Tag Archives: tarot

Full Moon – Apple Moon Crests / Autumn Equinox 2021

A close-up of a whole apple pie is overlaid with a line-drawing of a slice of pie on a plate (lower right corner), and the words “Autumn Equinox: Happy Harvest Home” overlays the image in dark brown script.

Full moon is tomorrow, and Autumn Equinox is this coming Wednesday, but this post is going up today. I have my latest batch of Weird Fruit Curd just barely starting its waterbath on the stove. This year it’s a mix of peaches, a lemon a friend left at our place, and a bunch of sea buckthorn berries that I found in the freezer section of the grocery store (they are bitter, not sour, and not citrusy at all BUT they are exactly right for making fruit curd, so I’m going for it).

Some of the fruit curd, when it’s done, is going to be mixed into a soul cake – think cheesecake, but a 2000+ year old recipe – and used for offerings on both my home altar and the Autumn stone I’ll be visiting on Wednesday.

Right now, my altar candles are lit – I just did Ritual with the folks down in DC – and I’ve put a cup of chai with a little milk in it up there as an offering. I’ve been burning Prosperity incense today, because it seemed appropriate for the “I am enough, I have enough” Work that I’m doing this Equinox.

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about a job I applied for, and then took, because it was the only one available at the time, and which I’ve been regretting pretty much ever since, wanting to pull the plug and get out and waffling like heck because – among other reasons – while I don’t need it, and it’s making my life harder from the perspectives of creativity and anxiety, it’s also making my life much, much easier, financially. And that’s one of the factors I’m grappling with as I consider making my exit.

My girlfriend walked me through a somatic meditation the other day – I swear, this is relevant – that asked me to feel in my body the sense of “being cared for”. Not the stories I tell myself about what that does or doesn’t look like, or is/isn’t allowed to look like, but the literal, physical sensation of “being cared for”.

This was actually pretty easy to do. As someone with an anxiety disorder, and attachment anxiety on top of that, but who also has a couple of really solid, secure attachments in her life, the sensation of “when that shuts up and I feel safe” is actually familiar (amazing!) and something I can call up. Warmth, a cessation of the jittery trembling that is part of my baseline most of the time and its replacement with stillness, with calm. My shoulders coming down from my ears. My breath coming more easily, and more deeply, in and out of my lungs. A slowness. A palpable relief.

And that feeling came – not 100% easily, but it came – when I called.

What I wasn’t expecting was what came with it.

What came with it was the sensation/vision of a long, warm, tealight flame glowing steadily in my solar plexus. Golden light. Heat and calm and focus.

Now, you all know that I do a lot of Chakra Stuff. So I knew what I was looking at. The experience was a reminder that resilience isn’t something that is internally generated, that humans are animals whose strength is in community, whose power is in our connections, and our resilience comes from being cared for by others when we need the support, and by caring for other when they need it.

For a long time, my prayer has been “Let me have enough to share”.

And I’m finding that I draw a distinction between “share” and “give away”. Probably this comes from something like having grown up in this culture where we has so much stuff that we not only have more Things than we personally need, but that some of us don’t even know anybody personally who does need them. Where dropping things off at Value Village is less a kindness to someone else and more a way of avoiding putting still-useful things directly into a landfill with your own hands.

For me, “share” means “Clothing Swap” and “Free Box”. It means “Call that friend who sometimes run out of groceries and offer them the extra produce from the CSA”. It means “Community Fridge” and, sometimes, “Buy Nothing Group”. It means giving your extras to people you know – or at least people you might know because you live in the same neighbourhood or at the same intersection of opressions. Sharing is part of the resilience we offer to each other.

To give something away is a different situation. “To share [something]” is to keep it in the family, one way or another. “To give [something] away” is to let it go entirely. To let something move out of your hands, your family, your community and, yes, to be picked up by someone else who will welcome and cherish it but, also, never to return your way.

There’s a Saying that shows up in a lot of “psychology of wealth” self-help books, and in a lot of How To Magic books, too, about manifestation and how you have to shift the old, cluttered, stuff out in order to make room for new, wanted, stuff to come in. It’s one of the reasons why we make sacrifices. It’s why we ritually sain and sweep our houses, too. It’s why we shed our serpent skins to renew ourselves as we grow.

A lot of what stops people – or at least people like me, people who’ve known physical and emotional scarcity for big chunks of their lives – from being able to take the step of shifting the “old stuff” out is that… what if we need that some day? What if we need that [broken bed-frame] [exploitative job] [ill-fitting shirt] [unreliable, entitled ‘friend’] because we don’t have anything else?

So, this Autumn Equinox, this harvest time, I’m praying for Enough not just for us, for now, not just for us to keep and save and seed, not even just enough for us to share. I’m praying for Enough to be able to give things away and still keep me and mine safe and sure.

~*~

Three cards from the Wildwood tarot, laid out on a cedar board: “Healing”, the Seven of Stones (a Greenwoman does energy work on a fallen man in a kilt. They are surrounded by short standing stones). “Home”, the Ten of Stones (Looking through a stone arch, we see a giant roundhouse with a well-established living oak as its center post). “The Ancestor”, the Five of the Major Arcana (A woman with a deer’s head, dressed in Iron Age clothes, stands in the deep snow playing a bodhran. She is flanked by birch trees. A waxing crescent moon hangs in the background).

Given all this talk of resilience and redistribution, I was expecting the Six of Stones to fall out of my deck. Instead, I got the above three cards leaping out of my hands and landing at my feet.

My Wildwood deck is very literal – probably the most literal and here-and-now deck in my collection, none of whom are exactly subtle about a situation – so when I see the Seven of Stones (who was the archetypal energy we invoked at High Summer) – and the Ancestor (Oh, Hai, Samhain) on either side of a card called Home, I can recognize that my deck is saying “Yep! It is, indeed, Autumn Equinox in these parts!” So: Happy Harvest Home to you, too, my beloved kin of blood and spirit. I see you. ❤

And.

Because tarot is a language of metaphor, and there’s usually more than one thing going on in a given reading, I can look at these cards and see:

The seven of stones is an interim report, a check-in card that asks me to see if what I’m actually doing matches what I want and need to be doing. I had to laugh when I looked up “seven of pentacles” and got this very old post from Little Red Tarot, explicitly about leaving a job purely because it wasn’t enjoyable anymore. If only because I’m chewing on pulling that particular pin myself. It’s a card that says, as I once commented to my voice teacher approximately half a lifetime ago, “Freedom is paying your own bills”. It’s a reminder that Autonomy means you have both hard work ahead of you, step-by-step processes to follow if you want to get where you’re aiming and the time you need to rest and get used to this idea of Having Enough and not having to scrabble all the time.

The Hierophant – in this deck, the Ancestor – asks “Are your actions in line with your values?” It asks “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?” It asks me, in light of my payers and goals, How I’m defining “enough”, and how will I be ethical in my use of food, rare earths, potable water, fossil fuels, such that my desire for “enough to give (throw?) away” isn’t wasteful, isn’t theft, isn’t taking food out of someone else’s mouth?

Home – the ten of stones, this card that means material security and secure attachments at the same time – is an end-goal and a leveling-up at the same time. It reminds me that “Magic Happens In My Comfort Zone” (which is an image I saw on instagram, and now can’t find to say where) and that change, creative work, personal growth, and magic happen – sure – at the Resilient Edge of Resistance, but generally NOT when I’m struggling, emotionally activated, and losing sleep over food insecurity. But it also asks me: When you get what you want, what will you want next? It reminds me that Home – my safety, my abundance, my security – is built from mutual care and networks of family, blood and spirit, leather and glitter. Home isn’t “I” – not even for a massive introvert like me – but, rather, it’s something we build together out of all of dreams coming true.~*~

~*~

Movement: Heh. I ran up and down my basement steps 35+ times last weekend (not all in a row, but all in the same afternoon) to make sure I got Exercise. Yesterday, my wife and I went on a long, beautiful ramble along Pinecrest creek. I’d never been up towards its headwaters before, and it is a beautiful stroll under shade and through meadow. We said Hi to some big oak trees – old enough that it would take two tall women like us to stretch our arms all the way around the trunk – trailed our fingers in the creek water, met a lot of willow trees (their roots were trailing in the water, red as paint, it was amazing!) I look forward to doing this again!

Attention: Right this second, while my hands and eyes are working on this post, my nose and the back of my tongue are paying attention to the smell of mini soul cakes – made with the last quarter-cup of fruit curd that didn’t fit in the jars, plus sound ground spicebush berries and a little bit of whisky, plus the usual eggs, cream cheese, and honey – and waiting to take them out of the oven. I’m also paying attention to the torn up sidewalk outside, which is due to be replaced tomorrow. (I need to go out and embed some sigils in the gravel this evening).

Gratitude: Delicious food. BBQ dinner with some of my polycule. That long, glorious walk yesterday. Doing ritual with my far-way folk. Five pay-days this month plus enough cash in my recently-started travel fund that I can pay off my travel ticket fairly quickly, instead of it take 6+ months to do. Sunlight dappling through the cedar fronds outside my window. Being able to vote by mail. Two out of three jobs being jobs I actually love doing. A freezer full of stock bones, cauliflower, and zucchini. Glorious books out from the library (“Robert MacFarlane’s “Underland” is amazing and is, frankly, going to have a permanent place on my Witch Books shelf). A present for our household arriving in the mail. Getting to see my girlfriend soon. A long-over-due date with my wife. I have got SO MANY things to be grateful for!

Inspiration: Those blood-red willow roots! The half-billion-year-old stone plane that the creek runs over – it’s been so dry that a lot of it is exposed. You could have a (very small) dance party on a moonlit floor older than a lot of life on earth! This is the old sea bed that I’ve lived on most of my life. That’s underpinning my house right now. The sea that makes me a sea witch on dry land.

Creation: Soul cakes, fruit curd, the beginnings of potential poems ghosting around the edges of my mind.

New Moon – Long Nights Moon Begins

A lit tealight in a glass holder casting a shadow onto a wooden floor. Courtesy of Wiki Free Images.

A lit tealight in a glass holder casting a shadow onto a wooden floor. Courtesy of Wiki Free Images.

New moon is Monday, or there-about. New beginnings coming my way.

I start a new job on Tuesday. Which brings me to three religious institutions and, technically, four jobs. I’m nervous – not the least of why being that I’m doing in-person training, which is not Ideal under current circumstances – and concerned about my own rather-rusty time-management skills, but I’m looking forward to learning new things and, more to the point, making enough extra money that I might actually accomplish the more physically-obvious goal of my King of Coins project.

So, woohoo, on that front.

Which, PS: Yeah, I’m doing another NYNY project, if you missed that memo. 😉

We’re getting ready for Midwinter here. The temperature has been going up and down – a lot of above-freezing weather, a lot of rain, some snow – but it’s due to drop hard by Monday. I have baking to do, low-budget mead to keep an eye on, and a LOT of cards to get into the mail.

It seems more of a Thing to do cards this year. I like doing them, but I’ve added a lot of people to my list who, in a different year – when we weren’t all Physically Distancing, when I was still down the street from a lot of them – I would have just visited in person or had over to the house. I suspect a lot of them aren’t going to get to their destination until nearly January, but they are something that people can hold in their hands, and that feels important right now.

Two years ago, at this end of the year, I had tonnes of time on my hands. time that I used to do a five part series looking at the “shadow” side of Midwinter through the lens of the major arcana. A year ago, I was two thirds of the way through my Empress Project and had just, just landed a remote desk job (my first of what is now a growing list). I wasn’t blogging nearly as much as I had been the year before. This year, I’m Mostly Working, making bank – thank you ALL the gods – by my slim standards at least, and making a point of coming out of the office in the evenings to spend some time with my wife, because that’s important too. I’m still making time for writing (thank goodness – I’m actively worried that I’ll lose touch with that as my workload increases, but I don’t want to and I need to remember to make time for it in a reliable way).

So. I was talking about the King Of Coins Project. Another year of Radical, Magical Transformation to try and make myself a better, more personally (and cosmically) empowered Self.

3amTarot, over on instagram, did a spread for Doing The Damn Thing. And I gave it a whirl.

While I was shuffling, I thought “I can’t even think what The Damn Thing would be at this point” and, right then, what fell out of my deck but Transformation.

So. Okay.

What I pulled:

A fear or frustration that’s holding me back: The heirophant / No-Thingness

A reminder of a strength or talent I possess: Six of Fire / Success

A good thing that could emerge on the other side: The Page of Air / Mind

My context cards were Postponement (the Four of Air as my summary/advisor), Ordinariness (The Eight of Earth as my Overarching influence), and Beyond Illusion (Judgement/the 20 of the Major Arcana, as my Underlying influence).

So what do I do with this? Am I afraid of my own potential? (…yes?) Might a new way of thinking or understanding be a likely Good Thing from undergoing the kind of transformation that I want to do through this Project? YEAH. Are major breakthroughs (Beyond Illusion) generally a journey of a zillion mundane-seeming steps? Yup. Is it time to Do The Damn Thing and level-up my brain in terms of abundance and various personal/emotional freedoms? Yes, it definitely is. (I’m freaking forty. I’m tired as heck of feeling anxious at the end of the month while working multiple jobs in a multi-income household, and I’m sick of feeling BAD about myself when I don’t know how to shop for my significantly-wealthier-than-me relatives. Time for all this stuff to change).

Am I deeply underwhelmed at the thought of spending the next two weeks slowly-but-surely getting things tidied and cleaned around here? Or having to reign it in with the seriously reckless way I’ve been throwing money at gifts, personal goodies, and fancy food for the past two months? …Also yes. (At least I’ve been paying cash, by and large, rather than adding to my credit card debt, but here we are).

I used a random tarot card generator for my tarot card meditation draw, this time around, and the card I got was The World.

The World - Wooden Tarot - A many-rooted tree with a sphere of water amid its roots and a house cradled in its strong branches

The World – Wooden Tarot – A many-rooted tree with a sphere of water amid its roots and a house cradled in its strong branches

“The World card represents triumph. Everything has come together and you’re now achieving success,” and touches on both remote work (work that you can do anywhere, from any location) and on internal things like being confident and acknowledging your own skills and know-how. It fits well with the elements of the King of Coins that I want to be working with and internalizing/evoking.

And it’s also a really great message to get from The World Herself, tbh, and a lovely reminder to carry with me as I move towards 2021 and start my next year of radical magical transformation.

~*~

Movement: Ha-haaaaaaaaaaaa. I have been keeping up with my Moon Salutations every night, which is a good thing. And getting out for walks in the woods, too. But I need to make a point of dancing up a storm at the next Stay Homo virtual dance party, especially since the impending temperature drop and corresponding icy conditions aren’t exactly going to be making the great outdoors look appealing any time soon.

Attention: TBH, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to my schedule. My to-do-list is now colour-coded to help me keep track of everything. O.O

Gratitude: Grateful for slow mornings and snuggles with my wife. Grateful for weekly dates with my girlfriend. Grateful for jobs where I can be my whole self. Grateful for opportunities to learn new skills that are useful on multiple fronts. Grateful for friends who make me cookies. Grateful for the overflowing larder and the stuffed-to-the-gills freezers that I can now reach into and pull out peppers and broccoli and cauliflower and corn that I put up months ago. Grateful for the neighbour who surprised us with wine and a grocery thank-you card and a note that said “Have a nice dinner on me” (by leaving it on our windowsill, no less) after my wife did a repair job for him. Grateful for coupons turning up in my inbox and books turning up on my doorstep. Grateful for the knowlege that I’m going to be employed past the April 8 end of my mat-leave contract. Grateful for friends in the neighbourhood. Grateful for chickadees and nuthaches and very small woodpeckers who land on my hands and investigate the birdseed I’m offering them because, heaven and earth, they do my heart good!

Inspiration: Approximately a million years ago – aka the beginning of this pandemic – I placed a book order with a local queer-run sex-positive business. It FINALLY arrived (relax – there were a lot of special orders) about a week ago, which means I have a tonne of new books – mostly queer femme poetry, some sexuality and interdependence – to page through when I’m not eye-ball deep in ritual planning, library books, and video editing. But even just scanning the tables of contents is making me excited for poetry again!

Creation: I spent November writing erotic short stories so, while my current Creative endeavors are more “knitting” and “baking” and “making music videos for my job”, I do have a pile of creative out-put that I’ve started editing into shape and sending out on sub. And that feels really good.

Full Moon – Ancestor Moon Crests (Samhain 2020)

My Ancestors - Photo by me.

The “Rogues Gallery” of my family. I very much feel like the Keeper of the Ancestors, in part because I’m the one who wants the hundred-year-old photos. Here they are on my wall.

My CSA wrapped up a week ago. We just turned the furnace on. It’s snowed twice in the past week (it didn’t stay, but still). There’s ice on the puddles in the morning. We are crossing into the cold part of the year.

In related news, I (finally) got the ancestor photos hung up in the hallway. Six months after we moved in, and only barely in time for Samhain.

Tonight, I’m doing Full Moon ritual with my girlfriend’s group via the internet. Sunday, I’m doing Samhain ritual the same way. I’m enjoying this year’s Between The Veils symposium (in bits and pieces, as I can – thank goodness the talks are pre-recorded…) over the whole weekend.

Tomorrow I’m baking pumpkin cake (provided the pumpkin from last Hallowe’en has thawed out completely), and having dinner with My Bubble.

But I’m also doing magic.

Because of course I am.

The full moon is in Taurus and it’s Samhain.

Taurus, as-you-know-bob, is all about Empress Stuff. Venus Stuff. Second Chakra Stuff. It’s creature comforts. It’s sex. It’s security. It’s body pleasure. It’s abundance. It’s knowing what you want and feeling confident articulating it. It’s wealth. And it’s also scarcity and poor boundaries and eating your feelings and avoiding leaving your comfort zone. Venus/Taurus Stuff do have a shadow side, after all.

Samhain, on the other hand, is all about Death Stuff. Pluto Stuff and Scorpio Stuff. Still sex! But also death, discomfort, Shadow Work, the unknown, magic, and mystery. It’s the doorway into Root Time, and it’s technically a harvest festival. But it’s the Last Harvest. As old as herding, and maybe older. So it’s a time of taking stock. For gathering things in as much as for letting things go. And – because of its undeniable links to the slaughter – it’s also a time of sacrifice.

So! What better time to do – or at least formally start – some (more) transformation Work around scarcity/abundance when it comes to Taurus Stuff like sex and money?

This time (ish) last year, I did Big Magic to get a new place to live (got it!) and a variety of other shoaling-related things, some of which have come to fruition (my polycule is happy, I have extra work hours, I got a writing grant) and some of which haven’t yet (still looking for a publisher for my chapbook, for example).

This year, I’m doing something a little less specific for my Scorpio Season magic: I decided that I wanted to use the time to kick off another Radical Magical Transformation Project. The project itself (I have learned) basically needs to have a SMART Goal if it’s going to be really workable. And, tbh, that still needs some thought.

But as far as some broad magic, working in the background to help things along on multiple fronts, goes? Now seems like a good time to get on that.

So I asked myself: What do I want to let go of?

And I asked myself: What do I want to invite?

I want to let go of: Scarcity and Debt.

I want to invite: Sexual and financial abundance and freedom.

And, of course, the question arose – because gods know I like to avoid this one, if it doesn’t get shoved into my head – What are you going to sacrifice to get it?

And, here’s the thing. The thing I have to remind myself of every time I do something like this, so I don’t freak right the fuck out:

As Ms Sugar once said, “You’re sacrificing your clean hair, not your mother”.

A sacrifice is supposed to take effort. It’s supposed to be challenging and kind of inconvenient or unpleasant. But it’s not supposed to render you nonfunctional, and it’s not supposed to hurt somebody else[1]. I’ve done blood offerings – which may or may not count as a sacrifice given the fairly small amount of blood involved – but I’ve also done sacrifices of things like money and time.

If I wanted to make a sacrifice towards housing security, and I didn’t typically cook from scratch, a sacrifice to that end might be something like “no more take-out meals for a month” and putting some time and effort into making meals at home. But, for someone like me who cooks a LOT, but doesn’t have a tonne of cash lying around, a more appropriate sacrifice might be… banking my pocket change instead of getting chocolate bars, and putting that money towards repairing my small appliances or reupholstering my couch (investing in my home, regardless of which building my home is in).

To this end, I have planned out a month-long “sacrifice” of sorts. It’s kind of like an austerity, though I’m not sure that’s the right word. It’s definitely a Challenge. The idea is to push myself out of my comfort zone (and out of my excuse-making, self-doubting “Fear Zone”, too), give myself a “bigger than me” reason to stop scrolling all the time, and hopefully re-hone some neglected creative muscles, all in service of helping me achieve my “background goals”.

The things I’m sacrificing, more than anything, are “free time” and “emotional comfort”, and the disciplines it’ll require are (1) actually finishing shit on a self-imposed deadline, and (2) time management on days when I have a lot of paid work to get done too.

My hope is that my Godself will pick up all the energy and dedication that I’m putting down (even if it feels really grudging and like I’m pulling my own teeth out to make it happen) and use it to bring about (or help bring about) Results on the fronts of what I’m trying to let go of, and what I’m trying to bring in.

So… Why am I telling you this, friends?

Because if I Tell The Internet, it will be one less reason to balk and not bother.

That’s why.

I need all the accountability I can get.

A grand cross spread using the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, with four bonus cards

A grand cross spread using the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, with four bonus cards

On a possibly related note. I did this tarot reading in the context of the King of Coins and my planned Samhain self-work ritual.

Beyond recognizing that “Wow, that’s a lot of reversed cards” – because, obviously, it self-work. It’s going to be about my relationship with myself – the things that jumped out at me were:

My jumper card, the Six of Swords, is a “Journey” card that has a lot of ties to Death – as in change, as in inner transformation – and my jumper card relates to my “Summary Trio” (the Advisor + Overarching and Underlying Themes cards) which basically say “You gotta let go of this resentment and your weird burden complex. You have to focus and stop weaseling out of things. You have ask “Why not me?” and step into your damn power”. Which, itself, very-much fits with my “fears” card – the Vulture Mother being very much this deck’s image of my “Scorpio Self”, my most empowered self (that kind of scares me, that I’m still afraid won’t be liked or will be inappropriately mean, and that has explicit connections to sex and kink).

Mary El Tarot - Queen of Wands, Ace of Swords

Mary El Tarot – Queen of Wands (a nude, fat, heavy-breasted person in a horned headdress, cradling a baby tiger), Ace of Swords (An anthopomorphic eagle with the alchemical symbol for air carved on their chest)

It also <*cough*> hits a lot of the same notes as the cards I pulled for my Tarot Card Meditation.

Which is to say: “Cut the BS. You know what you want. Go do it”.

I love it when they’re specific, but it’s not always comfortable, you know? Especially not when I’m sitting here, eating crackers for dinner and avoiding the dishes. Especially not when I’m insisting to myself “You’ve promised to buckle down and Do The Thing on Sunday, and for the next 30 days there-after. Take the leisure time while you’ve got iiiiit”.

And yet. Here it is. I know what I want (to invite, to release). I made a decision as to what I’m willing to provide, as an energy source for related magical workings. So it’s time for me to have some follow through.

Wish me luck and devotion.

~*~

Movement: Moon salutations every night. Going for lots of walks, some through the local bird sanctuary with my wife, some by myself (picking up library books, dropping off Trick Or Treat goodie bags to friends and relatives in the neighbourhood).

Attention: TBH? Watching my behaviour patterns. Noticing where (and when) I need to be more disciplined with myself about follow-through or self-starting and trying to sort out some strategies to make those things easier to do.

Gratitude: Thankful for scrap yarn mitts and a warm coat that used to be my Dad’s. Thankful for a ritual group (even though it’s far away). Thankful for partners who love me. Thankful for big hugs and long-distance kisses. Thankful for quiet days. Thankful for extra billable hours. Thankful for tasty scones. Thankful for Samhain dinner invitations. Thankful for cooking skills. Thankful for central heating. Thankful for chickadees eating bird seed out of my palm. Thankful for meeting a wild turkey in the woods (who didn’t run away!) Thankful for friends to talk shop with. Thankful for my People.

Inspiration: The chipmunk who lives under my compost bin, and the spider who lives above it. My fantasy life. The #Novemberotic writing prompts series on instagram (it’s for poetry, but you could use it for prose too).

Creation: Have started knitting a new shrug, made myself a pair of fingerless mitts using scrap yarn, started the (easy) edits on my Femme Glosas manuscript, wrote five new, short poems at a workshop (they are not all great, but some of them were at least good immediately out of the egg), have started – but not finished (yet) – a couple of porn stories.

~*~

Cheers,

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Or at least it’s not required to. I know some people who are totally comfortable offing a wasp or a mouse or a fertilized egg and using that life energy as a power source for a spell. But I’m not, so here we are. Choose your own adventure.

New Moon – Apple Moon Begins (and Waxes)

Ripening Apple - Photo by Ruth Hartnup via Wiki Free Images - A green apple, ripening towards red, hangs from its stem amid green leaves.

Ripening Apple – Photo by Ruth Hartnup via Wiki Free Images – A green apple, ripening towards red, hangs from its stem amid green leaves.


My altars are lit – after weeks of not making offerings in this way – and I need to make another batch or two of candles before the day is out.
There are big, dark clouds hanging low over the neighbourhood, promising more rain. My zucchini are loving it, and I’m appreciating the break in the heat.
Mr and Mrs Cardinal came by yesterday evening, along with a chickadee or two, to see if we’d left more birdseed on the window sill. We had a Palliated woodpecker stop by, and a young (and very hot – the cicadas were going hard, so you can imagine the temperature) stop by in the cedar tree for a moment in the shade and/or a moment of investigating our Cockatiel (and our plastic model crow) on the other side of the glass.
We introduced ourselves to our across-the-street neighbour, who – appropriately for the beginning of Apple Moon – invited us to harvest his apples and pears for making cider in a few weeks, so I’m excited about that.
 
It’s New Moon in Leo (or was, close to a week ago) and – go figure – I’m diving back into shadow work. Leo Season is basically Ego Season, after all, and while it can be a very King Of Wands time (and, yes, I’ve pitched myself for an expanded job description with one of my current clients AND participated in an open mic at a recent online poetry show), it can also be a point where our assumptions about Being Right need to maybe get questioned and challenged.
I’ve been Getting Messages – mostly, though not entirely, in the form of wasps and hornets landing on me, walking on me, accidentally coming into the house, and, in one case, getting trapped under my skirt, freaking out, and stinging me (can’t say I blame them) – about my own tendency towards getting venomous when freaked out about something, and I think I need to do some Work around that.
 
On a related (sort of?) note, I’m… having The Feels around hanging out with my Fetch. She’s a good kid. And I’m also like “Crap, what the heck to do with an athletic teenager??”
I pulled a card today, basically asking my Fetch “What would you like to do” and the card I got was “The World” which, in the Osho Zen deck, is depicted as a jigsaw puzzle. So I took her literally and found a website where I could do a bunch of digital jigsaw puzzles for free, and we/I did puzzles for a little while.
We’ll see if this sort of thing works in future, but I figured it was worth a shot.
 
I did a “New Moon in Leo” tarot spread, using the same deck, and what I got was:
A Place to Innovate: The Fool, Upright (The 9 of Earth Upright)
A Chance to Boost Confidence: The Emperor, Reversed (The Queen of Fire, Reversed)
A Way to Show Yourself Love: The Sun, Reversed (The 3 of Earth, Reversed)

(The cards listed in brackets are ones I pulled just to get extra information about each item)
 
What I get from this is:
A Place to Innovate: Literally ANYwhere. Just start something. “To Innovate” just means “to change up an established pattern”. Based on the “more info please” card, I could potentially read this as “Change up how you… [Rely on only yourself] / [Exercise Self-Control] / [Achieve a comfortable lifestyle]” which… hey. I said I was doing shadow work around exactly this stuff, so at least it’s confirming that I need to change up some stuff in this area.
 
A Chance to Boost Confidence: Look. Blame it on reading The Killer Wore Leather, but I almost want to read this as having something to do with dominance and my D/s relationships. The Emperor being all about Being The Boss and the Queen of Fire – in addition to being energetic, confident, dedicated, and having great sex appeal – is my personal mental idea of what an authentic, dominant femme can be (as opposed to, say, the Lord Domly Dom stereotype that I associate with the King of Air).
 
A Way to Show Yourself Love: This, at least, was easy to interpret: Acknowledge your skills and stop downplaying your contributions to things.
 
~*~
 
Flowering - Queen of Earth, Osho Zen Tarot - a woman with black and white hair, wearing a green dress and a flower crown, sits, cross-legged on a floating pink lotus. A full moon(?) rises behind her.

Flowering – Queen of Earth, Osho Zen Tarot – a woman with black and white hair, wearing a green dress and a flower crown, sits, cross-legged on a floating pink lotus. A full moon(?) rises behind her.


 
The card I drew for my Tarot Card Meditation was the Queen of Earth.
This is interesting because of how much King of Earth stuff has been showing up lately, and because of the “Place to Innovate” portion of the above tarot reading.
In some ways, at least, I believe I’m already the Queen of Earth. Note, I said “believe”. There are 100% Shadow Things in there that belie the ways in-which I’m not. I know I’m resourceful and generous, nurturing and thrifty, and I have a tonne of home-making skills – all of which are Queen of Earth Things. BUT I also deeply want to be taken care of, to not have to be thrifty and resourceful specifically because someone else is looking after that stuff for me.
So that’s something that I want to explore a little more.
 
Similarly, I find myself looking at the ways in-which the Queen and the King of this suit differ. I’m particularly thinking of how Michelle Tea (in her book, Modern Tarot) talks about them. She describes the Queen as someone who keeps her life simple and who can recognize that she’s rich in friends and skills, even if she’s not necessarily rich in cash. Whereas she describes the King as someone who’s comfortable accepting a good wage, spending money on things they value, and being rich in cash as well as friends and skills (which, itself, feels very connected to the “Know Your Worth” of Leo Season, as discussed by Liz Worth, linked above). And I find the difference she depicts – or maybe, tellingly, that I interpret from her words – shows me the various gulfs I need to bridge if I want to level myself up out of what feels a lot like a “four of pentacles” funk.
 
So, as I dig into my Suit of Pentacles / First-and-Second-Chakra shadow points, I’ll be keeping these things in mind.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon Salutations every night. Going for frequent walks with my wife in the evening. Occasional pushing of the tiny sail boat down to the river and back (with help, obvs). This is probably not enough movement, but it’s what I’m doing.
 
Attention: I’m paying attention to the globe zucchinis growing in my front yard. Paying attention to my compost heap, and hoping it will cook quickly and well. Getting to know my neighbours (slowly but surely). Paying attention to the weather, the humidity, the movement of the wind. Paying attention to the different birds and little critters and plants and bugs who share my yard with me.
 
Gratitude: Blueberry ice cream. Backyard BBQs. Friends who live nearby. Home-grown zucchini. Long talks with my girlfriend. Money with-which to buy 1/4 of a pig for the freezer. Reading aloud to my partners. A zillion library books (Gideon the Ninth is so good, you guys). Snuggles with my wife. Shadow-related break-throughs. Our CSA box. A freezer full of vegetables. Hard conversations (I may not like having them, but I’m grateful that they’re at least possible). Being able to drink tea with my mom and have it feel comfortable and easy. Poetry.
 
Inspiration: As is frequently the case, other femme poets + tarot cards. But, on top of that: Kinky books. My recently-deceased colleague. Bats in the park. The river. The Leonids meteor shower.
 
Creation: While I feel a little bit behind, in terms of my poetry project, I have reached the point of having (technically) enough glosas to make a full-sized manuscript. Which I think is a pretty big deal. There’s still a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m feeling confident and proud of myself for making it this far.

New Moon – Flower Moon Begins

Siberian Squill Flowers - Tiny, blue lilies that are among the first flowers to bloom in my area - Image courtesy of Wiki Media Commons and Rosendahl

Siberian Squill Flowers – Tiny, blue lilies that are among the first flowers to bloom in my area – Image courtesy of Wiki Media Commons and Rosendahl


 
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.
 

Wildwood Tarot – Six of Stones “Exploitation” – Two figures surrounded by torn open bee hives, while wild fire rages in the distance.


 
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.

Asking the Earth What She Needs

The Empress - Mary El Tarot - A red-haired person in a long green dress, with a baby tied to their back, stands under a mature tree, holding a basket of fruit

The Empress – Mary El Tarot – A red-haired person in a long green dress, with a baby tied to their back, stands under a mature tree, holding a basket of fruit


 
Maybe it’s not surprising the I pulled The Empress today.
I went out in the garden to chuck a basket of toilet paper tubes into the compost, and to take pictures of the fever few – which is growing already – and the day-lilies coming up in the alley, and I sang to the misty air and the ground as I was out and about.
And I saw that the rhubarb – which I’m used to seeing a week or two from now – has already started crowning. Small enough that it probably came up with the sunrise just today. The sorrel – AKA sourdock – is just, just starting to create leaves, too, still red from their first unfurling. In the not too distant future there will, I hope, be crow garlic sprouts and dandelions coming up.
My neighbour, whose mom is an avid, and very skilled, gardener, comments that everything is coming back again.
Hallelujah.
My Lady who is the land beneath my feet is awake, awake again.
My Lady who is every green and growing thing is stretching her arms and her face towards the sun.
Hallelujah.
 
Right now, I’m burning a cone of dragon’s blood incense on my altar. I’m doing that because I don’t actually have incense charcoal and the dried mugwort I tried to use burned a liiittle too enthusiastically and turned to ash before I could even say what the offering was for.
So. Dragon’s Blood it is.
I’m adding my tiny offering to a nation-wide call for ones like it: For talking to gods and ancestors and asking that indigenous communities be protected from COVID19 through physical things like provision of actual clean drinking water right out of the tap. (Which, yes, I’m also continuing to bug my MP and the prime minister about this, because it’s an ongoing problem). Feel free to join in. If you’re like me, and are a white person, some herbs you might consider using (if you can manage to get them to light, um) are: juniper, mugwort, rosemary, lavender, mullien, mint, birch bark, thyme, and pine needles.
 
I read Liz Worth’s recent post about prophetic dreams, which talks about offerings, about letting go, and I could help thinking of my own post from five months back asking “Have I Done Right By You?”
Maybe it’s not surprising that I pulled The Empress today.
 
What is the New Normal that I’m hoping for?
I want income supports to STAY available for all (and, like, ACTUALLY for all, not just if you’ve made at least $5000 at some sort of declarable job over the past year), and for it to be $2000/month, and for it to be No Questions Asked.
I want crude oil to stay so cheap it becomes a visibly bad investment for people who only judge “bad investment” by how much money they stand to lose.
I want remote work to stay the expectation, because 200,000 cars NOT on the local road, most of the time, would do the air quality in my city (and especially right here, by the highway) a lot of good, and because it’ll mean people with disabilities and chemical sensitivities will have a much easier time getting well-paid work if from-home is a standard and expectable option.
I want clean, potable water, to come out of the tap in every house on every Reserve. (We still don’t have that – go bug your MP about it).
I want stuff like AirBnB to basically be out of business and the market to suddenly have a LOT more housing availability and a LOT more housing aforadability. (I would like to know more about housing co-ops, btw).
I want Actually Helping Each Other Out – like “I’m going to the store, do you need anything” – to be something we ask out neighbours.
I want remote access and online stuff – like concerts and meditation classes and conferences – to be a thing that sticks around.
I want train tickets to be cheap as hell so that inter-city travel, once it’s a thing again, can be affordable without it having to happen on an airplane.
I want strategic downtown streets to be closed to cars so that pedestrians can maintain appropriate social distance and, when we don’t have to do that anymore, I want those streets to stay pedestrians-only or, since they’d likely be residential streets, “residential traffic accepted” at worst.
 

Temperance, The Page of Swords, The Three of Pentacles, and The Six of Wands – Mary El Deck


 
I did a reading, as I sometimes do, shuffling my deck and checking in with the ground, taking the jumpers for answers.
Here’s what I got:
 
Anything you want? – Temperance
I mean, I suppose this is obvious. Balance. Taking care with my actions. Spring Equinox, for that matter. Oliver Pickle, in She Is Sitting in the Night refers to this card as one that “calls for self-control, not through socially internalized suppression and compartmentalization, but through appropriate and thoughtful responses to all situations. It asks for compromise, harmony, and moderation”. So, yes. That.
 
Anything you need? – The Page of Swords
She’s nothing if not literal. The Page of Swords is – according to the Wildwood tarot – situated as Spring Equinox starts moving towards Beltane. So right where we are now. She needs to do what she needs to do, moving towards that fullness, that leafing and growing, that’s already started and can’t, won’t be stopped. More metaphorically this is a card about diligence, determination, and doing the Work. This, too, is the crowning of all that new life. The rhubarb and the crow garlic, the day lilies and the tulips, pushing their spears through the topsoil. The leaves unfurling on the sorrel, the ferevew few, the creeping charlie, the grass. All of it. But it’s also me, paying attention, tending to the soil. It’s my wife turning the compost. It’s bread and milk offerings and remembering to water the plants.
 
Anything else you want me to know? – The Three of Pentacles with a side order of The Six of Wands
Teamwork, co-conspiring, getting creative with what you’ve got, working together, putting your labour towards something meaningful… with a side order of the warmth of generosity.
Work together. With Her, with each other, and there will be more than enough for all.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Tarot Reading for Spring Equinox 2020

Happy Spring Equinox?
I’m enjoying watching the backyard wildlife doing their thing in the great outdoors, but I’m avoiding going outside these days, just like the rest of you.
I’ve got a (tiny) tincture of juniper and rosehips started in the cupboard and am really, REALLY glad I chopped and froze some raw ginger root much, much earlier this past winter. I have vinegar in a spritzy bottle for Cleaning All The Surfaces. I have a lot of made-it-yesterday yoghurt in my fridge, and two weeks (if I make it stretch) of milk in there, too.
Which is a good thing, because our social distancing practices are getting heavier. My wife, bless her, risked going to the laundromat to do laundry earlier today. So we have clean socks and clean linens for the next few weeks, too, which is a relief, but I’m glad she was alone in the laundromat.
 
I’ve been cleaning things, washing dishes, sweeping up, and having random short bursts of anxiety-crying (just me? Okay). And doing a Spring Equinox tarot reading, like you do.
 
You guys.
Um. It was surprisingly positive?
Which is something, at least?
 
~*~
 

 
Situation: The Eight of Fire
Rise for the higher cause, be your best self, work for mutual aid (Next World). The warmth of shared generosity and the celebration of endurance and survival (Wildwood). This is a card of action. A card of getting results. A card of doing the hard thing even though you’re so, so tired.
 
Crossed By: The World
Look, tbh, I’m inclined to take this one literally? Let’s take this one literally. (Although I will point out that this card is associated with coming together, getting involved, and also with counting your blessings, so there’s that, too).
 
Past: The Lovers
This is one of the cards in this reading that I wasn’t sure how to interpret. One of the less obvious meanings of it has to do with determining your values – being true to yourself, questioning what you’ve been taught, finding out what you really care about. In the context of this reading, and in this position, I’m inclined to read it that way.
 
Future: The Knight of Air
This card can mean impromptu generosity (She is Sitting in the Night), and rash, damn-the-consequences decisions. It can mean transformative rage (Next World). It’s a card of decisiveness, sometimes of heroism.
When I first looked at it, especially with a name like “The Escape Plan” and especially across from The Lovers, as it is in this reading, all I could think was “But I don’t want to run away. I don’t want to abandon my loves”.
But I don’t think that’s what it means.
I think it’s calling on me – maybe on all of us – to act decisively based on those values we’ve already figured out we have.
 
Visible Influences: The Queen of Water
Love. Kindness. Patience. Receptivity. Empathy. Grace in the face of stress. Joy in the face of fear.
 
Hidden Influences: The Queen of Air
Facing up to what’s really going on. Boundaries and honesty. But also grief, scarcity, and change.
 
 

 
Subjective / Up Close View: The Nine of Earth
This is a card about self-sufficiency. But it carries with it a recognition of community support. “We have enough to look after ourselves” but also “We have enough to share” AND “We have people who will help US if we need it”. This is a card that says “feel good about what you have”, that recognizes the sanctuary you’ve made for yourself, and that calls you to be generous where you can.
 
Objective / Broader View: The Knight of Water
Open-hearted and creative. I almost want to read this as “be aware of the parts of this situation that aren’t all doom, gloom, and survival”. Reach out to the people you care about. Listen to each other. Share things emotionally. Make art. Make connection. Make ritual. Make magic. Make something beautiful and true even when everything’s falling apart.
 
 

 
Hopes/Fears: Judgement (Reversed)
This is one of the few places where I read a Reversed card as meaning something specific. Upright, in this position, means “hope”. But Reversed? What am I afraid of?
Oh, y’know. Everything.
I’m afraid of discovering I’m Actually A Bad Person.
That, when it comes to making hard choices, I’ll desperately long for the easy road.
This is a card about seeing through the illusions/lies/BS. About being the thing that’s burning, letting go of all the old habits, coping mechanisms, expectations, assumptions and then moving forward.
I’m afraid of the burning, and I’m afraid of what comes after.
 
Outcome: Ace of Air
Wanting what’s fair. Doing what’s right. Resolving the situation. Overcoming adversity.
 
 

 
Guidance/Context Card: Ten of Earth
Over-Arching Themes: Three of Earth
Underlying Themes: Ace of Fire

As I’ve gotten more practice at reading this stuff, I’ve realized that – for me, at least – these three cards together tend to provide a TL;DR of the whole spread.
This is about safety, security, and HOME.
Work together. (Learn how to rest, not how to quit). Every contribution matters, every contribution counts.
Be prepared to learn new skills, adapt to a changing environment, and focus on the task at hand. Make it happen. This is the beginning of something new.

New Moon – Harvest Moon Begins (and Grows) – Season of the Witch

“Winter Squash” – Photo by Sheila Sund, via Wiki Media Commons. Three winter squash – butternut, sweet dumpling, and buttercup – are to the left of the image, dramatically lit from the right, on an otherwise bare surface, against a black backdrop.


 
The mornings are down in the single digits these days, and the nights are hovering around freezing. The back yard is full of blooming New England asters (the purple kind) and, while nothing’s been knocked down by frost just yet (to my surprise), I know it’s coming. We turned the furnace on today and have extra blankets on the bed.
Autumn is so very, very here.
 
We’re slipping towards Root Time pretty quickly now. The leaves are turning. I have bunches of mugwort, yellow mustard (seed pods, in the latter case), sage, and thyme hanging in the kitchen to finish drying. We opened a bottle of Sortilege (a month earlier than I would have, if I hadn’t hidden said bottle away late last April), and I made an offering with the first glass of it to kick off the Season of the Witch.
It’s getting towards introspection season – although, realistically, that’s all year long if you’re me – and, like a lot of people, I’ve got a lot of stuff on my mind.
 
I went to the Climate Justice Rally the other day – and felt less useless for having gone, I have to admit, though I wasn’t expecting that. I keep looking at my somewhat feral yard, where – when we moved in, five years ago (just about exactly), I had hoped to plant a riot of winter squash, rather like the ones displayed in the photo at the top of this post, along with lots of perennial fruits and herbs.
I keep looking at it and wondering “Have I done right by you?”
 
Because, as I keep lamenting, I’m not doing very well at this vegetable gardening thing.
But my yard is a tiny ecosystem. Squirrels and rats (alas), a skunk and a rabbit, a family of raccoons, a semi-feral cat, and a lot of starlings and sparrows (and the odd bluebird, crow, cardinal) have our yard as part of their territory. The back patio is under-pinned (or destabilized, maybe) by a few different kinds of ants. There are spiders, wasps (parasitic and otherwise), two kinds of solitary bee, a few different kinds of butterfly, centipedes, pill bugs, ladybugs, slugs (alas) and snails, and earthworms the thickness of my finger. Between what I grow on purpose, what my neighbour grows on purpose, and what I just allow to grow wild, as it will, we’ve got about half the number of unique plant species that one would find in a healthy tall grass prairie represented and thriving between the front and the back yards of our little row of townhouses. And that’s something I’m proud of.
“Have I done right by you?”
 
The ground is so literal.
I like to think that the offerings of home-made beeswax candles, fresh bread and (not home-made) butter, maple whiskey, and sometimes other tasty things, are appreciated and enjoyed. (Certainly the squirrels like the bread, if that’s any indication).
But I kind of suspect that the compost heap, with its regular additions of coffee grounds, toilet paper tubes, stewed bones, vegetable peelings, and human hair, is more helpful (and more wanted) in the long run. That thinning the Himalayan Balsam so that the Crane’s Bill and Turtlehead had room to grow, but leaving enough of it for the bees to visit, and sowing white clover and wildflower seeds (after thinning out the grass, golden rod, and dog-strangling-vine), probably matter more to my Lady of Earth and my Lady of the Meadow than whether or not I managed to cultivate a lot of winter squash in any given year, even when my Lady of the Meadow is also the winter squash and the raspberries (which consistently refuse to fruit, even now).
“Have I done right by you?”
 
It’s harvest time. The squirrels have already dug up (and gnawed upon) the narcissus bulbs given to us by a friend. The two pounds of carrots I brought home from the grocery store a week or two ago are waterlogged and not doing so well, and I’m having The Feels about food waste. Again. The dill seed heads I harvested went moldy (because I didn’t dry them well enough and didn’t store them right). I still haven’t harvested crab apples, even though I walked by a tree loaded with them twice this past week. I feel wasteful rather than abundant.
“Have I done right by you?”
 
I shuffle the deck by my computer – the Next World, which isn’t the deck I’d usually use for this. The Chariot falls out. The Three of Cups almost jumps with it. I shuffle and shuffle. Look longingly at the Three of Cups, Nine of Cups, now layered one on top of the other at the very bottom of my deck. Pull a card off the top and it’s The Sun.
I want to take that as a Yes.
I want this to be true:
 

 
One of the other reasons why I was asking if I’ve done right by the land I live on is that we found out, just about a month ago, that the building we live in has been put up for sale.
It’s terrifying.
Not least of why being that we’re barely able to cover the bills we have now, and housing – across the city, not just in the neighbourhood we’ve lived in for over a decade and want to stay in – is running $400-$700 more expensive per month than we can handle.
I think about moving, and I just get a tight chest, churning stomach, racing thoughts, and nothing actually useful done. I sob my eyes out thinking that we’ll be this house’s last family and that life is going to stay (financially) hard for the foreseeable.
It’s awful.
I’ve been looking for an anchor income for a while now, but I’m kind upping the search because, if we’re going to afford to live, well, anywhere by the time this unusually-affordable rental house is yanked out from under us, I’m going to need to be SURE that I can show up with at least $800/month to put towards housing and utilities.
 
Sometimes I think that planning to move in the spring is putting the cart before the horse. We have to be able to afford to move before we can actually do so. (At least… I hope that’s how it works out). TBH, I’ve spent a lot of the past four weeks – when I’m not job-hunting or canning or cleaning or writing poetry or doing paid work – wondering how to get myself focused enough to determine What I Really Want, specifically so that I can work some magic towards those ends.
A lot of the past year has been working on the “art” and “sex” elements of my Empress Project. But the Empress, as much as she is VERY MUCH about creativity and sensuality, is also about abundance and stability and I think I need to spend some time (energy, attention, Work) leaning into those aspects.
I wonder to myself what I can offer in exchange for help getting the kind of moderately flexible, very-part-time office/remote-assistant job I’m looking for and what, should I actually secure said job, I can offer on top of that (or after that) to secure the kind of living space we want (2 bedrooms, laundry on site, no pests, ideally with gardening space and a big kitchen, pets A-okay), in any of the neighbourhoods we want, at a price we can afford long-term even if the rent goes up every year.
I keep thinking of Ms Sugar’s long-ago Thoughts on Blood As A Sometimes Food.
I keep thinking of… I think it’s T. Thorn Coyle’s book Sigil Magic where she talks about how doing ritual isn’t the same as doing magic any more than emoting or obsessing about something is the same as working your Will. I keep thinking about how I rarely have any idea if what I’m doing is actually going to get off the ground, let alone get results, let alone-alone get the kind of results I actually want.
Which, like, doesn’t help me actually have the confidence to try spellworking for this stuff, you know?
 
Regardless – and I will surely come back to the above more than once over the coming winter – in my most recent fit of “I don’t know what to dooooooooooo!!!” I did what I tend to do in times of trouble and uncertainty, and started pulling tarot cards.
(Basically, I don’t necessarily even shuffle anything, I just grab the deck and split it at random points).
This is the spread I used.
 
What do I need to think about: The Chariot
What do I need to do: The Eight of Cups
What is my challenge: The Knight of Pentacles
What is my secret weapon: The Four of Wands

 
I tend to read The Chariot as “get up / wake up, and go”. A card about taking action. And it is. But it’s very specifically a card about working one’s will to achieve one’s goals. It’s a card about doing, sure. But it’s also a card about doing magic.
 
The Eight of Cups is typically a card of “mourn and move on”. It’s a card that touches on burnout and anxiety, for sure. And one that suggests leaning into spiritual growth and personal truth, as well. But it’s most often (for me, at least) a card about grieving and letting go, about tying up loose ends and walking away.
 
The Knight of Earth (I can find a picture of the Next World Tarot’s take on the Knight of Pentacles, but there are lots of options out there) is a solid character. But, in the position of a “challenge”, their slow-and-steady nature turns to “afraid to take risks” or “pessimistic” or “keeps themself (too) small”.
 
As for the Four of Wands, for me, it’s always been a card about Community. Participation. Joyful interaction. Strengthening the web of relationships that one is part of. It’s also, however, a card that feels, one the one hand, like the opposite of the Knight of Pentacles’ more challenging aspects – “looking forward expectantly”, “letting go of limitations”, and “opening to new possibilities” – while, on the other, being almost the flip-side of the coin to the Eight of Cups – “getting out of an oppressive situation”, “reflecting on accomplishments”, and “breaking free of bonds”. There’s also an aspect of this card that pertains to taking part in a ritual or rite, although I tend to think that’s more about things like weddings or milestone birthdays (like my upcoming 40th, ye gods…) than, like, solo magical workings in my bathtub. None the less. >.>
 
What do I need to think about: Taking action physically and magically.
What do I need to do: Mourn the (impending, as-yet-unscheduled) loss of this house, and move on (literally as well as figuratively).
What is my challenge: Doing the leg work without getting frozen into inaction due to fear and risk-aversion. Not losing sight of the good stuff over the horizon just because things feel (VERY) precarious right now. Avoiding despair while job- and neighbourhood- hunting in late-stage capitalism and an increasingly expensive city.
What is my secret weapon: My people. My hope. My resistance.
 
I want to keep these cards – these four, and The Sun – in mind as my tarot card meditaiton during this waxing moon. To get’er done without losing sight of my worth and without giving up my arts-oriented work (modeling as a career, and poetry as an a/vocation). To keep making art and magic, possibly in combination. To remember that I’m not entirely powerless. To accept the joy when it comes.
 
~*~
Movement: Not nearly enough. Short, dynamic poses during modeling gigs. Walking all over the place. But that’s about it. I think there needs to be more dancing in my life.
 
Attention: Unsurprisingly? Sniffing around as to what housing costs in which neighbourhoods in town. Keeping an eye on the job boards. Watching the garden for the inevitable frost that will knock a lot of it down (at which-point, it’s clean-up time).
 
Gratitude: Thankful, however ruefully, for the neighbours and friends who brought up having seen the listing for our building on the national real estate website, and for the landlords for not denying it when we brought it up. For library books. For quiet evenings in. For a furnace that works. For clean water that comes right out of the tap. For the tool library. For friends who check in. For slow mornings with my wife. For my girlfriend’s impending (mere days away!) visit. For the upcoming weekend-long kink convention we’ll be attending. For hand-me-down clothes that fit and look good on me. For kindness. For hope.
 
Inspiration: Ongoing climate disaster and housing insecurity, because it’s an ill wind, apparently. :-\ Outside of that, Mabon and related seasonal changes and astrological events, plus the poets of Hustling Verse and also those in my extended circle of queer, polyamourous chosen families. It’s a good place to be.
 
Creation: I wrote two new glosas! I wrote them yesterday! I’m so excited! 😀 😀 😀 I really hope I can keep this up! 😀 Fingers crossed!

Full Moon – Thunder Moon Waxes and Crests

Thick, purple thunder clouds over a probably city-scape that has been largely cropped out of the frame. Photo by “Rubbish Computer” via Wiki Free Images.


 
Berry Moon has come and gone – my freezer has a big bag of service berries and a smaller bag of red currants to show for it – and it was very hot and very dry. My garden staggered by on 14 gallons of water roughly every other day, but I’m sure it’s as relieved as I am to be getting heavier waterings than my watering can and I have been providing.
Thunder Moon started a little over 10 days ago (at the time of this writing), in Leo, just before Lammas, and right around when I was getting home and settled after a week-long visit to my girlfriend’s place and the last of Mercury Retrograde kicking my ass on the way home. It’ll be full, in Aquarius, later this week, but I’ve got some time, so I’m doing the scribbling now.
 
You guys, my squash are not doing so well.
Technically, I’m not sure ANYTHING is doing well – my chard is okay, and my two tomato plants are doing their thing, but they’re giving me maybe 2-3 cherry tomatoes per day, put together, which is… not a lot. My beans have started flowering, and they look like they’re doing just fine. But the cilantro and dill have gone to seed (fine – I’ll use the coriander and the dill seed just as happily) and the basil and anise hyssop are… struggling. The ground cherries kind of just aren’t. And the squirrels ate about 1/5 of my one and only pumpkin and seem to be going after any fertilized squash bebes they can get their hands on.
Anyway.
I’m kind of like “Fuck it. The clover I sow won’t germinate. I dig a heap of manure compost into the ground and plant a compost-loving-plant like squash in it and… not a whole lot happens. Like, yes, I totally let the ground cover cover the ground. It’s what it’s for. But is it actually that bad? Is the apple mint a problem? Because it’s supposed to deter squash bugs but didn’t deter them much (the bottom of my shoe, however…) and maybe they are crowding the squash? Should I just yank out the smallest of them and give the rest some extra room?
Maybe?
So that might be a thing that I do with the squash, in the hopes of having the remaining ones get bigger and start producing Actual Food.
Beyond that? Beyond that, I have a basket of zucchini on my counter, half-of-which will go into my freezer, and plans to do similar with as many peppers, nectarines, and roma tomatoes as I can swing. Sweet peppers and greens, too.
Also, I’m starting to watch the apples and crab apples that grow near my laundromat and on my way to various libraries, because they’re ripe or ripening and, while I have a LOT of apple butter still lying around after last year’s bonanza, I’m pretty much not someone who say No to free food, so I will probably at least make some pies, you know?
 
I’ve been reading T. Thorn Coyle’s Sigil Magic and, in line with that, have been asking myself “What do I want???”
Those three question marks are intentional.
Sometimes “what I want” is simple, if not necessarily easy. I want my old, kind of broken, computer to keep working for another few years. Or I want the shredded comfrey leaves with-which I mulched my squash and beans, to translate into a lot of squash and beans for my kitchen (I think I need a lot more comfrey, and a couple of years of adding this kind of mulch frequently and regularly, to really get that, though). Or I want a machine that will wash three racks of dishes all at the same time, just by turning a dial and pressing a button. Easy. Specific.
And sometimes they’re not that.
Sometimes “what I want” is nebulous and fearful and teary and basically boils down to “I want this not to be happening. Please make this not be happening”. And I don’t even know what to do about those. The things I can do to mitigate them, I do, but most of what I can do is so negligible they seem utterly useless, utterly hopeless.
And sometimes they’re not that, either.
Sometimes they’re big – no less specific for being big, but big none the less – and require a lot of trust and a willingness to let a lot of it be out of my own hands as to whether or not I get what I hope for. Sometimes I feel guilty for wanting these things. Not because they’re “bad” or even “selfish”, necessarily. But because they’re just so substantial.
Sometimes I’m afraid to look at them. Mostly, I think, because I’m afraid if I make some kind of definitive statement about “This is what I want. I want XYZ”… and then I’m wrong…
And, yeah… Like, I just had to literally ask myself “Okay, so… what’s the problem? You want a thing, you try it, and it doesn’t fit as well as you thought, and…?” and the answer is some wordless jumble of “sunk costs” and “wasting other people’s time/energy/patience” wherein “other people” includes both human being who share my life with me and also various deities who showed up and helped with the opening of doors and so-on.
…Which is maybe a silly thing to feel?
 
Chani’s horoscope (for Scorpio) for the recent New Moon says:

With this new moon, I know that good things flow towards me all the time, but it’s my job to remember to flow with them. To prepare a space for them to land. Take root. Grow tall and wide.
I am an excited host for the arrival of all blessings. I know that nothing squashes good fortune like an expectation of what it should look, be, or act like. I remind myself that cosmic gifts come it all kinds of bizarre forms. The more I trust what shows up, the more I am able to work with it for as long as it is with me.

 

Osho Zen Tarot - Playfulness (the Page of Fire) - A joyful clown dances in a cloud of sparkles.

Osho Zen Tarot – Playfulness (the Page of Fire) – A joyful clown dances in a cloud of sparkles.


 
Osho Zen Tarot - Awareness (the Chariot) - A silhouette on a veil is burned through by the cold blue fire of enlightenment, a bodhisattva emerges.

Osho Zen Tarot – Awareness (the Chariot) – A silhouette on a veil is burned through by the cold blue fire of enlightenment, a bodhisattva emerges.


 
Following that, I pulled two cards (from my Osho Zen deck) for this upcoming Full Moon’s tarot card meditation: Playfulness (the Page of Fire, upright) and Awareness (the Chariot, reversed).
I can’t help but boil them down to “Be open to play, to trying new things just to try them. Send the shambling zombies of your poetry off into submission land and then forget about them. Scribble porn just to remember that you can, in fact, write porn. Proposition your sweeties as though you were doing pick-up play at a party. Don’t take everything so seriously because it’s not all life and death… and also, be ready for the ride when it comes, because it’s going to come and it’s going to come from inside”.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon Salutations on the dock of a metamour’s cottage + climbing those 69 steps up and down repeatedly over last weekend. Walking to and from my week-long temp job. Walking all over DC’s downtown checking out galleries and museums with my girlfriend + dancing in her back yard. Hauling home 30+ lbs of groceries before the cottage trip. Taking a long, rambling walk to, and then through, the Experimental Farm and then circling back via the arboretum. Sex that, while wonderful, also reminded me just how little stamina I actually have.
Nothing super heavy, but lots of good moving around.
 
Attention: Listening to The Shondes (uplifting tunes for the win!), trying to identify trees in on the Experimental Farm and in the Arboretum.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for being able to pay for plane tickets to DC twice a year. For a long, easy date with my wife, yesterday. For grilled cheese sandwiches. For cherry tomatoes off the vine. For unexpected temples and magical group rituals (uh… more on those later). For full-day modeling gigs. For thunder storms that rattle the windows. For a break in the heat. For breezy sunshine. For dinner with my sister and drinks with my brother-in-law in the same week, even though they both live out west. For sex. For poly-family photos and vacations.
 
Inspiration: Brian Eno’ and Peter Schmidt’s “Oblique Strategies” deck, as performed by this random prompt provider website. I like “remember those quiet evenings” and “a line has two sides”, so far, and find “Once the search is in progress, something will be found” to be kind of comforting, tbh.
 
Creation: Remarkably little, but I did write a scrap of something that might turn into A Real Poem.

New Moon – Honey/Rose Moon Begins

“Honey bee approaching a dandelion” – photo by Kreuzschnabel via Wiki Free Images – A hhoney bee, dusted with pollen, approaches a dandelion blossom.


 
Technically there are three harvest-times for honey – in Ontario, anyway. The first is happening right about now. (The second, for those who are wondering, happens around Lammas – for darker honey from goldenrod and fruit blossoms – and the third happens just before Samhain and is when you harvest honey from late-blooming asters and stuff like buckwheat). So I’m calling this the “honey moon”, even though the roses have – just barely – started blooming in the neihbourhood and should be busting out all over the place before Summer Solstice hits.
 
My land-lady’s husband came by this morning and mowed the “lawn” – which, alas, included the tops of most of my yellow seed-mustard plants AND the tops of 2/3 of my ground cherries. I need to put in some kind of a fence or something so that (a) the ground ivy can’t get in and do it’s job (preventing soil erosion) while also disguising my food plants as a weedy patch, and also (b) so that my food plants are properly fenced off from the dandelions and ground ivy that cover the rest of the yard and, ideally, protected by said fence from the whipper snipper.
I’m not hugely worried – it’s early yet – but I would like it if I actually got some fruit off the ground cherries…
 
There are some significant changes happening on the home-front right now. My lovely wife has moved into a new shop space (above ground, and considerably less expensive) which is taking a lot of pressure off me, money-wise (thank you, all the gods) and I’m looking at taking a step further along one of my many career paths, and have an interview to that end coming up next week. It may or may not get me anywhere, but it’s worth a shot and I think it could be good for me in more ways than one.
 
Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - Maya, Queen of Fire, White Galaxy Rose, Queen of Earth

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – Maya, Queen of Fire, White Galaxy Rose, Queen of Earth.


With all this in mind, I decided to do Liz Worth’s suggested tarot spread for folks wanting to connect with the Gemini New Moon:
1. What am I learning at this time?
2. What am I teaching at this time?
3. What am I overthinking at this time?
4. What am I becoming at this time?
 
As is my somewhat lazy tendency, I didn’t so much shuffle the deck as cut it at random to get my first three cards. My fourth card is a jumper which… that’s a nice card to have jump out of the deck at you, I don’t mind saying.
 
What am I learning at this time: Maya / 8½ – one of the Silicon Dawn’s “bonus” cards, and all I could think when I saw it was “Accurate…” Maya is a dominant babe with a couple of submissive playmates, which… . Described as the child of the High Priestess and the Devil, Maya is your own wildness, your willingness to prioritize your own pleasure over whatever Shoulds are squirreling around in your head, your willingness to go on an adventure, your sense of play. It’s an explicitly sexual card that asks you specifically to loosen up in order to get what you want. This is very-much in line with what I’m doing, both in terms of glamoury and in terms of my Empress and Notice Pleasure projects.
 
What am I teaching at this time: Ace of Fire – I… am not sure what to make of this. Like, it’s a wonderful card to pull. Very driven. Very passionate. It’s a card about spiritual growth (believe it or not) and energetic potential. It’s a card about cultivating confidence, optimism, and curiosity. It’s about daring to take risks, expressing yourself, and inspiring others. Egypt Urnash’s own write-up for this card asks “How do you want to transform yourself today” and its explicitly femme rendering of a dancer in the flames, of the destruction that precedes rebirth, reminds me a LOT of the Judgement card from the Mary El deck, of “YOU are the thing that’s burning”. In-so-far as I’m trying to re-learn how to burn, how to literally run energy through my body the way I used to do without even knowing I was doing it, how to re-program the energetic pathways in my own brain, I’m also trying to teach myself to do this. But am I teaching this stuff to anyone else? Kids, I have no idea.
 
What am I overthinking at this time: White Galaxy Rose – This is another one of the “bonus” cards in the Silicon Dawn deck. I tend to think of these cards – the black and the white galaxy roses – as being Maya’s two playmates. I also tend to think of them as two ways of looking at infinite potential (and, as such, they’re linked to the Ace of Fire, above, and also to the Magician card). The black rose, I tend to understand as “the beginning of everything”, whereas the white one? It’s very “I have no idea what’s going to happen next. It could be anything”. There’s a certain amount of “flying – or maybe creating the cosmos – by the seat of your pants”. That said, thanks to the power of search engines, I found Egypt Urnash’s old LJ, of all things, and she had this to say:

For me, they mostly seem to come up if I’m asking the deck a yes/no question. The black one is NO, the white one is YES. More precisely the black one seems to be DUDE NO, JUST NO, WHY ARE YOU EVEN ASKING ME THIS, YOU TOTALLY KNOW IT’S A NO, and the white one is WELL DUH YES? WHY DID YOU EVEN THINK IT MIGHT BE OTHERWISE?

So… I’m overthinking my YES?
That’s… not unlikely, actually. I do that a lot. Second-guessing myself, questioning if I really want what I want… okay, cards. Duly noted. Will try to be like September and say YES more often.
 
What am I becoming at this time: Queen of Earth – This was the card that jumped out of the deck. Solid, sure of herself, openhearted, “fecund and generous” as Egypt Urnash describes her. She has lots of resources (social connections, financial means, a full larder and a spare bedroom) at her disposal, and is materially & financially secure enough both to share, and revel in, her own abundance. Trustworthy, caring, warm, and reliable, she’s also able to both make good decisions from a place of surety and security (rather than scarcity) and to luxuriate in creature comforts. She heralds abundance and joy. Ye sweet, beloved gods, YES. This is what I want to be becoming.
 
~*~
 

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - Three of Fire (Inward-Facing)

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn – Three of Fire (Inward-Facing) – Two kiddos under a tree, watching the lights.


 
So! If I take all of the above, how does it relate to the card I drew (same method) for my tarot card meditation? The card I drew was the Three of Fire which, in the Silicon Dawn deck is the three of pentacles, which she calls “Creation” and describes like this:
 

“Will is in harmony with the world. Here is what you can make, if you dare. All of this is yours. […] Our creation is done; now is the time for you to go play in it.”
[…] Spring comes to all of that vastness at once, and here it is – flowers blossom, bees buzz, and it’s time to get started doing something. So: Go make something to equal the artifact you live in. Dream big and get started.

 
Well. Spring it is, and that couldn’t be clearer.
Wish me luck.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Moon Salutations. Lots of walking. A certain amount of desk-dancing while I write this, wich plans to go Actual Dancing this Saturday night.
 
Attention: Watching this chest congestion like a hawk, because I do NOT want to get sick (at least not for another week – at which point I’ll have the better part of ten days to get myself healthy again, and I’ll deal if that happens). How I catch myself and pull back in situations where I’m about to make a connection (with another person, human or otherwise)… it’s… something to think about, notice, and probably one of the many instances where I’m pulling back from a YES that I do, actually, want to offer. So… Thinky-thinky.
 
Gratitude: A writing date with a friend. My wife’s new shop space and the financial flexibility that’ll give us. My upcoming interview. Continued modeling work. A garden that’s full of radish and mustard greens and, incidentally, a tonne of ground ivy that I can steep into a tea to combat bronchitis. The smell of crab apple and lilac blossoms in the air. Time to take good care of myself when I’m feeling under the weather. Running into a friend while doing groceries. Flirty interactions with my sweethearts. A wife and a girlfriend who love me.
 
Inspiration: Pulling tarot cards for poetry inspo. Listening to my girlfriend’s stories about her religious experiences as I reach out to my own gods.
 
Creation: Most recently? Two (very long) poems, that need whittling down, but are a good place to start.