Category Archives: Better Living Through Radical Magical Transformation

King of Coins – Week 8: Are. You. Receiving?

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: Six of Earth

This project is tied to the suit of earth. And this prompt, combined with… some stuff that’s going on right now… definitely has me thinking about debts vs redistribution and other related Very Loaded Topics.

Dark Days Tarot Deck, Six of Earth: A square card with the words "Six of 6 pentacles - dark days" written in white script along the bottom edge. The rest of the card presents this image: People in long, flowing robes prepare a table, laying it was pentacle-plates. There is a wood stove in the back corner, and grasses growing from the bottom of the card. At the back of the frame, birds can be seen through a large window. Seven small moon phases make an arc over the scene. The whole image is done in black and white and grey.

I had a visit to my Luxury Astra Sea Cave and talked to my Godself about… steps that need to happen and things that need to be in place before I can Do A Thing that would make my wife a lot happier in a way that can make me a lot happier, too.

And things started happening.

And, like the weirdo (this is not actually that weird, but you’d think I’d be less freaky-deaky about it by now) that I am, I’m digging my heals in, hesitating like heck, and basically going “Wait, wait, wait… is this really a good idea??”

And… it’s not NOT a good idea. It’s what I said I wanted.

(And, yeah, it’s not the only thing I want. Maybe I need to fine tune things or something).

But being offered TWO ways to achieve Goal #1 of this project MUCH faster… on the same day??

When my Girls move, they move.

O.O

But it does mean that I’m kind of hung up on thoughts of “owing” and “being beholden”. Somebody offered to help me. Somebody offered to help me. I didn’t even have to ask.

And I’m super uncomfortable with the thought of saying Yes – because I don’t want the potential scrutiny that I might be signing up for by doing so- AND kind of kicking myself for wanting to say No? Like… “uncomfortable” is still not “pissing hundreds of dollars into the debt hole every month for another year”.

The six of pentacles is basically about wealth disparities. In some cases, the focus is on sharing, “each according to ability and need”. For example, the Next World Tarot calls this card “Redistribution”. In other cases, not so much. In the Wildwood deck the 6 of Stones is “Exploitation”. The Osho Zen deck interprets this card as “compromise” and it’s about meeting everyone’s needs even if nobody gets everything they want. But mostly they seem to lean towards mutual aid. The Simple Tarot literally calls it “Giving and Receiving Financial Prosperity” and codes it as generosity.

Miriam Innis has a whole post on the Six of Coins about “unlocking what we deserve” and the role of the receiver (and her perspective, in some ways, is very different from mine, but I guess that’s why Goals #2 and #3 for this project are what they are).

Basically, I’ve spent most of the past week whinging and Having A Lot Of Feelings about accepting financial help – and, don’t get me wrong, it would HELP – from someone whose love-language is gifts, but whose gifts can come with strings or other uncomfortable things.

But boundaries are a thing, and a thing that I’ve been practicing, so…

So. I guess this is my call to be less of a prideful bitch, and say yes to the help that’s been offered?

<*squirms*>

Okay.

I did the thing.

We’ll see if the offer’s still open, but I did the thing.

Will be following up on the job – because the other Thing That Happened was I got a job interview – in a few days, if I haven’t heard from them yet. Hopefully I get it, and can continue, full steam ahead, to get Goal #1 locked down.

Cheers,

Ms Syren.

Magical House Keeping as Beltane Approaches

A pile of colourful pieces of chalk surrounded by a yellow chalk outline, on dark asphalt. Photo by Yunsik Noh via Unsplash

So I got back from visiting my girlfriend just a few days before the full moon in Scorpio. Beltane’s this coming weekend. It’s – yet again – That Time of Year.

I mean, “that time of year” happens multiple times, so do as you Will, but:

I spent this morning doing Actual Laundry (towels and other non-sheet household linens) + putting clean clothes away, an energetic sweep of my house (dragon’s blood incense), and some sigil magic. Plus a light-weight offering of boiled water (per long-ago request) and a cup of orange pekoe tea[1]. My windows are open to change out the air – and because I’ve got a friend coming over – and it feels pretty good in my house right now.

The plan is to do a Magical Scrubbing Bubbles later this afternoon, as well as to hit the grocery store for a few odds and sods. One of my wife’s partners may or may not be coming over for dinner, so it’ll be a full and pleasantly social day.

Anyway. The whole point of posting about this is to make a bit of a note about charging things magically.

Basically… charging something (if you use the “sustain” rather than “destroy” method of charging a thing) is telling it how you’re going to feed it going forward. So if you’re putting a sigil on your laptop to help you hit your writing and editing deadlines, you might want to charge it off your laptop’s motor. Or your car’s engine, if you’re doing a safety-while-driving ward. If you want to draw things into yourself, use your own spit (provided it’s charm that’s safe to lick – don’t do this with anything made of malachite, for example) both because it’s YOURS and because it comes from an orifice that is specifically designed to bring things into your body for the purpose of sustenance and growth.

I use my own breath a lot. Partly because it’s effective – words are how I’ve done magic since before I really knew how to do magic – and partly because a fair chunk of the magic I do is about either communication (job stuff where I do social media, creative writing with an eye to getting a publisher, etc) OR it’s about some variation on the theme of Boundaries, and the suit of air covers both so charging with breath is… “thematically consistent” with my intentions.

Anyway. I’m off to get the rest of my day finished.

TTFN,

Ms Syren.

[1] Because most of my ancestors like it – though not all, as was made clear today. I’m now on the hook for a very sweet vidal/muscat if I can’t find plum wine which… not likely. It’s never been A Thing up hear. So vidal/muscat should do the trick. Still not sure what my paternal grandmother wanted. She might like the chocolate hazelnut tea, or something a little fancier maybe? But she might also want coffee? Unsure…

New Year New You 2021/2021 – King of Coins Project, Week 7: Glamour Panini

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, I would like you to think about how you’re presenting yourself to the world and how that’s affecting your own personal goals.”

Tarot Card: The Mirror

Because of course I did. It’s a mirror.

But also I’m at a point where I’m counting days to when I’m finished my ONLY leaving-the-house-required job and I kind of feel like I’m at a pause-and-evaluate point when it comes to how I present myself.

Also: Look. We’re closing in on two years of Global Pandemic, friends, and I just shaved my legs (badly) for the first time in months. It’s possible this prompt has come up at a really good time.

A mermaid (...?) holding a glowing orb and carrying an antique copper mirror stands in a lake with her dark hair streaming. There's a heron in the foreground and, in the background, there is what may be a corpse in a boat floating towards an island.
The Lady of the Lake is Not To Be Trifled With

I’d figured out by April 2020 that, oh, hey, I would do well to have a wardrobe filled with one-and-done dresses, long flowing cardigans and shawls, and ankle-length skirts, because it turns out I like wearing a nightgown all the time, but also that if I actually do that I end up feeling terrible and like I’m not getting anything done, even if I’ve been working all day.

So I’ve used some of this past year of unprecedented income (and stress levels) to get myself a few light-weight, 100% cotton summer dresses that I can (and do) throw on over maxi skirts (most of-which I’ve made myself, using solid colour, cotton bed sheets for fabric) when I want to feel warm, comfortable, and vaguely medieval all at the same time.

I’m glad I did, and I’m glad that I can use them, essentially, as patterns for future dresses that I can DIY. I’m glad that most – soon to be all – of my jobs are the kind that I do from home so I don’t have to worry about being On or presenting myself in ways that require me to look more Office Drone than I want to.

However, the other side of this particularly excellent leaf is… less ideal. Yes, seeing my boss once a week on zoom – and, as such, looking Professional just by adding earrings and mascara to the outfit (dress) that I’ve been wearing for three days straight – is easy. But I wouldn’t say it’s glamourous. It’s not exactly something that makes me Fascinating to the people I want to impress and/or connect with, even if it is a tactic I’m taking specifically to make myself look like a member of “us” within the context of my various work cultures.

Much like it’s hard(er) to demonstrate to one’s Godself that one is ready to Let New Things In by deliberately going somewhere you haven’t been before, or experiencing something deliberately unfamiliar, while you – and the rest of the planet – are kind of avoiding leaving the house unless you absolutely need to, it’s hard(er) to invoke or embody one’s personal Fascinatingness while on day I’ve-Stopped-Counting of staying indoors unless you’ve run out of milk.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t do it.

I give my partners matchy-matchy jewelry and, sometimes, clothing as a way of saying “we are part of the same group”, an act which is cutesy and maybe silly, but which fills me with delight – and which I didn’t think was an “attachment thing” until my girlfriend pointed out that “When your attachment needs are getting met, they aren’t a source of anxiety, they’re a source of joy and delight”.

When my wife and I had our anniversary dinner, we both made a point of getting dressed up in order to make our dining room table experience a special one.

I put my Crown Of Light on before I go on a zoom call, or to the grocery store.

When I gave my six weeks notice at my soon-to-be-former job, I wore big, chunky black pearl earrings to remind myself that I’m dangerous and powerful – because pearls and shells are my “office-friendly shorthand” for wearing bones and teeth, a subversive note to myself (if nobody else) that my most divine self is a deep sea predator.

And I can push those elements harder. I can wear more home-made clothes to the nieghbourhood grocery store where one of the staff chats me up about hand-sewing, and charge it up with the same kind of generalized “like me and give me things I want” glamour that I have on the rosequartz I carry in my wallet. I can enchant my matchy-matchy jewelry – my very Venusian pink tourmaline and pearls, in particular – for love and connection. I can enchant some of my Very Conservative Looking pearl necklaces and earrings with Big Domme Energy or with some kind of direct link to my Godself. And all of that is great. Let’s do it.

But:

How can I use glamour to game the odds in terms of getting my King of Coins goals met, particularly in light of my impending job change?

My goals – along with finding gainful employment in 2021 (success!) – included Getting Out of Debt (I’m just over half way there) and changing up my Expectations so that I (a) got used to having Nice Things, and (b) wouldn’t feel weirdly exposed once my debt was paid off.

TBH, just shunting money into saving funds has gone at least some of the way towards managing any “money crazies” that might crop up, but we’ll see how that goes over the next few months as my debt continues to shrink AND I’m in a situation where I have less disposable income than I had during 2021.

I think my best bet, in terms of straight up glamour magic, include things like:

  • Enchanting the contents of my closet so that I feel excited (and exciting) when I’m wearing the pieces I already have (rather than wanting to go shopping all the time)

AND

  • Making a point of “shopping” in my closet, and using my fabric and yarn stashes (still plentiful) to make myself new items if I do want to add something new (most likely a slip and maybe a light weight, knee-length bath robe, tbh) to my collection.

Beyond that… Beyond that, I have to ask myself what is my kind of glamourous right now?

Because, between the winter just being cold and my tendency to lean towards the “dark mori” end of the Witchy Goth spectrum, it’s “nazgul but make it fashion”, and I’m not sure what message I’m sending with that vibe[1].

I kinda want to lean into it though. >.>

Cheers,

Ms Syren.

[1] No, but seriously. I am giving off “Vaguely Romano-Celtic Nobility” vibes? “Dramatic and Artsy yet Approachable”? Or do I look like a walking laundry heap? Send tweet.

New Year New You 2021 – King of Coins Project, Week 6: Looking for Omens

I’m (once again, still) 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: “The point of this prompt is more about being open to an experience and relaxing your mind and seeing what kind of revelations you come to.”

Tarot Card: This is a toss-up between Home and New Vision, but in the end I went with the former, for reasons that will become apparently shortly.

“Home” the Wildwood Tarot’s Ten of Stones: A traditional roundhouse with a deep, thatched roof, its doorway flanked by tall, carved stones, and a mature tree growing through the roof as central post, is seen through a stone archway.

It’s well-known that I’m a home-body. I call myself a kitchen witch for a reason, and I’m enough of an introvert that, after nearly two years of extremely limited socializing, I’m… fine, actually. Most of my Places of Ritual Significance – with the exception of a night club that I haven’t been to in decades but of-which I hold a lot of fond memories, a kink party that doesn’t happen anymore, and a few spots in DC – are literally inside my house. The slow, wonder-inducing walks that I take through local nature preserves are… mostly within 10 minutes walk of my front door. The river is down the street. Holy ground is right here, under my feet.

This absolutely fits with How I Do, and I kind of want for literally everyone to have that experience of deep magic and aliveness in the microbioregions that are their respective neighbourhoods. But it means that any situation where I’m magically Making Changes in my life (which: I am also a creature of habit who is scared of change, so) includes the stumbling point of “I also have to Do Something New” on purpose in order to show that I’m for-real game for those changes to happen.

I’ve been reading Lyandra Lynn Haupt’s Rooted – which I do recommend if you want to read some easy-to-follow ecophilosophy, it’s lovely – and what I read last Saturday morning, while drinking my reheated coffee, exhorted her readers to wander in a way that didn’t follow their usual routes around areas that they know.

So, between that and the snow and my stiff neck, I decided that I should get myself out for a walk.

I opted to head north-east to the little woodland nearby that – barring the couple of residential streets that cut through it – runs roughly between a small creek and a big park with a baseball diamond, across 3-4 city blocks.

The snow came down heavier. I saw what I thought were three crows, but which were actually two crows and a raven (which explained why the crows were so shouty about the whole thing). I admit, I made a “clock-clock-clock” approximation of a raven sound, at which point the crows headed further back towards the river and let the raven get on with their life.

I kept going north-northeast, rather than turning onto more familiar trails that would have led me down to the creek, watching my footing on the snow-slick, frost-hard, uneven ground, and noticing the beech trees (one of the few I can reliably pick out on bark alone). The little wood is full of foot bridges – which tells me how wet this place must be during melt season – and I crossed a bunch of them. Eventually I popped out on the other side of the wood (ha – and, as I type this, Madonna sings out “I made it through the wilderness” on my playlist…), still in familiar territory, just a part I’m not in that often. I headed home by a different road, and heard a familiar pip-pip. I looked around, and spotted the petal-red flash of feathers, a cardinal – probably in his first Winter – learning to fly, and navigate, through falling snow. Not a struggle, exactly, though it didn’t look easy. Definitely a learning process.

The red of his feathers made me think of the red of willow roots – red as paint – in the water of the nearby creek, all of a season ago.

I cam home, made hot chocolate, and pulled tarot cards for the New Moon.

Mary El Tarot Deck – The Tower (a burning image of something that looks a bit like the statue of liberty), reversed; The 10 of Disks (a winged, black horse whose rider is a white goat with numerous, spiraling horns, carrying a stylized set of scales), upright.

This is one of the reasons I opted for “Home” as my card for this prompt. Because the Ten of Disks fell out of my deck when I asked “Okay, then what?” after initially pulling The Tower. This is one of my “Everything will be okay” cards. Like Angler Fish June Cleaver, or my gods and ancestors, were just like “Relax. We know that your anxious as heck about this big change you’re about to make minus the safety net you initially thought you might get. But you’re not going to starve. You’re not going to lose your house. There’s going to be some struggle, but you’ll get the hang of your new normal, the way you always do, and everything will be okay.”

It made me think of the raven as a reminder of “You have back-up”. It reminded me of the cardinal, red as flame amid all that white, getting the hang of a reality that’s new, but for-which he wasn’t unequipped.

I admit, I want to skip the struggle. (Don’t we all). I want to skip the bit where things fall apart. At the same time, I think “things fall apart”, in this scenario, is the bit I’m in right now. The concluding that it’s time to leave. The awkward (hopefully not that awkward) part between handing in my notice and actually being done. The part where I try to tie up all the loose ends and, hopefully, don’t have to train my replacement before I go.

It’s possible that the Ten of Earth, the “what happens after” card, is literally “and then you’ll be home” – working from home, entirely – but I hope it means that everything will be okay, too.

New Year New You 2021 – King of Coins Project, Week 5: Action as Offering

I’m (once again, still) 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: “What are you going to do magically to make sure that your goals happened. This is the week to really focus on that.”

Tarot Card: The Magician

1 of MA - Thea's Tarot

Specifically, the one from Thea’s Tarot as interpreted by Oliver Pickle: Someone who is “able to focus and achieve [her] goals, create art […] the Magician signifies your awareness of, or ability to, access this power.”

Okay. This post brings me up to date.

A year ago I spent November writing 10 porn stories for Nanowrimo, and offering that time, energy, focus, and dedication to June, my Little Helpers, and anyone else who cared to lend a hand in finding me a source of income to replace the mat-leave contract that was going to be ending five months later.

It worked.

It worked so fast, and so well, that my annual income essentially doubled in the course of a couple of months.

Which is awesome.

And… me being me, I also took the first job I was offered, despite having a resume in for The Perfect Job (which… I also got, and also took), and despite going in with no experience on half of the required tasks.

Fast forward to now. I’ve been in that job for almost a year and I have not stopped hating it since I started. Over the summer, around the point where I was still working entirely from home but had more-or-less got the hang of the day-to-day basics, I had this thought that “Maybe I could just stay?”

And that’s part of why I put things off (see Week Three) for as long as I did.

I like having disposable income.

I like watching my debt go down (albeit more slowly than I’d planned), while watching my savings go up, while watching my mailbox fill up with all the new books, clothes, jewelry, and housewares I’ve been buying (with cash) now that I have money to do it with.

But September came, and I started working in the office one day per week, and… I have concluded that, while the stuff that was giving me nightmares, acid reflux, and occasional actual panic was… mostly, usually, under control, that I still don’t like the work, don’t like being closeted (it’s a conservative workplace and, while they know I’m a dyke, I don’t want to experiment with how they’re going to feel about having a hired a polyamourous witch), and don’t like working in-person, especially since I want to (eventually) be able to travel without having to negotiate time off.

So, in October, I got the ball rolling on my Exit Strategy and, finally, when the waxing moon was solidly Taurus on the 17th, and I had the house to myself for the evening, I did some magic to back it up.

I’m not doing Nanowrimo this year. Not pouring hours of each day into scribbling stories. But I AM doing another writing challenge with magical intent.

I started it the same day that I did the following ritual:

Drew myself a bath with basil (money), spicebush (luck), bay leaves (luck, money, creativity, and inspiration), allspice + cardamom (people saying good things about me) thrown in. Poured myself a big mug of mint-licorice tea (the stuff I’ve been using for close to two years for magical will-working), dolled myself up in shell beads and pearl drop earrings to encourage my ocean-soul/godself to do Her Thing, and to make it a special occasion.

I lit candles, cast my circle, climbed into the tub, did a little relevant iron pentacle work – Power comes to hand so much more easily than it did two years ago, Passion is still hard to catch, but is starting to show up tangibly, which is nice – and some lower chakra chanting.

And then I walked down the rainbow steps into my Luxury Astral Sea Cave and worked my will.

Between now and the Full Moon before Midwinter I will draft 32 new poems, rooted in this time and in this place, and offer that focus, dedication, time, and energy to my Godself, my Fetch, my Little Helpers, and any of my Gods and Ancestors who want to lend a hand, so that they can bring me new, reliable, desirable income doing 100% remote work that I’ll actually enjoy, with-which to replace the job I want to leave.

My plan is that, once I’ve got them all drafted, I’ll have enough “wood on the pile” to put together a new chapbook or two, too.

But what it’s for is finding me some new, reliable, and more fitting sources of income.

New Year New You 2021 – King of Coins Project: Week 3: Something I’ve Been Putting Off… For Eight Months

I’m (once again, still) 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: “The critical component to success or failure in your goals is your ability to do shit you don’t want to do. […] Close your eyes and grit your teeth and just do it.”

Tarot Card: Two of Fire

Two of Fire - Dark Days

I chose this card because, in my own readings, it tends to mean “MAKE A DECISION!”

But I also chose it because it’s a card of “first world problems”. The decision one is being asked to make is more likely about experiencing success alraedy and asking “Where do you want to go next?” than about something life-or-death.

And where I want to go next is: Ditching the lucrative (by my standards) but stressful and draining job that I do on Mondays and Tuesdays, in order to trade up for something more like what I do the rest of the week: relatively low-stress, fairly easy work that pays well and challenges me in ways that are fun rather than in ways that give me nightmares and make me want to cry.

About a month ago, I finally did Week Three.

Talk about putting something off!

But, when the opportunity turned up, I jumped on an opening-salvo from one of my other clients – “Do you have enough hours to do what we’re asking?” – and told them I’d love it if they could give me an additional 5 hours/wk so that I could move beyond the basics and not have to make trade-offs during busy periods.

I was upfront about what else that five hours would get me / require of me (AKA: quitting the job I don’t like) and the kind of timeline I’d prefer, which would give them the time to budget for it appropriately, if it was an option, and my boss – who doesn’t control the budget, but still – said that she’d bring it up with the people who could potentially make that happen.

I also got in touch with a contact – a friend of said client-community – who was looking for work like the kind of work I want to stop doing. I asked if she’d be open to part-time, and she was interested and asked me to keep her posted.

So: I Did The Thing, a thing that makes me nervous (telling an employer that I want something) and another thing that makes me nervous (contacting a stranger, whilst having an Ulterior Motive), and I got good preliminary results from both.

So good.

And… Now we wait.

New Year New You 2021 – Week 2: Goals

Crystal Visions Tarot - King of Pentalces - A woman with long, brown hair and an antler crown, green greeves, and a staff topped with a big crystal, sits enthroned under a spreading oak. Crystal points poke out of the ground at her feet.

Crystal Visions Tarot – King of Pentacles – A woman with long, brown hair and an antler crown, green greaves, and a staff topped with a big crystal, sits enthroned under a spreading oak. Crystal points poke out of the ground at her feet.

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: “What do you want to accomplish using both magical and mundane means? Figure out your SMART Goal and the magical and mundane actions you need to take to achieve them.

Tarot Card: The King of Coins. I mean, obviously.

Next World Tarot - King of Pentacles - Someone with blue and black hair, motorcycle boots, and a pink mini-dress scatters jewels on a Hollywood Walk of Fame star labeled "Daddy".

Next World Tarot – King of Pentacles – Someone with blue and black hair, motorcycle boots, and a pink mini-dress scatters jewels on a Hollywood Walk of Fame star labeled “Daddy”.

Okay. I know. It’s been three months. I still feel really uncertain. Like I don’t really know what I’m doing. Like this project was done before I even got it started – I’ve been working one new job for, y’know, about three months, and have signed the contract for a second new job, even if I’m not going to see work from them (I’m VERY okay with this) until my current UU contract wraps up.

That’s what I wanted, right?

So I find myself… kind of flailing. What are my goals beyond the immediate one of “be able to pay the bills”?

And that’s a REALLY relevant question to be asking when you’re focusing on the King of Coins. This King is a character who (a) is a Navigator – she knows how to work, and how to make money work for her. But she’s also (b) someone who knows her own worth and doesn’t succumb to workaholism or forget about pleasure. Pentacles are the suit of embodiment and that’s important to remember.

So. Beyond the basics of the Four (tenuous shelter) or the Six (I’m okay, but someone has power over me), where do I want to go?

  1. I want to get out of debt – This is kind of a no-brainer, and being able to throw those monthly payments into a savings account is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more appealing that shoving money at a credit card company. This goal is pretty-much entirely a Mundane Means goal and, knowing that I’ve got at least six more months of reliable, more-than-survival income, it actually looks… fairly achievable if I just stick with it.
  2. I want to change up where my “baseline” sits so that I don’t feel… weirdly exposed(??) when I’m not in a pile of debt. You guys, I’m not even sure where to start with this, but it’s going to involve what my lovely wife terms “Cognitive Behavioural Witchcraft”.
  3. I want to ride the Hedonic Escalator up a level or two. I guess the best way to explain this one is that I want to re-program my brain to stop thinking that I’m going to be punished for having nice things, or for things going well, or – if I stretch this a bit – for recognizing my own skills and, qua the King of Pentacles, Knowing My Worth. I don’t particularly want to hit that point on the income scale where money stops “buying happiness” (more accurately: increasing emotional well-being) but I would like to continue this New Experience of being able to buy whatever I feel like at the grocery store, and being able to buy a few New Things (think: earrings, a book, a bra) in any given month without having to stress about it. It’s a hedonic adaptation – perceiving this as Normal rather than novel – that I really, REALLY like and would like to hang onto!

So let’s chew on this a little bit. For Goal #1: Easy peasy. Pay cash for all the things (which I’ve been doing for… roughly a year already – bless you, online retailers who accept paypal) and throw as much money as I can at my credit card debt in order to reduce it as quickly as possible. Super basic. Very straight-forward. Though admittedly not that interesting if I’m trying to write a post for my witchcraft blog.

Goals #2 and #3 however have some magical elements involved. Like, yeah, yeah, there’s mundane stuff – like throttling my panic and talking to my most-recent employer and asking for a better starting wage (which I GOT!) – and there’s mind stuff like journaling on questions like Why do I think a hammer of retribution is going to slam down on me if I have an RRSP instead of debt, or a CSA instead of a mental map of where I can most easily dumpster for produce? or Why is my relationship with money and/or employment so very much like anxious-avoidant attachment? But… there’s also a lot of room for ritual and spell-craft. Things like:

Using the Iron Pentacle meditation – maybe including, or building on, some of the ritual suggestions outlined in the “Power” chapter in the book of the same name by Jane Meredith and Gede Parma – to call back and reclaim my power.

Doing energy work with my three lower chakras (security, exchange/connection, and power/will), possibly in connection with my fifth chakra as well.

Continuing to feed and praise my Little Helpers at my tiny desk altar, and to light my offering candles and otherwise make offerings to my Gods and Ancestors at the big main altar in the living room (there’s whiskey on the altar right now, but I sure do owe them some fire. And probably a tidy-up.

Visiting my Fetch and my Godself in my enchanted astral sea cave / forest. This matters because: Building and Nurturing the relationships between your talking-self (The I Behind Your Eyes where we spend a LOT of our time) and the other parts of your magical/spiritual body is important just generally. But for my specific goals here, there are some pretty real actions that have to happen. (Which: Just a quick word about those…)

Fetch is your embodied, non-wordy, physical, sensual self. Fetch is the twig of YOU that’s part of a family tree two-hundred and thirty thousand years old, or older. She’s my skin-hunger. She’s my Trust Issues. She’s the stomach cramps, nausea, and persistent chills that show up when my anxiety gets bad. She’s connected hard to my lower chakras and showing up consistently for her – in magical as well as mundane ways – is going to go a long way towards convincing my physical body, my limbic and nervous systems, that I’m not going to die, frozen and alone, in the snow.

Likewise, Godself is the spark of YOU that is part of the unimaginably vast, wholly divine, thinking, feeling universe, the chaos-butterfly flutter that can make big changes way beyond your vulnerable, human body. Within the realm of this project’s specific goals: I can call on her help – or work magically inside the luxury astral sea cave where we communicate most directly – to rewire my own neural pathways. I can call on her help to send jobs, grants, and publishers swimming towards my nets. Heck, I can stock my astral fridge with smoked salmon and tuna sashimi to feed (and treat) my own divinity well.

So. Those are some areas where I can focus magical work in order to further my goals for this project. What are some bite-sized action I can take to further my goals this week?

Mundane: Update my spending spreadsheet, make a (small-but-additional) credit card payment, take some meat out of the freezer to thaw so that dinners for the next few days can be easier to deal with, and stay on top of my paid work.

Mind: Do the exercises at the end of Chapter One of my “money mindset” book. Spend some actual time on this, but don’t over-think it.

Magical: Light candles on my altar. Feed my tiny charms with breath and spit and whiskey. Take five minutes to run my chakras, put on my astral jewelry, and do some Listening. Make a soup for dinner and enchant it for prosperity (seaweed), security (carbs – in the form of rice noodles), and luxury (leftovder roast duck).

Wish me luck!

New Year New You 2021 – Week 1: Making Way

At least seven cardboard boxes, some open, some taped shut with masking tape, stacked in a jumble. Photo by Racool Studio, via freepik.com

Cardboard boxes on a white background

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: You can’t start putting all this awesome new crap into your life and body until you get rid of the old crap. Old crap here is defined as many things such as relationships that are no longer working, old crutches, clutter of the mind and of the house.

Someone with teal and brown hair, in a green tank top, tries to juggle two pentacles without dropping them

Two of Pentacles – This Might Hurt tarot – Someone with teal and brown hair, in a green tank top, tries to juggle two pentacles without dropping them

Tarot Card: I picked Two of Pentacles for this prompt because of its associations with disorganization and time-management, as well as with priorities and prioritization.
It feels appropriate, okay?

Look. If there’s anything that’ll highlight how much crap you’ve got, it’s Moving. Our move happened a solid seven months ago, but we moved everything. Just threw it all into boxes and shifted it across town in a borrowed van. It took us a month. But I don’t think we could have done it in a day the way I did at 28 when I was moving downtown (with a lot less stuff, and a lot more help). Pandemics, amirite?
But it means that what my Making Way looks like is finally getting ALL the boxes unpacked plus some re-organizing of the office-space in The Library so that I can add my latest job’s desktop computer to the mix.
O.O
Time management, indeed. O.O

Do I like cleaning? Heck no!
(…If that wasn’t abundantly obvious by now) BUT…
It also has to be done. My lovely wife said to me, yesterday, that houses – in addition to wanting to be filled with people, wanting to be lived in – want to be taken care of. Which, really, is a no-brainer. Especially for an animist. And, yeah, much the same way that I skip meals and avoid showering because “I have too much to do” (in reality, or when I’m just wound up and anxious, which is a lot of the time), I also neglect my house. The body that shelters my body.
What Ms Sugar says about the energy in a clean, organized house flowing very differently from how it does in a dirty or untidy house is… true. Even for all of us who resent cleaning, who go But Nature Isn’t Tidy(!!!), who view the whole “cleanliness is next to godliness” thing as an ugly hold-over from puritan christianity that feels like one more shaming thing that we have to deal with in our respective days. The energy does flow more easily. It feels more like fresh air. (Which: It’s winter: We’ve been cooped up for nine months. We all need fresh air). So it’s worth doing. And… this house is a person. If I care about this person who is taking care of me, I should be caring for them too.

So, my goals for physically Making Way are:
Finish unpacking the boxes in the Spare Room – at a rate of one box per day, it will probably take two weeks, but that’s very manageable so that’s how it’s being done.
Do dishes more frequently than I have been – which isn’t hard. I’d say “do dishes once a day” but that’s very unlikely and I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot. But every other day could be done.
Get the second computer set up in the office, and do what needs doing to transfer the files (hard-copy and digital) to where they need to be.

In terms of psychically/mentally/emotionally Making Way:
Making a point of visiting my Occult Barbie Dream House (yes, that’s also a Ms Sugar term) and re-stocking the Astral Fridge with tasty things for me and June to snack on. Maybe also brining my Fetch a healthy snack in her gym/forest house.
I’d like to include doing some of the journalling prompts from my “dealing with your money hangups” book, because those are definitely some big rocks I’m carrying around. So, I ask myself: How am I going to MAKE the time to do that? Answer: …This one might be a Boxing Day activity. I think I can make time for it then.

Wish me luck!

Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

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 Year New You 2020: Week 22 – Last Push (Make All the Work Worth It)

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: I do this because I have to believe that this has all been worth it. All this work, all this stress, all these sleepless nights, all this anxiety, everything!So, let’s make sure it is! Push harder than you ever have this week. Push harder than you ever thought you could and then just a little bit more. I believe in all of you. Let’s make magic this week, kids.
 

Wild Unknown Tarot - Wheel of Fortune - A ring of birch branches bound together with wild, colourful loops of ribbon. The sun, a crescent moon, and an own are all present.

Wild Unknown Tarot – Wheel of Fortune – A ring of birch branches bound together with wild, colourful loops of ribbon. The sun, a crescent moon, and an own are all present.


 
Tarot Card: The Wheel of Fortune
I chose this card because… it feels like this is a big, leveling-up level Change. That’s why.
 
Okay. As last pushes go, this is a pretty literal one. We’re ten days into our move to the house I did A Big Ritual to be able to secure. The big push is to get the house entirely cleared out this weekend, with the garden being rescued and transplanted during the last week of May, when it’s had a chance to come up from underground.
 
And, yes, I absolutely decided, part-way through this two+ year cycle of NYNY, that I needed to focus specifically (or at least a lot MORE) on the material elements of The Empress, in order to get myself some secure housing plus a reliable income to supplement my gig-based career as an art model. So. Mission (somewhat?) Accomplished?
Go me!
But I also find myself looking at my original goals.
See, a long time ago, I said:

This project is about opening myself up, rooting myself solid, and becoming my fullest, most integrated, femme self.

 
And I know I have further to go on that front. I mean, yes, sure, There’s A Pandemic and, yes, I’m still in my second month of my new (year-long contract) job, and, yes, I’ve been moving for the past three weeks, so maybe it’s not that odd that I haven’t been churning out a new poem every week or staying on top of my January-era (pre-pandemic era?) goal of submitting poems to three+ paid markets every other month. But I look back at my goals, and I can see how well I’m doing with them. I have an idea of what my next steps are – even got confirmation of them via A Dream, which was pretty cool.
 
My wife said to me, last night, that she feels like this isn’t just moving into a new house, it’s moving into a new life.
We’re both experienced enough to know that “new life” doesn’t just happen. That you don’t change your behaviours without putting some work into it. But I have to agree that this feels a bit like that’s what’s happening.
 
In my recent Full Moon post, I wrote a little about wanting to do a Closing Up the House ritual once the garden is potted up and the house, itself, is empty. I think this is a good idea, and I have the symbolic items that will be involved in the ritual itself.
But, magically speaking, I’m still a little blurry on what I’m trying to accomplish.
The Cheat Codes Course I took with Ms Sugar (registration for the quite affordable second cycle closes TODAY, so you’ve got a couple of hours to still get in on it – RECOMMENDED) actually brought home how important that bit is. Most of my magic, over the course of ~25 years of doing the work, has been about changing things inside myself (Changing Consciousness At Will, to quote ye olde Starhawk), so when it took a LONG time for my magic to get anywhere, I thought it was because it was Slow Magic, rather than, say, me doing the physical/psychological work without getting the spellcraft to actually be effective.
But I would seriously prefer to not be closing up a condemned house (because: bought by a developer, it’s actually perfectly sturdy and good), with magic afoot, without knowing what I want to accomplish.
 
Because that’s part of the Last Big Push.
 
Am I giving the spirit of my condemned house permission to go, to let its body die early?
Am I asking its spirit to come and be the spirit of a birdhouse hung up in the big cedar tree in our new yard?
Am I offering it some bit of vestigial life in this fleece, these petals and feathers, this bone and hoping it can hang on a little longer?
What am I doing?
 
And, depending on what I’m doing, what else am I doing?
Am I asking for a last favour from the place that sheltered me for more than five years?
Or am I burying old habits with this handful of other dead material, and hoping they die with the house that deserves so much better?
What am I doing?
 
I have until Saturday to figure it out.