left corner, over the woman's shoulder. The image is grey-scale.
Dark Days Tarot – Seven of Pentacles

Tarot Card: Seven of Earth.

This card feel appropriate for its “pause and reflect” characteristics – I’ve literally heard it described as the “interim report card” of the deck – and also because this Project is based in the suit of Earth. I know this card best as “Patience”, from the Osho Zen deck, where it stands, just before the second “plateau” card of the suit of earth, as a reminder that Things Take Time, and only slightly less well as “Healing” in the Wildwood deck, where it’s a call for rest and pause. It’s a very (g)Lammas card for those reasons. But it’s also a card about sowing and cultivating – as Oliver Pickle writes in She Is Sitting in the Night – and about results that come from labour and putting in the work.

I harvested rhubarb from my garden for the first time since we moved here, three Beltanes ago. It took three years, and annual top-ups with manure and compost-heavy top soil, for the sand-and-gravel of my front yard to become something that will let a deep-rooted plant like rhubarb thrive. My irises bloomed for the first time since we got here, too. The seven sisters roses are more covered in flowers than ever. My recently transplanted raspberries, from a neighbour, are rooting successfully and putting out new growth. It’s so good to see them thriving. Later today, I’ll be making peony soul cakes – for offerings and for a midsummer barbecue we’ve been invited to, down by the river – using petals from the peonies in our yard. All of this is wonderful, but it didn’t happen by accident.

I wanted my garden to thrive, so I put in the work and the time and, frankly, the money, to help it do so.

Which brings me to my reflections about where I’m at with my King of Coins Project goals.

I’ve said this multiple times, over years and years of writing this blog. I can’t effectively aim my Will if I don’t know what I want to hit.

There was a point, back in mid-May, where I talked to my Godself about the things that needed to happen in order for my household to be able to thrive. And very shortly thereafter, things started Coming Up that were pointing me in the direction of what I’d said needed to happen. And yet, at the same time, I started digging my heals in because there’s more than two people worth of needs in my household, and I was feeling noticeably trapped (between sets of wants/needs) and resentful about the extra costs associated with prioritizing one set of needs and wants over all the others.

And, big surprise, I have landed zero of the jobs that flooded my way at that time.

Oof. One of the other things that the Seven of Pentacles relates to is a fear of failure, a fear of making the wrong choice. And I have that fear is spades, let me tell you.

It’s definitely stopping me from “picking a direction” because I don’t want to find out, in the long or short run, that it was the wrong one.

At the same time, the Seven of Pentacles is an opportunity to both (a) celebrate your achievements, and (b) make changes and tweaks to one’s long-term plans.

So, let me take a second, as part of this Reflection, to celebrate some achievements in terms of where my original goals ( https://birchtreemaiden.wordpress.com/2021/03/14/new-year-new-you-2021-week-2-goals/ ) for the King of Coins Project are at:

First and foremost: I’m out of debt. It’s potentially going to be a bit of a battle to stay that way, but I accepted the help I was offered, and I’m no-longer throwing hundreds of dollars at a credit card bill that seems unending. I have automatic payments set up to (a) make sure my monthly automatic charges – patreon and some charity donations – are paid off, (b) to add a tiny bit to my savings fund every week, and (c) to put towards my 2022 income taxes, when that bill comes due next Beltane. So I’m feeling good about that.

I have definitely ridden the hedonic escalator up a few steps. I don’t generally feel like I’m going to be punished for buying new clothes, and I’ve invested in some Nice Items (like an Actually Leather day-to-day-use handbag, and a bunch of flowing, light-but layerable 100% cotton dresses) that should serve me well for years and years to come. Needing to scale back the consumerism, when I quit my Very Stressful Job just before Imbolg, was An Adjustment. But it’s worked out and the thing I spend the most money on, tbh, is “emergency preparedness food” (couscous, orzo, green lentils and mung beans for sprouting, tinned and home-pressure-canned beans, vaccuum-sealed dry sausage that can be stored at room temperature until it’s opened, and then eaten fairly quickly, crackers, peanut butter, nuts and dried fruit, that kind of thing) in case there are more power outages in our near-future.

I’m not sure about “changing my baseline”. I did feel “weirdly exposed” when I made that final payment on my credit card and saw it balance out to zero. I did have to majorly fight myself on “I can buy so many things!!!” (Which doesn’t mean I didn’t buy “so many” things – I did. I just paid cash for them, and bought them over multiple weeks instead of just a couple of days. And, yeah, that emergency flashlight/charger and a bidet widget for our bathroom were among them). Still. The thing I was afraid would happen if I “let” myself be free of debt… happened.

And it wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t a Terrible Situation with No Way Out where I ended up “right back where I started”. And it wasn’t even very long-lived. It was a managable, and managed, situation where I equipped my house a little better for a particular kind of Bad Situation and gave myself presents that I’ve been wanting for years (a rhodochrosite ring to complete my Bi Pride ring collection; a black felted hat with a broad brim – yes, I DO feel very American Horror Story when I wear it, sorry not sorry; a book about Feri witchcraft), and then I chilled the heck out and went back to reading library books and doing home-canning.

Have I “raised my baseline”? TBH, I don’t think so. Doing that requires (A) a third remote job (or a massive raise from both my current employers – unlikely but maybe?), and (B) the opportunity to save up for a house down-payment, rather than having to pour all that extra money into rent. But I spent a year living with “owning a house” as a distant, but at least possible, dream, and I would like to have that again.

As far as changes and tweaks go:

I have my name in for another possible third job. One that would require more hours than I want to give over to working-for-others, including some weekend hours that I’m absolutely not thrilled about, but that I’m eminently qualified to do and would be good at. And I kind of think I need to take a moment today – because it’s Solstice, and it’s a good time to do this – to sort out what I actually want. What my Ideal Situation is and how to work my will so that it happens.

Six months ago, at Winter Solstice, I put a handful of squash seeds on my tiny desk altar. I think it’s time (past time – would have been better at the new moon, three weeks ago) to collect half a dozen of them, and charge them with goals.

·      New, possibly short-term, upstairs neighbours who are clean, quiet AND away a lot of the time

·      A new third remote job with good, ultra-flexible hours, a fun task list, and better-than-current-expectations pay, plus raises at my other two jobs

·      A publisher for my still-on-sub chapbook

·     Great sex + a happy, loving polycule

·     A growing bank account and savings funds including a down-payment fund

·      A spacious, tidy, very affordable home with native fruit trees growing all around the edges of the yard and enough time, energy, and focus to both tend and harvest said yard as needed

That would be great. Let’s make some magic.

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