Category Archives: Learning Tarot

New Moon – Squash Moon Begins

A very pale zucchini laid out on a wooden cutting board. The first zucchini I harvested from my garden, but not the last!

A very pale zucchini laid out on a wooden cutting board. The first zucchini I harvested from my garden, but not the last!


 
Strictly speaking, I’ve been harvesting zucchini for a month now, although “for a month now” means “my garden has successfully produced two zucchini, and that is all”. However, since I (might) have another zuke on the way, and since my butternut squashes have just started opening their fruiting flowers (fingers crossed that the bees work their magic and the squirrels and other four-legged neighbours leave them alone once they’ve started developing into fruit), I’m going with “squash moon” for this one, though “grape moon” or “wine-making moon” would also be appropriate.
 
Speaking of wine-making: Having tried the rhubarb wine… something has definitely gone off. There’s a weird under/after taste of corn, of all things, and I think I’ll probably be chucking the whole (1L and a bit, so not a huge loss) batch into the compost heap because, while it doesn’t have any weird effects to it, it doesn’t taste all that great. Still, a good effort, and something that I’ll likely try again later on (maybe in November, provided I remember to put a solid heap of rhubarb in the freezer before then).
I did make a five-pint batch of rhubarb curd, which will make us a number of very delicious pies over the course of the winter (five for sure, up to ten if I freeze enough diced rhubarb to do a mix). My wife and I took a day-trip last weekend to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum and, while we were there, we hit up a bunch of antique shops and I found myself an acceptably-priced food mill that lets me mash up cooked rhubarb (or, say, choke cherries) without having to deal with the rhubarb fibers or the cherry pits or what-have-you. So my curd is substantially smoother than previous years thanks to this little gizmo. Behold!
 
Close-up of five unlabeled pint jars of rhubarb curd (three in front, two behind). The curd is smooth and has a very faint greenish tinge to it, though it mostly looks beige.

Close-up of five unlabeled pint jars of rhubarb curd (three in front, two behind). The curd is smooth and has a very faint greenish tinge to it, though it mostly looks beige.


 
Alstrologically speaking, Saturn has just stationed direct last Thursday after spending about five months in retrograde, the New Moon (like the Sun) is in Virgo, and Venus just moved into Scorpio today.
Liz Worth suggests setting your New Moon intentions to “invite in the rewards for a labour of love, or to cleanse your calendar of any extraneous commitments that you’ve realized are only holding you back from your true raison d’être“. She also offers the following spread (I used the Silicon Dawn deck to pull the cards) to connect with Virgo’s new moon energy:
 
1. What lesson am I ready to put to use? – Black Galaxy Rose
The lesson of infinite potential. If the white galaxy rose is the out-breath after the intensity, the pause between one burst and the next, the black galaxy rose is infinite potential, the calm before the storm, and the in-breath before the song.
Not sure how this works as a lesson, though the clarification card I pulled was the Queen of Air – someone with good boundaries, who’s learned from her experiences and wants you to have, and do, the same – meaning, perhaps, that the lesson in question is this business that I’ve been trying to get my head around for more than a year now. Maybe it’s time to put some of that theory (back) into practice. Maybe that’s the coming song.
2. Where am I still caught in the weeds? – Four of Air
A card of “strategic retreat”, this is overwhelmingly a card about rest and recuperation. As a “caught in the weeds” situation, though, I would say that maybe I’ve been focusing so much on “stability” and “creating a secure base”, and even on “questioning my motivation”, that I’m avoiding looking at a bigger picture, avoiding dreaming a bigger dream than just “don’t fall apart” and “don’t fuck it up”.
3. What can I focus on instead? – Six of Earth
The six of earth has, for a long time, been my “check in” card. It’s a card about the risks (and rewards) that come with trusting other people, particularly with your physical well being. (Cassandra Snow has a really good write-up on Queering the Six of Pentacles that digs nicely into this idea). I think this relates, on some level, to what I was talking about, yesterday, with regards to the necessary vulnerability of explicitly naming my desires (ha, see #2 above) where relevant people can hear me doing so.
4. What reward can I create for myself as a result? – Four of Water
This isn’t a card I would have expected as a “reward” card, unless the reward in question is “permission to be selfish”, to internalize that I have permission to ask for the experiences, care, and pleasure that I want and will really enjoy.
Which, I grant you, is indeed a goal of mine that I’d like to actually accomplish.
Alrighty then.
 
With that in mind, I can’t help but look at the tarotscope Ashley did for Scorpio over at Radical Tarot, asking us to “feel into our joy”, to be in the moment (rather than, oh, say, catastrophizing about how The Moment could all go the hell if I put a foot wrong… just to pick an example completely and totally at random), and to decide what Virgo Season’s themes of safety, connection, community, and stability look like for each of us as individuals. (It does not escape my notice that the card I tend to associate with polyamoury – the three of cups – is featured in this spread… though we’ll see whether that turns out to be significant or not as time moves along).
 
By the time this moon is full, we’ll have tipped past the Autumn equinox and right into the Season of the Witch, when the veil starts getting thinner and the ancestors can be heard a little more clearly, even for a concrete bunker like me. 😉
Right now, though, we’re in the tail end of summer. Chilly mornings calling for layers and hot afternoons calling the bees out for another forage amid the asters, phlox, and the squash blossoms.
If I were to set an intention for this new moon, this waxing moon, I would ask my gods and ancestors: “Help me to be brave”.
 
Princess (Page) of Swords - Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - A person with antenae sprouting from her forehead, a red flower in her long, piled up, blond hair, and a yellow butterfly painted across her eyes, examines a knife, fingering the point. She's wearing a long, flowing skirt (that might be wings) and a yellow crop top.

Princess (Page) of Swords – Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – A person with antenae sprouting from her forehead, a red flower in her long, piled up, blond hair, and a yellow butterfly painted across her eyes, examines a knife, fingering the point. She’s wearing a long, flowing skirt (that might be wings) and a yellow crop top.


 
The card I pulled – literally by just flipping the deck over and seeing what looked up at me – for today’s meditation fits really well with that intention.
The write-up by Egypt Urnash depicts this character as someone who is desperately lonely and afraid of letting anyone get close. That’s not exactly my situation, but it’s a flip-side of it. I’m more of a “get super close, and super bonded, super fast… and then hide all the bits of myself that I think might get me rejected” kind of gal. (Thanks, anxious-preoccupied attachment style. That’s super-great…)

She’s so much more than she knows she is. […] She’s the only thing that holds herself back from flying.

 
Let me be brave.
Let me expose what I’ve kept hidden.
Let me keep trying.
Let me remember how to fly.
 
 
~*~
 
Movement: I’m working in an office right now, so a lot of my movement – aside from walking my commute and running errands on foot – has been remembering to get up and move around regularly so that my left hip doesn’t freeze up. There will also be some yard work (in someone else’s yard) coming up shortly.
 
Attention: I’ve been watching my butternut (and buttercup) squash vines particularly vigilantly, hoping for pollenated flowers and visits from bees. I’ve also been reading up on attachment theory (again) and self-compassion, as well as watching how my anxiety acts up and what it takes to calm it back down.
 
Gratitude: Grateful for an easy, restful weekend with my wife, for new library books, for thirteen hours of very needed sleep. Grateful for corn on the cob from my metamour, for leather boots and cool, sunny weather. For coffee and french toast in the morning. For wine on the back steps in the evening. For finding new Harvesters. For people who get me and appreciate my words. For free concerts I can walk to. For seven days of paid work. For the possibility of being hired by a fellow queer to do some flexible-hours transcription (fingers crossed that her funding comes in). For a coffee date with myself. For the chance to flirt with a friend. For a date night with my wife, walking arm in arm and holding hands across the table. For nights that are cool enough to justify the extra blanket and a lot of snuggling. For knowing that I’m loved. ❤
 
Inspiration: Other people’s writing. This past week, it’s been N.K. Jemisin’s amazing world-building, character-creation, and plot-resolution in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. You guys, it is so very, very good, and I am SO looking forward to reading more of her work!
 
Creation: I wrote another poem and have added a few more thousand words to my novel manuscript! Go me!

Full Moon – Apple Moon Crests

Red Flesh Apples mid-prep for apple butter. Left of frame: Small cutting board with a sliced apple whose insides look like a red and white bullseye. Center-top of frame: apple cores. Right of frame: crock pot already half full of diced apples. Photo by me.

Red Flesh Apples mid-prep for apple butter. Left of frame: Small cutting board with a sliced apple whose insides look like a red and white bullseye. Center-top of frame: apple cores. Right of frame: crock pot already half full of diced apples. Photo by me.


 
The full moon is in Pisces. I helped a friend move, this morning. Yesterday, my wife and I went to a Pride BBQ.
It’s that time of year, and I’m feeling obnoxiously queer (which is… okay, that’s every time of year for me, but go with it).
😀
 
The picture, above, is of apples that I wild-harvested from a tree across from my laundromat. Mot of them have been cooked down into a cinnamon-nutmeg spiced apple butter that has a rich roan hue to it, but I have twelve of them left and have harvested two other kinds of apples (a tart green standard apple and a fleshy, deep red crab apple) that I’m hoping to combine (in part) with them to try my hand at pressing a very small batch of cider. The rest will be made into a warm ginger-vanilla apple butter and a maybe-chili-infused crab apple jelly, respectively.
 
Sour Dough Bread: I am backing off on the sour dough. I’m still keeping a starter going. It makes lovely pancakes and is a nice flavour addition to actual sandwich bread, but I made a dough that was mostly raised with baker’s yeast (with about a cup of starter thrown in- rather than 1C starter little to no baker’s yeast) and, you guys… I had well-risen, airy, easy-to-cut bread by the end of the day, instead of having to wait three days to see if I had a usable loaf. And it wasn’t so moist and dense that it went moldy ridiculously fast. I know this is a big turn-about from two weeks ago, but I’m going to stick with this for now.
 
My garden is doing much better. I was able to harvest enough chard to put up a little bit (so far) in the freezer, and turn the stems into a lacto-ferment that should work a lot like cucumber relish (mustard and dill seed for the pickling spices) when it’s done. If I can do the same thing, once a week or so, for the next couple of months, that should give us a really nice cushion (small, but nice) of frozen greens to work from over the winter. We haven’t eaten our home-grown zucchini yet, though we’ll do that soon.
 
My wife picked me up from a modeling gig on Friday evening, and we rode under the gibbous moon (then in Aquarius), and it was just lovely.
 
Speaking of Moon – well, that’s technically this whole post – Liz Worth offers this little phrase as an intention for this Pisces Full Moon: I trust in the path that unfolds before me.
She also offers a tarot spread (which I did, below, using the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn) for those who’d like to connect with the Pisces Full Moon:
 
1. What is awakening within me? – Queen of Fire
Oh, good! I’ve been wanting my creative, passionate, glamourous self to rise up again. Hopefully this is confirmation that it’s coming back. 😀
 
2. What is my higher self asking of me at this time? – Ten of Earth
I sort of want to interpret this as “focus on getting your house sorted out”. The ten of Earth is home, family, legacy, “what kind of ancestor do you want to be”. But it’s also literally stuff like “get your finances in order” and “have you vacuumed lately”. TBH, my higher self could be asking me to look after all of the above right now. I find myself asking: Is this about Job Stuff? Or is this about Chosen Family?
I pull a clarification card, and it’s the Queen of Earth (landing me 3/4 queens in this spread. Huh): Self-reliance. Confidence based on competence and planning rather than on illusion or magical thinking. The ultimate Mom figure with a freezer full of just-what-you-need and an ear when you need that, too.
This isn’t really clearing anything up for me, though.
Thoughts?
 
3. How must I honour my spiritual path? – Queen of Air
Haha. Learn from your mistakes. Alrighty then.
 
4. How can I strengthen my intuition? – Four of Earth
This is… weird. I generally understand the Four of Earth as being a pretty awful card. The card of “nobody’s going to take care of me, nobody cares about/for me, so I have to do everything myself”. It’s an attitude I’ve been trying to shed, and I’m not sure how to read “all of my worst stories” as a way of strengthening my intuition. Unless this is a call to further pickup on when it’s those stories talking vs when it’s something I should actually listen to.
 
Advisor – Vulture Mother
This is my “Scorpio self”. The side that’s hungry all the time, that wants and wants and is kind of freaky. A suggestion to take the entire reading through the lens of my own particular “black swan”.
 
Overarching & Underlying Influences – White Galaxy Rose + Maya Maya is the card of “Loosen up! Stop over-thinking it! It’s Pride! Go have some fun for once!” and the two galaxy roses in the deck are… Well, like Maya and the Vulture Mother, they are part of the “Extended Edition”. I understand them as the avatars of Maya’s two lovers. But I don’t entirely know what they mean. The closest I’ve got is that the Black Galaxy Rose is “infinite potential”, the raw business that comes before everything kicks off. Something big is about to happen. So I would posit, then, that the White Galaxy Rose is the aftermath and the “now what”. The rest and recovery before getting it together for the next big thing.
With this in mind, what underlies this story of many queens, of sovereignty and desire (and sacrifice and prophesy? Uhm… not sure), is a calm before – or maybe after – a storm.
What over-arches it is a need to get out from under the weight of my own shame, to be shame-less and allow myself to enjoy things.
Which relates really strongly to my Scorpio Self as advisor. Turn towards, and lean into, pleasure, but don’t force them. Listen to the part that wants unapologetically.
 
Okay.
I’ll give that a try.
 
~*~
 
Collective Tarot - Five of Keys - A forest, after the fire has passed through.

Collective Tarot – Five of Keys – A forest, after the fire has passed through.


 
On a related tarot front, my meditation for this soon-to-be-waning moon, is: The Five of Fire. I pulled my card from the Silicon Dawn deck (where it’s the five of pentacles), where it definitely touches on the “strife” aspect of the card. However I’m most familiar with the five of fire as a leap of faith, as a boost of momentum that pushes you forward. Given the mix, and what’s been showing up in my life of late, I’m inclined to read this as “Don’t let the momentum of those long-held Stories push you forward into, well… repeating old mistakes and having a stressful, anxious life because of them”.
I’ll try to keep that in mind as I dig into those old stories and attachment-style Things over the next two weeks.
Wish me luck!
 
~*~
 
Movement: Lots of apple picking, weeding, and general harvesting. Really glad for a modeling gig on Friday that had me essentially doing “power yoga” for the first hour and a half. The mix of rapid changes and held poses seems to do my screwed up hip some good.
 
Attention: Keeping an eye on a friend’s garden. Looking for job postings and sending out resumes. Taking the time to look out the window and wave to the full moon. Watching the weather and the temperature fluctuations. Grinning at the way my squash vines are finally starting to take off.
 
Gratitude: Grateful for friends who encourage me to try things outside of my comfort zone. Grateful for thriving chard, free apples, neighbours who invite me to take bouquets of basil and tarragon from their garden or present me with fuzzy melons and bird chilies at random. For a freezer full of diced zucchini and frozen service berries. For home made bread and apple butter. For a better relationship with my mom than I used to have. For a growing number of poems accepted for publication. For writing buddies who hang out with me while we scribble and cheer each other on. For friends who will level with me when I’m repeating unhealthy patterns. For day-trips out of town. For home-made ginger beer and a wife who makes me grilled cheese sandwiches and tells me she thinks I’m amazing. ❤
 
Inspiration: My friend’s debut novel. A new book of poetry (Clementine Morrigan) to page though. My neighbour’s luxurious, unstoppable squash vines. The mallow plant that, against the odds, has germinated and bloomed in my front garden.
 
Creation: Reworking a knitting project (it seems to be working? Ish?) Adding a few more thousand words to my spite novel. A smidge of inspiration that might just lead to a poem.

Summer Solstice 2018 – Elemental Tarot Spread

Happy Solstice All!
 

Left - Potato blossoms. Right - Buttercup squash blossoms.

Left – Potato blossoms.
Right – Buttercup squash blossoms.


 
My zucchini, cucumbers, and even buttercup squash are blooming! So are my tomatoes and snow peas and fava beans. So are my mustard and radishes, which means I need to regularly give them a haircut while I continue to harvest them as greens! (Don’t worry, I’m letting the radishes go to seed so they can continue to self-seed around the yard).
I set up my cucumber trellis the other day, and it hasn’t yet fallen over, so I’m counting that as a win.
Praying for LOTS of squash – cucumbers, buttercups, butternuts, and zucchini – this year. Prolific, fruitful plants and low-to-no squirrel/rodent/critter damage please. ❤
 
Summer Solstice – I did a "tell me about right now / where do I go from here" question using the Four Elements Spread from Little Red Tarot's Alternative Tarot Course and the Next World tarot deck, and here’s what I got:
 
Me Right Now: Arsenal (The Four of Pentacles)
Earth: The Fool
Water: The Team (Three of Pentacles)
Air: Temperance
Fire: The Empress

 
Me, Right Now – Where I’m at, what my situation is: Arsenal: I’ve long understood the 4 of Earth to be a card about tenuous shelter. Being afraid that nobody will have your back, being just barely able to make ends meet, having a roof over your head… for now. And part of me is feeling this. Like every summer, this is already a summer of hustling. Last year, I worked for part-time jobs at the same time. This year I’m technically working three, although one of them really only amounts to an hour/week, so I’m not sure it counts. I checked my bank balance earlier today, and it looks like I’ll have the rent in the bank before the month turns over (Hurrah! And also Thank You Gods and Ancestors and also the receptionist who frequently takes time off AND the various artists who hire me frequently because they know modeling is my main income source. Every bit helps!) AND, based on gigs already booked for July, I’ll be able to make August’s rent as well. And knowing that, fairly confidently, in advance is a BIG fucking deal.
So seeing this card as my “Me, right now” position is… not wrong.
But the Four of Earth is also Virginia Woolf’s “Room of One’s Own” to create in. It’s the home as sanctuary (both holy place and place of rest and safety) that Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha writes about so frequently. It’s a reminder of what I’m aiming for, of what makes me happiest.
 
Earth – The material, financial, bodily. Security and abundance (or it’s absense/unsteadiness): The Fool: When I drew this card, I laughed. The fool is someone who is going in a direction where they don’t know what the outcome is going to be. In the write-up for this deck specifically, Cristy C Road says that this particular Fool made the decision to walk away from the security of following the status quo, in favour of something riskier but truer to themself.
I look at this and go, “Okay, kind of?”
I told my wife that I was thinking I needed to find a one-year full time gig – just because it might be easier to find than the part-time permanent office work I’ve been looking for as an anchor income – and she got really quiet on the phone. She told me later that the thought of it make her really sad.
Because here we are, two self-employed people working in art/isan fields, trying to make a go of this. And we’re not quite making it yet. The instability of it is scary. The work is fulfilling and I’m good at it, and I don’t want to give it up.
The Fool is about taking risks, “following your bliss”, trusting the process, and doing the “foolish” thing that goes against conventional wisdom.
Okay. But, hoy, I hope it pays off in the end. O.O
 
Water – The artistic, emotive, spiritual stuff. The heart stuff. The feelings you have about your feelings: The Team: The three of Earth is a card about teamwork, but it’s also a card about making sure your work actually gets recognized. Seeing this card in the “Feelings” position is, like… It’s a combination of “Be aware that the stories you tell yourself about how your feelings (and wants, and needs) don’t matter and will never be prioritized are, y’know, bullshit. Saying what you want/need/feel is RISKY – or at least feels that way – but it’s necessary and you will be happier, by and large, if you actually do it” and “Pay attention to how much social and emtional maintenance/support work you’re doing in your various interpersonal relationships and don’t over-offer, or otherwise do all the work or (let yourself) get taking advantage of”.
 
Air – Mind, thinky thoughts, morality and values, decision-making stuff. Where’s your head at: Temperance: I mostly know this card as one about balance. But I find it interesting to see the Cristy writes her own interpretation of Temperance as being about both (a) self-care that comes with personal maturity and a willingness to listen to what’s needed, but also (b) self-forgiveness.
I think this is how I want to read this card in this position. Forgive myself my past mistakes. Forgive myself the wrongs I’ve done, or thought, and strive to keep making myself better every day. Forgive myself my failures and give myself permission to learn from them and to try again, and then again, and then again. Don’t let (don’t keep letting) my brain weasels and their stories get the better of me.
 
Fire – Drive, passion, Will, and where you’re putting your energy: The Empress: I was pretty happy to see The Empress in this position, because I am putting my energy there. But it’s also Midsummer, and I’m putting my energy into my garden as well as my art. I want to tie this card to the “where you are right now” of the Four of Pentacles, because the Empress asks: Are you treating Home Maintenance as a chore you have to slog through in order to Be A Grown Up, or are you treating it as a series of little rituals that make the everyday holy? I’m reading this as a call to (continue to) connect with sensuality, artistry, and embodied spirituality going forward. Because who doesn’t want that? 🙂
 
So there I have it. A weather report and some suggestions for where to aim next (or keep aiming – the FeelingsWitch over at Tiny Lantern Tarot says that healing works on its own timeline and tends to happen in spirals not straight lines, and… they aren’t wrong).
 
I’m off to wash dishes, tidy surfaces, and harvest rhubarb for Midsummer Pie.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year, New You 2018: Week Four (technically – in place of week one) – Be Kind To Yourself

Here we go again, kids.
 
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 particular prompt was originally written for Week Four BUT it comes with the caveate of “do it whenever you hit the first week of January”(or some other culturally significant New Beginnings and Goal Setting date, but mostly early January) regardless of where you are in the exercises. I’m just starting this off, and I feel a bit silly starting it on the prompt that says “Maybe just don’t?” but here we are. This week, the plan is to “give yourself permission to enjoy the fruits of your labor and to give yourself something nice“.
 
Tarot Card: Nine of Cups. I chose this specific iteration of the Queen of Cups partially because it’s from my latest deck – the Next World tarot – which I’m rather excited about, but also because the artist’s write-up in her Little Book says specifically that the Nine of Cups “reminds us to stay glamourous”. (I’m snickering a little because, the last time I did/wrote-up this particular prompt, I was Having The Feels about bad patterns and bad habits and wanting to have a Nine Of Water week and… not really succeeding).
 
I’m having an easier time saying “Nope. Nine of Bottles. This is the Time, this is the Hour” this time around but also am having feelings about bad habits and patterns that I’m spinning in.
I mean, maybe I’m spinning in those particularly well-worn tracks all the time anyway, BUT it’s been hitting me a little harden in the past 48 hours, so there’s that.
 
Anyway. On the subject of Stay Glamourous… You know that I’m doing the Esoteric Experiments in Miss Sugar’s book, Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want (yes that link will get me tiny amounts of cash if you buy her book through it). So, partly I chose this card as a reminder not to let myself down on that front, even on Laundry Day. But this card is also about “the magic of self care” and how the sensory (touch, sight, smell) side of my femme-nicity matters a LOT to me feeling good in and about myself. It’s a reminder to be kind to myself by remembering that I’m worthy of pleasure, sensuality, “easy days and pretty things” (to draw on Kathryn Payne’s essay about Lineage in Brazen Femme) and that beating myself up about, or punishing myself through deprivation over, Bad Habits and Patterns isn’t actually going to help me stop perpetuating those things.
 
So.
Two Nice Things for me this week:
1) I upgraded the internet. With a discount, no less. This isn’t actually going to change until Monday, BUT it will mean that my lovely wife and I can watch movies-on-the-internet (and chill, or maybe even “chill”, wouldn’t that be lovely), and also I will worry less about “running out of megabytes” when it comes to uploading stuff as per this particular version of the Nine of Cups. It’s a practical thing, and it doesn’t only benefit ME, and I did it mostly because the internet-provider just happened to call and offer it to me today (which is why I’m aiming to do two things, rather than one), but I did it. I am allowed to have nice things and do not need to exist in austerity all the time.
AND
2) I haven’t entirely decided this one, but chances are good it will involve an afternoon – or maybe even a whole day – spent curled up with either a beloved old book (OR a fascinating new one) and a box of chocolates I got on post-new-years clearance. There will be lounging. I am allowed to do things that are pleasurable purely for the sake of pleasure and do not have to Be Productive all the time.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad.