Tag Archives: wheel of the year

Full Moon – Ice Moon Crests (Blue Moon, Super Moon, Lunar Eclipse)

Image from BBC Science (Sky Watch). Full moon turning red during a lunar eclipse.

Image from BBC Science (Sky Watch). Full moon turning red during a lunar eclipse.

Whelp. The sidewalks are covered ice. Crusty, uneven ice. Super-sheer black ice. All kinds of ice.
And now the ice is being covered by snow.
I am very, very happy to be staying indoors today.
It is, of course, the day of the second full moon in January. It’s a blue moon! It’s also a super moon! It’s also a lunar eclipse (that, apparently, won’t be visible from my area, but that doesn’t matter when we’re doing lunar magic! Pro tip).
According to Liz Worth, “full moons bring things full circle and lunar eclipses awaken new things within us”. Because this full-moon/eclipse is tied to the eclipse that (apparently? I totally don’t remember) happened in August of 2016, she suggests looking at where you were then and what’s come to fruition since.
So I did.
I hunted up my August 2016 full moon post and read it over and… I’m still here. Yes, the poetry manuscript I was working on then has been put on hold while I edit my third chapbook and get my Femme Glosa Project manuscript finished, but I’m still writing Feelings Poetry[1]. I’m still working my way into embodying my Whale Heart – a metaphor I developed during the life coaching sessions I’d only just started in August of 2016 – and am I’m lacto-fermenting things on the regular, which is a skill I’d just picked up when I wrote that 2016 post.
But what jumps out at me is just how demoralized I felt at that time. How deep in grief I was on a bunch of fronts, and how unworthy and unloveable I felt. How stuck.
And I don’t feel like that right now.
Like, yes, I have plenty of lousy days where I’m stressed and sad and jittery and can’t name why. I just about cried in the LCBO yesterday because I wanted to get a bottle of wine to make dinner Special and Fancy and it hit me just how much my wine selection was governed by the question “Does this cost less than $10?”[2] I still chase my own tail when it comes to both looking for dates and looking for work. But I don’t feel worthless and pointless the way I did a year and a half ago, and that is a big relief.
Sarah Gottesdiener, over at Little Red Tarot, says:

The shadow of the Earth moving across the screen of the Moon highlights our own shadows more starkly. This can be a messenger bringing deeply needed endings. […] If it is time to break patterns around self-hatred and self-loathing, or other emotional stickiness, this is the Blue Moon to do it. If it is time for you to shine in brighter ways than ever before, put your focus there.

Which fits.
It’s weird (maybe not particularly surprising though), that I keep thinking “Oh, hey, if I just do a healing ritual during this [cosmic planetary event] and if I do it right, I’ll be FIXED!”
Which I know is ridiculous.
Healing works in spirals.
And magic builds in thin, thin layers.
Willpower Fatigue, like decision fatigue, is a real thing and trying to draw yourself a road-map of a place you’ve never been and can’t even imagine in more than the vaguest detail is hard, to say the least.
Which I suppose brings me to:
Tarot Meditation Card: Knight of Pentacles “The Methodical Approach”.
The Knight of Pentacles is slow-and-steady, methodical, quite different from the madly-off-in-goal-all-directions drive of most of the knights. Where the knight of swords has her earrings off and her fists up at the first hint of injustice, the knight of cups ( Oh, hai…) will offer you everything with her heart carved into her arm, and the knight of wands is charming, cocky, and dares to act without necessarily thinking things through… the knight of pentacles puts one foot in front of the other and moves carefully but consistently towards her goal… when she’s not getting caught up in risk-aversion and self-sabotage.
It’s a card that I associate with my wife, who’s a “measure twice, cut once” kind of woman, steady and reliable, albeit a bit of a workaholic (welcome to running your own business…).
And, sure, this card might be a heads up to give my girl some extra attention, focus on our relationship, make sure we do something fun together.
But I draw these cards to ask what I need to pay attention to inside myself, and the notes this card is pinging for me right now are:
Keep at it, keep doing the thing, slow-and-steady gets it done.
Be realistic. That is NOT the same thing as listening to your jerk-brain!
Be patient, be generous, be kind. (This fits really well with the Leo Full Moon’s push for me (us) to be “big-hearted and bold”, so that might be The Thing for this card, right now).
“What are the things that you want in your life, and how are you going to achieve them? And are you being true to yourself while doing so?”
Movement: I hurt. So while I’m doing my usual movement stuff – modeling work, walking places – I’m sore a lot and it’s not a good time.
Attention: I have been diving into Seanan McGuire novellas of late, and they are lovely. Painful. But lovely.
Gratitude: A friend bought me an instant pot. For real. Experiments in yoghurt-making will ensue. I got to meet an adorable young queer and have a conversation about kink community while volunteering at a local fix-it event. I am probably able to pay the heating bill! I have a friend from out of province coming to visit for a week. I got to make out with my wife. ❤ My life is pretty good. 😉
Inspiration: The work of other (mostly) femme poets. The chapbook (see below) is inspired by moon-centered and moon-adjacent poetry found on my queer-poets book shelf.
Creation: I’ve written a LOT of poetry in the past two weeks. A chapbook worth of poetry plus a re-write of a five-poem cycle (originally an attempt at a ghazal, but it works better as something else). I’ve also sent submissions out to three magazines which, while not “creation”, is tangentially related and relevant to this as far as I’m concerned.
Meliad, the Birch Maiden.
[1] This is not a problem. I write about relationships and feelings. I can handle this. 😉
[2] It’s not that you can’t get Nice Wine for cheap. It’s that if what I want is “something that makes me feel fancy and special” and, through circumstances and habit as much as anything, what I end up getting is “something that makes me feel broke and embarrassed” instead? I’m probably kind of undermining my own ends here. Long story short, I bought the wine that cost (slightly) more than $10. I had some Feelings about it, and it’s fine.


New Moon – Ice Moon Begins

Last Friday I got to watch the temperature plummet from a distressingly high and seasonally bizarre +12C to something closer to -19C (which kept right on falling. It’s only “warmed up” back to -19ish today). I’m just glad things dropped fast enough that the pouring rain turned to ice pellets before it hit (and therefore froze to) the ground.
Ice Moon indeed. O.O

“Winter in Parry Sound B” (Photo by Jennifer Aitkens via Wikimedia Commons).
Thick, heavy layers of icicles formed on a rock cut outside Parry Sound, Ontario. Snow in the foreground.

Liz Worth reminds us that:

New moons are invitations, times to set intentions, to focus on moving forward, to take a step towards a new reality.

She says that, because this is the first New Moon of the calendar year, it’s a good time for big-picture stuff, and asks people to think about where they would like to be by the time December 2018 rolls around. Maybe it’s that Earthy Capricorn Energy, or maybe it’s the “EEEEEK it’s the middle of the month and next month’s rent is not yet in the bank!!!” scramble, but my Very Immediate Answer was “Financially Stable and also Published Multiple Times in Various Places”.
Both Liz and The Hoodwitch point out that Earthy Capricorn is an extra-excellent time for “planting seeds” and intention-setting, for focusing on, and inviting in, what you Really Really Want. A good time to do workings for stability stuff, money stuff, abundance stuff, and career stuff. But also for security stuff. Worthiness stuff.
…Basically all the STUFF that I, personally, have a heck of a time with.
A case in point:
When I pulled my Meditation Tarot Card, what I drew was the Page of Swords.
In the Next World deck, whence I drew this card, it’s called “The Home of Action” and features a young person slicing through a chain-link fence. Decisive. Sure in their rightness, even as they’re looking for something.
In the Collective Tarot, this card is the Seeker of Feathers: watchful, eyes on the sky. In the Slow Holler deck, it’s the Student of Knives, and our page is taking a good, long look in the mirror. In the Osho Zen deck, it looks like this:

Osho Zen Trot – Page of Clouds (air): “Mind”.
A portrait of a person whose distressed eyes and stress-set mouth are fixed in a mess of over-worked gears, smoke stacks jut from their head, pumping out exhaust. Their neck and shoulders are fractured 2x4s, suggesting boarded up buildings, abandoned factories and homes.

This is so very much the card of “overthinking it”, which I tend to do.
Except when it’s the home of making a damn decision.
Given my Two of Swords card, which I pulled on New Year’s, I’m inclined to read this as a little bit of both. “Don’t over think it, just make a move”.
What am I doing?
I’m currently going through my backlog of poetry (like upwards of ten years of poetry) deciding what stuff I’m up for sending out and trying to get published. I have specific magazines that I’m targeting, and each of them has a theme they’re working with for the issue I’m submitting to.
There is a liiiiiittle bit of over-thinking going on? But not a lot. It’s more “Are these specific poems (a) good enough, and (b) on theme enough for them to be READY to send out”. But I seem to be avoiding most of the angsty “What if they’re (meaning “I’m”) not good enough????” stuff that I tend to hampster-wheel on, so at least there’s that.
Hoodwitch says to dream big, and carry those dreams with you as you do the work of feeding them.
Time to do some more writer magic. 🙂
Movement: Walking to modeling gigs, shoveling snow. (I finally did the back walk today, since it warmed up enough to do it). I think I need to do more (or any) lifting, since I get out of breath when doing shoveling short-burst shift-and-haul stuff in a way that I don’t when I’m doing low-impact, long-duration stuff (whether that’s carrying 20lbs of groceries home on a half-hour walk, or going dancing for a couple of hours). Not sure how much of that is holding my breath while I shovel, though. Not sure why I do that, but it’s definitely a thing that I’ve noticed.
Attention: The baby queers who take the art classes I model for. ❤
Gratitude: Getting paid. Friends who hire me. Ancestors who look out for me in really concrete ways. Encouragement. A wife who likes to hang out with me. A tiny bird who likes to hang out with me, too. Modeling work that is fulfilling and makes me happy. Friends who want to spend time with me. People who trust me with their mailing addresses. Wine and cookies and a roast with my wife. Friends from out of town who make a point of staying in touch. Sunshine sparkling on snow. Butter and cheese both being on sale. Knowing how to spin and bead and otherwise make pretty things from hella scratch. My wife’s laugh that she shares with me. ❤
Inspiration: Crows. Magic. The contents of my herbs-and-spices cupboard. The phases of the Moon.
Creation: Very little right now. I’m working on edits rather than writing new stuff this week. However I do foresee some hand-spinning (with a drop spindle) in the very near future. 😉

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Moon – Snow Moon Waxes (Winter Solstice)

Happy (belated) Winter Solstice to you all. 🙂

A stack of eleven beeswax tealights, with one tealight lit and burning in the foreground (in a small dark green and gold-flecked holder).

A stack of eleven beeswax tealights, with one tealight lit and burning in the foreground (in a small dark green and gold-flecked holder).

Tonight, I am drinking left-over red wine and snacking on cookies – rather than doing something sensible like eating left-over pâté on crackers or otherwise diving into something that contains actual protein. My lovely wife (we celebrated five years of marriage on Winter Solstice, btw) is spending the night with her partner and I’m, uh, procrastinating… after spending a day fixing security problems on various social media accounts. FML. At least things seem to be sorted out now, which is a relief.
New Moon was a solid week ago. If I were to look out the window, I’d see her – almost half-full and almost half-way up the sky – right now. Only a few days ago she was a hooked crescent, hidden by cloud banks, following the sun towards the western horizon while snow slowly piled up on the steps and I lit candles and poured offering libations inside my cozy house. We started our annual party an hour later than usual (and on the Friday, rather than on Solstice Proper, because it’s hard to get people to come out for a late night when they need to get up for work the next morning) and… it helped. Everything was out and ready (and tidy) with enough time to spare – whether because I gave myself that extra hour, or because a friend came early to help set up… thanks Mercury-Stationing-Direct for that stroke of luck – that I actually had a chance to throw on a nice dress and some party shoes before people started piling through the door.
It was so good to have a house full of people again!
It’s not that I forget. It’s that the amount of prep that goes into officially Hosting a thing leaves me wondering how much clean-up I can reasonably handle – both before and after the fact. But having people over makes me happy, it stirs up the energy (and forces me to vacuum, which ALSO stirs up the energy, and helps it cycle through rather than stagnating), makes me smile, and helps me bring my Queen of Wands side – the fabulous femme hostess with the mostess – to the fore. I need to make time for more of this in my life.
On the glamour front, I’m working at presenting myself a little harder. I’ve talked about using pinterest to show myself what “glamourous” looks like to me, and it’s… a lot of viking/”viking” warrior women, witchy moon goths, queer pin-up babes, sleek film-noir/office-domme outfits, iron-age and early medieval English & Scottish queens, Russian fairy tale pics, and pop-apocalypse/neolithic “shaman” type imagery. Which you’d think would be difficult to boil down into one cohesive whole.
At least I thought it would be.
But the thin line of makeup that follows the curve of a pop-apocalyptic warrior’s cheekbones and spans the bridge of her nose? Is the same line taken by the pin-up librarian’s rhinestone cat-eye glasses or my own oversized witchy-rocker shades. The rockabilly femme in the vintage-style mermaid skirt wears hair flowers that echo the flower crown of the Ukrainian fairy-tale character and the ATS bellydancer’s head piece. The glittering haute couture kokoshnik and the Queen Mum’s tiara are also the spiked hairband worn by the nu goth princess, the Rosy The Riveter kerchief, the band of the hand-knit toque I wear every winter day I leave the house. The mermaid’s tail is the leather scales down one arm of the contemporary turtleneck and the lace-pattern on the hand-knit wiggle sweater. The heavy woolen Ruana of iron age Scotland is the elegant shawl (and the chunky infinity scarf) of today. The Neolithic skin dress of a reconstructed Magdalenian Woman is the fur collar on a film-noir-inspired leather trench, the fox-pelt draped around the shoulders of a forest fairy, the stole – from my great-grandfather – that my grandmother passed on in her nineties. The horns on the forest elf are the ornaments crowning the neolithic regalia, are the chunky, multi-point antler hair sticks in the contemporary updo.
The shapes are becoming clearer, and it’s something I’m mindful of when I put my every-day clothes on.
Whether it’s doing anything to make me shinier in the eyes of anyone (or Anyone) who happens to see me… that remains to be seen. But this is still a thing.
Tarot Card Meditation:
I’ve heard (recently, though I can’t remember where… sorry) that New Moons are good for magic and intention-setting and Full Moons are good for healing work and deep-diving. On that note, as the new moon waxes towards full, the card I drew for my meditation is:

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn
Nine of Cups
A woman is stripy fetish gear takes a selfie. Nine cups are arrayed around her.
The is the “Wishes Coming True” card, and I kind of love it. 😉

This is… relevant on more than just a “what do you wish for”/”what makes you truly happy” level, given what I spent a chunk of my morning getting re-set-up to do, but it also ties into my own questions about what makes me happy, what internalized Stuff do I need to free myself from in order to get the sex life (which, for me is SO tied to my heart and my relationships and all those watery cups subjects) I want.
Capricorn Season is all about showing up and doing the work (to quote the Hoodwitch). Chani tells me to fill my days with rituals that help me break bad habits (Scorpio) but also reminds my Rising sign (Gemini) to be mindful of the energetic exchanges (such as flirting, first impression, and interpersonal collaborations, all-of-which which your rising sign handles) and to figure out what you actually need, want, and have to offer in those situations. She tells my Moon (Cancer… to the surprise of absolutely nobody) that “love needs a home” – which, duh, got me all weepy, because: yeah – and that for the next three years Saturn-in-Capricorn is going to show me what I need to build and be honest about in order to make that home, with all its many chambers, a real one with solid foundations.
I think the nine of cups ties into this one hard.
Help me to know what I want.
Help me to acknowledge what I want.
Help me to seek what I want.
Help me to invite it in.
I need to bake a couple of pies and finish a sewing project so… no more procrastinating for me.
Happy Solstice all.

Movement: All I want to do is sleep. So not a tonne of movement going on, and what IS going on has resulted in my left hip swelling to twice its usual size. (It came back down again, but… Winter + long walks + carrying heavy loads in an unbalanced way + even the tiniest of high heels… did not do me any good in recent history. So I’m being careful with myself while I have the option).
Attention: Right at the moment? Chani’s pointed reminder to pay attention to how I spend my time.
Gratitude: Five years of marriage with my lovely wife. Polyamoury that works, even if it’s always going to be a learning process. Generous friends who bring us fancy food, who help me get things set up for company coming over. Company coming over and filling my house with warmth, light, and laughter. Sweet young folks who trust me. Extra garden space to look forward to this coming summer (maybe, possibly). Warm blankets. Sewing skills. Lazy days. Helpful tech support staff who are working on xmas eve and still willing to go the extra mile to help me out. Perfect clear nights that aren’t too cold. The chance to stroll home, looking at pretty lights, with my wife. ❤
Inspiration: Easy but fancy-looking up-dos. Moonlight. Iron-age fashion. Winter fairy tales. The hearth inside my heart and how I want to bring it into the solid world around me.
Creation: A lot of sewing, some knitting. Not a whole lot of anything else. Poetry is having a break until January while I spend some time with my wife (who is officially on vacation as of last Friday).

Full Moon – Long Nights Moon Crests (Season of the Hag)

A full moon rising huge over tufts of dry grasses poking through the drifts.

A full moon rising huge over tufts of dry grasses poking through the drifts.
Photo by John Fowler, courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

Yesterday was the full moon. I went outside and sang to her a bit. Such a clear sky, and she looked so good. 🙂 I hung the winter wreath on the door (fake fir branches with silver beads wrapped around them for ice, and a cloth poinsettia flower for a sunburst) and pulled the holly garlands out of the basement – I haven’t quite hung them up yet, but that’s one of today’s tasks. I gave an offering to the Hag, the Old Lady Winter, and asked for a gentle one this year. I mean, who knows, and it’s supposed to be Very Snowy, but nobody dying of cold would be good. Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
A while back, I talked about the Season of the Witch. Like autumn, in Ottawa, it’s a relatively short season. The Season of the Hag lasts longer, especially given that the real cold and snow don’t tend to hit until after Winter Solstice (when this poem by Richard de Graeme becomes particularly apt, even if Brigid’s fire doesn’t do much beyond offer a temporary reprieve around here).
The Season of the Hag involves: A lot of shivering. My hips being sore and swollen. Lighting candles more frequently. Trying not to fall down (right now, the temperature is seesawing back and forth across the frozen line, which is dandy as long as it’s dry – my hips hurt less, the warmer it is, so my body’s not complaining even if my mind is flipping out about climate change – but which is down right dangerous when there’s rain (which freezes) covered in the hail or snow that comes on its heels, so). Cozying up under a heap of yarn to Make Things (such as knitted radishes[1] and other veggies for my nibblings). Entertaining At Home – anything to cultivate and maintain friendships and community (think of the Scandinavian concept of hygge), whether that’s casual crafternoons with pals, opening your home to host a house concert, or inviting your nearest and dearest over for Midwinter cocktails while celebrating the Solstice. Baking and slow-cooking things so that the house, in which one is somewhat cooped up, smells delicious and feels warm because the oven is on. A lot of things to do with dealing with, and getting through, the cold with mind and body as intact as possible.
But it’s also a time for story-telling. Sharing anecdotes, working on manuscripts, examining the Old Tapes in your own head (MY own head) and figuring out how to at least remix them into something useful and good for you again.
With that in mind: Jessica Lanyadoo, over at HoodWitch reminds me, as a Scorpio, to focus on my own conduct this week, and says “Change yourself, THEN conquer the world”. And Chani advises: “Remember that gratitude and generosity are your guiding goddesses towards a greater sense of abundance. Go forward accordingly.” On a related note, Liz Worth asks us to take some time during this Mercury Retrograde (which started yesterday, and is going to stick around until just after Winter Solstice – if you are mailing things to anybody, mail them early) to check in with our foundations and offers some questions you can ask yourself, your cards, your Gods, about where you still need clarity versus what’s got clear and sorted for you over the past year, and what your next steps might be.
On a very related note, Sarah Gottesdiener, over at Little Red Tarot, points out that the last Full Moon of the year (this one) is a good time for wrapping up loose ends, finishing projects, and otherwise get stuff done before the calendar flips over. (Granted, Miss Sugar would suggest avoiding the New Years Resolutions (That Nobody Keeps) Egrigore by starting new projects NOW, instead of a month from now, so you do you). Sarah also suggests that this is a good time to reflect on where you’re at, look at places where you had to push yourself, ask what you need to keep going forward, and check in about recurring patterns and what they might mean. (There’s a related spread for that here). She offers this reminder:

Remember: Magic is an art. Magic works if you do.
You are both activator and participant. You are the spell!
Not the crystal or the Tarot card or the altar cloth or the athame or the chalice or any of your tools, chants, or herbs. You are the both the conduit and the conductor!
Remember to use your magic. Remember to honor yourself.

A good reminder if ever there was one.
The folks at Hoodwitch also offer this meditation – which is a focus-on-your-breath type exercise – for the Full Moon in Gemini. They ask participants to journal a bit, after, on the question of what does air mean for them as human beings… but I think this could be adapted to other stuff – thoughts on voice, speaking, communication, but maybe also thoughts on fear and anxiety and they way those responses can close up (or feel like they’re closing up) our throats.
I wrote (very briefly), a couple of weeks ago, about intention-setting and tarot meditations. Full Moon is typically a time to check in on the fruits of your intentions (that you theoretically set at the New Moon). I gotta tell you that releasing all that “you are unlovable/unworthy” crap is… slow going. I mean, duh. But it’s a thing. SO!
Moon Meditation? Moon Meditation!
I drew a random tarot card today.

“Courage” – 8 of Major Arcana (“Strength”)
A daisy blooming through a crack in the stone.

How does this card – courage, strength, blooming in vulnerability – relate to:
1) Recurring patterns I’ve seen over the past year
2) Glamour, letting myself be seen/heard and generally putting myself out there
3) Letting go of all that “you are unlovable/unworthy” crap.
I mean, the answer to #2 is pretty direct. Bravery is a muscle, glamour is a muscle, you have to exercise them and you will get tired quickly when you’re not used to doing so. Put on your crown of light. Visualize all those dangerously-alluring women with bone jewelry and intense eyeliner and leather cloaks/jackets striding through the sylvan/urban landscape, let that power build in yourself, and get out there. For a given value of “get out there” that means “submit that poem for publication” or “do vocal warm-ups every day, even if the neighbours can hear you” or “flirt with that other attractive queer” or “apply for that job/grant” or whatever. I’ve been doing some of this fairly consistently (see #1), but I recognize that I have a tendency to give up and go back to hiding with a lot of regularity. To take a page from Miss Sugar’s Glamour Magic book there are mundane parts to fixing this situation and magical parts. The mundane/physical stuff is literally doing the physical work. Doing the warm ups. Writing the poems, finding appropriate calls for submissions, and sending them out. Putting on my lipstick and a clean shirt to run my errands. Making the first move. All that stuff. Magically, I can do visualizations to help me evoke and make visible my own powerful, “Scorpio Side” (I tend to let my Moon show up front, for reasons that are good – this is me, I am this – but also for reasons that are not so healthy for me and tie into the “unworthiness” business). I can listen to throat-opening chakra music and sing along in harmony (humming or rolled Rs). I can wear lapis lazuli (throat-opener, speak the truth even if your voice trembles, lean into your intuition and know yourself, that kind of stone) around my neck. I can fill my belly with tea made from thyme, fennel, mullien, and/or yarrow for courage or use those oils in a ritual bath. I can fill a honey pot with dried pear and hawthorn berries, pecans, sesame seeds, vanilla beans, hibiscus flowers, orange zest, whole cloves, oats, and glitter, and enchant it accordingly: If I’m really on my game, I’ll be Working myself in the process and I’ll start liking myself and thinking I deserve Nice Things, too. 😉
My mom, because she is my mom, gave us an advent calendar full of inspirational quotations and candy.
The quote for yesterday’s full moon was:

Follow a heart’s desire today. Pick up a book, make that call, join that club, pick up that paint brush, start that course. Begin, begin, begin.

Okay, then.

Movement: I admit I skipped going dancing on Friday night. I had company over and my wife was tired, and it was just a better plan all around to stay in. Even for a dance that started early and was easy to get to. Still, there’s been lots of walking (and will be lots more, this week), so that’s something. Time to start doing yoga in the spare room for 10 minutes every day again, I think, as it’s getting colder out and the motion will help keep me warm and prevent me from turning into a creaky mess.
Attention: I’m paying attention to deadlines, right now. Submitting job applications and poetry, seeing if I qualify for grants (most recently: Not yet. I need to have published three things through traditional publishers who pay money when they publish your stuff. I have… one? Everything else has been contributor copies. One more reason to keep sending stuff out).
Gratitude: Paid the rent AND the heating bill on the same day. Pickled beets are going nicely. My friend who had hot sauce explode in her face is doing fine and retained all of her sight. A friend visiting for dinner. Being treated to waffles by another friend. My wife telling me I’m her home and that she’s so glad I’m part of her life. ❤
Inspiration: Women with horns and facial tattoos. Also femmes. Also my wife who loves to learn new things. Also the garden (even in her sleeping form). Also astrology and tarot, as per usual.
Creation: I finished the editing on, and then submitted, three poems to a magazine in BC. Am trying to edit my lack-luster ghazal into an entirely different kind of poem with plans to put it into my next chapbook. Also went through my back catalogue of unpublished poems to see if there was anything in there that would fit the “moons and tarot and spellcraft and astrology and feeeeelings” theme of said chapbook, because I’d like to get this done sooner rather than later. Knit two radishes, with a third on the way, and finished knitting my stocking extensions.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] Cast on 45 stitches (using 2¼ mm needles and a light gauge like “sport” or “baby” yarn… even “sock” yarn will do. #1 or #2 gauge, basically). Knit 20 rows back and forth. Decrease by k2t every 4th and 5th stitch. Knit back. Decrease by k2t every 3rd and 4th stitch. Knit back. Decreased by k2t every 2nd and 3rd stitch. Knit back. You should have 18 stitches now. K2t, knit back. Knit one, then k2t to the end of row so you have five stitches. Knit five rows. Cast off. Roll your bit of knitting into a tube (like a rose bud). Sew up the side. Gather the top (the wide part) on a bit of extra yarn and pull it “shut” as with a draw-string bag. Tie off. Behold. You have a raddish. (Make leaves if you want to. Or different leaves if you want them to be “strawberries”). Do the same thing to make beets, just use chunkier yarn (#4 gauge, probably) and 5mm needles. For potatoes, do the same thing, except Just Keep Knitting, instead of doing the reductions. Use the draw-string method on both ends, instead of only one.

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?
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?
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. >.>

I’m Almost Forty – A (not so) “Productive Home” Post

If you’re wondering why I picked that title, it’s because I’m turning 38 this Tuesday. Now You Know.
Erica, over at NWedible, is doing a Productive Home Weekly Report thing, and has invited people to chime in with their own productivity reports.
I’m… not totally fussed about tracking productivity. It feels a bit like giving myself a performance review. BUT, if I think of it as an opportunity to brag about the awesome-fun-cool stuff I’ve been doing/planting/harvesting/cooking/baking/canning/fermenting/etc chez moi that I’m really excited about… it gets a whole lot easier.
So here we go.
As you may have noticed (or not) I haven’t done one of these since, oh, mid-July. I haven’t been hugely productive on the home-front in the intervening almost-four months.
I put my kefir grains in the fridge, in a pint jar of cream, to slow them down because I finally admitted to myself that I don’t love my home-made dairy kefir and, while it’s good when it’s thick enough to use as a sour-cream substitute in baking, it’s mostly a lot runnier and I just wasn’t going through a litre of the stuff every 4-7 days so… I’ve put it into hibernation mode and am hoping that the slower pace will let me keep feeding it (rather than letting it get over-fermented, moldy, or infested with fruit-flies… all of which have happened over the past summer) without getting “overwhelmed”.
I haven’t made bread (or much other baking) from scratch in a long time, either. I think I made cookies a couple of times, and that’s about it.
I… oh, heaven and earth, I think it’s actually snowing outside. O.O
So you wanna know what I have done?
I pulled in as many green tomatoes as I could swing (a couple of weeks ago, when frost started threatening), and TODAY I dug up my jerusalem artichokes (as’kebwan’), which are now sitting in a full (if small-sized – ~2 gallons) recycling bin on my kitchen counter, waiting to be washed, blanched and frozen (that’s tomorrow’s job).
I put up something like 2 dozen pints of crushed tomatoes (Labour Day weekend, or there-abouts). Made choke-cherry curd, choke-cherry relish, and goblin fruit jam (also heavy on the choke cherries, big surprise).
I packed all the Supplies from Unholy Harvest into rubbermaid bins (which my wife then moved to the basement – hurrah, I have my main floor back and it feels so good), which was a good thing because our basement got 5″ of water in it during a big rainstorm earlier this week. (It’s fine. It’s a concrete floor on top of limestone, so the water just seeps in, no sewer contamination involved, thank goodness. And my lovely wife got the sump pump running in short order, so everything’s dried out pretty well).
I spent a canning day with a friend in Gatineau, making strawberry-rhubarb jam (last weekend, or maybe the weekend before?) while also pressure-canning eight pints of chick peas (my first time using a pressure canner, and I suspect I’m hooked. Looking into a membership at the Ottawa Tool Library so I can borrow the one they have on the shelves and do this multiple times per year).
I started a couple of new knitting projects this week as well. The first is a “safety shawl” (neon pink and pale turquoise stripes, the turquoise is going to have glow-in-the-dark beads looped into it) for walking after dark in Winter. The goal is to speedy-knit this using big needles and twisted (double-wrapped) stitches, so that I can have it done before next New Moon. The second is a cotton tank top. Which starts out looking like a really skinny cotton scarf and gets built upon from there. That one’s not the priority project, but I’m still excited about it.
Beyond that? Lighting my altars, making offerings at Samhain (and finally freaking switching the wreath on my door to “autumn leaves” instead of “tulips and lilacs”…), working on glamour magic stuff, getting a bit back into the swing of doing Fabulous Friday Dinners. Checking in with a lot of people. Re-homing furniture and small appliances to people setting up new places. Having breakfast with my mom. All sorts of stuff.
Anyway. My lovely wife is home, so it’s time to throw some dinner (left-over braised chicken thighs with root veggies, dried cranberries, and garden kale) in the oven to heat up, so off I go. 🙂
– Meliad the Birch Maiden.