Tag Archives: Lunar Cycles

Full Moon – Apple Moon Crests / Autumn Equinox 2021

A close-up of a whole apple pie is overlaid with a line-drawing of a slice of pie on a plate (lower right corner), and the words “Autumn Equinox: Happy Harvest Home” overlays the image in dark brown script.

Full moon is tomorrow, and Autumn Equinox is this coming Wednesday, but this post is going up today. I have my latest batch of Weird Fruit Curd just barely starting its waterbath on the stove. This year it’s a mix of peaches, a lemon a friend left at our place, and a bunch of sea buckthorn berries that I found in the freezer section of the grocery store (they are bitter, not sour, and not citrusy at all BUT they are exactly right for making fruit curd, so I’m going for it).

Some of the fruit curd, when it’s done, is going to be mixed into a soul cake – think cheesecake, but a 2000+ year old recipe – and used for offerings on both my home altar and the Autumn stone I’ll be visiting on Wednesday.

Right now, my altar candles are lit – I just did Ritual with the folks down in DC – and I’ve put a cup of chai with a little milk in it up there as an offering. I’ve been burning Prosperity incense today, because it seemed appropriate for the “I am enough, I have enough” Work that I’m doing this Equinox.

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about a job I applied for, and then took, because it was the only one available at the time, and which I’ve been regretting pretty much ever since, wanting to pull the plug and get out and waffling like heck because – among other reasons – while I don’t need it, and it’s making my life harder from the perspectives of creativity and anxiety, it’s also making my life much, much easier, financially. And that’s one of the factors I’m grappling with as I consider making my exit.

My girlfriend walked me through a somatic meditation the other day – I swear, this is relevant – that asked me to feel in my body the sense of “being cared for”. Not the stories I tell myself about what that does or doesn’t look like, or is/isn’t allowed to look like, but the literal, physical sensation of “being cared for”.

This was actually pretty easy to do. As someone with an anxiety disorder, and attachment anxiety on top of that, but who also has a couple of really solid, secure attachments in her life, the sensation of “when that shuts up and I feel safe” is actually familiar (amazing!) and something I can call up. Warmth, a cessation of the jittery trembling that is part of my baseline most of the time and its replacement with stillness, with calm. My shoulders coming down from my ears. My breath coming more easily, and more deeply, in and out of my lungs. A slowness. A palpable relief.

And that feeling came – not 100% easily, but it came – when I called.

What I wasn’t expecting was what came with it.

What came with it was the sensation/vision of a long, warm, tealight flame glowing steadily in my solar plexus. Golden light. Heat and calm and focus.

Now, you all know that I do a lot of Chakra Stuff. So I knew what I was looking at. The experience was a reminder that resilience isn’t something that is internally generated, that humans are animals whose strength is in community, whose power is in our connections, and our resilience comes from being cared for by others when we need the support, and by caring for other when they need it.

For a long time, my prayer has been “Let me have enough to share”.

And I’m finding that I draw a distinction between “share” and “give away”. Probably this comes from something like having grown up in this culture where we has so much stuff that we not only have more Things than we personally need, but that some of us don’t even know anybody personally who does need them. Where dropping things off at Value Village is less a kindness to someone else and more a way of avoiding putting still-useful things directly into a landfill with your own hands.

For me, “share” means “Clothing Swap” and “Free Box”. It means “Call that friend who sometimes run out of groceries and offer them the extra produce from the CSA”. It means “Community Fridge” and, sometimes, “Buy Nothing Group”. It means giving your extras to people you know – or at least people you might know because you live in the same neighbourhood or at the same intersection of opressions. Sharing is part of the resilience we offer to each other.

To give something away is a different situation. “To share [something]” is to keep it in the family, one way or another. “To give [something] away” is to let it go entirely. To let something move out of your hands, your family, your community and, yes, to be picked up by someone else who will welcome and cherish it but, also, never to return your way.

There’s a Saying that shows up in a lot of “psychology of wealth” self-help books, and in a lot of How To Magic books, too, about manifestation and how you have to shift the old, cluttered, stuff out in order to make room for new, wanted, stuff to come in. It’s one of the reasons why we make sacrifices. It’s why we ritually sain and sweep our houses, too. It’s why we shed our serpent skins to renew ourselves as we grow.

A lot of what stops people – or at least people like me, people who’ve known physical and emotional scarcity for big chunks of their lives – from being able to take the step of shifting the “old stuff” out is that… what if we need that some day? What if we need that [broken bed-frame] [exploitative job] [ill-fitting shirt] [unreliable, entitled ‘friend’] because we don’t have anything else?

So, this Autumn Equinox, this harvest time, I’m praying for Enough not just for us, for now, not just for us to keep and save and seed, not even just enough for us to share. I’m praying for Enough to be able to give things away and still keep me and mine safe and sure.

~*~

Three cards from the Wildwood tarot, laid out on a cedar board: “Healing”, the Seven of Stones (a Greenwoman does energy work on a fallen man in a kilt. They are surrounded by short standing stones). “Home”, the Ten of Stones (Looking through a stone arch, we see a giant roundhouse with a well-established living oak as its center post). “The Ancestor”, the Five of the Major Arcana (A woman with a deer’s head, dressed in Iron Age clothes, stands in the deep snow playing a bodhran. She is flanked by birch trees. A waxing crescent moon hangs in the background).

Given all this talk of resilience and redistribution, I was expecting the Six of Stones to fall out of my deck. Instead, I got the above three cards leaping out of my hands and landing at my feet.

My Wildwood deck is very literal – probably the most literal and here-and-now deck in my collection, none of whom are exactly subtle about a situation – so when I see the Seven of Stones (who was the archetypal energy we invoked at High Summer) – and the Ancestor (Oh, Hai, Samhain) on either side of a card called Home, I can recognize that my deck is saying “Yep! It is, indeed, Autumn Equinox in these parts!” So: Happy Harvest Home to you, too, my beloved kin of blood and spirit. I see you. ❤

And.

Because tarot is a language of metaphor, and there’s usually more than one thing going on in a given reading, I can look at these cards and see:

The seven of stones is an interim report, a check-in card that asks me to see if what I’m actually doing matches what I want and need to be doing. I had to laugh when I looked up “seven of pentacles” and got this very old post from Little Red Tarot, explicitly about leaving a job purely because it wasn’t enjoyable anymore. If only because I’m chewing on pulling that particular pin myself. It’s a card that says, as I once commented to my voice teacher approximately half a lifetime ago, “Freedom is paying your own bills”. It’s a reminder that Autonomy means you have both hard work ahead of you, step-by-step processes to follow if you want to get where you’re aiming and the time you need to rest and get used to this idea of Having Enough and not having to scrabble all the time.

The Hierophant – in this deck, the Ancestor – asks “Are your actions in line with your values?” It asks “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?” It asks me, in light of my payers and goals, How I’m defining “enough”, and how will I be ethical in my use of food, rare earths, potable water, fossil fuels, such that my desire for “enough to give (throw?) away” isn’t wasteful, isn’t theft, isn’t taking food out of someone else’s mouth?

Home – the ten of stones, this card that means material security and secure attachments at the same time – is an end-goal and a leveling-up at the same time. It reminds me that “Magic Happens In My Comfort Zone” (which is an image I saw on instagram, and now can’t find to say where) and that change, creative work, personal growth, and magic happen – sure – at the Resilient Edge of Resistance, but generally NOT when I’m struggling, emotionally activated, and losing sleep over food insecurity. But it also asks me: When you get what you want, what will you want next? It reminds me that Home – my safety, my abundance, my security – is built from mutual care and networks of family, blood and spirit, leather and glitter. Home isn’t “I” – not even for a massive introvert like me – but, rather, it’s something we build together out of all of dreams coming true.~*~

~*~

Movement: Heh. I ran up and down my basement steps 35+ times last weekend (not all in a row, but all in the same afternoon) to make sure I got Exercise. Yesterday, my wife and I went on a long, beautiful ramble along Pinecrest creek. I’d never been up towards its headwaters before, and it is a beautiful stroll under shade and through meadow. We said Hi to some big oak trees – old enough that it would take two tall women like us to stretch our arms all the way around the trunk – trailed our fingers in the creek water, met a lot of willow trees (their roots were trailing in the water, red as paint, it was amazing!) I look forward to doing this again!

Attention: Right this second, while my hands and eyes are working on this post, my nose and the back of my tongue are paying attention to the smell of mini soul cakes – made with the last quarter-cup of fruit curd that didn’t fit in the jars, plus sound ground spicebush berries and a little bit of whisky, plus the usual eggs, cream cheese, and honey – and waiting to take them out of the oven. I’m also paying attention to the torn up sidewalk outside, which is due to be replaced tomorrow. (I need to go out and embed some sigils in the gravel this evening).

Gratitude: Delicious food. BBQ dinner with some of my polycule. That long, glorious walk yesterday. Doing ritual with my far-way folk. Five pay-days this month plus enough cash in my recently-started travel fund that I can pay off my travel ticket fairly quickly, instead of it take 6+ months to do. Sunlight dappling through the cedar fronds outside my window. Being able to vote by mail. Two out of three jobs being jobs I actually love doing. A freezer full of stock bones, cauliflower, and zucchini. Glorious books out from the library (“Robert MacFarlane’s “Underland” is amazing and is, frankly, going to have a permanent place on my Witch Books shelf). A present for our household arriving in the mail. Getting to see my girlfriend soon. A long-over-due date with my wife. I have got SO MANY things to be grateful for!

Inspiration: Those blood-red willow roots! The half-billion-year-old stone plane that the creek runs over – it’s been so dry that a lot of it is exposed. You could have a (very small) dance party on a moonlit floor older than a lot of life on earth! This is the old sea bed that I’ve lived on most of my life. That’s underpinning my house right now. The sea that makes me a sea witch on dry land.

Creation: Soul cakes, fruit curd, the beginnings of potential poems ghosting around the edges of my mind.

New Moon – Apple Moon Begins

Ripe McIntosh apples collected in, and spilling out of , a wooden bucket with a rope handle. The words “Apple Moon Begins” overlay the image in white cursive text.

So, technically, the first question is “Should I really be calling this Apple Moon” when the apple tree across the street is fully denuded of apples, and they were ripe and falling off the tree weeks ago?

Not sure!

But this is the lunar cycle when Autumn Equinox happens, and that is sort of permanently associated with apple for me – plus, hey, apples have a LOT of varieties, and some of them won’t be ready to harvest until nearly Samhain – so… I’m sticking with Apple Moon.

Somehow we’ll survive.

Anyway. It’s raining today. Or at least it was raining for about an hour there. I’m hoping that we have a solid 24-hours of on-again-off-again rainfall, because this place is pretty parched. We had three squabbling blue jays land in our cedar tree this morning, only one of whom stuck around for long. It’s always nice to see them. (I’m biased. I love blue in general, and these folks look like stained glass windows). Right on schedule, the temperature has dropped from the high thirties down to lows of 6C. It’s pleasant-to-chilly out and, while we haven’t had a Danger Of Frost yet, I know there’s usually one on the way this time of year.

It feels like fall.

Today, I’m reading David Abram’s Becoming Animal. So far, the author’s note at the beginning – which is very much about “sometimes I mess around with spelling because it’s MeAnInGfUl” – had me rolling my eyes a little and wondering if this was going to be one of those “I’m so deep” books written by a certain kind of white philosophy major[1]. But the introduction was actually pretty good? I enjoyed the little discussion about how language is an animal Thing, a nature Thing, and that humans (animals making meaning out of sound) tend to forget that, and forget that the paper and the pen and the marks we make to represent the sounds of language are also, still, a nature Thing. (It reminds me of Chaweon’s tiktok about witches who think of Nature as this non-human, “virginal” landscape, and forget – or are upset at the thought that – a neon yellow highlighter pen is also nature, the product of a human animal doing what it does, which is make stuff all the freaking time).

That said, I do see a little bit of that in the choices the author has made so far (in Chapter 1, so I’ve got a ways to go) in terms of the landscapes in-which he’s choosing to situate his narrative. Like, I live in a city. I don’t follow deer trails, even when I’m in the woods. I follow tracks made by humans. Bike trails and paths cleared through the undergrowth by humans with weed-wackers and wheelbarrows full of arborists’ mulch.

This isn’t a new practice, either. Caribou and Reindeer both love, and follow, straight lines. Humans have been (a) making straight lines for the people we eat to follow, and (b) getting excited about naturally-occurring straight lines[2] since the ice headed back to more northern climes.

And yet here’s David Abrams talking about deer tracks, rather than raccoon tracks, cedars rather than poplars and box elders, non-human forest people rather than non-human city people. The impression I get, so far, is very much that of “We need to find our place BACK in the places we think of as non-human and pristine”. Not wholy out of line, fine, but… I remember someone positing that city trees were devoid of spiritual value, or skills, because of where they grew. And that’s just not true.

I’m grateful that I live in a part of my city that gives me easy-access to woodland preserves, plural, the river’s edge, and the relative diversity of birds and small mammals that come with that proximity. But I’m none the less in a city. I can be in my senses, practice mindfulness, see what the cloud-cover is saying, talk to the native and immigrant plants who live in my yard and inside my house, greet the chipmunks, skunks, cardinals, and crows who stop by, right where I am.

So. We’ll see where this book takes me. But the witch that I am, the animal that I am, lives in a city and so that context remains the relevant one for me.

A white person in a long, black, hooded robe, holding a lit candle. They are standing in the snow on a starry winter night, next to a tall Norwegian Spruce. An inverted drawing of crescent moon shines above them, and they are flanked by two drawn pillars, one dark and one light. (I made it in canva).

Tarot Meditation

I used this random tarot generator to pull my card for this waxing moon. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised – given what I’ve been thinking about today, and talking about above – that the card it gave me was the High Priestess.

Inner knowledge. Ecstatic practice. Using magic and ritual to communicate with the deep and divine parts of yourself and with the rest of the world.

I’m taking this as a Gentle Reminder to visit my Luxury Astral Sea Cave in the near future to check in with my Godself and my Fetch.

~*~

Movement: Making a little bit of time to dance, going for one (1) walk at Mud Lake with my wife.

Attention: Rereading Gideon the Ninth, trying to finish Anatomy of a Witch, digging into Becoming Animal. In other words: Books. I’m paying attention to books.

Gratitude: Grateful to be singing again. Grateful for Mud Lake, for the River, for the nature rehabilitation woodland a few blocks south of me. Grateful to be able to tell the difference between black walnut trees and staghorn sumac without having to see their respective fruits. Grateful for online video dates with my girlfriend and in-person date nights with my wife. Grateful for my work-from-home jobs and the money they bring in. grateful for evening primrose and autumn asters. Grateful for this breaking of the heat that’s made it reasonable to use the oven again. Grateful for blue jays on the window and crows wading in the shallows and gold finches in the pale-leaved wild sunflower. Grateful for rain. Grateful for being loved so much.

Inspiration: Conversations with my wife and my girlfriend, pretty things on pinterest, the work of other witches. Reading up on different ways a particular kind of ritual – one I’ll be facilitating for a few friends in a few weeks – can get done.

Creation: I’ve been working on my purple skirt again, starting to turn the raw edges under in French seams. I would say that I’m only about 1/3 done the whole thing. Which: If I want this ready for early October, I have a LOT of work ahead of me. So we’ll see. But I’m pleased with how it’s turning out so far.

TTFN,

Ms Syren (Meliad the Birch Maiden)

[1] As a white chick with a humanities degree, I both went to school with a lot of these and am, I suspect, in solid danger of being one as well. So here we are.

[2] Think of probably-glacially-made Avenue on Salisbury plain.

Full Moon – Thunder Moon Crests (and Wanes)

Green leaves of an apple tree caught in a downpour. The blackground is blurry and rain-washed, but there’s a mix of purple and green visible. The words “Thunder Moon” overlay the image in white text.

Okay. Full moon was last weekend, and I spent it banging my girlfriend and doing some chakra un-gunking stuff that got slightly intense.

Only the first part of that was planned.

Summer has been kind of bonkers. We’ve had two relatives die – it wasn’t COVID, it was just that time of life – and my girlfriend has been up to visit twice, one of which included a two-week quarantine just to (follow international travel rules and) be on the safe side. I got to visit my immediate family for a few days – which included getting to meet a new nibbling AND a new sister-in-law in person for the first time, plus a niece who 100% does not remember meeting me that one time when she was an infant several years ago – and we just had a house-guest for a few days more.

It’s been a VERY social summer after a solid year-and-a-half of basically seeing NOBODY.

O.O

So I’m grateful to have this quiet, drizzly afternoon with my house to myself.

It’s finally raining today.

Not anywhere near as much as we need it to, but it still rained, fairly gently, for a few hours. I’m hoping this weather keeps up for at least the next week so that the garden can get a good soaking and the river can refill her banks.

The Lammas Ritual I did almost a month ago, via the internet with Connect DC, was part of a low-key day where I lit my altars and did a little bit of glamour-tinged bath magic – Iron Pentacle work where I called Passion back into my foot (still needs some work, I think – that bit’s always been sticky) and made some time to do Me Maintenance – but didn’t do a whole lot else.

I’m still at a bit of a loss as to how to properly honour my Queer Aunties of Spirit, the Amazons.

Some ideas include:

  • Making my body stronger (which would also just be good for me) – this is likely to involve more yoga, more resistance training (like assisted/modified push-ups and pull-ins), and maybe some cycling?
  • Making regular donations to some kind of women’s support organization like the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, Cornerstone Housing for Women, or – provided they’re welcoming to, and supportive of, trans women/girls – an org like Vesta Recovery (addictions support) or  FitSpirit (that encourages teen girls to stay active). I’ve sent some inquiries off to see who’s on side or not, and will make some decisions from there.
  • Taking the time to make jewelry with them in mind (did this already)
  • Remembering to touch on them specifically, in addition to my other ancestors, when I make offerings (seems to be working so far?)
  • Uh… I’m open to suggestions. I don’t expect myself to take up any kind of HEMA or equestrian activities any time soon.

That said… Given that this is the first time in a month – my girlfriend’s Lady dropping by, notwithstanding – that I’ve Done Stuff that was particularly, or deliberately, religious in nature… I have to say, I’m having some Feels about my magico-religious practices. More on that in a second.

In the land of books: I finished The Hidden Life of Trees, yesterday. It’s a good book. I will probably get the coffee table version (complete with fancy photos) for one or more family members between now and 2022. I’ve got a few others by the same author out from the library, and I’m enjoying his writing. As obnoxious as this probably is, it’s kind of nice to read other white people talking about trees as communities of PEOPLE, rather than as objects or something. Like, yes, it’s embarrassing as hell that we forgot all this stuff – on purpose – a thousand+ years ago. But it’s nice to hear (some of) us – science us, even – talking about this again during a period where I can actually hear it in real time.

I love Braiding Sweetgrass. But it wasn’t written for me and, as much as I learned from it (in particular: confirmation on how to hear the answer when you ask if you can harvest someone), I also feel like I’m just one more white lady stealing Indigenous knowledge and worldview when what I read in that book influences how I live in this place and interact with everyone else who’s here.

So it’s nice to see people with a religious and social history that are closer to my own starting to pick up on, and talk about, this stuff. Even if they’d doing it from a very non-woo perspective and would probably balk at being referred to as Animists.

Also on my book list is Snapdragon, a middle-grade graphic novel that a friend of my lent me because she said it was perfect for me.

She was not wrong.

It’s a glorious story, full of queer folks and kindness and the kind of witchery that reminds me of Granny Weatherwax’s boots-on-the-ground practice. I love it, and recommend it for the young queers and very baby pagans in your life.

Lastly – and still with a ways to go before it’s done – is Anatomy of a Witch. I’m doing witchy book club with the author via her patreon, and the other night we covered the “Witch Bones” chapter, which deals a lot with structure.

You guys. Structure is something I feel like I’ve been lacking, the past little while. Maybe the past LONG while.

A long time ago – like 2013 – I had a LOT of time on my hands. Which was great. I made a point of treating every Friday as my day to Hearth Stuff and study Pagan Things. At the time, that meant exploring my own (still developing – always eveloping) cosmology and axiology through the Pagan Blog Project and reading books like Trance-Portation and Earth Path, while my altar candles were lit and I slow-cooked something slightly fancy and substantial in the oven (or the crock pot).

I’ve missed that for a long time, but in the past year and a bit – since I started working longer hours (and in a context that – unlike figure modeling – doesn’t give me hours of contemplation time while on the job) – I’ve been feeling it even more.

I’ve typically tried to avoid making Sundays my day to Do Religious Stuff – because I grew up Christian, and I want to kind of distance myself from those practices – but on some level that feels silly when I do have the option of choosing which days I devote to magical practices and cultivating my connections with my Deities, my Dead, and the local People of my bioregion. I have Sundays to myself, most weeks, and it would feel good to add some reliable Practice Time back into my life.

So here we are.

My altars are lit – including a votive candle for my recently deceased aunt. I’ve (finally) been to the Summer Stone to make my High Summer offering[1]. I’ve walked around the house with an incense stick (myrrh, in this case, because it smells nice and I associate it with embalming – thanks Chirstian Upbringing – so it seemed appropriate to do when I was fresh-lighting a votive for a new ancestor). I made three dozen beeswax tea lights, which should hold me for a little while. Long enough, at least, for it to get reliably cool enough to be able to bash up my next Giant Block of Beeswax without having to chill it in the fridge first.

It feels good.

It felt good to tidy the altar a little (just a little), to take the previous offerings (finally) off and add something new. To restock on candles – seriously, my actual corn-welcoming ritual with Connect DC? I had to scrounge in my supply cabinet to get enough candles to light my altar, and now I have enough to get through another 2-3 offerings. So it feels good to have that done again. It felt good to walk down to the Summer Stone and leave a slice of cake on a rhubarb leaf[2]. It feels good to be taking some time, right now, to update this blog and think about my practice a little more.

I think it will be worth it to give a bit more of my time to this – blogging; reading Suffering For Spirit and Spritual Mentoring: A Pagan Guide, and Of Blood and Bones; doing ritual, spellcraft, and energy work; taking time to wade in the river and stroll through the woods – every week.

~*~

Tarot Meditation:

My house-guest shuffled my deck this morning, just for something to do with their hands. I broke the deck where it had a natural shift and the cards I pulled for my waning moon tarot meditiaton were:

The Eight of Water and The Moon.

Given that we spent last evening talking about me missing having a “performance ready” voice, and continuing to feel some guilt and shame around having dropped my singing practice (20 years ago…), and given the throat-chakra blockage that my girlfriend spent some time helping me try to clear last weekend, I am inclined to read this as: “It’s time to let go of the shame crap that’s skulking around in your Hidden Depths. Time to just let it go and wash it away.”

~*~

Movement: I spent a significant chunk of last night doing Mime Exercises for body-alignment. My house-guest – an actual Mime, yes for real – was impressed that I didn’t appear to have any blockages along my spine. I don’t know what to tell you. Also trying to become more aware of how I’m breathing at any given time, without resorting to anti-panic breathing right away. Trying to remember how to do Singers’ Breath – a much more subtle movement, obviously. Took a long-ish walk out to the library and back.

Attention: This is maybe a weird one. I’m trying to direct my attention away from Work Stuff, and away from The Computer (or at least the internet) more broadly, so that I can better make time for (and be present during) leisure activities, personal enrichment, and art. (Yes, I’m aware that it’s odd for me to be saying this while literally typing a blog post to put on the internet, but just go with it).

Gratitude: Grateful for the chance to see my girlfriend again. Grateful for quiet time (at last) and a planned Date Night with my wife. Grateful for getting to see my relatives (and all the supports that came together to let that happen). Grateful for my laundry machines. Grateful for the lives that have touched mine. Grateful for my friends who I’m able to see more frequently (if cautiously) now. Grateful for wild fruit, for purple-tinged crow feathers, for all the numerous people who show up to do my dishes. Grateful for metamours who lend us their cars. Grateful for libraries. Grateful for polyamoury. Grateful for all the love that’s carrying me through this life.

Inspiration: Tiktok videos. The books I’ve been reading. The dedication of my sweeties and friends.

Creation: Outside of recipes, this blog post is the first non-work thing I’ve created in A While. I did set aside a little bit of time, yesterday, to edit some poetry though. So that feels a bit like progress.

TTFN,

Ms Syren / Meliad the Birch Maiden

[1] Yes, that was “supposed” to get done almost a month ago, but it took this long for the heat to break enough for me to be willing to turn the oven on again. So I did it today. Put on my amazonite-and-moonstone necklace – the one I made to honour the Amazons and my other queer aunties of blood and spirit – baked a coffee cake, said Hello to the sunflowers (which are blooming their heads off) down by the bike path, and left a slice of cake on the Summer Stone as a Late Lammas/Nemoralia gift to the local Land Folk. Not a terrible way to spend Pride Weekend in Ottawa, it has to be said.

[2] My rhubarb is not doing super great, I have to admit. I’m not sure what to feed it – other than water. But I think some top dressing with blood meal and – if I can find some – mulch for Autumn is going to be in order.

Full Moon – Bell Flower Moon Crests: Midsummer Retrospective

I guess I don’t know where to start.

Summer Solstice with slightly more than a month ago. Lammas is all of a week away, and Thunder Moon starts up not long after. It’s been a damn busy July.

Midsummer was good.

My girlfriend came to visit – first time in a year and a half – and it was so good to see her. We did Midsummer ritual together while doing the mandatory 2 weeks of quarantining. The above picture is the “guest altar” for the gods who were invoked at the group ritual she was part of.

I mean, technically that we were part of, but she was a ritual facilitator doing the official invocation, whereas I’m usually just following along on the internet.

You get the idea.

I mostly work with my own tiny pantheon. My girls who I’ve been involved with since I was… in my late teens and very early twenties. I’m also kind of a concrete bunker, meaning that I don’t pick up on a lot of Astral Activity unless it’s very unsubtle and direct.

Related side note: I didn’t write, last year, about my Lammas experience. I was – per usual – following along on the internet while my girlfriend and the rest of the folks at Two Rivers Sanctuary broadcast their ritual online. They invoked Lugh – no surprises there, it’s his Big Day – but they also invoked the Amazons.  Now, I’m a very tall lady and have been calling myself “amazon syren”, and thinking of The Amazons as ancestors, for nearly as long as I’ve been involved with my pantheon of goddesses. So it was both unexpected, and incredibly meaningful, when the Amazons showed up in my office and said Yes[1]. I felt claimed by them as kin, and that’s a hell of a thing.

To drag this back to the much-more-recent past: Because I don’t usually pick up on much, I was VERY surprised when Chernunos arrived to the tune of me feeling like I had not two, but four hooves and also a big, furry ruff.

Oh, Hai.

So that was pretty cool.

We also invited Aine – the Midsummer Sun in the prime of her power – in from Ireland, which meant I got to have a Discussion with my girlfriend about which whisky to give as an offering, and also that I got to burn mugwort as incense for the first time. (I am not (yet) great at bundling herbal twigs into incense wands, so we had to relight it a bunch of times, also… there was a drought on – which has thankfully since broken – so saining the bounds around my house was a slightly nerve-wracking experience for a nervous nelly like me.

Something else Big –  or that felt Big to me – happened during that ritual. The main Working was to become a plant soaking up that abundant midsummer sunshine. I felt a very specific tree come rocketing up through my body, as if it was going “I’ve been waiting YEARS for this! It’s my time!”

My animal self – my Fetch – is a baby black boar (“Central European Boar”, Sus scrofa scrofa).

My plant self is Salix Nigra. Ontario native Black Willow. The willows I grew up with.

Being a watery tart, probably nobody is surprised by this. But it feels good to know it, you know?

A few days after Midsummer proper, when our quarantine was successfully completed and Rose Moon was full, we went to the Summer Stone (one of my neighbourhoods seasonal public altars – yes, really) and made offerings of strawberry-rhubarb pie, rose-peony cheesecake tarts, rose-peony custard, and black raspberry gin.

More recently – much more recently – my wife and I walked down to the river. This was before the drought broke, so the water was still very, VERY low. I waded out a long way and water was still only up to my knees. I talked to the river, prayed for her, drew a sigil in the water (yes, that’s weird, you can cope), and then harvested a branch of mugwort to take home. My wife collected a couple of beer cans that somebody had decided to leave on the shore, which: I’m really glad she did that.

There were other things that happened over Midsummer, and since. Not all of them happy ones. We have another ancestor now and lavender is attached to death in a way that it wasn’t before. The past five weeks have been kind of a lot. But I’m glad there was this.

~*~

Movement: I tried skateboarding for the first time about two weeks before Midsummer. It’s tonnes of fun, but I did fall off – as one does – and have kind of messed up my knee. So Moon Salutations have been on hold pretty-much since then. I’ve started doing Laura Tempest Zakroff’s “witchual workouts” – ten-minute dance instructions that I can do by following a youtube video – and I’m enjoying them. My wife and I take walks around the neighbourhood when we can.

Attention: As always, I’m paying attention to what’s growing in the garden. It looks like a rabbit has moved in behind the retaining wall, and we have a giant evening primrose that started blooming last week. Beyond that, though, I feel like my attention is suffering. I’m feeling pretty scattered. I think I need to set aside some time to (get off the internet and) Listen.

Gratitude: Being able to see my far-away relatives for the first time in quite a bit more than a year and a half. Knowing my girlfriend will be back for another visit in just another couple of weeks. A freezer that’s filling up with vegetables. Rent we can afford. Living near the river. Living near two little woodlands. Time to read books. Park hangouts, and (zomg) indoor hangouts, with friends. Cool breezes on sunny mornings. All our little birds. Seeing the cardinals and the blue jays and the cedar sparrows on the window sill. Chipmunks who eat peanuts out of my hand. My wife and my girlfriend who love me and who care about each other.

Inspiration: Reading Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees, Laura Tempest Zakroff’s Anatomy of a Witch, and Thista Minai’s Suffering for Spirit, along with Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons. They’re all giving me lots of things to think about.

Creation: I wrote a poem for the first time in months today, and I’m so relieved. Beyond that, I finally (finally) finished the dress I’ve been making for my wife (it’s reversible) and have started on a long, flowy purple skirt for myself.

Full Moon – Leaf Moon Crests (Lunar Beltane 2021)

The crown of a serviceberry tree in full flower, with a clear, blue sky behind it.
A serviceberry tree in full flower in somebody’s front yard,
with a very clear blue sky behind it. Photo by me.

I keep sitting down to write these things and not knowing what to say. A year ago, I had just started an admin job that gave me almost enough money to cover the bills, barely, on its own.

Now I have three jobs and more money than I’ve ever seen (which, admittedly, is still not tonnes. But it makes a massive difference).

I got vaccinated yesterday. First dose of AZ which is currently living up to its reputation as Kind Of A Meanie. Last night I was so stiff and sore, it felt like I’d been walking for about three hours, in winter, and had had a bad fall in the process, with my hip and shoulder taking most of the impact.

That’s not what happened, clearly, but that’s how it felt.

Today, I’m a lot better, but “better” still means my hips, thighs, and knees are worn out and very sore all over again after one whole walk to the end of the block and back. Hot showers help. Heating pads help. Knowing that my body’s making antibodies to keep me alive helps. Remembering that my Fetch is both my body and my child-self helps, because it reminds me that I need to baby myself and that “experiencing pain” is not the only, nor (in my case at least) the best, way for me to Be In My Body.

Maybe it’s timely that I’m taking a class on self-care later today.

Coming home from my doctor’s office yesterday, we saw that the service berries planted (in profusion!) around our old neighbourhood are getting ready to burst into bloom. This morning, when I walked to the corner and back, I saw that the one on my street is in full flower.

The serviceberries blooming haven’t always been my indicator that it’s Beltane.

But they started to carry that designation a couple of years ago. Ha. Probably the year after I realized that my then-neighbourhood was full of free dessert, if I just paid attention enough to notice it. 😉

My rhubarb, sorrel, and lovage made it through the winter – they started poking through the ground when Leaf Moon began, about two weeks ago. And the relief and joy I feel about that (and the transplanted narcissus, cranes’ bill, day lilies, and solomon’s seal) comes through every single spring. They are more “spring” to me than the actual equinox, in a lot of ways, and the Serviceberries blooming work the same way for Beltane.

Serviceberries – June berries, Saskatoons – are in bloom, around here, any time between 10 days before and 10 days after May 1st. And their fruit tends to be ripe and ready to eat any time between Summer Solstice (which is pretty early for them, yet, but there are always a few) and early July. Sometimes the fruit hits peak ripeness all at once, and you have to be out with a grocery bag for a few hours a day if you want to get a harvest in. Other times, the season lasts for two weeks, overlapping with the sour cherries by a significant period, and you can be a bit more leisurely about picking them. But, because of when the bloom (earlier than crab apples and even pie cherries – though those are definitely on their way) and fruit (same), they’ve starting murmuring to me about the relationship between Beltane and Midsummer in my own bioregion.

This is a constant project for me. What is happening, in my reality, in my neighbourhood, at these pre-set (ish) dates, some of which are solar and some of which… aren’t. My date book calls this full Leaf Moon “Lunar Beltane” because it’s the closest full moon to May 1st. This is absolutely a modern convention (I mean, pretty much all of neopagan practices are modern conventions, up to and including calling Autumn Equinox “Mabon” – which: nothing wrong that, actually, don’t freak out, it’s fine) but it makes me smile to think of how my bioregion has a “May Tree” of its own, one that links the hope of the flower (call it a prayer, call it a spell) to the first success of the fruit and the mature, viable seeds which, themselves, need a full cycle of the seasons – the freeze and the thaw and the months of “cold stratification” – before they germinate and and start growing into trees of their own.

I wonder how much of magic, of spellcraft, is like this for people.

It makes me think of the job magic I did, more than a year ago, and how the spell fruited me a mat leave contract, which – a full cycle of the seasons later – has become a much longer-term gig in the same field.

It has me asking: What spellcraft do I want to do – what showy explosion of hope and will – between Monday’s full moon (Pink Moon, in Scorpio) and the New Moon in Taurus coming up on May 11th? What will my Beltane magic be?

~*~

Next World Tarot - The Empress - A Black femme w/ lavender hair and a yellow skirt,
carries a torch and holds a potted plant. A huge, full moon rises in the background.
Next World Tarot – The Empress – A Black femme w/ lavender hair and a yellow skirt,
carries a torch and holds a potted plant. A huge, full moon rises in the background.

I used a random tarot card generator to “pull” a card for my tarot card meditation for the Full Moon in Scorpio.

When I saw that I’d pulled the Empress… I wasn’t surprised. It’s Taurus Season. It’s her time! The Moon is in Scorpio (or will be, shortly, more accurately), and I was literally thinking “Should I do sex magic at this time?” as I was flipping the card.

So. That’s a BIG Yes.

Got it!

~*~

Movement: Ahahahaha. I hurt. Walking to the end of the block and back was A Lot. But there have been walks at sunset with my wife, wandering along the bike paths around here, spotting wild raspberry bushes and feral daffodils, and that has been wonderful.

Attention: Right this second? I’m paying attention to how and where my body hurts. Also paying attention the Thrive conference (on Kink and Mental Health).

Gratitude: Grateful for my wife, her partner, and my all having had our first done of covid vaccine. Thank you all the gods! Grateful for all my jobs. Grateful for the warm weather coming back. Grateful for serviceberry trees in flower. Grateful for the rhubarb, sorrel, lovage, solomon’s seal, tulips, narcissus, and all the other plants waking up and coming back to life. Grateful for the cardinals that come to our window. Grateful for the possibility of my girlfriend, eventually, being able to drive up for a visit now that we’re all getting our antibodies in place. Grateful for walks with my wife. Grateful for feral daffodils. Grateful for this pretty great life.

Inspiration: Is it weird to say “my own poetry”? Also watching my friend learn how to make Very Aesthetic tiktok videos is actually inspiring. I’m not sure (yet) that I want to go putting my face in a tiny video, but it’s a lovely reminder that dressing up is effective and does help me feel magical, competent, and powerful.

Creation: Tiny videos to show off my poetry. Using a free collage program on the internet to make pretty pictures. Just playing. It’s been lovely to just be playing.

Full Moon – Meltwater Moon Crests PLUS Ostara Activities

A grey sky full of heavy clouds hangs over the equally grey Rideau River. Photo by Leslie Mateus, via Wiki Free Images

A grey sky full of heavy clouds hangs over the equally grey Rideau River. Photo by Leslie Mateus, via Wiki Free Imageshttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rideau_River.jpg

Whelp. To the surprise of nobody, it’s raining today. Spring Equinox was last weekend. I finally (finally) took the Midwinter garlands down and put them away. The snow is gone (for the moment – I fully expect to get dumped on during the first half of April) and things – crane’s bill and, probably, solomon’s seal – are starting to come up in the front yard.

Happy Spring!

Most of what I did for Ostara – beyond cleaning my altar (finally, and with wet-wipes rather than anything fancy) and burning some Root Chakra incense while doing remote-online-Ritual with my adopted circle down in DC – happened “by accident”.

I made candles (twice). I made bread (also twice). I took myself out and bought myself the first ice cream cone of the year. I’ve taken a few walks down to the river to watch the ice melt and the sun set and the water levels rise (they’re still nothing like flooding – which is a nice surprise, given what things looked like this time last year and the year before).

I’m reading the “Power” chapter of the Magic of the Iron Pentacle book (Gede Parma and Jane Meredith) because that remains an area where I need to get stronger. I really like both the idea of power as responsibility (yes, I watched that decades-old Spiderman movie in theatres, how did you guess) and the idea of power as something you are rather than something that you do. I particularly want to chew on that from a D/s perspective, so… that might end up being a post on ye old kinky blog. But we shall see.

In other news, having just (just-just-just, like a couple of days ago) signed up for Laura Tempest Zakroff’s patreon, I got to take part in her monthly Sigil School for Patrons zoom call, and spent an hour work-shopping a sigil with a few people who Actually Know What They’re Doing. Which was pretty sweet.

Background: Most of my experience making sigils at all has been more like making bind runes. Which, as someone who’s not Heathen, making a sigil out of a preexisting magical alphabet I would almost say it’s like… Me making “bindrunes” using the elder futhark alphabet and all it symbolizes, is sort of like me writing fanfic. Because I’m using someone else’s characters and setting and so-on.

NOTE: This works just fine. T Thorn Coyle’s Sigil Magic: for Writers and Other Creatives, along with just about every chaos magician I’ve come across, says that an easy way to develop a sigil is to write down a succinct and specific sentence detailing what you want, then cross out all the vowels and all the repeating consonants, and then take what’s left and turn them into “magical-looking squiggles” that you then combine into a single image. It works.

I my particular case, though, I frequently ended up with a lot of blocky, boxy things that all looked the same. So I tried using a magical alphabet that came ready-made with a bunch of symbol sets and a built-in means of combining them into more complicated/specific directions.

My little charm helpers are made from runes, and they know what they’re doing and do their respective jobs very well.

AND

I still wanted to try making something entirely “from scratch”.

What I made is… a little big and complicated to be something that I would, say, write on my own body in hand-sanitizer or embroider onto the lining of a wallet (bind runes – being comprised of straight lines – are kind of great for embroidery and cross-stitch, if you’re not great at those things, fyi).

It looks like an art piece. The kind of thing you’d tag on a wall or pain onto a ceramic tile.

Which is fine, because it’s meant as a protection offering to the local river.

I’m thinking I might tape it onto a south-facing window and charge it with sunshine for a few days, since I’ll be chalking it out-of-doors when in actual use. You’d think I’d be using rainwater, but I’m not sure if that’ll do what I want. Maybe?

I’ll have to chew on this a little more, I think.

~*~

Wildwood Tarot – King of Vessels – A great blue heron stands in the middle of a creek

Given how literal my decks can be – especially this one – it’s probably not a shock that the card I pulled for my Tarot Card Meditation is a cups card.

This particular card is one that talks about tenderness and community.

The Wildwood’s own Little Book treats the King of Vessels as a gateway guardian, someone who stands at the balance point between life and death. Not an inappropriate card to have jump out of the deck at this time of rushing water when winter’s dormancy is just-just-just starting to tip over into spring’s quickening wakefulness.

But, beyond that, the King of Water is a card that speaks of responsibility to one’s arts and creative purpose. I made a promise, at Imbolg, not to abandon my writing. And I see this card as a reminder to keep creating and – because this is a King – to keep engaging with my artistic community, as well.

So: I guess I have another chapbook submission to send out.

On it, Gods. On it. ❤

~*~

Movement: Long walks, moving slowing, taking time to enjoy to warm, spring air on as much of my skin as I can offer (still not a lot, but hey). Weeks ago, I know, but a lovely dance-party-for-two with my girlfriend in our respective living rooms. I lit my alter candles and got to dance with my Baby for an hour+ and it felt really good. Moon salutations before bed.

Attention: The local birds – cardinals and blue jays, chickadees and sparrows, the returning robins and starlings and geese, the ducks and the wheeling crows. Watching one of my squirrel neighbours peel long strips of cedar bark off the tree outside my window for – I think – anti-microbial and anti-parasitic nesting materials in prep for impending babies. The perennials that are starting to green up and sprout again in the sunnier parts of my (largely shady) front yard. The river and the clouds and where the moon is in the sky. The way the temperature fluctuates up and down across the frozen line, the way it always does at this time of year.

Gratitude: Warm spring air, maple flowers, returning geese, cardinals and blue jays on my window sill, a story acceptance, a chance to submit my chapbook to another publisher, a shiny new job doing social media for a lefty church and the continued economic stability that brings me, long snuggles with my wife, internet-dates with my girlfriend, new (library) novels. Witch books that I’m finally making time to read, singing along with my wife while she plays her guitar. Hanging out in the back yard with my mom. The first ice cream cone of the year. My tiny blue bird and our other house birds. Green things coming up in the garden. Above-freezing temperatures. Sunshine. Rain. Spring.

Inspiration: Look. I would love to say that I’m being inspired by all those folks I mentioned under “Attention” but that’s totally not what’s happening. I’ve been looking at tiktok and thinking “I could totally post poetry on here…” So maybe there will be some low-budget-artsy “spoken word” videos going up in the near-ish future. We shall see.

Creation: Hahahahaha. But seriously, the most Creative thing I’ve done in the past two weeks – beyond making that sigil – is rejig a story so the ending wasn’t so abrupt. (It has now been accepted by the publisher, tho, which is pretty great news!)

New Moon – Long Nights Moon Begins

A lit tealight in a glass holder casting a shadow onto a wooden floor. Courtesy of Wiki Free Images.

A lit tealight in a glass holder casting a shadow onto a wooden floor. Courtesy of Wiki Free Images.

New moon is Monday, or there-about. New beginnings coming my way.

I start a new job on Tuesday. Which brings me to three religious institutions and, technically, four jobs. I’m nervous – not the least of why being that I’m doing in-person training, which is not Ideal under current circumstances – and concerned about my own rather-rusty time-management skills, but I’m looking forward to learning new things and, more to the point, making enough extra money that I might actually accomplish the more physically-obvious goal of my King of Coins project.

So, woohoo, on that front.

Which, PS: Yeah, I’m doing another NYNY project, if you missed that memo. 😉

We’re getting ready for Midwinter here. The temperature has been going up and down – a lot of above-freezing weather, a lot of rain, some snow – but it’s due to drop hard by Monday. I have baking to do, low-budget mead to keep an eye on, and a LOT of cards to get into the mail.

It seems more of a Thing to do cards this year. I like doing them, but I’ve added a lot of people to my list who, in a different year – when we weren’t all Physically Distancing, when I was still down the street from a lot of them – I would have just visited in person or had over to the house. I suspect a lot of them aren’t going to get to their destination until nearly January, but they are something that people can hold in their hands, and that feels important right now.

Two years ago, at this end of the year, I had tonnes of time on my hands. time that I used to do a five part series looking at the “shadow” side of Midwinter through the lens of the major arcana. A year ago, I was two thirds of the way through my Empress Project and had just, just landed a remote desk job (my first of what is now a growing list). I wasn’t blogging nearly as much as I had been the year before. This year, I’m Mostly Working, making bank – thank you ALL the gods – by my slim standards at least, and making a point of coming out of the office in the evenings to spend some time with my wife, because that’s important too. I’m still making time for writing (thank goodness – I’m actively worried that I’ll lose touch with that as my workload increases, but I don’t want to and I need to remember to make time for it in a reliable way).

So. I was talking about the King Of Coins Project. Another year of Radical, Magical Transformation to try and make myself a better, more personally (and cosmically) empowered Self.

3amTarot, over on instagram, did a spread for Doing The Damn Thing. And I gave it a whirl.

While I was shuffling, I thought “I can’t even think what The Damn Thing would be at this point” and, right then, what fell out of my deck but Transformation.

So. Okay.

What I pulled:

A fear or frustration that’s holding me back: The heirophant / No-Thingness

A reminder of a strength or talent I possess: Six of Fire / Success

A good thing that could emerge on the other side: The Page of Air / Mind

My context cards were Postponement (the Four of Air as my summary/advisor), Ordinariness (The Eight of Earth as my Overarching influence), and Beyond Illusion (Judgement/the 20 of the Major Arcana, as my Underlying influence).

So what do I do with this? Am I afraid of my own potential? (…yes?) Might a new way of thinking or understanding be a likely Good Thing from undergoing the kind of transformation that I want to do through this Project? YEAH. Are major breakthroughs (Beyond Illusion) generally a journey of a zillion mundane-seeming steps? Yup. Is it time to Do The Damn Thing and level-up my brain in terms of abundance and various personal/emotional freedoms? Yes, it definitely is. (I’m freaking forty. I’m tired as heck of feeling anxious at the end of the month while working multiple jobs in a multi-income household, and I’m sick of feeling BAD about myself when I don’t know how to shop for my significantly-wealthier-than-me relatives. Time for all this stuff to change).

Am I deeply underwhelmed at the thought of spending the next two weeks slowly-but-surely getting things tidied and cleaned around here? Or having to reign it in with the seriously reckless way I’ve been throwing money at gifts, personal goodies, and fancy food for the past two months? …Also yes. (At least I’ve been paying cash, by and large, rather than adding to my credit card debt, but here we are).

I used a random tarot card generator for my tarot card meditation draw, this time around, and the card I got was The World.

The World - Wooden Tarot - A many-rooted tree with a sphere of water amid its roots and a house cradled in its strong branches

The World – Wooden Tarot – A many-rooted tree with a sphere of water amid its roots and a house cradled in its strong branches

“The World card represents triumph. Everything has come together and you’re now achieving success,” and touches on both remote work (work that you can do anywhere, from any location) and on internal things like being confident and acknowledging your own skills and know-how. It fits well with the elements of the King of Coins that I want to be working with and internalizing/evoking.

And it’s also a really great message to get from The World Herself, tbh, and a lovely reminder to carry with me as I move towards 2021 and start my next year of radical magical transformation.

~*~

Movement: Ha-haaaaaaaaaaaa. I have been keeping up with my Moon Salutations every night, which is a good thing. And getting out for walks in the woods, too. But I need to make a point of dancing up a storm at the next Stay Homo virtual dance party, especially since the impending temperature drop and corresponding icy conditions aren’t exactly going to be making the great outdoors look appealing any time soon.

Attention: TBH, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to my schedule. My to-do-list is now colour-coded to help me keep track of everything. O.O

Gratitude: Grateful for slow mornings and snuggles with my wife. Grateful for weekly dates with my girlfriend. Grateful for jobs where I can be my whole self. Grateful for opportunities to learn new skills that are useful on multiple fronts. Grateful for friends who make me cookies. Grateful for the overflowing larder and the stuffed-to-the-gills freezers that I can now reach into and pull out peppers and broccoli and cauliflower and corn that I put up months ago. Grateful for the neighbour who surprised us with wine and a grocery thank-you card and a note that said “Have a nice dinner on me” (by leaving it on our windowsill, no less) after my wife did a repair job for him. Grateful for coupons turning up in my inbox and books turning up on my doorstep. Grateful for the knowlege that I’m going to be employed past the April 8 end of my mat-leave contract. Grateful for friends in the neighbourhood. Grateful for chickadees and nuthaches and very small woodpeckers who land on my hands and investigate the birdseed I’m offering them because, heaven and earth, they do my heart good!

Inspiration: Approximately a million years ago – aka the beginning of this pandemic – I placed a book order with a local queer-run sex-positive business. It FINALLY arrived (relax – there were a lot of special orders) about a week ago, which means I have a tonne of new books – mostly queer femme poetry, some sexuality and interdependence – to page through when I’m not eye-ball deep in ritual planning, library books, and video editing. But even just scanning the tables of contents is making me excited for poetry again!

Creation: I spent November writing erotic short stories so, while my current Creative endeavors are more “knitting” and “baking” and “making music videos for my job”, I do have a pile of creative out-put that I’ve started editing into shape and sending out on sub. And that feels really good.

Full Moon – Ancestor Moon Crests (Samhain 2020)

My Ancestors - Photo by me.

The “Rogues Gallery” of my family. I very much feel like the Keeper of the Ancestors, in part because I’m the one who wants the hundred-year-old photos. Here they are on my wall.

My CSA wrapped up a week ago. We just turned the furnace on. It’s snowed twice in the past week (it didn’t stay, but still). There’s ice on the puddles in the morning. We are crossing into the cold part of the year.

In related news, I (finally) got the ancestor photos hung up in the hallway. Six months after we moved in, and only barely in time for Samhain.

Tonight, I’m doing Full Moon ritual with my girlfriend’s group via the internet. Sunday, I’m doing Samhain ritual the same way. I’m enjoying this year’s Between The Veils symposium (in bits and pieces, as I can – thank goodness the talks are pre-recorded…) over the whole weekend.

Tomorrow I’m baking pumpkin cake (provided the pumpkin from last Hallowe’en has thawed out completely), and having dinner with My Bubble.

But I’m also doing magic.

Because of course I am.

The full moon is in Taurus and it’s Samhain.

Taurus, as-you-know-bob, is all about Empress Stuff. Venus Stuff. Second Chakra Stuff. It’s creature comforts. It’s sex. It’s security. It’s body pleasure. It’s abundance. It’s knowing what you want and feeling confident articulating it. It’s wealth. And it’s also scarcity and poor boundaries and eating your feelings and avoiding leaving your comfort zone. Venus/Taurus Stuff do have a shadow side, after all.

Samhain, on the other hand, is all about Death Stuff. Pluto Stuff and Scorpio Stuff. Still sex! But also death, discomfort, Shadow Work, the unknown, magic, and mystery. It’s the doorway into Root Time, and it’s technically a harvest festival. But it’s the Last Harvest. As old as herding, and maybe older. So it’s a time of taking stock. For gathering things in as much as for letting things go. And – because of its undeniable links to the slaughter – it’s also a time of sacrifice.

So! What better time to do – or at least formally start – some (more) transformation Work around scarcity/abundance when it comes to Taurus Stuff like sex and money?

This time (ish) last year, I did Big Magic to get a new place to live (got it!) and a variety of other shoaling-related things, some of which have come to fruition (my polycule is happy, I have extra work hours, I got a writing grant) and some of which haven’t yet (still looking for a publisher for my chapbook, for example).

This year, I’m doing something a little less specific for my Scorpio Season magic: I decided that I wanted to use the time to kick off another Radical Magical Transformation Project. The project itself (I have learned) basically needs to have a SMART Goal if it’s going to be really workable. And, tbh, that still needs some thought.

But as far as some broad magic, working in the background to help things along on multiple fronts, goes? Now seems like a good time to get on that.

So I asked myself: What do I want to let go of?

And I asked myself: What do I want to invite?

I want to let go of: Scarcity and Debt.

I want to invite: Sexual and financial abundance and freedom.

And, of course, the question arose – because gods know I like to avoid this one, if it doesn’t get shoved into my head – What are you going to sacrifice to get it?

And, here’s the thing. The thing I have to remind myself of every time I do something like this, so I don’t freak right the fuck out:

As Ms Sugar once said, “You’re sacrificing your clean hair, not your mother”.

A sacrifice is supposed to take effort. It’s supposed to be challenging and kind of inconvenient or unpleasant. But it’s not supposed to render you nonfunctional, and it’s not supposed to hurt somebody else[1]. I’ve done blood offerings – which may or may not count as a sacrifice given the fairly small amount of blood involved – but I’ve also done sacrifices of things like money and time.

If I wanted to make a sacrifice towards housing security, and I didn’t typically cook from scratch, a sacrifice to that end might be something like “no more take-out meals for a month” and putting some time and effort into making meals at home. But, for someone like me who cooks a LOT, but doesn’t have a tonne of cash lying around, a more appropriate sacrifice might be… banking my pocket change instead of getting chocolate bars, and putting that money towards repairing my small appliances or reupholstering my couch (investing in my home, regardless of which building my home is in).

To this end, I have planned out a month-long “sacrifice” of sorts. It’s kind of like an austerity, though I’m not sure that’s the right word. It’s definitely a Challenge. The idea is to push myself out of my comfort zone (and out of my excuse-making, self-doubting “Fear Zone”, too), give myself a “bigger than me” reason to stop scrolling all the time, and hopefully re-hone some neglected creative muscles, all in service of helping me achieve my “background goals”.

The things I’m sacrificing, more than anything, are “free time” and “emotional comfort”, and the disciplines it’ll require are (1) actually finishing shit on a self-imposed deadline, and (2) time management on days when I have a lot of paid work to get done too.

My hope is that my Godself will pick up all the energy and dedication that I’m putting down (even if it feels really grudging and like I’m pulling my own teeth out to make it happen) and use it to bring about (or help bring about) Results on the fronts of what I’m trying to let go of, and what I’m trying to bring in.

So… Why am I telling you this, friends?

Because if I Tell The Internet, it will be one less reason to balk and not bother.

That’s why.

I need all the accountability I can get.

A grand cross spread using the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, with four bonus cards

A grand cross spread using the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, with four bonus cards

On a possibly related note. I did this tarot reading in the context of the King of Coins and my planned Samhain self-work ritual.

Beyond recognizing that “Wow, that’s a lot of reversed cards” – because, obviously, it self-work. It’s going to be about my relationship with myself – the things that jumped out at me were:

My jumper card, the Six of Swords, is a “Journey” card that has a lot of ties to Death – as in change, as in inner transformation – and my jumper card relates to my “Summary Trio” (the Advisor + Overarching and Underlying Themes cards) which basically say “You gotta let go of this resentment and your weird burden complex. You have to focus and stop weaseling out of things. You have ask “Why not me?” and step into your damn power”. Which, itself, very-much fits with my “fears” card – the Vulture Mother being very much this deck’s image of my “Scorpio Self”, my most empowered self (that kind of scares me, that I’m still afraid won’t be liked or will be inappropriately mean, and that has explicit connections to sex and kink).

Mary El Tarot - Queen of Wands, Ace of Swords

Mary El Tarot – Queen of Wands (a nude, fat, heavy-breasted person in a horned headdress, cradling a baby tiger), Ace of Swords (An anthopomorphic eagle with the alchemical symbol for air carved on their chest)

It also <*cough*> hits a lot of the same notes as the cards I pulled for my Tarot Card Meditation.

Which is to say: “Cut the BS. You know what you want. Go do it”.

I love it when they’re specific, but it’s not always comfortable, you know? Especially not when I’m sitting here, eating crackers for dinner and avoiding the dishes. Especially not when I’m insisting to myself “You’ve promised to buckle down and Do The Thing on Sunday, and for the next 30 days there-after. Take the leisure time while you’ve got iiiiit”.

And yet. Here it is. I know what I want (to invite, to release). I made a decision as to what I’m willing to provide, as an energy source for related magical workings. So it’s time for me to have some follow through.

Wish me luck and devotion.

~*~

Movement: Moon salutations every night. Going for lots of walks, some through the local bird sanctuary with my wife, some by myself (picking up library books, dropping off Trick Or Treat goodie bags to friends and relatives in the neighbourhood).

Attention: TBH? Watching my behaviour patterns. Noticing where (and when) I need to be more disciplined with myself about follow-through or self-starting and trying to sort out some strategies to make those things easier to do.

Gratitude: Thankful for scrap yarn mitts and a warm coat that used to be my Dad’s. Thankful for a ritual group (even though it’s far away). Thankful for partners who love me. Thankful for big hugs and long-distance kisses. Thankful for quiet days. Thankful for extra billable hours. Thankful for tasty scones. Thankful for Samhain dinner invitations. Thankful for cooking skills. Thankful for central heating. Thankful for chickadees eating bird seed out of my palm. Thankful for meeting a wild turkey in the woods (who didn’t run away!) Thankful for friends to talk shop with. Thankful for my People.

Inspiration: The chipmunk who lives under my compost bin, and the spider who lives above it. My fantasy life. The #Novemberotic writing prompts series on instagram (it’s for poetry, but you could use it for prose too).

Creation: Have started knitting a new shrug, made myself a pair of fingerless mitts using scrap yarn, started the (easy) edits on my Femme Glosas manuscript, wrote five new, short poems at a workshop (they are not all great, but some of them were at least good immediately out of the egg), have started – but not finished (yet) – a couple of porn stories.

~*~

Cheers,

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Or at least it’s not required to. I know some people who are totally comfortable offing a wasp or a mouse or a fertilized egg and using that life energy as a power source for a spell. But I’m not, so here we are. Choose your own adventure.

New Moon – Harvest Moon Begins – Mabon 2020 (Season Of The Witch)

A collection of orange, tan, and white winter squash, topped with a handful of apples, and cast in dramatic shadow. Image by AlreadyExist, via Wiki Free Images

A collection of orange, tan, and white winter squash, topped with a handful of apples, and cast in dramatic shadow. Image by AlreadyExist, via Wiki Free Images


 
I harvested the three globe zucchini that I’d left on the vine to ripen fully. They are striped orange and pale yellow, and look like pie pumpkins (though I’m expecting them to have a texture more like spaghetti squash).
I’ve been making bread again (finally) and candles for my altar (finally) and doing a little bit of sigil magic (finally), and feel like I’m a bit more on top of the CSA situation. My freezers are marvelously full, and so are my fridge and my pantry.
I feel weirdly proud of this, considering how little work – relative to other years – went into it all. But I feel safe and snug – like a squirrel in my cozy creche, knowing I have plenty of nuts stored away and knowing, too, that there are a few more weeks before the ground freezes and the ice on the puddles signals the end of the gathering season.
 
I spent New Moon observing Rosh Hashanah at a friend’s house. Sometimes I feel like contemporary paganism mirrors Judaism – maybe that’s Starhawk’s influence, or maybe it’s the whole Kitchen Table Religion thing, or maybe it’s just that Ashkenazi Jewish traditions developed over hundreds of years in central and northern Europe, where apples would have been a readily available sweet taste with-which to ring in the new year – but it made me smile that mine wasn’t the only religion spending the Autumn Equinox (this year, at least) with shared apples and celebration.
 

 

 
These two tweets crossed my feed at very different times – a solid three weeks apart – but they both have me asking myself “What is Mabon to ME?”
I mean, yes, definitely, the Harvest Moon kicks off the Season of the Witch in a way that feels very in line with my own recent magical workings. But the beginning of Harvest Moon doesn’t always coincide as closely with the Equinox as it did this year.
 
In my neck of the woods, Mabon is definitely a Harvest Festival, and one that I do associate with fruit. Even when most of my wild-harvesting (crab apples, choke cherries, wild antique apples) happens much earlier in September, the local pears are ready to harvest any time between Labour Day and Thanks Giving, so… it fits.
But I also associate Mabon with rest. With the glut of the harvest (or, in my case, the CSA) calming down enough to keep up with, and with the temperatures falling enough that I’m no-longer loathe to turn on the oven.
 
If Lamas is a time for barbecues and musk melon and corn on the cob, for Big Manifesting Energy, for offerings of blueberry Welsh Cakes wrapped in foil and baked in the campfire coals, for the first heady flush of the (hopefully) long and heavy harvest (beans, summer squash, eggplants, and tomatoes, oh my!); if Samhain is a time for candles and ancestors, for freezer orders of pork and lamb, for dumb suppers and offerings of liver mousse, seared heart, and maple whisky, for winter squash stuffed with kasha and braised tongue, then what falls between them is this:
 
A point of pause.
The place where Libra’s scales balance like light and dark.
You could even call it Intermission.
 
If you’re familiar with the Wildwood Tarot, you’ll know that – by their calendar – this is the Season of Cups. The moment where the Hanged Man finds her new perspective as the Lady of the Lake.
 
Sometimes I think of Mabon as the Witches’ Thanks Giving.
The part of the triple harvest where we have the opportunity slow it down, celebrate, acknowledge, and express our gratitude – to and with each other, to and with the ground that provides for us – to ask “What have you harvested this year? What has come to fruition?”
 
Last night, I did a Fancy Dinner – by my standards of fancy, at least. Brussels Sprouts steamed then pan-fried in butter, maple syrup, and a little whiskey; pork tenderloin slow-roasted over a mix of onion, golden & chiogia beets, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and kholrabi; served with a white wine and with the altar candles lit up.
That feels like an appropriate Mabon meal, and the left-overs will be diced into a stew tomorrow.
But tonight – mostly because we have them and they need to be eaten up – our Actual Mabon Meal is going to be way more remeniscent of Lamas: Grilled burgers + corn on the cob.
But I have apples baking in the oven, filling the house with slow heat and delicious smells, and that’s not nothing. My hands are soft with butter and my heart is full.
 
~*~
 
Something else I should mention.
We woke up on New Moon to discover that one of our birds, Matilda – our little blue and white budgie – had died in the night. It looked like she had a peaceful death. Just went to sleep and stopped. But it was a sad day.
We buried her today, under the cedar tree in our front yard.
I planted a mulberry next to her and we’ll see what grows in spring.
 
~*~
 

Two of Cups - Cristy C Road - Next World Tarot - Two sweeties embrace on a beach, clearly besotted with one another

Two of Cups – Cristy C Road – Next World Tarot – Two sweeties embrace on a beach, clearly besotted with one another


 
In keeping with my usual lunar practice, I shuffled one of my tarot decks – Cristy C Road’s Next World Tarot – and let a card jump out for me.
What I got was the Two of Cups.
Heh.
Okay, I know. The two of cups means a whole bunch of things. But my decks tend to be real literal too, and it’s not weird that on a day where I’m writing both about beginnings and the season of cups, that this is the card that came up.
That being said.
As a tarot card meditation this is a reminder that love shows up, that romance is real, that we balance each other in all the ways we need.
It was a good card to pull, and one I’ll try to keep in my heart as the days get darker.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Early evening walks with my wife. Moon Saluations every night (except two days ago, and you guys, I am still feeling it). Squats. Carrying heavy groceries home today.
 
Attention: Trying to stay on top of the vegetables. (Already) Looking for work to take on once my year-long contract wraps up at the end of March. Eying what to expect in my impending CSA delivery so that I can plan a little bit for how to deal with it. Looking forward to the sex magic class I’m taking tomorrow evening.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for my sweeties. For celebrations with friends. For getting to do long-distance ritual over the internet. For pals who jump at the chance to perform kinky poetry to a small and select audience. For snuggles with my wife. For tarot readings and hot tea on the back deck with my friend. For new-to-me house wares. For energy work with my girlfriend. For a warm house and a full larder. For the life of our Matilda and the company we kept.
 
Inspiration: The season of cups. The work of other femmes. The new moon setting. Jupiter and Saturn rising in the eastern sky. My fabric stash and soothing sewing videos on youtube that remind me what I want to make next.
 
Creation: Wrote a new glosa today, and finished another. I am so freaking close, you guys. I know, I know, the work has only just begun. But I’m still excited about getting Phase One of this project officially completed! Also: I made another mask.
 

Full Moon – Apple Moon Crests (and Wanes)

Wild apple, found growing by les Chutes De Plaisance, QC - Photo by Me

Wild apple, found growing by les Chutes De Plaisance, QC – Photo by Me


 
I am feeling overwhelmed by my CSA.
There, I said it.
I ended up throwing away (I mean, composting, but still) a significant percentage of last week’s veggie delivery, and it was a relief to do so. I’m hoping that by clearing that particular deck – plus cleaning out the fridge over the weekend – I’ll be marginally better-prepared to actually process and use up tomorrow’s delivery of produce.
I’m embarrassed about this. Slightly ashamed, even, although obviously not that much because I wouldn’t be talking about it out loud if I were really having self-worth problems around it. But, even recognizing that we’re pretty-much at Peak Local Food Season right now – what Erica once called “the crush of the harvest”, that time between High Summer and Autumn Equinox where you’re rolling, or maybe drowning, in zucchini and tomatoes and cucumbers and corn – I’m wondering if I signed up for more than I could handle.
I mean, right this second? I definitely signed up for more than I could handle. And, under current COVID circumstances, I can’t just walk the excess around the corner to the local Community Fridge (because it’s closed for the duration, apparently) and “store it in other people” as the saying goes. But, for the preceding three months, while it was difficult to manage the amount of veggies we were getting every week, and while I did end up composting at least one bag of salad greens and a couple of cucumbers, it was still possible.
So I’m trying not to let late August get me down.
 
Right now, I’ve got a slow-cooker full of about 3L of tomato purree – frozen, thawed, drained, and skins removed, then set to cook down even further with some garlic chives and winter savoury from our tiny garden, plus some salt, balsamic vinegar, and a little cooking wine – slowly thickening into crushed tomatoes at one end of the counter.
At the other, I have what’s left of my bone hoard – pork, or possibly beef, bones from our long-ago half a hog order, plus a couple of chicken carcasses and a lot of celery leaves, onion greens, and carrot ends from the above-mentioned CSA – starting to slow-cook in the instant pot, mostly covered in the water I drained off the thawed tomatoes.
I admit, I’m doing these at the same time, and today in particular, because my friend is coming to retrieve her presure-canner tomorrow night and, while it’s very possible to water-bath can tomato products, I’d like to see what they’re like when they’re not marinated in vinegar. So one (more) batch of bone stock and one batch of crushed tomatoes, and we’ll see what we have at the end of all that.
 
My tiny garden has three over-ripe globe zucchini still on the vine – they are turning a stripy yellow-brown colour as they ripen towards something more like a winter marrow (uh… I assume) and I haven’t harvested them because I still have one and a bit on the go that I harvested earlier.
It’s so weird. After years of mostly harvesting self-seeded radish greens and dandelion leaves, I’m up to my ears in someone else’s labour – long-since bought and paid for, but still coming in for another six weeks – and the focus of my own garden is to look pretty, more than anything else. The garlic chives are starting to bloom, and I’m more excited about that than I am about having garlic chives to eat.
 
I’m behind on a lot of things. Not just handling the vegetables. I haven’t written any glosas in two weeks, haven’t even cracked my library book about designing online courses, and haven’t finished the dress for my wife and have barely even washed the fabric for the set of masks I want to make. I am behind.
But I can catch up.
Tomatoes get turned into sauce.
Bones get turned into stock.
Parishibles get turned into shelf-stable preserves.
Blank pages become poems or they become letters to clients.
Fabric becomes clothing.
I can do this.
 
~*~
 
Wildwood Tarot - Two of Stones "Challenge" - Two hares boxing in spring with blue harebells blooming in the foreground. Behind them, the wildwood is starting to come into leaf.

Wildwood Tarot – Two of Stones “Challenge” – Two hares boxing in spring with blue harebells blooming in the foreground. Behind them, the wildwood is starting to come into leaf.


 
I chose this for my tarot card meditation today, because – while this particular card hearkens back to the month of March (to Spring Equinox, for sure, but also to the New Moon in Pisces that happened at the very end of February, back when i was first (first?) starting to do shadow work around Money Stuff. Perhaps it’s no surprise that I’m back at now that the pendulum has swung the other way and the Pisces Moon is full) – it’s appropriate to the step by step by step of getting things done, even when they feel insurmountable.
I’m kind of clinging to my to-do list to keep me moving, you know?
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon Salutations, walks with my wife and a friend in the neighbourhood, squats and other butt/thigh exercises (yes, really).
 
Attention: Going over a contract carefully to sort out what my options are once it expires. I should have done this literally six months ago, but didn’t, and here I am.
 
Gratitude: An excellent birthday for my lovely wife. A standing weekly date with my girlfriend. The “Locked Tomb” series which is charming and entertaining. A metamour who was willing to listen to me wail about overwhelm and anxiety. Enough of a clue about my own brain (finally) to recognize when I’m having an… “activated” reaction rather than a realistic one. Friends who want to read tarot with me. Paying clients and extra work hours. Cheesecake in the fridge. More than one slow-cooking small appliance and (barely) enough jars to fill when the time comes. New books about D/s. A house near the river. The blue jays coming back to our cedar tree. Reading aloud to my beloveds. Getting enough sleep. The possibility of pears from the neighbour across the street. Fish and chicken waiting in the freezer.
 
Inspiration: Recipes past. My wife’s favourite kind of flavoured chocolate. Autumn storms. Blue jay feathers. Heavy Metal. The Wheel of the Year.
 
Creation: Well, as I said, I haven’t been writing a whole lot, poetry-wise – though I did write a quick little non-glosa poem while watching the rain not too long ago, so that’s something. I did make a spiffy chocolate-marmalade cheesecake for my wife’s birthday, which worked out really well. We’re about halfway through it, and I’m looking forward to dessert.