Tag Archives: ritual

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.

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New Year New You 2016: Week Eleven – Casting Out Doubt

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: “[…]Use a method of your own choosing to banish the negative energy” or otherwise communicate with your own Jerk Brain to get it to give you a break.
 
Tarot Card(s): Page of Water, Queen of Earth (and, yes, my Mary-El deck arrived a few weeks ago, thense the links to images from that deck for this post). Neither of these cards explicitely have to do with Casting Out Doubt. But they’re relevant for a couple of reasons, one being that I did a two-card pull that relates to my Queen of Cups Project (and various points there-within such as my life-coaching sessions and the Plan that is to Get My Groove Back, so to speak) and I didn’t even pull these two cards, they just popped right out of the deck, like: Here’s your answer, kiddo. (This deck is proving very accurate on the jumpers front, so far, I’m just saying…).
Anyway, so there’s that. I’ll get into that a little more later, mind you. The other reason why these are relevant to the “casting out doubt” prompt is that the first one – being a Page card – is about approaching things (feeeeelings) with curiosity, rather than fear, while the second one is very much about being rooted and steady (rather than riddled with anxiety). the combination is basically a case of “Here’s something you can do instead of assuming the worst and spinning about it all the time”.
Useful? I think so.
 
ANYWAY.
 
So, as-you-know-bob, I am a BIG fan of ritual/magical baths as a form of spell-casting and Creating Change At Will. unsurprisingly, my method of casting out doubt involved (a) having a giant, scrubby shower (and, yeah, some Stuff came up during the shower, and I was just, like, “Don’t be mean to yourself. Let all that stuff just sluff off and let it go”. Which… we’ll see if that bit sticks, honestly, but I gave it a go), and (b) taking a sensual-glamourous bath after the fact to soak in (and soak up) something better to fill that vacuum left when I got rid of all the EUGH[1].
So.
The other day, I went out and gathered a whole wack of “second chakra associated” flowers and leaves. I picked bergamot petals, geranium blossoms, rose petals, rose leaves, and motherwort[2] tops (mostly leaves). All sorts of pinks and reds. I wound up explaining to a newly-arrived-home couple just what, exactly, they had growing under their tree (Motherwort – see footnote[2]). They’d asked if they had “something special”, since I was obviously investigating the weedy patch they’d (woohoo) missed with the mower.
 
I wound up waiting a solid 48 hours or more before I actually took my bath, though.
I kind of think that’s telling, seeing as the whole idea was to open up my centre of drive, passion, confidence, and sex… and I was consistently putting it on the back-burner while I got other stuff done. :-\
Hm.
 
But I took my bath: all the petals plus dried bay leaves, sea salt & epsom salts (to draw out any residual gunk), and essential oils of rosemary, clary sage, ylang ylang, and sweet orange.
Soaked and floated in the hot water. Did Child’s Pose to open my hips, and breathed in the smell of all those oils and flower petals.
 
Got interrupted towards the end, a young woman (possibly from Korea, going by the alphabet her phone was using) who’d taken a wrong turn trying to find her airBnB. This is most likely Just A Fluke, but I’m choosing to read it as any of the following:
Sometimes people turn up in your life when you’re not expecting them and/or when it’s not entirely convenient. Just go with it.
Things are not always going to go according to your internal scrips. See above and just go with it.
See also: Have a sense of humour about it, for fuck’s sake.
 
I can still smell rosemary on my skin.
I hope this is one more thing that will help me open myself up without seeing every damn thing as a threat. Which… I guess I can use as a handy segue?
 
About that tarot reading!
It was a “who” and a “how” card to answer the question: “Who and how do I need to be in order to open myself up the way I want and need to?”
The page of water and the queen of earth, respectively, fell out of the deck almost as soon as I started shuffling.
So that’s apt.
WHO: The Page of Cups says “be in the moment”. It says “learn to trust” and “trust the learning”. The Page of Cups is very much me on a lot of levels, just figuring this heart stuff out (after nine years of working my ass off for it, still just figuring stuff out) but also being neck-deep in it all the time. It’s very much what my Life Coach is trying to help me do, with regards to approaching pleasure and relationships with curiosity rather than trepidation. It says be loyal, be devoted, be compassionate and supportive of yourself as well as others. Be emotionally vulnerable.
BUT
HOW: The Queen of Earth says “don’t fling yourself off a cliff to do it”. Offer that loyalty, devotion, compassion wisely. Make sure you have an oxygen mask of your own, rather than hoping someone else will pass you one in the event of an emergency. Explore, see where things go, walk into this stuff with joy and hope. For sure. But also make sure that you can stand solid on your own. Be aware of what you value, what you want and what you need, as you go out exploring. You can be emotionally vulnerable, you can let your heart be curious, because you can pull back and prioritize yourself when you need to. (Which is also part of the Life Coaching stuff, as it turns out).
 
The Queen of Earth, in the Mary-El deck, is weaping diamonds. It makes me think of this post I wrote just before C ended our relationship. In this context, I read it as “there is value is showing your emotions” and also “experiencing your bodiliness, letting your feelings come through your body, isn’t weak. Quite the opposite”. There are a million ways to interpret a given tarot card but this seems like a relevant way to read this one today.
 
So. That was how I went about Casting Out Doubt. It’s been helping. Every time I pass a rose bush (which are still quite fragrant in these parts, even as the flowers are fading), I catch the scent and breathe in love and gratitude. It’s a nice reminder and it helps me stop spinning my self-doubt wheels.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] That’s a thing to keep in mind. If you banish something, it can be a good idea to fill the void the banishment leaves with something you actually WANT (either by putting it there, or by ritually inviting it to take up residence), so that you don’t end up with either (a) the same damn shit again, OR (b) just any old thing that happened to be in the area filling in the available psychic/physical/emotional space. A bit like my tarot-pull being all “Here’s what to do INSTEAD of the disfunctional thing you’ve always done”.
 
[2] Motherwort calms the heart (it makes a good anti-anxiety tincture, similar to skullcap in that regard, but much muuuuuuch easier to get ahold of in urban areas as it grows quite happily in disturbed ground like construction sites), builds self-trust and confidence, bolsters libido, and attracts joy, success, & a sense of purpose. It encourages listening/discerning one’s heart’s desires and has associations with Venus, Freja, and Ogun (er… apparently). It can come and live in my garden any time.

Common Motherwort (Leonurus Cardiaca)

New Moon – Lilac Moon Begins

So Victoria Day Weekend was a few days ago. We spent it in Quebec City with a super-awesome friend, meeting her family, enjoying Lobster Season, and taking part in their first bonfire of the year (as is appropriate for the May 2-4 Weekend, AKA “Beltane North”). I also got to swim in their pool, and was gifted a little treadle-power spinning wheel which, once it’s got its missing parts replaced, will be my “learning model” for wheel spinning. Huzzah! 😀
 
But it was also New Moon (once again) and, back home, it was the weekend that the lilacs exploded.
As such, welcome to Lilac Moon, right on schedule. 🙂
 
Our sweetheart has moved most of her stuff (that she isn’t taking to Toronto) into our basement. She did it while we were in Quebec City. By the time this moon is full, she’ll already be in Toronto. I’m trying not to freak out about how soon she’s leaving. My lovely wife is feeling it pretty hard, and I’m starting to get a little bit clingy, myself. I’m trying not to, trying to love lightly, to be able to let her go without sobbing about it too much. It’s not like she’s leaving the country, or even the province, after all. It’s not like she won’t come back and see us, or that she’s moving to get away from us or something.
It’s amazing how quickly and powerfully love can bloom when you’re willing to allow it the chance. It blows you open as sure and hopeful, relentless and beautiful as lilacs.
 
Okay, maybe there’s a little bit of sobbing going on… don’t mind me.
 
We have picked up our half-pig, which is now residing in our chest freezer (it fills up the entire thing – which means we can ONLY buy half a pig at a time) and – counter to The Plan – have already eaten a pound of the bacon. 😉
We were going to wait until June, just to keep an eye on how much pork we eat in a given month. The hope is that half a pig will last six months[1], but I have NO IDEA whether that will be the case or not.
 
I have learned how to make Creton – a dish that’s a bit like paté, but made by cooking ground pork (and a little bacon grease, if the pork is on the super-lean side, fyi) with diced onions and a little bit of milk or cream, on super-low heat for 4-5 hours, until the liquid is well-reduced and everything has gently, gently, gently cooked all the way through. My friend’s mom taught me how to make it, last Sunday. I am adding it to my list of Things To Make which also includes Paté (using the pig liver) and terrine (a bit like paté, but (a) it includes chunks of muscle – this may be where the tongue gets put to use – and (b) is baked into a form after having been initially cooked else-ways).
 
I have just, just planted my tomato and cucumber starts as well as a bunch of bean and squash seeds, so my garden is just about as planted as it’s going to get (at least this year – raspberries, possibly red currants, grapes, and probably more rhubarb are yet to be added to the perennial bed, so…).
 
In witchier news… I don’t think I’m going to The Witches’ Sabbat after all.
I feel a bit stupid about this.
I haven’t been able to find a ride. BUT I also haven’t looked that hard. I haven’t bugged non-attending friends to drive me the 2 hours or so to the location, for example, and I could yet do that.
I only found out after the pre-registration deadline passed that our sweetie will be leaving Ottawa on the 29th and, as such, I won’t actually be missing time with her if I attend the event.
That said, I’m not sure my lovely wife will want to be alone that weekend and, frankly, I’m not sure what kind of a head-space I’ll be in – probably distracted – during the first few days of our sweetie’s absense, so… Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m not signed up?
Anyway. So I’m a bit disappointed that I’m not attending, but it’s probably (probably?) for the best, at least this year. Maybe I can come up with my own little rite to honour the shape-shifters among us during the same weekend. Probably not an extatic one, I grant you. 😉
 
Anyway. I have dishes to wash and bread to make, so I’d best get on that.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] With the addition of monthly rabbits from Rabbit Lady (we have another one due in the next day or two, actually, which means I need to thaw and cook the one we still have in our fridge-top freezer ASAP – probably this Friday) and occasional other stuff – Seed to Sausage sausages, but more likely occasional fish and the odd tray of (hopefully at least slightly ethical) beef burgers or chicken drum-sticks.

V is for Veil (and Victuals) – Pagan Blog Project 2014

So I’m writing this a good half-hour into a “house warming party” to-which I’m fairly certain nobody corporeal is going to be coming.
We’ve had five seven trick-or-treaters (more chocolate for us, from my perspective) – one of-whom asked me why I’m so tall (I told her that I come by it naturally and that all my ancestors are tall – not 100% true, but close enough for an answer); and the gods – as they do – have taken their due. I’m nursing a burn on my right arm from the oven, where I burned it taking the beef braise out of the oven.
Braised beef + various veggies + a little blue cheese for garnish (and also because my Dad loves that stuff – he died almost 15 years ago, so I got it for the ancestor plate).
 
Ah, yes, the ancestor plate.
I spent two hours carving pumpkins – three faces, a half-pumpkin dish (one of the pumpkins was going pretty soft-rotten, unfortunately, so it was just cut and cleaned and used as a dish – holding a hurricane cup of Dragon’s Blood incense – instead of being carved), a fouth featured a carved candle for the beloved dead (with a heart on one side, and skull on the other), and the last carved with the message “Welcome Home”. I think they work.
I burned mhyrr on my altar and lit all the candles, as well (first time I lit all the candles in the house, so: Timely). And I made an ancestor plate.
It’s just a little saucer with some of tonight’s dinner on it, a (tiny) glass of the red wine beside it, and a tea-light as well. I’ll be adding chocolate to the plate later (Hallowe’en candly – pity it isn’t Neilson’s, but they own Cadbury at this point, so it works out a little bit), in part for dessert and in part for my Gram (who was a chocolate fiend) and in part for my Neilson ancestors because: clearly. 🙂
 
While I was getting the dinner going, I could hear my Papa (life-long dairy farmer) talking about “keeping the soy bean men in business” by buying margarine as well as butter. My Dad slid into my dreams last night, just briefly, and he’s not been the only one. I know a few folks who’ve lost family/phamily/tribe in the past 24 hours. The veil, as they say, is thin.
 
I spent a good chunk of this morning finishing up business at the old apartment – and it is, indeed, Past Tense at this point. Finishing Business included the usual laundry and vacuuming and making sure we hadn’t left anything in a closet somewhere, but it also included walking through the place, burning a cone of “purification” incense (a blend of some sort – it does the trck), calling back all the good things that we’d filled our then-home with, and quietly chanting “Out with the old, In with the new” as I went.
It worked.
 
I would have liked to have filled our new house with chatty friends, laughter, and somewhat boisterous celebration tonight – got in about $200 worth of food & drink (mostly food, just to be clear) with that in mind, in fact – but I admit to being a little grateful for the peace, for the quiet and the chance to sit in the calm semi-darkness, altar blazing, seasonally-appropriate music playing (everything from SJ Tucker’s “Come to the Labyrinth”, Heather Dale’s “Call the Names”, and Tori Amos’s “Happy Phantom”; to The Tea Party’s “Requiem”, The Flirtations’ “The Ancestors’ Breath”, and Type O Negative’s “All Hallow’s Eve”; to Florence and the Machine’s “Only if for a Night”, Loreena McKennit’s “All Soul’s Night”, and Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire”), while I write this post and my lovely wife sews horse blankets in the other room.
 
Eventually, we’ll open a bottle of champagne and toast our new home formally, but for now I’m enjoying the quiet. Maybe I’ll get the Brie out next.
 
Here’s to my ancestors, and hers. Here’s to our gods – big and small, familiar and well-known and dear. Here’s to the kids on our doorstep – non-“rainbow-family” kids who got to see a cis girl and a trans girl married and being “normal” in their neighbourhood – and the pumpkins, too, which are part of the harvest and one of-which I carved to have eyes that smile like mine and my dad’s do.
Here’s to being fully moved into the House of Goat – Gods, Ancestors, and All.

U is for Unholy Harvest (Sacred Desire Ritual) – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Hey!
So I’m just back from nearly a week in Toronto, seeing my People and my extended leather family/phamily, and it’s been a wonderful thing. I mean, yes, I’ve got “Con Crud” with the sore throat, slight fever, and runny every-damn-thing that go with it, but it was still a wonderful thing.
Every year there’s a current of Woo that runs through Harvest. A lot of us aren’t Woo People – either because we’re atheist-skeptic types who want nothing to do with that stuff, or because we’re “Woo Adjacent” but understand it in psychological/physical terms rather than magical/mystical/spiritual/religious/energetic terms, or because their particular Faith does Woo differently from the pagan weird-ball types that crave this kind of ritual – but a tremendous number of us are Woo People, are witches and tantricas, TCM & Reiki practitioners, warlocks and Wiccans and Heathens, who make up this subsection of my People who need to put our roots down in this space/Space together.
And we did ritual this year: On purpose, and as a group.
Now, before I get into it, I want to just acknowledge that some of the venue rules (no open flames, essentially) were broken, and I’m not okay with that. I understand the importance of having Actual Fire in this kind of ritual, both because it’s a ritual about desire and because there’s nothing like candle light in this digital/electronic world to open the doors in people’s minds that say “we’re outside of the every-day now”. But in ritual space it really is the thought that counts, and I know that. A flickering LED “tea light” in a red glass cup, blessed and dressed appropriately will accomplish the same ends (I’ve had way too many moments of “Oh, yeah, you don’t need to blow this one out” to not know that they make really excellent stand-ins for wax candles) without putting us at risk of losing our ritual/play/learning space or our opportunity to keep doing rituals like this in this space.
So there was that.
BUT.
The ritual itself was pretty amazing.
Given what I’ve been studying over the past year or two, I was able to recognize a lot of the threads that went into it (or relate what went into it to stuff I’ve been studying… I won’t know which is which until I’ve had a chance to swap book lists with a couple of awesome femme witchy types, but still). I saw elements of Reclaiming, of Barbara Carellas style Tantra, of (Blue Star?) Feri, of Wild Wood ecstatic techniques, as well as touches of martial arts sparring that had been retooled into something more erotic and dance-like, and breathing techniques that I recognize from my own (rather rusty) singing practice. There was a lot of body work and some trust/touch stuff happening as well.
I cried through a lot of it, which is not surprising.
The over-arching work of the ritual was to create a sigil that called up/in your deepest desire. I won’t tell you what mine is (clearly), but I feel like I’ve taken another step towards putting myself all the way back together again, which is a good thing. What surprised me was how easy it was to come up with a sigil for this particular working. Usually I draw a total blank when it comes to stuff like that, so I’m taking the ease of that creativity as a good sign.
Beyond that, my partner for one of the body exercises told me she had a good time “meeting my horned beast” and her words shot through me because I know where my horned beast lives. Walk onto my shadow-bus and he’s in the front row, sometimes with a bull’s head, sometimes with a boar’s. It was kind of like having a puzzle piece slot into place, like… “Oh! That’s who you are, that’s where you fit. That’s what this face in the basement of my brain relates to in how I live and what I do.”
I mean, I have no clue what to do with that information, exactly, but… at least I have that information. Y’know?
The other thing that happened, that was big enough to be picked up on by other people (I think, going by the comments one of my friends made after the fact) was that, during the energetic washing portion of the ritual, I called in water to wash me over, and she came. Like, two BIG waves that bowled me over and rocked me in that rocking-in-the-spirit kind of way.
So it was big. And I got to sing. And I have a piece of the thread we used – symbolic of blood ties – to connect us all together, which I’ve since spun into the yarn that will go into making of the stripes on my fetish shawl (my spinning kit was in the room, pretty-much by accident, for the whole thing which, like… I feel like that was a necessary thing as well as a happy accident, y’know?) so things are… coming along and doing what they need to do to be what they need to be. Which sounds kind of weird, when I write it down, but there it is.
My wife was waiting for me when I came out, and I asked her “are you getting anything off of me right now?” and she told me I was glowing like a lighthouse and “Oh, god, the photons”. Which kind of matched how I was feeling, so it’s nice to know it wasn’t just me… y’know?
So that was the (deliberate) holy ground at Unholy Harvest. I hope we get the chance to do it again. ❤
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

P is for Pieces (and Parma) – Pagan Blog Project 2014

So. Long ago, I picked up a copy of T. Thorne Coyle’s Evolutionary Witchcraft, and tried to read it. I never got all the way through, though. I’d always get a bit hung up on the Dances for each of the three Parts/Types Of Soul – at least that’s the big one that comes to mind for what was “stopping me” from reading it all the way through.
That seems to be kind of a thing with me, though – I’ll get a learning text and start it… and then not progress as quickly as I’d like to – for Reasons, of course[1] – and get frustrated (or side-tracked, or both) and put it down again.
The latest one that I’m (hopefully not) doing this with is Gede Parma’s Ecstatic Witchcraft: Magick, Philosophy & Trance in the Shamanic Craft Continue reading

M is for Making Time – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Last week, I wrote about Magic and Making Do. Kitchen Magic, in other words. This time – regardless of when I hit the “publish” button – I’m writing about making time. Because I haven’t been making time. Not for a couple of months. And now I’m working a contract – a job that eats a lot of time, whether I want it to or not, whether it needs me to, or not – and I don’t have the long stretches of quasi-empty hours available to fill with whatever I need to fill them with. Everything gets squished into the three-and-a-bit hours between getting home from my 9-5 and the time when I need to crawl into bed if I’m going to get enough sleep before I have to get up and get myself out the door. I don’t (currently) have the luxury of lighting candles in mid-afternoon, and being available to keep them from both snuffing themselves out by accident or burning out of control (unlikely, but still: candles are open flames, even if they’re small ones) while I also do laundry, work on The Novel, study up on Sacred Kink or spirit work, or what-have-you, concoct a low-and-slow meal for dinner (still hours away), make a new batch of bread, follow up on personal emails… you name it.
Unsurprisingly, I regret both not having the time right now, but also not having made the time, when I had it in abundance, to make those regular offerings, to keep going on my Practice (as the hip kids like to call it).
 
Gordon has a piece on making your Ideal Day a reality. Sometimes I indulge myself by daydreaming about such a day. What would it look like? How would I spend it? Of course, there are a zillion different Ideal Days, depending on the season and on what has my focus at the moment. Some ideal days are spent harvesting and canning, singing as I work in the garden, dancing in the kitchen while I prep a dinner that’s heavy on the raw veggies, and eating that meal on the porch with my sweetie, with no time at all spent on devotions or physical exercise outside of those practical activities that act as both if (when) I get my headspace right. Some ideal days are spent on the modeling dais, or in front of the camera, then editing, posting, and promoting my work. They include “personal maintenance” to the tune of long baths, yoga classes, and pedicures, but dinner is a luxurious yet affordable meal out (at a friend’s house and involving grocery-store purchased pot-luck additions, or at a restaurant in the neighbourhood) rather than something I cooked myself, and there is nothing contemplative or holy about it unless I really want to think of Making Art (or getting femmed up to the nines) as a sacred or meditative activity (which it definitely can be, but frequently isn’t in my case). Some ideal days are spent curled up on the doubles-as-a-rocket-heater banquet (of my dreams), listening to Lee Harrington or Del Tashlin talk about faith and spirit and holy sexuality while working on my latest knitting/sewing project, or else practicing trance-work, doing divination, putting together custom talismans, all while the locally-ethically-raised shoulder roast braises in the oven, the bread rises on the counter (or possibly in the warming oven that is part of the banquet), the offering candles burn, and the summer rain (or winter snow) falls steadily outside. And some ideal days are spent scribbling thousands of words on my latest piece of fiction, interrupted only by the lightning strike of a poem here and there, while riding the fancy, first class train to the next destination on my Book Tour and my bank account grows fat (or at least “fed”) on regular royalties cheques and reading fees and, if I remember, I acknowledge how blessed I am to be living this life, doing what I do, doing what I love, and making a career of it, too.
What I’m saying is that (A) my ideal day isn’t just one day, and also contains more things than will actually fit into just one day… and also that (B) the devotional aspects of those ideal days, those idea devotions, aren’t often recognizable as Devotions outside of my own decision to treat them as such.
 
But… I feel better, for a given definition of “better” that isn’t necessarily a good definition (one where my increased sense of well-being is tied to a mix of “good doggie” feelings and a certain degree of not-exactly-self-righteous “orthopraxy” rather than to actual communion or connection, study or practice, or even just the anchor provided by taking the time centre and to ground).
 
So. How do I make the time?
 
By not hitting the snooze button
By keeping the computer off for longer (and possibly leaving a note on Social Media that I’ll be checking email less frequently for the time being)
By pushing past the self-consciousness that leaves me feeling silly or foolish for boiling water in the mornings
 
By getting my head right
By breathing in the moment (I know that sounds really Woo, and it is, but bear with me) and doing multiple little centerings through-out the day, rather than one big one at a specific time or place – like the years-old, often forgotten, decision to do 10 minutes of yoga (or similar) every day, because it’ll make me feel better if I do
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden