Tag Archives: study

Meeting My Fetch (Is This An After School Special?)

Hey!
So, as I said in an earlier post, I recently designed a guided meditation for myself so that I could go and meet my Fetch in person.
I’m not an initiate into Feri or Reclaiming. But the work of Starhawk, T Thorn Coyle, Lee Harrington, and Gede Parma have all informed my own understanding of ritual and magical work, so Feri and Reclaiming have influenced my own work, albeit in an indirect way. As such, when I talk about Fetch, I’m using the term in roughly the way that it gets used in Feri (and, apparently, Wildwood?) or the way Reclaiming talks about “Child Self”. Sometimes this part of you is also called the “Id” or the “Unconscious”, just to throw some psych 101 terms into the mix.
 
Essentially, Fetch is your animal self, your little-kid self, the part of your soul-makeup that’s most intimately connected with being a body – so all the stuff that relates to food, touch, sleep, sex, movement, work (as in: force times distance equals), pain, rest, pleasure, and play.
Fetch is your skin hunger, your belly-hunger, and your tongue hunger. They’re the part of you that wants, that needs, that desires, that demands… and also the part of you where a lot of the rejected parts of yourself kind of get shoved in order to push them out of the way (so… Fetch may have a lot of your Shadow Stuff kind of clogging up their system, and may be lonely or self-protective when you first meet them – just a heads-up, your Fetch and my Fetch aren’t going to be the same people, so yours may also be super keen to drag you on adventures despite it being a school night. YMMV).
Fetch is also not likely to use words.
This is relevant, especially if you’re like, y’know, me and are All About The Feelings, but also are all about putting words around your emotions to explain and understand them. (This is why I find tarot so helpful, because it lets my chatty, explainy, words-using self and my non-verbal, images and sensory experiences self communicate with each other in ways they can both understand. Looking for visual omens and learning how to interpret the emotional stuff behind physical sensations (think: somatic experiencing) in your own body can do this, too.
 
Anyway.
Meeting Fetch!
 
All of my internal-astral wanderings start out by taking the rainbow staircase (or sometimes elevator) downwards. It’s a technique I was introduced to… 15 or so years ago? And at this point it’s a really effective visual/mental cue that “We’re Visiting The Interior Now”.
I followed my own directions and eventually came to the location where I was expecting to meet my Fetch.
It wasn’t the night club I’d been expecting to find.
Instead, it was a high school gym with most of the lights out.
There was 100% something big, mammalian, and predatory just sort of… hanging out around the edges. I never really saw it, but I got the impression of lion/tiger paws and some kind of tusks. Which… Is fine. I was actually expecting that bit.
What I wasn’t expecting was to see my 13-year-old self, even skinnier and taller (6’8”, at a guess) than I was at that actual age, wearing my/her dad’s basketball uniform and shooting baskets.
She also had tusks. Which… is not shocking.
A long time ago, I went on an astral bus trip, if you will, and got to have a look at who-all my talking self was sharing space with, and there was somebody on there with boar tusks or ram/bull horns or something. I think that maybe that kind of hazy somebody, in their soft-butch tank top and jeans, may have been a related aspect of this big wee girl I’ve met in the gym.
But the part where my Fetch is a tomboy and a tiny bit of a jock? That’s unexpected.
Maybe it shouldn’t be.
But here we are.
 
It felt like it took a long time for her to turn around and look at me.
I got a general impression of flinching, which is kind of heart-breaking.
We spent a lot of time sitting on the bleachers. She tucked her head into the crook of my neck, and one of her tusks kind of poked me, and she freaked out a little when I tried to adjust things which…
How do I talk to a teenager who is scared I’m going to leave again? Especially one who doesn’t really do words?
So we sat in the dark and I held onto her, this big little girl who is teenager me, with all the emotional bruises of grades 5-8 riding on her shoulders.
The second part of the meditation… didn’t exactly happen?
She pressed something into my hands, but I don’t really know what it was. Something robins-egg blue or powder blue, and boxy. Like a cross between a little transistor radio and a really clunky games console?
Anyway. I think she might be saying “Play with me”?
So I need to go back and play with her.
 
One thing that I really, really noticed was that I could feel her in my thighs. That meeting her made my legs burn like I’d just hiked up five or six flights of stairs, or a very long, very steep hill. This was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, I tend to read Butches as carrying their energy in their thighs – in much the same way as I tend to read Femmes as carrying our energy strung across our shoulders and collarbones – so this physical feeling was part of my interpretation of my Fetch as being… call it “more masculine than the rest of me”, if you want to start there. The other reason it was interesting is because I associate that feeling with running. With the way I feel after having to sprint for a bus. I got the impression that she’d been running, or had been poised to run away, for a very long time.
I kind of hope I can get us to a point where that feeling – of big, powerful muscles that have been working hard – is associated with “We sure DID dance until midnight / hang upside down in an aerials class / play HORSE all afternoon / take a gorgeous walk through the arboretum for a couple of hours” rather than with something that feels like fear and flight.
 
Anyway. That was how meeting my Fetch went.
If any of you reading this want to talk about meeting your own Fetches, please feel free to tell me all about them in the comments.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Meltwater Moon Crests

The snow is melting. Hurrah!
The streets are NOT a mess of slush, thank all the gods, and the sidewalks are almost all clear. Which is fantastic.
Like a LOT of people, we’re practicing as much social isolation as we can in the interests of slowing down the spread of that covid virus that’s going around – though, as self-employed people, it’s not like we have paid time off.
So basically we’re avoiding leaving the house for reasons other than work. I’m checking in with my various modelling clients about whether or not their classes are still running, and I’m glad that at least some of my work is already done remotely, because that will help in the event of, say, any of the local art schools just shutting down for the time being.
On the plus side, we’ve got considerably more than two weeks of food stored up, and were already limiting grocery trips and combining errands so’s as to not have to leave the house more often than necessary.
 
One thing that’s come up since starting my Eat From The Larder Challenge Austerity is that my lovely wife may, in fact, be gluten-intollerant.
So the miraculous discovery of an extra bag of short pasta, the 5kg of all purpose flour, the large amounts of pearl AND pot barley, oat groats, and couscous, as well as the small amounts of rye flour, oat flour, and barley flour that I have on hand?
Are now out of the running.
It’s not that I can’t use them. But I can’t use them to make food for more than just myself.
So.
What do I have?
 

Potatoes (2-3, so very, very few)
+
Wild rice (moderate amount)
Amaranth (moderate to large amount)
Quinoa (small amount)
Rice (small amount)
Millet (very small amount, also I don’t really like eating it)
+
Corn meal (moderate amount)
Corn flour (small to moderate amount)
Buckwheat flour (small amount)
Corn starch (small amount)
Romano bean flour (small amount)
Tapioca flour (very small amount)
Arrowroot flour (very small amount)

 
I can make this work.
I’d be happier if I had a LOT more buckwheat flour and ANY amaranth flour lying around. But I can work with this. Quick breads that get their leavening from baking soda or baking powder are a thing. I can use pre-soaked green lentils & yellow split, frozen (pre-cooked) chick peas, and tinned kidney beans as a “starch” – which is to say “as a filler” to bulk up dishes where I would normally use bread – such as a clafoutis, which is basically quiche but you mix 1/4C corn starch and 1/4C romano bean flour into the eggs-and-milk rather than having a pie crust. It’s delicious, but it’s a LOT less filling than a bread pudding.
I may see if I can trade some of my all-purpose flour for some long-grain rice, and some more of it for some quinoa or kasha.
 
I confess, I am looking into sour-dough-esque recipes that rely on fermented buckwheat and/or eggs for a lot of their leavening power. But, as my flour is currently really limited, I’m a little nervous to try any of them.
The good thing about sourdough breads is that whatever starter you end up with is going to be enlivened by bacteria that will happily eat whatever flour you feed it with.
The bad thing is that fluffy loaves of bread rely on the stretchy protein of gluten to create those nice, well-aerated crumbs… and there’s no gluten in these, so… I’m not sure how (if) this is going to work.
All-of-which is to say that, for now, I will PROBABLY be relying on stuff like basic corn bread (which uses baking soda and sour milk for the leavening agents), cornflour “tortillas”, and savoury buckwheat crepes instead of trying to do a proper leavened bread during this Austerity.
 
In more explicitly magic-related news, I designed a guided meditation (which I’ll be putting in An Actual Book) so that I could meet my own Fetch, and I tried out the first part of it last night.
(I think the second part also… tried to happen… but it was fast and I might need to go back and try it again).
I’m going to do a separate post about my first – but possibly NOT first? – time meeting Fetch in person. But just to throw a little preliminary information out here:
The word “Fetch” gets used in a couple of different ways, magically-speaking. One way it gets used is to describe a part of yourself – or, in some circles, a separate entity – who can leave your body and bring things back to you. The other way is the way this term gets used in Feri, for example, where it kind of corresponds to what gets called “Child Self” in Reclaiming. I’m under the impression that the two definitions are not entirely mutually exclusive but, when I talk about Fetch, I’m talking about the second definition.
BUT. More on Fetch elsewhere.
 
The course I was taking with Ms Sugar has wrapped up (for this iteration – iirc she’ll be running it again), though the work I started there-in is definitely still on-going and will likely STAY on-going until at least early June.
I had a job interview this morning – which… I have NO IDEA how it went, but please think good thoughts for me, if you’re reading this? I’d really appreciate it.
I kinda-sorta started writing a book, too. Which is equal parts exciting and terrifying, and equal parts “Yes! This is where I should put (some of) my energy right now!” and “Are… are you sure about that? What about your poetry manuscript?” (don’t worry, I’m still working on that one, too – and have been able to get out to a couple of poetry workshops in the last two weeks, so that feels good).
 
I pulled two cards for my Tarot Card Meditation this time around.
The first – which has turned up more than once this week – was the Ten of Fire.
The second was History (one of the Weird Bonus Cards in the Silicon Dawn deck).
I’m used to the Ten of Fire being a caution against exhaustion or a statement about being overwhelmed or having too much on your to-do list. Which is… relatable at this time. In this deck, though, it’s more of a warning against over-consumption and a reminder that “looking out ONLY for Number One” is a bad road to go down. More broadly, it’s a card about… being mindful of what is and isn’t your responsibility (or privilege) to take on, asking for help and/or say “No” when things are too much to handle on your own, and following through on your commitments (“You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it”).
History – according to Egypt Urnash’s little interpretations book – is about the stories we tell to ourselves about ourselves and our situations. It’s cosmology and it’s shadow work. It’s about how we can tie ourselves up with “I Can’t Do XYZ”. It’s a relevant card, given what I’m digging into right now, particularly since I drew it Reversed (Meaning: Having to do with my relationship with myself). I think, in combination with the Ten of Fire, it’s a reminder to pay attention to what is and isn’t mine to carry, about following through on what IS – and putting down, or handing off, what isn’t – my responsibility, specifically in terms of stories I may have told myself (over and over and over again) about what I have to be – need-less? help-less? – in order to keep myself safe in some way.
Definitely worth chewing on some more.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Not a whole heck of a lot. I’m reliably doing my Moon Salutations, which is a good thing, but I’ve been busing to a lot of gigs, and I’m avoiding leaving the house when possible, so there’s been less body activity going on than usual.
 
Attention: Listening to my body. Keeping track of how much rest I need vs how much I’m getting, and watching my symptoms (vaguely sore throat since Saturday night, runny nose, generalized tiredness, etc – which are leading me to think this is probably my usual “the snow is melting and there’s just a lot more crud exposed to the air” annual springtime cold, but still). Trying to catch my Stories earlier and earlier rather than getting sucked into them (this is really difficult, which I realize is no surprise to anybody). Watching my writing for continuity and flow and hoping that I’m managing to make sense. Looking and listening for omens and signs that the magical stuff I’ve been doing is getting things rolling in ways that I want them to go (and sometimes in ways that I’m… not thrilled about, but here we are).
 
Gratitude: Thankful for a wife who loves me. For a girlfriend who is patient and understands how much stuff is up in the air right now (the landlord sold our house, new owner – who is a developer – takes possession in May, and we’re going to have to find a new, and almost definitely much more expensive, place to live, sooner rather than later) and that this is going to effect whether or not I can come and visit her any time soon. Grateful for skype dates and weekends doing easy stuff together. Grateful for my cooking skills, my wonderously (still) full freezers and pantry, which are making things so much easier right now. Grateful, too, for friends who have taken me out for lunch, passed along job opportunities, and generally taken care of me. Thankful for a resilient immune system and for having a lot of essential oils on hand. Thankful for sunshine and above-zero temperatures. Thankful for a job interview today. Thankful for a metamour who’s looking out for us self-employed-no-benefits types over here. Thankful – believe it or not – for a GodSelf who will periodically push me off a cliff just to remind me that trust-falling does, in fact, require FALLING (or at least leaping). Grateful for a Fetch who was willing to try trusting me, just for a little bit. Grateful for milk and eggs and a little bit of butter. Grateful for a miracle tin of parmasan cheese (my years of non-parishable food-hoarding tendencies are paying off, I see). Grateful for my library card. Grateful for my income quilt. Grateful for a book idea that’s structured enough I can actually follow through on it. Grateful.
 
Inspiration: Chakra work, the Iron Pentacle and Triple Soul concepts of/from Feri, various Major Arcana cards, my own history and experiences, the food I have available to work with.
 
Creation: I’ve written a couple of poems, edited a couple more, and have started writing a book, which involves also writing guided meditations, ritual outlines, and a certain amount of suggestions for creative altar-building. Also, coming up with tasty, filling, nutritious meals based on what’s available in the pantry and freezer is… feeling (slightly) less like a Terrible Idea, and (slightly) more like a creative challenge at this point – roughly a month after I started. We’ll see how I feel in another three weeks, let along another six, but so far, so good.

New Moon – Meltwater Moon Begins (#PiscesNewMoon)

Whelp. It’s almost the end of February, it was 11C on Monday (wtf…), we’re due to get snow, freezing rain AND a sudden return to very sub-zero temperatures in the next 48 hours, and Mercury is backstroking through Pisces as I type.
 
I keep getting the suspicion that planetary retrogrades can function a lot like reversed cards in tarot readings. By-which I mean that rather than (or in addition to) being about the “disfunctional” or “negative” or just “difficult” aspects of a thing, reversed/retrograde can point you in a particular direction.
I tend to read upright cards as “this is about the relationship you have with the outside world” and reversed cards as “this is about the relationship you have with yourself”.
And planetary retrogrades can be an opportunity to ask a similar question.
In the case of Mercury – planet of communication and, mythologically speaking, messenger between the various worlds – this retrograde is an opportunity for me to ask myself “What stories am I telling myself? Where I am lying to myself? Where – as Liz Worth suggests – are my actions, commitments, and habits NOT syncing up with the true nature of my most integrated self?
Which is to say, it’s a good time for Shadow Work.
 
So I’m doing some Shadow Work!
Trying to triangulate between (assumptions I make about the nature of) other people’s Stories so that I can uncover some more of my own.
If any of you have ever read Starhawk’s Truth or Dare – and it has a been a looooong time since I read it – you may remember her concept of The Unbreakable Vow. The terrible bargain we strike with ourselves – and, according to our imaginations, with someone else who generally has no idea we’re doing this but upon-whom we are dependent for life-and-death because: attachment bonds – to give up something, or take on something, in order to maintain access to love-and-belonging and therefore to survival.
 
A lot of my stories – a LOT of my stories – are about dropping everything to take care of other people (Who will SURELY reject/abandon me and Leave Me To Die, Frozen and Alone in the Snow if I fail to do this). BUT… I think there’s a flip-side to it. Something that dovetails with my expectations around “Being taken advantage of” or “being used” but isn’t that.
I told myself a story about my mom. About what I suspect her own Story is. That if someone has to be Helpful in order to be Good AKA Safe-and-Loved (which is definitely one of MY stories, too), then on some level that person needs others – attachment-bound others – to be help-LESS.
And so I asked myself if it was possible that I have made some kind of a deal With Myself, the aforementioned Unbreakable Vow, that says:
In order for ME to be safe – to be loved by my mom, instead of punished by her; to be rewarded by an employer instead of punished by them (or fired or whatever); stuff like that – I must remain on some level both compliant (accepting of someone else’s controlling behavior, direction, demands/requests, etc) AND… kind of… at the mercy of the other party in some way that involves “not being able to succeed by myself”.
Like I think there’s another angle to the “giving up my autonomy” thing that shows up under the heading of Compliance, and I’m wondering if this is it.
So that’s something I’m chewing on right now.
 
I’m reading The Secret of the Shadow which… has both useful information (albeit sometimes hard to parse, particularly when navigating the amount of ableism, fatphobia, whorephobia, and other crap that this book is definitely written with – reader beware) AND has… a lot of stuff that feels like work I’ve already done. Which isn’t to say it’s not work I still need to keep doing – when I’m feeling resentful and frustrated about cleaning my house and telling myself “I can’t do XYZ because someone else hasn’t done QRV yet” I need to catch what I’m doing and say “Okay, but is this really about “can’t” or is this about “annoyed because I have do to QRV as well as XYZ”? Like can you actually, in reality, do the thing, and you’re just pissed off?” Because frequently the answer is Yes.
But it’s not a new concept, if you will.
 
I have to tell you: Shadow Work is hard because It’s Annoying. It’s hard to do by yourself without someone to be like “Have you considered this other angle that is NOT just digging down into stuff you already know?” because it’s harder to catch that when it’s YOU doing it. It’s a bit of a slog – and maybe a LOT of a slog – because it’s hard (for me, at least) to tell when I’m making progress vs when I’m kind of maybe going backwards?
But I’m noticing that my throat chakra talks to me when I’m in my shadow-place.
Situations where I have a heap of shame – like Eight of Swords stuff – or am freaking out about a Thing that’s (probably) connected to my Shadow Beliefs (like a few days ago when I was in a work situation where my brain was screaming “No! Don’t tell Them that I don’t Need them! They’ll punish/abandon me!” about a third-party communication and my larynx swelled right the heck up immediately.
It didn’t calm down until that night, when I did my Moon Salutations while singing and consciously using good vocal technique to do so.
 
I think it’s interesting that I have some sort of built in “shut-up-shut-up-shut-up” THING going on that’s so physical and, in retrospect, so recognizable.
I think it’s interesting that my own body has these ways of talking to the words-using part of my brain, and I’m really glad that I’m starting to understand what I’m saying to myself, and under-which circumstances I find myself saying which things. Learning how to recognize where my fears are flaring up, learning how to Not Hide while that’s happening… it’s A Process, I tell you, but it feels good to be doing.
 
In other news, and for the first time in any sort of official capacity, I’m undertaking an Austerity.
This is a thing that comes up in Ms Sugar’s writing with a fair degree of frequency, and which I consistently dislike. But I’m giving it a shot right now because… why the hell not, basically. There are things I need to do anyway, so why not do them with some magical Intention behind them.
My annual Eat From the Larder Challenge has started early this year, and will be running for about ten weeks rather than about four. It is, as usual, somewhat modified. I can restock on food – milk, eggs, coffee, a few other things – that we go through frequently (in part because this is a LONG version of what I’m used to, and in part because this is MY Austerity, not my wife’s), but only if I pay cash, and there’s a limit to how much I can spend in a given week.
It’s a sacrifice of time and energy and easiness, basically, as coming up with tasty dinners and speedy lunches when I can’t decide to Just Buy Something is… tiring, to say the least.
 
I have bread rising right now. I’ll be making another batch of Hippie Muffins (think: lots of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds plus fruit butter standing in for the majority of the sweetener) later today. I need to put a bowl of chick peas on to soak, and another one of green lentils. I may or may not set up some mung beans to sprout while I’m at it.
I have plans for a lentils-and-kale soup with dried tomatoes and spicy sausages thrown in for this evening (with home-made bread) and for a zucchini-and-tomato bread pudding for tomorrow night. Pan-fried fish with rice (or maybe quinoa) and frozen veggies on Friday.
Which all sounds great (and will be).
AND
I’ve been grateful that my wife has had more than her usual number of evenings out with partners since I started this thing just over ten days ago because it’s meant that I could content myself with tea and toast and/or tinned herring “snacks” (which, ha, I am entirely out of now, and which I’ll likely be kicking myself about for the next eight weeks) rather than having to think of Actual Meals after a day of work. Because – thankfully – I’ve also been getting a fair amount of work (and also a fair amount of social events) in the past two weeks that have had me away from the house, and/or working on paid stuff instead of household stuff (like keeping the kitchen clean-and-functional or taking stock of what I have in the pantry and the freezer to work with), and… I’m getting to the point where that’s not so much of an option anymore.
I can still make tuna sandwiches, provided I’ve made bread recently, but I don’t have a LOT of tinned tuna left, which means making hummus – possibly with some frozen mashed pumpkin thrown in – from scratch so that I can make hummus-and-sour-kraut sandwiches as an alternative to tuna. It means making tasty, protein-heavy muffins from scratch AND watching how much flour I have available. It means recognizing that I have two one-person servings of (different kinds of) noodles left, and considering how many varied dishes I can make with rice, barley, and quinoa.
 
Part of me – the part that wants to cook with butter rather than oil+salt, the part that wants to have a gallon of milk in the fridge AND a pound of butter AND rotini within easy reach AND wine on the table (and, okay, the altar) this Friday – is annoyed with myself for creating “artificial scarcity” in my home, in the name of creating more abundance in the long-run. The rest of me… The rest of me is noticing how readily the paid work is coming in, including bookings from unexpected places, and is taking this as a good omen that suggests my sacrifice is being accepted. And that part wants to see how this all works out.
So we’ll see how it goes.
 
~*~
 

Silicon Dawn - Fortitude (8 of Major Arcana) - A six-armed babe in a body-suit, a striped corset, and a collar chooses to act as a pillar, holding up the ceiling at a kink party.

Silicon Dawn – Fortitude (8 of Major Arcana) – A six-armed babe in a body-suit, a striped corset, and a collar chooses to act as a pillar, holding up the ceiling at a kink party.


 
The card I pulled – from my Silicon Dawn deck – as my tarot card meditation for this waxing moon, is Fortitude. The Strength card.
Strength is my birth card, so it’s always a little bit significant when it pops into my hands at a random cutting of the deck.
In the Osho Zen deck, Strength shows up as the Courage to push through the hard thing and bloom. In the Next World deck, it’s about “accessing your higher self through compassion and listening”. Which are both relevant to my current endeavors.
In the Silicon Dawn deck, it’s also a card that talks about choosing to take on a burden or a difficult thing.
During a period when I’m both choosing to take on the extra work of this Austerity AND digging into the Shadow Beliefs that (in my particular case) have me choosing, on some level, to remain in some specific kinds of bondage? I’d call that relevant to my interests.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Yoga almost (almost) every day. Go me. Six hours of modelling work, yesterday, that involved pushing some limits and discovering that my body is stronger and more flexible than it was the last time I tried poses like that. (Oh, hey! Take note, self! Sometimes you outgrow your own limits without noticing and you don’t find out you’re capable of more until you try! It’s A Sign!) Walking my errands and commutes – although I have taken the bus home from work a few times in the past week, which I think was the right decision. Chipping and chiselling the ice dams away from my steps – we’re going to get a big dump of snow and/or freezing rain in the next few days, but I wanted to use the (unusually) warm weather to help make the impending shoveling easier for myself.
 
Attention: Listening to my body/chakras when it/they/I talk to my word-using brain. Striving to notice when I’m Up In My Narratives so that I can step outside outside of them, little by little, more easily and readily. Also taking note of what I do and don’t have in my pantry to put towards tasty meals. Also keeping track of which Tiny Magical Workings I’m remembering to do / making a point of keeping my commitments to, and which ones get pushed to the side on any given day (and trying not to beat myself up about that, in the noticing, because I built redundancies into this stuff for a reason).
 
Gratitude: For work that pays in cash. For modelling jobs. For a free poetry workshop and an opportunity to perform (open mic) that I actually took instead of bailing (Good Job, Me). For tinned soup and tinned fish and pumpkin-and-sunflower seeds that I can use to make quick, snack-like meals to keep me going when I’m tired, distracted, or prioritizing something else (whether or not that’s a good idea). Grateful for a wife who thinks I’m gorgeous and awesome. Grateful for a girlfriend who listens to me talking about my Shadow Stuff and tells me the Divine things she can see underlying them. Grateful for this blessed day off, almost entirely free of paid-work-commitments, so I can focus on home-work and homework, on writing and self-work and the magic of making food. Grateful for a body that talks to me and and brain that is starting to understand my physical language.
 
Inspiration: The specifics of everyday life, as used pretty directly during last night’s poetry workshop. Tarot Cards (because: always, apparently). My fellow poets and fellow witches. My sweethearts, working hard at what they do.
 
Creation: Three new poems! A bunch of (currently untested, but go with it) non-boozy cocktail recipes. The beginnings of (a) a new porn story, and (b) a possible memoire-related book outline? We’ll see where these ones go.

New Year New You 2018 (2019) – Week Twelve: “Time to Get Back to the Physical Work”

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
 
Instructions: I want you to keep a daily journal. In it, talk about what you’ve done that day to accomplish your goal(s). If you didn’t do something towards your goals, examine your reasons why. Were you really that busy or could you have taken a half hour to work towards your goals? What stopped you from making your goals a priority?
 

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

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


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

COLD – First Week of December

“Unsplash” – Aaron Burden (2017-02-04) – Photo of swirling ice, blue and white as agate, courtesy of Wiki Free Images


 
COLD
It’s not that cold right now. Not by local standards.
There’s snow on the ground (the kind that drifts steadily down, without a driving wind to make it hard to travel through as it falls) that fell this morning, but a lot of water, too. A lot of potential for ice, for wet feet.
The chard is still holding up in the garden – not much, and it’ll be iced over in no time. But it’s there.
That said, the temperature’s dropping, and it’s due to be much, much colder tomorrow.
 
Cold is the temperature that gets into my bones, makes my hips swell up, keeps me up at night.
Cold is also the desensitization to other people’s pain. It’s a numbness that might be self-protective but can just as easily be cruel.
 
This first week of December, with the theme of “cold” in mind, I’m bringing socks – nothing fancy, literally just a bag of crew socks from Giant Tiger – to the drop-in on Bank St. It’s not a lot (it’s never a lot), but I know that socks are one of the most needed, and least donated, things that drop-in centers need once the weather gets cold. So. Socks.
I’m also making up a bunch of, basically, home-made cuppa-soups for a friend. But the timing on that is entirely luck, as she gets out of the hospital this week.
 
The Fool
This is a card of awakening.
I’m in the middle of reading Queer Magic (the one by Lee Harrington and Tai Fenix Kulystin, not the other one) and I’m on the essay “Essay”, which presents a queered year-wheel that follows a process of self-realization, self-actualization, and community-involvement that the author chooses to have begin at Winter Solstice.
With that sitting in the forefront of my mind, I can’t help smiling at the relation this year-wheel bears to the Fool’s Journey and, thence, to this little tarot adventure I’m taking myself on starting, well, a couple of days ago, on December First with The Fool.
What are waking up to? Literally? Figuratively? Personally?
Literally, I’ve been waking up to the smiling face of my lovely wife and, usually, a message from my sweetheart as well. I’ve also been waking up to house-hold chores and, until today, not quite enough time to deal with them.
On a more figurative or personal note, I’m trying to “wake up” to – as in be aware of – both the many good things and people in my life, and the places where I can be more helpful (both in terms of offering support to others, and in terms of making it easier for others to support me by Using My Words and voicing my needs and wants).
What do you want to stay open to, as you walk the last leg of this journey into the dark?
I want to stay open to warmth (ha… see next week), and to my sense of belonging and worthiness. My nearest and dearest have a lot on their plates right now, and a fair number of friends and loved ones have mental health stuff, or trauma stuff, or both that flares up at this time of year. Which, yes, definitely means they need some extra support these days. But it also means that I can start pulling inwards, and telling myself I’m “not allowed” to want attention from my people which – combined with the effect that cold (even more than dark, weirdly) has on my own brain – means I start feeling a bit like The Outsider in the Five of Pentacles, assuming I have to beg for scraps, when, really, if I’d just open my mouth and say something, we could probably do a good job of looking after each other in ways that are mutually beneficial and do us all some good.
 
The Magician
This is a card of action and of awareness of one’s own power.
What comes to mind, right this second, is the question “How have you used your privilege today?” A question that, if you are someone who has some politically-backed social power on any given vector, can maybe make you feel defensive. But all it means is “How have you used your powers for good today?”
How Have You Used Your Powers for Good?
This can be as easy as writing a letter to a politician, as a person with a “white-sounding” last name, to point out that, as a voter, you have a lot of problems with, say, oil pipelines being driven through indigenous territories without their consent. As simple as shoveling the walk for your pal with fibromyalgia or your neighbour who maybe can’t swing the shovel that easily. As quick as donating money when you’ve got some relative, even temporary, economic advantages.
Today, for me, that meant buying socks for strangers because, today, I had some available cash.
Tomorrow, it might mean making casseroles for someone who doesn’t have time to cook but needs to be careful about what and how often they eat, because of medical stuff.
 
The High Priestess
This is a card about potential, about diving deep, about entering into Mystery. It’s a card that, in terms of how my weekly themes are lining up, would be better suited to the darkest part of the dark end of the year, when I deal with Shadow. It’s a card that is often very personal. What are the secrets you’re keeping from yourself? What hidden depths do you need to reveal and recognize? What does your Hidden Self, your Rejected Self, have to say to you when you give it the chance to speak?
Are there parts of yourself that you consistently freeze out? Parts that you need to allow to thaw, even if it’s a scary, vulnerable process to do so?
For a long, looooooooong time, I always assumed that the stuff I kept hidden from myself was Bad Stuff. Stuff that I’d have to struggle to overcome or exorcise. But a year ago, I started wondering about how I (and, y’know, all my trauma babes, frankly) maybe hide stuff from myself about being worthy of “more than a kick and a curse”.
I want to stop digging my heals in, and keep letting myself risk feeling all the positive-but-vulnerable things – all the wanting, all the hope – that I sometimes try to stop myself from feeling.

New Moon (in Scorpio!) – Long Nights Moon Begins

Hey, kittens!
I technically started writing this during the “dark moon” (also in Scorpio) which is a good time to Release Old Habits/Patterns and otherwise let things go that aren’t meant to be or that aren’t serving or helping you to be your best, most you-like self. Which, if you go by the New Moon in Scorpio and #scorpionewmoon searches on twitter, is basically what New Moon (or anything at all, ever) in Scorpio is about anyway. So it works.
At least in theory.
 
How is it working out in practice?
Uh…
>.>
 
Yeah. So here’s a thing. Way early on in Scorpio Season, I said I thought that maybe, possibly, the secret truth that this season was starting to hit me with might actually have been a positive one.
I hope that I’m not just kidding myself about that.
I mean, I keep seeing all this stuff about getting grounded in your body and moving forward from that grounded place, choosing to choose your own growth and unlearning old, no-longer effective, pain responses, shedding our skin and stepping into new potential (PS, there’s a salt-scrub ritual cleansing at that link, glamour-babes), building new worldviews and letting the old ones go, that maybe what we thought was truth was really just assumption (and that link has lists of herbs, stones, and oils that are good to work with at this time, fyi). So, yeah. Maybe the Thing I need to Release and Let Go is the latest layer of “you are unlovable” garbage that’s clogging up my system.
Can’t hurt to try, right?
Right.
 
Which brings me to… look. I see all these folks (primarily on twitter…) doing lunar-phase-based healing rituals (like this series), tarot card meditations, and pretty actively working to rewire their own brains through the kind of witchy channels that let us tell more complex and fluid stories about ourselves than the ones we were handed when we were born.
And I love it.
And I do it… a little bit.
But not in a super regimented or consistent way. I think the closest I’ve got to that was doing my Queen Of Cups project, which included choosing a tarot card for each prompt that I did.
So. I guess I’m wondering: How does one do a meditation? Is it just “Oh, hey, I’m going to think about stuff on a theme?” or is there significantly more to it than that? I guess I’m sort of, like, can I use tarot meditations as a way of doing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and rewiring the pathways in my brain so that I’m better able to recognize my own worthiness, develop better shame-resilience, and from there, become better able to open myself up to good things in my life. (The gratitude section of the MAGIC thing I do at the end of these lunar cycles posts is part of this, btw).
 
On a related note: As-you-know-bob, I’ve been working through Miss Sugar’s Glamour Magic book and… I have no idea if this stuff is working or not?
People are definitely randomly giving me things (like, yesterday, I was gifted four purses and a mug), and I have my suspicions that they are some variation on the theme of Queer – possibly also Invisible Queer, which may be relevant? Or not?
Occasional people are asking to deepen their relationships with me – though this is more “hey, let’s talk shop and get to know each other, near-stranger” rather than “hey, let’s talk shop and ‘get to know each other’ if-you-know-what-I-mean, already-a-friend”.
But I have no idea if I’m getting queer-spotted more frequently, if I’m getting anything like the Family Discount… none of that stuff.
One… interesting… thing that happened was, on a day when I was storming home, utterly furious and very focused about A Thing, a random lady outside the (big, gay) coffee shop told me “you look nice”.
I… don’t know what to make of that.
I mean, I’m fairly confident that she didn’t mean “nice” like “You’re a really sweet person” (which is the impression I’ve consistently made on at least one other person, and which I admit I’ve been cultivating for some time) but… “nice”? I was in full-on Scorpio Vengeance Mode.
…This is that “black swan, let your power show” business, isn’t it?

 
Anyway. I have (alas) a kitchen to clean and (hurrah) hummus and other goodies to make before I head out dancing tonight, so off I go. 🙂
 
~*~
 
Movement: Going dancing this evening! 😀 😀 😀 Hauled 16lbs of groceries home on one shoulder today and probably could have managed another four pounds before things started getting unweildy. (Should have brought a second bag for balance – which would have allowed me to choose the 10lb bag of carrots, oh well – but still!)
 
Attention: The calling of crows. The state of the veggies in my fridge. Whether or not there’s ice on the sidewalks in the mornings. Whether or not there are jobs I can apply for at places I actually want to work (Hint: Yes. Need to get my latest application in). Places and situations where My Stuff is getting in the way or being Part Of The Problem.
 
Gratitude: A hella-full pantry with enough food to share, and enough food to last. Friends who give me presents, bring over apple pie, reality check me, and otherwise make me feel seen and looked after. A wife who misses me. Early-morning cuddles. Time to knit and catch-up with friends. Novels I can re-read again and again. Candle light. The impending visit of my queer aunties + my cousin for the weekend. Hot, running water right out of the tap. Apple pie. Baby queers, and getting to watch them grow into their brilliant selves. ❤
 
Inspiration: Astrology. For real. I’m trying to write poems that touch on what different astrological events (like New Moon in Scorpio) and identities (like “Venus in Sagittarius[1]” or “Mars in Leo[2]”) mean, indicate, or look like under whatever circumstances.
 
Creation: Knit all the things. No, my Safety Shawl isn’t done yet, but all of my various projects are just a little bit further along, so there’s that. I also managed to write another poem, so hurrah!
 

Silver-white sliver of a barely-waxing crescent moon against a dark blue background that may or may not be sky.
Image by Ed Dunens (New Moon) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


 
[1] Prone to long distance relationships. Which… Is, like, the only part of that combination that actually applies to me, even though my Venus is in Sag. o.O
 
[2] Wants to be the best lover, bit of a performer, enjoys Power Dynamics, gets annoyed when people won’t say what they want. Uhm… Hi. >.>

New Year New You 2016: Reflections So Far + Week 10: What Motivates You?

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!
 
Reflection Instructions: “[…]Reflect on the last nine weeks and talk about what you’ve learned” about yourself, your practice, your project, and where you want to be.
+
Week 10 Instructions: Do some navel gazing: What are your reasons for working on your goals? What makes you eager to work on them?
 
I’m combining these two prompts… for no real reason, except that I can? We’ll see if they wind up having common themes or not.
 
Tarot CardS:
Reflection: Ha, I’m half-inclined to suggest the Hanged Man because of it’s “pause” and (in particular) “mirror” or aspects, or even its “seeing things from a new angle” elements. We’ll see if I stick with that, though.
Motivation: Part of me wants to choose The Chariot (AKA: The Archer, Awareness) because it’s very much about “get up / wake up, and go!”, about finding and directing your energy. It’s a card about being motivated in general. But… In reality, a lot of my motivation – for this project, and also in life more broadly – is the 4 of cups + the 6 of cups. Dissatisfaction, self-isolation, the search for self-knowledge, sadness (all Four of Cups traits) combined with the Six of Cups’ yearning for something better, and re/connected to others (sometimes obtainable, sometimes… no so much, but either way)… that’s what tends to push me into action. A sense of “gotta fix this” combined (more frequently) with “I am sick of feeling this way”.
(Heh… actually, the “Turning In” aspect of the Four of Cups would work well for the Reflections part of this post, too…)
 
Anyway.
So, yeah. Via tarot cards, I’ve already talked about what motivates me, but let’s dig into that a little more with specific respect for this NYNY Project.
 
Strictly speaking, I started my Queen of Cups Project because I was sick of feeling miserable all the time and wanted to get better at welcoming good things/people/feelings into my life. All the Brené Brown stuff (that I would end up reading in February 2016) about Preemptive Tragedy and Camping Out in the Swamp of Disappointment? I didn’t have words for it yet, but I knew it was a major problem. So my motivation was definitely about wanting to lift/shake myself out of my perpetual Four of Cups funk.
 
The dirty little secret, though, is that I also started this project because I was afraid my partner would leave me (…and she did) if I didn’t shape up and stop freaking out all the time. Lots and lots of stuff about “Is this in my head? I don’t know what to think” facing off against “This love is dificult, but it’s real…” and not knowing how much of my anxiety and spun-ness was due to my own self-inflicted meta-naratives (meaning stuff I could fix by myself) versus how much of it… wasn’t. A lot of yearing for the loving, second-chance, taking-care-of-each-other energy of the Six of Cups. Not a great reason to start a self-improvement project (although probably not an uncommon one, either).
 
Negative reinforcement can go a long way towards pushing me to do something.
But my other major motivator is success.
 
Which brings me to the “reflection” part of this post.
 
I think it’s going well.
 
I’ve been doing these prompts in order, but I haven’t been pushing myself to do them week-by-week. As such, it’s been a solid six months – rather than 10 weeks – since I started this project. There was a break-up in there, with a bonus sharp reminder that “fixing myself” is only going to work if I’m doing it for my own sake, rather than because I’m doing the desperate worthiness/shame dance and trying to “become someone worth loving” (yeah, I know. I know). But there’s also been time.
 
Listening to all the Slow Down messages I was getting meant giving my magic the chance to actually game the odds with enough time to get a run-up at things. It meant giving myself time enough to learn Handy Truths from Leah Horlick’s and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s poetry, from Brené Brown’s work, from Ms Sugar’s glamour guide blog posts, and from numerous queer, almost exclusively) femme, tarot readers (go give them some love), as well as time to let things fix a bit better in my marrow than they might have if I’d pushed myself to keep to the “Just Keep Pushing” time-frame established by the course. (Which doesn’t mean that the time-frame is bad, just that this is a deeper project than “change where my money comes from” or get this book finished”… or at least it is in my case).
 
Heading into “phase two” of NYNY (prompts 10 – 23), I’m going to keep the pace I’ve set for myself, keep working on glamour and self-glamouring, keep working on tarot, keep working on me and all of my Feeeeelings Stuff. (P.S.: The Help that arrived in Week Nine? I am having a preliminary consultation on Sunday. woohoo!)
 
And,with all that in mind, off we go. 🙂
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.