Tag Archives: correspondences

New Year New You 2019 : Week 17 – A Big Ritual

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
 
Instructions: So now that you’ve done the small magics, I think it’s time to do a big ritual to further one or more of your goals.
 

Candle Magic in Progress - My working altar set-up, as viewed from the East.

Candle Magic in Progress – My working altar set-up, as viewed from the East.


 
As all of you know by now, I’m not a Big Rituals kind of gal. I put songs on repeat to help me enter something adjacent to a trance, maybe once or twice a year, and do little rituals (offerings roughly once a week, greeting my gods at the crossroads and as I see them, the first slice from a fresh batch of bread, stuff like that) fairly frequently, but Big Magical Doings that require a lot of prep and planning… are not typically My Bag.
 
BUT.
 
I just turned forty.
I love my weirdo freelancing art life, and I want to keep it.
But I am so, SO tired (like physically and emotionally worn out, but also “sick of this crap” tired) of the precarity that comes with it.
I marked my birthday with a week worth of fun and lovely events, which wrapped up just before the recent full moon in Taurus, and I wanted to harness that “manifesting abundance and pleasure and security” stuff that comes with the Taurus full moon and its major-major link with The Empress.
 
So I spent a day working out how to turn my Greatest Hits Wish List into a series of little doodles – not exactly sigils (except in the case of making a little glyph to represent my immediate polycule), but stuff along those lines. I planned out what I’d need, in terms of materials. I sorted out offerings and harvested the herbs from my (snowed under, so that was a thing) garden. I took a calculated risk in collecting one of the other elements of the altar and the magic to be made on it, and made sure to leave offerings and… I guess I could call them connections(?) in return. I took the time (and energy, and resources, and skills) to make bread from scratch, and on Moonday, which handily actually WAS the night of the full moon (and which I also, thankfully, had off AND which was overcast enough for it to get dark enough to light candles earlier in the day), I turned my coffee table into an altar space and got to work.
 
So. You know the thing “To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent”?
I don’t actually know how many of the specifics of this I should be yacking about in front of the whole internet. So, in the interests of not screwing it up or pissing Anybody off, I’m going to be a bit vague on things.
BUT. The general gist is this:
 
First thing, as you can see from the photo, above, I was doing candle magic, just in a more intense way than I often do. Even when I go big, I’m still pretty basic in terms of what I do.
I wanted to have stuff that grew in my yard – my space, the place I have some kind of a friendly (uh, I’d like to think) relationship with – sitting in each of the quarters. I wanted the elements represented by things that I wanted and things that connected me to success and security. There’s a brick from the house my mom grew up in (among other things), in the North. The South is all sex toys and kinky equipment. The East is the various hard-copy books and chaps that I’ve been published in (why, yes, ALL of them). The West is the tarot cards I drew for my birthday, all those hope-and-heart cards, plus a piece of fancy stemware. The Centre was raised up on a fancy cake tray (40th birthday gift, also hospitality and fanciness), and has the Empress card that I used to kick off my whole Empress Project in the first place. The votive candles I used had been lit at my birthday party, and I treated them like Birthday Candles (as in “make a wish”).
 
I sang (just a little – the chorus of a song that I treated as a prayer), I gave offerings that were a little fancier than I usually do, and that included a little bit of pain, and a moderate amount of blood, on my part. But the big difference in how I did this whole thing is that, when I cast the circle, I got a little bit extra. I’m not usually one to call the guardians of the watchtowers of absolutely anything. But this time I reached out to the People of the four directions, and called the Above and the Below to run the world pillar through my spine.
And they showed up.
They came.
I hadn’t been expecting that.
Don’t go getting me wrong here, I’m very glad they did. But it was an optional thing for them. I’m… touched? That the Spirits of Place, the People who orient us in space and in… action? Is that a good way to put it? That they came and were willing to witness, and maybe even help.
 
Anyway.
I did The Thing.
I think my giant bag of soil is probably thawed out by now (it having had a week to hang out in the warm), so I can now take the last of the accoutrements off the altar space and do the last bit of the ceremony, at which point I can have my coffee table back.
 
In prepping for this, my wife asked me if it was going to come at a cost – because everything has a cost. She works with a goddess who takes payment in blood and pain (there are so many of these) and she was worried about me getting hurt, basically. So we ended up having a discussion about different types of relationships.
I talked about how I’ve been involved with my pantheon actively for a couple of decades, that I check in with them and say Hello often, and that I generally don’t show up with my hand out. I said “There’s wine on the altar right now” – wine that had been offered the previous Friday – and that while I didn’t give my Gods and Ancestors wine and cookies and bread and occasional whisky and other tasty things in order to, you know, manipulate them into feeling like they have to help me, the fact that I’ve been doing this for a long time – much as with more corporeal people – will get you a certain amount of trust and good will. If you show up for your friends, and want to hang out just for the sake of hanging out, they are more likely to show up for you when you need help with a thing. (This is, incidentally, one of the reasons I tend not to contract out and do transactional work with deities outside of my pantheon. I don’t know, and won’t necessarily be able to accurately discern, what kind of payment they might want. And I’m hesitant to offer any kind of tradesies when I don’t know what I’m getting myself into).
 
I did my ritual, my ceremony, made my offerings, around the themes of the Empress.
May it be, may it be, may it be. ❤
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

COLD – First Week of December

“Unsplash” – Aaron Burden (2017-02-04) – Photo of swirling ice, blue and white as agate, courtesy of Wiki Free Images


 
COLD
It’s not that cold right now. Not by local standards.
There’s snow on the ground (the kind that drifts steadily down, without a driving wind to make it hard to travel through as it falls) that fell this morning, but a lot of water, too. A lot of potential for ice, for wet feet.
The chard is still holding up in the garden – not much, and it’ll be iced over in no time. But it’s there.
That said, the temperature’s dropping, and it’s due to be much, much colder tomorrow.
 
Cold is the temperature that gets into my bones, makes my hips swell up, keeps me up at night.
Cold is also the desensitization to other people’s pain. It’s a numbness that might be self-protective but can just as easily be cruel.
 
This first week of December, with the theme of “cold” in mind, I’m bringing socks – nothing fancy, literally just a bag of crew socks from Giant Tiger – to the drop-in on Bank St. It’s not a lot (it’s never a lot), but I know that socks are one of the most needed, and least donated, things that drop-in centers need once the weather gets cold. So. Socks.
I’m also making up a bunch of, basically, home-made cuppa-soups for a friend. But the timing on that is entirely luck, as she gets out of the hospital this week.
 
The Fool
This is a card of awakening.
I’m in the middle of reading Queer Magic (the one by Lee Harrington and Tai Fenix Kulystin, not the other one) and I’m on the essay “Essay”, which presents a queered year-wheel that follows a process of self-realization, self-actualization, and community-involvement that the author chooses to have begin at Winter Solstice.
With that sitting in the forefront of my mind, I can’t help smiling at the relation this year-wheel bears to the Fool’s Journey and, thence, to this little tarot adventure I’m taking myself on starting, well, a couple of days ago, on December First with The Fool.
What are waking up to? Literally? Figuratively? Personally?
Literally, I’ve been waking up to the smiling face of my lovely wife and, usually, a message from my sweetheart as well. I’ve also been waking up to house-hold chores and, until today, not quite enough time to deal with them.
On a more figurative or personal note, I’m trying to “wake up” to – as in be aware of – both the many good things and people in my life, and the places where I can be more helpful (both in terms of offering support to others, and in terms of making it easier for others to support me by Using My Words and voicing my needs and wants).
What do you want to stay open to, as you walk the last leg of this journey into the dark?
I want to stay open to warmth (ha… see next week), and to my sense of belonging and worthiness. My nearest and dearest have a lot on their plates right now, and a fair number of friends and loved ones have mental health stuff, or trauma stuff, or both that flares up at this time of year. Which, yes, definitely means they need some extra support these days. But it also means that I can start pulling inwards, and telling myself I’m “not allowed” to want attention from my people which – combined with the effect that cold (even more than dark, weirdly) has on my own brain – means I start feeling a bit like The Outsider in the Five of Pentacles, assuming I have to beg for scraps, when, really, if I’d just open my mouth and say something, we could probably do a good job of looking after each other in ways that are mutually beneficial and do us all some good.
 
The Magician
This is a card of action and of awareness of one’s own power.
What comes to mind, right this second, is the question “How have you used your privilege today?” A question that, if you are someone who has some politically-backed social power on any given vector, can maybe make you feel defensive. But all it means is “How have you used your powers for good today?”
How Have You Used Your Powers for Good?
This can be as easy as writing a letter to a politician, as a person with a “white-sounding” last name, to point out that, as a voter, you have a lot of problems with, say, oil pipelines being driven through indigenous territories without their consent. As simple as shoveling the walk for your pal with fibromyalgia or your neighbour who maybe can’t swing the shovel that easily. As quick as donating money when you’ve got some relative, even temporary, economic advantages.
Today, for me, that meant buying socks for strangers because, today, I had some available cash.
Tomorrow, it might mean making casseroles for someone who doesn’t have time to cook but needs to be careful about what and how often they eat, because of medical stuff.
 
The High Priestess
This is a card about potential, about diving deep, about entering into Mystery. It’s a card that, in terms of how my weekly themes are lining up, would be better suited to the darkest part of the dark end of the year, when I deal with Shadow. It’s a card that is often very personal. What are the secrets you’re keeping from yourself? What hidden depths do you need to reveal and recognize? What does your Hidden Self, your Rejected Self, have to say to you when you give it the chance to speak?
Are there parts of yourself that you consistently freeze out? Parts that you need to allow to thaw, even if it’s a scary, vulnerable process to do so?
For a long, looooooooong time, I always assumed that the stuff I kept hidden from myself was Bad Stuff. Stuff that I’d have to struggle to overcome or exorcise. But a year ago, I started wondering about how I (and, y’know, all my trauma babes, frankly) maybe hide stuff from myself about being worthy of “more than a kick and a curse”.
I want to stop digging my heals in, and keep letting myself risk feeling all the positive-but-vulnerable things – all the wanting, all the hope – that I sometimes try to stop myself from feeling.

New Year New You 2016: Week Five – Some Enchanted Evening

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: Do some magical thing(s) to further your cause and give you an edge towards achieving your Goal(s).
 
Tarot Card: The Priestess (Inner Voice, The Seer) – looking inward, going deeper, mediating between the concious and unconcious, self-confidence, seaking internal calm.
 
Thoughts:
Okay.
So I’ve had a bit of a shock thrown into my (life) plans recently. My long-distance partner is… not my partner anymore. At least not for the moment. We’re “on a break” for reasons that I understand, even if I’m not happy about the situation or its effects on me.
Part of me is all “I totally get it, take the time you need.”
Part of me is all “Augh! Come baaaaaaaaaaaaack!”
And part of me is just all “Eugh. Whatever. You do you. I’ll survive.”
It’s not a fun place to be, and it does add a certain bleak nuance of “Why am I trying so hard to Fix The Problems that I’m trying to fix with this project if I’m no-longer in a situation where those Problems are actually causing Big Waves in important parts of my life??”
Which is a problem in and of itself, I know.
Why don’t I care about myself enough to just get to Happy for my own benefit, rather than it having to involve someone else’s comfort with me before I’m willing to Do The Work that will make my life better regardless?
It’s stupid and frustrating and it means that part of this Getting To project is getting a bit of a facelift.
 
Originally, I was going to do my Enchanted Evening spell by putting a glamour wammy on my bathroom and dressing-room mirrors so that, every time I looked at my own reflection, I was also seeing someone worthy of love and care, in the hopes that it would make it easier for me to pick up on the love and care (and other good stuff) being directed at me from all and sundry[1].
I’m still going to do that.
BUT.
… But the whole situation with the Queen Of Cups is that she doesn’t have to use logic to walk her heart through every damn thing. She’s emotionally healthy,and emotionally secure, enough that she is both trust-worthy and trustING in ways that don’t feel like jumping off a cliff (to use Leah Lakshmi’s very apt turn of phrase) and crossing my fingers that someone is going to catch me before I hit the rocks.
Which means I’ve got other Stuff I need to work on as well.
 
So what I did this morning was steap myself a cup of thyme tea and charge it with the prayer of “Open my heart, help me to trust the trustworthy, heal me”.
Tea because: Probably a safer bet than putting drops of pure thyme essential oil directly onto my tongue. But also tea because it has links to awareness, faithfulness, and enlightenment.
I chose Thyme because it corresponds to courage, hope, happiness, purification, healing, strength, the washing away of fear.
Other herbs I can use in similar ways:
Chamomile, lavender, and dill to calm the frightened child in me
Sweet Violet (I’m reading this as the edible flowers of wood violets that grow in my yard – and all over the place) for trust, peace, and strengthening the comfort of the heart
 
As for the glamour wammy on my mirror, I’m thinking it’ll be a cleansing spray that just happens to include a mix of rosemary, sweet orange, and ginger essential oils (plus witch hazel & water for a carrier).
 
Other possibilities for scrubbing away:
A Body Scrub to sluff away all the Negativity that’s been hovering around me ft brown sugar, sweet almond oil, baking soda, rosemary, clove, cedar, tea tree
AND
A Bath Powder to draw confidence, self-assurance, courage and calm ft ylang ylang, ginger, clove, myrrh(!), and sweet orange
 
I find it… veeeeeery interesting… that a LOT of the essential oils that one would use for drawing love, sex, & happy-solid romances into one’s life (and dispelling/preventing jealousy, no less) are also stuff that one would use to increase confidence, courage & self-assurance, while calming your ass down & dispelling fear and depression.
I mean, part of that is just: people use what they’ve got. If you’re a Strega with a rosemary bush the size of your house (or… me… with a cupboard full of pie spices and dried fruit), that stuff is going to find its way into every spell you do.
On the other hand… the two tend to benefit one-another, in my experience, so maybe it’s not that strange.
 
Lastly – though not remotely surprisingly -I’ve been doing a LOT of tarot readings for myself on the question of “How do I get to Happy?” (the Fool Spread is really handy for that kind of question) and the details of making those internal changes in ways that will actually stick and not turn me into more of a wreck in the process.
They’re turning up some… unsurprising but also pretty accurate information, which is a help in terms of things I need to remind myself of like: This is going to be a bit of a slog, so you will have to be patient with yourself. Be brave but not with without compassion for yourself. Push yourself, because it’s going to be hard and you will have to keep leaning into that discomfort, but don’t burn yourself out. Learn from your mistakes, but also forgive yourself and be gentle with yourself at the same time.
 
Wish me luck.
Up next: Fancying up my mirrors and taking a solid soak. Here’s hoping it works.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] So that I could recognize that kind words from a friend are actually meant and true, to pick a non-Faaaaaaaaaamily-related example, and so that (to pick another, even less-socially-fraught one) I could stop interpreting a lack of calls from temp agents as some sort of deliberate punishment for not being available That One Time, or for saying No to that thing I didn’t want to do. So that I can just sit with the quiet (as opposed to the Silence, as in Silent Treatment) of a non-ringing phone without believing in my bones that it’s a commentary on whether or not I’m worthy of someone having my back or looking out for me.

New Moon – Cold Moon Begins

Normally, this is Ice Moon, but – in honour of the ice jam covering the north-west corner of our house – we’re actually just coming out of that one.
So “Cold Moon” it is, for this year at least. Having just spent the weekend in the Coldest Spot on the Planet (that being my town, because it was -45 or something with the wind chill, and that’s pretty fucking cold kiddos, pretty fucking cold), I figure it works.
Technically, Cold Moon started about a week ago, around-which-time my father-in-law called to remind me to start my leeks and onions before March turns up.
I don’t even want to grow leeks and onions at this point. I mean, I’m not saying they’re bad things to grow, but since I don’t yet actually have the giant containers for our raised beds yet, I’m really disinclined to start stuff early from seed. I want to make sure I have somewhere to transplant it once it’s ready.
None the less, it’s a good reminder that things are already stirring underground, in spite of the umpteen feet of snow and nasty wind-chill situation happening on the surface.
 
Last week, I got a call to come in for a job interview. Yes, I’m trying to land myself a part-time (mid-afternoon into early evening) job that would net me a few short shifts per week and, as such, give me a couple of hundred extra dollars per month to help keep my income quilt functional and covering everything. The interview is today (so do send me good vibes, right around 1pm, plz), and I’m hoping it’ll go well enough that they decide to hire me. There will definitely be prep-stuff done today to ensure that I’m magically delicious when I walk in the door. 🙂 I’m thinking bay leaves in my (new – arrived yesterday) purse and sweet orange + coconut oil for luck, optimism, and likeability. Maybe some echanecea tea for money-drawing, too, although it would also be for Being Less Sick, which is kind of a thin at the moment.
 
So that’s what’s stirring and (maybe) getting started in my neck of the woods right now. How ’bout you? What wee seeds have you planted in the hopes of making an early start? What ideas are germinating and starting to take shape?
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden. 🙂

N is for No-Thingness – Pagan Blog Project 2014

A while back, I did a big tarot reading to go looking for my Shadow and how to fully integrate that part of me with the “upper” part of myself.
The second part of that reading was a “Key” spread which positioned “No-Thingness” (V of Major Arcana, in my deck) as my “yin aspect”.
At the time I didn’t have a clue what that was about, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to, well, think out loud, basically, and see what I can come up with.
 
The short version of this is that the receptive part of myself is The Hierophant. This card is… “right action” ( possibly something to do with my previous “Making Time” post?). It’s spirituality, mentoring, and Doing the Right Thing. Depending on the deck, this can be tied up with orthopraxy, with unthinkingly/stubbornly adhering to a particular set of rules, but it can also about (apparently) the union of conscious and unconscious (which… fits a LOT with why I did the reading, so okay), with group identity, with the carrying out, and passing on, of traditions and rituals (why am I thinking of Leather Tribe now…).
 
I’ve tended to understand The Hierophant as being in the same realm as the King and Queen of Air (Swords) – Control and Morality, in my deck – and with words/orders coming down from On High for the plebes to follow. But “No-Thingness” as it appears in my deck has always put me in mind of the dark from-which everything is born, the Great Potential which is the source of all things. In either case, I tend not to understand this card in terms of receptivity.
It leaves me wondering if my opening up to the union of my upper and deeper selves would be facilitated best (or most easily? Not necessarily the same thing) through ritual and Tribe involvement. Meh? Yes? Maybe?
Not sure.
 
Anyway. That’s where my wandering thoughts have taken me this time around.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

M is for Magic and Making-Do – Pagan Blog Project 2014

So here I am, looking down the neck of a two-week contract for-which I’m primarily extremely thankful – income is important, and this is close enough to home to be able to walk at least some of the time – even if the thought of being back on the Temp Agencies’ roster with no clear end in sight is not all that encouraging. (That said, I did just find out that my contract is walking distance from home, which is fanTAStic news, so there’s that!)
 
It’s strange to be “looking for work” in a more permanent sense after spending nearly four years in one job. I catch myself thinking “Damn, I shouldn’t have put all my eggs in one basket like that, I was really relying on those monthly paycheques”… as if accepting a permanent position and believing it to be permanent isn’t what most people in my country are striving for, if not full-out doing. It’s a funny space to be in, mentally, this visceral knowing that (a) lots of diverse income streams are the safe bet, even when it’s important that at least one of them (ideally a mininum of two) be reliable and fairly fixed, while also (b) getting the impression that this is not how Most People approach “career building” (if I can call it that).
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J is for June – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Yes, I said “June” – the month – not “Juno” the Roman goddess.
June, in my neck of the woods is a time of waiting. But not the way that, say, most of Winter is a time of waiting. This time is dynamic. Everything is moving forward, and the “waiting” feels more like “Are we there yet?” in a moving car, than the stillness that comes with waiting out a deep freeze for six months.
I’ve written before about how it doesn’t feel like Midsummer around her right now, that it feels less like momentum building towards a goal that almost ready to be achieved, and more like a struggle to get out of bed in the mornings.
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