Category Archives: paganism

New Moon – Snow Moon Waxes (Winter Solstice)

Happy (belated) Winter Solstice to you all. 🙂

A stack of eleven beeswax tealights, with one tealight lit and burning in the foreground (in a small dark green and gold-flecked holder).

A stack of eleven beeswax tealights, with one tealight lit and burning in the foreground (in a small dark green and gold-flecked holder).

Tonight, I am drinking left-over red wine and snacking on cookies – rather than doing something sensible like eating left-over pâté on crackers or otherwise diving into something that contains actual protein. My lovely wife (we celebrated five years of marriage on Winter Solstice, btw) is spending the night with her partner and I’m, uh, procrastinating… after spending a day fixing security problems on various social media accounts. FML. At least things seem to be sorted out now, which is a relief.
New Moon was a solid week ago. If I were to look out the window, I’d see her – almost half-full and almost half-way up the sky – right now. Only a few days ago she was a hooked crescent, hidden by cloud banks, following the sun towards the western horizon while snow slowly piled up on the steps and I lit candles and poured offering libations inside my cozy house. We started our annual party an hour later than usual (and on the Friday, rather than on Solstice Proper, because it’s hard to get people to come out for a late night when they need to get up for work the next morning) and… it helped. Everything was out and ready (and tidy) with enough time to spare – whether because I gave myself that extra hour, or because a friend came early to help set up… thanks Mercury-Stationing-Direct for that stroke of luck – that I actually had a chance to throw on a nice dress and some party shoes before people started piling through the door.
It was so good to have a house full of people again!
It’s not that I forget. It’s that the amount of prep that goes into officially Hosting a thing leaves me wondering how much clean-up I can reasonably handle – both before and after the fact. But having people over makes me happy, it stirs up the energy (and forces me to vacuum, which ALSO stirs up the energy, and helps it cycle through rather than stagnating), makes me smile, and helps me bring my Queen of Wands side – the fabulous femme hostess with the mostess – to the fore. I need to make time for more of this in my life.
On the glamour front, I’m working at presenting myself a little harder. I’ve talked about using pinterest to show myself what “glamourous” looks like to me, and it’s… a lot of viking/”viking” warrior women, witchy moon goths, queer pin-up babes, sleek film-noir/office-domme outfits, iron-age and early medieval English & Scottish queens, Russian fairy tale pics, and pop-apocalypse/neolithic “shaman” type imagery. Which you’d think would be difficult to boil down into one cohesive whole.
At least I thought it would be.
But the thin line of makeup that follows the curve of a pop-apocalyptic warrior’s cheekbones and spans the bridge of her nose? Is the same line taken by the pin-up librarian’s rhinestone cat-eye glasses or my own oversized witchy-rocker shades. The rockabilly femme in the vintage-style mermaid skirt wears hair flowers that echo the flower crown of the Ukrainian fairy-tale character and the ATS bellydancer’s head piece. The glittering haute couture kokoshnik and the Queen Mum’s tiara are also the spiked hairband worn by the nu goth princess, the Rosy The Riveter kerchief, the band of the hand-knit toque I wear every winter day I leave the house. The mermaid’s tail is the leather scales down one arm of the contemporary turtleneck and the lace-pattern on the hand-knit wiggle sweater. The heavy woolen Ruana of iron age Scotland is the elegant shawl (and the chunky infinity scarf) of today. The Neolithic skin dress of a reconstructed Magdalenian Woman is the fur collar on a film-noir-inspired leather trench, the fox-pelt draped around the shoulders of a forest fairy, the stole – from my great-grandfather – that my grandmother passed on in her nineties. The horns on the forest elf are the ornaments crowning the neolithic regalia, are the chunky, multi-point antler hair sticks in the contemporary updo.
The shapes are becoming clearer, and it’s something I’m mindful of when I put my every-day clothes on.
Whether it’s doing anything to make me shinier in the eyes of anyone (or Anyone) who happens to see me… that remains to be seen. But this is still a thing.
Tarot Card Meditation:
I’ve heard (recently, though I can’t remember where… sorry) that New Moons are good for magic and intention-setting and Full Moons are good for healing work and deep-diving. On that note, as the new moon waxes towards full, the card I drew for my meditation is:

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn
Nine of Cups
A woman is stripy fetish gear takes a selfie. Nine cups are arrayed around her.
The is the “Wishes Coming True” card, and I kind of love it. 😉

This is… relevant on more than just a “what do you wish for”/”what makes you truly happy” level, given what I spent a chunk of my morning getting re-set-up to do, but it also ties into my own questions about what makes me happy, what internalized Stuff do I need to free myself from in order to get the sex life (which, for me is SO tied to my heart and my relationships and all those watery cups subjects) I want.
Capricorn Season is all about showing up and doing the work (to quote the Hoodwitch). Chani tells me to fill my days with rituals that help me break bad habits (Scorpio) but also reminds my Rising sign (Gemini) to be mindful of the energetic exchanges (such as flirting, first impression, and interpersonal collaborations, all-of-which which your rising sign handles) and to figure out what you actually need, want, and have to offer in those situations. She tells my Moon (Cancer… to the surprise of absolutely nobody) that “love needs a home” – which, duh, got me all weepy, because: yeah – and that for the next three years Saturn-in-Capricorn is going to show me what I need to build and be honest about in order to make that home, with all its many chambers, a real one with solid foundations.
I think the nine of cups ties into this one hard.
Help me to know what I want.
Help me to acknowledge what I want.
Help me to seek what I want.
Help me to invite it in.
I need to bake a couple of pies and finish a sewing project so… no more procrastinating for me.
Happy Solstice all.

Movement: All I want to do is sleep. So not a tonne of movement going on, and what IS going on has resulted in my left hip swelling to twice its usual size. (It came back down again, but… Winter + long walks + carrying heavy loads in an unbalanced way + even the tiniest of high heels… did not do me any good in recent history. So I’m being careful with myself while I have the option).
Attention: Right at the moment? Chani’s pointed reminder to pay attention to how I spend my time.
Gratitude: Five years of marriage with my lovely wife. Polyamoury that works, even if it’s always going to be a learning process. Generous friends who bring us fancy food, who help me get things set up for company coming over. Company coming over and filling my house with warmth, light, and laughter. Sweet young folks who trust me. Extra garden space to look forward to this coming summer (maybe, possibly). Warm blankets. Sewing skills. Lazy days. Helpful tech support staff who are working on xmas eve and still willing to go the extra mile to help me out. Perfect clear nights that aren’t too cold. The chance to stroll home, looking at pretty lights, with my wife. ❤
Inspiration: Easy but fancy-looking up-dos. Moonlight. Iron-age fashion. Winter fairy tales. The hearth inside my heart and how I want to bring it into the solid world around me.
Creation: A lot of sewing, some knitting. Not a whole lot of anything else. Poetry is having a break until January while I spend some time with my wife (who is officially on vacation as of last Friday).


Full Moon – Long Nights Moon Crests (Season of the Hag)

A full moon rising huge over tufts of dry grasses poking through the drifts.

A full moon rising huge over tufts of dry grasses poking through the drifts.
Photo by John Fowler, courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

Yesterday was the full moon. I went outside and sang to her a bit. Such a clear sky, and she looked so good. 🙂 I hung the winter wreath on the door (fake fir branches with silver beads wrapped around them for ice, and a cloth poinsettia flower for a sunburst) and pulled the holly garlands out of the basement – I haven’t quite hung them up yet, but that’s one of today’s tasks. I gave an offering to the Hag, the Old Lady Winter, and asked for a gentle one this year. I mean, who knows, and it’s supposed to be Very Snowy, but nobody dying of cold would be good. Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
A while back, I talked about the Season of the Witch. Like autumn, in Ottawa, it’s a relatively short season. The Season of the Hag lasts longer, especially given that the real cold and snow don’t tend to hit until after Winter Solstice (when this poem by Richard de Graeme becomes particularly apt, even if Brigid’s fire doesn’t do much beyond offer a temporary reprieve around here).
The Season of the Hag involves: A lot of shivering. My hips being sore and swollen. Lighting candles more frequently. Trying not to fall down (right now, the temperature is seesawing back and forth across the frozen line, which is dandy as long as it’s dry – my hips hurt less, the warmer it is, so my body’s not complaining even if my mind is flipping out about climate change – but which is down right dangerous when there’s rain (which freezes) covered in the hail or snow that comes on its heels, so). Cozying up under a heap of yarn to Make Things (such as knitted radishes[1] and other veggies for my nibblings). Entertaining At Home – anything to cultivate and maintain friendships and community (think of the Scandinavian concept of hygge), whether that’s casual crafternoons with pals, opening your home to host a house concert, or inviting your nearest and dearest over for Midwinter cocktails while celebrating the Solstice. Baking and slow-cooking things so that the house, in which one is somewhat cooped up, smells delicious and feels warm because the oven is on. A lot of things to do with dealing with, and getting through, the cold with mind and body as intact as possible.
But it’s also a time for story-telling. Sharing anecdotes, working on manuscripts, examining the Old Tapes in your own head (MY own head) and figuring out how to at least remix them into something useful and good for you again.
With that in mind: Jessica Lanyadoo, over at HoodWitch reminds me, as a Scorpio, to focus on my own conduct this week, and says “Change yourself, THEN conquer the world”. And Chani advises: “Remember that gratitude and generosity are your guiding goddesses towards a greater sense of abundance. Go forward accordingly.” On a related note, Liz Worth asks us to take some time during this Mercury Retrograde (which started yesterday, and is going to stick around until just after Winter Solstice – if you are mailing things to anybody, mail them early) to check in with our foundations and offers some questions you can ask yourself, your cards, your Gods, about where you still need clarity versus what’s got clear and sorted for you over the past year, and what your next steps might be.
On a very related note, Sarah Gottesdiener, over at Little Red Tarot, points out that the last Full Moon of the year (this one) is a good time for wrapping up loose ends, finishing projects, and otherwise get stuff done before the calendar flips over. (Granted, Miss Sugar would suggest avoiding the New Years Resolutions (That Nobody Keeps) Egrigore by starting new projects NOW, instead of a month from now, so you do you). Sarah also suggests that this is a good time to reflect on where you’re at, look at places where you had to push yourself, ask what you need to keep going forward, and check in about recurring patterns and what they might mean. (There’s a related spread for that here). She offers this reminder:

Remember: Magic is an art. Magic works if you do.
You are both activator and participant. You are the spell!
Not the crystal or the Tarot card or the altar cloth or the athame or the chalice or any of your tools, chants, or herbs. You are the both the conduit and the conductor!
Remember to use your magic. Remember to honor yourself.

A good reminder if ever there was one.
The folks at Hoodwitch also offer this meditation – which is a focus-on-your-breath type exercise – for the Full Moon in Gemini. They ask participants to journal a bit, after, on the question of what does air mean for them as human beings… but I think this could be adapted to other stuff – thoughts on voice, speaking, communication, but maybe also thoughts on fear and anxiety and they way those responses can close up (or feel like they’re closing up) our throats.
I wrote (very briefly), a couple of weeks ago, about intention-setting and tarot meditations. Full Moon is typically a time to check in on the fruits of your intentions (that you theoretically set at the New Moon). I gotta tell you that releasing all that “you are unlovable/unworthy” crap is… slow going. I mean, duh. But it’s a thing. SO!
Moon Meditation? Moon Meditation!
I drew a random tarot card today.

“Courage” – 8 of Major Arcana (“Strength”)
A daisy blooming through a crack in the stone.

How does this card – courage, strength, blooming in vulnerability – relate to:
1) Recurring patterns I’ve seen over the past year
2) Glamour, letting myself be seen/heard and generally putting myself out there
3) Letting go of all that “you are unlovable/unworthy” crap.
I mean, the answer to #2 is pretty direct. Bravery is a muscle, glamour is a muscle, you have to exercise them and you will get tired quickly when you’re not used to doing so. Put on your crown of light. Visualize all those dangerously-alluring women with bone jewelry and intense eyeliner and leather cloaks/jackets striding through the sylvan/urban landscape, let that power build in yourself, and get out there. For a given value of “get out there” that means “submit that poem for publication” or “do vocal warm-ups every day, even if the neighbours can hear you” or “flirt with that other attractive queer” or “apply for that job/grant” or whatever. I’ve been doing some of this fairly consistently (see #1), but I recognize that I have a tendency to give up and go back to hiding with a lot of regularity. To take a page from Miss Sugar’s Glamour Magic book there are mundane parts to fixing this situation and magical parts. The mundane/physical stuff is literally doing the physical work. Doing the warm ups. Writing the poems, finding appropriate calls for submissions, and sending them out. Putting on my lipstick and a clean shirt to run my errands. Making the first move. All that stuff. Magically, I can do visualizations to help me evoke and make visible my own powerful, “Scorpio Side” (I tend to let my Moon show up front, for reasons that are good – this is me, I am this – but also for reasons that are not so healthy for me and tie into the “unworthiness” business). I can listen to throat-opening chakra music and sing along in harmony (humming or rolled Rs). I can wear lapis lazuli (throat-opener, speak the truth even if your voice trembles, lean into your intuition and know yourself, that kind of stone) around my neck. I can fill my belly with tea made from thyme, fennel, mullien, and/or yarrow for courage or use those oils in a ritual bath. I can fill a honey pot with dried pear and hawthorn berries, pecans, sesame seeds, vanilla beans, hibiscus flowers, orange zest, whole cloves, oats, and glitter, and enchant it accordingly: If I’m really on my game, I’ll be Working myself in the process and I’ll start liking myself and thinking I deserve Nice Things, too. 😉
My mom, because she is my mom, gave us an advent calendar full of inspirational quotations and candy.
The quote for yesterday’s full moon was:

Follow a heart’s desire today. Pick up a book, make that call, join that club, pick up that paint brush, start that course. Begin, begin, begin.

Okay, then.

Movement: I admit I skipped going dancing on Friday night. I had company over and my wife was tired, and it was just a better plan all around to stay in. Even for a dance that started early and was easy to get to. Still, there’s been lots of walking (and will be lots more, this week), so that’s something. Time to start doing yoga in the spare room for 10 minutes every day again, I think, as it’s getting colder out and the motion will help keep me warm and prevent me from turning into a creaky mess.
Attention: I’m paying attention to deadlines, right now. Submitting job applications and poetry, seeing if I qualify for grants (most recently: Not yet. I need to have published three things through traditional publishers who pay money when they publish your stuff. I have… one? Everything else has been contributor copies. One more reason to keep sending stuff out).
Gratitude: Paid the rent AND the heating bill on the same day. Pickled beets are going nicely. My friend who had hot sauce explode in her face is doing fine and retained all of her sight. A friend visiting for dinner. Being treated to waffles by another friend. My wife telling me I’m her home and that she’s so glad I’m part of her life. ❤
Inspiration: Women with horns and facial tattoos. Also femmes. Also my wife who loves to learn new things. Also the garden (even in her sleeping form). Also astrology and tarot, as per usual.
Creation: I finished the editing on, and then submitted, three poems to a magazine in BC. Am trying to edit my lack-luster ghazal into an entirely different kind of poem with plans to put it into my next chapbook. Also went through my back catalogue of unpublished poems to see if there was anything in there that would fit the “moons and tarot and spellcraft and astrology and feeeeelings” theme of said chapbook, because I’d like to get this done sooner rather than later. Knit two radishes, with a third on the way, and finished knitting my stocking extensions.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] Cast on 45 stitches (using 2¼ mm needles and a light gauge like “sport” or “baby” yarn… even “sock” yarn will do. #1 or #2 gauge, basically). Knit 20 rows back and forth. Decrease by k2t every 4th and 5th stitch. Knit back. Decrease by k2t every 3rd and 4th stitch. Knit back. Decreased by k2t every 2nd and 3rd stitch. Knit back. You should have 18 stitches now. K2t, knit back. Knit one, then k2t to the end of row so you have five stitches. Knit five rows. Cast off. Roll your bit of knitting into a tube (like a rose bud). Sew up the side. Gather the top (the wide part) on a bit of extra yarn and pull it “shut” as with a draw-string bag. Tie off. Behold. You have a raddish. (Make leaves if you want to. Or different leaves if you want them to be “strawberries”). Do the same thing to make beets, just use chunkier yarn (#4 gauge, probably) and 5mm needles. For potatoes, do the same thing, except Just Keep Knitting, instead of doing the reductions. Use the draw-string method on both ends, instead of only one.

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.


Scorpio Season – Deep Shadows Moon Begins, Crests, and Wains PLUS Samhain 2016

Hallowe’en came and went, and I marked the transition into Root Time by cracking a bottle of Sortilege and offering a glass of maple whiskey to the Gods and Ancestors outside in the back garden. (That was, in fact, the sum-total of what I did for Samhain. No special cleaning, no new pictures up. Just a nod and I’m Thinking of You All. The year-gate swings, and it’s time to dive deep again).
When my birthday arrived, the Sun and the Moon were both in Scorpio.
My time.
Scorpio Season.
What are you digging up with the beets and potatoes of early winter’s harvest?
What is surfacing from all that deep, fixed water?
What’s coming up from inside your ocean heart?
All the horoscope stuff is, like, “Stop lying to yourself” + “Set some intentions with an eye to claiming your power, because Now Is The Time” (it’s very The Craft, but that Scorpios for you). (As a side note, Miss Sugar’s new book is pretty-much all about that, and it’s available for pre-order. It’s not out until next August, but it’s a good time if the beta-readers’ chapters are anything to go by).
I just turned 37 and, consequently I’m thinking about Returns. It occurred to me, as I was heading out to buy heaps of Prepared Food (multiple cakes! fancy cheese!) for my birthday party, that my Saturn Return (long over, at this point), started the year I separated from my first spouse and ended the year I married my wife. Given that particular set of Very Relevant Bookends, I can’t help thinking that the lessons of my particular Saturn Return were “This is what a healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship looks like. This is how to do it. This is what to watch for in order to know that you and given person work well together as partners“.
Good to know.
I’m also thinking about my most recent Jupiter Return (age 36 – they come around every 12 years) and how those returns are about generosity, abundance, letting yourself be seen, and broadening your senses of trust and understanding. I’ve spent this past year trying to get the hang of being kind to myself, to inhabit my whole body more easily, protect myself without walling myself off, to understand where best to invest my energy, my heart, my time.
Related (tangentially?) to that is last year’s We’moon “year at a glance” for me was all about figuring out what kind of wealth I want to accumulate and getting material stuff sorted out. And here I am… sort of half-owning a small business that’s maybe-maybe-possibly about to have one of our contracts go national-sized? O.O
…Which, y’know, would be good.
But it feels like I’ve spent this year walking through a fog.
My wife asked me “what do you want to do with 37?” and I just sort of blinked and looked at her blankly. I’ve been so busy (“busy”?) putting one foot in front of the other that I haven’t really thought of anything else. My friend asks me “How have you been? How’s your heart?” and the answer comes back “Uh…?” Heart? Sometimes, in spite of lots of lovely things happening, making new connections, making an effort to spend time with awesome people who treat me well, in spite of falling in love with my wife All Over Again… sometimes my chest feels empty, sometimes I forget that “happy” is even possible? It’s really weird.
I’ve also been thinking about the New Year New You 2016 project and how my most recent prompt involved sacrificing… something. when I wrote it, I thought what I had to give up was my illusions. And I still think that’s true. All the scorpio-horoscope “stop lying to yourself” stuff is definitely tied up with that. But… some of my illusions involve false hopes, right? So what else (who else) do I have to give up (on)?
I tried to pull my love for someone out by the roots. Cut the cord and burn it away. Let that green thing rot and compost into something good for me.
That sort of thing.
And what happened? 24 hours later, I dream of them. Talking in the front hallway. Not perfect, just people, both of us. Their arms around me, leaning into my shoulder, saying “I’m still your friend”. I have no idea what to make of this, but there it is. Mixed messages coming through various channels. I spent two weeks trying to climb out from under a very heavy heart, burned through myself with rage, let something go, found space to open again. (I’m being vague and sort of hoping that it sounds “mystical” or something, but I’m really just being vague).
Long-story-short, I had a rough night last night, a hard morning, and then something cleared. Maybe it was reading half a dozen posts on attachment theory, or maybe it was taking care of my various ferments (I now have sour kraut, kombucha, and milk kefir on the go!) plus mixing up three loaves of bread and filling the house with the scent of their baking. (There’s something about bread. It takes so few ingredients, and they are cheap-cheap-cheap, too… and you get so much good stuff at the end. The smell is like big-warm-home meets independence and self-sufficiency. It’s pretty fantastic!). Maybe it was finally writing and posting something on Syrens after almost two months of writing next-to-nothing at all. Maybe it was a quiet day of thinking and processing and puttering and watching the first snow pile up outside (on top of un-dug Jerusalem artichokes and unharvested chard, I grant you, but still). I feel a little bit less heavy. A little more sure of myself. A little less broken. And that’s a good thing.
Motion: LOTS of modeling work recently, multiple classes worth of mid-length poses (15 and 20 minutes) that leave me stiff, sore, and grateful for the hour long walk home after class. Went out dancing (and got guest-listed as a birthday gift from the organizer, which was great). Can do Plank without having to start on my knees, which is nice.
Attention: Honestly? My bank account and how much I’ve been spending on prepared food and restaurant meals in the past, well, while. It’s got me thinking of Erica’s (or her husband’s, since the link goes to one of his posts) Treat Spiral and how I let myself go a little nuts with Nice Things For Me – new shoes, a dozen dollar-store hair flowers, fancy chocolates, copies of The Revolution Starts At Home and She Is Sitting in the Night – at the beginning of the month. Not the wisest thing to do,in retrospect.
Gratitude: Grateful for the repeated message to be kind to myself (even if I… am not great at that… yet?) and that it’s okay for me to be kind to myself. Grateful for the learning and the releasing, even when it comes with a lot of crying. Grateful for a living room full of femmes (mostly), sharing food and laughter and chatting about fibre arts, crafting, writing, and making things from scratch. ❤ All the good things. Best Birthday, and just what I needed. 🙂
Inspiration: Recently read S. Bear Bergman’s Butch Is A Noun. Surprised (but maybe shouldn’t be) at how my reasons for speaking (body language, verbal language, deed-language) the way I do are held in common with the butch dude who wrote this book. Makes me want to write essays about The Work, about carrying a pocket knife, an erstwhile first aid kit, safer sex supplies, and other people’s sweaters in my “mom purse”, about The Couch of Relationship Angst where people come and sit and try to figure out how to navigate relationship styles they haven’t tried before.
Creation: I tried to write a poem the other day. Which was the first poem I’ve tried to write since the end of September. Feeling very… lack-luster(?) on that front. But I’ve been making things in the kitchen, and that feels good.

New Moon – Long Nights Moon Begins (…So Keep on Asking!)

Sick. That’s where I’m at right now. Sick, probably about to start bleeding (if my emotional state is any indication), and feeling like I’m not getting enough done. My head is swirling with all the Things that I need To Do, all the prep for the annual Winter Solstice Partay (baking, cleaning, decorating, making multiple batches of candles), all the knitting (presents for various out-of-town folks), sewing, mending that’s been piling up. I’m dreaming up a massage balm for joint & muscle pain relief (juniper, pine, clary sage, rosemary – a powerful blend when it comes to shooing away nightmares and calming anxiety, too, handy that – maybe why myrrh as a bass note) that should help my wife and, with any luck, a friend in Toronto, too.
I’m (still) really enjoying making multi-purpose goodies. Massage balms that help with body pain, but also do some psych work at the same time, or that have aphrodesiac properties mingled with magical traits that make for joyful romances while calming down any feelings of jealousy or insecurity. Beeswax offering candles scented & charged for a particular purpose. That kind of thing. I gleefully threw some money at the Next World Tarot Deck in order to fund its creation and pre-order my deck (I love my Zen Tarot, but this is also glorious, and I want it to exist. In my house, even. Even if her vision of The Chariot reads like The High Priestess to me).
I feel like crap, to be honest. My voice is a wreck, I can’t breathe through my nose, and I haven’t been able to kiss my wife on the mouth since some time last week (see: sick). On top of that, I wound up crying my eyes out this morning, ostensibly because of a Thing my wife read to me on facebook (about the value of little birds – literally, like budgies and parotlets and such-like – as individuals), but actually because my brain had been running in circles around all the usual things that it runs in circles around (“Does she love me, and actually want to date me, or is she just faking it in order to get free therapy and secretarial services?” and “What if me People only want me around when I’m amiable and able to take care of them, but not when I’m an emotional wreck and need them to take care of me??”) You know. Anything and everything that can boil down to the horrible fear/belief that “They only like you ’cause you give them stuff”.
Come on, brain, you know better than to believe what your 12-year-old brother said, 20 years ago.
Partially because of this crappy mood, and partially because I’m all tarot-excited because of the new deck that will, some day, one day, wing its way to my door, I gave myself a grand cross reading, asking “What do I need?”
Fell out of the deck: 6 of Earth.
This is the “check in” card. It’s a card that says “got your back” and “we rely on each other”. It’s a card about security and interdependence (rather than co-dependence OR “gotta do everything myself ’cause nobody’s gonna take care of me” Independence – which is interesting given both my Querant card and my Overarching Influences cards).
Querant: King of Air.
This is Lord Domly Dom. The feeling that one must, must, must get EVERYTHING Right, that one has to put up an infalible front, even when one has no idea what one is doing.
Situation: Queen of Earth.
I love this card. She’s all about Coming Into Your Own, about being solid (as in certain, but also as in reliable). In this position, she’s all “Honey, everything is fine. I know you’re feeling shaken up right now, but look around you. Stop listening to your Jerk Brain, and remind yourself just how much you actually have. You have a lot.” She is the Mama Self from last New Moon, and I really need to listen to her, especially since my Situational Cross is the 10 of Earth – meaning that, regardless of what my Jerk Brain is telling me, I’ve got a lot of love (and a lot of food, and a lot of cash, and a lot of abundance in general) in my corner – and my Recognizable Influences card is the 9 of Earth: a reminder that what I need is ready and waiting and available, but I’ve got to use my words (and deeds) to access it. (See how that also connects to the Fell Out of the Deck card about needing to check in?)
Hidden Influences: 7 of Major Arcana.
Get up, wake up, it’s time to get moving! This is about maintaining focus in order to achieve your goals, and is a call to be brave, bold, and resolute (even though it’s scary – did I mention that I read Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic a couple of weeks ago? She says “listen to your curiosity, rather than your fear”, and it’s relevant advice in this context). Self-assertion (using your words – oh look), pushing through your walls and working your will.
Past: Page of Earth.
It’s amazing how many Earth cards are in this reading, given that I’m dealing with an emotional, rather than physical, sublect. Amazing, but not actually surprising. My body reacts super phsyically to emotional situations. I burn through calories like an SUV when I’m scared, stressed, panicking, and can’t keep warm no matter how many blankets I heap around me, no matter how hot my skin is to my wife when she curls up with me. Safe, warm, and loved are all the same thing in my body. “Enough” – all that abundance/security stuff that the suit of Earth deals with – means “loved” as well as “fed”. I can give warm-safe-loved-fed to my people really easily, and I get a lot out of it, but it is SO hard to ask for, to say out loud that I need that stuff, too.
I think my Past card is a reference to taking a chance (especially given how afraid I am of screwing it up, now that I’ve put myself out there), and it links up pretty neatly with the “follow your curiosity” stuff attached to my Hidden Influences card.
This brings us to the Future: 8 of Air.
This is the Guilt card (Ha! The “listen to your fears” card, look at that!). The brain weasel card that says simultaneously “I am (need) waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much for anyone to handle” (femme prolems, amirite?) and “I am never, ever, ever going be (good) enough (to be worthy of receiving what I actually need)”. Eugh. In case you were wondering, I’m totally living in those feelings right now Ick. 😦 So I pulled a Clarification Card, and got the 2 of Earth. Which, yeah… The Two cards are all “getting the hang of this” cards. Actively calling up memories of kindness and care and consistency to use as stepping stones through the mess of my nasty neurotic cycles. Remembering how to keep my feet warm from the inside out.
Subjective/Up-Close View: Queen of Fire.
Woohoo! I also love this card. Like the Queen of Earth, she’s a “goal” card for me. She’s “something I would like to be” (as Lenelle Moisse says). I’m surprised to see her in this position, honestly. This slot is often a “how the querant understand the situation” card and, given The Queen of Fire’s assoications with generocity and boldness, I would have expected her to turn up in the Hopes and Fears spot (although that did net me the only other fire card in the reading, so there’s that) rather than this one. That said, when I look her up, she can apparently mean “too demanding”, “pushy”, “lacking confidence” and even “jealous” (Prime poly sin! Bad Girlfriend!) when reversed, which would definitely line up with my Guilt Feelings and my most typical insecurities, even if the card I pulled was upright[1]. So maybe it’s not so shocking that she showed up in this position.
Objective/Take-A-Longer-View: Ace of Earth.
Uh…? Probably has to do with the Two of Earth I pulled on my Future card. Like… maybe I’m just having some growing pains, or something?
Hopes and Fears: Page of Fire.
Regardless of Footnote One[1], in this position, an upright card usually means a Hope, while a reversed card usually means a Fear.
I tend to take this card at its name – Playfulness – and understand it as “don’t take things so seriously” and “actually enjoy your process” (whatever that process/journey/learning-curve is) rather than constantly fearing the “inevitable” screw-up and wrecking what you’ve got like a self-fulfilling prophecy. But… apparently there is more to this card than just that (no duh, Meliad…) Stuff like: access your courage, let yourself try new things (which directly links to my Past card, as it happens) and, tellingly, Master your internal blocks, transformation immanent. Hmm…
Which brings us to the Outcome card: 7 of Water (reversed, so at least this is about Me and My Brain, and not anyone outside of me…).
Augh! WTF??
Yeah. This is an “unfished business” card, but it’s “unfinished” because the querant left it that way. Procrastination, dreaming without action, wanting things but not doing what’s needed to get them. But also: Letting those shitty Jerk Brain voices tell you “how things are” rather than seeing what’s really there.
I pulled a clarification card and got – ACK! – Thunderbolt! Master your internal blocks, Transformation Immanent. I said “This is scary. Can you tell me more?” and pulled another card: Phew! The King of Water. Well, at least that transformation leads somewhere good…
I looked up the 7 of Water to see what else this card might have to say and, unexpectedly, I got messages that linked to my Querant card:

We admire order in all its forms and want everything to be just right. The Seven of Cups provides the balance. […] Is everything too controlled and regular? Perhaps you need to let things fall apart a little. When a rigid system breaks up, there can be a tremendous release of creativity. The man on the Seven of Cups is amazed by all the options he has.


[…The] reversed Seven of Cups can indicate a time when you are finally breaking through a fog of confusion and illusion to focus on your chosen goal. With resolution and purpose, you are now setting your intentions and finding solutions[…]

that second one, I think, maybe, links up my “Moment to Moment” (2 of Earth) clarification card, my “Longer View” (Ace of Earth) and my Hopes (Page of Fire) cards somewhat. Master your mental blocks + one step at a time + even though it hurts to grow… basically.
Eugh. Okay. Fuck. I like that interpretation better than any of the others, so I’m going to go with it and hope I’m not just lying to myself.
Advisor: Page of Water.
Jeebus. You notice all the Page cards in this reading? “Essense of transition”. The Page cards are all about growth and change. (I’m surprised the Wheel of Fortune didn’t show up in my spread, yeek…) The Page of Water (surprise, surprise) can be about vulnerability in relation to (in relating to) others. But it also (a) reflects the Page of Fire’s call for Self-Knowledge with a call for Self-Understanding. Know yourself, but don’t be cruel to yourself, give yourself some compassion at this time. It likewise – like all the Pages, really – calls on the Querant to play, dream, and try new things. Like my Situation and Crossing cards, this one says “Honey, the door is right there. The only thing keeping you in that cage is yourself” and (like my Recognizable Influences card) tells me that I need to use my words and express my Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelings, if I want to get what I need.
Over-Arching Influences: 4 of Earth.
Under-Lying Influences: 4 of Water.

I’m lumping these two together because, holy cats, two Fours?
The Four cards are (a) kind of your first “level up” card in the progression of the minor arcana, but also (b) linked to The Emperor, with self-mastery and breaking your own chains. As “level up” cards, they hook nicely into the three Pages that turned up in my reading, but also as “Emperor” echoes, they both have ties to the repeated call, in this spread, to break through my own bad habits and (mental/emotional) barriers, and stop getting in my own way (a message my cards gave me last New Moon, too).
That’s just taking the “4” part into consideration. The two cards juxtapose with each other in a really interesting way.
The Over-Arching Influences card is “The Miser”, the feeling that the Querant has to “go it alone” or is in a “me against the world, got no back-up” (compare this to the Card that Fell Out of the Deck, why doncha) situation. This is very, very much the feeling I’m dealing with right now. Like “as I’m typing this” right now.
The Under-Lying Influences card – rather than being the 4 of Fire (all call to connect with others) – is the 4 of Water.
The Four of Earth is an easy (and familiar) one for me to interpret. It basically lives in my brain. The Four of Water is more difficult.
In my deck – which is based on Buddhism (and as such tends to glorify detachment, um) – this card is a call to turn inwards and find (maybe fill?) the well of your own strength. It’s a self-reliance card, just like the 4 of Earth, but it’s coming from a space of calm and certainty rather than a place of fear and resentment. In other decks (and other interpretations), it means something much different: A call to count your blessings (as with my Situation and Crossing cards) and be aware of what’s available to you (as with my Advisor card). It can also be an indication that the Querant is sick and tired of the status quo – that it’s time to “get up off the nail”, as Amanda Palmer puts it in The Art of Asking and stop hurting yourself through your own in/actions. Sometimes it even echoes the Four of Earth, alluding to feelings of disillusionment or having been let down (“Nobody cares about me. It’s me against the world”) but… I would like to think that this isn’t what the card means in this spread, in this position, right now.
Given everything else in the reading, I’m inclined to interpret this card as “You need to walk yourself through this, and not let your Jerk Brain be your emotional boss, BUT in order to do that, you can’t just be all “go it alone”/”I don’t need anybody, anyway” (that will totally back-fire). You need to be aware of what’s really going on, what’s around you, WHO is around you to support you, and you need to be willing to do the one-step-at-a-time scary/healing work of asking for what you need, and what you want.”
Even when you think nobody’s available to support you.
Even when you think the people who say they’ve got your back are lying or, at best, offering support without knowing how badly, or how much, you need them (and will therefore disappear as soon you show them the depths of that need / how broken you are /etc).
That was actually a really helpful, articulate reading. Way easier to understand than a lot of readings I’ve done in the past six months.
Long Nights Moon is a time for reflection, and the dark days between the last sliver of a Balsamic waining moon and the first sliver of the New (meaning now) are a seriously good time to seak out, understand, and compost/transform the unhealthy/unhelpful patterns in one’s life.
This New Moon, in particular, is shifting from Sagittarius (with its sometimes-painful honesty and restlesness) into Capricorn: a sign that calls us us to (a) rededicate to the kind of learning/healing/developing that moves in circles and keeps popping up over and over again (you know, those Fucking Opportunities For Growth that we all love so much), but also to (b) “tighten the net” of support we use to hold each other up – meaning support for us as well as others, kids – and even to (c) move towards goals in small, acheivable steps… All of-which are things that the above spread aludes to quite a bit.
This was a good time to do this reading (whether I knew it, or not, when I shuffled those cards). It gave me what I needed, even if I knew parts of it already. (When the tl;dr version is “Honey, you are too insecure. Work on that!”, it can be a bit Thank You, Captain Obvious… But the more in-depth reading was a help. 😉 )
Anythign weighing on your mind right now? Any brutal truths come up in the past lunar cycle that could be explored more fully while the does her Compost Thing and the Long Nights and waxing Moon give us a boost on both getting the the roots of those things and finding ways to make changes in our lives?
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] Although, given that this deck doesn’t do “upright” and “reversed” the way most decks seem to (reversed usually means “going on internally” rather than “involves how you related to the outside world”), so an upright position with painful indications can still happen.

Hearth, Hospitality, and Home

My fingers are ringing with the bright chill of peppermint and rosemary essential oils. There’s lavender mixed in there, too, and white vinegar, and salt. I swear, the idea was just to deoderize (ye gods) a tea towel and some of my dish cloths, but I wound up sloshing the last of it across my steps, pouring out protections just ’cause I can.
That’s the lovely thing about herbal magic. Generally speaking, if it’ll cure a cold or sanitize a diaper, it’ll probably also work in protection magic. That’s how it goes, right? If mint and birch will open up your lungs again, by breathing the steam or drinking the tea, then maybe hanging a bunch of them (to dry, yeah) over your threshold will keep the sickness from your door in the first place. Maybe it’ll keep other bad stuff away, too.
So that – along with putting the coffee on – was what I did before 8am this morning. (I know, I know, a whole heap of you folks have to be at a desk by 8am and were doing this with the sun barely over the horizon, but we run on a slightly different schedule here).
I’m going to spend the day (a) prepping my set list and numbering chapbooks for my show, but also (b) catching up on various house-wifely and kitchen-witchly tasks that have been needing some attention. Stuff like re-stocking my beeswax candle supply (since I’ll be lighting my altars tonight anyway), doing the laundry in the hand-crank machine, feeding & weeding the garden, patching my wife’s skirt, plus the usual daily tasks like dishes (endless dishes…) and dinner.

Maybe it’s because Mercury is (fucking finally) out of Retrograde, and the conversations are flowing more freely again, or maybe it’s because I just read S. Bear Bergman’s Blood, Marriage, Wine, and Glitter, but I’ve been thinking (and talking) a lot about hearth, hospitality, and family of late:
Talking with a friend, as I taught her to spin, about “career housewifery” and how some people are happiest and most fulfilled when their paid work is, at most, part-time and, frequently, piecework or casual hours.
Talking with my mom about both my sister’s new baby and my (and my wife’s) new, recently-relocated girlfriend and realizing that my mom is handling the reality of my polyamoury really quite well.
Understanding, more and more, how much hospitality matters to me, how much it feeds me on an emotional, heart-and-soul level, as well as how much it touches on, and overlaps with, my faith and what, in turn, that means in terms of being welcoming and offering people my spare bed to sleep on, whether or not I necessarily want to hang with them for the next 72 hours, or whatever. All that stuff from The Oddyssey, where you invite someone[1] in, feed them a really good meal, and then get around to “So, who are you, anyway?” that’s really relevant here.
So much of my day-to-day work/Work is… care-taking. The sheer weight of gratitude when my girfriend gets the interview, my friends (plural) come out of their surgeries safely, my brother gets to change streams, my extended fam gets to keep its reunion for another year. That my devotional candles include my gods, my ancestors, and one dedicated to “family and friends” – to my leather/glitter family close and distant. That the garden I plant, that is connected to and is-flat-out my gods (Misha, Mattaer, in particular), that connects me to my farming (and primarily maternal, though paternal too) ancestors, that I harvest with feeding The Multitude in mind, that it was built by that family (the soil, the bedframes, even some of the plants). That the garden I planted for beauty and the bees is made up almost exculsively of plants given to me by glitter-fam, wine-kin, leather-crew.

“Masha, my own, my littlest sister,” the matron called down. “Take this with you.”
She bit off her yarn in her teeth and tossed the red ball to Marya, who caught it and squeezed it like fruit at the market. The yarn was softer than any wool, expertly spun, thick.
“It will always lead you back, to your country, to your home. I make all my children’s stockings with the stuff, so they will know how to come home[…]”
Deathless (Catherynne M. Valente)

A million years ago (AKA 2004), in an entirely different house and an entirely different life, or close to it, I commented to one of my witchy friends who’d come for Summer Solstice (a week after I’d moved in) that my religion is garden-kitchen-table religion. It’s the feasting and the feeding, the communion of wine-and-weeding, weekly brunches in untidy homes because family doesn’t care about the mess; of potluck feasting and gifted jars of fruit-butter; of “I can stretch dinner for an extra person” and “Ye gods, please take this bag of zucchini/rhubarb/mint/tomatoes off my hands”. It’s the holiness, and wholeness, that are passed hand-to-hand along with the gravy, the green beans, the goodie bags. It’s the protections stirred into the soup, spun into the yarn, sewn into the patches. Every stitch to keep you safe and bring you home again.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] And, yes, there’s a bit of a “vetting process” as to whom you invite in. In the case of Ancient Greek Nobility, it was “Does he [always he] own his own his own warship? If yes, clearly he’s The Right Sort.” But it’s just as easily understood as Bear’s “shaking the queer tree” method of couch-surfing and finding couches for others to surf based on having a friend in common, wherein said friend’s existence is a tacit approval of both the person who needs the couch and the person who has one available.

Full Moon – Leaf Moon Crests

Beltane and the full Leaf Moon have happened over the same weekend. We slept with the bedroom window open (a bit) last night, and the furnace is officially off. The garden is planted with red russian kale, various rainbow chards, fava beans, cilantro, and a couple of kinds of peas. It’s warm enough that I’m inclined to push a few squash seeds into the soil and see if they’ll wake up along with everybody else (although I think it would be wise to hold off on that for at least a week, so that the leafy greens and so-on have a head start on the Butternuts and Pumpkins that can, and will, eat every available patch of earth aforded them).
I’m excited about growing my own food, in (hopefully!) actual significant quantities, again! I’m hopeful about being able to can tomatoes and freeze greens from my own garden (as well as from the farmer’s market, but still).
I also (finally, after years of intending to do so) placed an order for half a pig. I opted for half a pig instead of the equivalent in pounds-of-meat (but including beef and chicken as well) because, frankly, it’s about $400 less expensive which, in and of itself, will make doing this again next year a LOT more possible. It still only works out to about 1.5lbs of meat (not including stuff like bones and leaf lard) per week, and I’ll be suplementing that with not-nearly-so-ethical stuff like Traditionally Raised and/or Free From goodies from the grocery store, or definitely ethical stuff like the meat at Seed To Sausage (which is actually a lot more expensive than my half-pig price per pound, but whatever – ther apple-and-sage AND their red-wine-and-garlic sausages are both outstanding, so).
So that’s where things are at on the food front.
The magnolias bloomed on Beltane. I cna’t tell you how happy this makes me. 😉
And both the lilacs and serviceberries are getting ready to go any day now. Apples, I suspect, will take a little bit longer. I have tiny flowers in my front yard (which is shady most of the day, otherwise I might have tulips blooming by now, too) and other bulbs coming up and getting (slowly) ready to bloom. I have PLANS to add morning glories, flax, phlox, columbines, and campanels, and other shade-friendly/tollerant/loving flowers – and a lot of fancy garden soil for top-dressing – to the front yard as well. 🙂 That may be an activity for this afternoon. 😉
I’m looking at attending this event this year. I’m a little nervous, as I’ve never done this kind of a ritual before, but it also sounds pretty far up my alley. It doesn’t quite have copies of my house keys, but it could, if you know what I’m saying. So, provided I can find transportation, I’m going to get myself registered and give this a whirl. O.O
Anyway. There’s bread to make, candles to (finally, eugh) light, seeds to plant, and garden beds to water (although possibly not until after 6pm on that last one – don’t need it all to evaporate on me, right?) so I’m going to skedaddle.
Roll on, Summer! 😀
Melaid the Birch Maiden.