Category Archives: Goddess Spirituality

Canadian Pagan Declaration on Intolerance

Hey, Pagans, Heathens, Druids, Goddess-Spiritualists, Witchy-Woo Folks, and others who practice earth-centered religions/spirituality, ancestor veneration, and/or polytheism in Canada:

Please go and take a gander at the Canadian Pagan Declaration on Intolerance. You may wish to sign it yourself, as an individual or as a representative of your particular faith group, circle, kindred, grove, coven, or other congregation.

Thanks,
Meliad.

New Year New You 2016: Week Nine – Asking For Help

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!
 
Instructions: “Asking for help feels almost like admitting defeat. And by defeat, I mean admitting that you’re not invincible. Well. You’re not. Sorry.“… So ask for the help that you need.
 
Tarot Card: I…honestly have no idea. Part of me wants to choose a Six card. The six of fire (abundance, success) or the six of earth (for its elements of checking in and touching base)… but neither of those is quite right. Part of me wants to name the Nine of Cups (for its “wishes coming true” aspect) and part of me wants to suggest the Wheel of Fortune, if only because of how much this seems to have relied on good luck and random chance. Lemme explain…
 
Thoughts:
I’ve been sitting on this prompt for a while, because I looked at it and thought “Who the hell do I ask for help on this one??” and then, this morning, help asked for ME.
As if by magic. >.>

That’s what I mean by “good luck and random chance”.
 
Turns out, a friend of a friend is getting her Life Coach certification, and needs to practice on people (for free!). So I asked my friend to put me in touch with her friend, and have since sent off a note asking if said friend can help me with some specifics around my Receptivity.
At this point, I have no idea whether this is going to go anywhere. I mean, I hope it does, and I’ve given my possible Life Coach as much information as I can without just running on at the mouth, and we’re going to have A Conversation to see if my Stuff can be molded into something that her school of coaching can help with.
 
Fingers crossed. (I may or may not update this to tell you all how it goes, if it goes. Again: Fingers crossed!)

New Moon – Leaf Moon Begins

Today feels so hopeful. The sun is warm, the rhubarb is coming up great gang-buster, there are flowers blooming and the leaves are coming out. I ate an ice cream cone in my back garden this afternoon. I washed dishes (more still to do) and bought groceries and fixed a shelf. By the time this moon reaches fullness, there will be clouds of pink and white blossoms all over the city as the fruit trees start blooming their hearts out. Maybe the Beltane energy from a few days ago is finally stirring in my neighbourhood, or maybe something else is going on, but things are feeling like they might be looking up. 🙂
 
I’m trying not to be foolish about this stuff. Use my head. Try to understand the why of things and what’s really going on. Get myself out of the house and socialize more than I have been, now that more of my time is my own again.
 
A friend of mine and I have decided that we shall have an Arrangement for getting in touch when we need company and aren’t getting out enough. This is a good thing. 🙂 And will hopefully mean that I get to see more of her, too. 😉
 
Magic-wise, I’m trying to remember to put on my Crown Of Light[1] as often as I can, just to practice wearing it. I swear, Glamour is like walking in high heels. You have to figure out how to do it, plus get used to using a set of muscles in a whole different way, before you can do it gracefully and sustainably over a period of hours (let alone days).
 
Sustainable is something that I’ve been thinking about lately. What can I do that I can keep chugging away at over long periods of time? Where do I need to be more patient versus where do I need to push myself hard and sprint rather than ambling? Two weeks (or so) ago, I talked about feeling like I was in that “manic/risk-taking” phase of getting over a break-up. There are parts of that energy that I like. The get-up-and-go, the willingness to reach out to new people. How can I hang onto that stuff without over-doing it and either burning myself out, or just getting myself burned.
 
~*~
 
MOTION: Going dancing in a week at Morning Jam! Woohoo! A PWYC dance party that happens in day-light hours! 😀
 
ATTENTION: The garden is calling more and more loudly as the days warm up. I’m also trying to get my home into a halfway-tidy state (call it spring cleaning?). Beyond that, paying attention to the decisions that I make just below the surface, the ones where I know I’ve made a concious decision, but I can’t quite catch what area I’ve made that decision in.
 
GRATITUDE: Dandelion greens in the garden. A wife you loves me & flirts with me. An ex who calls to catch up. One deep blue hyacinth blooming in my front yard. Hope. Magnolia blossoms. The ability to make small repairs on my own. Enough money to buy groceries – even superfluous groceries like ice cream, lemonade, goat cheese, and mayo – and a little more work coming down the pipe-line to pay for it all.
 
INSPIRATION: Every damn thing on this green(ing) earth bursting into leaf and bloom. At last, at last! 😀
 
CREATION: Started my third shrug (meeting a friend to talk about knitting patterns early next week). Worked a bit on The Relationship Book yesterday. Plans for weaving to get going over the next few days.

Full Moon – Sap Moon Crests (and Wains)

Got sick when the moon crested.
In spite of that (or possibly because of it, given how I spent last Sunday), I’m feeling a little bit more in touch with my glamourous side. I spent yesterday unpacking books that I bought during my (over-long and never-completed) MA in Religious Studies, where I focused on Menstruation and Goddess Spirituality (more on that here), and then knitting a bag for my third divination deck (the Daughters of the Moon deck that is… not actually a tarot deck, but calls itself one). It’s nice to have those books out, even if my personal understanding of Goddess Spirituality, as a faith with women’s bodily autonomy and self-(re)claimation at its core, has devoloped quite a ways away from the biological-reductionism & ciscentrism/cissexism that shows up in a lot of those texts.
I think I might be in the “slightly manic / risky behaviour looks appealing” phase of getting-over-a-breakup (at least according to this thing) which… may or may not do great things for my Glamour. But it’s giving me Reasons to drag my how-I-present-myself game up out of the doldrums it was in two weeks ago, so that’s something.
 
~*~
 
MOTION: Ye gods, I have got to get myself to a pool. With a hot tub. and a sauna. Next week can’t get here soon enough.
 
ATTENTION: Paying a lot of attention to the “I Wants” in my head (e.g.: I would love to go to an event like Sapphic Aquatic, but without the $100 round trip + accomodations-hunting it would require), but also trying to pay attention to, and acknowledge, the many elements of “What Happy Looks Like” (for me) that are already part of my life.
 
GRATITUDE: The option of buying popsicles just because I want them. A wife who is willing to do the cooking when I’m sick AF and who makes me tea and slow-dances with me in the living room. ❤ The luxury of new deoderant, Just Because (although I am laughing at myself, slightly, for believing that a femme chicky like me buying Old Spice is somehow "transgressive"… Yeah…).
 
INSPIRATION: Warsan Shire's gorgeous, evocative poetry (as featured in Lemonade). Clearly I have to look this woman up.
 
CREATION: Wrote a poem about claiming my body as my own the other day. Hopefully more to follow.

New Year New You 2016: Week Six – Maps (Wait, They Don’t Love You Like I Love You)

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!
 
Instructions: “[G]o some place that is sacred to you and to use the experience to guide you in your work[…]”
 
Tarot Card: Ten of Cups + Knight of Earth (specifically the one from my Osho Zen deck, called “Slowing Down“, though the Wildwood’s Knight of Stones has some personal relevance as well).
 
Thoughts:
So, it’s been over two months since I did the previous prompt for the NYNY Experiment. Put that down to trying to regain some equilibrium after waiting to see how the cards would fall out.
Ha. On that note: Trying to do tarot readings when you have exactly one thing on your mind? Is simultaneously devastatingly accurate (whether you like it or not), AND massively annoying because you can’t get information on anything else.
Eugh.
 
But I’m back!
 
So. Most of my sacred places are inside my home. They’re my kitchen, my altar, my garden, my couch and my tiny dining table (especially when I’ve got people over who I can feed). But I’ve been feeling weirdly (or maybe not-so-weridly, what with Winter’s Last Hurrah having hit but a few days ago[1]) stuck when inside my home of late, so I was hesitant to try and trance out while chopping beets in the kitchen (for example – though it works quite well with apples, as long as you don’t lop off a finger in the process). All that being said, I did keep my eyes and ears open to see what would pop up and… I got something. I wrote about it a little bit in my most recent lunar post, but the majority of this message came, not from my home-base, but from my extended leather family at Queering Power.
 
The message was: SLOW DOWN!
 
Not “slow down” in the frantic, you-are-about-to-drive-off-a-cliff sense of the word, but “Slow Down” in the sense of:
When you are Triggered (yes, I’m talking about PTSD), everything starts to rush.
When you’re drowning in shame, you run around like a chicken with your head cut off, trying to “justify your existence”, when you need no justification, you just need to BE.
When you are in that spiral of “I am Too Much” (too demanding, too slow, too needy, too big, too complicated… you name it), you tell yourself that you must rush through things for the benefit of someone else – don’t tell the whole story, don’t savour that meal, don’t sink into exactly as long as it takes you to get turned on, get into it, get off – instead of being really present, really authentic, really enjoying life’s pleasures.
When you are freaking out and trying to numb yourself, you rush through experiences without really experiencing them – eat a chocolate without even tasting it, skim a poem and feel frustrated by the (unfindable, in this state) meaning you didn’t give yourself time to catch.
When you are frantic, you make decisions that hurt people you care for, and also that hurt yourself (whether you are able to care for yourself in those moments or not).
 
So that’s the big one.
The thing is, it’s not the only one.
Possibly because all the Brene Brown I’ve been reading has been bringing home what Glamour is really about (not what I would have expected), and possibly because Glamour has been feeling kind of hard for me lately, I’ve caught myself thinking a lot about Miss Sugar’s Glamour Pop Quiz questions, particularly the one about What You Really, Really Want, and… what I really want, when I think about it – what this whole Queen of Cups project is supposed to allow me to access – is this. Nothing more, and nothing less, than the Happiness & Home embodied by the Ten of Cups.
 
When it first came to me, I sneared.
 
Really, Meliad? Happiness?? Is that all?
 
Shouldn’t I have been more ambitious? Isn’t wanting a steady, caring home, and a big, queer, chosen family to love and be loved by… isn’t that Not Much At All?
And then I thought: Am I greedy, to want so much? Is it too much to ask that my heart overflow with love and joy instead of sadness and yearning?
 
And then I had a dream.
I dreamed a house that was a weird combination of the house I once owned, a house I didn’t rent when I was in my 20s, the trailer-park home of a friend’s mom near Quebec City where I was made so welcome, the imagined architectural layout of The Cloud Club[2], my ex-partner’s apartment, and the second-floor walk-up of the Toronto friends who played host to me at the end of March and who have a huge, old, fruitful pear tree growing next to their balcony.
I dreamed this house, with the backyard I have now, and the neighbours I have now, except that the hella-gardening Vietnamese lady now looked suspiciously like Shine Louise Houston[3].
I dreamed this house with potted plants outside the balcony door, and garden ready to grow its next season of fruits and veggies. I dreamed my wife and I joking together while getting the balcony in shape. I dreamed C holed up in a messy nest of a room, healing and feeling safe and still part of my heart’s family. I dreamed a friend of my neighbour (she looked like Snow White, if Snow White had the kind of hips and ass normally associated with Fertility Goddesses and the kind of asymetrical bob currently associated with queers of a whole slew of genders) flirting with me, calling me “Hey femme,” and telling me she liked my legs.
I dreamed love and hope. I dreamed relationships that last. I dreamed joy in ordinary moments. I dreamed fruitfulness and abundance and having Enough, feeling Enough. Not Hungry. And not Overwhelming.
I woke up and knew that this was plenty “good enough” to be a Great Work. I woke up and knew it was not Too Much to ask.
 
~*~
 
So thats what my sacred spaces have had to tell me.
Onwards and upwards, campers!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Today, on the other hand, the sun is out, the snow is pretty-much GONE, the crocuses are blooming, and the leaves are starting to stretch and open up. My rhubarb survived the winter! (At least one did – we’ll see about the other two, which got planted waaaaaaaaay later and may not have got themselves established before the cold hit for real). So things are looking up. 🙂
 
[2] Where Amanda Palmer lives, fyi.
 
[3] Yes, the Shine who runs Pink and White Productions.

Full Moon – Ice Moon Crests

The past few days, it’s been warm enough that it rained (rained!) for two days straight, and walking anywhere required rubber boots and careful navigation over icy sidewalks – and roads – covered in four inches of cold water. The temperature dropped overnight, and the sidewalks were thick with (thankfully-rough-and-choppy) ice this morning. Ice Moon, indeed.
Outside, a flock of starlings are eating the offering bread I put out a week ago. Inside, the house looks a bit like it exploded (we emptied our storage locker, but all that means is that the various boxes and other Things that we’d kept outside of the house are now stacked in my front room and partialy unpacked). This past week, I’ve been (avoiding further unpacking by) reading a lot of Brené Brown. You know, the TED Talk woman who researches shame and vulnerability? Her stuff. Like, all of her stuff. It’s astonishing how much what she’s saying about vulnerability relates to what Miss Sugar says about how glamour works. The courage to show up and be seen.
It’s blowing my little mind, I tell you.
 
At the beginning of this lunar cycle, I asked myself:
What do I need to firm up?
Where do I need more flow?

 
I… have no idea.
Sometimes, when I write my lunar cycle posts, I try to come up with questions to get me (and anyone else who feels like it) thinking along lines that are thematically related to the time of year. In another six weeks, I’ll be asking myself (here or elsewhere) what needs to be cleaned out of my literal and metaphorical pantries to make room for newer, fresher things to come.
 
As far as “flow” goes… I’m sticking with those self-help books I picked up and recognizing that I’m going to have to get… used to, if not comfortable with, uncertainty. That’s flow. Needing to be able to roll with sudden changes-of-plan without taking 24 hours to freak right out about it before that can happen. That’s flow. That’s the Ace of Water and the Two of Earth. Figuring it out, moment to moment, and being willing to go with the flow rather than panicking (and potentially drowning because of it).
 
As far as firming things up go… What am I committing to? Like, really, not just lip-service. Part of why I’m reading the entire Brené Brown oeuvre right now is because all that “daring greatly” and “rising strong” stuff is pretty relevant to my Queen of Cups Project (still going, even if it’s taken a bit of a detour in terms of keeping up with my NYNY posts). And part of it is because it’s relelvant to a couple of books I want to write. I’m taking another stab at The Novel, and I’m working on the outline and content (and research) for a Relationships Book for polyamourous folks. So what I’m committing to, other than getting my own head-and-heart in slightly more reliable working order, is getting back in the saddle for Draft WhateverTheFuck of my novel (maybe I’ll actually get it all the way done this time?) and sorting out the preliminaries for the Relationships Book.
 
Something from The Gifts of Imperfection is the idea (or data-based argument, or whatever) that in order to be open to joy, you have to practice gratitude, and that – kind of the same way that trying to see someone else’s PoV by practicing empathy will also help you to be less afraid of them and less ashamed of (yourself for) the fear that is starting to quiet down – focusing on something (related to the Scary Thing) that you are greatful for can help make Vulnerable Moments feel less like something you have to flight/fight/freeze about and more like something you can lean into and deal with (hopefully) without screwing it up. So, I’m poking at this, at Miss Sugar’s Glad Game, at my friend Talia’s “two good things for today” practice, and other stuff that various people in my life do to refocus on what’s going well and making them happy in their lives. So here’s mine (WHY YES, IT’S TOTALLY AN ACRONYM, BECAUSE I’M LIKE THAT SOMETIMES):
 
Motion: I modeled today (which is sort of the opposite of motion, but is definitely engaging with my body), and then walked home (about an hour, into some seriously bitter winds for the last 15 minutes or so). Glad to be warm and inside!
Attention: I’m thinking a LOT about (go figure) shame and vulnerability, how all those FEELINGS that I’d been understanding as anxiety might actually have been “shame storms”, and how… that explains things a little more fully. It’s another piece of the puzzle of my own brain, at any rate.
Gratitude: My awesome wife got my Walking Wheel working last night. She made me a spindle (that you could totally gash yourself on, if you’re not careful – Sleeping Beauty may have been a cautionary tale about running in the house…) and fixed the accelerating head. It looks fantastic, and it works – even if it does take two of us to work it right now (I don’t really know how to do this yet…). Excited to practice and get things up to speed, though I suspect there will be a significant learning curve involved.
Inspiration: Inspired by how narrative is built into our DNA, and (finally) learning what “Act Two” in a story is actually for. (This is what has given me the go-ahead to pick up the novel again – I know what needs to underpin the stuff that’s happening and the decisions my MC is making. Woohoo!!!)
Creation: Books, yes. However slowly. And wheel-spun yarn, ditto, however slowly. But right now I’m in the middle of (and excited about) knitting a shrug (in the round), and using new (to me) stitch patterns to do it. I love the way the texture of the fabric changes depending on the stitches you use (knitting in the round looks very different from knit-one-direction-perl-back-the-other-way, and I find it just fascinating… I’m easily ammused. 😉 )

New Year New You 2016: Week 2 – Goals

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!
 
Instructions: Determine what you want to accomplish in 2012 2016 using both magical and mundane means, then break it down into magical and mundane steps that you can take.
 
Tarot Card: Queen of Cups for some fairly obvious reasons (see below).
 
Thoughts:
So, yeah. My Goal is to wake up my Queen of Cups energy and to become More Receptive on all fronts.
This feels a bit scary (but it probably should), and also a bit… foolish? Like I’m doomed to fall down the rabbit hole of Second Chakra Energy money-and-sex stuff (because Receiving Makes You Vulnerable and/or Wanting Is Shallow, or whatever other internalized crap I’ve got to deal with… is still up against money and sex being strongly conflaited in my culture, even as we deamonize sexworkers… yada yada yada, I’m already getting Meta in an effort to avoid looking at my own Issues, look at that) rather than focusing on some sort of heart-opening/ocean-soul thing that would be just so much more valid and less greedy and just… eugh. Internalized issues? You bet your ass!
 
Questions (and similar):
1. How are you going to accomplish these large goals in your daily life?

I… have no idea.
Which doesn’t work as an answer, I know.
It’s hard to think of “receiving” as something I can initiate.
None the less, I can pay attention. Like it says in this post, I can actively notice when someone does something nice for me in order to circumvent That Thing where it only takes one “no” to cancel out a dozen “yes” responses and maybe help me stop thinking that nobody wants to give me things (even when “things” are non-physical stuff like “kind words” or whatever).
 
I can do some of the exercises in Ecstasy is Necessary (because, yeah, some of this – lots of this, even – is totally to do with sex)
 
I can Try New Things. Stick with me here. Being receptive means being open. It means less holing up in my living room (oh hai, Winter… look who just arrived) and more (a) eating Korean BBQ, (b) reading at open mics (again), (c) volunteering, (d) taking classes, (e) going to Free Cool Events in my neighbourhood, (f) going to Free Cool Events in different cities[1]!, and other stuff like that there.
 
I can Ask. I can Use My Words and see what comes my way. (This is terrifying, but there you go).
 
2. What magical acts (rituals, spellwork, whatever it is you do) can you do to help you accomplish this goal?
This is almost easier. I’ve been taking Glamour Baths for ages, now, and word has it that my High Femme Smoulder is basically unstoppable. This is good to hear (for many reasons), and means that this particular form of magic is actually working for me.
I’m good at Honey Pots – calling things to me.
What I need to sort out now is how to see, and take, the opportunities/gifts/wooing/kindness/etc that come my way. I can:
 
Re-enchant my (new) mascara to help me see and recognize those things as they come.
 
Keep up with my ritual baths and honey-pot feedings, since those seem to be working well.
 
Re-charge my favourite lipstick(s) for added glamourous vavavoom.
 
Do some of the exercises in Urban Tantra with specific regards to opening up my energy flows.
 
Do Kundalini yoga (using an online free video, provided I can get it to stream properly) because… it helps. Though I’m not sure how/why. But go with what works.
 
Do “water meditation”. Yeah. You know that thing that everyone learns when they read Starhawk (or Silver Raven Wolf, or whatever you read as a baby Pagan learning the 101 stuff), where you send your roots into the earth and draw energy up from the earth’s core? I could never get the hang of that. But I tried looking for the water table and BAM! Now that’s energy I can access and draw upon! So I figure, what better way to access my Queen Of Cups mojo than to practice opening up to, and drawing in, specifically water-based energy? Gotta be worth a shot, right? Right.
 
3 and 4. What does [your preferred method of divination] and/or [patron deities/spirits] have to say regarding how to make sure you put these plans into action AND what kind of road blocks may keep you from doing so?
Yeah, I totally conflated #3 and #4 here. I get a lot of radio silence (or possibly I’m just failing to pick up the signal – Also likely. “Receptive” has a lot of meanings and I need help with all of them) when I ask questions without some sort of translation service (such as tarot cards) in play.
 
Yesterday – and I realize this isn’t the most Intentional way of doing this (call it Radiomancy with divination cards) – I was shuffling my Daughters of the Moon tarot deck[2] and, possibly because the cards are big and round and hard to handle, half a dozen cards toppled out of the deck, first two, then four, right after each other. I decided to go with it:
 
Road Blocks:
Reversal (the Hanged One)
Conflict (4 of Flames)
 
Actions to Take:
Cerridwen (Crone – King? – of Flames)
The Moon
Hokhma – Decisions (8 of Blades)
Mami Watu the Mermaid / Pisces (Maiden – Page-Knight – of cups)

 
With regards to road blocks I might have to deal with, the “reversal” card sometimes just means “hanging around and waiting” AKA: Inaction. That one’s easy enough to understand, although not strictly super helpful in terms of specifics. The “conflict” card is… one of the ones that doesn’t match up, to my knowledge, with anything like a traditional tarot card. The closest I can guess is the possibility of there being “too many cooks” involved in my personal receptivity-building project (I understand the 4 of Fire as participation/get-involved/everyone-onto-the-dance-floor/collaboration kind of thing) or maaaaaaaybe that I might “plateau” at the first sign of leveling up or start balking (inner conflict??) when it comes to trying to open up with/to someone(s) else.
 
As far as steps to take (or allies, or helpful hints, or however you want to read this bunch) go, I’m inclined to take the Moon card pretty literally, given that my own Moon Goddess handles trust and emotional stuff (and the ocean) as part of Her pervue.
As for the rest… Cerridwen’s cauldron of creation and transformation. Recognition of harms done in past relatioinships and needing to (actively) choose, moment to moment, whether those ripples are going to be the boss of me right now. That mermaid, again, calling me to dive deep, seek self-understanding/compassion, but also to trust and take risks. Which, okay, that last one is pretty clear. 😉
 
I don’t know if my Ladies were talking through those cards, but I’m willing to keep them in mind going forward, since they (mostly) seem to make sense.
 
Anyway. Week Three awaits, but it’s probably going to Await a little longer (which is hilarious, given that the topic is “something you’ve been putting off), since Week Four is pretty date-specific (New Year’s and all it’s accompanying guilt-ridden self-sabotage) and Miss Sugar commands that we all do that one right on time.
 
I’m off!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Yeah, I’m looking at taking “working vacations” to nearby cities where I have Crash Space in town, and booking 3-5 modeling jobs in as many days… if I can manage that. But: Receptive. (Gahds, so much of this is “power of positive thinking” crap. I feel like I’m subscribing to The Secret or something… Eugh…)
 
[2] Which, in my opinion are really not a tarot deck at all. They’re something new built from the bones of the tarot, but… while most re-interpretations / new-interpretations of the tarot stick to the 78 cards and their original meanings – so while some decks might put the emphasis of the 3 of Cups on “relationships between women”, others might put it on “your cup runeth over”, and still others might focus on “community building”, “partying to excess”, or “so many (too many?) options”, these different emphases are still all aspects of the actual card – the DotM deck amalgamtes a number of major arcana cards, conflates the pages and knights together, and redistributes the “troubling cards” of the suit of air across the entire minor arcana so that, basically, the elemental suits look a little bit less like the houses in Harry Potter.