Tag Archives: Queen of Cups Project

Full Moon – Snow Moon Crests (Mother’s Night, New Year’s Day, Super Moon)

Full Moon. In Cancer, which is the Moon’s territory. On Monday/Lundi, which is the Moon’s day. My shiny new date-books theme is The Moon (the tarot card, but also the giant ball of rock in the sky and all that she stands for. The date book being what it is, there’s a fair bit of Womb Stuff, too, which is… not as delightful for me now as it was 10-12 years ago, but that’s what it is).
 
I’m enjoying this post over at Little Red Tarot which includes a handy tarot spread that touches on the Moon (what are the gifts of this cycle, this full moon), the Queen of Cups (what does my heart need) and the Queen of Pentacles (what is the work involved in achieving/realizing my desires).
This isn’t a spread I’ve done today. Though it makes me smile because it kind of relates to the one I did do. (More on that in a second).
 
Liz Worth says of this full moon:

The Moon is water. It is an ocean, a heart that waits to swallow you whole.
What will you find when you swim to the bottom? Deep, nourishing love? Or tears? The sweat of pining, of longing for something that was once held dear?
These are deep thoughts for the first day of the year, I know. But this is the space that today’s Moon wants us to occupy.
It wants us to go deep. To get nostalgic. To take stock of what’s been lost and gained, and what hope we still hold for the future.

 
Which… I suppose is kind of happening.
 
A little over two years ago, I started my Queen of Cups project, with the Full moon swimming in Cancer’s ocean of emotions. I finished it all of four months ago, just days before September’s full moon in the healer’s territory of Pisces. Now the moon is full in Cancer again, and I’m looking at bridging my Queen of Cups project – a story about healing into receptivity that turned out to be about having healthy, consciously-fluid boundaries – into a new self-improvement/self-healing project that centers on the sex-and-sensuality, certainty, abundance, interconnectedness, and unapologetic embodiment of the Empress.
 
I did the Bridge Spread from Little Red Tarot, asking how I could bridge my Queen of Cups Project into my in-coming Empress Project and… what I got was actually really frustrating.
Like… You know how tarot is basically story-telling?
You know how everyone has meta-narratives and stories they can’t let go of?
You know how (well, maybe you don’t, but some of you do) I started my Queen of Cups project less than a month before a rather-messed-up relationship came to a very painful end, and that… mess… still feels like unfinished business to me, in significant part because it’s left me suspicious of my desires and uncertain around stuff like the difference between “wanting” to do something and “being willing” to do something. (There will be more on this later – either here, or on a different blog)…
… So it’s not surprising, but it IS extremely irritating, that the story I got from my bridge spread so easily fit the story of “My messed up experience with C and how I’m still dealing with the personal fall-out there-from”.
 
I want to tell a different story.
 
I’m not going to do a full write-up of the spread I laid. Not here, anyway.
Instead, you’re getting the Advisor and the Overarching + Underlying Influences from that reading – the three cards I add to every spread that tend to offer a summary of what I’m supposed to get from it:
 

 
Advisor – Five of Wands (U):
The 5 of wands is about sticking to your convictions while picking your battles, dealing with (or living with) unresolved tensions, and resolving – or at least navigating – internal conflicts.
The Little Book that Cristy C Road wrote to go with her just-released Next World tarot deck (which is the deck I used for the initial spread, even though I also pulled the matching cards from the Silicon Dawn deck) has this to say about the Five of Wands:
It’s possible to do this healing work, and it IS work, in ways that are safe even as they’re a struggle. “What does collaboration look like? Are you co-conspirators able to meet you half-way?”
This is a card about challenging expectations. Maybe other people’s, sure, but in this reading? Definitely my own. (Weirdly, this resonates with the card I pulled at Midnight when the calendar turned over. The two of swords: Acknowledge why you’re guarded, but don’t let that stop you from making decisions and taking action).
 

 
Overarching + Underlying – Eight of Cups (U) + Queen of Pentacles (U)
Stuff about security and leaving the past in the past. Well, that’s… probably relevant.
 
Overarching: In the Osho Zen deck, this card is Letting Go. In the Wildwood deck, it’s Rebirth. The Silicon Dawn deck, as you can see in the picture above, interprets it as a “morning after” promise not to do that again. The folks at Little Red Tarot say, of the eight of cups, “There is great strength in walking away from something that just isn’t working any more. There is great strength in acknowledging the truth and, no matter how hard that truth is, acting from there.” Given that The Tower has shown up for me twice in less than 24 hours… I’m sort of resigned to this one, and hoping it’s something that won’t hurt too much to walk away from.
In the Next World, Cristy C Road calls us to “stay solid and true” (don’t ghost on anybody) but to “follow the path of rebirth with grace and dignity” and not to let your past govern your future.
+
Underlying: Flowering. Coming into your own. The protective bear in her cozy cave. The Queen of Earth is a “come on in, the door’s unlocked” kind of Queen. She’s solid and steady, secure in her resources, her supporters, and her resilience. She’s abile to back up her generous spirit with generous actions. Cristy says: Pursue your power, it’s well-deserved, but don’t lose your compassion.
 
On a related note, the card that fell out of the deck when I was doing this spread? The three of Earth. A reminder that, in whatever endeavor you’re undertaking, (a) you need to acknowledge the work, the labour, the skills, the effort that you bring to the endeavor, while also (b) recognizing that it’s not only on YOU to make The Thing happen or succeed. You are part of a team effort. Value you what you bring to that effort and don’t team up with people who will devalue you or expect you to do everything for them.
 
Anyway.
 
On that note, and with the spectre of The Tower sculking in my future, waiting to tear down whatever needs to go… I’m off to get ready for a casual New Year’s get-together where, hopefully, I be able to give a few readings that are less “resignation and gloom” and more “you got this” to other people.
 
Cheers, and onwards,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Not a whole hell of a lot, tbh. It’s been -30 and worse for the past week, and I’ve mostly been holed up avoiding the cold, and grateful for the car rides I’ve been offered to various seasonal events. I even skipped Going Out Dancing last night in favour of board games and good lighting for NYE. Twenty minute walk in the freezing bloody cold coming up shortly though.
 
Attention: I admit to being thoroughly distracted, and prone to showing off, my shiny new Next World deck that arrived last week. 😀 The cards are HUGE (but I have big hands, so I can make it work), and the art is detailed and worthy of the large format. I like the deliberate social justice flavour and the write-ups that are designed with personal and societal healing in mind. Hers is the first Queen of Swords that didn’t rub me the wrong way, but instead looked like someone who might actually be on my side (even if she’s still prone to tough love).
 
Gratitude: Grateful for central heating. For friends who are hella generous with me. For a wife who loves me enough to say Very Clearly that when she asks me stuff, it’s because she actually interested in the answers (as opposed to because she’s monitoring my productivity, or something, which is what my Jerk Brain would suggest). For a mom who is getting the hang of my polyamoury. For being able to make things from scratch (even if I haven’t been doing so at ALL this week). For kindness. For welcome. For the optimism that seems to be hanging around right now. For tenacity. For the possibility that I might actually be able to finish my poetry manuscript this year AND start sending it out (it’s early, and I’m not more than half-done, but it kind of looks like it might be possible, so I’m going with it). For all the good people and things in my life. And for the friends who remind me that it’s okay to want even more.
 
Inspiration: Realizing that the “resolutions egregore” is probably not the best thing from-which to draw inspiration, I’m still doing so. I have at least one friend whose debut book is coming out this year. My wife is feeling happier, and like things have turned a corner for the better when it comes to her business. There’s a lot of optimism floating around my corner of the internet right now, and a lot of people making goals around being kind, pushing towards vulnerability, empathy, inclusion and mutuality. Things feel good right now, and I’m hoping I can grab that feeling and stretch it into something real and lasting. Wish me luck. 😉
 
Creation: Not so much. I’ve done a little bit of knitting, but otherwise? I haven’t really even cooked anything. I’m on vacation until tomorrow, at which point I’ll get back to work on the Femme Glosa Project, on editing poetry submissions, and on cooking actual meals. But today? Today, I’m still being lazy. With that? I’m off to be social. TTFN! 😀

New Year New You 2016 (…and 17): Week 22 and Week 23 – Last Push / Reflection

I’m doing finishing up 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:Push harder than you ever have this week. Push harder than you ever thought you could and then just a little bit more” + “please take some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve learned, and where you’re going to go from here“.
 
Tarot Cards: The Moon. Because healing happens in spirals, because this whole project has been bringing up All The Feelings around meta-naratives that have been part of my (very unhealthy, generally mean-to-me) personal cosmology for a very, very long time. Like 3/4 of my life levels of “long”. And also the Seven of Stones… for much the same reason. All of the sevens are linked to both The Chariot’s get-up-and-go action orientation and to The Star’s call to find your own True North and set a course for it, but this particular seven is also about healing, about patience, about recognizing how much I’ve accomplished but also about realizing that the project I set for myself is going to take some time.
 
It’s not a “last push” kind of project.
 
2016 was a hard year, and the ‘hard’ extended well into the first third of 2017. The pep-talk I gave myself way, waaaay back in November of 2015, when this project was barely an embryo? That was challenged on a couple of fronts. I spent a lot of time wrapped up in – and trying to climb out of – some pretty deep hurts and resentments, trying – with help and on my own – to figure out Boundaries 301 (which is still a work in progress, but I have a better idea about it now).
 
 
Things I Have Learned
 
Being open and receptive to what’s being offered also requires (somewhat counter-intuitively) having enough personal boundaries in place that I don’t over-offer in return but can meet people where they are.
This is hard, and I’m very much in the part of this where I have to hash everything out really explicitely from the get-go:
– Yes, I can do X, but only under Y circumstances.
– I can’t do QRS without unwanted results in this situation, but I can do MNO just fine.
– DEF isn’t happening, so it’s not right/safe/appropriate for me to offer GHI yet, or maybe ever.
It’s exhausting, but it’s also relevant, necessary, and worth it.
 
I have got one hell of a skewed view of what is and is not okay to want from/with other people. Like, it’s pretty messed up and I’ve got a lot of… sorting out… to do on that particular front. Worth it to look back on the exercises I did during my life-coaching sessions and try to move further in this regard.
 
I can’t actually “open up and be receptive” to something that isn’t there. It takes two to tango (or whatever it is I’m trying to do with someone) and if words and actions aren’t matching up, I need to look at the actions and re-adjust (a) expectations, but more to the point (b) availability/openness accordingly.
 
The tarot study that I did right along-side this project? I have a bad tendency to read cards in ways that (a) give me news I don’t want to hear, but – at the same time – conveeeeeniently also line up with the meta-narratives that tell me I will be punished for wanting things or that I’m never going to get what I want. Easy example: I tend to read the 6 of Cups as “wishful thinking” or “you need to get a reality check” rather than the equally likely “get it, girl / claim what’s yours” or “you are surrounded by blessings / opportunities for play and ease” reads.
Opening myself to new possibilities means making space in my head for those possibilities to be options. I think my next step here is to do a “best case scenario” reading alongside my default read of any given spread. Doesn’t mean that the best case will happen, and I hope I won’t end up wishful-thinking my way through stuff I might be better off facing head-on, but… it can’t hurt to try this, right? Right.
 
 
Where Do We Go From Here?
 
My Queen of Cups project is going to continue. I’m far enough in that I can see that more needs doing (I can even see what some small parts of it are!), so… onwards we go.
It’ll probably inform how I work through the exercises in Miss Sugar’s new book, Glamour Magic, which I’m quite enjoying reading already.
 
Wish me luck, kittens.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2016 (and 17…): Week 21 – Dressing For Your Future

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: “What do you see yourself doing in your picture of success? What are you wearing? What are you eating? What are you drinking? Where are you going for fun and for business? What do you smell like?Start doing those things!”
 
Tarot Card: The Magician, for sure, given all the associations with being able to call things into being (and also, a little bit, the stage-magic version where you can weave illusions as needed), but maybe also The Mirror (the “reflection” aspect of the Hanged Man).
Drawing on the work of a few Little Red Tarot contributors, Cassandra Snow says, of the Magician:

“The Magician represents being able to use the skills and resources at your disposal to create change in your life and the world at large. Delving a little deeper, this card also indicates creating through the law of attraction the life you desire.”

Likewise, Beth says of The Mirror:

“The Mirror asks us to surrender our will and be led by our deeper, more mysterious urges. This is a journey of self-discovery, with the mirror reflecting our inner selves.”

I think the High Priestess (this version touches so hard on my own understanding of my Whale Heart, you guys…) bridges the two quite nicely – being as she’s the one capable of traveling between those “deeper, more mysterious” parts of ourselves and the part of us that can interact with, and thus effect change in, the wider world – so maybe I’ll throw her in here as well.
 
ANYWAY. This prompt is… a weird one, given my Queen of Cups goals.
How does one dress to be more receptive? How does one dress to be vulnerable (open, willing, curious) but well-boundaried (protected, not being stupid about this).
I mean, my personal style has been pretty dialed in for years now (strictly speaking, it’s been dialed in since the 9th grade, it was just a matter of figuring out how to do it and pull it off), so I’m not going to kid myself about doing a complete overhaul now that I’m way closer to forty than twenty. As such, my approach to this is going to be more about tweaking things than about radically changing things up.
 
When I think about “dressing receptively”, what comes to mind are:
Negligees and possibly other soft, touchable things (diaphanous stuff, velvet stuff, stuff that invites touch, stuff that – important! – feels good against my skin, stuff that’s easy to undo)
AND
Hand-me-downs (e.g.: I’m wearing a skirt that I think used to be my mother’s, and a grey-and-black striped cowl-neck tunic that used to belong to a friend, and me being able to wear these items and make them mine involved an act of receiving, but also a willingness to be curious and opening to seeing what was in this or that bag of cast-off clothes, so)
 
But when I think about how I dress, and how I dress-in-my-day-dreams (see “personal style” link, above), my clothes fall into one of two camps:
EITHER
Yummy Mommy – full (circle/A-line) skirts, cropped cardigans, cleavage, hair flowers, up-dos, lipstick, and the strong potential for aprons if I’m at home
AKA
Earth Mama – cotton maxi skirts/dresses, messy braids, sandals, crystals, halter/cowl-neck tops, shawls, and probably an arm-load of fresh produce
OR ELSE
Office Domme – leather pencil skirts, ankle boots (with heels), pinstripes, intense accent colours (and lipstick), leopard print, fitted tops (not corsetry at all, but stuff with really good shaping), partial up-dos, and cropped jackets
AKA
Grown-Up Goth – leather jackets, black and grey palate, stripes and solids, loose hair, various boots, thigh-high socks (with visible skin), short skirts (or, sometimes, very long skirts), unfinished hems and other “ratty” details, eye-liner crayon, dangly metal earrings often featuring chains, spikes, or other hardware
 
And the thing about these is that… none of them are particularly “receptive”.
 
The first two are very approachable, very giving, they both hint at endless wells of abundance and available care. Which is great. I like projecting that image. It lets me come across as a Queer Auntie rather than Gay Mrs Robinson. It lets me be non-threatening in my hugeness. But they also carry with them (I think) a significant amount of “I got this, I will take care of you”.
 
The second two are… not very approachable at all. Like, they might send the message of “do what I say” and so, maybe, by extension, “give me what I want”… But they’re both kind of aggressive and a little bit (maybe more than a little bit) armored. The image (I like to think) they project is one of competence, hard edges, and “don’t mess with me”. They don’t exactly say “offer me consensual affection and/or gifts” (although they might, just occasionally, say “offer me tribute”).
 
So… Dressing receptively is… not something I’m actually doing. Nor is it something I know how to do.
I’m open to suggestions here, folks. O.O
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2016 (…and 17): Week 20 – Hearth Appreciation

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 something nice for your home.
 
Tarot Card: The ten of earth, obviously. (This is one of my favourite cards in the Wildwood deck. It’s one of the ones that made me decided to get it, and it bears a certain resemblance to the “home base” of my psychic hearth, which doesn’t hurt).
 
So. This prompt. What Miss Sugar says about how it’s hard to keep all the chainsaws in the air? She’s right. And I can SO relate to the feelings of frustration, overwhelm, and unraveling that come with having a home whose mess has gone beyond my capacity to know where to even start.
I’ve spent a lot of the last year-and-a-bit doing the money-hustle (which has been going better over the past four months than most of the time previous there-to – so yay) BUT, no surprise, it’s meant that I’ve had a lot less time available to do hearth-tending than I typically like.
This past week, though, and the one coming have been blessed (uh… ish…) with less paid work than usual, meaning: yeah, less money, which is a problem, but also: MOAR TIME! I’ve been able to get out and work on my freaking poetry manuscript (thank you, gods!) AND I’ve been able to do some cleaning (beyond dishes) and canning (at all), which has me feeling a whole lot better. I’ve even managed to light my altars for the first time in MONTHS (bad pagan…) which, I gotta say, is SUCH a relief.
 
Tonight I’m cleaning my counter (dishes + a solid wipe-down of surfaces), prepping the first bunch of tomatoes for canning, lighting my altars again, and putting a bouquet of flowering apple mint out for the Ladies, because… I owe them some attention, frankly.
 
Anyway. Time to get on that. ❤
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2016 (…and 17): Week 19 – Concrete Things

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!
 
It’s been a little over eight months. I never, strictly speaking, finished my 2016 New Year New You practice, my Queen of Cups Project remains on-going. None the less, and even though a project like this is more likely to last years than to be easily wrapped up in one turn of the seasons, I still feel a bit like I’ve left a loose end flapping.
So here we are.
It’s been a whirl-wind of an almost-year. Body Time, to link back to the last post I made about this project, remains a work-in-progress BUT I keep getting better at it. I’ve pushed through tears and overwhelm and… actually been able to engage my body and FEEL THINGS, physically speaking, that I’ve been having trouble with for years. So that’s a big plus. 😀 Got a better handle (ish) on where my boundaries are and what I can do to feel like I’m taking care of myself, staying in control of a situation (not “driving off a cliff”, so to speak), and not just willfully setting myself up to get hurt.
Go me. 🙂
 
Instructions: This week’s prompt, over-due as it is, asks what (concrete) thing I can do to make my life better.
 
Tarot Card: I’m inclined to lean towards the six of fire, partly for its success connotations, for the boost of a (relatively) easy win, but mostly for its sense of abundance.
 
See, what I’m doing this week – this weekend, as it happens – is putting up 40 lbs of tomatoes for the winter. I’m just doing crushed tomatoes this year, nothing fancy, though I miiiiiight throw in some winter savoury from the garden (passion, sensuality, and sex, if you were wondering) and minced garlic (hella protection + more passionate, sexual stuff… I’m noticing a theme here). Assuming I boil off 10lbs worth of water, this should net me a little over 18 pints of crushed tomatoes, though it might be more than that. I admit, I hope so. The closer I can get this to $1/pint, the better. 😉
Canning tomatoes won’t change my life. I’ve done it too many years in a row for this to be earth-shaking. But it will make my life easier and happier in concrete ways – both right now (I like canning – shocking, I know), and over the next 12 months or so when a couple of days worth of effort (thank the gods for my food processor…) back in September will make the vegetables portion of our meals that much easier.
So that’s what I’m doing.
Wish me luck!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

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.