Tag Archives: Empress Project

New Year New You 2018 – Halfway Point Feeeeelings

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:“[R]eflect on the last nine weeks and talk about what you’ve learned. About yourself, about goal setting, about your magical practice, whatever was meaningful to you. Also reflect on where you would like to see yourself heading now that you’ve accomplished what you’ve accomplished.”
 

Eight of Arrows (Wildwood Tarot) - Struggle - A hooded figure carrying a lantern struggles through the snow in a fierce wind.

Eight of Arrows (Wildwood Tarot) – Struggle
A hooded figure carrying a lantern struggles through the snow in a fierce wind.


 
Tarot Card: Eight of Swords
 
This isn’t really the halfway point. But, when this course first ran, it was the last public prompt. Obviously there are, like, 13 more to go now, BUT long, long ago, this was the last stop for the blog-around.
Which is convenient.
Because I’ve been kind of wondering what the heck I’m doing.
The previous prompt, about asking for help, acknowledged that at this point in the project, participants are likely to be tired, demoralized, or otherwise wondering why they started this stuff in the first place.
And, y’all? I’m kind of there.
Some of the stuff associated with the eight of swords are: “floundering around / feeling lost” and “feeling overwhelmed”, and “needing guidance or clarity” right alongside “doubting anything you do will help” and “avoiding responsibility”.
I look at my response to this prompt from when I did it for my Queen of Cups Project, and in a lot of ways I’m in the same place I was two years ago. Still stuck on the Planes of Desolation.
What I said in my Goals Post, way back in January, was that:

This project is about opening myself up, rooting myself solid, and becoming my fullest, most integrated, femme self.

 
And I’m really not sure if that’s happening.
I mean, yes, things are going really well (I think) on the creativity front.
But that’s the easy bit.
The other stuff? The stuff about internalizing that my whole self – the needy part and the possessive part and, frankly, the violent, impatient, frightening part… as well as the care-giving part – is worthy of love and belonging? Or the stuff about understanding, really-really-for-real, that I’m allowed to ask for experiences, care, and pleasure that I want, just because I want them? Or the stuff about shucking off emotional/relational bad habits in favour of ones that reflect (and require) better boundaries?
That stuff is… it’s not going nowhere. I can recognize that. But it’s hard going, and I frequently catch myself deciding to do things where I am seriouslyquestioning the motivation behind those decisions, or else falling back on behaviours that I know are self-destructive and unhelpful and just… It’s good that I’m catching them. It’s good that I can recognize when my body-mind is doing stupid things like getting emotionally agitated specifically because I’ve been agitating the water to do the dishes, and my body-mind is reacting to “agitated movement” with “agitated feelings” and it’s just… at least I can catch it and stop it?
Which is a major deal, even if I’m not necessarily catching it all the time.
And I still have a LOT of concerns about just how quickly this mental health house of cards would come crashing down if I were to throw a wrench – like a new relationship or a new job (neither of which are on the horizon, fyi) – into the gears.
 
I feel like I need to reset my glamour, or otherwise give it a good wash-up and a polish because, wild-harvested apples, home-made rainbow earrings, and a day spent playing tourist at the local big Fibre Arts festival notwithstanding, I am feeling run down.
 
So I guess that’s the next magical-physical thing on my to-do list.
 
On the Glamour Front – because, as you may recall, this is being done in conjunction with the exercises in Miss Sugar’s book – I’m kind of… I don’t know, equal parts “checking in” about it as per the halfway point Glamour Checklist and seriously questioning if what I’m doing even counts.
 
I find myself avoiding the spaces where it’s socially appropriate to revel in my violence and possessiveness which… I don’t really know what to do with. I mean, sure, some of my reasons for not going to Those Parties are just practicalities. I don’t technically have the disposable income to pay the cover fee. I don’t want to be “stuck” in a room full of overwhelming noise and sensory overload with no way to just leave and go home without inconveniencing someone else (the usual venue for these things is an industrial park on the other side of town with no real bus access, so I’d be relying on rides from other people). But… How much of those are just excuses to avoid those parties? How much of “I don’t want to be stuck there” is really “I don’t want to be somewhere where the parts of myself I’ve been feeling more and more wary/ashamed of could get rejected by the only people (demographic) on earth that might be okay with them”? How much of “I don’t want to be stuck there” is me assuming “Even in a context where it’s okay to be gleefully violent and take-y, I’m not really allowed to do what I want but ‘have to’ ‘facilitate an experience’ for someone else, instead”?
 
How do I stop believing that, just because X or Y person wasn’t that into me, or into what I wanted to do, I’m supposed to stop wanting what I want? That what I want, and what I am, is bad and shameful (or, hey, boring and repetitive) by default?
 
This is both a relational/emotional bad habit and an assumption about how my “scary side” should/will be rejected.
As such, I think the next major point of focus is, well, “therapy magic”. The stuff that’s harder to do, the “learn self-compassion” stuff. The “let yourself be truly seen” part of Glamour that goes beyond dressing with intent and reading my poetry at the open mic, and gets into stuff like “talking to my partners about explicit, specific, desires” even when I don’t know if the thing I want to experiment with will ruin everything or wind up okay.
 
This is really fucking scary.

New Year New You 2018 – Week 8 (Asking For Help)

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
 
Instructions: This week’s prompt is about asking someone for help. Most of us hate that shit with a hating that fires a thousand suns. Asking for help feels almost like admitting defeat. And by defeat, I mean admitting that you’re not invincible. Well. You’re not. Sorry.
 
Tarot Card: Honestly, this could be any – or maybe all – of the Fours.
 

The minor arcana Fours
Crystal Visions Tarot
“Four is the number of stability, the home, the physical realm, organisation, security, limitations and mercy.”


 
All the fours relate to both The Emperor (tradition, personal power, structure) and Temperance (balance, team work, moderation in all things). They’re also the first “plateau” in the climb from two to ten through the each suit.
I find that they pertain to the hopes and fears we have around trusting and working with other people. (Granted, I also think the sixes are about this, so maybe I’m just projecting here).
The four of fire is about participation and being an active part of A Group. The four of earth is the fear that nobody will have your back when you need it. The four of air is pulling away, or taking a step back, in order to prepare to re-enter a social (but not necessarily friendly) milieu. And the four of water… The four of water has one interpretation that I think fits this theme very well: Just take the fucking cup.
 
There is a well-worn, and more than a little frustrating, pathway in my head that goes: When I’m freaking out about something (which is often), I literally forget that people will help me.
Like, I have to stop myself and walk my brain through a multi-step process to get myself out of the head-space that truly believes “I don’t have friends” and back to something that more closely resembles reality.
So, when it comes to this particular writing/action prompt, I’m trying to recognize and accept the fucking cup more reliably when it’s offered to me.
 
When someone invited me to participate in a flash performance at a local poetry show? I said yes.
When a local author offered me a paid gig reading tarot for teens this Fall? I said yes.
When I got hit with a shitty summer cold and my wife said “Stay in bed and rest!”… I said yes (though I don’t think I could have done otherwise), rather than feeling guilty about not making my own sandwiches.
When a friend offered to cover the difference between missing and making last month’s rent payment? I said yes.
When a temp-job contact told me about a mat-leave reception contract in the same close-to-me office building and offered to put me in touch with the appropriate people? I said yes. (This was literally yesterday, and I’ve been having The Anxiety about it ever since, but I still said yes).
 
There was a time when accepting gifts/support from people – letting my girlfriend pay for dinner, for example, or believing someone when they say they want to hang out with me instead of assuming some kind of ulterior motive – felt fraught with danger and was fraught with shame. And certainly some of it still is, though being broke for eight straight years has definitely, uh, “helped” with that. I may still have difficulties around believing it when my partner(s) tell me I’m awesome, but if they offer to make me a sandwich, I am there!
 
Anyway. So, for this prompt, I had a look back at my goals for this project. Some of them (like putting my creative stuff out into the world by sending out poetry submissions, reading at open mics, and saying yes to participating in group performances) is going just fine. Some of it (like letting go of detrimental behaviours or opening up to relationships/behaviours/activities that are good for me) is… not so much.
There’s a lot of (ineffective) self-protective “don’t wanna” going on, and a fair bit of, I dunno, “The danger you know is better than the danger you don’t” in terms of how I interact with people. Like “Sure, I know that hiding my feelings because I think they’re stupid is… detrimental. But at least I know that, right? At least I know I’m putting my hand in a blender and can maybe mitigate/prepare-for some of the damages? Whereas if I do something different, there could be unexpected surprise blenders just appearing around my fingers, and then what would I do??”
It’s dumb.
I know it’s dumb.
So… One thing I am doing marginally more consistently is, as per her request, letting my wife know about what’s going on in my head. Like, if I’m getting all wound up because: Anxiety, I’ll actually tell her about it. Which I’m finding (and it feels really weird to discover this, even though it’s maybe not that surprising)… it helps. Really? Really.
And the combination of (a) showing my Crazy, if I can even call it that, and (b) having someone validate that weird collection of feelings, is kind of helping on the front of these two goals:

I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that my “scary side” isn’t actually scary to people who are good for me.
I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that all of me is worthy of love and belonging BY/WITH people who are good for me.

 
So, asking for help? Not exactly.
But accepting help when it’s offered, trusting that those offers are sincere and that I won’t be humiliated and/or abandoned while risking being vulnerable…? Yeah. I’m giving that a try.

New Year New You 2018 – Week Seven: In the Muddy Middle

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
 
Instructions: This week it’s important to work on specific things to further your goals. What’s the hardest thing for you to do? What do you keep putting off? Do it now. […] Show the universe what kind of wonders you’re capable of this week.
 

“Challenge”
Wildwood Tarot’s Two of Stones
Two hares boxing on their hind legs.


 
Tarot Card: Two of Earth (Moment to Moment).
I chose this card because it touches on the hustle. Working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Trying to find the balance and the solidity under your feet when things don’t feel solid at all.
 
I spent most of May applying for part-time admin work. One of those applications led to an interview(!) BUT… I didn’t get the job. I found that out last Wednesday. Spent about half a day feeling just so crushed and demoralized, and then it was time to drag my butt out the door and go to the job I already have (which, tbh, is much more in line with my idealized glamourous life than office work, and which actually makes me happy).
Basically, I had to remind myself that while, no, things aren’t all suddenly coming up roses, they aren’t actually any worse than they were three weeks ago.
This is not the end of the world.
 
However. Because I spent so much time pushing (everything from doing magic to finding editing-related reference-people) for this position, I’ve been feeling like the rest of my Empress Project has been taking a back seat. I mean, yes, the Empress is a boss-lady who handles all things abundant, so (magically and practically) pushing for some mundane-world financial stability isn’t exactly off-topic. But I’ve been feeling the Exile hard of late and, while I still need to keep one hand on that particular wheel, I need to get back into the rest of that project, too.
 
So. Things I can do right now (which is a good time to do it, because I don’t have a lot of paid work booked this week – though I’d be more than happy to have that change) to bring myself back on track in a more well-rounded way:
 
I can put together a few poetry submissions. I didn’t send any submissions out in May – like at all – so it’s time for me to get myself back to submitting to three places per month. (On the plus side, I’ve been invited – for a given value of invited – to submit to one place already, so that’s a nice jump-start to that task).
I can, likewise, finish my chapbook (still need to do a couple of re-writes and then polish it) with an eye to sending it out for publication.
I can write more glosas and blog about the poets who inspired them.
 
I can do the personal and home maintenance stuff that I’ve been neglecting, so that my home feels inviting and so that I feel up to visiting with people.
I can invite friends over to drink kombucha and eat rhubarb muffins in my garden, to reinforce the ties of my social net.
 
I can go on dates with my wife.
I can flirt[1] with people, and see if it goes anywhere.
I can talk about my Feeeeelings and ask questions when I need peoples actions clarified, instead of just assuming the worst.
 
Anyway. Things I can do TODAY include: Laundry and Poetry-writing, so I’m going to go and do that now.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Haha. Which I didn’t do particularly much, or particularly well, when I went to Queering Power over the weekend. But I do have a couple of in-town people who are interested in doing needle scenes with me, which is pretty great. 😀

New Year New You 2018 – Week Six: Glamour Magic is A Love Letter To My Body

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
 
Instructions:This week, I would like you to think about how you’re presenting yourself to the world and how that’s affecting your own personal goals“.
 

A Lady of the Lake figure, with the torso of a human woman and the legs and tail of something more reptilian, holds a mirror in one hand and the full moon in the other. There is a great blue heron, wearing an amulet, in the foreground. In the background, a small boat carries a shrouded figure (possibly a corpse). Further back, is a very small island that appears to have a door in the side.
In the Wildwood Tarot, the Twelfth card of the Major Arcana is called “The Mirror”. More traditionally, it’s The Hanged Man.


 
Tarot Card: The Mirror.
I chose this card from this deck specifically because of the “mirror” name. We are talking glamoury and self-presentation, after all.
Elsewhere, the Hanged Man has been named everything from Intermission to New Vision, and they are all at least a little bit relevant. They all involve changes of perspective. They all involve pausing to reflect.
What I think is really interesting, though, is that The Hanged Man has connotations of being open, being vulnerable. I wasn’t expecting that. (I mean, I suppose if you’re literally hanging by your ankle, that’s a pretty vulnerable position to be in, but it still came as a surprise). And there’s a fair bit of that in glamoury. It’s not a mask. It’s not a false front. It’s you, shined up and gleaming and refusing to compartmentalize yourself for anybody else’s comfort. It’s you being your own velvet rope.
 
I have to admit that, after (putting off) last week’s prompt, I’m finding Week Six to be weirdly easy? Like for the first time ever (I’ve done this Experiment a number of times at this point) I’m not going into The Glamour Prompt feeling defensive or otherwise dreading it. Maybe because I’ve been doing deliberate glamour magic for something like 8 months now, or because I’m feeling a little more solid around stuff like “dressing your age” when I want and need it to mean something other than “dress like someone who works as an office admin” (even when I do, periodically, work as an office admin… and find myself woefully under-prepared in the clothes department for anything more than about a two-day contract).
Regardless, when I clicked on the prompt to remind myself what it was? I was relieved. Like “Oh. Glamour. Got it covered!”
And, on some levels, I do. My bras fit. I know how to mend my own socks and make/modify my own clothes (so they fit). I’m getting better at contouring/highlighting. I’m dressing with a certain degree of intention. I went back to dying my hair “bisexual burgundy” because I missed it and, even having done a pretty spotty job of it, I’m really happy to have “my” hair back. (This is what happens when you notice how many red-heads are in your personal Glamour Glossary and then land en excuse to go back to your power colour). I started (very recently) doing daily bendy-stretchy exercises to complement my preexisting core-strengthening exercises, and incorporating affirmations-as-spell-craft into the whole routine, in the interest of being – ha – open (and vulnerable) to everything from hot pick-up sex to the possibility that unexpected changes are not only not the end of the world, but might actually be positive. I described my own body, a week ago, as gorgeous and lovable.
Which I guess brings me to:
 
One of Ms Sugar’s suggestions was to write a love-letter to your own body. So I did.

Dear Body,
I love you.
I love us?
 
I love that we can get places on foot, even when they’re 6-8 km away from our starting point. I love that we can walk up five flights of stairs without feeling like our chest is going to explode. I love that we are able to mitigate our lower back problems substantially through physiotherapy done through the lens of very selective yoga poses. I love that we are getting stronger. I love that we have curvy hips and solid thighs and broad shoulders. I love our long hair and strong neck. I love that we’re singing and doing warm-up exercises again, because it’s good for our head (or seems to be, so far). I love that we are getting more flexible, too.
 
I love that we can communicate. I love that we made the time to learn how to communicate and keep communicating. I love that when our sense-of-self dissociates, we know how to come back together again.
I love that we are a fully autonomous musical instrument, that we can send our sound up to two blocks away, farther if we are up high. I love that we have powerful core muscles and powerful face muscles and deep, deep, open lungs, to do this with and that we know how to do it on purpose. I love the notes we can hit and make them ring like bells. I love that we can sing things into being.
 
I love that our ears can pick up a tune, even if they can’t pick up the thread of a specific conversation.
I love our capacity for pleasure, even when our brain-side has a really hard time allowing us to get there and go there, especially with a sexual partner, especially while bottoming. I love that we’re capable of letting go like that. Of roaring and laughing, of coming hard and gushing. I love that we KNOW this, even if we can’t do it reliably (yet).
 
I love that we enjoy warm wind on our bare legs, hot sun on our skin. I love that hot baths help us come back together again and again.
I love that we recognize our own skin hunger. I love that we are snuggly and enormous, intimidatingly huge. I love that we can dance, and that we practice dancing in our kitchen.
I love that we’re comfortable being naked.
I love that we’re close enough to the current cultural standard of beauty that we can make a living off of how we look and move and stand in this messed up world. I love that we’re far enough away from the current cultural standard of beauty that we can make people stare at us just by standing up, and that we can question that beauty standard and interrogate it, even just a little bit.
 
I love that we love food and eating. I love that we are gluttonous. I love that we have a resilient digestive system, and that we enjoy the taste of all those home-made ferments that help us maintain it. I love that we love subtle flavours and can tease them apart, recognize and name them, because our tongue is clever and attentive.
I love that we have unexpectedly good aim, despite having difficulty focusing our almost-forty-year-old eyes on distant targets. I love that our fingers are strong and dextrous and can peel the meat off a bone ‘til its bare without a lot of trouble.
I love that we can manage without glasses… so far… even if we know they’re coming. But I also love that we enjoy adornment, that glasses will be annoying, probably, but they’ll also be jewelry for our face.
 
I love that we can breathe easily. That we don’t have to hunt for fragrance-free everything, and can enjoy heavily scented perfume oils and massage bars and bath bombs. I love that we’re aware of what working in that factory did to us, and that standing over a pot of melted paraffin may give us headaches now, but that we can make beeswax candles from scratch instead, which is what we like anyway. I love our lung capacity, the ways we navigate having a cleft palate and the mouth/nose/throat issues that’s given us our whole life.
 
I love that we are a water ape, that our clever, attentive tongue and nose can tell what is safe to keep eating and what is best left alone. I love that our fingers are long. I love that we have good (ish?) balance. I love that we can use our strength and grace and balance and flexibility to put food on the table by gardening and foraging and also by modeling.
I love that we are a spell, on purpose. That we can use our voice, our dancing, our touch, to move energy around and through, and that we figured this out through singing lessons but also, by and large, through trial and error and guess-work, and it WORKED.
I love that we are big enough to get things off the high shelves without trying.
I love that we dance in public. I love that we eat in public. I love that we take up all this space in all these many ways.
I love us.
I love you.
I love us.

New Year New You 2018 – Week Five: Make the Holy Every-Day, Make the Every-Day Holy

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:What are you going to do magically to make sure that your goals happened. This is the week to really focus on that.
 

High Priestess - Dark Days Tarot (Wren McMurdo) Someone with very long, dark hair is seated, cross-legged. Roses rise up from between their legs. A pomegranate and a crescent moon hover above their raised right hand. Glittering stars and the faces of generations of ancestors spill from the river of their hair.

High Priestess – Dark Days Tarot (Wren McMurdo)
Someone with very long, dark hair is seated, cross-legged. Roses rise up from between their legs. A pomegranate and a crescent moon hover above their raised right hand. Glittering stars and the faces of generations of ancestors spill from the river of their hair.


 
Tarot Card: High Priestess
I admit I chose this card slightly because I’ve been feeling stuck and this can be a card of stillness to the point of inaction or not-getting-involved and… I’ve been avoiding this prompt for months because of those feelings.
However, I mainly chose it for its connections to mystery, intuition, trusting your inner voice, connecting with hidden talents, self-knowledge, and with secrets and magic.
 
Earlier this week, Becoming Dangerous: Witchy femmes, queer conjurers, and magical rebels on summoning the power to resist[1] arrived in the mail – at last! – and I’ve been digging into it hard since it turned up.
It couldn’t have come at a better time, I don’t think, what with me spinning my wheels going “What the heck magical thing can I DO??” and mostly just feeling slumped and stuck and completely unmotivated.
The essays – written predominantly by queer femmes – have been reminding me of what everyday magic looks like, that the stuff I do to put one foot in front of the other isn’t just survival, that it can be symbolic action, magical action, as well.
I needed that reminder, and I needed it badly.
 
I spent the morning writing myself a remind of what kinds of magic I am, or can be, doing when I go about my day-to-day. Like greeting my gods at the cross-roads, at the sight of green things pushing through the still-cold-but-waking ground, at the warmth of sunlight, brightness of moonlight, on my skin… everything I do can be a magical act, a holy-making/acknowledging act. Turning the compost, tending the ferments, lighting my altar candles, those are easy to ritualize, and I already do so (though I could stand to do it more reliably and frequently). I’m talking more about things like turning self-care stuff (like doing my back, hip, and leg exercises, cooking Real Meals from scratch, getting dressed in my I’m Awake clothes even when I’m not expecting to leave the house that day, and even showering regularly) into something that I conceptualize as body-honouring, glamour-making, goal-manifesting, creation magic.
 
Maybe it’s because it’s still well below freezing, or because I’ve been doing office work all week (and thus wearing office-appropriate (and polyester-lined!) clothes), but I needed to remind myself that dressing like the queer, femme, spooky-hippy, would-be-sexpot that I am is a way to make that reality manifest in real time.
So I dressed with intention this morning – even though it’s been a day of house-cleaning, mending, kitchen craft. Even though the laundry needs doing. Maybe especially so.
 
How much of my not-so-great house-keeping could I redefine as a way to symbolically (magically, thinking-in-things-ly) remind myself that I’m Worthy? Worthy of a clean house. Worthy of a functional kitchen. Fresh socks every day. Light that is warm and welcoming. Food that will actually nourish my gorgeous, lovable body[2]. And, more (or maybe just equally?) to the point, would that get me to do it more reliably and/or less resentfully?
 
Liz Worth says that the incoming Aries new moon is an “open door” to walk through in order to make changes in your life – which is relevant to my above re-framing in-so-far as a change of consciousness ( at will) is definitely making a change.
She also posted a tarot spread to help figure out where to take risks and what to reach for when that opportunity arrives, because everything might be a bit up in the air right now (Mercury’s still in Retrograde until tomorrow, and won’t start moving “forward” again for another few days after that).
I had a friend over for a tarot-and-shop-talk evening a few days ago, and gave Liz’s spread a whirl, in the hopes that a spare set of eyes would help make sense of things.
 

What is it time for me to begin? –> Queen of Cups
What fear must I leave behind in order to do this? –> Empress
How can I cultivate deeper confidence? –> Ace of Cups (with a Six of Cups drawn when I was, like, “Huh??”)
What can no longer hold me back? –> Five of Cups
 
Advisor: Five of Swords (R)
Over-Arching + Underlying Influences: Page of Cups + King of Wands (R)

 
Most of this makes plenty of sense.
If I want my Empress Project to be successful, if I want to achieve my goals, I need to stop being afraid of “What If It Worked Out”, stop self-sabotaging, and similar, and start opening up and being receptive to the good stuff I’m trying to court and call into my life.
The grief and 20/20 hind-sight of the Five Of Cups – y’know, that stuff that’s been eating at me since 2016, if not earlier – is apparently far enough gone that I can just get on with things without drowning in it. (That’s not to say I don’t still Have The Feels about all that, but, well, see Prompt Three, tbh. You make Good Art by taking something, doing something to it, and then doing something different to it; and that’s also how you write a new future from a crappy history, so).
 
My over-arching/underlying pair are good mix of “open your heart” (Page of Cups) and “you have the inspiration/creativity/power” (King of Wands) that I think relates pretty clearly to the Empress and Queen of Cups in the initial spread. My advisor says “Focus on being your truest, best self. Don’t get distracted by zero-sum games, insecurities, or petty jealousies”.
 
The only card that’s really throwing me is the Ace of Cups. The card is meant to answer the question of HOW do I gain more confidence in this area, not WHERE do I need to gain more confidence.
What I said to my friend, after a bit of a chat about it all, was that if I were doing this spread for someone else, I’d read the Ace of Cups in that position as… As like when your therapist asks you “What nice thing are you going to do for yourself tonight” so that you develop a habit of making kind plans for yourself and then following through on them and, from that habit, build a relationship with yourself where you can trust yourself to be there for you. I think the card I drew for “what is this about” leans towards “Let yourself play, give yourself time for small pleasures and simple joys, continue learning how to recognize and accept good things when they’re offered to you rather than assuming there’s an ulterior motive or that everything will surely go to hell. Let yourself dream and desire beyond what you can currently grasp”.
 
So there we are. Little rituals in the every-day. Little offerings from myself to myself. Little glamours to lift me up and move me towards what I want.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Totally a sales link.
 
[2] Which, that right there? I have a terrible tendency to get hungry, get hangry, and take it out on myself by basically telling myself that food is for people who deserve it. Which, intellectually, I know is garbage and unkind and generally a bad road to go down, but it’s still a thing I do. Having someone else to cook for/with helps a LOT, in terms of getting me to put food in my own mouth. But remembering to put it in my own mouth, whether anybody else is there to share it with me, is an important thing to keep doing.

New Year New You 2018: Week 3 – Something You’ve Been Putting Off (Imbolg)

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:Let’s face it, Charmers, the critical component to success or failure in your goals is your ability to do shit you don’t want to do. […] Close your eyes and grit your teeth and just do it.
 
Tarot Card: I was strongly tempted to go with The World for this one, because of it’s association with Being Involved (I literally looked up “what is the opposite of The Hermit” for this), but it has more to do with the end-result of achieved goals than the work that goes into getting there. Given what my goals actually are, I think a better bet would be the Three of Cups or the Four of Wands.
 

On the left is the 3 of Water from my Osho Zen deck. On the right is the 4 of Bows from my Wildwood deck. Both cards are named "Celebration" and both images involves women dancing joyfully with each other alongside a powerful representation of the element in question (A thunderstorm for Water, a bonfire for Bows).

On the left is the 3 of Water from my Osho Zen deck. On the right is the 4 of Bows from my Wildwood deck. Both cards are named “Celebration” and both images involves women dancing joyfully with each other alongside a powerful representation of the element in question (A thunderstorm for Water, a bonfire for Bows).


 
Now, full disclosure, the three of cups is typically my Polyamoury card.
In the case of the Wildwood deck, where the three of vessels – a bunch of gawky birds with large, heavy chalices, that doesn’t even seem to relate much to the rest of its own suit – just leaves me cold? I was both delighted and super relieved to discover that the four of bows not only shares its name, but also its general imagery, with the familiar Three of Water from my Osho Zen deck.
Which is all well and good, BUT my Goals for this project are only partially/tangentially about finding additional people to date. So I’ve chose these two cards more for their social (Three of Cups) and interactive (Four of Wands) aspects, even though their respective “building good relationships in the styles you actually want” aspects are also relevant.
 
I’ve talked before about not being massively comfortable with “putting myself out there” and, while I am getting way better at things like cold-calling (well, cold-emailing) potential modeling clients and have been stepping back into the arena in terms of letting other people (friends, strangers at open mics, magazine editors) read/hear my poetry – and, in fact, just got the good news that one of the poems I submitted during January is going to be published. Go me! (I hope this becomes a trend! :-D) – the thought of being “on the make” in any concrete way is just… not comfortable. For a slew of reasons. Everything from “I am embarrassed at the though of looking ‘desperate'” to “I can’t control every aspect of this and am at risk of making a huge, heart-crushing mistake, as has happened in the past”.
 
Ugh.
 
Speaking of The Past: I’ve been dreaming, recently, of various inappropriate crushes and exes-I-should-be-over-by-now. Not sex dreams, thank fuck, but dreams. See Also weird feelings about Those People that are equal parts simmering but intense emotions and just… massive indifference. Like, it would be really nice if I could figure out how (hahaha) to let go of the low-level-but-pretty-constant feelings of longing, without ending up in a weird, chilly desert of “I guess I’d call So-And-So an acquaintance? We were never really that close”. Y’know?
 
Which is a round-about-way of saying that, by that particular token, and for various “Reasons” beyond it, AND in-so-far as you can “let something go” on command… I’ve been putting off Getting Over various people because, on some level, it feels very all-or-nothing to me, and I would rather not opt for “nothing” when I do want to be friends with these folks.
I don’t know what to do about it. I wrote the other day about how change takes time and magic has to build up in layers, and that trying to draw a map of where I want to go, when I don’t have much in the way of landmarks to even visualize, is difficult. And it is. Sometimes I’m pretty sure I hang onto what didn’t work because at least I can recognize the good bits in among the bad fits and lousy experiences, whereas looking forward is like trying to steer through fog. I can’t see where anything is going.
 
None the less, my list of actions for how to achieve my Empress Goals includes “teaching myself to stop chasing” the people who don’t step up and ask me for my company, and giving myself opportunities to meet new people who might do that asking.
It’s Imbolg. A good time for fresh starts, trying new things, and general quickening. Not a bad time to be doing this. To that end: In addition to things like “finally shaving my legs” and “anointing my sternum with Let The Right One(s) In ritual oil” (physical and magical glamour stuff, basically), I’m picking out Events that I can (make myself) go to in the near future that involve people I’ll probably like talking to (Mender Night at the Ottawa Tool Library was one such place) but that I haven’t been to before.
 
Wish me luck.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2018: Week Two – Goals

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:Determine what you want to accomplish in 2018 using both magical and mundane means, then break it down into magical and mundane steps that you can take.
 
Tarot Card: The Empress.
 

The Empress (Wild Uknown Tarot) A flowering tree with a waxing crescent moon overhead

The Empress (Wild Uknown Tarot)
A flowering tree with a waxing crescent moon overhead


 
In the Next World Tarot, The Empress is a black femme with pastel purple hair holding a torch in one hand and a potted plant in the other. She’s wearing a flowing yellow skirt (probably not an accident that her skirt is yellow) and no shirt, hanging out on a rocky shore where earth and water meet, with a huge, “everything blooming, coming to fruition”, full moon in the back ground. In the Osho Zen deck (link goes to picture), she’s rising out of the place where the flowering ground meets the river’s edge. Her roots are in the water, she’s crowned with stars, and she’s reaching for the waning moon.
 
The Empress is all about the important stuff: Connections, interdependence, mutual care, abundance, sensuality, pleasure, and creativity. She’s all about making things happen, helping people grow and bloom, and making yourself grown, bloom, and happen, too. She’s the integration of all the queens: the hard-won wisdom of arrows and the water’s willingness to open and trust; the bones’ roots-home and rock-steady preparedness, and the adventurous energy and drive of keys.
 
This project is about opening myself up, rooting myself solid, and becoming my fullest, most integrated, femme self.
 
Which, tbh, is very similar to my over-arching goal during my first go-round of this project. But ANYWAY.
This year’s NYNY Project is very-much tied to the Glamour Practice that I’m doing via Miss Sugar’s Glamour Magic (yes, that’s a sales link), and a big part of that particular project – only slightly to my surprise – is getting it through my own head that my “scary” (physically and emotionally intense, powerful and confident, sexually voracious, innately sensual, in ownership of my own skills and talents and competencies) side is a feature of myself, not a fucking bug. Which brings me to the over-arching goals of my Empress Project.
 
A thing I noticed: When I first wrote down some of the major elements of my Empress Project, they were a lot of “stops”. “STOP doing X”, “STOP doing Y”. And I gather from… I don’t even remember where… from somewhere that phrasing things as “do not do”, as a stop rather than a go-ahead, tends to make them harder to accomplish, if only because you’re not actually giving yourself a road map for what to do INSTEAD of the thing you want to stop doing.
SO. Let me try this again:

I want to let my creative lights shine more publicly and receive more public recognition for my creative work.
I want to find and engage with even more people who are a great fit for both me socially and romantically.
I want to let go of relationships, activities, and (in particular) behaviours that aren’t good for my head or my heart while inviting and actually recognizing relationships, activities and behaviours that ARE good for my head and heart.
I want to focus on the good things already in, and being invited into, my life and to recognize how to maintain those things (those relationships, activities, and behaviours) while still presenting my whole, fully-integrated self to both the mirror and the rest of the world.
I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that my “scary side” isn’t actually scary to people who are good for me.
I want to recognize and know-in-m-bones that all of me is worthy of love and belonging BY/WITH people who are good for me.
I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that I have permission to ask for the experiences, care, and pleasure that I want and will really enjoy.

 
Okay. So those are my goals.
How do I make this stuff happen?
 
In the original run of this course, the project only lasted a couple of months. From early December until mid-February. It’s now a 23-week run and lasts just shy of half a year, but the original question remains: At this point in my project, what I can I do BY VALENTINE’S DAY – so in the next four weeks or so – to get this particular ball rolling?
 
Honestly, the first task is the easiest. I can just send my poetry out for submission, and see if anyone decides to publish it. I have four magazines and a selection of poems to send to each of them, and all the deadlines are before (or one day after, but I like to get things in at least a little bit early) V-day. I can keep writing glosas and blogging about it. I can push myself today and finish the remaining poetry drafts for my impending self-published chapbook, “A Lantern to Scry By: Seventeen Poems Inspired By The Moon”, and then edit that stuff ’til it shines. I can decide to drop the $25 table fee and set up shop at the Moon Market (February 13th) with bath kisses and poetry-inspired jewelry and my hot-off-the-self-publishing-press new chapbook about Relationship Feels and New Beginnings, then drop off a few copies at Venus Envy to put on their zine wall.
 
Not too difficult, although having a plan for how to be nice to myself when I get rejection letters, or in case I don’t sell a lot of stuff at the craft fair, might be a good idea.
 
A lot of the rest, though, is just… developing new habits:
Setting intentions at the New Moon for calling in new behaviours and releasing the old ones.
Remembering to put on my crown of light (see comments section) and my Witch-Queen Bombshell energetic, but sometimes literal, regalia before I go out.
Singing to the Full Moon and taking a bath in her light, calling healing into and out of my cells.
Making a point of being open about what I actually want, what actually will make me happy, and then…
Paying attention to who steps up and offers it vs who doesn’t, and teaching myself to stop chasing the people who don’t.
Taking myself out dancing and Wearing big heels, low-cut tops, and my hair down when I do.
Practicing honesty by stating real boundaries and noticing when that feels terrifying vs when (if) it doesn’t.
Smearing perfume oils across my delta of venus, or my sternum, adding rosewater and lavender and pine essential oils to the bath.
Breathing through the clamor that comes with sex and staying engaged with my partner, saying what will work better or what I need right then.
Practicing honesty a different way, by treating questions about my day, my life, my creative process as though the person asking was actually interested in the answer, as though the answers were actually interesting.
Scribbling affirmations on my body in hand sanitizer and onto my mirror in enviro-cleaner infused with calendula (good luck, constancy, love, respect, and all things associated with The Sun).
 
The things that stand in my way here are the things that always stand in my way. Self-sabotage, over-thinking everything, a tendency to dwell on what didn’t work before, rather than on what might work yet, a bad habit that I think I still have of giving up, or retreating to my hermit shell, when things don’t obviously work the first time.
A lot of the magical stuff in my above list is ways of dealing with those personal obstacles, teaching myself how to see, make, and pursue the ways around and the ways right on through.
 
Wish me luck.
I’ve got poetry to finish.