Tag Archives: cosmology and axiology

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. >.>

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New Year New You 2016 (…and 17): Week 22 and Week 23 – Last Push / Reflection

I’m doing finishing up 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:Push harder than you ever have this week. Push harder than you ever thought you could and then just a little bit more” + “please take some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve learned, and where you’re going to go from here“.
 
Tarot Cards: The Moon. Because healing happens in spirals, because this whole project has been bringing up All The Feelings around meta-naratives that have been part of my (very unhealthy, generally mean-to-me) personal cosmology for a very, very long time. Like 3/4 of my life levels of “long”. And also the Seven of Stones… for much the same reason. All of the sevens are linked to both The Chariot’s get-up-and-go action orientation and to The Star’s call to find your own True North and set a course for it, but this particular seven is also about healing, about patience, about recognizing how much I’ve accomplished but also about realizing that the project I set for myself is going to take some time.
 
It’s not a “last push” kind of project.
 
2016 was a hard year, and the ‘hard’ extended well into the first third of 2017. The pep-talk I gave myself way, waaaay back in November of 2015, when this project was barely an embryo? That was challenged on a couple of fronts. I spent a lot of time wrapped up in – and trying to climb out of – some pretty deep hurts and resentments, trying – with help and on my own – to figure out Boundaries 301 (which is still a work in progress, but I have a better idea about it now).
 
 
Things I Have Learned
 
Being open and receptive to what’s being offered also requires (somewhat counter-intuitively) having enough personal boundaries in place that I don’t over-offer in return but can meet people where they are.
This is hard, and I’m very much in the part of this where I have to hash everything out really explicitely from the get-go:
– Yes, I can do X, but only under Y circumstances.
– I can’t do QRS without unwanted results in this situation, but I can do MNO just fine.
– DEF isn’t happening, so it’s not right/safe/appropriate for me to offer GHI yet, or maybe ever.
It’s exhausting, but it’s also relevant, necessary, and worth it.
 
I have got one hell of a skewed view of what is and is not okay to want from/with other people. Like, it’s pretty messed up and I’ve got a lot of… sorting out… to do on that particular front. Worth it to look back on the exercises I did during my life-coaching sessions and try to move further in this regard.
 
I can’t actually “open up and be receptive” to something that isn’t there. It takes two to tango (or whatever it is I’m trying to do with someone) and if words and actions aren’t matching up, I need to look at the actions and re-adjust (a) expectations, but more to the point (b) availability/openness accordingly.
 
The tarot study that I did right along-side this project? I have a bad tendency to read cards in ways that (a) give me news I don’t want to hear, but – at the same time – conveeeeeniently also line up with the meta-narratives that tell me I will be punished for wanting things or that I’m never going to get what I want. Easy example: I tend to read the 6 of Cups as “wishful thinking” or “you need to get a reality check” rather than the equally likely “get it, girl / claim what’s yours” or “you are surrounded by blessings / opportunities for play and ease” reads.
Opening myself to new possibilities means making space in my head for those possibilities to be options. I think my next step here is to do a “best case scenario” reading alongside my default read of any given spread. Doesn’t mean that the best case will happen, and I hope I won’t end up wishful-thinking my way through stuff I might be better off facing head-on, but… it can’t hurt to try this, right? Right.
 
 
Where Do We Go From Here?
 
My Queen of Cups project is going to continue. I’m far enough in that I can see that more needs doing (I can even see what some small parts of it are!), so… onwards we go.
It’ll probably inform how I work through the exercises in Miss Sugar’s new book, Glamour Magic, which I’m quite enjoying reading already.
 
Wish me luck, kittens.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Flower Moon Crests (Finally Hitting POST on a Mo(o)nth-Old Entry…)

Wrote this, well, a couple of weeks ago, but only posting it now:
 
~*~
 
It’s Full Moon in Sagittarius, folks!
The sage bloomed the day of the Full Moon (which was Friday). As such, it will come as a surprise to nobody that sage (along with – apparently – peonies & tomatoes plus basil, borage, saffron, & chervile) is one of Sagittarius’ associated plants.
 

Five sprigs of sage ft tall, blue flower-spikes.


 
I’ve been having PMS-type symptoms/experiences all week. Tripping, dropping things, and otherwise ending up with unexplainable bruises, craving ALL the chocolate all the time, and being neck-deep and deeper in my Feeeeelings. Usually(?) this means I’ll start bleeding within 48 hours of this stuff showing up. But it’s been six days and… nothing.
We had a house-guest for most of the week who shed some light on the possibility that this might have more to do with the waxing, nearly full Moon than with the state of my uterus. So I’m going to start tracking that and see what-all lines up with what.
As for this full moon, in particular… Ugh. Everything comes full circle. Everything comes back around again… :-\
 
Sarah Gottesdiener, over at Little Red Tarot, says:

If you are doing a spell for this particular moon, […] feeling your desires within your body, take some time to summon what might feel hard. […] The shedding of one skin is not an easy transition. […] Acknowledge the feelings of fear, anxiety, the unease you might have of the unknown, of being fully seen, fully given the gifts you’ve wanted for years.
This Full Moon, bring it all up, let it be reflected under her light.
Realize we aren’t in linear time. […] We are in an internal spiral, where time and time again we are asked to encounter our most devastating patterns and our most inspirational truths.

 
…All of-which is kind of wacking me in the face right now.
See, the other day, I was having a Writing Date with a friend and working on a poem, when a stranger came up and said “I have something to tell you”.
She’s one of those people who are the opposite of me, in that rather than being a total bunker and Natural Ground, they get Messages that need to be passed along. She’s been getting them for 30 years, so she’s used to people being a little put off by her. I have no idea if it was weird for her to have someone go “Oh. Yeah, no, I totally get that.” And treat this as part of their Normal. Maybe it happens way more often than I think it does. Who knows.
ANYWAY.
What she said was (in highlights form):
 

There’s something happening / going-to-happen with you. Something about a child. And… math? Numbers? 2s and 3s
Look at the numbers.
You need to trust Divine, trust your soul more.
The answers are within yourself.
Everything comes full circle.
There are three people around you. The one in the middle might be male, but I can’t actually tell[1]. Two of them are younger.
Everything will work out how you want it to.
 
Also: there’s a ladder, like a symbolic ladder. You’re not ready to climb it yet, but when you are, you’ll climb up 1-2-3- rungs.

 
 
So, here’s the thing. I was writing a poem about trying to be family again with the ex who I thought was about to move back to Ontario (and who occupies a place in my heart that has a lot of “child” built into it. An ex who also used to date my wife, and who introduced me to a lovely person who turned out to live up the street from me), which included a lot of tarot references (6 of cups, 3 of cups, in particular).
 
So I thought I knew what this was about.
 
And then I got home, and my wife said she’d heard from The Ex that day, and that said ex was staying in Alberta and aiming to move overseas, permanently, in the next year or so.
Which.
I actually cried a whole lot that night, because while I’d been bracing for having to deal with seeing them around far more frequently than I did when they were living across the country, I’d also been hopeful of some kind of “we can actually be friends with each other and I’ll be able to trust you again” outcome and… that’s just not going to happen. And it sucks so much both that it’s not going to happen AND that I’d been holding onto that hope for just about a year-and-a-half at this point.
Feelings of grief (still, ffs).
But also a certain amount of humiliation? Like “how could I have been so foolish/stupid to think that this would end the way I wanted it to…?”
 
…All of-which to say: I basically have no idea what the message is actually about. Like, obviously, it’s about leveling up in some department. But I don’t know WHICH department, y’know? I mean, interpersonal relationships are kind of a huge deal for me, and there are clearly People Involved. But who even knows.
 
The folks over at Hoodwitch say:

What you fear says more about you than you may think, Scorpio. If you use the Full Moon on the 9th to help you investigate what you’re resisting, you may make some progress in dislodging its roots from your belly.

 
Once upon a time, I had a conversation with my Dad that went something like this:
Him: You’re carrying around a huge amount of anger.
Me: I know. But if I let go of it, I don’t think there will be anything left of me…

 
It was another 7-8 years before I did anything close to starting therapy and dealing with all that rage. BUT. I’ve been having similar feelings… sort of… about something else recently. That I have these internal Defense Walls inside me. They feel like gristle or scar tissue, but they’re energetic. Or something along those lines. And that, if I let all those guards down, let them go, I’ll fall apart.
So, on the “summoning what feels hard” and “investigate what you’re resisting” fronts, I had a conversation with My Lovely Wife about, well, all of that stuff. About the ladder I’m not ready to go up yet (or at least one aspect of what I’m currently assuming The Ladder is about), about things I’m resisting, about things that are hard.
I also did a couple of tarot spreads about the above-mentioned Message From Beyond.
The short one is a variation on the Who And How spread – which I want to say I got from Asali Earthworks, possibly via Little Red Tarot, but for-which I can’t find the original link. Basically, the answers looked like this:
 

“Who and How do I have to be to climb that ladder?”
Who: New Vision
How: beyond Illusion


 

“What is the context of this Leveling Up?”
Advisor: Seven of Air.
Over-Arching Influences: Page of Water.
Underlying Influences: Six of Water.


 
The “context” cards are the easy ones here. The over-arching and under-lying water cards…
I often think of myself as a Page of Cups, less inclined to wear my heart on my sleeve and more about dipping my toes in the water, still learning How To Relationship. And yet… When I look up the Page of Water, I get phrases like “Be intimate, be intuitive, be emotional, be loving”. Even the heavily-simplified Shakespeare Oracle tarot deck (I won it as a door prize last week) touches on the Page’s open-heartedness. The page of cups is a reminder that “The door is open and you know how to fly, you just need to step out on a limb and take off” (which makes me think of “you’re not ready yet, but when you are, you’ll climb up 1-2-3). The page lives gently, learns (is still learning) from her mistakes, but isn’t afraid to try again, try something new, take a chance.
The Six is the “wishful thinking” card. I’ve seen it interpreted more kindly or optimistically as “reunion” or “innocence” or even “playful connections”, interpretations that connect it with kindness, generosity, and the potential (and need) for mutual care. Little Red Tarot even reads it as “Fuck the system, I’m going to be who I really am!”… Which would be a lovely way to view this, and – given the whole “leveling up” thing – maybe is how I should go? In my case, though, the six of cups is frequently a card of longing that hints at… well, given that the 7 of Water in this deck is projections, I tend to read it as a bad tendency to assume one thing is happening when, in reality, no such thing was ever promised or put into words. (Weirdly, this card’s “key dates” fall right on top of my birthday. Hm…)
The 7 of Air has pretty much always spoken to the deep fear/suspicion that I’m a Monster Inside and that I have to pretend to be something so much smaller, less voracious, more polite than I actually am in order to be loved and wanted. It tends to serve as a reminder to Take Off The Mask. Which can relate to both the “be who you really are” and “stop assuming everyone means the same thing when they use the same words” stuff in the Six of Cups, to the “set yourself free” stuff intrinsic to the Page.
 
As for Who and How?
Who do I need to be? The Hanged Man. Which is patience, taking a breath, “hanging around”, a long look in the mirror, a willingness to entertain a change in perspective.
How do I need to be this? Judgement. Awakening, Liberation. (when you’re ready, you’ll climb). Don’t just hang in there, take a look around. Notice how things could be different.
 
Ugh.
And that’s the thing.
Because, when I read for myself, I tend to get the answers I’m expecting. Like when I assume the six of cups is always and only the “wishful thinking” card, and completely ignore all the numerous good/positive/hopeful aspects of it. I see The Hanged Man, and I read it as a specific thing. And sometimes I wonder what I’m missing. Can it mean “be willing to let your world be flipped upside down”? Can it mean “Stop worrying about controlling every little thing”? Can it mean “Let It Go“? Can it mean a whole bunch of stuff that I’m just not thinking of? (Uh… probably).
 
ANYWAY.
 
 
Ariel, at Siobhan’s Mirror, said in her (two weeks ago) tarotscope for Scorpio:

Understand that all you wish for already exists and is on its way to you.

…Which puts me in mind of the not-so-long-ago message in that reading I did for the New Moon right around Beltane.
 
Chani says:

Surround yourself with the folks that inspire you to trust in the ebbs and flows of life.
Surround yourself with the folks that help you to feel your own innate sturdiness.
Surround yourself with the folks that never have you second guessing your gifts.
&nbsp:
As Venus moves into Taurus, it wants to help you to connect with those that know how to build. Partnerships. Relationships. Life. This month-long journey of Venus’s wants you to open up to the possibilities of different kinds of partnering.
 
The season of love is upon you.

 
I can only hope.
 
 
ANYWAY. I’ve been sitting on this post for seriously a month… Time to hit the Post button.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad.
 
 
[1] Being psychic doesn’t mean you can’t be cissexist. I have a bunch of masc-of-centre NB folks in my life, which “…might be a guy, but I can’t tell” could sort-of apply to, but seeing as there aren’t a whole lot of straight-up dudes in my life, I have no fucking clue who this person is. Given the context, it seems unlikely to be my brother, so… Uh? No idea.

New Moon – Flower Moon Begins

Today, the new moon shifts from Taurus into Gemini.
The folks at Hoodwitch – who point out that this one is a Super Moon? – mention that this is a time when people may find themselves feeling a little overwhelmed, or else feeling like they can take on more than they actually can. (Guilty. My wife totally sat me down and told me not to reinvent the wheel on a particular project). They suggest that this is a good time, energetically, for rituals around goal-setting (new moons in general) but particularly for creative writing, communication, and social boundaries: Gemini is chatty and social, but is also an Air sign so, tarot-wise, Gemini exists in Sword Time, in terms of things you may want to focus on. Want to Work yourself to be better at Using Your Words? Now’s the time to do it. Want to get your actions more in line with your actual values? This – especially with Venus squaring Pluto right now – is a prime opportunity get that stuff sorted out, make a plan and implement it (for longer-term project, which this might be, I recommend Miss Sugar’s New Year New You magical-action project prompts – I’ve found them really helpful on a number of occasions). Want to focus and get clear about some Stuff you’ve got that’s keeping you confused and spiraling, dig down and sort out what you really, really want (as Ariel, at Siobhan’s Mirror, suggests I do in her Scorpio Tarotscope for this New Moon), or maybe let go of some Old Baggage? This is a good time to work on that (and, handily, Hoodwitch has you covered with a Meditation suggestion).
 
Liz Worth talks about Gemini New Moon as a time of social choices. She offers a handy tarot spread (bottom of the linked post) and asks us to consider who is choosing us, and where we’re putting our social energy. Are we deepening connections with people who matter to us? Are we reaching out to people who reach back to us? Or are we tossing our social energy “juggling balls” at people who aren’t tossing them back, and aren’t showing up? Are we expressing ourselves to the best of our abilities? She points out that Gemini Time has a shadow side that looks like indecision and lack of commitment, and a certain amount of abdication when it comes to owning our choices (and our ability to make them). <– This is absolutely something that I have a LOT of problems with and am only very recently starting to get the hang of. I've been faced with a series of crap options on the personal front and, not liking any of them, have chosen to stick with the status quo while telling myself (and firmly believing) that someone else had all the power in those situations… even though, really, I was making a choice to stick with something that wasn’t going well. This Gemini New Moon is a good reminder for me to watch myself, and my (in)actions, in those situations. As Hoodwitch points out: “Practice acceptance this week, even about the things you want to change. Acceptance isn’t consent; it’s self-awareness.”
 
Questions to Ask Yourself during Gemini New Moon and its Waxing Period:
What can I cultivate, nurture, and allow to take root within myself as this moon waxes?
You’ve got all that composted energy from the recent Balsamic Moon to work with so, set goals, yes. But then act on them. A goal is just a wish, if you don’t put some action into it. For each goal you set, come up with one internal and one external action you can take to further it. (E.G.: I want to use my words better. Internal Actions: I can do a faceup tarot spread to help me sort out what I want to say, or I can bless and drink a tea made from nettles and thyme, to bolster my courage and my way with words. External Actions: I can push myself to Use My Words to ask for what I want or need – attention, respect for a boundary, choose your own adventure – clearly and specifically, once a day, for a week… and see how I feel).
What I can I breathe through and/or air out during this period of clarity? Gemini Time means connections, but Air Time more generally means boundaries and sometimes cutting ties, whether with people or with old habits. Get clear on what are deal breakers (and who or what need to be offered less of your time, energy, and attention as a result) versus what are things you can accept as a “price of admission” in your social interactions (and therefore work to stop spending your energy stewing about them)?
 
Ariel’s tarotscope for Scorpio suggests that good things (and some much-needed financial/material stability) come for those who stand their ground. Which is a relief to hear. Gods know I have a hell of a time talking about Money Stuff, and don’t have a really solid grasp of what “normal” or “healthy” look like when there’s cash on the table (or not on the table, as the case may be). I hope her predictions hold true, but I suspect I’ll need to Use My Words and have some scary/stressful discussions in the near future to make sure of that. O.O
 
As far as good things coming to me go… I’ve landed another part-time contract: One day per week (or a little less – more like 4 hours, with the option of a few more as needed) at a very respectable rate of pay, working From Home for a friend who needed, essentially, a research assistant. I’ve also received a wodge of seeds and starts from friends of mine (an aubergine and a jalapeno pepper; a couple of ground cherries; a whole bag of seed packets that I can use in the front and back gardens). I’m really enjoying showing off my garden, and trading rhubarb (stewed or cooked up like lemon curd) for plant starts or giving it as thank-yous. I’m also enjoying harvesting from it! Rhubarb Bars, stewed rhubarb for desserts; baby mustard greens, dandelion greens, and garlic chives for dinner veggies with pasta and cheese sauce; sage (which is about to flower – it’s gorgeous in flower!) used to flavour dips and roasts.
The garden doesn’t quite have its legs yet, so to speak, but it’s getting closer every day. I spaced out my radishes this morning, and we’ll have them to eat in another week or so. The chard is starting (slowly) to take off, and so is the kale. I’ve (re)-sewn sorrel, and I hope it will germinate this time ’round. I may be able to get some lovage (a heavy perennial “herb” that works more like a vegetable. You use the stalks and leaves in place of celery and I think it would be good for “transition periods” – right when it’s available – for soups, stews, and as a pot veggie to cook up with a roast) from a friend of a friend.
I planted (well, seed-scattered) larkspur, forget-me-not, and field poppies in the front yard, and I now have lupin and nasturtium seeds to add as well. I’ll be getting some Lily-of-the-Valley and, maybe, some Dame’s Rocket (“Wild Phlox”) seeds later in the summer, after they’ve had a chance to seed. My goal is to hit up one of the markets (Byward or Parkdale) in the next week or so and see if I can’t get my hands of a few more herb, flower, and veggie starts to top things off but, for the moment, I’m waiting for my seeds to germinate… so that I can remember where they were planted. Adding more transplants has to wait until then! 😉
 
 
~*~
 
Movement: Not a whole heck of a lot. I spent most of last week sick, and I’m still recovering. I’m finding I need more sleep than usual (or at least “usual” during long-daylight time) and I get tired faster. I’m still walking a lot, and working in my garden (which involves lots of bending and squatting and digging), but I’m also taking a lot of rest breaks.
 
Attention: Paying a LOT of attention to boundaries and how much energy I have available to throw at any given project. Some of this means checking, and double-checking my schedule to make sure I know how much of my time is devoted to Other People (whether that’s social time OR paid-work time) versus how much I have available for writing, tending the garden, home-keeping, and other stuff that’s more solitary and self-recovering. Also working to be more actively attentive-to/engaged-with my wife, making time for date excursions and conversations, trying to make a little LESS space in my life for “screen time” (says the lady who has been on her computer for four hours at this point…)
 
Gratitude: Friends & family who give me things – Plant starts, seeds, a covered hotel room (!!!), a car to borrow (!!!), knife-throwing lessons, a recently-replaced washer and dryer (!!!!!) – to help me out. (Seriously, I can’t tell you how excited I am about all of the above, but in particular about the fact that we are going to have an in-house washing machine and drying machine as soon as early June! To be able to make the week’s bread, work my new from-home job, do the dishes, AND do the laundry all at the same time? SO AMAZING!) Grateful, too, for a long walk with my wife, dinner and conversation (and compassionate advice) with a friend, garden chats and catching up with other friends. The ability (thanks to the above-mentioned car and hotel room) to attend my family reunion in mid-June. Grateful for warm weather and long, sunny days. Grateful that my neighbour lets me use her garden hose to water my plants.
 
Inspiration: Dane Edidi’s poetry book, Remains: A Gathering of Bones JUST arrived in the mail, and I’m looking forward to digging into it. I’m also told that one of my library holds has come in, and I’m excited to dig into the work of one of Urban Fantasy’s grandmothers. I’m also getting inspired by the garden- and kitchen-craft of other folks – whether they’re friends and neighbours, or long-distance folks whose blogs I read. It’s great to geek about gardening and fermenting with other people who do what I do, to trade plants (or SCOBYs), and get ideas for what to try next.
 
Creation: Lots of kitchen creativity. Lots of garden nurture, though that’s not exactly “creative” on my part. Coming up with new recipes. Writing poems. Made jewelry for a friend (who was wearing them when she won her Big Award – I’m so chuffed about that tiny, rather insignificant, but special for me detail). Hoping I can push next week for a writing date or two. I read the work of people who come up with, like THIRTY, GOOD poems in the space of seven days, and I’m just like… How do you do that?? But I want to try, too, so I shall. (Remember what I said, above, about Internal and External things I can do to forward my goals? External: Schedule writing dates and put them in the calendar, then follow-through and attend them. Internal: Refill my creative well by reading lots of poetry by other femmes (which will then be glossed in my poetry writing, so…)

New Moon – Long Nights Moon Begins (Looking for Patterns, Setting Intentions)

Welp. It’s freezing rain today.
It had to happen some time.
There’s snow on the ground, though it’s been hovering around Freezing for days, and a lot of it has melted. I have sunchokes and pumpkin to process for the freezer (today, ideally),and more sun-chokes in the garden that I hope (uh…) I’ll have the chance to dig up before the ground freezes solid. (Note: If it does freeze solid, they’re not going to be hurt by staying in the ground all winter and getting dug up for fresh veggies in early April or something. It would just be nice to have them available sooner than that). I have kombucha, sour kraut, kefir, and lacto-fermented sun-choke pickles all doing their thing on my “fermentation shelf” (AKA: the top of the chest freezer). The sun is noticeably heading towards Already Set, Doll by 3:30 in the afternoon (so, y’know, about 2 hours from now), even if it isn’t actually Full Dark By Four PM yet… but it’s coming.
 
A lot of my horoscopes have been talking about money, lately. Money, value, blocking myself from Getting What I Really Want, making sure I get paid for what I do, stuff like that. The rest have all been about Self Care, topping up my metaphorical/spiritual larder, reminders not to be All Things To All People all the time and about how “self care” isn’t just about pleasure (though pleasure is important!) it’s also about things like “asking for help when you need it” and “being vulnerable and telling people stuff they don’t want to hear (like “no”)” and “taking Actual Care of your body, by feeding yourself, doing your physio, and bathing”.
Radiomancy is another story, and I will talk about that in a post of its own, but that’s been happening, too.
 
My wife and I have both been self-employed for three years now. (I was self-employed for another two years before that, but now it’s both of us). The lunar cycle overlaps Winter Solstice is not generally an easy time for us. There’s emotional stuff, old traumas starting to holler and the work of pushing back against all those meta-naratives (accurate or otherwise) that our families-of-origin like us least, are happier spending The Holidays without the low-income, queer-A-F, freaky people around. But, money-wise, it’s difficult, too. My main source of income is modeling. At schools. All-of-which are in exams starting in about 10 days. Some Decembers, my wife is up to her eyeballs in custom leather gift-orders, and other years… crickets? and she never knows what that’s going to be until it happens. Things will probably be fine. But right now? They’re feeling kind of dicey. I’m wondering how many family members will Hate Me For Ever if I fail to send them xmas presents. Wondering what kind of solstice party I can throw on no money and all-home-made food[1].
 
It’s not all doom and gloom around here, mind you.
I have gorgeous new cookbooks (Batch, by the couple who run Well Preserved, and A Taste of Haida Gwaii: Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World by Canadian poet Susan Musgrave – the latter of which is almost more like a memoir told through recipes) to pour over, budding friendships (and old ones <3) to nurture, a wife to laugh with, and paycheques coming in (hurrah) for the past few weeks of modeling work.
 
Long Nights Moon is all about sorting through things and finding patterns. (And we humans just looooove finding patterns!) As Mecca said, on Twitter, the other day: If Scorpio Season is all about digging secrets out of the muck and dragging them up to the surface, then Saggitarius Season is about shining a flashlight on that stuff, rather than sweeping it all back under the rug. Yes, for sure, there are frequently riches hidden in that muck. But there’s also a lot of crap to be thrown out, or otherwise composted into something better. (Which, P.S..? I still don’t have a compost heap in my back yard. After two years in this house… Hm… Time to get on that, I think…)
I’ve been avoiding my tarot cards for a month or more – for pretty-much all of Scorpio Season (didn’t even do a birthday reading for myself) – afraid of what they’d tell me. Well. Messages come through in other ways, but I think it’s time for some confirmation. Time to pick that deck (those decks…) up again, and see what stories they can tell.
 
Some of my secrets… aren’t really secrets. They’re just another step in the long (longer than I like) process of having to come to terms, over and over, with letting things (and occasionally people) go. But others are… news-and-not-news to me. Finding out exactly why I have such a problem with being told to Do Your Self-Care, and how much that relates to (internalized?) ableism, and notions of whether or not I “deserve” help/kindness/rest/pleasure/care in the first place. The difficulties I have with self-compassion. The fears that are still living under my skin, as much as I’m trying to repair them.
 
Goals for this lunar cycle:
Be patient with myself, but don’t stop making progress;
Practice being kind to myself, while recognizing that “being kind” is a very different thing from “being an enabler” (Be My Own Mommy, as I once said to a friend who needed a fresh set of eyes on a tarot spread she’d done for herself);
Do the things that make me happy: knit/weave/sew, cook/preserve/ferment/bake, keep writing poetry, take baths and read novels and light my altars on the regular, spend time with the people I care about… You know, all the good stuff. 😉
 
What intentions/goals are you setting during this New Moon around How To Deal with the secrets you’ve learned about yourself? What are you deliberately shining a light on? (What’s that thing out of The Omnivore’s Dilema? “No better disinfectant than fresh air and sunshine”? Or, as Brene Brown puts it: “Shame can’t thrive without secrecy”).
 
 
~*~
 
 
Motion: I am getting stronger. I can still only do Plank for one minute at a time, but I can do it starting from my toes, rather than from my knees, which is a big improvement. I can see muscle developing in my arms, which is exciting. I’m taking the bus more often, these days, but still get out to walk a fair bit. There’s a dance coming up in a little less than a week, and I’m looking forward to it.
 
Attention: Pulling the threads of this year’s Learning Process together, noticing the stuff that keeps popping up on my radar and trying to braid it all together.
 
Gratitude: I am SO FUCKING GRATEFUL for my larder (link actually goes to someone else’s post about their larder, but the concepts she’s discussing are ones I try to work with). My months worth of flour, oil, sugars, frozen veggies, jars of jam and fruit butter, crushed tomatoes, bags of lentils, dry beans, pasta, and grains, the kombucha that can be used as lemonade or vinegar depending on how I want to mix things. The only groceries on my Must Buy list (er… right now) are milk, eggs, and coffee, and that should stay the case for at least another couple of weeks (toilet paper will eventually be on there, too). We would be in a lot of trouble if didn’t kitchen really well-stocked with stuff that we actually eat (and that I actually know how to prepare). Also grateful for: Friends who check in with me about how I’m doing, send me Hello notes on FB or through email, tell me they miss me. For a wife who loves me to bits. For other friends who tell my why they never got back to me about The Thing and, as such, put my weasel-brain to rest on the subject of “did I do something wrong”. For parties. For dancing. For the little blue bird who chirps at me all day (and, okay, fine, for the other two birds as well, who are totally napping right now). For clean sheets to snuggle under. For gentle temperatures as the dark sets in. For my mom, who has offered to buy us a bed for our guest-room as an xmas present (Which is pretty amazing, I have to say). For friends who get as excited about pickling and knitting and so-on as I do. 🙂 Lots and lots of good things in my life.
 
Inspiration: All of those above-mentioned friends who like to pickle and preserve and ferment in their kitchens. ❤
 
Creation: Wrote three new (drafts of) poems! The plan is to take myself somewhere (most likely the dining room table) and write some more poems today! I’ve been working on my latest weaving project. In fits and stars, yes, but still! Weaving! I’ve also been poking through my fabric stash and seeing what I’ve got in there that I can use to make presents for people (shift dresses, vibrantly-patterned neck ties, fancy handbags) using what I already have.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Honestly, a pretty good. I’ve done it a few times before. But it’s really nice to be able to bank on having a budget for cheese and wine and non-home-made crackers to top things up. Right now (almost a month in advance, I realize) the menu looks like:
Garlicky Hummus
Red Lentil Dip (with nutritional yeast & dried tomatoes, among other things)
Kefir-cheese spread with herbs (probably rosemary, basil, and thyme)
Chokecherry chutney (AKA plum relish, as you will)
Bread, possibly baked in a round pan and torn up so it looks Fancy-Rustic
Crackers?
Lacto-fermented sunchoke pickles
Vinegar-pickled beets (from a friend)
Tomato-Peach salsa?
Creton (a Quebecois spread made with ground pork, cream, onion, garlic, and tortiere spices)
Various Cookies (we’ll see if I have butter to do shortbread, but I can do ginger snaps and other goodies)
Chocolate bark with walnuts and apricots/cherries
Mint-chocolate cupcakes OR wacky cake?
Kombucha
Raspberry Ginger Peach “friendship tea” (you make tea on the stove with whole spices thrown in)

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

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

Chokecherry Chutney / Plum Relish and The Reason for the Season (of the Witch)

Hello!
So, today I ran a canning workshop which, alas, did not have a great turn-out. BUT the lovely thing about running a canning workshop is that either (a) you get a big group and you all geek about canning and you have waaaaay less stuff to cary home than you originally brought OR (b) you get a small group and you all geek about canning and you get to bring home a whole bunch of preserves that you didn’t have to mess up your own kitchen to make. (The ACO, where I ran the thing, has a dish-washer and TWO STOVES. It was great!)
So I’m counting it as a win. 🙂
 
My one co-canner and I nattered about canning (of course), about how satisfying it is, about our respective not-distant-at-all farming ancestors, and about familial and cultural food traditions… and on my way home, I realized: we were talking about what this time of year is about. About the harvest, about getting the family (chosen or origin or both) together, about sharing, about where and whom we come from.
It was really wonderful.
 
Anyway. I had about 5 cups of chokecherry purree put aside for today, so I ended up re-jigging last year’s recipe into something a little more plum-heavy. You can call it Choke Cherry Chutney if you want to, but you could also call it Plum Relish. Either way, it tastes amazing, and I have six jars of it put up in my cupboard. 😉
Enjoy!
 
~*~
 
Chokecherry Chutney 2016 (AKA Plum Relish)
 
Ingredients
30+ blue plums, pitted and diced (leave the skins on, it’s fine)
+
5 C chokecherry puree
1½ C red wine vinegar
+
4 medium onions, diced
+
2 C dried (sweetened) cranberries
+
2 C granulated sugar
2 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
 
 
Directions
 
Well in advance:
Pick chokecherries – you will need 3 litres to start with. This will take anywhere from 2 hours to a couple of days, depending on how abundant the chokecherry trees are being in a given year.
 
Wash the chokecherries, discarding any stems, leaves, and other detritus
 
Simmer chokecherries in a little water, covered, for half an hour, poke at them with a fork occasionally
 
Strain chokecherries & liquid through a sieve (or a food mill, or an apple-sauce strainer, or a colander with very small holes… you get the idea), scraping the sides to make sure you get as much pulp in with the juice as possible (this will take about an hour if you’re using a sieve, it will probably take less time if you’re using a food mill or an apple sauce strainer). The goal here is to remove the pits (which, like all almond-related fruits, have cyanide in them) and get a smooth chokecherry base for your preserve.
 
Day Of:
Wash, pit, and dice the plums
 
Peel and dice the onions
 
Combine all the ingredients in a wide, ideally deep, pot (this stuff will splatter)
 
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent things from sticking to the bottom (leave the lid off the pot, at least a bit, to let the liquid cook down faster)
 
Sterilize a doezen 1C jars + lids and rings – you can do this in a dish-washer, by boiling them in a water bath, or by baking the jars (you still have to boil the lids and rings) in an oven set to 225F for 20 minutes.
 
When the chutney is bubbling and nicely thickened (the liquidy part will sort of glob together a little before dripping off a spoon and/or when you stir the mixture, you’ll be able to see the bottom of the pan for just a second before the mix oozes back in to fill the space), ladle it into your sterilized jars.
 
Cap and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
 
Allow to cool, listening for the “plunk” that tells you they’ve properly sealed.