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Tag Archives: spells
As-you-know-bob, I’m a Scorpio sun. Which means that the lunar cycle we’re in right now is happening about six months into my own annual cycle. You may recall that I did some big magic back around my 40th birthday but, even if I hadn’t, new moons in a given sign are a good time to plant long-term goals that might only come to fruition when the moon is full in that same sign – e.g.: about six months later.
Liz Worth – whose post about the Taurus new moon is going to be informing at least some of this post right here – routinely reminds me (and/or all her other readers) that the full moon in a given sign is a good time to check up on how goals made during the new moon in that same sign are shaping up, but I think it goes both ways.
So how are things going on that front, you ask?
I have a couple of super-part-time jobs that I’m settling into.
My romantic relationships remain solid and wonderful.
My wife and I have a lease on a new place, and we start our move on Beltane.
So I would say that things are solidly coming to fruition.
I’m looking forward to being finished The Austerity, so that we can properly feast the house we’re leaving AND properly feast the one we’re moving into, and make some good offerings while we’re at it. I’m thinking pickled herring, smoked fish (candied salmon or smoked oysters, both if I can swing it), maybe some kind of shortcake featuring last year’s frozen service berries plus some fancy ice cream from a store. And some Hidden Temple gin. This all being subject to what’s available in the grocery store at the time.
Liz Worth points out that New Moons are seeds, and asks what we want to plant in our (metaphorical) garden this lunar cycle, but I have to answer that question literally. I have a friend (who lives in my new neighbourhood!) scrounging her own yard for big flower pots to send my way, so that I can literally (re-)plant my garden at our new home. I have a friend (who lives in my current neighbourhood) who is willing to take my compost heap and bring its contents to her own house.
When Liz Worth asks “Where do you want to create a stronger sense of security or stability for yourself now, and in the future?” that process is happening right now.
When she asks “Where do you feel lost right now?”… I don’t. I’m not sure how to handle one or two specific things, and I strongly suspect that the actual process of moving is going to feel overwhelming and very stressful, but I don’t feel lost. I feel like I actually know what my Next Steps are, on a grander scale than I’ve been able to see for quite some time. It’s kind of a relief.
When she asks – because this is the new moon in Taurus – “What kind of nourishment, rest, or care does your body need right now?” Okay, now that’s a question. Because of the physical distancing situation, we’re actually getting TONNES of rest. I’m reminding myself to move my body more than I might normally do while at home because I’m not walking for an hour or more most days of the week, and I’m not doing “three hours of power yoga” a few times a week at my (now-canceled) modeling gigs. On a related note, the Explore More Summit (free online conference) started earlier this week, and I’m once again attending and seeing what there is for me to learn and dig into in terms of my own embodiment. I’m also making a commitment to myself to let myself just be in my embodied experiences, whatever that happens to be.
Unsurprisingly, ritual plays a role in this. My nightly Moon Salutation practice remains an opportunity to connect with my Lady of Music and the Moon, but it’s also (and began as) a way to strengthen my lower back and lumbar-area muscles in a way that didn’t risk exacerbating my back injury. Running energy through my chakras when I prepare myself for magic and connection with the gods, with my Fetch, with my Godself, it’s also an opportunity to notice where that energy gets stuck, what might be prompting/triggeirng that to happen. Singing as a way to allow energy to move freely through/in myself. Somatic bodymind work as ritual work as holy work. It’s consistently good for me so it’s something I need to continue to engage in and to dig into.
On a side note, I visited my Fetch the other day, and she now has a little bronze boar figure – much like this one, minus its rider – hanging out in her nest area in the equipment room of her gym. She also, by the looks of things, has a few more cozy blankets. Both of which are nice to see, and to be invited to see.
For my tarot card meditation while this moon in Taurus waxes, I pulled (twice!) the Six of Stones.
This is a card about sharing (and failing to share), it’s a card about wealth redistribution, and it’s a card about mutuality. In the Osho Zen deck, it’s called “compromise” and it’s a promise to have each others’ backs. In the Next World deck, it’s called “redistribution” and – along with, ha, being located in space-and-time as “Moon in Taurus” so the Wildwood deck continues to be seriously literal with me over here – it’s about showing up with what you have to share.
Michelle Tea, in Modern Tarot, talks about how this card can indicate an incoming positive change in your finances – which… I have finally been able to apply for income supports, thank all the gods, so that’s actually in the works right now plus, see above re: Big Magic coming to fruition – but it’s also a reminder to share when you’re able to share. Give gifts not loans. Recognize that when you give something to someone, it’s theirs now and you’re not the boss of what they do with it.
Given the stuff I’ve been working on – magically and psychologically – around Money and Energetic Exchanges of all kinds, this is relevant to me more broadly as a reminder that “Having financial/material security – all that Empress Stuff – doesn’t automatically make you bad. It makes you responsible for how you behave towards people who are less secure than you are, and it makes you responsible for what you do with your improved situation”.
I take it as a reminder to, when that Emergency Benefit money comes in [UPDATE: It came in the day I was writing this], use some of it to help people who aren’t eligible for the same supports. If you’re wondering, I’ve opted to do a standard tithe – 10% – and donated to my local food bank, an emergency fund for local sex workers, and an emergency relief fund for minimum-wage workers. There’s one more donation to make, which I’ll figure out when I have an extra ten minutes to get it sorted.
Movement: Dancing and doing squats because I’m not getting much other exercise and moving around helps keep my joints from getting stiff. Doing my nightly Moon Salutations. Body check-ins (not movement, exactly, but within that realm) with my girlfriend. Fooling around with my wife.
Attention: Perhaps understandably, a lot of my attention has been on my bank account lately. Soon, it’ll be on our move and how it’s coming along, how many boxes we were able to pack and/or unpack on a given day. Also trying to connect with my body, and its desires and pleasures, more since I seem to be needing a boost in that area.
Gratitude: For the freaking Emergency Benefit coming in, OMG. For a new, bigger place to start moving into in just over ten days. For polyfamily who help us out with the bills. For small part-time jobs that I’m still able to do from home. For shade-tolerant and shade-loving plants that I can bring with me to the new garden. For friends offering us packing boxes and flower pots to help with the move. For bread in the oven and how good it smells. For bright, clear, blue skies and sunshine. For moments of connection with my wife. For video dates with my girlfriend. For online hangouts with my friends. For my introversion that makes Social Distancing easier to deal with. For borrowed books. For gods who listen and decide to help. For kitchen experiments that work out (and the ones that don’t, because at least I get to learn from those). For poetry that still comes when I call.
Inspiration: The major arcana, because when is that not the case? Essays about power exchange. The videos that make up the Explore More Summit. People helping each other out and being generally kind to each other.
Creation: I wrote a poem based on a ritual I did back in… February, maybe? And have been continuing with the sewing. Also some experimental baking (though what I have in the oven right now is super-basic yeast bread with a little rye and oat flour kneeded in for flavour and colour). Planning a berries-and-roses style tea cake, I think, as well.
This picture was taken about ten days shy of a year ago, and the rhubarb and crow garlic are… yep, about ten days shy of where there are in this photo, growth-wise. There are bleeding hearts and day lilies starting to poke through the soil in the front yard. We are, very possibly, in our last few months in this house, which is sad and exciting at the same time.
We may, just maybe, have found a new place to live.
It’s not downtown. Which is sad. And being this house’s last family is sad, too.
But the place we found – other than the “not downtown” part and not having a dish washer – is pretty close to perfect. Perfect enough that we’re excited about it.
You may recall that, not too long after my 40th birthday, I did a big ritual with the goal of manifesting abundance, pleasure, and security (as per both The Empress AND the then-recent full moon in Taurus).
The full moon in Libra (also ruled by Venus) was just last night and some of the big stuff seems to be falling into place.
I have two little anchor-income jobs that – while they’re nowhere near enough to live on alone, and they may or may not end up preventing me from accessing Emergency Income Supports (we don’t know yet because Who Is Eligible keeps getting expanded – hopefully at least one of us will be able to access these funds) – are also providing enough cash annually (in theory) to raise our household income by more than $9000. That will make a significant difference in our quality of life.
Likewise, a few days ago, a friend in the neighbourhood pointed us to a friend of hers who is looking to move and whose rental will be available in the next month or two.
You guys. It’s a three-bedroom with LOTS of space (and closet space), a yard to garden, a big driveway with lots of parking, and a big kitchen with room for the chest freezer and some extra shelving. And the (shared) basement has a high enough ceiling that we could actually stand up in it. There’s a possibility that there will be washing machines available, but if not, we’ll have to spend some money on laundry machines as there are zero (0) laundromats within even a half-hour walk of the place. But… $200 for a second hand washer-dryer set off kijiji is still going to pay for itself inside of one year, so. Not really upset about it, especially since it means not having to hoard coins, schedule the availability of clean socks based on the weather report, or drag 2-3 loads of laundry around outdoors during the winter (or, y’know, a pandemic…). Plus we have friends in the area already, including one of my wife’s partners (who is Older and my girl is very happy/relieved to be (potentially) moving to within emergency sprinting distance, basically, if something bad happens).
We’ve talked to the landlord on the phone, and we sent our application off earlier today.
So keep your fingers crossed for us on this one.
The sourdough bread situation is… going about as well as it usually does. I think I need to remember to – at the very least – only give it one rise before putting it in the loaf pans and prepping it for baking, as that seems to help.
I’m doing a Kitchen Sink stew in the slow-cooker today. Using up odds and sods from the fridge and freezer. It’s making the house smell really nice, which is great since it’s grey and chilly outside.
I finished a pair of slippers – for future use as “house shoes” when visiting other people – and I’m continuing to work on my t-shirt dress. It’s slow going, and we’ll see what the end result is like. But it’s good to have a project on the go. I’m taking it kind of one step at a time and hopefully I won’t mess something up so badly that I have to redo it entirely. We’ll see what happens. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve also started hunting through my fabric stash for 100% cotton scraps that I can re-purpose into masks for those rare occasions when we have to be out and about. Lastly, I’m working on a stocking extension. It’s been in progress for years, and is basically something I pick up when I want to knit a thing and don’t have a more pressing project on the go. I’m a long way from done on that one (and there’s definitely a whole other extension to do afterwards), but it’s nice to have something to knit.
Yesterday, I went to (virtual) Full Moon Meditation courtesy of Connect DC and Two Rivers Sanctuary again. While I didn’t get any Big Huge Messages this time, I did have an unexpected energetic experience. I’m not sure quite how to talk about it but… it was a thing, and one that’s apparently happened before (though I only knew about it because somebody who can See That Stuff told me about it after the fact).
The meditation was very comforting. Which I gather is kind of Their Deal when they’re doing Full Moon ritual.
New Moon rituals, if they have them, can potentially be focused on stuff like providing a container for catharsis, but Full Moon rituals – based on attending exactly two of them – seem to be very focused on love and receptivity and belonging. Which is pretty great, and something that I find really helpful, especially in stressful situations where I might (maybe, possibly) be telling myself that I shouldn’t be getting my needs met because other people need more and/or I don’t deserve it, or whatever.
This ritual was very actively pushing back against Scarcity Feels, and I appreciate it, and am glad I was able to take part.
For my tarot card meditation I used a random one-card generator and got the Five of Water.
I know this card best as the Osho Zen deck’s “Clinging to the Past” but, with the occasional exception, it is reliably a card about grief regardless of which deck you’re using.
The Next World Tarot describes this card as one where “hope is nebulous” and grief (disaster, abandonment, failure) feels familiar, reliable and navigable. I know a lot of people who don’t know how to handle it when success comes calling. Right now, I’m personally in a situation where it looks like, maybe, some Big Magic of mine is about to get results, and I’m trying not to get too confident about it Just In Case things don’t work out as well as it (currently) looks like they might. Using the Conditional Tense when I talk about our (potential) new house. Continuing to ask all and sundry to think good thoughts for us. Putting all of this stuff in brackets to essentially keep saying “this is still a big IF and I don’t want to jinx it by Hoping”.
But I AM hoping!
And I’m aware of the grief (and stress, because moving is not a fun time) that will come with a Yes, too. Like I said, further up the post, we will be this house’s last family before it’s demolished, and our beloved shelter deserves better than that. We’ll be leaving this neighbourhood – that we both love – in order to receive/accept this house that is otherwise utterly perfect for us, and there’s going to be some sadness around moving away from so many of our friends.
…And I’m still hoping. I think this will be good.
Movement: Continuing to do my Moon Salutations. Which is nice. Going for very short walks. Dancing in the street when the street is marvelously empty at 10am on a Monday morning. The up-coming Stay Homo and Dance video dance party scheduled for this Friday. Pulling last year’s dead stalks out of the garden to make room for this year’s new growth.
Attention: I’m kind of glued to the CRA website right now, in the interests of finding out whether we’re either Completely Fucked or actually Probably Fine with regards to income supports (Bougie Welfare, basically) from the government. Beyond that? Paying attention to the plants waking up and the baby squirrels and the amorous, courting birds of all kinds flitting about the neighbourhood.
Gratitude: For a metamour who turns up with a care package that includes chocolate and wine. For postcards from my neighbours. For the rhubarb and the crow garlic and the sorrel waking up and growing again. For the grape hyacinths starting to just barely hint at flowering. For the friend who’s offered to bring us pizza. For the people (mostly relatives) who have reached out to ask if we need money, explicitly. For the friend who pointed us towards this house. For video chats. For video dates with my girlfriend. For my DC metamour getting safely through COVID19 without having to go to a hospital(!). For stay-in-your-house shows done via live stream. For remote work that means we have a little bit of income. For my sewing and cooking skills. For my wife’s Official Layoff that will make it easier for us to access government supports. For a (potential) summer move that will let me rescue my garden and bring it with me. For the borrowed-for-the-duration work truck that will let us move without help, if that’s how this goes. For my over-stuffed pantry that’s been feeding us, with limited inputs, since mid-February. For Beltane (and the option of restocking said paintry) on its way. For my wife having time off to rest her body and tinker on her projects.
Inspiration: SPRING! The whole ideal of “Make do and mend”. The culinary experiments of #IronChefCOVID19 and everyone who is trying their hand at sour dough bread (it’s such a thing right now, and I totally get it, and also I can’t blame the people who are looking at this and going “Okay, but why THIS specific food? Why now?” Answers: Because yeast is surprisingly hard to come by right now. Because making sourdough bread (successfully) can help stave off feelings of helplessness and/or scarcity. Because, hey, maybe nurturing a starter along will help some people remember that Not All Microbes and we can actually have relationships with same that don’t involve us actively and desperately trying to murder one another, so there’s that, too).
Creation: Working on a sonnet. Lots of sewing. Lots of cooking. A very small amount of prose (like maybe 650 words in a two-week period). I’m doing. But I’m not doing much.
I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
Instructions: So now that you’ve done the small magics, I think it’s time to do a big ritual to further one or more of your goals.
As all of you know by now, I’m not a Big Rituals kind of gal. I put songs on repeat to help me enter something adjacent to a trance, maybe once or twice a year, and do little rituals (offerings roughly once a week, greeting my gods at the crossroads and as I see them, the first slice from a fresh batch of bread, stuff like that) fairly frequently, but Big Magical Doings that require a lot of prep and planning… are not typically My Bag.
I just turned forty.
I love my weirdo freelancing art life, and I want to keep it.
But I am so, SO tired (like physically and emotionally worn out, but also “sick of this crap” tired) of the precarity that comes with it.
I marked my birthday with a week worth of fun and lovely events, which wrapped up just before the recent full moon in Taurus, and I wanted to harness that “manifesting abundance and pleasure and security” stuff that comes with the Taurus full moon and its major-major link with The Empress.
So I spent a day working out how to turn my Greatest Hits Wish List into a series of little doodles – not exactly sigils (except in the case of making a little glyph to represent my immediate polycule), but stuff along those lines. I planned out what I’d need, in terms of materials. I sorted out offerings and harvested the herbs from my (snowed under, so that was a thing) garden. I took a calculated risk in collecting one of the other elements of the altar and the magic to be made on it, and made sure to leave offerings and… I guess I could call them connections(?) in return. I took the time (and energy, and resources, and skills) to make bread from scratch, and on Moonday, which handily actually WAS the night of the full moon (and which I also, thankfully, had off AND which was overcast enough for it to get dark enough to light candles earlier in the day), I turned my coffee table into an altar space and got to work.
So. You know the thing “To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent”?
I don’t actually know how many of the specifics of this I should be yacking about in front of the whole internet. So, in the interests of not screwing it up or pissing Anybody off, I’m going to be a bit vague on things.
BUT. The general gist is this:
First thing, as you can see from the photo, above, I was doing candle magic, just in a more intense way than I often do. Even when I go big, I’m still pretty basic in terms of what I do.
I wanted to have stuff that grew in my yard – my space, the place I have some kind of a friendly (uh, I’d like to think) relationship with – sitting in each of the quarters. I wanted the elements represented by things that I wanted and things that connected me to success and security. There’s a brick from the house my mom grew up in (among other things), in the North. The South is all sex toys and kinky equipment. The East is the various hard-copy books and chaps that I’ve been published in (why, yes, ALL of them). The West is the tarot cards I drew for my birthday, all those hope-and-heart cards, plus a piece of fancy stemware. The Centre was raised up on a fancy cake tray (40th birthday gift, also hospitality and fanciness), and has the Empress card that I used to kick off my whole Empress Project in the first place. The votive candles I used had been lit at my birthday party, and I treated them like Birthday Candles (as in “make a wish”).
I sang (just a little – the chorus of a song that I treated as a prayer), I gave offerings that were a little fancier than I usually do, and that included a little bit of pain, and a moderate amount of blood, on my part. But the big difference in how I did this whole thing is that, when I cast the circle, I got a little bit extra. I’m not usually one to call the guardians of the watchtowers of absolutely anything. But this time I reached out to the People of the four directions, and called the Above and the Below to run the world pillar through my spine.
And they showed up.
I hadn’t been expecting that.
Don’t go getting me wrong here, I’m very glad they did. But it was an optional thing for them. I’m… touched? That the Spirits of Place, the People who orient us in space and in… action? Is that a good way to put it? That they came and were willing to witness, and maybe even help.
I did The Thing.
I think my giant bag of soil is probably thawed out by now (it having had a week to hang out in the warm), so I can now take the last of the accoutrements off the altar space and do the last bit of the ceremony, at which point I can have my coffee table back.
In prepping for this, my wife asked me if it was going to come at a cost – because everything has a cost. She works with a goddess who takes payment in blood and pain (there are so many of these) and she was worried about me getting hurt, basically. So we ended up having a discussion about different types of relationships.
I talked about how I’ve been involved with my pantheon actively for a couple of decades, that I check in with them and say Hello often, and that I generally don’t show up with my hand out. I said “There’s wine on the altar right now” – wine that had been offered the previous Friday – and that while I didn’t give my Gods and Ancestors wine and cookies and bread and occasional whisky and other tasty things in order to, you know, manipulate them into feeling like they have to help me, the fact that I’ve been doing this for a long time – much as with more corporeal people – will get you a certain amount of trust and good will. If you show up for your friends, and want to hang out just for the sake of hanging out, they are more likely to show up for you when you need help with a thing. (This is, incidentally, one of the reasons I tend not to contract out and do transactional work with deities outside of my pantheon. I don’t know, and won’t necessarily be able to accurately discern, what kind of payment they might want. And I’m hesitant to offer any kind of tradesies when I don’t know what I’m getting myself into).
I did my ritual, my ceremony, made my offerings, around the themes of the Empress.
May it be, may it be, may it be. ❤
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
The dog roses bloomed the day before the full moon (in Sag). The lilacs are out all over the place. My self-seeded radishes and crane’s bill are blooming and my columbines, sage, peonies, and even bergamot are well on their way towards bursting into flower.
Flower Moon indeed.
The Full Moon in Sag – like all full moons – relates back to the New Moon that was in the same sign, six months ago. Looking back, I see that, six months ago, I was writing the Goals post for my Empress Project and trying to get myself to Dream Big rather than over-thinking and self-sabotaging my hopes and plans.
Which is… not out of line with what’s been going on in the past 8 days or so.
I did a tarot reading this time last week – a three-card draw suggested by Liz Worth in a guest-post for Biddy Tarot:
1. What do I fear about myself?
2. How can I face this fear and move past it?
3. What can I accomplish as a result?
The answers I got were:
1) The Empress (U) – Which, given my ongoing Empress Project, I’m interpreting as “I’m afraid of my own success” (just… see below for more on that one).
2) The Three of Swords (R) – Grief, sure, but grief that you are allowed to let go of. Recognize that Now is not Then. You are not going to be punished for reaching past scrabbling survival or for wanting things beyond being allowed to continue existing (ish).
3) Temperance (U) – Feeling centered and secure, finding the right mix, achieving some balance, flourishing. (Isn’t flourishing what the Empress is all about?)
You guys, the day I did this reading, I got invited to a job interview for a part-time office job, walking distance from my house. With benefits and a (likely) starting salary that, even pro-rated to three days/week, would cover our basic living expenses reliably and consistently for the foreseeable future.
The interview was on Monday.
Lunar-cycle-wise, that’s an amazing time for a job interview (almost-full moon in an energetic, get-up-and-seize-the-day Fire sign, with everything else in stable, secure, resourceful Earth).
I’m hoping that helped me.
I’m hoping everything helps me.
I have no idea if, or when, I will head the results but I have been straight-up harassing my gods and ancestors and everybody else who might potentially be listening about this. I am kind of feeling (exhausted from) what Ms. Sugar calls “getting in a staring contest with the universe“.
I’ve also been having Big Feels about not “deserving” this. Impostor syndrome. The fear that, if I don’t keep myself small and scared, some nebulous Big Bad is going to come along and hurt me to make sure I “stay in my place” (which is desperate and needy and never allowed to have enough). This weird, stupid, doesn’t actually make any sense, suspicion that my wife wouldn’t be having Extra Joint Pain right now, if I hadn’t been so “greedy” as to want us to be able to reliably make ends meet and potentially make them overlap.
It’s messed up.
I want to stop feeling like this.
But, tbh, even more than that? I want an email offering me that job. I’ll deal with, and hopefully banish, the imposter syndrome once I know that our rent & groceries are for-sure going to be covered.
But for the moment, I’m waiting. Fighting off anxiety. Distracting myself by reading YA novels (which is great). Working in my garden – the fava beans are coming up. So is the red mustard and (maybe) blue kale and dill (only one, so far) from my friend, who held the job I just interviewed for, along with the chard I seeded, and reseeded, and then seeded again (FINALLY). My tomatoes, cukes, zukes, potatioes, and winter squash all seem to be getting their roots in well. The sorrel and lovage I planted are getting their feet in, too.
I am hoping the flourishing of my garden, the re-balancing of its soil by giving it a good feed and planting some nitrogen fixers, will work as a thinking-in-things spell to help me be open to my own success, my Empress flourishing, to invite in those things ( like this job, Universe ) that will help me do and be all of that.
Today’s Tarot Card Meditation draw was the Eight of Pentacles.
I like this card.
The eights are all about hope. Even cards like the eight of cups, where the hope is less obvious (letting go of something, which can be painful, in order to make space for something better to come in). But this particular card is about both (a) super-relevant stuff like finding a new job, and also (b) doing the day-to-day “carry wood, fetch water” stuff of making life happen.
The above picture is from the Collective Tarot, but I did my draw from the Next World deck. Cristy C Road calls the 8 of Pentacles “Creation”. It’s a picture of two people, obviously proud of what they’ve made, standing in the foreground of stacks and stacks of paper (what looks like a self-published zine, chapbook, comic, guide, or similar).
Other versions of the Eight of Pentacles consistently touch on the honing of a craft, on diligence, on putting in the effort and attention to tend something that matters to you. The Next World rendition is very much in that vein.
But the Collective Tarot’s Eight of Bones talks about something else. The chrysalis under the rib cage. The “new normal” that’s been growing this whole time you (I?) have been breathing, learning, and baby-stepping forward. The heart that is developing, that is ready to emerge.
If I have a wish – beyond the very specific “let me get this job” that I’ve been praying and chanting and spell-casting for all week – for this full moon in Sagitarius, it’s this:
Let Me Thrive!
Movement: LOTS of walking. The heat has arrived (YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!) and… I have totally forgotten how to walk long distances (for a given value of “long” meaning about 5km at a time) in hot, hot, humid weather. BUT I’m walking a lot. Digging in my garden, planting seedlings, pulling unwanted plants (quack grass and dog-strangling vine, almost exclusively) and harvesting greens. Going dancing on Saturday night, too. 🙂
Attention: I strongly suspect that the content of this post has detailed where most of my attention has been of late. However, I’m also paying attention to what’s coming up in my garden (and what isn’t), and what it needs to thrive. I did a lousy job of taking care of it last year, and I’m hoping to do better with it this time around.
Gratitude: My wife, who smiles at me and tells me she loves me all the time. The people who are willing to sing my praises to a potential employer, should they call. Dandelions, grape leaves, Vietnamese garlic, garden sorrel, mustard greens, radish leaves, and other goodies that have been doing their duty as our vegetables of late. Honouraria for working a “learn to mend” night at the OTL. Connecting with other queers. Clothing swaps. People showing up for each other when someone needs support. Having a spare room in-which to temporarily house someone (er… we had a 15-year-old stay with us for a couple of days while she was between group homes). The smell of wet earth and fresh, clean rain on just-mowed dandelions in the yard. Getting that interview and it (probably?) going well. Ancestors taking care of me. Goddesses who listen. A big, gorgeous full moon to look up at. Warm, gentle nights to walk home in. Extra modeling work. New poetry in the mail. The smell of flowers – lilacs and roses and the last of the crab apples – heavy in the air. It’s a beautiful time of year.
Inspiration: I have new poetry to read, and I’m paging through Kitchen Table Tarot, Modern Tarot, and She Is Sitting in the Night, trying to gain some new perspectives on my numerous decks of cards. I’m also drawing inspiration from my garden, since it’s waking up and making magic of its own right now.
Creation: Right now, a lot of my creative efforts are being put into trying to get the Universe to give me what I want. So my activities are less about poetry and more about getting my garden in shape to keep feeding us, and getting the Wider World to, well, like me enough to get me a stable and sustainable working situation. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please. Beyond that, while I’m still working on finishing my moon-inspired poetry chapbook, I’m finding that food and plant imagery is finding its way into my work – because: garden – more and more. Hoping to get this one finished before the next New Moon, but we shall see.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
Instructions: “This week, I would like you to think about how you’re presenting yourself to the world and how that’s affecting your own personal goals“.
Tarot Card: The Mirror.
I chose this card from this deck specifically because of the “mirror” name. We are talking glamoury and self-presentation, after all.
Elsewhere, the Hanged Man has been named everything from Intermission to New Vision, and they are all at least a little bit relevant. They all involve changes of perspective. They all involve pausing to reflect.
What I think is really interesting, though, is that The Hanged Man has connotations of being open, being vulnerable. I wasn’t expecting that. (I mean, I suppose if you’re literally hanging by your ankle, that’s a pretty vulnerable position to be in, but it still came as a surprise). And there’s a fair bit of that in glamoury. It’s not a mask. It’s not a false front. It’s you, shined up and gleaming and refusing to compartmentalize yourself for anybody else’s comfort. It’s you being your own velvet rope.
I have to admit that, after (putting off) last week’s prompt, I’m finding Week Six to be weirdly easy? Like for the first time ever (I’ve done this Experiment a number of times at this point) I’m not going into The Glamour Prompt feeling defensive or otherwise dreading it. Maybe because I’ve been doing deliberate glamour magic for something like 8 months now, or because I’m feeling a little more solid around stuff like “dressing your age” when I want and need it to mean something other than “dress like someone who works as an office admin” (even when I do, periodically, work as an office admin… and find myself woefully under-prepared in the clothes department for anything more than about a two-day contract).
Regardless, when I clicked on the prompt to remind myself what it was? I was relieved. Like “Oh. Glamour. Got it covered!”
And, on some levels, I do. My bras fit. I know how to mend my own socks and make/modify my own clothes (so they fit). I’m getting better at contouring/highlighting. I’m dressing with a certain degree of intention. I went back to dying my hair “bisexual burgundy” because I missed it and, even having done a pretty spotty job of it, I’m really happy to have “my” hair back. (This is what happens when you notice how many red-heads are in your personal Glamour Glossary and then land en excuse to go back to your power colour). I started (very recently) doing daily bendy-stretchy exercises to complement my preexisting core-strengthening exercises, and incorporating affirmations-as-spell-craft into the whole routine, in the interest of being – ha – open (and vulnerable) to everything from hot pick-up sex to the possibility that unexpected changes are not only not the end of the world, but might actually be positive. I described my own body, a week ago, as gorgeous and lovable.
Which I guess brings me to:
One of Ms Sugar’s suggestions was to write a love-letter to your own body. So I did.
I love you.
I love us?
I love that we can get places on foot, even when they’re 6-8 km away from our starting point. I love that we can walk up five flights of stairs without feeling like our chest is going to explode. I love that we are able to mitigate our lower back problems substantially through physiotherapy done through the lens of very selective yoga poses. I love that we are getting stronger. I love that we have curvy hips and solid thighs and broad shoulders. I love our long hair and strong neck. I love that we’re singing and doing warm-up exercises again, because it’s good for our head (or seems to be, so far). I love that we are getting more flexible, too.
I love that we can communicate. I love that we made the time to learn how to communicate and keep communicating. I love that when our sense-of-self dissociates, we know how to come back together again.
I love that we are a fully autonomous musical instrument, that we can send our sound up to two blocks away, farther if we are up high. I love that we have powerful core muscles and powerful face muscles and deep, deep, open lungs, to do this with and that we know how to do it on purpose. I love the notes we can hit and make them ring like bells. I love that we can sing things into being.
I love that our ears can pick up a tune, even if they can’t pick up the thread of a specific conversation.
I love our capacity for pleasure, even when our brain-side has a really hard time allowing us to get there and go there, especially with a sexual partner, especially while bottoming. I love that we’re capable of letting go like that. Of roaring and laughing, of coming hard and gushing. I love that we KNOW this, even if we can’t do it reliably (yet).
I love that we enjoy warm wind on our bare legs, hot sun on our skin. I love that hot baths help us come back together again and again.
I love that we recognize our own skin hunger. I love that we are snuggly and enormous, intimidatingly huge. I love that we can dance, and that we practice dancing in our kitchen.
I love that we’re comfortable being naked.
I love that we’re close enough to the current cultural standard of beauty that we can make a living off of how we look and move and stand in this messed up world. I love that we’re far enough away from the current cultural standard of beauty that we can make people stare at us just by standing up, and that we can question that beauty standard and interrogate it, even just a little bit.
I love that we love food and eating. I love that we are gluttonous. I love that we have a resilient digestive system, and that we enjoy the taste of all those home-made ferments that help us maintain it. I love that we love subtle flavours and can tease them apart, recognize and name them, because our tongue is clever and attentive.
I love that we have unexpectedly good aim, despite having difficulty focusing our almost-forty-year-old eyes on distant targets. I love that our fingers are strong and dextrous and can peel the meat off a bone ‘til its bare without a lot of trouble.
I love that we can manage without glasses… so far… even if we know they’re coming. But I also love that we enjoy adornment, that glasses will be annoying, probably, but they’ll also be jewelry for our face.
I love that we can breathe easily. That we don’t have to hunt for fragrance-free everything, and can enjoy heavily scented perfume oils and massage bars and bath bombs. I love that we’re aware of what working in that factory did to us, and that standing over a pot of melted paraffin may give us headaches now, but that we can make beeswax candles from scratch instead, which is what we like anyway. I love our lung capacity, the ways we navigate having a cleft palate and the mouth/nose/throat issues that’s given us our whole life.
I love that we are a water ape, that our clever, attentive tongue and nose can tell what is safe to keep eating and what is best left alone. I love that our fingers are long. I love that we have good (ish?) balance. I love that we can use our strength and grace and balance and flexibility to put food on the table by gardening and foraging and also by modeling.
I love that we are a spell, on purpose. That we can use our voice, our dancing, our touch, to move energy around and through, and that we figured this out through singing lessons but also, by and large, through trial and error and guess-work, and it WORKED.
I love that we are big enough to get things off the high shelves without trying.
I love that we dance in public. I love that we eat in public. I love that we take up all this space in all these many ways.
I love us.
I love you.
I love us.
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 some magical thing(s) to further your cause and give you an edge towards achieving your Goal(s).
Tarot Card: The Priestess (Inner Voice, The Seer) – looking inward, going deeper, mediating between the concious and unconcious, self-confidence, seaking internal calm.
So I’ve had a bit of a shock thrown into my (life) plans recently. My long-distance partner is… not my partner anymore. At least not for the moment. We’re “on a break” for reasons that I understand, even if I’m not happy about the situation or its effects on me.
Part of me is all “I totally get it, take the time you need.”
Part of me is all “Augh! Come baaaaaaaaaaaaack!”
And part of me is just all “Eugh. Whatever. You do you. I’ll survive.”
It’s not a fun place to be, and it does add a certain bleak nuance of “Why am I trying so hard to Fix The Problems that I’m trying to fix with this project if I’m no-longer in a situation where those Problems are actually causing Big Waves in important parts of my life??”
Which is a problem in and of itself, I know.
Why don’t I care about myself enough to just get to Happy for my own benefit, rather than it having to involve someone else’s comfort with me before I’m willing to Do The Work that will make my life better regardless?
It’s stupid and frustrating and it means that part of this Getting To project is getting a bit of a facelift.
Originally, I was going to do my Enchanted Evening spell by putting a glamour wammy on my bathroom and dressing-room mirrors so that, every time I looked at my own reflection, I was also seeing someone worthy of love and care, in the hopes that it would make it easier for me to pick up on the love and care (and other good stuff) being directed at me from all and sundry.
I’m still going to do that.
… But the whole situation with the Queen Of Cups is that she doesn’t have to use logic to walk her heart through every damn thing. She’s emotionally healthy,and emotionally secure, enough that she is both trust-worthy and trustING in ways that don’t feel like jumping off a cliff (to use Leah Lakshmi’s very apt turn of phrase) and crossing my fingers that someone is going to catch me before I hit the rocks.
Which means I’ve got other Stuff I need to work on as well.
So what I did this morning was steap myself a cup of thyme tea and charge it with the prayer of “Open my heart, help me to trust the trustworthy, heal me”.
Tea because: Probably a safer bet than putting drops of pure thyme essential oil directly onto my tongue. But also tea because it has links to awareness, faithfulness, and enlightenment.
I chose Thyme because it corresponds to courage, hope, happiness, purification, healing, strength, the washing away of fear.
Other herbs I can use in similar ways:
Chamomile, lavender, and dill to calm the frightened child in me
Sweet Violet (I’m reading this as the edible flowers of wood violets that grow in my yard – and all over the place) for trust, peace, and strengthening the comfort of the heart
As for the glamour wammy on my mirror, I’m thinking it’ll be a cleansing spray that just happens to include a mix of rosemary, sweet orange, and ginger essential oils (plus witch hazel & water for a carrier).
Other possibilities for scrubbing away:
A Body Scrub to sluff away all the Negativity that’s been hovering around me ft brown sugar, sweet almond oil, baking soda, rosemary, clove, cedar, tea tree
A Bath Powder to draw confidence, self-assurance, courage and calm ft ylang ylang, ginger, clove, myrrh(!), and sweet orange
I find it… veeeeeery interesting… that a LOT of the essential oils that one would use for drawing love, sex, & happy-solid romances into one’s life (and dispelling/preventing jealousy, no less) are also stuff that one would use to increase confidence, courage & self-assurance, while calming your ass down & dispelling fear and depression.
I mean, part of that is just: people use what they’ve got. If you’re a Strega with a rosemary bush the size of your house (or… me… with a cupboard full of pie spices and dried fruit), that stuff is going to find its way into every spell you do.
On the other hand… the two tend to benefit one-another, in my experience, so maybe it’s not that strange.
Lastly – though not remotely surprisingly -I’ve been doing a LOT of tarot readings for myself on the question of “How do I get to Happy?” (the Fool Spread is really handy for that kind of question) and the details of making those internal changes in ways that will actually stick and not turn me into more of a wreck in the process.
They’re turning up some… unsurprising but also pretty accurate information, which is a help in terms of things I need to remind myself of like: This is going to be a bit of a slog, so you will have to be patient with yourself. Be brave but not with without compassion for yourself. Push yourself, because it’s going to be hard and you will have to keep leaning into that discomfort, but don’t burn yourself out. Learn from your mistakes, but also forgive yourself and be gentle with yourself at the same time.
Wish me luck.
Up next: Fancying up my mirrors and taking a solid soak. Here’s hoping it works.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 So that I could recognize that kind words from a friend are actually meant and true, to pick a non-Faaaaaaaaaamily-related example, and so that (to pick another, even less-socially-fraught one) I could stop interpreting a lack of calls from temp agents as some sort of deliberate punishment for not being available That One Time, or for saying No to that thing I didn’t want to do. So that I can just sit with the quiet (as opposed to the Silence, as in Silent Treatment) of a non-ringing phone without believing in my bones that it’s a commentary on whether or not I’m worthy of someone having my back or looking out for me.
Today’s list of things to do includes:
Buy food for the parotlet
Buy honey. For the honey pots I’ll be making today. Using old, already empty honey jars, of all things… Maybe I went about this the wrong way?
I have leatherwork to mail out (my wife’s work, not mine), the gas bill to pay (in cash, because apparently we’re sketchy in this neck of the woods), and dinner for three to come up with. And all I want to do is soak my ice-cold feet in a hot bath until they thaw out again. The thought of venturing into today’ -30C weather is just… Ick. Don’t wanna!
But you gotta do the work, even (especially) when The Work is the boring, mundane stuff that you’d rather just avoid. Otherwise, nothing gets done.
Errands. Then glamoury and kitchen witchcraft and a hot, HOT shower to warm me up will definitely be part of it! And after that, I can get on with the making of good art and good food.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
Yes, friends, we’re talking about Glamour today!
I know it’s (very) early in the year yet, but this seems to be something I want to tackle in 2015 – for reasons I can’t entirely fathom, it just seems… like the right time to make it heppen? No idea. – But regardless, let’s get into it.
Miss Sugar has a years-old guest-post by ApocalypseGrrl over at Charmed I’m Sure. The post is about “dressing your worst” and how the way we present ourselves has an effect on how people see us (or don’t see us) for good, or for ill. It includes some questions for the readers so, for today’s Pagan Experience post, I’m going to answer those questions and maybe get into the elements of glamour just a little wee bit.
Ready? Here we go. Continue reading
So, my shiny Candian English dictionary and thesaurus offers this as the second (so less frequently used) definition for “zest”:
2 Interest, flavour, or charm
I am focusing on the very last word in that definition: Charm. There’s a post of Miss Sugar’s entitled You Need Glamour that has pushed a couple of buttons for me.
Specifically, I’ve started looking at how I can use little magics – the kind that you post-it to your bathroom mirror or doodle onto your skin or build into your daily leaving-the-house-for-real-now routine – to give me a bit of a boost. How can I spritz a little bit of magical je-ne-sais-quoi over myself to help me glow when I walk out the door, or to help me Push Through The Suck on my way to Making Good Art when I’m at home (or out and about)? As such, I’ve started designing sigils (thense the “zigzag” part of my post-subject, even if mine look less “zigzag” and more “curly-cue” to my way of thinking) that I can charge and plaqce strategically around the house (above the stove, around the mirror, etc) and have started charging elements of my makup box as well.
Things that I’m sorting out how to enchant for:
Stick-to-it-ivness and timely action
Creative inspiration and output on various fronts
Seeing opportunities when they present themselves
People-I-like generally liking, and seeking out, my company
Still on the list:
Regular influxes of significant cash (I’m saying “significant” because finding a quarter, while handy, is not the same as finding a five-dollar bill or getting a last-minute modeling gig exactly when I need it) both the reliable, expected kind and the unexpected-bonus kind
Good food (I’m hoping that this will be general enough to cover both (a) a really productive garden, (b) affordable ethical animal-based food, and (b) various friends and phamily dropping by and bringing excellent cheese/chutney/chocolate or whatever with them for me/us to enjoy)
Romantic & sexual magnetism (minus the potential for Stalker Problems)
Like I said, the idea is to give myself a boost in these areas so that, when I try to put myself out there – by flirting with a potential date; by sitting down and chugging through those 1000 words/day; by applying for a gig or a contract; you name it – it won’t just be me against everything. My hope is that things will flow a little more easily in the directions that I want them to go and it won’t feel like I’m always trying to shove a boulder up the hill. (It’ll feel like I’ve got some traction behind me, perhaps, or like the rock is significantly lighter, even if it’s still the same size?)
Here’s hoping it works!
Onwards into 2015.
BLOGGER’S NOTE: So this brings us to the end of 2014’s Pagan Blog Project. The individual who curates the PBP has decided not to keep doing it, so if you like my posts, now would be the time to click the Subscribe Button or otherwise follow along.
I like having something to post for in a weekly kind of way, so I will be participating in The Pagan Experience weekly writing challenge over the course of 2015.
I look forward to talking your ear off in 2015. 🙂
See you then. 🙂
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
So here I am, looking down the neck of a two-week contract for-which I’m primarily extremely thankful – income is important, and this is close enough to home to be able to walk at least some of the time – even if the thought of being back on the Temp Agencies’ roster with no clear end in sight is not all that encouraging. (That said, I did just find out that my contract is walking distance from home, which is fanTAStic news, so there’s that!)
It’s strange to be “looking for work” in a more permanent sense after spending nearly four years in one job. I catch myself thinking “Damn, I shouldn’t have put all my eggs in one basket like that, I was really relying on those monthly paycheques”… as if accepting a permanent position and believing it to be permanent isn’t what most people in my country are striving for, if not full-out doing. It’s a funny space to be in, mentally, this visceral knowing that (a) lots of diverse income streams are the safe bet, even when it’s important that at least one of them (ideally a mininum of two) be reliable and fairly fixed, while also (b) getting the impression that this is not how Most People approach “career building” (if I can call it that).