Tag Archives: magic

Full Moon – Ancestor Moon Crests (Samhain 2020)

My Ancestors - Photo by me.

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

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

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

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

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

But I’m also doing magic.

Because of course I am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want to let go of: Scarcity and Debt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So… Why am I telling you this, friends?

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

That’s why.

I need all the accountability I can get.

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

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

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

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

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

Mary El Tarot - Queen of Wands, Ace of Swords

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

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

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

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

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

Wish me luck and devotion.

~*~

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

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

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

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

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

~*~

Cheers,

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

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

New Moon – Flower Moon Begins

Siberian Squill Flowers - Tiny, blue lilies that are among the first flowers to bloom in my area - Image courtesy of Wiki Media Commons and Rosendahl

Siberian Squill Flowers – Tiny, blue lilies that are among the first flowers to bloom in my area – Image courtesy of Wiki Media Commons and Rosendahl


 
As-you-know-bob, I’m a Scorpio sun. Which means that the lunar cycle we’re in right now is happening about six months into my own annual cycle. You may recall that I did some big magic back around my 40th birthday but, even if I hadn’t, new moons in a given sign are a good time to plant long-term goals that might only come to fruition when the moon is full in that same sign – e.g.: about six months later.
Liz Worth – whose post about the Taurus new moon is going to be informing at least some of this post right here – routinely reminds me (and/or all her other readers) that the full moon in a given sign is a good time to check up on how goals made during the new moon in that same sign are shaping up, but I think it goes both ways.
 
So how are things going on that front, you ask?
I have a couple of super-part-time jobs that I’m settling into.
My romantic relationships remain solid and wonderful.
My wife and I have a lease on a new place, and we start our move on Beltane.
So I would say that things are solidly coming to fruition.
I’m looking forward to being finished The Austerity, so that we can properly feast the house we’re leaving AND properly feast the one we’re moving into, and make some good offerings while we’re at it. I’m thinking pickled herring, smoked fish (candied salmon or smoked oysters, both if I can swing it), maybe some kind of shortcake featuring last year’s frozen service berries plus some fancy ice cream from a store. And some Hidden Temple gin. This all being subject to what’s available in the grocery store at the time.
 
Liz Worth points out that New Moons are seeds, and asks what we want to plant in our (metaphorical) garden this lunar cycle, but I have to answer that question literally. I have a friend (who lives in my new neighbourhood!) scrounging her own yard for big flower pots to send my way, so that I can literally (re-)plant my garden at our new home. I have a friend (who lives in my current neighbourhood) who is willing to take my compost heap and bring its contents to her own house.
When Liz Worth asks “Where do you want to create a stronger sense of security or stability for yourself now, and in the future?” that process is happening right now.
When she asks “Where do you feel lost right now?”… I don’t. I’m not sure how to handle one or two specific things, and I strongly suspect that the actual process of moving is going to feel overwhelming and very stressful, but I don’t feel lost. I feel like I actually know what my Next Steps are, on a grander scale than I’ve been able to see for quite some time. It’s kind of a relief.
When she asks – because this is the new moon in Taurus – “What kind of nourishment, rest, or care does your body need right now?” Okay, now that’s a question. Because of the physical distancing situation, we’re actually getting TONNES of rest. I’m reminding myself to move my body more than I might normally do while at home because I’m not walking for an hour or more most days of the week, and I’m not doing “three hours of power yoga” a few times a week at my (now-canceled) modeling gigs. On a related note, the Explore More Summit (free online conference) started earlier this week, and I’m once again attending and seeing what there is for me to learn and dig into in terms of my own embodiment. I’m also making a commitment to myself to let myself just be in my embodied experiences, whatever that happens to be.
 
Unsurprisingly, ritual plays a role in this. My nightly Moon Salutation practice remains an opportunity to connect with my Lady of Music and the Moon, but it’s also (and began as) a way to strengthen my lower back and lumbar-area muscles in a way that didn’t risk exacerbating my back injury. Running energy through my chakras when I prepare myself for magic and connection with the gods, with my Fetch, with my Godself, it’s also an opportunity to notice where that energy gets stuck, what might be prompting/triggeirng that to happen. Singing as a way to allow energy to move freely through/in myself. Somatic bodymind work as ritual work as holy work. It’s consistently good for me so it’s something I need to continue to engage in and to dig into.
 
On a side note, I visited my Fetch the other day, and she now has a little bronze boar figure – much like this one, minus its rider – hanging out in her nest area in the equipment room of her gym. She also, by the looks of things, has a few more cozy blankets. Both of which are nice to see, and to be invited to see.
 

Wildwood Tarot – Six of Stones “Exploitation” – Two figures surrounded by torn open bee hives, while wild fire rages in the distance.


 
For my tarot card meditation while this moon in Taurus waxes, I pulled (twice!) the Six of Stones.
This is a card about sharing (and failing to share), it’s a card about wealth redistribution, and it’s a card about mutuality. In the Osho Zen deck, it’s called “compromise” and it’s a promise to have each others’ backs. In the Next World deck, it’s called “redistribution” and – along with, ha, being located in space-and-time as “Moon in Taurus” so the Wildwood deck continues to be seriously literal with me over here – it’s about showing up with what you have to share.
Michelle Tea, in Modern Tarot, talks about how this card can indicate an incoming positive change in your finances – which… I have finally been able to apply for income supports, thank all the gods, so that’s actually in the works right now plus, see above re: Big Magic coming to fruition – but it’s also a reminder to share when you’re able to share. Give gifts not loans. Recognize that when you give something to someone, it’s theirs now and you’re not the boss of what they do with it.
Given the stuff I’ve been working on – magically and psychologically – around Money and Energetic Exchanges of all kinds, this is relevant to me more broadly as a reminder that “Having financial/material security – all that Empress Stuff – doesn’t automatically make you bad. It makes you responsible for how you behave towards people who are less secure than you are, and it makes you responsible for what you do with your improved situation”.
I take it as a reminder to, when that Emergency Benefit money comes in [UPDATE: It came in the day I was writing this], use some of it to help people who aren’t eligible for the same supports. If you’re wondering, I’ve opted to do a standard tithe – 10% – and donated to my local food bank, an emergency fund for local sex workers, and an emergency relief fund for minimum-wage workers. There’s one more donation to make, which I’ll figure out when I have an extra ten minutes to get it sorted.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Dancing and doing squats because I’m not getting much other exercise and moving around helps keep my joints from getting stiff. Doing my nightly Moon Salutations. Body check-ins (not movement, exactly, but within that realm) with my girlfriend. Fooling around with my wife.
 
Attention: Perhaps understandably, a lot of my attention has been on my bank account lately. Soon, it’ll be on our move and how it’s coming along, how many boxes we were able to pack and/or unpack on a given day. Also trying to connect with my body, and its desires and pleasures, more since I seem to be needing a boost in that area.
 
Gratitude: For the freaking Emergency Benefit coming in, OMG. For a new, bigger place to start moving into in just over ten days. For polyfamily who help us out with the bills. For small part-time jobs that I’m still able to do from home. For shade-tolerant and shade-loving plants that I can bring with me to the new garden. For friends offering us packing boxes and flower pots to help with the move. For bread in the oven and how good it smells. For bright, clear, blue skies and sunshine. For moments of connection with my wife. For video dates with my girlfriend. For online hangouts with my friends. For my introversion that makes Social Distancing easier to deal with. For borrowed books. For gods who listen and decide to help. For kitchen experiments that work out (and the ones that don’t, because at least I get to learn from those). For poetry that still comes when I call.
 
Inspiration: The major arcana, because when is that not the case? Essays about power exchange. The videos that make up the Explore More Summit. People helping each other out and being generally kind to each other.
 
Creation: I wrote a poem based on a ritual I did back in… February, maybe? And have been continuing with the sewing. Also some experimental baking (though what I have in the oven right now is super-basic yeast bread with a little rye and oat flour kneeded in for flavour and colour). Planning a berries-and-roses style tea cake, I think, as well.

Full Moon – Leaf Moon Crests

My perennial bed, still messy with deadfall, but the rhubarb, nettles, and crow garlic are reaching for the sky.

My perennial bed, still messy with deadfall, but the rhubarb, nettles, and crow garlic are reaching for the sky.


 
This picture was taken about ten days shy of a year ago, and the rhubarb and crow garlic are… yep, about ten days shy of where there are in this photo, growth-wise. There are bleeding hearts and day lilies starting to poke through the soil in the front yard. We are, very possibly, in our last few months in this house, which is sad and exciting at the same time.
We may, just maybe, have found a new place to live.
It’s not downtown. Which is sad. And being this house’s last family is sad, too.
But the place we found – other than the “not downtown” part and not having a dish washer – is pretty close to perfect. Perfect enough that we’re excited about it.
 
You may recall that, not too long after my 40th birthday, I did a big ritual with the goal of manifesting abundance, pleasure, and security (as per both The Empress AND the then-recent full moon in Taurus).
The full moon in Libra (also ruled by Venus) was just last night and some of the big stuff seems to be falling into place.
I have two little anchor-income jobs that – while they’re nowhere near enough to live on alone, and they may or may not end up preventing me from accessing Emergency Income Supports (we don’t know yet because Who Is Eligible keeps getting expanded – hopefully at least one of us will be able to access these funds) – are also providing enough cash annually (in theory) to raise our household income by more than $9000. That will make a significant difference in our quality of life.
 
Likewise, a few days ago, a friend in the neighbourhood pointed us to a friend of hers who is looking to move and whose rental will be available in the next month or two.
You guys. It’s a three-bedroom with LOTS of space (and closet space), a yard to garden, a big driveway with lots of parking, and a big kitchen with room for the chest freezer and some extra shelving. And the (shared) basement has a high enough ceiling that we could actually stand up in it. There’s a possibility that there will be washing machines available, but if not, we’ll have to spend some money on laundry machines as there are zero (0) laundromats within even a half-hour walk of the place. But… $200 for a second hand washer-dryer set off kijiji is still going to pay for itself inside of one year, so. Not really upset about it, especially since it means not having to hoard coins, schedule the availability of clean socks based on the weather report, or drag 2-3 loads of laundry around outdoors during the winter (or, y’know, a pandemic…). Plus we have friends in the area already, including one of my wife’s partners (who is Older and my girl is very happy/relieved to be (potentially) moving to within emergency sprinting distance, basically, if something bad happens).
We’ve talked to the landlord on the phone, and we sent our application off earlier today.
So keep your fingers crossed for us on this one.
 
The sourdough bread situation is… going about as well as it usually does. I think I need to remember to – at the very least – only give it one rise before putting it in the loaf pans and prepping it for baking, as that seems to help.
I’m doing a Kitchen Sink stew in the slow-cooker today. Using up odds and sods from the fridge and freezer. It’s making the house smell really nice, which is great since it’s grey and chilly outside.
I finished a pair of slippers – for future use as “house shoes” when visiting other people – and I’m continuing to work on my t-shirt dress. It’s slow going, and we’ll see what the end result is like. But it’s good to have a project on the go. I’m taking it kind of one step at a time and hopefully I won’t mess something up so badly that I have to redo it entirely. We’ll see what happens. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve also started hunting through my fabric stash for 100% cotton scraps that I can re-purpose into masks for those rare occasions when we have to be out and about. Lastly, I’m working on a stocking extension. It’s been in progress for years, and is basically something I pick up when I want to knit a thing and don’t have a more pressing project on the go. I’m a long way from done on that one (and there’s definitely a whole other extension to do afterwards), but it’s nice to have something to knit.
 
Yesterday, I went to (virtual) Full Moon Meditation courtesy of Connect DC and Two Rivers Sanctuary again. While I didn’t get any Big Huge Messages this time, I did have an unexpected energetic experience. I’m not sure quite how to talk about it but… it was a thing, and one that’s apparently happened before (though I only knew about it because somebody who can See That Stuff told me about it after the fact).
The meditation was very comforting. Which I gather is kind of Their Deal when they’re doing Full Moon ritual.
New Moon rituals, if they have them, can potentially be focused on stuff like providing a container for catharsis, but Full Moon rituals – based on attending exactly two of them – seem to be very focused on love and receptivity and belonging. Which is pretty great, and something that I find really helpful, especially in stressful situations where I might (maybe, possibly) be telling myself that I shouldn’t be getting my needs met because other people need more and/or I don’t deserve it, or whatever.
This ritual was very actively pushing back against Scarcity Feels, and I appreciate it, and am glad I was able to take part.
 
Mary El Tarot - Five of Cups - A white unicorn lounges on the lip of a well. Behind it is a waterfall. Water cascades out of the sides of the well in four directions.

Mary El Tarot – Five of Cups – A white unicorn lounges on the lip of a well. Behind it is a waterfall. Water cascades out of the sides of the well in four directions.


 
For my tarot card meditation I used a random one-card generator and got the Five of Water.
I know this card best as the Osho Zen deck’s “Clinging to the Past” but, with the occasional exception, it is reliably a card about grief regardless of which deck you’re using.
The Next World Tarot describes this card as one where “hope is nebulous” and grief (disaster, abandonment, failure) feels familiar, reliable and navigable. I know a lot of people who don’t know how to handle it when success comes calling. Right now, I’m personally in a situation where it looks like, maybe, some Big Magic of mine is about to get results, and I’m trying not to get too confident about it Just In Case things don’t work out as well as it (currently) looks like they might. Using the Conditional Tense when I talk about our (potential) new house. Continuing to ask all and sundry to think good thoughts for us. Putting all of this stuff in brackets to essentially keep saying “this is still a big IF and I don’t want to jinx it by Hoping”.
But I AM hoping!
And I’m aware of the grief (and stress, because moving is not a fun time) that will come with a Yes, too. Like I said, further up the post, we will be this house’s last family before it’s demolished, and our beloved shelter deserves better than that. We’ll be leaving this neighbourhood – that we both love – in order to receive/accept this house that is otherwise utterly perfect for us, and there’s going to be some sadness around moving away from so many of our friends.
…And I’m still hoping. I think this will be good.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Continuing to do my Moon Salutations. Which is nice. Going for very short walks. Dancing in the street when the street is marvelously empty at 10am on a Monday morning. The up-coming Stay Homo and Dance video dance party scheduled for this Friday. Pulling last year’s dead stalks out of the garden to make room for this year’s new growth.
 
Attention: I’m kind of glued to the CRA website right now, in the interests of finding out whether we’re either Completely Fucked or actually Probably Fine with regards to income supports (Bougie Welfare, basically) from the government. Beyond that? Paying attention to the plants waking up and the baby squirrels and the amorous, courting birds of all kinds flitting about the neighbourhood.
 
Gratitude: For a metamour who turns up with a care package that includes chocolate and wine. For postcards from my neighbours. For the rhubarb and the crow garlic and the sorrel waking up and growing again. For the grape hyacinths starting to just barely hint at flowering. For the friend who’s offered to bring us pizza. For the people (mostly relatives) who have reached out to ask if we need money, explicitly. For the friend who pointed us towards this house. For video chats. For video dates with my girlfriend. For my DC metamour getting safely through COVID19 without having to go to a hospital(!). For stay-in-your-house shows done via live stream. For remote work that means we have a little bit of income. For my sewing and cooking skills. For my wife’s Official Layoff that will make it easier for us to access government supports. For a (potential) summer move that will let me rescue my garden and bring it with me. For the borrowed-for-the-duration work truck that will let us move without help, if that’s how this goes. For my over-stuffed pantry that’s been feeding us, with limited inputs, since mid-February. For Beltane (and the option of restocking said paintry) on its way. For my wife having time off to rest her body and tinker on her projects.
 
Inspiration: SPRING! The whole ideal of “Make do and mend”. The culinary experiments of #IronChefCOVID19 and everyone who is trying their hand at sour dough bread (it’s such a thing right now, and I totally get it, and also I can’t blame the people who are looking at this and going “Okay, but why THIS specific food? Why now?” Answers: Because yeast is surprisingly hard to come by right now. Because making sourdough bread (successfully) can help stave off feelings of helplessness and/or scarcity. Because, hey, maybe nurturing a starter along will help some people remember that Not All Microbes and we can actually have relationships with same that don’t involve us actively and desperately trying to murder one another, so there’s that, too).
 
Creation: Working on a sonnet. Lots of sewing. Lots of cooking. A very small amount of prose (like maybe 650 words in a two-week period). I’m doing. But I’m not doing much.

New Year New You 2019 : Week 17 – A Big Ritual

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: So now that you’ve done the small magics, I think it’s time to do a big ritual to further one or more of your goals.
 

Candle Magic in Progress - My working altar set-up, as viewed from the East.

Candle Magic in Progress – My working altar set-up, as viewed from the East.


 
As all of you know by now, I’m not a Big Rituals kind of gal. I put songs on repeat to help me enter something adjacent to a trance, maybe once or twice a year, and do little rituals (offerings roughly once a week, greeting my gods at the crossroads and as I see them, the first slice from a fresh batch of bread, stuff like that) fairly frequently, but Big Magical Doings that require a lot of prep and planning… are not typically My Bag.
 
BUT.
 
I just turned forty.
I love my weirdo freelancing art life, and I want to keep it.
But I am so, SO tired (like physically and emotionally worn out, but also “sick of this crap” tired) of the precarity that comes with it.
I marked my birthday with a week worth of fun and lovely events, which wrapped up just before the recent full moon in Taurus, and I wanted to harness that “manifesting abundance and pleasure and security” stuff that comes with the Taurus full moon and its major-major link with The Empress.
 
So I spent a day working out how to turn my Greatest Hits Wish List into a series of little doodles – not exactly sigils (except in the case of making a little glyph to represent my immediate polycule), but stuff along those lines. I planned out what I’d need, in terms of materials. I sorted out offerings and harvested the herbs from my (snowed under, so that was a thing) garden. I took a calculated risk in collecting one of the other elements of the altar and the magic to be made on it, and made sure to leave offerings and… I guess I could call them connections(?) in return. I took the time (and energy, and resources, and skills) to make bread from scratch, and on Moonday, which handily actually WAS the night of the full moon (and which I also, thankfully, had off AND which was overcast enough for it to get dark enough to light candles earlier in the day), I turned my coffee table into an altar space and got to work.
 
So. You know the thing “To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent”?
I don’t actually know how many of the specifics of this I should be yacking about in front of the whole internet. So, in the interests of not screwing it up or pissing Anybody off, I’m going to be a bit vague on things.
BUT. The general gist is this:
 
First thing, as you can see from the photo, above, I was doing candle magic, just in a more intense way than I often do. Even when I go big, I’m still pretty basic in terms of what I do.
I wanted to have stuff that grew in my yard – my space, the place I have some kind of a friendly (uh, I’d like to think) relationship with – sitting in each of the quarters. I wanted the elements represented by things that I wanted and things that connected me to success and security. There’s a brick from the house my mom grew up in (among other things), in the North. The South is all sex toys and kinky equipment. The East is the various hard-copy books and chaps that I’ve been published in (why, yes, ALL of them). The West is the tarot cards I drew for my birthday, all those hope-and-heart cards, plus a piece of fancy stemware. The Centre was raised up on a fancy cake tray (40th birthday gift, also hospitality and fanciness), and has the Empress card that I used to kick off my whole Empress Project in the first place. The votive candles I used had been lit at my birthday party, and I treated them like Birthday Candles (as in “make a wish”).
 
I sang (just a little – the chorus of a song that I treated as a prayer), I gave offerings that were a little fancier than I usually do, and that included a little bit of pain, and a moderate amount of blood, on my part. But the big difference in how I did this whole thing is that, when I cast the circle, I got a little bit extra. I’m not usually one to call the guardians of the watchtowers of absolutely anything. But this time I reached out to the People of the four directions, and called the Above and the Below to run the world pillar through my spine.
And they showed up.
They came.
I hadn’t been expecting that.
Don’t go getting me wrong here, I’m very glad they did. But it was an optional thing for them. I’m… touched? That the Spirits of Place, the People who orient us in space and in… action? Is that a good way to put it? That they came and were willing to witness, and maybe even help.
 
Anyway.
I did The Thing.
I think my giant bag of soil is probably thawed out by now (it having had a week to hang out in the warm), so I can now take the last of the accoutrements off the altar space and do the last bit of the ceremony, at which point I can have my coffee table back.
 
In prepping for this, my wife asked me if it was going to come at a cost – because everything has a cost. She works with a goddess who takes payment in blood and pain (there are so many of these) and she was worried about me getting hurt, basically. So we ended up having a discussion about different types of relationships.
I talked about how I’ve been involved with my pantheon actively for a couple of decades, that I check in with them and say Hello often, and that I generally don’t show up with my hand out. I said “There’s wine on the altar right now” – wine that had been offered the previous Friday – and that while I didn’t give my Gods and Ancestors wine and cookies and bread and occasional whisky and other tasty things in order to, you know, manipulate them into feeling like they have to help me, the fact that I’ve been doing this for a long time – much as with more corporeal people – will get you a certain amount of trust and good will. If you show up for your friends, and want to hang out just for the sake of hanging out, they are more likely to show up for you when you need help with a thing. (This is, incidentally, one of the reasons I tend not to contract out and do transactional work with deities outside of my pantheon. I don’t know, and won’t necessarily be able to accurately discern, what kind of payment they might want. And I’m hesitant to offer any kind of tradesies when I don’t know what I’m getting myself into).
 
I did my ritual, my ceremony, made my offerings, around the themes of the Empress.
May it be, may it be, may it be. ❤
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2018 (2019) – Week Thirteen: Sacrifice

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: [Make] A meaningful sacrifice to your Powers That Be […]. You and your PTB will know best what that is for you. Think on it.
 

Osho Zen Tarot - 8 of Major Arcana - Courage - A daisy pushing up through the concrete.

Osho Zen Tarot – 8 of Major Arcana – Courage – A daisy pushing up through the concrete.


 
Dark Days Tarot - Eight of Cups - A ten-limbed woman sits, cross-legged. Each of her eight arms holds a wine glass. She cries, and the glasses empty and re-fill, with the waxing and waning of the moon overhead.

Dark Days Tarot – Eight of Cups – A ten-limbed woman sits, cross-legged. Each of her eight arms holds a wine glass. She cries, and the glasses empty and re-fill, with the waxing and waning of the moon overhead.


 
Tarot Card(s): Strength + The Eight of Cups
I chose Strength – and this version of it, specifically – because it’s a strength that exists in vulnerability and trust. It’s not a card about brute force. In the more traditional rendering, the lion and the lady both have to trust each other in order to share that space together, and there’s a certain amount of coaxing going on. On a related note, this variation from the Silicon Dawn carries a reminder that risks and challenges are a thing we can choose, rather than something that gets shoved at us by the universe. We can decide to be brave and Do The Thing.
As for the Eight of Cups… The Osho Zen version is maybe more explicit in its meaning. A sacrifice is a letting-go. An offering up, or a rendering unto, in order to make room for a rebirth.
 
So. Week Thirteen. As-you-know-bob, the thought of Giving Something Up is not my favourite thought in the world. It’s easy to get het up about austerity when you already never go out because you’re perma-broke and you already avoid rash behaviour because everything feels – and sometimes is – so precarious. Miss Sugar’s a big fan of (temporary) material austerities as a form of sacrifice and… I’m not going to knock it, because apparently it tends to do the job.
But, kids, I hate it.
And – possibly for this reason – I don’t tend to do it in order to the attention of my deities. Eating more veggies or drinking less alcohol or moving my body more frequently is stuff I’m doing more for my own sake than anything else. Buying the more-expensive-because-it’s-more-ethical coffee is something I do (when I can – right now I’m swinging between the store-brand Organics coffee that’s $18/kg and the stuff that’s $18/340g but uses part of the proceeds to install water-filtration systems in homes on Reserves) because I want to be the kind of person who Makes Reparations (um… at all) and thinks about fair wages for farm staff instead of just thinking “Mmm, coffee” when I’m at the grocery store. I walk away from the internet for an afternoon, or don’t turn on my computer for the first two hours of my day, because I’ve got chores or writing to get done and I know myself well enough to know that I won’t do them if I have access to social media.
 
So. What is a sacrifice, in my case?
 
Well, it’s got to be said that I had a bit of a penny-drop moment while I was griping about how rarely I take risks because of fear (around money, around heartache, you name it).

This whole project is about “the sex-and-sensuality, certainty, abundance, inter-connectedness, and unapologetic embodiment of the Empress”.
So how the heck am I supposed to open my hands/heart to welcome in all that stuff if I’m too busy clenching them into fists, clinging to risk-averse behaviours, fearful assumptions, and other crud that’s cluttering up my brain?

 
I wrote about this over here, but the gist is that I need to give up some detrimental behaviours and patterns, in order to invite in, and make room for, all of that lovely Empress Stuff.
 
Is it a sacrifice?
Debatable.
It’s more of a “letting go” than a “giving up” but… it’s difficult. It’s hard work to dig into those habits and behaviours and sort out where they’re anchored and how to undo those knots and let them go. It’s hard work to lean into the discomfort, fear, and even just the awkwardness, of opening, loosening, freeing myself up and trying (and trying, and trying) new behaviours on when they still feel dangerous or doomed-to-failure. (I’m legitimately wondering if this is why I’ve been so tired lately, tbh…)
So… I’m willing to call this a sacrifice, even if I’m not sure anyone else would see it that way.
 
Recognizing that… this is going to be an on-going thing, an entire process of giving up and letting go (and re-filling with something else that’s better for me), I did a whole ritual/ceremonial Thing to kind of kick things off.
 
There was a bath – because me. There was a circle-casting (of a sort) and candles and a red[1] bath bomb that smelled like raspberries[2]. There was anointing my delta of venus with my signature perfume. There was a bunch of tantric-esque breath-work to raise some energy and to ritualistically breathe out all of the stuff I want to let go of. There was head-over-heart-over-hips breathing and stating affirmations while doing leg-extension & hip-flexibility exercises[3] (in the bath, because apparently I can live dangerously, on occasion). There was, somewhat unexpectedly but definitely relevantly, reaching out to my maternal ancestor line to talk to my great-great-grandmother about trauma survival and t tell her that I’m really glad we all got to exist, but also that I’m sorry she was raped and that it wasn’t her fault and she didn’t do anything to deserve it[4]. There was letting the water out, opening the circle, putting out the candles, drying myself off, and then slathering myself with cocoa-butter[5].
 
It was a good ceremony. It’s probably one that I’ll have to repeat intermittently. And it’s definitely an “in addition to” (rather than “in lieu of”) the breath work stuff I’m doing around my root chakra a few times a day (it’s not exactly a mindfulness exercise, but it’s… in that neighbourhood).
Here’s hoping I can continue to blow away the old habits in order to make space for the new ones.
Wish me luck.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Red for my own Red Lady, my goddess of sex and dance and standing your ground (among numerous other things), whose help I definitely need with this.
 
[2] My Maiden goddess, who I don’t write a tonne about, I realize (sorry), has a link to raspberries. For Reasons. She’s also curious, polyamourous, confident, and adventurous. So having something to invoke her and invite her behaviours into me was… pretty relevant.
 
[3] Bonus information: My hips actually are more flexible – and my lower-back muscles are stronger – than they were a year ago! The exercises are working! Mwahahahaha!
 
[4] Because you all needed that information dropped on you, without notice, today. Sorry. Talking about it cause weird, tight feelings in my chest that aren’t panic-related, and I supposed we’ll find out what that’s about at some point in the future? Who knows.
 
[5] The stuff I did up with cinnamon oil (possibly not the wisest choice) and sweet orange oil and ylang ylang with the express purpose of making a sex-balm massage bar to use with various partners and – apparently – on myself in situations like this.

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

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

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


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

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

New 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!
 
~*~