Tag Archives: magic

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.

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Full Moon – Long Nights Moon Crests (Season of the Hag)

A full moon rising huge over tufts of dry grasses poking through the drifts.

A full moon rising huge over tufts of dry grasses poking through the drifts.
Photo by John Fowler, courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.


 
Yesterday was the full moon. I went outside and sang to her a bit. Such a clear sky, and she looked so good. 🙂 I hung the winter wreath on the door (fake fir branches with silver beads wrapped around them for ice, and a cloth poinsettia flower for a sunburst) and pulled the holly garlands out of the basement – I haven’t quite hung them up yet, but that’s one of today’s tasks. I gave an offering to the Hag, the Old Lady Winter, and asked for a gentle one this year. I mean, who knows, and it’s supposed to be Very Snowy, but nobody dying of cold would be good. Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
A while back, I talked about the Season of the Witch. Like autumn, in Ottawa, it’s a relatively short season. The Season of the Hag lasts longer, especially given that the real cold and snow don’t tend to hit until after Winter Solstice (when this poem by Richard de Graeme becomes particularly apt, even if Brigid’s fire doesn’t do much beyond offer a temporary reprieve around here).
The Season of the Hag involves: A lot of shivering. My hips being sore and swollen. Lighting candles more frequently. Trying not to fall down (right now, the temperature is seesawing back and forth across the frozen line, which is dandy as long as it’s dry – my hips hurt less, the warmer it is, so my body’s not complaining even if my mind is flipping out about climate change – but which is down right dangerous when there’s rain (which freezes) covered in the hail or snow that comes on its heels, so). Cozying up under a heap of yarn to Make Things (such as knitted radishes[1] and other veggies for my nibblings). Entertaining At Home – anything to cultivate and maintain friendships and community (think of the Scandinavian concept of hygge), whether that’s casual crafternoons with pals, opening your home to host a house concert, or inviting your nearest and dearest over for Midwinter cocktails while celebrating the Solstice. Baking and slow-cooking things so that the house, in which one is somewhat cooped up, smells delicious and feels warm because the oven is on. A lot of things to do with dealing with, and getting through, the cold with mind and body as intact as possible.
But it’s also a time for story-telling. Sharing anecdotes, working on manuscripts, examining the Old Tapes in your own head (MY own head) and figuring out how to at least remix them into something useful and good for you again.
 
With that in mind: Jessica Lanyadoo, over at HoodWitch reminds me, as a Scorpio, to focus on my own conduct this week, and says “Change yourself, THEN conquer the world”. And Chani advises: “Remember that gratitude and generosity are your guiding goddesses towards a greater sense of abundance. Go forward accordingly.” On a related note, Liz Worth asks us to take some time during this Mercury Retrograde (which started yesterday, and is going to stick around until just after Winter Solstice – if you are mailing things to anybody, mail them early) to check in with our foundations and offers some questions you can ask yourself, your cards, your Gods, about where you still need clarity versus what’s got clear and sorted for you over the past year, and what your next steps might be.
On a very related note, Sarah Gottesdiener, over at Little Red Tarot, points out that the last Full Moon of the year (this one) is a good time for wrapping up loose ends, finishing projects, and otherwise get stuff done before the calendar flips over. (Granted, Miss Sugar would suggest avoiding the New Years Resolutions (That Nobody Keeps) Egrigore by starting new projects NOW, instead of a month from now, so you do you). Sarah also suggests that this is a good time to reflect on where you’re at, look at places where you had to push yourself, ask what you need to keep going forward, and check in about recurring patterns and what they might mean. (There’s a related spread for that here). She offers this reminder:

Remember: Magic is an art. Magic works if you do.
You are both activator and participant. You are the spell!
Not the crystal or the Tarot card or the altar cloth or the athame or the chalice or any of your tools, chants, or herbs. You are the both the conduit and the conductor!
Remember to use your magic. Remember to honor yourself.

 
A good reminder if ever there was one.
The folks at Hoodwitch also offer this meditation – which is a focus-on-your-breath type exercise – for the Full Moon in Gemini. They ask participants to journal a bit, after, on the question of what does air mean for them as human beings… but I think this could be adapted to other stuff – thoughts on voice, speaking, communication, but maybe also thoughts on fear and anxiety and they way those responses can close up (or feel like they’re closing up) our throats.
 
I wrote (very briefly), a couple of weeks ago, about intention-setting and tarot meditations. Full Moon is typically a time to check in on the fruits of your intentions (that you theoretically set at the New Moon). I gotta tell you that releasing all that “you are unlovable/unworthy” crap is… slow going. I mean, duh. But it’s a thing. SO!
Moon Meditation? Moon Meditation!
I drew a random tarot card today.

“Courage” – 8 of Major Arcana (“Strength”)
A daisy blooming through a crack in the stone.


 
How does this card – courage, strength, blooming in vulnerability – relate to:
1) Recurring patterns I’ve seen over the past year
2) Glamour, letting myself be seen/heard and generally putting myself out there
AND
3) Letting go of all that “you are unlovable/unworthy” crap.
 
I mean, the answer to #2 is pretty direct. Bravery is a muscle, glamour is a muscle, you have to exercise them and you will get tired quickly when you’re not used to doing so. Put on your crown of light. Visualize all those dangerously-alluring women with bone jewelry and intense eyeliner and leather cloaks/jackets striding through the sylvan/urban landscape, let that power build in yourself, and get out there. For a given value of “get out there” that means “submit that poem for publication” or “do vocal warm-ups every day, even if the neighbours can hear you” or “flirt with that other attractive queer” or “apply for that job/grant” or whatever. I’ve been doing some of this fairly consistently (see #1), but I recognize that I have a tendency to give up and go back to hiding with a lot of regularity. To take a page from Miss Sugar’s Glamour Magic book there are mundane parts to fixing this situation and magical parts. The mundane/physical stuff is literally doing the physical work. Doing the warm ups. Writing the poems, finding appropriate calls for submissions, and sending them out. Putting on my lipstick and a clean shirt to run my errands. Making the first move. All that stuff. Magically, I can do visualizations to help me evoke and make visible my own powerful, “Scorpio Side” (I tend to let my Moon show up front, for reasons that are good – this is me, I am this – but also for reasons that are not so healthy for me and tie into the “unworthiness” business). I can listen to throat-opening chakra music and sing along in harmony (humming or rolled Rs). I can wear lapis lazuli (throat-opener, speak the truth even if your voice trembles, lean into your intuition and know yourself, that kind of stone) around my neck. I can fill my belly with tea made from thyme, fennel, mullien, and/or yarrow for courage or use those oils in a ritual bath. I can fill a honey pot with dried pear and hawthorn berries, pecans, sesame seeds, vanilla beans, hibiscus flowers, orange zest, whole cloves, oats, and glitter, and enchant it accordingly: If I’m really on my game, I’ll be Working myself in the process and I’ll start liking myself and thinking I deserve Nice Things, too. 😉
Heh.
My mom, because she is my mom, gave us an advent calendar full of inspirational quotations and candy.
The quote for yesterday’s full moon was:

Follow a heart’s desire today. Pick up a book, make that call, join that club, pick up that paint brush, start that course. Begin, begin, begin.

Okay, then.

 
~*~
 
Movement: I admit I skipped going dancing on Friday night. I had company over and my wife was tired, and it was just a better plan all around to stay in. Even for a dance that started early and was easy to get to. Still, there’s been lots of walking (and will be lots more, this week), so that’s something. Time to start doing yoga in the spare room for 10 minutes every day again, I think, as it’s getting colder out and the motion will help keep me warm and prevent me from turning into a creaky mess.
 
Attention: I’m paying attention to deadlines, right now. Submitting job applications and poetry, seeing if I qualify for grants (most recently: Not yet. I need to have published three things through traditional publishers who pay money when they publish your stuff. I have… one? Everything else has been contributor copies. One more reason to keep sending stuff out).
 
Gratitude: Paid the rent AND the heating bill on the same day. Pickled beets are going nicely. My friend who had hot sauce explode in her face is doing fine and retained all of her sight. A friend visiting for dinner. Being treated to waffles by another friend. My wife telling me I’m her home and that she’s so glad I’m part of her life. ❤
 
Inspiration: Women with horns and facial tattoos. Also femmes. Also my wife who loves to learn new things. Also the garden (even in her sleeping form). Also astrology and tarot, as per usual.
 
Creation: I finished the editing on, and then submitted, three poems to a magazine in BC. Am trying to edit my lack-luster ghazal into an entirely different kind of poem with plans to put it into my next chapbook. Also went through my back catalogue of unpublished poems to see if there was anything in there that would fit the “moons and tarot and spellcraft and astrology and feeeeelings” theme of said chapbook, because I’d like to get this done sooner rather than later. Knit two radishes, with a third on the way, and finished knitting my stocking extensions.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Cast on 45 stitches (using 2¼ mm needles and a light gauge like “sport” or “baby” yarn… even “sock” yarn will do. #1 or #2 gauge, basically). Knit 20 rows back and forth. Decrease by k2t every 4th and 5th stitch. Knit back. Decrease by k2t every 3rd and 4th stitch. Knit back. Decreased by k2t every 2nd and 3rd stitch. Knit back. You should have 18 stitches now. K2t, knit back. Knit one, then k2t to the end of row so you have five stitches. Knit five rows. Cast off. Roll your bit of knitting into a tube (like a rose bud). Sew up the side. Gather the top (the wide part) on a bit of extra yarn and pull it “shut” as with a draw-string bag. Tie off. Behold. You have a raddish. (Make leaves if you want to. Or different leaves if you want them to be “strawberries”). Do the same thing to make beets, just use chunkier yarn (#4 gauge, probably) and 5mm needles. For potatoes, do the same thing, except Just Keep Knitting, instead of doing the reductions. Use the draw-string method on both ends, instead of only one.

New Moon – Apple Moon Begins (Season of the Witch + Autumn Equinox)

Hey, folks!
So the New Moon (in Scorpio – all the intense feels, all the transformation, if you’ll let it happen) was on Tuesday, and yesterday was Mabon (Autumn Equinox, up here in the northern hemisphere) AND the sun just moved into Libra.
… And it’s got me thinking about The Season of the Witch.
 
Depending on the year, this self-appointed season starts, for me, at some point between the last new moon before Autumn equinox and the first full moon there-after (which, PS: is also how you find out where Canadian Thanks Giving and/or Unholy Harvest will fall in a given calendar) and runs all the way through to the end of Scorpio Season and, depending on when the first sticking snow arrives, all the way to the first full moon of December (when we transition into Winter, and the season of the Hag… which is sliiiiightly different. >.>).
 
And, okay, yes. Technically EVERY season is a witchy season. But the shift towards autumn, longer nights, warmer clothes (you got to pick up every stitch…) & leather-wear, all the Hallowe’en stuff showing up in the shops – whether that’s costume stuff in dollar stores or pumpkins and apples and Autumn Harvest produce at the farmers’ market – it all starts pulling me towards spellcraft and introspection in a way that the hot and sunny (in theory), get-these-clothes-offa-me, harvest-all-the-tomatoes Summer months just don’t.
 
At the moment, I’m fighting off a cold, trying to get all that Harvest Things done in time, looking for a new job, and working on my poetry manuscript in the hopes of work-shopping some poems in the near-ish future and with an eye to submitting some non-glosa pieces to an upcoming witchy-themed magazine issue out in Vancouver.
 
Right now, go figure, it’s astronomically hot in Ottawa – warmer than most of the actual Summer has been – and I’m huddled inside, finishing up (earlier today) the last bits of a work-contract that’s coming to an end, and trying to sort out how to finish my Blood Red Black Tie ensemble on as close to $0 as possible.
I’ve got a shiny new-to-me copy of the Tarot Of The Silicon Dawn sitting on my side-table, waiting for me to get it out and start playing with it (my wife is over-due for her birthday reading, so that might happen this evening before we go out dancing).
 
Right now, though, I’m putting on Real Clothes and taking a walk in this bright, not-so-autumnal-feeling sunshine, and hopefully writing some poetry while I’m out and about. Wish me luck!
 
Oh. And happy Bi Visibility Day. ❤
 
~*~
 
Movement: Picking up lots of modeling (thank goodness!), which means more physical work for me. Also going dancing tonight at HomoPhono!
 
Attention: Look, TBH, I’m paying attention to job possibilities right now. But beyond that? Doing the exercises in Miss Sugar’s Glamour Magic book have me paying attention to when people are nice to me. As opposed to my usual way of doing things which is to notice the bad more than the good. So, hey, I’ve got an excuse to note and recognize the positive, which doesn’t suck.
 
Gratitude: For Gods, Ancestors, and Local People who look out for me and send work my way during unexpected hickups in my more reliable income streams. For my wife being home from the hospital (she’s fine, it was a planned thing and she’s healing up well and quickly) after a zero-complications procedure. For poetry. For friends who offer to look at my resume, bring me garden produce, check in about my feeeeelings, and otherwise take good care of me. For a hot night to go dancing on.
 
Inspiration: Adèle Barclay’s debut book of poetry, which plays with magic, spellcraft, and astrology in similar ways that my poetry does. “Aesthetic” collages on pinterest that are themed to things like “deep space scorpio” or “river witch”. It’s a fun game to hunt these up, but doing so also gives me images to carry in my head when I’m trying to call up (evoke) certain types of energy, magic, and glamoury.
 
Creation: Working to write 1-3 poems per week, but a LOT of my creation in the past two weeks has been clothing-related. I (oiled and cleaned my home sewing machine, Janice, and) made a full-length tulle over-skirt and a tutu in bi pride colours, put together a whimsical costume (somewhat inspired by Columbine from Commedia Del Arte) for a modeling gig, DIY’d a fashion-harness for the upcoming “Blood Red, Black Tie” Soiree at Unholy Harvest, and pinned together the beginnings of an easy gathered knee-length summer skirt (ha… just in time for Autumn!). I have hopes/plans for a similar, full-length gathered skirt in a cranberry fabric, provided I can find one (I’m thinking table cloths from Giant Tiger or something… the kind of thing where I get a lot of fabric for $2), but we’ll see. Fingers crossed!
 
~*~
 

New Year New You 2016: Reflections So Far + Week 10: What Motivates You?

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

New Moon – Ice Moon Begins

I’m sitting here, eating a coffee-cake cupcake (chocolate-pumpkin with coconut, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries) that made to use up some gone-off milk in the fridge. It’s -42C outside today, and I’m wondering if I can get away with holding off on bird-cage cleaning until the deep-freeze warms up to a balmy -15 or so (including wind chill,obviously).
 
I started a part-time contract job a week ago (two months of above-minimum-wage, 4 hours a day, office work that I can walk to, with people who don’t suck! I win! Now how to I wammy this into a permanent gig??) I cleaned my fridge and re-stocked on basics like apples, cabbage, and cheddar cheese (which was down to under $6 when it’s usually close to $10 per pound). I’ve made (some) new candles, done a honey pot to help my former-or-maybe-just-paused romantic partner get the job she’s angling for right now (fingers crossed!), started giving a fuck about how I present myself to the world again (mostly, I admit, because of the job, but whatever works… Having spent a chunk of yesterday talking Glamour with Miss Sugar didn’t hurt, either), and redyed my hair (for the first time since October), and am starting to work on old projects (including making back-up files, ye gods) again, and dipping my toes into some new ones. The Archivist and I are talking. Just chatting and catching up. Far less frequently than we used to (for obvious reasons), and with a distance that hits me hard but, according to my lovely wife, is “just how she is”. (Joni Mitchel is singing through my head about don’t it always seem to go… because I had no idea she didn’t talk to everyone in her heart with that degree of openness. I’m sorry to have lost it.
 
As much as I’m still doing a lot of Self Work (and dealing with the corresponding degree of Crying At My Desk while I’m at it), and will be for the foreseeable future, I’m also kind of sick of feeling like the Three Of Swords (Ice-Olation, Jealousy, heartbreak in general) all the time, flip-flopping back and forth between anger, grief, and holding onto hope (whether that’s a wise plan, in the long run, or not). She’s in no position, right now, to do anything but get through each day as it comes, and the chance to consider whether both/either of us want to try doing Romance with each other again is going to be a long time coming. Right now, I want to hold onto hope, recognize that how she’s relating to me right now is how she relates to the partner I have in common with her, and – to some extent – the other semi-sweethearts in her life whom she wishes she could be seeing more of, but can’t right now. Better to focus on me, find the things that bring me joy and do more of them, get my ass back on track for my Queen of Cups Project (I still haven’t done that mirror wammy, let alone tackled Week Six), get back to writing up my Daily Cards (which were never actually “daily”, but still), and get a handle on when “processing” turns (yet again) into “wallowing” in order to stop that business before I get myself in too deep.
 
Questions for this lunar cycle:
What do I need to firm up?
Where do I need more flow?
 
Goals for the coming week:
Make a giant batch of muffins at my volunteer spot (tomorrow morning – Dear Weather, Please Don’t Be Too Cold, it’s a 40-minute walk…)
Restock my beeswax candles (I have nine on my altar now, so a single batch doesn’t go very far)
Do my modeling gig (got one this week, got two more coming up after that, woohoo!) on Thursday night
Visit the yarn-and-roving shop, get some more roving, and spin more yarn for my weaving project
Start knitting a new sweater
Write some poetry (because what’s the use of a break-up, if it doesn’t generate some good poetry, amirite?)
Start going through the boxes in the front room (one at a time, this could take a while) and sorting which books (among other things) to give away, versus which to make space for on my (already stuffed) shelves.

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

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

New Year New You 2016: Week 1 – Making Way

So I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: Clean the house, weed the wardrobes, and generally get physical stuff out of your space (or back in its place). THEN Magically cleanse your place (and your head-space, too). Miss Sugar suggests doing this during the waning moon, which is technically happening right now, but only just.
 
Tarot Card: If I were to assign a tarot card to this week’s prompt, I would almost definitely pick a Fire card. After giving the eye to the Queen, the 8, the 2, and the 4 (as well as The Chariot, as it happens – all that “get-up/wake-up and go” stuff), I’m inclined to stick with the Two of Fire (“Possibilities”) because of its connections to balance & harmony, planning & decisions, and new ventures, plus the fact that it’s a Two, which means this is all about taking small (but consistent) steps towards getting the hang of Doing(New) You well.
 
Thoughts:
I feel like the accumulate/de-stuff-icate cycle is one that I’m never going to actually finish. Like the Wheel of the Year, periods of abundance and paring down happen in their seasons.
I’ve got a year-at-a-glance horoscope (I get the we’moon date book every year as a birthday present to myself) telling me that, in spite of Scorpios (in theory) being better at elimination than accumulation, it’s time to deal with wealth (of various kinds) and material security.
 
A talk with a friend, about two months ago, included the ways in which we’re both more “switching up” than “throwing out” these days. Accumulating stuff, yes, but it’s stuff that will last. Good quality things. Things that actually fit our senses of self (whether we’re talking furniture or machinery or clothing), rather than “single-season” or otherwise disposable items that we’ll wear out too quickly because they’re poorly made. Glass not plastic. Cotton and linen, wool and silk rather than polyester. Things we can repair or alter ourselves. Things we’ve even made ourselves – thus getting Hours Of Fun from the making, before getting (hopefully) Decades Of Fun from the wearing or using of what we made. Things with stories attached to them (“I got this skirt at the Harvest Swap, it used to belong to A. Fatale” or “I got this necklace/yarn/knife on my trip to Iceland, last Summer” or “My wife found this antique yarn winder behind the crack house on the corner – Can you believe they put it in the trash??”).
 
I feel like the stuff in my life is edging slowly towards being the kind of Stuff that is (a) limited (hahaha, here’s hoping), but also (b) almost permaculture-y in the way each item comes with many “purposes”: This shrug will keep me warm (and stylish!) when it’s finished, keep my hands (and mind) busy while I’m knitting (and spinning) the yarn, help me strengthen chatty connections with other fibre artists in my community/ies, and help me become a better knitter & designer, too. This cheese plate is beautiful (beautiful is a purpose in my world), can be used to serve cheese and other goodies, and comes with a story because it’s a wedding present from the House of the Dragon.
 
As far as the state of my home goes…
Yeah…
Thanks, entirely, to our annual Winter Solstice Partay (and the corresponding, too-brief but much-appreciated visit from our Archivist), our house is actually… not a total mess.
Admittedly, “not a total mess” is about as good as it gets around here. Our front room is functional as a dining room, but it’s also doing multi-duty as (a) my spinning wheel storage room (none of my spinning-related machinery is functional… yet), (b) my wife’s steam-engines display area, (c) the work-shop-ish area (still lots of stuff for doing leather work, including a sadle-stitching bench and two sewing machines, but also jewelry-making), and (d) the garage because my wife – somewhat understandably – keeps her skis, ski boots, winter boots, and her bicycle in here.
Still. We’ve been eating at a table with chairs (rather than eating off our knees, sitting on the couch) for a couple of months, and I am overjoyed about that!
The party has meant that our kitchen is stocked (overstocked) with really fancy food, and the living room is cleaner and tidier than it’s been in a month.
We still have (lots of) art and family pictures to put on the walls, and heaven only knows when next we’ll try to tackle that business. I’m eyeing January 1st as a date to take the (put up on December 20th) Winter Solstice Decorations out of the windows, though we’ll see about that as well.
 
Energetically speaking… My altar has had a cursory clean (using a Lysol wipe, of all things!), and I’ve been keeping up with my candle offerings. It’s time to start making water offerings again, I think, though I’m not sure how I’m going to do them. I may pour (boiled) water into the shell-composed tea cup on my altar once a week. Or I may do the water on the stove like I used to do. Maybe a bit of both? I don’t know. But it seems like the right thing to do, so we shall see where I go with this.
My wife has mentioned that my insense gives her headaches, so I’m going to have to find a different way of energetically cleaning my space – It may just mean that I do the Big Clean shortly after she leaves for work on a day when I know she’ll be spending the night elsewhere (Yay, Polyamoury!), since this is one of the least labour-intensive (and therefore most likely to actually get done) means of House Cleansing that I know of. That being said, ti’s been a long-ass while since I gave my place that kind of a clean. Time to get on it, me-thinks.
Other than that, I gave my brain a bit of a once-over as well. Not in the sense of going to my “Magical Internal House” and giving that a wipe down, but by having a look Inside and doing some self-care and assessments (relevant for Week 2, as it happens).
 
Questions:
1) Is my time being well spent?

At this point, mostly yes. I mean, I still Internet waaaaaaaay too much, and I know that. I’m generally making a point of keeping off the computer (like turning it right off, when possible) when my wife’s at home. I find myself looking at things that I’m neglecting though.
Some of it is “Should” stuff, like sending out more job applications for part-time/casual reception/admin work. But that’s not actually what I’m concerned with on the NYNY Project Front this go-round. (Doesn’t mean I should ignore it, and I do need to acknowledge it, but it’s not my focus. You’ll see why that’s relevant in a second).
Stuff I’ve been neglecting due to the guilt-shame-fear spiral that I have around money and employment:
(A) Self-care & my mental-emotional health. Which is part of why my goals for this Challenge are what they are, to be honest.
(B) Spiritual study and contemplation. Yes. I’m such a bougie whatever-whatever, but that stuff is actually important to me, and I’ve been missing it for over a year. I want to get it back! I’m considering the remarkably affordable Alternative Tarot Course from Little Red Tarot, actually, as part of way to get some of this back – this is also why I’m picking a tarot card for each week of this Challenge.
ART for the sake of making and finishing art. Yes, I’ve got a poetry manuscript on the go, and I want to keep up with that. But I miss scribbling stories for the hell of it, and I’d like to see if I can’t do something like the Fanfic 100, but for Random Short Stories and try to flash-write something in the 2000-word range, maybe once a week on Productivity Wednesdays or something).
 
This is all stuff that my Poisoned-by-Capitalism brain has a lot of trouble with allowing me to “get away with” doing (and, yes, finding myself a damn part-time job – the kind that lets me blog/novel/poet as needed in between phone calls and accepting deliveries, while earning a salary – would seriously help on this front, but go with me here) , but which are also all things that I think will seriously help me with my actual NYNY goals as well. Funnily enough, those goals have to do with putting down the baggage I’ve been hauling around for 20 years so that I can get myself free (or at least free-ER) and be happier and more open to Receiving things. More on that next week.
 
I’ve signed up to do one volunteer shift per week at a local food centre that focuses on neighbourliness and skill-building. I figure, I’m a fucking Kitchen Witch. Food is how I help people out. I might as well do it on a larger scale and see where it gets me. If nothing else, I’ll learn how to Feed The Multitude on donated produce, and that’s a skill I’d love to have.
 
2)What Big Rocks Are You Carrying?
I am carrying a couple of doozies. The whole point of doing NYNY again is to actually put some of them the fuck down. But I’ll fill you all in on that with my Goals post for Week Two.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.