Tag Archives: New Year New You

New Year New You 2019: Week Sixteen – Little Magics Everywhere (A Retrospective on a Magical Visit)

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 is a good week to work on shoaling[…]. Make all your tiny magic fish into one big magic fish.
 

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - The Magician - A busty, long-haired individual in a traditional witch's hat and with a wand at her side, sits at a computer keyboard and points to the space above her head, where knives, a pentacle, a mug of coffee, a mask, and what look like a few chocolates(?) float and dance to her Will.

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – The Magician – A busty, long-haired individual in a traditional witch’s hat and with a wand at her side, sits at a computer keyboard and points to the space above her head, where knives, a pentacle, a mug of coffee, a mask, and what look like a few chocolates(?) float and dance to her Will.


 
Tarot Card: The Magician
When I sat down to write this, I was debating going with the High Priestess. Partly because the High Priestess is frequently coded as “passive” and a lot of these little/”little” magics happened because I was presented with the opportunity to Do A Thing by someone else. But I wanted to emphasize the role of choice here, in so far as it comes to what I chose to do with the opportunities presented.
 
Ms Sugar talks about shoaling – about doing a bunch of little spells, for little things, that happen to all aim (more or less) towards the same goal.
That’s… not exactly what happened here.
Rather, over a month ago, I went to visit my girlfriend in DC, and it felt like a very magical (in the literal, although also just the romantic, sense of the word). So this post is going to be a bit of a retrospective on that one.
 
At my girlfriend’s birthday party (where there was also live music, fire spinning, and poetry), one of her housemates ran an impromptu ritual – strengthening group connections through the Emerald Heart – that included all of us pouring our wills and heart-and-community-related goals into these little fuel-cube things that we fed into the fire to activate them.
I used the opportunity to do some magic about making poetry that serves myself while also finding the right audience for it – people who would also be served by the poetry, would see their own reflections more clearly by reading the ways I’ve written myself down.
It seemed appropriate, given that I’d been performing some of it earlier to a backyard full of exactly the kinds of people that I think of as My Audience. (Queers, kinky folks, trauma survivors, art freaks, sex workers, magic makers, dirt-worshipers, polytheists. Y’know. Us).
 
I practiced energy working a little bit, in a way that let me see if it was having any effect. Which it was! Amazing! 😀
 
We did a Museum Day where we went around and played tourist/tour-guide, and a couple of things happened:
 
We went to the Air & Space Museum – specifically to find Moon Landing goodies for my wife / her metamour – and, while we were there, we got to touch the moon rock. Which… I don’t know if the energy in that big chip of rock (about the size of the cuttlefish bones we get for our little birds to chew on) was due to me having A Religious Experience with one of my gods, or if this very hematite-like bit of rock – the moon has a lot of iron in her make-up – had just picked up and held onto the very human energy of thousands and thousands of people brushing their hands over it every day for decades. But either way, there was Something There that was strong enough for me to pick up on it. O.O
 
We also went to the Renwick Gallery, and the Temple Installation – “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man”, an installation by David Best and the rest of the temple crew – was unexpectedly still running. So I got to spend some time in a temporary – and made to be burned on the Playa – temple to grief and loss. What struck me so much about it was that in the writing that people had done all over the walls, the messages they’d left, the photos they’d brought to leave behind and be destroyed, the words that I saw repeated over and over were “I love you”.
 
And I left something there.
 
There were little wooden “cards” that you could write on – could take away and bring back with other items if you wanted to – and then tuck into the niches between the various layers of woodcut that made up the temple walls. So I wrote something.
Not long before I went to DC, someone on Twitter was doing single-card tarot readings – on the theme of “What you need for your love life” – for anyone who happened to ask for one during a specific time period, just because they were having a good day. And I was like “Sure, hit me up!” and the card this individual drew was Death. What they said about it was “Let the buried memories stay buried. You don’t need to carry them anymore”.
The grief I wrote about did not involve the words “I love you”. We’ll see if writing it down and leaving it there has any effect, but it was basically setting an intention, or maybe making a goal, around not defining my sexual and romantic self by my trauma(s?).
We’ll see what happens.
 
One other thing that happened on Museum Day happened when we stopped for lunch in a specific museum cafeteria. We sat by the window and looked out at the water feature, and we saw that there were four playing cards just… stuck to one of the rocks in the water feature, right were we could see them.
It felt a bit like radiomancy. Just this random chance that happened to include a message via the Language Of Metaphor:
The three of clubs (wands)
The ace of hearts (cups)
And, layered over each other, the eight of hearts and the joker (which can be either the Fool, specifically, or the sum-total of all the major arcana taken together).
 
And, I mean, there’s a lot of stuff in here about experiencing and fulfillment and expanding possibilities (3 of wands) around big-hearted love-intimacy-connection feels (the various cups cards) and I think that’s an accurate interpretation. BUT… I sort of see this as The Locals kind of just checking in, and I find that the land, in particular, tends to be very, very literal. So, given how ¾ of those cards have ties to traveling and journeys? Like, I’m inclined to read this as basically “Oh, hey, we see that you’re in a long-distance relationship together. Got it!” Which reminded me – in a really positive way – of that meme about how sometimes your tarot cards are just like “Wow, girl… you’ve been going through some really hard stuff” and you’re like “Yeah! Any suggestions on what I can do?” and they’re like “Just, wow… this has been really hard. Are you okay?”
Like, sometimes, it’s just The Family going “I see you and acknowledge what’s going on in your life”.
It was kind of delightful. 🙂
(That said, given that tarot draw, and the temple at the Renwick, I can read that 8 of Cups as relating to that, too, if I want to do a me-specific, rather than us-specific, reading).
 
Anyway.
So those were the little magics that I got to do/experience while in DC.
&bsp;
My girlfriend – who described me as being “all food, sex, poetry, blood, magic and religion”, which is not inaccurate – sent me home with T. Thorn Coyle’s book on sigil magic, which I started reading on the plane home (while hanging out on the runway for 45 minutes due to weather conditions, actually). A lot of it (so far) is about meditation and getting into the right headspace – for magic or creative writing work, either way – rather than being about making and working with sigils. But I’m finding it useful anyway.
 
My visits with my girlfriend – in significant part because we live far enough away from each other that we can’t do “every other weekend” type visits – tend to feel a little bit Time Outside Of Time anyway, because we’re both effectively on vacation when we get to see each other. Also, being both really woo, that tends to be a factor as well. But those periods where I have the time and the company that really, really allow for me to have religious experiences and long shop-talk about spirituality and our respective practices… they’re a reminder of how important this stuff is for me, how good it feels to be able to have these conversations and these experiences.
 
So it means that I’ve been pushing myself (just a little bit) to do that stuff more often. To do my Moon Salutations, with at least a little bit of vocalizations, every day. To finally make new beeswax candles for my altar. To light up some incense and do a little bit of energetico-spiritual tidying (and also some literal tidying, tbh). To follow Thorn’s directions and approach my writing as something akin to meditation (which, turns out, really helps me access the poetry-writing part of my brain). To take the time to put on my Crown of Light and write “worthy” on my leg in perfume oil. To start a couple of new poetry projects, one of-which is (so far) devotional in nature. To make a point of shifting my focus lower, to the permanent Ground that I always have going on, to actively try to run energy from those deep-set roots up to the crown of my head, to try to open up the top of my head when I’m reaching for connection with my Ladies.
And it feels good to be doing those things. Sometimes nervous-making, but still good.
I feel like this post connects pretty directly to the one I did for Week Five, almost a year-and-a-half ago, about making little magics in my life, every day. Re-enchanting my daily tasks in order to help me keep at them.
Because the challenge, for me, often is to keep at them, without feeling silly or just “tired” (but I did it yesteday…) or whatever, and deciding I can skip X, Y, or Z or “just one day” and then having “one day” turn into a week or a month or more than a month.
But even Granny Weatherwax was just starting, “every day, just starting”, so coming back and starting over every day is still worthy, you know? But it’s easier if I’m doing it all the time.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Moon – Honey/Rose Moon Begins

“Honey bee approaching a dandelion” – photo by Kreuzschnabel via Wiki Free Images – A hhoney bee, dusted with pollen, approaches a dandelion blossom.


 
Technically there are three harvest-times for honey – in Ontario, anyway. The first is happening right about now. (The second, for those who are wondering, happens around Lammas – for darker honey from goldenrod and fruit blossoms – and the third happens just before Samhain and is when you harvest honey from late-blooming asters and stuff like buckwheat). So I’m calling this the “honey moon”, even though the roses have – just barely – started blooming in the neihbourhood and should be busting out all over the place before Summer Solstice hits.
 
My land-lady’s husband came by this morning and mowed the “lawn” – which, alas, included the tops of most of my yellow seed-mustard plants AND the tops of 2/3 of my ground cherries. I need to put in some kind of a fence or something so that (a) the ground ivy can’t get in and do it’s job (preventing soil erosion) while also disguising my food plants as a weedy patch, and also (b) so that my food plants are properly fenced off from the dandelions and ground ivy that cover the rest of the yard and, ideally, protected by said fence from the whipper snipper.
I’m not hugely worried – it’s early yet – but I would like it if I actually got some fruit off the ground cherries…
 
There are some significant changes happening on the home-front right now. My lovely wife has moved into a new shop space (above ground, and considerably less expensive) which is taking a lot of pressure off me, money-wise (thank you, all the gods) and I’m looking at taking a step further along one of my many career paths, and have an interview to that end coming up next week. It may or may not get me anywhere, but it’s worth a shot and I think it could be good for me in more ways than one.
 
Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - Maya, Queen of Fire, White Galaxy Rose, Queen of Earth

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – Maya, Queen of Fire, White Galaxy Rose, Queen of Earth.


With all this in mind, I decided to do Liz Worth’s suggested tarot spread for folks wanting to connect with the Gemini New Moon:
1. What am I learning at this time?
2. What am I teaching at this time?
3. What am I overthinking at this time?
4. What am I becoming at this time?
 
As is my somewhat lazy tendency, I didn’t so much shuffle the deck as cut it at random to get my first three cards. My fourth card is a jumper which… that’s a nice card to have jump out of the deck at you, I don’t mind saying.
 
What am I learning at this time: Maya / 8½ – one of the Silicon Dawn’s “bonus” cards, and all I could think when I saw it was “Accurate…” Maya is a dominant babe with a couple of submissive playmates, which… . Described as the child of the High Priestess and the Devil, Maya is your own wildness, your willingness to prioritize your own pleasure over whatever Shoulds are squirreling around in your head, your willingness to go on an adventure, your sense of play. It’s an explicitly sexual card that asks you specifically to loosen up in order to get what you want. This is very-much in line with what I’m doing, both in terms of glamoury and in terms of my Empress and Notice Pleasure projects.
 
What am I teaching at this time: Ace of Fire – I… am not sure what to make of this. Like, it’s a wonderful card to pull. Very driven. Very passionate. It’s a card about spiritual growth (believe it or not) and energetic potential. It’s a card about cultivating confidence, optimism, and curiosity. It’s about daring to take risks, expressing yourself, and inspiring others. Egypt Urnash’s own write-up for this card asks “How do you want to transform yourself today” and its explicitly femme rendering of a dancer in the flames, of the destruction that precedes rebirth, reminds me a LOT of the Judgement card from the Mary El deck, of “YOU are the thing that’s burning”. In-so-far as I’m trying to re-learn how to burn, how to literally run energy through my body the way I used to do without even knowing I was doing it, how to re-program the energetic pathways in my own brain, I’m also trying to teach myself to do this. But am I teaching this stuff to anyone else? Kids, I have no idea.
 
What am I overthinking at this time: White Galaxy Rose – This is another one of the “bonus” cards in the Silicon Dawn deck. I tend to think of these cards – the black and the white galaxy roses – as being Maya’s two playmates. I also tend to think of them as two ways of looking at infinite potential (and, as such, they’re linked to the Ace of Fire, above, and also to the Magician card). The black rose, I tend to understand as “the beginning of everything”, whereas the white one? It’s very “I have no idea what’s going to happen next. It could be anything”. There’s a certain amount of “flying – or maybe creating the cosmos – by the seat of your pants”. That said, thanks to the power of search engines, I found Egypt Urnash’s old LJ, of all things, and she had this to say:

For me, they mostly seem to come up if I’m asking the deck a yes/no question. The black one is NO, the white one is YES. More precisely the black one seems to be DUDE NO, JUST NO, WHY ARE YOU EVEN ASKING ME THIS, YOU TOTALLY KNOW IT’S A NO, and the white one is WELL DUH YES? WHY DID YOU EVEN THINK IT MIGHT BE OTHERWISE?

So… I’m overthinking my YES?
That’s… not unlikely, actually. I do that a lot. Second-guessing myself, questioning if I really want what I want… okay, cards. Duly noted. Will try to be like September and say YES more often.
 
What am I becoming at this time: Queen of Earth – This was the card that jumped out of the deck. Solid, sure of herself, openhearted, “fecund and generous” as Egypt Urnash describes her. She has lots of resources (social connections, financial means, a full larder and a spare bedroom) at her disposal, and is materially & financially secure enough both to share, and revel in, her own abundance. Trustworthy, caring, warm, and reliable, she’s also able to both make good decisions from a place of surety and security (rather than scarcity) and to luxuriate in creature comforts. She heralds abundance and joy. Ye sweet, beloved gods, YES. This is what I want to be becoming.
 
~*~
 

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - Three of Fire (Inward-Facing)

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – Three of Fire (Inward-Facing) – Two kiddos under a tree, watching the lights.


 
So! If I take all of the above, how does it relate to the card I drew (same method) for my tarot card meditation? The card I drew was the Three of Fire which, in the Silicon Dawn deck is the three of pentacles, which she calls “Creation” and describes like this:
 

“Will is in harmony with the world. Here is what you can make, if you dare. All of this is yours. […] Our creation is done; now is the time for you to go play in it.”
[…] Spring comes to all of that vastness at once, and here it is – flowers blossom, bees buzz, and it’s time to get started doing something. So: Go make something to equal the artifact you live in. Dream big and get started.

 
Well. Spring it is, and that couldn’t be clearer.
Wish me luck.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon Salutations. Lots of walking. A certain amount of desk-dancing while I write this, wich plans to go Actual Dancing this Saturday night.
 
Attention: Watching this chest congestion like a hawk, because I do NOT want to get sick (at least not for another week – at which point I’ll have the better part of ten days to get myself healthy again, and I’ll deal if that happens). How I catch myself and pull back in situations where I’m about to make a connection (with another person, human or otherwise)… it’s… something to think about, notice, and probably one of the many instances where I’m pulling back from a YES that I do, actually, want to offer. So… Thinky-thinky.
 
Gratitude: A writing date with a friend. My wife’s new shop space and the financial flexibility that’ll give us. My upcoming interview. Continued modeling work. A garden that’s full of radish and mustard greens and, incidentally, a tonne of ground ivy that I can steep into a tea to combat bronchitis. The smell of crab apple and lilac blossoms in the air. Time to take good care of myself when I’m feeling under the weather. Running into a friend while doing groceries. Flirty interactions with my sweethearts. A wife and a girlfriend who love me.
 
Inspiration: Pulling tarot cards for poetry inspo. Listening to my girlfriend’s stories about her religious experiences as I reach out to my own gods.
 
Creation: Most recently? Two (very long) poems, that need whittling down, but are a good place to start.

New Year New You 2019: Week Fifteen – In Which We Are Grinding Along

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: We’ve spent a few more weeks thinking, planning, and doing magic. Now it’s time to return to the task at hand: doing the work necessary to accomplish our goals.
 

Next World Tarot - 7 of Pentacles - Abuelita's Labour of Love Pays Off

Next World Tarot – 7 of Pentacles – Abuelita’s Labour of Love Pays Off – An old lady sits surrounded by the art she’s been making for years which, it turns out, people want to pay for.


 

Osho Zen Tarot – 7 of Rainbows – “Patience” – A heavily pregnant person with long hair sits serenely under the phases of the moon.


 
Tarot Card: Seven of Earth. I chose the Seven of Pentacles, and I’m not a hundred percent sure it’s the right card. I’ve often gone with the Eight of the same suit for prompts about gettin’ ‘er done and keeping at it. But I wanted a card that allowed for a little bit of stock-taking as well as action, for a little bit of thoughtfulness alongside the grinding, a little reminder that “this is a marathon, not a sprint” even if the point of doing this as a project with prompts and activities is to get that long process going a little harder and build up some solid momentum.
Cristy C Road says, in her write-up for her Next World rendering of the Seven of Pentacles, “Our bodies execute magic daily, and your destination will blur if you forget the journey”.
 
And this project continues to be a journey. I wrote my initial goals post almost a year-and-a-half ago. I can recognize that I’m making progress, even if it feels super slow.
My glamour magic is at least somewhat effective.
I’ve had eight poems published since I started this project, with another five accepted for publication before the end of 2019 (so far – part of today is dedicated to working on another submission that will, hopefully, up that number again).
I’ve started dating a pretty amazing out-of-town lady and have also been going on more dates with my wife.
I have a whole other project on the go that specifically pertains to sex and sexuality (partnered and otherwise).
While the “know in my bones” part of a lot of those goals is still very (very) much a work in progress, I’ve started telling myself that I have permission to ask for the experiences, care, and pleasure that I want and will really enjoy, that all of me is worthy of love and belonging, and that my “scary” side isn’t actually scary to people who are good for me.
So, like… I’m doing the fucking work, and I’m getting results.
 

Things I’m doing this week to further my goals:
 
Going to a poetry launch at VE, yesterday (helping to refill my creative well while surrounding myself with poetry folks)
 
Going to the Bi/Pan public get-together on my way home from work – also yesterday (thus potentially finding new people who are a great social fit for me, while also getting to say Hi to one or two people I already know are a great social fit for me)
 
Moon Salutations (which open up my hips and unlock my lower back, and which also give me 10 minutes to reach out to one of my Goddesses who I feel like I’ve been neglecting)
 
Reading Burnout, by the Nagoski sisters (and trying to remember to Practice Self-Kindness instead of spectatoring and catastrophizing in Very Specific Situations)
 
Taking care of my garden (because cultivating food is one way I also cultivate abundance and sensuality, particularly while feeling the FINALLY warm sun on my FINALLY bare skin)
 
Asking at the local coffee shop about how to get my self-published chapbooks onto their ‘zine wall, and then – earlier today – following up on that information
 
Going to the park a doing something akin to “assisted” or “suspended” pull-ups (in the interests of eventually being able to take an aerials class and actually get my body into the hoop to do all those cool, graceful, balance-based Beginner Tricks that I think I might be able to pull off… once I’m up there)
 
Working on new poems and finishing my latest poetry submission (to further show off my writing chops and move a little closer to the point where I can start shopping the chapbook around)

 
Concrete things to keep myself moving along, one foot in front of the other.
It’s funny. Or not funny, I’m not sure. I’m thinking about ritual. About Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha defining “prayer” as repetition, intention, change.
So often my repetitions feel like a rut. The rhythm of my days feels very small, less like the foundation of an ostinato and more just the trudge-trudge-trudge of someone who never does anything new. Returning to this post again and again. Some days I feel like nothing gets accomplished, in the grand scheme of things. Other days – like today – I write three new, good poems (based on a three-card draw of a deck I haven’t used in a while, no less) and a draft of a fourth; get extra cream in my coffee from a friendly, queer waitress; get to impress a 2-year-old with my not-so-amazing, but aiming-for-amazing, balancing tricks. Some days the rhythm of yoga and garden and kitchen and writing and making my living by the strength and stamina of my body, some days it feels magical. Some days I can see where this journey is meant to be taking me.

New Year New You 2018 (2019) – Week Fourteen: Spiritual Consultation

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: Now would be a good time to check in with your personal Powers That Be (PTB) about your goals“.
 

Wild Unknown Tarot - Temperance - A blue heron + the mingling of water and fire against a rainbow background

Wild Unknown Tarot – Temperance – A blue heron + the mingling of water and fire against a rainbow background


 
Tarot Cards: I picked Temperance for this one, because of how it relates to both “union of opposites” endeavors and, more broadly, to cooperation and compromise.
 
See, the whole “check in with your deities (etc)” prompt… I took a “radiomancy” approach to my tarot cards today and just… shuffled the deck until something fell out.
What fell out was this:
 
Empress crossed with the King of Air. Related Influences: Seven of Air vs Seven of Fire.

Empress crossed with the King of Air. Related Influences: Seven of Air vs Seven of Fire.


 
The Empress (which is what my whole project is about) crossed with – or is that brought about through? – the King of Air. The two other cards – both sevens, which means they relate to the Chariot and its “Get Up / Wake Up, and GO” energy – read as “obstacles” vs “helpers” or a case of “what do I need to let go of” vs “what do I need to act on/with”. Influences to be taken into account, if you will.
 
As far as messages from My Ladies go? This is… very relevant, nothing unusual, and… basically confirming stuff I’m aware of already? Unless I’m missing something?
The diametrically opposed sevens: The seven of air vs the seven of fire. Shame & avoidance vs Courage & conviction.
This has been my problem for ever. I push towards the thing, I get stuck, I regress, I push further, wash, rinse, repeat. Part of me reads this as just, like, “The struggle is real” with a side order of “Also, healing works in spirals and is not in any way linear, and there’s going to be points where you’re making a lot of progress very fast and there’s going to be points where you’re seriously feeling stuck and like nothing is changing”.
But, with this specific project in mind, I can also read it as the overthinking stuckness and “freezing” that I experience literally butting heads with the vitality and bravery that it’s going to take to navigate those Stuck/Lost feelings.
 
The one card I’m not sure what to make of is the King of Swords.
This card could be a reference to my tendency to over-think things and to how researching The Thing is not the same as doing it. But – while I don’t usually read upright cards like this – the fact that the King of Swords is upright suggests that maybe this is something about, well, what my wife called “Cognitive Behavioural Witchcraft”. The way I use magic and ritual to kind of reroute my neural pathways and get myself to, hopefully, stop believing the old tapes and, hopefully, stop making the same set of mistakes.
 
Heh. There’s this meme that’s going around right now:
 

 
And… it’s not inaccurate. Sometimes my readings look more like “Yep… that is definitely an accurate description of my situation…” rather than “Wow! That’s some useful advice as to next steps to get where I’m going!”
That said, I’m choosing to interpret this as a “Yes, keep using your Very Smart Brain and your magical skills to unblock your sexual blocks and further develop your shame resilience! It’s going in fits and starts, but it’s working!”
With any luck, I’ll be correct in this.
 
 
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 (2019) – Week Twelve: “Time to Get Back to the Physical Work”

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: I want you to keep a daily journal. In it, talk about what you’ve done that day to accomplish your goal(s). If you didn’t do something towards your goals, examine your reasons why. Were you really that busy or could you have taken a half hour to work towards your goals? What stopped you from making your goals a priority?
 

The Slutist Tarot - Eight of Coins - A white person in a string bikini, gold high heels, and gold jewelry, runs ter hand through her flowing black hair while doing a back-bend from her knees on a red floor.

The Slutist Tarot – Eight of Coins – A white person in a string bikini, gold high heels, and gold jewelry, runs her hand through her flowing black hair while doing a back-bend from her knees on a red floor.


 
Tarot Card: Eight of Earth
I’m fairly confident I’ve used this card – with its links to diligence, detail, and the slow daily process of getting things done – for this prompt during other years. It fits and feels very appropriate, so I keep coming back to it.
I went with the Slutist Tarot this time around, though, because the goals that are proving harder for me to actualize, or at least harder for me to spot Progress on as it’s happening, are the ones that have to do with body-positivity, unblocked sexuality, and healthy relationship habits around things like boundaries and communication. Some fairly significant stuff as it relates to my initial over-arching goal of “opening myself up, rooting myself solid, and becoming my fullest, most integrated, femme self“.
 
I have to admit I feel a bit like I’m cheating a little here? I didn’t plan it this way, but my finishing (and posting) the Week 11 prompt, and therefore taking a look at the Week 12 prompt, just happens to line up with the beginning of the annual Explore More online summit, which is a whole ten days of video-based interviews/lectures about (sacred or otherwise approaches to) sexuality, interpersonal connections (of various types), and body-positivity. While I know I’m going to skip whole swaths of this thing – trying to absorb that much information, even with a week that’s so otherwise open and flexible, is exhausting and not something I’m likely to do – I’ve marked my calendar with what I most want to check out and think about. Between that and a couple of social events, I feel like my deck is kind of stacked in my favour.
That being said, part of me is going “famous last words”, so we’ll see how things pan out. (Yes, I started writing this before the week of journal-keeping. This next bit, below the “~*~” is what comes during and after).
 
~*~
 
Monday: Took some notes on ecstatic states and how to cultivate them, and then did some experimenting with same. Took a fancy bath with scented candles and fizzy additions, just for the hot, humid, relief of it. Made a point of kissing my wife for an extended period of time.
 
Tuesday: Wrote up a rudimentary plan for how to energy-work my way into being more connected & present in my own body.
 
Wednesday: Listened to M’kali-Hashiki’s talk (Explore More Summit so, yeah, kind of feel like I’m cheating a little here) on “Expanding Our Container for Bliss, Healing, Joy, and Grief Through Ritual and Erotic Breathwork”. Which is interesting and had a significant component of “all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals” which I particularly appreciate. It was lovely. Had a lovely, slow wake-up and breakfast with my wife.
 
Thursday: The Notice Pleasure project is (so far) moving along quite nicely. Had a really nice bath that included a prayer explicitly inviting curiosity and experience (back) into my own body. It was kind of done on the fly, but I did it. I will probably do something similar again. Am definitely noticing that (a) doing pole dance tricks as part of my “move your body” options is… a fair bit of fun and makes me grin, which is lovely… but also that I am creaky as heck and hesitant to do a lot of body movements and, when I do them anyway, I wind up with joint pain (and muscle pain, but that’s actually supposed to happen) that I might have otherwise avoided, or at least mitigated. I’m thinking that hitting up the local pool once a week for laps and leg-lifts and then a good, long hot-tub sit, would be a Very Good Idea, and I’m wondering what to give up in order to free up the $5 or so that it takes to access it (and totally haaaaaaaaaaaaaating that I have to make those kinds of decisions, ye gods…).
 
Friday: Made myself go out to a social event in the evening. It was, as expected, actually a good time once I got there. 😉
 
Saturday: While I did the first exercise in Ecstasy is Necessary today, it was hard to concentrate and I found that today was just difficult in general. I’ve been devoting a lot of my time, this week, to doing stuff on the “get fully into your body” and “heal your sexuality stuff” fronts this week, and I am feeling really self-conscious about it. It’s weird. Trying to work towards my goals when I’m quietly doing so on my own (albeit, yes, blogging about it like heck) is… relatively easy? But trying to devote time, energy, and attention to it when there’s a literal person, right there, asking “What are you working on?” with a genuine desire to hear the answer? Wow, do I ever feel weird about that.
Also… Hope is kind of exhausting? One of the Explore More talks (Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s talk) including some discussion about “the gift of slowness” and how you create actual effective, lasting change by going slow-but-steady – rather than trying to get everything fixed in a frantic six-week period.
I’ve been treating this week like “school”, and granting myself a LOT of time and energy for my Notice Pleasure project, because I’m effectively attending a conference right now. Once the conference is done, I’m giving myself permission to move at a slower (but still steady) pace and treat this like the marathon it is rather than trying to do it all in a sprint. But the “sprint” part is also kind of necessary (at least I think it is) for me to build up a little bit of momentum, do some habit-forming, and remind myself that, yes, I can do The Thing(s) in a consistent way, so that when I slow down, I’ve still got something to help me carry myself forward. None the less, I’ve been sprinting all week, going “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” up this hill all week, and I’m tired. Change is hard. (Duh). Making mistakes in front of people and being messy and not knowing the answers easily is… embarrassing and I do not like it. It’s necessary. It’s part of the learning/healing/etc Process. But, fuck, is it pissing me off. Harumph.
 
Sunday: Okay. So having had my day of not really making myself a priority – and also having the house to myself today – things are a little easier again. I read my tarotscope for Pisces Season, and found that it was easily relatable to the “root myself solid” part of my overarching Empress Project goal as well as to all of the sexual boundaries-and-mysteries stuff I’m trying to get a handle on through the Explore More Summit and the Ecstasy books I’m reading right now. So: Relevant? Relevant. To that end: I looked up (and did) a root chakra guided meditation thing – which had some… interesting… results – and had lots of social plans for the afternoon, which I think falls under the heading of “spend more time with people who are good for my head and heart”. So Go Me.
 
~*~
 
So… How did I do?
I think I did okay?
I made some plans – some of which I’ve already started implementing, but some of which are going to have to wait (for the impending new moon, in one case, and for roughly Beltane in another) – and had some (I think) breakthroughs. I’ve started doing some Internal Workings stuff that should help to re-route my neural pathways so that I have an easier time moving towards (and sticking with) and accomplishing my goals. I went to a party and hung out with various friends and metamours. I confided in both of my romantic partners about my whole Notice Pleasure project and how it’s going.
I didn’t do any poetry-related stuff, but I did write a whole bunch of personal essays, and have made a Productivity Date with a writer-friend, for later this week, to try and synthesize all of my thoughts and hopes and break-throughs into some poetry.
I think I did okay.
 
I know that a big part of why I did okay was that I gave myself a heap of inspiration – through the Explore More Summit – and permission to actually focus on that project.
In a different week – one where I had a lot of outside-the-house work booked, or one where I was doing catch-up work on house-keeping (which I’ve been ignoring in a lot of ways, despite telling myself that I need to clean the house more consistently if I want to actually enjoy the time I spend in here)… I might not have been so social or so dedicated to actively trying to change my brain and my internalized beliefs around what I am and am not allowed to experience or enjoy and what I am or am not worthy of receiving in various kinds of relationships.
So the timing on this one kind of worked out.
 
I think the most telling part of this past week was how hard it was to let myself focus on The Thing when I had an “audience” and was faced with the possibility of having to talk about it in real time. Like, I’m pretty sure there’s some internalized shame around trauma and mental health stuff going on there, but also I think there’s some sort of Shame/Unworthiness Stuff about even just, like, “I am worthy of my own love, attention, patience, and energy” here. It’s like “Oh, no! If someone ‘finds out’ that I’m actually devoting a fair bit of my own time, energy, and attention to just… helping my heart and my brain feel better and helping myself have a more fulfilling life… I’ll be dismissed as one of those pathetic woo-woo people who thinks Everything Happens for a (Me-Related) Reason’ and doesn’t have the emotional fortitude to deal with even the most limited of traumas. How pathetic”. Or similar.
So… I guess that’s something I need to work on, too?

New Year New You 2018 – Week Eleven: Casting Out Doubt

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:We need to free ourselves from this horribly insidious, inner voice that wants us to never try, to never dare, to never dream, and to never step outside our little boxes. […] It doesn’t want you to change because change is hard and scary.
 

Dark Days Tarot - The Moon - Three swimmers dive over a dark lunar face, above a treeline and flying birds.

Dark Days Tarot – The Moon – Three swimmers dive over a dark lunar face, above a treeline and flying birds.


 
Tarot Card: The Moon
I picked The Moon because it has to do with “believing illusions”.
At this point, the old refrain of my Jerk Brain is… boring, honestly. It’s still very effective, but I know the words and the tune by heart, and it’s getting easier and easier to recognize it when it starts playing on my internal radio again.
I wrote a poem, more than a year ago now, for the New Moon in Scorpio. It was about how the deep, dark secrets we keep from ourselves – the ones we’re supposed to go deep-diving into the fathomless muck in the bottoms of our unconscious to find and drag into the light – aren’t about how we’re actually Very Bad People. Sometimes the secrets we keep from ourselves are that we’re lovable, worthy, and good.
My Jerk Brain, my “Horrible Voice”, keeps suggesting ways for everything to go horribly wrong. “Your marriage is going to fall apart because you have a new partner!”, “Your new relationship is going to fall apart because it’s long distance and you’re probably just making it up anyway!”, “Your making-ends-actually-meet job is going to disappear in forty more hours and you’ll be right back to scraping by just like the last [too many] years!”
And, okay, with the possible exception of that last one? I know that my Horrible Voice is lying. My marriage isn’t falling apart. My girlfriend is nuts about me. My wife and my girlfriend like each other. My metamours seem pretty great so far. Everything is going to be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.
 
But riding herd on my Jerk Brain when it has so many weak/tender spots it can poke? Not easy. It’s like… I plug one hole, and the water starts rushing in somewhere else.
 
How I generally cast out doubt is by having magical baths and showers. Partly because they warm me up and relax me, since a lot of my Jerk Brain is basically just anxiety, sometimes exacerbated by being too cold. (Although I admit that I bought myself heavily-discounted “unicorn magic” scented candles – they basically smell like fruity, vanilla-sugar – for days when I want to remind myself that, “Why yes, I am in fact a Magical Marianas Trench Unicorn and my angsty mental state can just fuck off”).
This time, though, I’m also trying stuff like “mindfulness”. In the sense of “Okay, but is this actually reasonable? Or are you blowing things way out of proportion, outright making stuff up, or being kind of ridiculous here” in situations where the only person likely to be gaslighting me is myself.
That last one is, uh. It’s tiring – because I’m literally having these chats with myself every 3-5 minutes, some days. But it’s also being remarkably effective, so I think I’m going to keep it up.
 
Beyond those two things – the magical self-care and the mindfulness self-talk – I’m putting myself back on the “do a physical activity (briefly) every day” track – and sometimes more than once a day, if I catch myself getting stuck in the flight/fight/freeze part of the “stress cycle” and need to literally shake (shaaaaaaaaaaaake) it off. Because getting out in the fresh air and/or moving my body to some upbeat music really does seem to help my brain. I’ve also (just barely) started a second “gratitude practice”, over on Syrens, specifically to help with shame resilience around body pleasure and sexual connections, so that I can try to get out of my own way on that front.
Wish me luck on that one.