Tag Archives: magic

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

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

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


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

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

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New Moon – Leaf Moon Begins

“Leaf Moon” might be a bit optimistic. It’s freezing rain right now.
Mercury is technically stationing direct today, but won’t be moving “forward” for another couple of days. Things are maybe feeling like they’re in a bit of a holding pattern ( Oh, hai, everything covered in ice, winter not getting the f out the door already…).
Jessica Lanyadoo, over at Hoodwitch is telling me to “Be patient, Scorpio. Trust that you’ll get where you need to go, and recognize that shoving won’t get you there any faster”. Which is relevant, in terms of my needing to keep myself moving but also needing to motivate myself in ways that feel like joy, like pleasure, like worthiness, rather than like punishment. (Sort of like this, but for everything).
Spring cleaning continues to happen. It feels like two steps forward, one step back, and it’s definitely a team effort over here, but things do feel a little bit airier, a little less close-in-on-us cluttered, a little more comfortable and clean, and that’s making a big difference. The rhubarb doesn’t seem too frost-struck (yet), and the Vietnamese garlic is poking green shoots out of the ground, and those, too, are both worth noting. My wife went out and turned the compost again. The earth is rich and black, and she says the worms are thick as fingers in there, which is wonderful to hear.
Life continues, even thrives, while the cold hangs on and the dust bunnies push me to my own snapping point.
If there’s a theme to the past few days, to the “open door” of this new moon in Aries, for me it’s find the wonder in all the little things that I have to do each day, that I choose to do each day.
(Yeah, I know. I’m talking big right now, and working for it, but we’ll see how things look in two weeks, a mo(o)nth, and when Harvest rolls around again…)
None the less, that’s my intention, my Capital-I Intention even, for this new moon: To find the wonder in the every-day, and also to charge/imbue the every-day with wonder, with magic, with holy intent. (This is maybe a tiny bit like Mother Noella Marcellino making cheese around and between calls to prayer… except also not really, but go with it).
My vacuum can still be a Besom when the new moon is in Aries, rather than Taurus. 😉
Cleaning the bathroom and doing the dishes can be the kind of kitchen magic I so often neglect (in favour of doing stuff on the stove), banishing the gunky vibes that can clog the airways in a house, or using them as a moment of calm or centering or focus, an in-breath that will move to the out-breath of social web-tightening, generative creativity, and joyful connection of one sort or another.
Find the wonder. Make it happen.
Which brings me to:
 
Tarot Card Meditation: Page of Earth

The Page of Wands from Egypt Urnash’s Tarot of the Silicon Dawn.
In this deck, “wands” in the suit of Earth, while “pentacles” is the suit of Fire.


In the Silicon Dawn deck, “wands” in the suit of Earth, while “pentacles” is the suit of Fire. Typically, it’s the other way around, which makes it a little confusing to read with, and… tbh, straight-up annoying to work with as a translator deck when I’m looking for alternate perspectives on a given reading (like the way various sixes of cups put the emphasis on such different aspects of the card). However, I still quite like the deck’s cartoonish, futuristic art work, pop-culture references, and overt sexuality, so here we are. I tend to try to find points where wands and pentacles overlap or dovetail when I’m reading with it, but put the emphasis on earth-interpretation, rather than fire-interpretation, when a wand card from this deck shows up.
Onwards!
This card, the Page of Wands Earth, is very much a “make something” kind of card. A “go exploring” / “grow and expand” card (two places where it can intersect with the playfulness of the traditionally fire-coded page of wands). It’s a “trust your process” and “trust your body” card. Which means it’s very, very relevant to all the stuff I’m trying to do, trying to remember/re-member in my day-to-day actions, trying to bring back and increase in my life.
Good job, tarot deck! Definitely noted!
 
~*~
 
Movement: The last week and a bit has involved a lot of not very dynamic sitting down. At a desk, while answering phones. My daily commute-walks were only about 15 minutes each way, which isn’t a lot when I’m used to 45-minute walks to and from modeling gigs (which, often as not, are roughly equivalent to 3-hour yoga classes, as far as physical activity goes). That said, the fire alarm went off on Friday, just before my temp job wrapped up for the week, and (after the all-clear) I walked up five flights of stairs and… was a little out of breath, and could tell my thigh muscles had been working. But that was it. I wasn’t gasping. I didn’t feel like my knees were going to give out. I didn’t feel like I was going to keel over. I felt pretty good. Which I was seriously not expecting, since I get winded walking on flat-but-icy sidewalks or taking a single flight of stairs. I think it’s because I have a bad habit of holding my breath. I have to remember that breathing deeply and steadily means that I can do more because I’m not stressing my heart and lungs. Relevant to know! Beyond that… I’ve been doing squats and side-lunges, using my upstairs banister as a support because I tend to stop myself from going as deep as I might be able to when I’m afraid I might pull something or hurt something. (Ha… There’s a metaphor in there somewhere). I also went dancing last weekend, which was lovely. Looking forward to doing more Get Bendy stretches in the morning and to this week’s modeling jobs, which should help me feel a little more limber.
 
Attention: Have to admit, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the weather. This Unseasonable Storm we’re having, while it isn’t hitting us too hard (er, yet…) is probably going to be here for a little while. Like, for the better part of a week, even though the temperature should start rising in the next day or two. Beyond that I’m paying attention – or at least resolving to pay more attention – to finding the sacred in the every-day, and finding ways to make magical the step-by-step of putting one word in front of another, putting one foot in front of the other, and generally moving forwards in all areas of my life (see Inspiration for more on that subject).
 
Gratitude: Thankful for new poetry coming in at the library (need to pick that up tomorrow). For playful, giggly shenanigans with my wife. For friends who want to talk tarot or wine tasting or areal hooping at the drop of a hat. For little birds who trust me. For sewing skills and cooking skills. For a plentiful larder, pantry, and freezer. For central heating. For the clean bathroom. For muffins. For a wife who makes me coffee and breakfast and gives me a clean kitchen to work in. For seeing someone light up when I tell her that I can see her queerness. For steady feet in high winds and on icy roads. For new sheets fresh on the bed.
 
Inspiration: Becoming Dangerous: Witchy femmes, queer conjurers, and magical rebels on summoning the power to resist arrived in the mail earlier this week, and it’s hitting so many relevant notes for me about body-consecration, glamoury, sex as holiness, trash magic, and self-sufficiency. I mean, maybe that’s not surprising, given that it was written by a bunch of witchy femme queers (mostly women, some non-binary). But it’s lifting me up and getting me kind of weepy at the same time. (I talk a little more about that here). It’s giving me directions to go in. Landmarks to get myself re-oriented, so I can re-find that path I was already on. It’s a huge big deal.
 
Creation: Not the fuck much. I wrote one (1) poem this past week. I mean, it’s a decent poem. Need’s some polishing, but the bones are there and it’s a place to start. But I’m taking myself on a writing date in the next 48 hours because I need to put some words on the page. Probably do so when I go and pick up my library books.

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.

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.