Category Archives: Study

Meeting My Fetch (Is This An After School Special?)

Hey!
So, as I said in an earlier post, I recently designed a guided meditation for myself so that I could go and meet my Fetch in person.
I’m not an initiate into Feri or Reclaiming. But the work of Starhawk, T Thorn Coyle, Lee Harrington, and Gede Parma have all informed my own understanding of ritual and magical work, so Feri and Reclaiming have influenced my own work, albeit in an indirect way. As such, when I talk about Fetch, I’m using the term in roughly the way that it gets used in Feri (and, apparently, Wildwood?) or the way Reclaiming talks about “Child Self”. Sometimes this part of you is also called the “Id” or the “Unconscious”, just to throw some psych 101 terms into the mix.
 
Essentially, Fetch is your animal self, your little-kid self, the part of your soul-makeup that’s most intimately connected with being a body – so all the stuff that relates to food, touch, sleep, sex, movement, work (as in: force times distance equals), pain, rest, pleasure, and play.
Fetch is your skin hunger, your belly-hunger, and your tongue hunger. They’re the part of you that wants, that needs, that desires, that demands… and also the part of you where a lot of the rejected parts of yourself kind of get shoved in order to push them out of the way (so… Fetch may have a lot of your Shadow Stuff kind of clogging up their system, and may be lonely or self-protective when you first meet them – just a heads-up, your Fetch and my Fetch aren’t going to be the same people, so yours may also be super keen to drag you on adventures despite it being a school night. YMMV).
Fetch is also not likely to use words.
This is relevant, especially if you’re like, y’know, me and are All About The Feelings, but also are all about putting words around your emotions to explain and understand them. (This is why I find tarot so helpful, because it lets my chatty, explainy, words-using self and my non-verbal, images and sensory experiences self communicate with each other in ways they can both understand. Looking for visual omens and learning how to interpret the emotional stuff behind physical sensations (think: somatic experiencing) in your own body can do this, too.
 
Anyway.
Meeting Fetch!
 
All of my internal-astral wanderings start out by taking the rainbow staircase (or sometimes elevator) downwards. It’s a technique I was introduced to… 15 or so years ago? And at this point it’s a really effective visual/mental cue that “We’re Visiting The Interior Now”.
I followed my own directions and eventually came to the location where I was expecting to meet my Fetch.
It wasn’t the night club I’d been expecting to find.
Instead, it was a high school gym with most of the lights out.
There was 100% something big, mammalian, and predatory just sort of… hanging out around the edges. I never really saw it, but I got the impression of lion/tiger paws and some kind of tusks. Which… Is fine. I was actually expecting that bit.
What I wasn’t expecting was to see my 13-year-old self, even skinnier and taller (6’8”, at a guess) than I was at that actual age, wearing my/her dad’s basketball uniform and shooting baskets.
She also had tusks. Which… is not shocking.
A long time ago, I went on an astral bus trip, if you will, and got to have a look at who-all my talking self was sharing space with, and there was somebody on there with boar tusks or ram/bull horns or something. I think that maybe that kind of hazy somebody, in their soft-butch tank top and jeans, may have been a related aspect of this big wee girl I’ve met in the gym.
But the part where my Fetch is a tomboy and a tiny bit of a jock? That’s unexpected.
Maybe it shouldn’t be.
But here we are.
 
It felt like it took a long time for her to turn around and look at me.
I got a general impression of flinching, which is kind of heart-breaking.
We spent a lot of time sitting on the bleachers. She tucked her head into the crook of my neck, and one of her tusks kind of poked me, and she freaked out a little when I tried to adjust things which…
How do I talk to a teenager who is scared I’m going to leave again? Especially one who doesn’t really do words?
So we sat in the dark and I held onto her, this big little girl who is teenager me, with all the emotional bruises of grades 5-8 riding on her shoulders.
The second part of the meditation… didn’t exactly happen?
She pressed something into my hands, but I don’t really know what it was. Something robins-egg blue or powder blue, and boxy. Like a cross between a little transistor radio and a really clunky games console?
Anyway. I think she might be saying “Play with me”?
So I need to go back and play with her.
 
One thing that I really, really noticed was that I could feel her in my thighs. That meeting her made my legs burn like I’d just hiked up five or six flights of stairs, or a very long, very steep hill. This was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, I tend to read Butches as carrying their energy in their thighs – in much the same way as I tend to read Femmes as carrying our energy strung across our shoulders and collarbones – so this physical feeling was part of my interpretation of my Fetch as being… call it “more masculine than the rest of me”, if you want to start there. The other reason it was interesting is because I associate that feeling with running. With the way I feel after having to sprint for a bus. I got the impression that she’d been running, or had been poised to run away, for a very long time.
I kind of hope I can get us to a point where that feeling – of big, powerful muscles that have been working hard – is associated with “We sure DID dance until midnight / hang upside down in an aerials class / play HORSE all afternoon / take a gorgeous walk through the arboretum for a couple of hours” rather than with something that feels like fear and flight.
 
Anyway. That was how meeting my Fetch went.
If any of you reading this want to talk about meeting your own Fetches, please feel free to tell me all about them in the comments.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Meltwater Moon Crests

The snow is melting. Hurrah!
The streets are NOT a mess of slush, thank all the gods, and the sidewalks are almost all clear. Which is fantastic.
Like a LOT of people, we’re practicing as much social isolation as we can in the interests of slowing down the spread of that covid virus that’s going around – though, as self-employed people, it’s not like we have paid time off.
So basically we’re avoiding leaving the house for reasons other than work. I’m checking in with my various modelling clients about whether or not their classes are still running, and I’m glad that at least some of my work is already done remotely, because that will help in the event of, say, any of the local art schools just shutting down for the time being.
On the plus side, we’ve got considerably more than two weeks of food stored up, and were already limiting grocery trips and combining errands so’s as to not have to leave the house more often than necessary.
 
One thing that’s come up since starting my Eat From The Larder Challenge Austerity is that my lovely wife may, in fact, be gluten-intollerant.
So the miraculous discovery of an extra bag of short pasta, the 5kg of all purpose flour, the large amounts of pearl AND pot barley, oat groats, and couscous, as well as the small amounts of rye flour, oat flour, and barley flour that I have on hand?
Are now out of the running.
It’s not that I can’t use them. But I can’t use them to make food for more than just myself.
So.
What do I have?
 

Potatoes (2-3, so very, very few)
+
Wild rice (moderate amount)
Amaranth (moderate to large amount)
Quinoa (small amount)
Rice (small amount)
Millet (very small amount, also I don’t really like eating it)
+
Corn meal (moderate amount)
Corn flour (small to moderate amount)
Buckwheat flour (small amount)
Corn starch (small amount)
Romano bean flour (small amount)
Tapioca flour (very small amount)
Arrowroot flour (very small amount)

 
I can make this work.
I’d be happier if I had a LOT more buckwheat flour and ANY amaranth flour lying around. But I can work with this. Quick breads that get their leavening from baking soda or baking powder are a thing. I can use pre-soaked green lentils & yellow split, frozen (pre-cooked) chick peas, and tinned kidney beans as a “starch” – which is to say “as a filler” to bulk up dishes where I would normally use bread – such as a clafoutis, which is basically quiche but you mix 1/4C corn starch and 1/4C romano bean flour into the eggs-and-milk rather than having a pie crust. It’s delicious, but it’s a LOT less filling than a bread pudding.
I may see if I can trade some of my all-purpose flour for some long-grain rice, and some more of it for some quinoa or kasha.
 
I confess, I am looking into sour-dough-esque recipes that rely on fermented buckwheat and/or eggs for a lot of their leavening power. But, as my flour is currently really limited, I’m a little nervous to try any of them.
The good thing about sourdough breads is that whatever starter you end up with is going to be enlivened by bacteria that will happily eat whatever flour you feed it with.
The bad thing is that fluffy loaves of bread rely on the stretchy protein of gluten to create those nice, well-aerated crumbs… and there’s no gluten in these, so… I’m not sure how (if) this is going to work.
All-of-which is to say that, for now, I will PROBABLY be relying on stuff like basic corn bread (which uses baking soda and sour milk for the leavening agents), cornflour “tortillas”, and savoury buckwheat crepes instead of trying to do a proper leavened bread during this Austerity.
 
In more explicitly magic-related news, I designed a guided meditation (which I’ll be putting in An Actual Book) so that I could meet my own Fetch, and I tried out the first part of it last night.
(I think the second part also… tried to happen… but it was fast and I might need to go back and try it again).
I’m going to do a separate post about my first – but possibly NOT first? – time meeting Fetch in person. But just to throw a little preliminary information out here:
The word “Fetch” gets used in a couple of different ways, magically-speaking. One way it gets used is to describe a part of yourself – or, in some circles, a separate entity – who can leave your body and bring things back to you. The other way is the way this term gets used in Feri, for example, where it kind of corresponds to what gets called “Child Self” in Reclaiming. I’m under the impression that the two definitions are not entirely mutually exclusive but, when I talk about Fetch, I’m talking about the second definition.
BUT. More on Fetch elsewhere.
 
The course I was taking with Ms Sugar has wrapped up (for this iteration – iirc she’ll be running it again), though the work I started there-in is definitely still on-going and will likely STAY on-going until at least early June.
I had a job interview this morning – which… I have NO IDEA how it went, but please think good thoughts for me, if you’re reading this? I’d really appreciate it.
I kinda-sorta started writing a book, too. Which is equal parts exciting and terrifying, and equal parts “Yes! This is where I should put (some of) my energy right now!” and “Are… are you sure about that? What about your poetry manuscript?” (don’t worry, I’m still working on that one, too – and have been able to get out to a couple of poetry workshops in the last two weeks, so that feels good).
 
I pulled two cards for my Tarot Card Meditation this time around.
The first – which has turned up more than once this week – was the Ten of Fire.
The second was History (one of the Weird Bonus Cards in the Silicon Dawn deck).
I’m used to the Ten of Fire being a caution against exhaustion or a statement about being overwhelmed or having too much on your to-do list. Which is… relatable at this time. In this deck, though, it’s more of a warning against over-consumption and a reminder that “looking out ONLY for Number One” is a bad road to go down. More broadly, it’s a card about… being mindful of what is and isn’t your responsibility (or privilege) to take on, asking for help and/or say “No” when things are too much to handle on your own, and following through on your commitments (“You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it”).
History – according to Egypt Urnash’s little interpretations book – is about the stories we tell to ourselves about ourselves and our situations. It’s cosmology and it’s shadow work. It’s about how we can tie ourselves up with “I Can’t Do XYZ”. It’s a relevant card, given what I’m digging into right now, particularly since I drew it Reversed (Meaning: Having to do with my relationship with myself). I think, in combination with the Ten of Fire, it’s a reminder to pay attention to what is and isn’t mine to carry, about following through on what IS – and putting down, or handing off, what isn’t – my responsibility, specifically in terms of stories I may have told myself (over and over and over again) about what I have to be – need-less? help-less? – in order to keep myself safe in some way.
Definitely worth chewing on some more.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Not a whole heck of a lot. I’m reliably doing my Moon Salutations, which is a good thing, but I’ve been busing to a lot of gigs, and I’m avoiding leaving the house when possible, so there’s been less body activity going on than usual.
 
Attention: Listening to my body. Keeping track of how much rest I need vs how much I’m getting, and watching my symptoms (vaguely sore throat since Saturday night, runny nose, generalized tiredness, etc – which are leading me to think this is probably my usual “the snow is melting and there’s just a lot more crud exposed to the air” annual springtime cold, but still). Trying to catch my Stories earlier and earlier rather than getting sucked into them (this is really difficult, which I realize is no surprise to anybody). Watching my writing for continuity and flow and hoping that I’m managing to make sense. Looking and listening for omens and signs that the magical stuff I’ve been doing is getting things rolling in ways that I want them to go (and sometimes in ways that I’m… not thrilled about, but here we are).
 
Gratitude: Thankful for a wife who loves me. For a girlfriend who is patient and understands how much stuff is up in the air right now (the landlord sold our house, new owner – who is a developer – takes possession in May, and we’re going to have to find a new, and almost definitely much more expensive, place to live, sooner rather than later) and that this is going to effect whether or not I can come and visit her any time soon. Grateful for skype dates and weekends doing easy stuff together. Grateful for my cooking skills, my wonderously (still) full freezers and pantry, which are making things so much easier right now. Grateful, too, for friends who have taken me out for lunch, passed along job opportunities, and generally taken care of me. Thankful for a resilient immune system and for having a lot of essential oils on hand. Thankful for sunshine and above-zero temperatures. Thankful for a job interview today. Thankful for a metamour who’s looking out for us self-employed-no-benefits types over here. Thankful – believe it or not – for a GodSelf who will periodically push me off a cliff just to remind me that trust-falling does, in fact, require FALLING (or at least leaping). Grateful for a Fetch who was willing to try trusting me, just for a little bit. Grateful for milk and eggs and a little bit of butter. Grateful for a miracle tin of parmasan cheese (my years of non-parishable food-hoarding tendencies are paying off, I see). Grateful for my library card. Grateful for my income quilt. Grateful for a book idea that’s structured enough I can actually follow through on it. Grateful.
 
Inspiration: Chakra work, the Iron Pentacle and Triple Soul concepts of/from Feri, various Major Arcana cards, my own history and experiences, the food I have available to work with.
 
Creation: I’ve written a couple of poems, edited a couple more, and have started writing a book, which involves also writing guided meditations, ritual outlines, and a certain amount of suggestions for creative altar-building. Also, coming up with tasty, filling, nutritious meals based on what’s available in the pantry and freezer is… feeling (slightly) less like a Terrible Idea, and (slightly) more like a creative challenge at this point – roughly a month after I started. We’ll see how I feel in another three weeks, let along another six, but so far, so good.

New Moon – Meltwater Moon Begins (#PiscesNewMoon)

Whelp. It’s almost the end of February, it was 11C on Monday (wtf…), we’re due to get snow, freezing rain AND a sudden return to very sub-zero temperatures in the next 48 hours, and Mercury is backstroking through Pisces as I type.
 
I keep getting the suspicion that planetary retrogrades can function a lot like reversed cards in tarot readings. By-which I mean that rather than (or in addition to) being about the “disfunctional” or “negative” or just “difficult” aspects of a thing, reversed/retrograde can point you in a particular direction.
I tend to read upright cards as “this is about the relationship you have with the outside world” and reversed cards as “this is about the relationship you have with yourself”.
And planetary retrogrades can be an opportunity to ask a similar question.
In the case of Mercury – planet of communication and, mythologically speaking, messenger between the various worlds – this retrograde is an opportunity for me to ask myself “What stories am I telling myself? Where I am lying to myself? Where – as Liz Worth suggests – are my actions, commitments, and habits NOT syncing up with the true nature of my most integrated self?
Which is to say, it’s a good time for Shadow Work.
 
So I’m doing some Shadow Work!
Trying to triangulate between (assumptions I make about the nature of) other people’s Stories so that I can uncover some more of my own.
If any of you have ever read Starhawk’s Truth or Dare – and it has a been a looooong time since I read it – you may remember her concept of The Unbreakable Vow. The terrible bargain we strike with ourselves – and, according to our imaginations, with someone else who generally has no idea we’re doing this but upon-whom we are dependent for life-and-death because: attachment bonds – to give up something, or take on something, in order to maintain access to love-and-belonging and therefore to survival.
 
A lot of my stories – a LOT of my stories – are about dropping everything to take care of other people (Who will SURELY reject/abandon me and Leave Me To Die, Frozen and Alone in the Snow if I fail to do this). BUT… I think there’s a flip-side to it. Something that dovetails with my expectations around “Being taken advantage of” or “being used” but isn’t that.
I told myself a story about my mom. About what I suspect her own Story is. That if someone has to be Helpful in order to be Good AKA Safe-and-Loved (which is definitely one of MY stories, too), then on some level that person needs others – attachment-bound others – to be help-LESS.
And so I asked myself if it was possible that I have made some kind of a deal With Myself, the aforementioned Unbreakable Vow, that says:
In order for ME to be safe – to be loved by my mom, instead of punished by her; to be rewarded by an employer instead of punished by them (or fired or whatever); stuff like that – I must remain on some level both compliant (accepting of someone else’s controlling behavior, direction, demands/requests, etc) AND… kind of… at the mercy of the other party in some way that involves “not being able to succeed by myself”.
Like I think there’s another angle to the “giving up my autonomy” thing that shows up under the heading of Compliance, and I’m wondering if this is it.
So that’s something I’m chewing on right now.
 
I’m reading The Secret of the Shadow which… has both useful information (albeit sometimes hard to parse, particularly when navigating the amount of ableism, fatphobia, whorephobia, and other crap that this book is definitely written with – reader beware) AND has… a lot of stuff that feels like work I’ve already done. Which isn’t to say it’s not work I still need to keep doing – when I’m feeling resentful and frustrated about cleaning my house and telling myself “I can’t do XYZ because someone else hasn’t done QRV yet” I need to catch what I’m doing and say “Okay, but is this really about “can’t” or is this about “annoyed because I have do to QRV as well as XYZ”? Like can you actually, in reality, do the thing, and you’re just pissed off?” Because frequently the answer is Yes.
But it’s not a new concept, if you will.
 
I have to tell you: Shadow Work is hard because It’s Annoying. It’s hard to do by yourself without someone to be like “Have you considered this other angle that is NOT just digging down into stuff you already know?” because it’s harder to catch that when it’s YOU doing it. It’s a bit of a slog – and maybe a LOT of a slog – because it’s hard (for me, at least) to tell when I’m making progress vs when I’m kind of maybe going backwards?
But I’m noticing that my throat chakra talks to me when I’m in my shadow-place.
Situations where I have a heap of shame – like Eight of Swords stuff – or am freaking out about a Thing that’s (probably) connected to my Shadow Beliefs (like a few days ago when I was in a work situation where my brain was screaming “No! Don’t tell Them that I don’t Need them! They’ll punish/abandon me!” about a third-party communication and my larynx swelled right the heck up immediately.
It didn’t calm down until that night, when I did my Moon Salutations while singing and consciously using good vocal technique to do so.
 
I think it’s interesting that I have some sort of built in “shut-up-shut-up-shut-up” THING going on that’s so physical and, in retrospect, so recognizable.
I think it’s interesting that my own body has these ways of talking to the words-using part of my brain, and I’m really glad that I’m starting to understand what I’m saying to myself, and under-which circumstances I find myself saying which things. Learning how to recognize where my fears are flaring up, learning how to Not Hide while that’s happening… it’s A Process, I tell you, but it feels good to be doing.
 
In other news, and for the first time in any sort of official capacity, I’m undertaking an Austerity.
This is a thing that comes up in Ms Sugar’s writing with a fair degree of frequency, and which I consistently dislike. But I’m giving it a shot right now because… why the hell not, basically. There are things I need to do anyway, so why not do them with some magical Intention behind them.
My annual Eat From the Larder Challenge has started early this year, and will be running for about ten weeks rather than about four. It is, as usual, somewhat modified. I can restock on food – milk, eggs, coffee, a few other things – that we go through frequently (in part because this is a LONG version of what I’m used to, and in part because this is MY Austerity, not my wife’s), but only if I pay cash, and there’s a limit to how much I can spend in a given week.
It’s a sacrifice of time and energy and easiness, basically, as coming up with tasty dinners and speedy lunches when I can’t decide to Just Buy Something is… tiring, to say the least.
 
I have bread rising right now. I’ll be making another batch of Hippie Muffins (think: lots of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds plus fruit butter standing in for the majority of the sweetener) later today. I need to put a bowl of chick peas on to soak, and another one of green lentils. I may or may not set up some mung beans to sprout while I’m at it.
I have plans for a lentils-and-kale soup with dried tomatoes and spicy sausages thrown in for this evening (with home-made bread) and for a zucchini-and-tomato bread pudding for tomorrow night. Pan-fried fish with rice (or maybe quinoa) and frozen veggies on Friday.
Which all sounds great (and will be).
AND
I’ve been grateful that my wife has had more than her usual number of evenings out with partners since I started this thing just over ten days ago because it’s meant that I could content myself with tea and toast and/or tinned herring “snacks” (which, ha, I am entirely out of now, and which I’ll likely be kicking myself about for the next eight weeks) rather than having to think of Actual Meals after a day of work. Because – thankfully – I’ve also been getting a fair amount of work (and also a fair amount of social events) in the past two weeks that have had me away from the house, and/or working on paid stuff instead of household stuff (like keeping the kitchen clean-and-functional or taking stock of what I have in the pantry and the freezer to work with), and… I’m getting to the point where that’s not so much of an option anymore.
I can still make tuna sandwiches, provided I’ve made bread recently, but I don’t have a LOT of tinned tuna left, which means making hummus – possibly with some frozen mashed pumpkin thrown in – from scratch so that I can make hummus-and-sour-kraut sandwiches as an alternative to tuna. It means making tasty, protein-heavy muffins from scratch AND watching how much flour I have available. It means recognizing that I have two one-person servings of (different kinds of) noodles left, and considering how many varied dishes I can make with rice, barley, and quinoa.
 
Part of me – the part that wants to cook with butter rather than oil+salt, the part that wants to have a gallon of milk in the fridge AND a pound of butter AND rotini within easy reach AND wine on the table (and, okay, the altar) this Friday – is annoyed with myself for creating “artificial scarcity” in my home, in the name of creating more abundance in the long-run. The rest of me… The rest of me is noticing how readily the paid work is coming in, including bookings from unexpected places, and is taking this as a good omen that suggests my sacrifice is being accepted. And that part wants to see how this all works out.
So we’ll see how it goes.
 
~*~
 

Silicon Dawn - Fortitude (8 of Major Arcana) - A six-armed babe in a body-suit, a striped corset, and a collar chooses to act as a pillar, holding up the ceiling at a kink party.

Silicon Dawn – Fortitude (8 of Major Arcana) – A six-armed babe in a body-suit, a striped corset, and a collar chooses to act as a pillar, holding up the ceiling at a kink party.


 
The card I pulled – from my Silicon Dawn deck – as my tarot card meditation for this waxing moon, is Fortitude. The Strength card.
Strength is my birth card, so it’s always a little bit significant when it pops into my hands at a random cutting of the deck.
In the Osho Zen deck, Strength shows up as the Courage to push through the hard thing and bloom. In the Next World deck, it’s about “accessing your higher self through compassion and listening”. Which are both relevant to my current endeavors.
In the Silicon Dawn deck, it’s also a card that talks about choosing to take on a burden or a difficult thing.
During a period when I’m both choosing to take on the extra work of this Austerity AND digging into the Shadow Beliefs that (in my particular case) have me choosing, on some level, to remain in some specific kinds of bondage? I’d call that relevant to my interests.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Yoga almost (almost) every day. Go me. Six hours of modelling work, yesterday, that involved pushing some limits and discovering that my body is stronger and more flexible than it was the last time I tried poses like that. (Oh, hey! Take note, self! Sometimes you outgrow your own limits without noticing and you don’t find out you’re capable of more until you try! It’s A Sign!) Walking my errands and commutes – although I have taken the bus home from work a few times in the past week, which I think was the right decision. Chipping and chiselling the ice dams away from my steps – we’re going to get a big dump of snow and/or freezing rain in the next few days, but I wanted to use the (unusually) warm weather to help make the impending shoveling easier for myself.
 
Attention: Listening to my body/chakras when it/they/I talk to my word-using brain. Striving to notice when I’m Up In My Narratives so that I can step outside outside of them, little by little, more easily and readily. Also taking note of what I do and don’t have in my pantry to put towards tasty meals. Also keeping track of which Tiny Magical Workings I’m remembering to do / making a point of keeping my commitments to, and which ones get pushed to the side on any given day (and trying not to beat myself up about that, in the noticing, because I built redundancies into this stuff for a reason).
 
Gratitude: For work that pays in cash. For modelling jobs. For a free poetry workshop and an opportunity to perform (open mic) that I actually took instead of bailing (Good Job, Me). For tinned soup and tinned fish and pumpkin-and-sunflower seeds that I can use to make quick, snack-like meals to keep me going when I’m tired, distracted, or prioritizing something else (whether or not that’s a good idea). Grateful for a wife who thinks I’m gorgeous and awesome. Grateful for a girlfriend who listens to me talking about my Shadow Stuff and tells me the Divine things she can see underlying them. Grateful for this blessed day off, almost entirely free of paid-work-commitments, so I can focus on home-work and homework, on writing and self-work and the magic of making food. Grateful for a body that talks to me and and brain that is starting to understand my physical language.
 
Inspiration: The specifics of everyday life, as used pretty directly during last night’s poetry workshop. Tarot Cards (because: always, apparently). My fellow poets and fellow witches. My sweethearts, working hard at what they do.
 
Creation: Three new poems! A bunch of (currently untested, but go with it) non-boozy cocktail recipes. The beginnings of (a) a new porn story, and (b) a possible memoire-related book outline? We’ll see where these ones go.

New Moon – Rampion Moon Begins (Cancer Season, Partial Solar Eclipse)

Creeping Bellflower Super invasive BUT the roots are edible and (in theory) taste like parsnip. This is the Rampion from Rapunzel's story. Photo is from Ruth's Tree Farm.

Creeping Bellflower
Super invasive BUT the roots are edible and (in theory) taste like parsnip.
This is the Rampion from Rapunzel’s story.
Photo is from Ruth’s Tree Farm.


 
We’ve had almost no rain for a month.
My front yard, with its pink bee balm, purple bellflower, and orange day lilies, is crispy as fuck because I barely water it.
My back yard is doing better, because there’s a hose back there. But we’re not doing super well on the food-production front.
I think I’ll be digging up some of those bell flowers – along with the various sunchokes/as’kebwan’ that Danger Squirrel et familia have re-planted in my raised beds, which I suspect I’ll just ferment from the get-go in multiple jars – to help us save on groceries, because my zucchini and cukes are not really producing (or, if they are, they’re being eaten by the squirrels).
In theory, my potatoes (yukon gold) are getting close to harvest-ready, though I’ll probably let them get a bit bigger, if I can swing it. I’m not sure how to cure potatoes, so I’ll have to look that up.
The fava beans that I grew entirely as a nitrogen-fixing crop are producing beans, so I can harvest those as well, and we can have fava beans on toast or something.
Basically, Ontario’s Yummy Season has arrived. And also my garden isn’t doing a whole lot, beyond giving us some amazing herbs and trying not to die in what I’m pretty sure is actually a drought.
 
This is where I really, REALLY notice the difference between the perennial plants and the annuals. The perennials – even the crispy-fried flowers out front – are still actually growing, getting bigger, managing to do more than survive out here. The annuals, on the other hands, are straight-up suffering, and they’re getting watered once, usually twice, a day (in the cool of the morning, and again at twilight).
It’s also dawning on me just WHY my neighbour, who gardens very intensively and very successfully (I am in awe of her, tbh), brings in 20+ bags of top soil and manure compost every year.
 
I’m well aware that my soil is very depleted and, while I did top it up with some manure compost early in the growing season (which helped significantly), it’s not helping enough. My compost heap, itself, is cooking along quite nicely (and is now receiving human hair and toilet paper tubes along with the more typical kitchen waste, because I’d rather feed the ground that’s feeding me than send this stuff to a landfill or even a recycling depot), but it’s not enough to feed the whole garden. Not as it stands right now.
 
Our garden has mostly given us leafy greens, so far. And many of those have been “weed” greens – dandelion, crow garlic, sow thistle, purslane, lambs’ quarters, and other related plants. This is fine – I let those plants go to seed in our yard on purpose, because they are food plants – but the goal remains to get enough cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and winter squash (along with, maybe, some root crops) from our garden to not have to buy groceries as much as we currently do. And, frankly, we are not making enough big, healthy leafy greens to freeze for winter alongside what we eat day to day with our meals.
 
You can take a look at this post for a run-down of the various mostly-fermentation-related kitchen things I’ve been up to. I’d originally planned on walking through all of them here, but it was eating a LOT of space, so I made them their own post.
 
I recently spent a lovely evening out with a friend in Gatineau Park, nattering about all sorts of things, and I wound up lending her Starhawk’s Earth Path and chatting with her about earth based spirituality stuff, and I’m excited for that kind of shop-talk to continue.
I like shop-talk about religious stuff. Especially with other people who tend to be a bit DIY about it. I love chatting about land-connection and animism – figuring out How To Animism, when you were raised in a religion that didn’t have a lot of immanence going on; figuring out how to navigate recognizing the personhood of your food, or the made objects around your house; figuring out how to recognize the overlapping physical and not-so-physical worlds without (a) totally reinventing the wheel, OR (b) appropriating practices from cultures whose traditional animism is considerably more recently-interrupted (or uninterrupted) than your own. All that stuff.
So it was nice to get to do with someone in person. 🙂
 
Tarot Card Meditation:
It’s Cancer Season, as-you-know-bob, and there was a partial solar eclipse yesterday evening. I have to tell you, we’ve been having a stressful couple of weeks here at House Of Goat, and I was a little nervous about what I was going to pull for my meditation card today.
 
Tarot of the Silicon Dawn Egypt Urnash Maya (Card 8.5) An intersex babe having some fun D/s sexytimes with her two lovers/submissives. My kind of card.

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn
Egypt Urnash
Maya (Card 8.5)
An intersex babe having some fun D/s sexytimes with her two lovers/submissives.
My kind of card.


 
So it was kind of fantastic to have this card literally leap out of the deck for me.
Maya is card eight-and-a-half, one of the Silicon Dawn’s bonus/weirdo cards. Egypt’s write-up says that this card is the “bastard child of The Devil and the High Priestess”. All the things you’re afraid to meet in the underworld (or your own unconscious mind). All the things you want but aren’t supposed to. What are you trying to tell yourself? What would be fulfilling, pleasurable, connecting right now?
I seriously feel like this was basically “Oh my gawd! Don’t be so gloomy all the time! It’s the weekend! It’s summer! You’re going on a road trip and know how to make your own booze! Have a fucking party for once!”
 
This message dovetails pretty nicely with Chani’s horoscope for Scorpio right now, with its reminder to choose that which stirs my soul, lifts my spirits, and gives me a reason to keep pushing through the hard parts.
And they – Chani and Maya, both – are right. Freaking out isn’t going to solve any problems. And I am going on a road trip (or, well, a day-trip, but still). Heart palpitations about money, and emails to send to the minister of education, will still be there on Monday. I get to have fun, spend some time with my wife, visit my friends and my in-town-for-48-hours brother, eat ice cream and drink home-made wine.
Let this weekend be something beautiful, restorative, and good.
Thanks, tarot cards. ❤
 
~*~
 
Movement: Lots of walking, and a small amount of yard-work in someone else’s yard, but that’s about it.
 
Attention: I have to admit, a LOT of my attention is on the sky right now. Will it rain? At last? Will it not? :-\ Fingers crossed!
 
Gratitude: Grateful for reprieves. For a break in the heat (a bit). For the hope of rain, even if it hasn’t fallen yet. For friends who send money, treat us to meals out, drop off spare food, pass on hand-me-downs and boots-to-good-homes, or otherwise help us make ends meet, and make life feel like it can still be something more than austerity-all-the-time, when things are hard. For friends who listen and help us keep some focus when we’re freaking out, too. Grateful for pink and purple and blue and orange and yellow flowers. For bumble bees in the morning sun. For coffee with my wife on the steps. For a borrowed car and the chance to get out of the city for a day. For summer warmth and sunshine. For new library books. For reminders to pay attention to the pleasurable, the holy, and the joyful.
 
Inspiration: Resilient weedy greens. Flowers that bloom despite the sun that’s kind of frying them to a crisp. (I know. They’re blooming all the harder for it, and I know why. Don’t spoil my happy though, ‘kay?) Also finding inspiration on other people’s blogs, folks who are canning, fermenting, making salsa and wine out of excess rhubarb, or dying fibre using red cabbage, onion skins, hibiscus flowers, and the soaking water from black beans… and also using koolade and vinegar, because that works, too.
 
Creation: A little bit of knitting. Some clothing repairs. Writing a few thousand words on my “spite fic” of an attempt at a YA novel. A couple of new poems. Nothing huge, but things are in the works. 😉

New Moon (in Scorpio!) – Long Nights Moon Begins

Hey, kittens!
I technically started writing this during the “dark moon” (also in Scorpio) which is a good time to Release Old Habits/Patterns and otherwise let things go that aren’t meant to be or that aren’t serving or helping you to be your best, most you-like self. Which, if you go by the New Moon in Scorpio and #scorpionewmoon searches on twitter, is basically what New Moon (or anything at all, ever) in Scorpio is about anyway. So it works.
At least in theory.
 
How is it working out in practice?
Uh…
>.>
 
Yeah. So here’s a thing. Way early on in Scorpio Season, I said I thought that maybe, possibly, the secret truth that this season was starting to hit me with might actually have been a positive one.
I hope that I’m not just kidding myself about that.
I mean, I keep seeing all this stuff about getting grounded in your body and moving forward from that grounded place, choosing to choose your own growth and unlearning old, no-longer effective, pain responses, shedding our skin and stepping into new potential (PS, there’s a salt-scrub ritual cleansing at that link, glamour-babes), building new worldviews and letting the old ones go, that maybe what we thought was truth was really just assumption (and that link has lists of herbs, stones, and oils that are good to work with at this time, fyi). So, yeah. Maybe the Thing I need to Release and Let Go is the latest layer of “you are unlovable” garbage that’s clogging up my system.
Can’t hurt to try, right?
Right.
 
Which brings me to… look. I see all these folks (primarily on twitter…) doing lunar-phase-based healing rituals (like this series), tarot card meditations, and pretty actively working to rewire their own brains through the kind of witchy channels that let us tell more complex and fluid stories about ourselves than the ones we were handed when we were born.
And I love it.
And I do it… a little bit.
But not in a super regimented or consistent way. I think the closest I’ve got to that was doing my Queen Of Cups project, which included choosing a tarot card for each prompt that I did.
So. I guess I’m wondering: How does one do a meditation? Is it just “Oh, hey, I’m going to think about stuff on a theme?” or is there significantly more to it than that? I guess I’m sort of, like, can I use tarot meditations as a way of doing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and rewiring the pathways in my brain so that I’m better able to recognize my own worthiness, develop better shame-resilience, and from there, become better able to open myself up to good things in my life. (The gratitude section of the MAGIC thing I do at the end of these lunar cycles posts is part of this, btw).
 
On a related note: As-you-know-bob, I’ve been working through Miss Sugar’s Glamour Magic book and… I have no idea if this stuff is working or not?
People are definitely randomly giving me things (like, yesterday, I was gifted four purses and a mug), and I have my suspicions that they are some variation on the theme of Queer – possibly also Invisible Queer, which may be relevant? Or not?
Occasional people are asking to deepen their relationships with me – though this is more “hey, let’s talk shop and get to know each other, near-stranger” rather than “hey, let’s talk shop and ‘get to know each other’ if-you-know-what-I-mean, already-a-friend”.
But I have no idea if I’m getting queer-spotted more frequently, if I’m getting anything like the Family Discount… none of that stuff.
One… interesting… thing that happened was, on a day when I was storming home, utterly furious and very focused about A Thing, a random lady outside the (big, gay) coffee shop told me “you look nice”.
I… don’t know what to make of that.
I mean, I’m fairly confident that she didn’t mean “nice” like “You’re a really sweet person” (which is the impression I’ve consistently made on at least one other person, and which I admit I’ve been cultivating for some time) but… “nice”? I was in full-on Scorpio Vengeance Mode.
…This is that “black swan, let your power show” business, isn’t it?

 
Anyway. I have (alas) a kitchen to clean and (hurrah) hummus and other goodies to make before I head out dancing tonight, so off I go. 🙂
 
~*~
 
Movement: Going dancing this evening! 😀 😀 😀 Hauled 16lbs of groceries home on one shoulder today and probably could have managed another four pounds before things started getting unweildy. (Should have brought a second bag for balance – which would have allowed me to choose the 10lb bag of carrots, oh well – but still!)
 
Attention: The calling of crows. The state of the veggies in my fridge. Whether or not there’s ice on the sidewalks in the mornings. Whether or not there are jobs I can apply for at places I actually want to work (Hint: Yes. Need to get my latest application in). Places and situations where My Stuff is getting in the way or being Part Of The Problem.
 
Gratitude: A hella-full pantry with enough food to share, and enough food to last. Friends who give me presents, bring over apple pie, reality check me, and otherwise make me feel seen and looked after. A wife who misses me. Early-morning cuddles. Time to knit and catch-up with friends. Novels I can re-read again and again. Candle light. The impending visit of my queer aunties + my cousin for the weekend. Hot, running water right out of the tap. Apple pie. Baby queers, and getting to watch them grow into their brilliant selves. ❤
 
Inspiration: Astrology. For real. I’m trying to write poems that touch on what different astrological events (like New Moon in Scorpio) and identities (like “Venus in Sagittarius[1]” or “Mars in Leo[2]”) mean, indicate, or look like under whatever circumstances.
 
Creation: Knit all the things. No, my Safety Shawl isn’t done yet, but all of my various projects are just a little bit further along, so there’s that. I also managed to write another poem, so hurrah!
 

Silver-white sliver of a barely-waxing crescent moon against a dark blue background that may or may not be sky.
Image by Ed Dunens (New Moon) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


 
[1] Prone to long distance relationships. Which… Is, like, the only part of that combination that actually applies to me, even though my Venus is in Sag. o.O
 
[2] Wants to be the best lover, bit of a performer, enjoys Power Dynamics, gets annoyed when people won’t say what they want. Uhm… Hi. >.>

New Year New You 2016: Week 13 – Sacrifice (You are the Thing That is Burning)

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: A meaningful sacrifice to your Powers That Be. You and your PTB will know best what that is for you. Think on it.
 
Tarot Card: Judgement (20 of Major Arcana).
I picked this one for a couple of reasons. One is because of the Mary-El version of the card, which is very-much in line with the title of this post. Another is the idea of “Judgy Judgy Judgy” and the way we can be cruel to ourselves, the way our Jerk Brains can say the meanest things, in the (mistaken) idea that dissuading us from leaving our comfort zones will keep us safe. The third is the Osho version of this card, Beyond Illusion, which has to do with the “sacrifice” theme of this week’s prompt (the Collective Tarot’s take on it is also relevant, in terms of end goals, fyi).
So I’m going with it.
 
I’m just over two months away from the year-mark of my Queen of Cups project, and right about at the year-mark for when I started getting Messages about becoming more receptive in the first place. I have to say it’s been an interesting ride, given that where I’ve ended up is a question about how to have better boundaries. This isn’t particularly surprising, but it’s not what I was originally expecting when I set out to teach myself how to Let More Good Stuff In and how to be More Vulnerable (in the asking for what I need way) in relationships that matter to me.
Then again, it’s been a pretty constant internal argument with myself to avoid going back to the definition of “boundaries” that essentially means “nobody is allowed in, ever” and hang onto the one that (is fairly theoretical but also probably a better plan, and) says “boundaries” mean “I decide who is allowed in, and how far, and under what circumstances… and will back myself off accordingly if my needs aren’t being met”.
 
To that end, I’ve been pushing up against some significant edges during my most recent life coaching sessions. I’ve been reading about Non-Violent Communication, the notions of observing and naming my feelings, and of voicing needs and making actionable requests of people to help me meet those needs.
It suuuuucks.
I read a chapter, and my shoulders hike right up around my ears. My teeth come out, and I seriously start spoiling for a fight. Turns out my metaphorical Flailing Mermaid has had a lot to say about changing the way I interact with people when it comes to boundaries, needs, and consequences.
This is the bit about “Judgy” that I was talking about, above.
So, here I am, staring the “sacrifice” prompt in the face, and haaaaating the idea of giving up something that I value. I don’t think this particular NYNY Goal is one that can be met by limiting my time on social media or deciding to stick with fair trade chocolate, sugar, coffee and so-on[1].
 
The thing I have to give away is my illusions.
 
You remember I did a tarot reading a little while ago?
The thing that is burning, when The Tower shows up, is me.
 
I’ve been telling myself old stories over the past couple of days. Like, noticeably replaying Old Tapes, grinding old axes, getting mad (inside my head) at everyone whoever Wronged Me in some way. And I know that pattern.
What do I have to give away in order to get what I want?
If what I want is Liberation (which could also be understood through the last “phase” of this version of the 10 of Air), I have to move myself Beyond the Illusions that I’ve build around myself that simultaneously tell me (a) that I’m not worthy of love and care and kindness, but also (b) that Needing Things is how you get yourself hurt, so better off to keep your damn mouth shut if you’re codependent enough to need something in the first place[2].
 
So. How do I offer this to the fire?
How, in a situation where the behaviours associated with The Flailing Mermaid are part of me, have redeeming qualities that I want to keep, and which – like it or not – are never going to go away, how do I give away the control I let those behaviours have on me?
How do I let that go?
The answer, I suspect, is “slowly”. Slowly, but consistently, a sliver at a time, one bad habit at a time, burn a new path through my internal woods, tread it enough that I know my new way and don’t always twist towards the old.
 
~*~
In terms of how to back this up with some magical working, mind you, I can see doing some sort of a fire ritual. Write out the old way and feed it to the flames, spread the ash on my garden and let it compost into something good and new.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Although, for the record, Ben and Jerry’s (which recently spoke out in support of Black Lives Matter) does fair trade cocoa and sugar on at least some (“Cherry Garcia” and “If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours”) of their stuff, which is always good to know. I’ve added them to my list of Approve Ice Cream (even if they are owned by Unilever), alongside Kawartha Dairy (which is Delicious and made in Ontario).
 
[2] Here I’m thinking of Brene Brown’s Rising Strong and the chapter about struggling with shame around need and needing, and how, when you are afraid/ashamed of needing things (or people, or help), you have set up a hierarchy where people who need/receive are Less Than people who help/give. I have a weird(?) relationship with needing and receptivity. Some stuff – like home-made dinner, hugs, or second-hand furniture – is easy for me to receive. Other stuff – like small-but-special presents or people going out of their way for me – is harder. Other stuff – like flirtatious attention, sexual touch, heaps of cash, or very generous gifts (which… 2nd Chakra Stuff, much?) – is very, very difficult. I get suspicious about what I’m going to “owe” the other person, or nervous about not giving them the performance/response they’re (in theory) wanting “in exchange” for giving me so much attention, effort, or “energy” (what is this thing where money = energy? I don’t entirely get it) which, in itself, can land me in Trigger Land or the kind of emotional storms with-which my Flailing Mermaid is all too familiar, real fast. I have difficultly needing things (and talking out loud about same) and difficulty receiving things – even if some of those things are much easier than others – and maybe it’s not surprising that the two go hand in hand AND that being “the giving one” feels powerful and safe (or powerless but indispensable, which is also a kind of “safe”… in a way) while being the “needing (“needy”) one” feels vulnerable (it is), dangerous/unstable, and burdensome/shameful (it’s not, but I’m having trouble working that into my bones). Relevant stuff here. Still sorting it through.

New Moon – Apple Moon Begins

I harvested pears today.
 
My over-the-fence neighbour has a big pear tree in their back yard. The kind of thing they might have planted 40-odd years ago, as newlyweds. This year – probably due to the drought conditions – a big branch broke part-way, and ended up hanging low over the fence into the yard I share with my heavily-gardening neighbour (the branch, I though, was semi-supported by her enormous squash-trellis, though that may not have been the case after all).
 
Anyway. I talked to the pear-tree neighbour, and then I talked to the squash-trellis neighbour, and then my wife got her ladder back from a friend, and today I picked as many pears as I could reach (not actually that many – maybe 6-7 dozen?) and, after dropping 2 dozen off with the squash-trellis neighbour (the pear-tree neighbour had assured me that they had more than enough on their side of the fence and happily invited me to harvest what I could reach), I chopped up most of the rest and put them through the food processor.
 
2/3 of the puree are bubbling away in my slow-cooker, and the remaining third will be doing the same thing, this time tomorrow. It’s all being made into pear butter (with a little bit of nutmeg, some balsamic vinegar, and some maple sugar thrown in). I don’t know if I’ll get any apples for making apple butter, so having this on hand is pretty great. YAY for free food!
 
Also in the realm of opportunisit harvesting, I’ve got a lot of choke cherries (and choke-cherry purree) in my freezer, which will be used to make at-home preserves, but may also be incorporated into a chokecherry-chutney-based canning workshop that I might (fingers crossed) get to run for local queers. I hope so. (If not: more chokecherry preserves for me. I don’t mind).
Likewise, I’ve got half a dozen one-cup jars of crab-apple jelly in the cupboard, after picking crab apples across from the laundromat last week. I’m inclined to make another batch but stick a dried chili into each jar, because I think that would taste pretty swell.
 
So! New Moon! Solar Eclipse! Mercury in Retrograde (again…)!
Chani says that now is a big time for Scorpio-me and my friendships – some of them are growing, some of them are kick-starting, some of them are coming out of the woodwork (and some of them aren’t), and tells me (here, and in my Cancer-Rising) that I need to honour the in-between and “trust the ebb and flow of connections” which… that’s pretty accurate, actually. I’ve been having a wonderful spate of connections-with-new-friends and reconnections-with-pre-existing-friends, and I am loving it. I feel “popular”, if you can believe it. Which is weird, and I kind of don’t want to jinx it? I’m hoping I can keep building these relationships because…
 
…Because I have a weird (or, y’know, not weird…?) habit of self-isolating and thinking that I’m less likely to get hurt if I’m “on my own” and I’m noticing that, hey, just because I’m not frantically chasing after an emotionally unavailable partner or spending hours of my time trying to work out what their unspoken rules are just so I can maintain a relationship with them… that doesn’t mean I’m “on my own”. Quite the opposite.
What it does mean is that I’m not exhausting myself and have space and time to build and strengthen relationships that are based on mutuality and that are with people whose interests and passions and values overlap my own to a noticeable degree.
 
It’s pretty fucking great.
 
Which is not to say I don’t still spiral and spin my wheels when a new friends unexpectedly drops off the map. All of that “honour the in-between” stuff is something I have a hell of a time doing. My Life Coach is fore-warning me that Step Three is probably going to be All About the Boundaries[1], and managing All The Feelings around those abbs and flows and uncertainties is very much on my “things to learn” list because I’m very, very bad at.
So, yeah. Chani’s Scorpio scope is feeling pretty spot-on right now.
 
Corina, over at Autostraddle, asks me (and all you other Scorpios) which secrets it’s time to share, and points out that “what you decide to share can help you feel lighter, freer, and much closer to the ones you share them with”. (See also: Brené Brown’s whole “shame thrives in secrecy” stuff). I’m digging into my brain and trying to root out the stuff I want to let go of. Easier said than done.
 
So many of my friends have been commenting that they can feel Autumn in the air. Autumn is the season of cups. Even if we’re not there yet – still in the slightly manic sprint of canning all the things, and slightly giddy with the abundance all those gleaming jars and packed freezer-bags imply/display – the nights are getting longer and cooler and I can smell the Gathering In on its way. We may be in Fruit Time right now (and I am trying to get out dancing as often as possible while I still can!), but Root Time – with its introspection and icy roads – is coming. What kind of stuff is going to come bubbling to the surface of my internal swamp as the temperatures drop?
 
I’ve had three (or more) weeks off from my wife’s workshop – an unexpected vacation that is about to come to an end Big Time – and I’ve been socializing and going to writers’ groups and all sorts of things. It’s been wonderful. I hope I can keep it up once I’m back to making harnesses a couple of days a week (you’ve got to wonder about my time-management skills, if two days of work per week puts such a crimp in my creative output, social life, and home-making projects…). Fingers crossed.
 
This year’s tomato-canning marathon will probably be chopped into 2-3 weekends, rather than doing a 2-3 day sprint all at once. Salsa, crushed tomatoes, and sauce, with an emphasis on the first two. Maybe some pickled cherries while I’m at it. I’m excited – of all things – to do the repetitive tasks involved with a heavy run of canning. Keeping my hands busy (knitting does the same thing, so does prepping harness webbing) frequently results in a poem or two percolating away at the same time, and I’ve got high hopes for the next chunk of “How to Cook a Heart”.
 
Harvest season is very much upon us. My house smells like pears and nutmeg and maple sugar. I have books to read and people to geek out with about them. My wife and I have new bedsheets (among other things). Life is pretty amazing.
 
 
~*~
 
Motion: There has been a LOT of walking lately (my hips and feet are sore as a result). Also body-scan exercises that, while not exactly “motion” in the sense that I was thinking when I started writing these prompts, are definitely meant to get me into my body. So far, so good? I think?
 
Attention: Trying to spot my spirals before they start (or at least before they start getting out of hand). Reading She is Sitting in the Night (Oliver Pickle, Metonym Press), which is a Little Book that offers a reinterpretation of Thea’s Tarot – the whole idea is that this piece of actively queer tarot (that is a product of its time) is being re-understood by someone a generation later (this second interpretation is also a product of its time). It’s neat to read a Little Book for a tarot deck I don’t have. It’s one more angle on the cards, one more scrap to add to my mental collage of what each of the cards means.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for scary-but-necessary conversations with my wife (and ensuing changes that are working out quite nicely, thanks). Thankful for awesome people who want to hang out with me (who knew?). Thankful for folks who return emails/messages/etc quickly, because I find that very validating. 😉 Thankful for free pears from the neighbour. Thankful for free fruit on city trees. Thankful for a poetry-critique group that had suggestions for how to fix my poems (YAY!). Thankful for slightly cooler temperatures and LOTS of overnight rain falling (and the four butternut squashes that are just, juuuuust starting to develope-as-fruits on my squash vine).
 
Inspiration: Using (or continuing to use) the suit of Earth as a skeletal structure for poetry. I’ve been diving deep into tarot meanings, trying to get my head around how the fours (or the sevens, or the nines) work together and complement each other (and related to the corresponding cards in the MA).
 
Creation: See above. Poetry comes. Not easily, necessarily, but the struture is helping. So is having a critique group to go to every three weeks – it means I need to come up with two new poems (and polish them) every three weeks, and it helps to have the deadline.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Boundaries 101 = Where I start and You have to stop. Boundaries 201 = Where YOU start and I have to stop. Boundaries 301 = How to handle it (gracefully and ideally with as little grief as possible) when there is a gap between where I stop and where You stop, and I want to close the gap and You don’t and how do I stop offering you every damn thing when you are not stepping up and matching me? Yeah… Boundaries 301 is not something I’m good at, at all

New Year New You 2016: Reflections So Far + Week 10: What Motivates 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!
 
Reflection Instructions: “[…]Reflect on the last nine weeks and talk about what you’ve learned” about yourself, your practice, your project, and where you want to be.
+
Week 10 Instructions: Do some navel gazing: What are your reasons for working on your goals? What makes you eager to work on them?
 
I’m combining these two prompts… for no real reason, except that I can? We’ll see if they wind up having common themes or not.
 
Tarot CardS:
Reflection: Ha, I’m half-inclined to suggest the Hanged Man because of it’s “pause” and (in particular) “mirror” or aspects, or even its “seeing things from a new angle” elements. We’ll see if I stick with that, though.
Motivation: Part of me wants to choose The Chariot (AKA: The Archer, Awareness) because it’s very much about “get up / wake up, and go!”, about finding and directing your energy. It’s a card about being motivated in general. But… In reality, a lot of my motivation – for this project, and also in life more broadly – is the 4 of cups + the 6 of cups. Dissatisfaction, self-isolation, the search for self-knowledge, sadness (all Four of Cups traits) combined with the Six of Cups’ yearning for something better, and re/connected to others (sometimes obtainable, sometimes… no so much, but either way)… that’s what tends to push me into action. A sense of “gotta fix this” combined (more frequently) with “I am sick of feeling this way”.
(Heh… actually, the “Turning In” aspect of the Four of Cups would work well for the Reflections part of this post, too…)
 
Anyway.
So, yeah. Via tarot cards, I’ve already talked about what motivates me, but let’s dig into that a little more with specific respect for this NYNY Project.
 
Strictly speaking, I started my Queen of Cups Project because I was sick of feeling miserable all the time and wanted to get better at welcoming good things/people/feelings into my life. All the Brené Brown stuff (that I would end up reading in February 2016) about Preemptive Tragedy and Camping Out in the Swamp of Disappointment? I didn’t have words for it yet, but I knew it was a major problem. So my motivation was definitely about wanting to lift/shake myself out of my perpetual Four of Cups funk.
 
The dirty little secret, though, is that I also started this project because I was afraid my partner would leave me (…and she did) if I didn’t shape up and stop freaking out all the time. Lots and lots of stuff about “Is this in my head? I don’t know what to think” facing off against “This love is dificult, but it’s real…” and not knowing how much of my anxiety and spun-ness was due to my own self-inflicted meta-naratives (meaning stuff I could fix by myself) versus how much of it… wasn’t. A lot of yearing for the loving, second-chance, taking-care-of-each-other energy of the Six of Cups. Not a great reason to start a self-improvement project (although probably not an uncommon one, either).
 
Negative reinforcement can go a long way towards pushing me to do something.
But my other major motivator is success.
 
Which brings me to the “reflection” part of this post.
 
I think it’s going well.
 
I’ve been doing these prompts in order, but I haven’t been pushing myself to do them week-by-week. As such, it’s been a solid six months – rather than 10 weeks – since I started this project. There was a break-up in there, with a bonus sharp reminder that “fixing myself” is only going to work if I’m doing it for my own sake, rather than because I’m doing the desperate worthiness/shame dance and trying to “become someone worth loving” (yeah, I know. I know). But there’s also been time.
 
Listening to all the Slow Down messages I was getting meant giving my magic the chance to actually game the odds with enough time to get a run-up at things. It meant giving myself time enough to learn Handy Truths from Leah Horlick’s and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s poetry, from Brené Brown’s work, from Ms Sugar’s glamour guide blog posts, and from numerous queer, almost exclusively) femme, tarot readers (go give them some love), as well as time to let things fix a bit better in my marrow than they might have if I’d pushed myself to keep to the “Just Keep Pushing” time-frame established by the course. (Which doesn’t mean that the time-frame is bad, just that this is a deeper project than “change where my money comes from” or get this book finished”… or at least it is in my case).
 
Heading into “phase two” of NYNY (prompts 10 – 23), I’m going to keep the pace I’ve set for myself, keep working on glamour and self-glamouring, keep working on tarot, keep working on me and all of my Feeeeelings Stuff. (P.S.: The Help that arrived in Week Nine? I am having a preliminary consultation on Sunday. woohoo!)
 
And,with all that in mind, off we go. 🙂
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

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.