Tag Archives: New Year New You

New Moon – Leaf Moon Begins; Beltane 2017

New Moon in Taurus was on Wednesday. Beautiful green things are leafing out all over. The hyacinths are blooming, even in my shady AF front yard. My wife’s Dog Harness contract is over-over-over (beyond doing some management stuff, which is fine and won’t take too much of her time) and she is back to doing actual LEATHER work at her workshop. Chani is telling us all about how New Moon in Taurus brings love and solid commitment to accomplishing good things, how Venus (which is finally stationed direct, and which rules Taurus) is being a little more gentle with her lessons while still effortlessly getting thing done as she moves through compassionate Pisces. The HoodWitch informs us that this particular New Moon touches on, well, a whole lot of stuff that’s in my personal “Oh, gods, do I really have to deal with this???” house – money, work, emotional patterns based on security – all that Job Stuff, not to mention the “too cautious to move, too incautious not to leap” stuff that’s been asking me to find a behvioural happy medium that will actually let me get stuff don – like body, sensuality, home-and-family STUFF – without a lot of hand waving and/or skipping over (or right back into) my own shit in the process. The HoodWitch horoscopes for this week are ringing a lot of bells, on that front, too. Handily, she has some lovely, appropriately sensual, simple rituals to help me (or you, for that matter) focus intentions and, frankly, put a call out for help or support on dealing with my Feeeeelings And Stuff around these subjects & situations.
On an only somewhat related note, Ariel, over at Siobhan’s Mirror, has handed me a tarotscope that’s all about recognizing that wishes can, and have, come true. The tarot reading I gave myself at New Moon said much the same, with the Nine of Cups featuring prominently and a heap of signs pointing to All That Struggle being behind me (well, mostly – my Present includes the 3 of swords crossed with the High Priestess, which suggests I’m still Processing) and the need for me to realize that, rather than all this good stuff I’m starting to step into being just “wishful thinking” and me kidding myself, I’m actually shifting towards the more playful, well-boundaried, pleasure-achieving open-heartedness that I’ve been striving for with regards to my Queen Of Cups project.
All of which is fantastic news. I mean, seriously. LOOK at this:
 

 
Beltane (today) dawned rainy, grey and cold. Which is pretty par for the course, in these parts, even if we were having gorgeous, gorgeous super-warm weather earlier in the week.
I’m home today. Planting sorrel and collards. Doing multiple loads of dishes. Vacuuming. Baking bread. Baking a lot of things, actually, mostly to use up the kefir in the fridge and make room for the next batch. >.>
We hung the ancestor photos (all but two – we ran out of screws) – FINALLY – over the weekend, and I’m feeling a whole lot better about that whole situation.
 
New Moon plus the Year Gate swinging into Spring and towards the rapidly approaching Summer (that’s Ottawa – Three weeks between grey-and-mud-and-near-freezing-temperatures and flowers-and-flipflops-and-30-degree-highs), no wonder things feel like new beginnings.
 
What do I want to call into my life? Well, as Miss Sugar puts it, Butter, A Dress, and Travel.
Maybe, more accurately, I should say that I’m feeling hopeful on the heart front and, while there are still things to be sorted out, I don’t think I’m in the metaphorical dark woods anymore. I’m in the sparsely treed borderlands, at worst. (I reeeeeeeeeally hope I’m not wrong on that). But I’ve still got Scarcity Brain eating at me and, frankly, I’m thirty-seven. I would like my middle-age to look less like Catfood For Dinner Is A Real Possibility and more like… more like Wife and I (and anyone else we end up living with, because polyamoury) are both bringing in enough money, doing flexibly-scheduled, preferably part-time work, ideally in a creative field, that we each like and are good at, that we can cover our expenses, have an RRSP or two, go on an actual Vacation now and then, and share some of that cash with other people who are doing art and activism that we like and care about. I would like my old age (which feels a whole lot closer now than it did ten years ago) to be comfortable and gentle, rather than impoverished and stressed out.
 
Keep Calm and Carry Green Garnets in Your Wallet, I guess?
 
 
~*~
 
Motion: Went swimming yesterday (mostly this involved sitting in a hot tub, but there was some treading water in the deep end of the pool as well). Enjoying how easy it is to walk places these days, too! There’s a day-dance coming up in just under a week, which I’m looking forward to. Raking out the garden and doing lots of bending and digging in a friend’s flower beds, the other day, has left me with slightly stronger thighs (and also sore feet).
 
Attention: Paying attention to my boundaries, to the sprouts sprouting in my garden (some are wanted, some are most-like not, but I’m not sure what everything is yet, so…), to friends going through hard times, to my Feelings around money/employment and how I tend to see “wealth” (fiancial) and “abundance” (everything else) as two distinct categories that don’t have a lot of overlap and maaaaaaay be mutually exclusive (I gotta fix, that, you guys… it is not helping me out right now). Also throwing some more attention at The Novel.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for rain, for getting the ancestor photos hung, for lots of frozen veggies still in the freezer, for finding out (how did I not know this already?) that my wife actually LIKES tinned cream of mushroom soup! (Who knew?) For romantic canoodling. For people who want to hear my thoughts. For time to sit in a hot tub and relaaaaaaaaax. For flowers coming up in the front yard, and the slow spreading of my ground-cover plants. For a quiet week. For repeat clients calling and booking again. For kind friends who help me out with stuff I don’t know how to fix myself (take that however you want to).
 
Inspiration: Queer Femme Witches, and Queer Witches more generally, Everywhere. ❤ Spending time with other writerly chicks, nattering over plot-fixing and character development. Reading Black Wave (Michelle Tea) and Nevada (Imogen Binnie) and trying to learn how to make a self-absorbed character who doesn’t have her shit together likeable, or at least relateable, or failing that, enough of a train-wreck to be interesting. >.>
 
Creation: I continue to slog away at The Novel, as mentioned above. Trying to sort out how the hell the climax will work (which involves sorting out what the book is Actually About). Poking at the poetry of other femmes, choosing poems to gloss, and lines to build new poetry from. ❤

New Year New You 2016: Week 18 – Body Time + Taking Stock

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “Do I think you need to know how to quiet your mind and focus to do magic? Yes!” So, take a minute to empty the “old crap” out of your brain, so there’s “room to let new crap in”.
 
Tarot Card: For this prompt, I’m strongly inclined to go with Temperence, given its connotations of balance, of pause and reflect, of integration. But I could have just as easily gone with The Hanged Man with its connotations of edges, of new perspectives, even night vision (king of insight…), the clarity that can come from taking a minute to look at things from all angles, to wait and see. Likewise, the Seven of Earth – the suit of embodiment, its number linked to both hope (the Star) and action (the Chariot) – that urges us to look at what we’ve accomplished while reminding us that change takes time would also be an appropriate choice.
 
So someone (Parneet from Chai Chats, iirc) once very effectively explained meditation as “This is not Mind Time. This is Body Time”. Like, rather than focusing on Emptying Your Mind, the whole point of meditation (sitting quietly style meditation) is to check in with your body and connect with yourself physically. That’s what the whole “focus on your breath” thing is about.
Me? I spend a HUGE amount of my life in Mind Time. Hours and hours spent sifting through thoughts and cognitive patterns, dealing with a lymbic system that is sometimes No Help At All and trying to forge new habits and pathways by rote and force of Will… But Brene says “We move what we know from our heads to our hearts through our hands” and so Body Time is a needed thing, as well.
 
Body Time is hours spent making thumbprint shortbread cookies and vegan ginger snaps. It’s the repetitive work of chopping food for large-batch cooking and canning, and the over-under-around-and-through of knitting a shrug worth of garter stitch, the back-and-forth of weaving, the twist-and-fling of spinning on a drop spindle. All those “stimming” things that keep me level and calm and focused when anxiety and ambient noise are threatening to carry me away.
Body Time is pausing to feel my feet, set my roots down into the ground, it’s taking a minute to breath extra deep, into the spots in my hips that aren’t always there, all the way down into my shins, to feel with my whole body. It’s doing a little shoulder-focused dance to help my spine straighten and my stiff, aching lower-back muscles loosen up.
Body Time is letting myself enjoy a kiss, lean into a touch, feel everything all the way down rather than shying away from sensation. It’s paying attention to sensation, to wants and desires that show up physically, adding new techniques to the tool kit of Things That Help Me Stay and then actually using them when I need them.
 
Body Time is, to be honest, still a work in progress, but it’s getting easier. Some days, the part of my brain that insists that experiencing desire is, in and of itself, monstrous, something to be ashamed of, something that it’s abusive and wrong to even voice… some days, that part of me still does the driving. Although I’m getting a little better at wrestling the keys back and feeling my way into my own frame again.
I have made progress on this front.
I am having an easier time recognizing that I’m loved and cared for. I’m having an easier time holding two hard, sad things in my hands at once while still continuing to actually move forward. My year-at-a-glance horoscope for 2017 includes the phrase “happiness is an inside job” which… on the one hand: Duh. On the other hand: This suggests that I’ll be working on “How to get to Happy” for a little while longer. But there’s been movement. I feel like I’m part-way up the mountain and, while I’m not there yet, if I stop for a minute and take a damn breath, I can look behind me and see that I’ve actually gone a fair ways so far. This is good. I’m not quite at the Queen of Cups “end goal” of my project, more like a conscious embodiment of the Page of Cups while still trying to navigate the Knight of Cups‘ characteristics in a way that includes good boundaries and self-compassionate caution instead of EITHER “flinging myself off a cliff” (the eyes-wide-shut Relentless Hope that is sometimes part of the Three of Fire) in the name of “earning” the love and belonging one craves OR the kind of walled-up paranoia that can lead one to freezing everybody out and being lonely and hungry all the time (the emotional equivalent of the Four of Earth).
Fingers crossed that I can pull this off. ❤

New Year New You 2016: Weeks 16 & 17 – Big Magic, Little Rituals, and Winter Solstice

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “This is a good week to work on shoaling […]. Make all your tiny magic fish into one big magic fish.” AND “[It’s] time to do a big ritual to further one or more of your goals.”
 
Tarot Cards: The High Priestess with a side-order of The Queen of Fire. The deep-digging and drawing-up of the High Priestess, the attention I’m giving to magically/energetically developing my Whale Heart, the energetic labour of reaching out (both to and for) and gathering together,of making space for others and letting my own light be visible and undeniable.
 
So… It’s been Solstice. Which is kind of a big ritual in and of itself, even when my version of it, this year, was super low-budget and not very fancy: I put up the holly garlands, but didn’t hang any ornaments from them. Our major nod to Seasonal Decor is a giant poinsettia that was gifted/off-loaded (either/or, works for me – thank you) from one of my temping clients on Friday afternoon, largely so that they wouldn’t come back to work in January to the sight of a giant, wilted poinsettia in their main foyer.
Last year, we hung the ornaments and lit everything (ineffectively) by candle light, which is how I normally do things. This year… I actually wanted to see where the food was and not trip over everything or spill the wine. So I kept the electric lights on. I’m sure there’s something symbolic about the marriage of Reason and Sensuality, or keeping one’s eyes open, or whatever and I’ll probably develop that thought As Needed over the next couple of days as I see Fam-of-O and weather potentially-difficult/painful Poly Family Gatherings. (I have a couple of escape plans for the latter, and can I just say Thank Fuck for the people who are looking out for me!)
This morning, I left a note on the FB Event for my annual Winter Solstice party (which has never been a Go Until Dawn kind of shindig, and is basically wine, cheese, chocolate, and conversation, all of-which I love, followed by In Bed By 1am, if not earlier, and re-hydrating like woah the next morning) telling all my guests (and all the folks who couldn’t make it out) how lucky I am to have such good people in my life, and how they bring the light back to me again and again.
It’s a thing that’s worth saying out loud, y’know?
 
My magic, these days, doesn’t look much like magic in the “whizz, bang” sense of the word. It’s not honey pots or actively-magical glamour – though the practice of wearing a Crown Of Light[1] has gotten a lot easier since I started doing it back in… May(?), and I don’t have to focus on it the whole time, or be wearing 14 layers of physical-world femme armour, to keep it in place. It’s more like prayer, gratitude practice, greeting my gods as and when I have the opportunity, recognizing those You’re On The Right Track moments[2], breathing myself all the way into my body.
One little bit of more “magicky” magic that I’ve been doing, though, is to use my little bottle of Unveiled – one of Miss Sugar’s limited edition ritual oils, from years ago – to anoint my heart-chakra/sternum while asking “let me see what’s really there”. This is both Energy Work (complete with visualizations and pushing energy around) and a prayer for (a) the chance to observe and recognize the ways that I actually am supported & cared for, as well as (b) the ability to discern the appropriate degree of personal investment for a given relationship based on how much the other person is actually There For Me.
Fingers crossed that this one will work.
 
As far as Big Rituals go, my Winter Solstice Shindig is kind of the big one I do every year. It’s not a “ritual” in the straight-up religious sense. But it’s a celebratory way to mark the turning of the year, to light up my altar and make offerings to my gods (and the crows), and to gather my people close. I’m a Kitchen Witch, and this is kind of What We Do.
With that in mind – perhaps unsurprisingly – a lot of the foods I prepared (more From Scratch than ever, this year, because I didn’t have the cash to just go out and buy baguettes, artichoke dip, rabbit terrine, or fancy cheese) for our Winter Solstice celebrations had a LOT of “love and protection” correspondences built into them. Part of that is just because a lot of common house-hold ingredients have those correspondences anyway. But the other part is that: This is what I need right now. To protect my heart without closing it. To actively care for people without putting myself in harm’s way. To risk, courageously, and open myself up to love and care (both giving and receiving it) while also giving myself permission to protect myself and put my own oxygen mask on first. So I built that into the foods I made and served during Celebration Time.
 
So that’s the magic I’ve been doing. The Good Witching of checking in with friends who may or may not have people to spend their holidays with, or who just started meds; the word-magic of speaking things aloud, of naming and claiming, calling out and calling in; the rallying of reinforcements when someone near and dear to me needs to know that they’re loved; the opening myself again and again (and messing it up, and falling back on old habits, and trying to do it better the next time), the changing consciousness at will (which is a longer process than Starhawk makes it sound in Spiral Dance, let me tell you). That’s the magic I’ve been doing. My witchcraft isn’t particularly subversive. But it works.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] What is says on the tin. I visualize putting on a crown that shows up like a spotlight on my hair. It’s based on a poem I wrote about being a figure model and how much easier it is to be bullet-proof when I’m NOT trying to look Put Together in clothes that were never designed to fit me, the last line of-which is “The light on your hair all the crown you’ll ever need”. It… seems to be fairly effective, as it turns out. 🙂
 
[2] Like yesterday, when I was right in the middle of stream-of-consciousness tweeting about a Thing that has dawned on me, and one of the ladies I was working for sashayed over and gifted me a bottle of nail polish just for the hell of it[3].
 
[3] I admit that I’m a little concerned at how my “you’re on the right track” markers seem to be seriously linked to Protestant-Capitalism’s interpretation of the Kalvinist Doctrine of Predestination, but… this seems to be working, so I’m going with it.

New Year New You 2016: Weeks 14 & 15 – Searching for a Sign + One Small Step and Then One More

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “Now would be a good time to check in with your personal Powers That Be (PTB) about your goals. […] How do your PTB’s advice change your approach to your goals?” PLUS “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.”.
 
Tarot Cards: Eight of Vessels (Week 14) + Two of Earth (Week 15).
 
So. I spent the past month-and-a-bit avoiding my tarot cards. A mixture of being afraid of what they’d tell me and being afraid of how I’d mis/read things (the stories in our heads are frequently how we interpret readings for ourselves, and it’s easy to read worst-case scenarios AND wishful-thinking daydreams into what the cards have to say).
None the less, messages have a way of getting through.
A huge part of the Queen of Cups Project has been, basically, answering the question of “How do I get to Happy?” Miss Sugar talks, occasionally, about Radiomancy – the practice of seeing what pops up when you spin the dial, put your playlist on shuffle, or otherwise just see what songs are screaming at you from the airwaves.
I’ve been getting these two a lot. Plus this came across my desk this morning.
Gosh, do you think someone is trying to tell me something?
>.>
 
Yeah.
 
My Eight of Water story is, basically, “Gotta let this one go. No fixing it. Time to start again. Put your energy somewhere else” like, say, feeding your whale heart and nurturing relationships with people who actually care about you. Combine that with all the “Femme Emotional Labour” and “Trojan Horse Boundary Crossing” stories I’ve been getting linked to, of late (or, y’know, all freaking year…) and, yeah. The Eight of Blooms (top, right) is the pearl found (at last?) after going through a lot of oysters. All those discarded heart and vulva shapes ringing a treasure found by moonlight, by shining a light on all my old patterns and assumptions. The “rebirth” of the Eight of Vessels is a reminder that there will be other chances, that it’s hard to be happy when you’re fussing over every little thing in order to “make” yourself worthy in the eyes of someone who, when you get right down to it, messed with your head and took advantage of you, no matter how much of a compassionate lens you can view that through.
 
So that’s the information I’ve been getting.
 
How does that translate into One Small Thing I can do to push towards my goal?
My Queen of Cups goal has been to become more receptive, to understand that I’m actually loveable and worthy rather than just some fuck-up who has too much privilege and too much monster-brain to warrant being cared for without having to seriously earn that stuff. So…
I mentioned feeding my “whale heart”. That’s a Life Coaching thing, my “new Way of being/operating” that is self-compassionate, and doesn’t truck with people who won’t step up to meet her needs the way she steps up to meet theirs. The one small thing, the moment-to-moment practical thing I can do to feed my Whale Heart is to practice being kind to myself and doing what’s actually good for me.
Yes, it’s totally a challenge – I’m something of what Nydia Dauphin calls a “high functioning self-neglector”. Way more likely to make food if I’m feeding someone other than myself. Way more likely to swallow the worst of my feelings and focus on others than make them listen to me whine (uh… this entire blog notwithstanding…) – but it’s also necessary. So. Things I can do right now along those lines?
 
Start the latest batch of stock + process a bunch of sunchokes/as’kebwan’ for the freezer. This will make it easier for me to make meals later on.
 
Put dinner in the oven (I dug through my meat bin, in the freezer, and pulled out a tiny roast. This, with some sunchokes/as’kebwan’ will be a good start to dinner. I can throw in some frozen veggies or pickled beets and sour kraut (if they’re ready) for veggie content) and make myself Real Food instead snacking on crackers until my wife gets home to start cooking. It’s not quite making Real Food For Just Me, but it’s a step in that direction.
 
Bake something (probably soda bread and/or brownies using whey and/or Gone Off Milk). This will be creative, plus it will mean easy go-to food available for lunches and snacks over the next few days. It will also clean out the fridge a bit, which won’t hurt.
 
Do 10 minutes of yoga (child’s pose, plank, tree, warrior pose in one direction, Goddess pose, warrior pose in the opposite direction, downward dog, heart-melting pose, child’s pose again), possibly while humming. This will work my body, strengthen my arms and my core (good for my back), remind me to make music and let me move energy through my body.
 
Start anointing my heart chakra with “Unveiled” – a limited edition perfume/magical oil that Miss Sugar made, years ago – to help me see what I usually can’t/won’t see, the bad stuff I wish wasn’t there, but also the good stuff that I’m too prone to ignoring or refusing to allow in.
 
Wish me luck!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2016: Week 13 – Sacrifice (You are the Thing That is Burning)

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: A meaningful sacrifice to your Powers That Be. You and your PTB will know best what that is for you. Think on it.
 
Tarot Card: Judgement (20 of Major Arcana).
I picked this one for a couple of reasons. One is because of the Mary-El version of the card, which is very-much in line with the title of this post. Another is the idea of “Judgy Judgy Judgy” and the way we can be cruel to ourselves, the way our Jerk Brains can say the meanest things, in the (mistaken) idea that dissuading us from leaving our comfort zones will keep us safe. The third is the Osho version of this card, Beyond Illusion, which has to do with the “sacrifice” theme of this week’s prompt (the Collective Tarot’s take on it is also relevant, in terms of end goals, fyi).
So I’m going with it.
 
I’m just over two months away from the year-mark of my Queen of Cups project, and right about at the year-mark for when I started getting Messages about becoming more receptive in the first place. I have to say it’s been an interesting ride, given that where I’ve ended up is a question about how to have better boundaries. This isn’t particularly surprising, but it’s not what I was originally expecting when I set out to teach myself how to Let More Good Stuff In and how to be More Vulnerable (in the asking for what I need way) in relationships that matter to me.
Then again, it’s been a pretty constant internal argument with myself to avoid going back to the definition of “boundaries” that essentially means “nobody is allowed in, ever” and hang onto the one that (is fairly theoretical but also probably a better plan, and) says “boundaries” mean “I decide who is allowed in, and how far, and under what circumstances… and will back myself off accordingly if my needs aren’t being met”.
 
To that end, I’ve been pushing up against some significant edges during my most recent life coaching sessions. I’ve been reading about Non-Violent Communication, the notions of observing and naming my feelings, and of voicing needs and making actionable requests of people to help me meet those needs.
It suuuuucks.
I read a chapter, and my shoulders hike right up around my ears. My teeth come out, and I seriously start spoiling for a fight. Turns out my metaphorical Flailing Mermaid has had a lot to say about changing the way I interact with people when it comes to boundaries, needs, and consequences.
This is the bit about “Judgy” that I was talking about, above.
So, here I am, staring the “sacrifice” prompt in the face, and haaaaating the idea of giving up something that I value. I don’t think this particular NYNY Goal is one that can be met by limiting my time on social media or deciding to stick with fair trade chocolate, sugar, coffee and so-on[1].
 
The thing I have to give away is my illusions.
 
You remember I did a tarot reading a little while ago?
The thing that is burning, when The Tower shows up, is me.
 
I’ve been telling myself old stories over the past couple of days. Like, noticeably replaying Old Tapes, grinding old axes, getting mad (inside my head) at everyone whoever Wronged Me in some way. And I know that pattern.
What do I have to give away in order to get what I want?
If what I want is Liberation (which could also be understood through the last “phase” of this version of the 10 of Air), I have to move myself Beyond the Illusions that I’ve build around myself that simultaneously tell me (a) that I’m not worthy of love and care and kindness, but also (b) that Needing Things is how you get yourself hurt, so better off to keep your damn mouth shut if you’re codependent enough to need something in the first place[2].
 
So. How do I offer this to the fire?
How, in a situation where the behaviours associated with The Flailing Mermaid are part of me, have redeeming qualities that I want to keep, and which – like it or not – are never going to go away, how do I give away the control I let those behaviours have on me?
How do I let that go?
The answer, I suspect, is “slowly”. Slowly, but consistently, a sliver at a time, one bad habit at a time, burn a new path through my internal woods, tread it enough that I know my new way and don’t always twist towards the old.
 
~*~
In terms of how to back this up with some magical working, mind you, I can see doing some sort of a fire ritual. Write out the old way and feed it to the flames, spread the ash on my garden and let it compost into something good and new.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Although, for the record, Ben and Jerry’s (which recently spoke out in support of Black Lives Matter) does fair trade cocoa and sugar on at least some (“Cherry Garcia” and “If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours”) of their stuff, which is always good to know. I’ve added them to my list of Approve Ice Cream (even if they are owned by Unilever), alongside Kawartha Dairy (which is Delicious and made in Ontario).
 
[2] Here I’m thinking of Brene Brown’s Rising Strong and the chapter about struggling with shame around need and needing, and how, when you are afraid/ashamed of needing things (or people, or help), you have set up a hierarchy where people who need/receive are Less Than people who help/give. I have a weird(?) relationship with needing and receptivity. Some stuff – like home-made dinner, hugs, or second-hand furniture – is easy for me to receive. Other stuff – like small-but-special presents or people going out of their way for me – is harder. Other stuff – like flirtatious attention, sexual touch, heaps of cash, or very generous gifts (which… 2nd Chakra Stuff, much?) – is very, very difficult. I get suspicious about what I’m going to “owe” the other person, or nervous about not giving them the performance/response they’re (in theory) wanting “in exchange” for giving me so much attention, effort, or “energy” (what is this thing where money = energy? I don’t entirely get it) which, in itself, can land me in Trigger Land or the kind of emotional storms with-which my Flailing Mermaid is all too familiar, real fast. I have difficultly needing things (and talking out loud about same) and difficulty receiving things – even if some of those things are much easier than others – and maybe it’s not surprising that the two go hand in hand AND that being “the giving one” feels powerful and safe (or powerless but indispensable, which is also a kind of “safe”… in a way) while being the “needing (“needy”) one” feels vulnerable (it is), dangerous/unstable, and burdensome/shameful (it’s not, but I’m having trouble working that into my bones). Relevant stuff here. Still sorting it through.

New Year New You 2016: Week Twelve – Every Day You’re Hustling

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: This week is about putting your money where your mouth is. I want you to keep a daily journal. In it, talk about what you’ve done that day to accomplish your goal(s).
 
Tarot Card: Eight of Disks. This one was a bit of a no-brainer. The Eight of Earth is all about the daily grind, about getting it done, day in and day out, about the dilligence it takes to stick to a task until you get good at it (practice, practice, practice), which is what this week’s prompt is about. In the Wooden Tarot, the Eight of Bones is a spine, calling up both “put your back into it” and “don’t chicken out (don’t be spine-less)”, which touch on this week’s prompt while also acknowledging the “continuing in spite of your fears and doubts” elelments of Week Eleven.
 
But here’s a thing. In the collective tarot, whose suit of earth is also called Bones, the Eight of Bones is a ribcage, with a crysalys at its heart.
 

Eight of Bones - Collective Tarot A ribcage with eight ribs.  There is a crysalys nested in the sternum over (or in place of) the heart.  Below the ribcage, fiddlehead ferns are starting to unfurl.

Eight of Bones – Collective Tarot
A ribcage with eight ribs. There is a crysalys nested in the sternum over (or in place of) the heart. Above the crysalys hangs the figure-8 of the infinity symbol, echoing the transformative potential of The Magician in the Major Arcana. Below the ribcage, fiddlehead ferns are starting to unfurl.


 
That’s what the daily grind, the dedication, will get you. Personal evolution. Personal transformation.
 
Every time I (grudgingly) do plank to build my core-strength and literaly take the pressure off my spine; every time I pause to check in with my body, to see what feels good, to see what feels at all; every time I answer my journaling questions for Life Coaching; every time I push myself to stay with hope (which is so, so scary)… every time I do any of that, I’m letting the crysalys around my heart get a little more mature, I’m letting my internal changes move a little farther on the journey from where I was to where I want to be.
 
Miss Sugar asks:

Have you made you an option instead of a priority?

 
This isn’t easy.
 
Taking time out for myself – when my whole life feels like “free time” half the time, when I get so angry at myself for still being a tumult of anxiety[1] in spite of having rigged my life so that I mostly don’t have to deal things that are uncomfortably beyond my control[2] – it feels like… It feels like “Gods, Meliad, do you have to baby yourself even more than you already do???”
 
But the whole point of my Queen of Cups Project is to be more capable of receoptivity, of accepting kindness, pleasure, care, Good Things, into my life and my body without getting all freaked out about it. To be able to receive, as well as give, with an open heart (and open legs). To be able to trust instead of self-sabotaging thanks to my insecurities. To be able to trust realistically and with good boundaries rather than flinging myself off a cliff, so to speak, and hoping my reckless trust will prove I’m worthy of not shattering on the rocks.
… And doing that means I have to be able – be willing and able – to be good to myself, to be trust-worthy to myself, to follow-through with, and take care of, my Self.
 
So. If you’ll excuse me, I have Exercises I need to work through, and salsa I need to finish canning.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Fun Fact: There is a farely good chance that I have “generalized anxiety disorder”, and have had it since childhood! I’m not looking to get a diagnosis, since meds are probably not the way to go here, but having that “Oh… that explains a lot…” moment after self-diagnostic test #3 came up with the same result, plus having a better idea of which strategies and techniques for managing this stuff are most likely to work? It’s been a big help.
 
[2] I work from home, I work with my wife, I do an outside-the-house job that I’m extremely good at and valued for. I may be broke all the time, but I’m also able to keep us somewhat-creatively fed on limited cash. I know how to rig the odds and ask for advice/information from My People through tarot, I put effort into maintaining the relationships I have with my awesome, reliable friends whom I can count on, I live down town so that I can walk everywhere, and can’t use “But… transit…” as an excuse not to leave the house and try new things, etc, etc…

The Tower – What Are You Willing to Let Burn in Order to Get Free?

So, as-you-know-bob, I got a Mary-El tarot deck not too long ago. I brought it to a friend’s place the other day to show it off, and she went through all the cards and checked it out.
 
She commented on how the 16 of MA in this card looks like the statue of liberty on fire. And it totally does.
I commented to her that, if this card turned up in a reading – because The Tower showing up in a reading tends to freak people out – I would ask the querant “What do you need to let burn in order to get free?”
 
Fast forward two hours.
I’m sitting in a café, down town, and I pull out my deck and ask my gods, via the cards, to “tell me something new” about what I need to do in order to get where I want to go.
Guess what turned up.
 
the-tower-situation
 
My situation card is The Tower.
Now check out my crossing card:
 
situation-and-crossing-card
 
I look at that absolutely wrathful phoenix overlayed on The Tower, and went “Oh… It’s me that’s burning”.
And it is.
That phoenix is me, it’s the Scorpio entering the third phase of existence, it’s the balanced human being that grows out of the “door mat” camel, and the reactive lion, in the Ten of Swords. Old Me is what is burning away. New Me is what will rise from this immolation.
 
Take a look at my Past and Future cards:
 
past-and-future
 
The Devil usually talks about conditioning, learned behaviours, the systemic oppressions under-which we live. It’s The Protestant Revolution and the Spirit of Capitalism. It’s the story in your (or my) head about how The Good Girlfriend makes herself smaller, and smaller, and smaller and doesn’t get to want anything and to demand more than that (so… anything) makes you (me) Unworthy of love and care. BUT, as described by Siobhan over at Little Red Tarot, it’s also the voraciousness of wanting all of it – whether that’s chasing pleasure at the expense of your health (too many hang-overs + not enough sleep?), or the idea of the “superwoman” who wants (or tries) to Have It All (the career, the kids, the house, the spouse, the vacations, and the overtime pay) – and the pull towards what you want… which can be helpful if, like me, you sometimes have trouble sorting out what you actually want, but can also be a major problem when you’re trying to get What You Really, Really Want from someone or something (or both) that is just not capable of providing it (stalkers? Telling yourself that what you want is That Pay Raise when, actually, what you want is to have the work you put into your job be recognized and appreciated in a demonstrable way).
 
In my case, I can read this as, yeah, the conditioning around The Good Girlfriend – that Hunger Makes Me article said all the things about that, so go read it – but also my own bad habits around “relentless hope” and seeing the potential in people, and not taking it well when things don’t go as I was expecting them to.
This is also highly visible if you look at my Obvious and Hidden Influences cards:
 
obvious-influences
 
hidden-influences
 
Yeah. I’m not great at handling change and uncertainty (at the best of times), but particularly not when it comes to interpersonal relationships[1], Expectations (and whether or not I get to have them vs whether or not someone else gets to have them), and all that other stuff. I’m totally getting pissed off about it right this second.
 
Okay.
So The Devil is my Past card. That’s fine. I’d rather that bit was over and done with, even though it’s obviously not all burnt away yet. With any luck (and a tonne of hard self-work, honestly), that Emperor card in the Future spot is all about Self-Mastery.
At least I think it is.
 
It’s the “hard-won internal rules” that Oliver talks about in She Is Sitting In the Night. It’s the breaking of my own chains, as seen in The Rebel. It’s even, as Siobhan says about that Devil in my past, “the feeling of power when you notice you are free to choose”. In the past, I often haven’t felt I had that power, that my choices were “stick it out and take what you get” or “leave, and break your own heart”. Hopefully this Emperor in the Future position means that – rather than (or in addition to?) seeing it as breaking my own heart – I will start to understand that choosing to leave an unfulfilling situation is me taking care of myself, choosing to look for connections that feed me rather than choosing to hang around begging for scraps (see also: my “hopes and fears” card, below). This is the solid foundation, the order-out-of-chaos that I’m trying to create through my life-coaching sessions. This is knowing and having boundaries.
I think.
 
I did say “tell me something new”, though, so maybe I’m missing something?
 
Moving on to the next pair of cards:
 
close-up-picture-broader-picture
 
The Page of Disks is all about trying something new. It’s nascent. The beginning of getting things to manifest In Real Life. It also touches on building self-trust – keeping your commitments, proving yourself reliable.
Taking a step back to get a broader perspective on what’s coming down the pike, though, and I get the Ace of Cups. The seeds of joy, love, emotional fulfillment, connection, happiness all (I gotta hope) to be planted in that good, manifesting earth of the Page of Disks.
 
hopes-and-fears-outcome
 
The Four of Disks in the “fears” (or hopes) position. I read the Four of Earth as “tenuous shelter”. This totally connects with the other Four in this reading, the Emperor card in the Future slot. I have a history (and a present…) of Scarcity Thinking. The Four of Earth is The Miser, the person who can’t share, who really, REALLY believes that nobody has her back and that she has to take care of herself all on her own.
My fear – and it’s totally this – is that I’ll only be able to put myself first if I self-isolate. Like: It’s super-easy to walk away from people in-whom you have no investment. It’s easy not to ache at the knowledge that you can expect a grand total of NOTHING from another person when they aren’t important to you at all. But if I open my heart again… won’t I just end up right back in that Devil situation, pleading for a scrap of regard and offering everything I have in exchange?
I’m totally afraid I’m going to do that, and I’m not at all sure how to mitigate that possibility[2].
 
My outcome card is… Well, it’s not the sunniest card in the deck, to be sure. But it’s not horrible.
The Six cards all have to do with the assumptions we make, and the risks that we take, when it comes to interpersonal relationships. This card is about change and rest. About hard journeys that you’re still capable of making. About coming out the other side of grieving. It’s about getting over it. About moving on. That’s good. Moving on to where, though… That I have no idea.
Hopefully somewhere good.
 
advisor
 
My advisor card is the Heirophant. In this particular image, I can’t tell if she’s being depicted as a distressing, smothering, Mother Church kind of figure, or if she’s (possibly at the same time) the Shekina / Tree of Wisdom that you get (apaprently?) in Kabbalah. Traditional depictions of the Heirophant are frequently based around The Pope. It’s the religious version of The Emperor in all his patriarchal trappings (TRAP-ings. See what I did there?) and not a great card to get. In a lot of the decks I work with, though, the 5 of the Major Arcana actively moves away from this kind of externalized, top-down, mess and towards a whole slew of other possibilities – including a moderately professorial gay Archivist, a dominatrix called The Instructor, a deer-headed Ancestor, and the dark, fertile emptiness of No-Thingness.
This card is about tradition – the way things have always been done, about being aware of one’s own history, where one came from, and one’s own patterns. But it also asks “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?”, what kind of future do you want to create?
 
And then there’s these:
 
over-arching-underlying
 
Over-arching and underlying influences.
See the way the High Priestess – she who dives deep into the murk of my unconscious to drag up soggy napkins with messages drawn in pictures, done in painstaking crayon lines, for my words-using conscious brain to try, try, try to understand – echoes the Wheel of Fortune? See how the red and white unicorn-lovers of the Two of Cups echo the colours of Solomon and Bilquis as The Lovers? See how Bilquis, Queen of Wisdom, is both the High Priestess and the shadow-potential Shekina of the Heirophant? How Solomon is the Emperor who’s allowed his heart to split, to be vulnerable?
Yeah, that.
The underlying influence is basically me dealing with my own brain (as always). The over-arching one is how Me and My Stuff can still handle, and fully experience, human connection.
 
Alright then. Onwards we go.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Those “I’ll see you when I see you” folks… I don’t know how you do that. Because, when I see that happening, all I can think is “Yeah… Do you notice that you NEVER see them? Like you don’t demand to be a priority (not even THE priority, just A priority), so they just don’t bother prioritizing you, and they only ever call when they want you to help them out with something.”
But then, if someone is totally okay with “I’ll see you when I see you”, maybe they’re also totally comfortable with “you’ll see me when you see me” and are good at saying Nope and not throwing tonnes of energy and attention and time at people who aren’t offering the same level of investment? I don’t even know.
 
[2] And, for example, I’m a little worried that I’ll try to mitigate that by cutting and running at the first sign of even potential trouble, and (a) shooting myself in the foot, but also probably (b) hurting someone else who wasn’t necessarily hurting me.